God Loves Diversity

God Loves Diversity

Black and White or color?

Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography

The older I get the more I realize that there are multiple variations of color and multiple variations of black. I am so glad it is so because it gives us so much more to be creative with.

Christine’s News

Christine had a wonderful on line iconography class with more than 40 students, many of which signed up to do her next class in September. In fact she did such a good teaching method that people have been asking her for advice on how to do on line classes. There was a time when the in person classes in New York and California were getting cancelled because of the virus, now she creatively has found another answer to that.

Michael’s News

Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding the answers to our problems during the Covid 19 attack has meant for many of us looking at our lifestyles totally afresh. People are moving away from cities to more rural lifestyles because they are now able to work on line and not trapped to commuting possibilities. We are doing ‘church’ online, mostly participating in Holy Trinity Brompton [HTB.org], which is 3,500 miles away in London, every Sunday. I am preparing online services for my community at Freedom Village every Sunday and doing considerably more preparation than I was when conducting them in person [‘Vespers at Freedom Village’, on You Tube].

Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography

So the lesson I am getting in this peculiar time is, there are other ways of doing things and thinking about things than just Black and White, right or wrong. God is such a good teacher in His creativity, His endless variety of flower forms, of sunsets, of people and the way they perceive the world. There is no doubt God loves variety through the multitude of ways He expresses that. So that should be a lesson for me as well, to love variety in all people and not think one color is superior to another, particularly not my own. The good Samaritan is a great example of stepping out to help someone different from himself.

Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography

Luke 10:34-36

34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii[c] and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?”

Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography

 

In September I will be leading an Alpha class for the residents at Freedom Village, we cannot do it on line as it would be too much of a challenge for the residents technically. However, with masks, strict social distancing and no dinner, we will be doing it in person. My main helpers are in their nineties and that is the age for most of the guests. I am hoping Alpha will make as much of an impression on them as it did for me, as an introduction to the nature and workings of the Holy Spirit. I am excited to see how it develops. I am also grateful for Nicky and Pippa Gumble, at HTB, who have brought via Alpha so many into knowing the love of Christ.

We are praying for you and love to hear how you are doing so we know specifically how we can pray for you!  Until next month,

Love and prayers,

Michael and Christine

 

Mick’s Photography Website         Christine’s Icon Website

Compassionate Responsibility

Finally, even the President of the United States has decided that wearing face masks should be encouraged, and he may actually have worn one for a couple of photo opportunities. Clearly that change of mind came four months, 150,000 lives and a decimated economy, too late.IMG_8285

I just pray that those who oppose stopping at red lights, wearing seat belts and putting a face mask on in public get the message, that at this stage our country is at war and it is selfish, dangerous and ‘unpatriotic’, not to do so.

I have to admit that when you consider the 58,000 Americans who lost their lives in the Vietnam war, what is happening in America right now, is so much more devastating; soon to be three times the number of deaths.JZJT5830

On top of that we have around 17 million unemployed and millions of families living with uncertainty about the future for themselves and their children’s education.

IMG_7785

We have to realize this is a terrible situation to be facing a critical election, which was manipulated by foreign countries the last time around, and is already being assigned conspiracy  theories about postal ballets, etc. The protest marches for Black Lives Matter have been devalued again, leaving the whole issue of racism unresolved until another incident.

IMG_7913

None of what I just wrote is news to any of us and it can not be just swept under the carpet by partisan views. It is too deadly. It is too horrible. It is too painful for so many people. If we do have compassionate hearts as Christians, we really have to take a long hard look at our responsibility in this time.

IMG_8048

As a Christian I have to challenge other Christians to look honestly at where their opinions are being formed. Is it through the life and teaching of Jesus Christ or is it through the political views of Fox News? I see the spirit of Jezebel is at work here and that is not through Jesus Christ. All I ask is that you read through the account of Jezebel’s ways in Kings and see whether that spirit has usurped legitimate authority for personal political gain in this country.IMG_7789

As Chaplain to an elderly community I am seeing a lot of people question what life is about, as they have to stay in lockdown. There is going to be a huge emotional fall out for the elderly, for children and the unemployed from this pandemic.IMG_8836

Christians with compassion in their hearts is what is called for with the Holy Spirit working through them.

Colossian 3:12-13

12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.

Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography

I so much thank God for his love as we navigate our lives and responsibilities at this time.  We pray for each of you that God keeps you and your loved ones safe and healthy, and we pray also for all medical workers, doctors, nurses, and hourly wage workers that they also will be kept safe and healthy.  In Jesus’ name we pray.

Love and prayers,

Michael and Christine Hales

Mick’s Photography    Christine’s Icons

More Quarantine

Dear Friends and Family:

Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography

Separation, is not a healthy place emotionally, but it is needed to protect us from the virus.

For those in elderly communities, especially widows, lockdown has become a lonely, boring and often depressing; seemingly endless time. People say that eating meals alone is when it really hurts.

The community I work for as Chaplain, is well provided for. Meals are delivered to their apartment doors in large brown bags. The bags are taken in, food eaten and then placed back outside, without any human interaction. Most of the many activities, which once made the 650 resident campus feel like a university, have stopped. The hallways are empty, the restaurants, pool, hair salon, wood working shop, gym, are all closed. Even the 1000 piece jigsaw puzzles take for ever to finish.

Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography

I started to lead a bible study again, under very strictly controlled separation conditions, but that is likely to stop as the pandemic spikes in Florida and the cautious ‘opening up’, is likely to be reversed.

One of the more exciting developments has been the possibility of running an Alpha course in the community. Alpha, changed my life when it first came over from Holy Trinity Brompton, in London [https://www.htb.org], to New York City. Christine and I, attended the three day course and that was the first time I was introduced to the Holy Spirits’ presence, when Nicky Gumbel, prayed over the whole gathering at St Bartholomew’s Church, to receive the Holy Spirit. That prayer changed my life because the Holy Spirit did flood into me.

Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography

There are now a small group of people who are excited to help get an Alpha going in the community, but we are waiting for a better understanding of how the lockdown with develop.

Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography

So my main job has been preparing Sunday Vespers which gets Televised on the internal TV station every Sunday. It has been a great experience because it has pulled together my photography with my ministry, which has been a long wish of mine. I am including a couple of You Tube links so you can see what I have been creating.

Vespers 062820

https://youtu.be/bypUhd-QIeo

Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography

Vespers 070520

https://youtu.be/AGVKgBgcYIE

Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography

Christine is doing wonderful work on two angel icons for a commission. She is also preparing to launch into online teaching of Iconography, running a course in August, which is very exciting and getting a great response.

Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography

I think we all are beginning to understand that this time of ‘separation’ or lockdown, is going to be with us for a very long time to come. That in itself is part of the anxiety, not knowing when or if there really is a long term resolution or a ‘normal life’ at the end of the tunnel. The long term emotional consequences are going to be enormous. As major upsets always do, this is going to hit the most vulnerable in our society the most; those who cannot find employment, families living with no school functioning, racial vulnerability will rise as racist tendencies are politically exploited; and the list could go on, so it is not surprising that the elderly person sitting alone in a room is going to be forgotten. After all they are not a squeaky wheel and they are easy to forget.

But, thanks be to God, He never forgets any of us.

So please, take a moment and lift up the elderly housebound in your prayers.

Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography

1 Timothy 5:15b

Let the church not be burdened, so that it may care for those who are truly widows.

Stay safe and be Blessed with the Holy Spirit in all you do and say.

Love and prayers,

Michael and Christine

Worthy to Be Praised

Dear Friends and Family:

Mick Hales Photography 1
Mick Hales Photography 1

A boiling pot of hate and frustration has erupted in the nation due to the consistent unfair treatment of black people. There are 40 million people unemployed and 100,000 dead through Covid 19 and likely many more of both to come. America stands in a perilous place. It is my view that the national leadership has been taken over by the spirit of Jezebel and the evangelistic wing can not recognize the depth of denial they stand in. The country is politically divided with a leader who is prepared to be as divisive and untruthful and do what ever it takes to hold onto his power within the nation. A nation which in the last three years, has lost respect and confidence around the world for retracting into isolation on world issues of climate, health, pollution and food. This is a kind summation of where we are. It does not dive into the pain of the people around us.

Mick Hales Photography 1
Mick Hales Photography 1

But God. But God.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. [Philippians 4:8]

Mick Hales Photography 1
Mick Hales Photography 1

 

On the other hand I do know Jesus Christ is Lord of my life. Thank God, I know that. I also know that Jesus is still healing today, physically, spiritually and emotionally.

In the Chaplaincy work I do, I sometimes hear people talk of how, could there be a God who would allow all this to happen? Or, how God has taken all the good things I ever had?

Mick Hales Photography 1
Mick Hales Photography

I find it hard to find the words to answer their thoughts in a convincing way. But I do know that Jesus Christ is Lord of my life, and I thank God for that. I stand on that knowledge with deep thanks. My job is to try to share that with others so they can receive a real relationship with Jesus.

Chaplaincy

Each week I give my elderly community, prayer slides which get shown one a day on the in house television. They are very simple and broad, with a scripture and a very short prayer, see the ones included.

I also create a video for them for Vespers once a week, here is the link for Pentecost.

https://youtu.be/bEHHen9VG9U

Since the lockdown started 12 people have passed on in my community, not due to the virus but because of the age of the community, none of their families have had a chance for memorial services. So, it seems like the next step will be to create online memorial services.

We live in a changing world, but I thank God I know Jesus Christ. I pray you all do as well and you all stay safe.

Mick Hales Photography 1
Mick Hales Photography 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christine’s News

Christine is experiencing a lull in commissions and teaching – some of her classes have been cancelled due to the virus quarantine.  She is praying and working to understand God’s next steps for her and her beautiful work.

Christine's Studio
Christine’s Studio

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, please keep us in your prayers- as you are in ours daily.

May God’s Blessings and real Joy fill all your lives.

Michael and Christine

Michael’s Photography   Michael’s New Print Shop

Christine’s Icons

 

 

 

The Good Shepherd

Greetings Friends and Family:

Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography

OK, so where did April go? We had Easter, all on line. It was an Easter I will always remember. We have had time to think and pray, to listen to the birds, to catch up with so many things from the back burner. But slowly, slowly we have come to realize we are not living in the same world we were living in January.

We are in a time of a ‘New Normal’. How long the ‘New Normal’ will last, is hard for us to know at this point, but certainly the New Normal has replaced the ‘Old Normal’ in many ways, for good.

The saying, ‘this too shall pass’, is one which my father would encourage me with in difficult times, and of course this pandemic will pass; mostly. However, if we assume after it’s passing we will go back to the Old Normal; no way.

Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography

This has been a wake up call. It happens to have come in the form of a health and economic attack. It  will come again, with another ‘new virus’. Or it could come as severe weather, with significant climate change which is now close to inevitable. It could also come as food shortages and famines; the united nations reported 10 nations who already have more than a million people each without enough food, which could possibly be joined by another 26 nations in a similar vulnerable position as this pandemic unfolds. With all these major world events the movement of resources and people searching for safety will exasperate our nationalistic phobias. Did we wake up yet?

We are standing on shaky ground all around.

Good Shepherd Icon by Christine Hales
Good Shepherd Icon by Christine Hales

One of the assigned scriptures for this Sunday is Psalm 23. Such an amazingly powerful holy document written by a shepherd boy turned king, David. So powerful that it is very often included in memorial services because it is so uplifting.

David had many challenges, victories, personal failings and dreams, but the most significant thing he had was his complete love and trust in God.  The first line, the first statement is David’s position from which everything else can follow.

The Lord is my Shepherd.

After that statement of belief, the results of that belief unfold. Security, provision, rest, peace, good direction, the ability to start over, how to live a pure rewarding life, helping people turn to Jesus. It also says there will be hard times, there will be death. It is all part of life. Even so we can stand in peace, with closeness to God, his protection and direction, comfort. Despite the fact we are under attack, we still have provision through the Holy Spirit, in fact the Blessings are more than we can handle, our cup overflows. We can be sure of God’s blessings and sure we will be with him in eternity.

That all comes from the first statement. The Lord is my shepherd.

Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography, Chaplain duties
Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography, Chaplain Duties

Why do we need a wake up call?

Well, like sheep, we get drawn to where ever we think there is green grass. Our heads are down following whatever looks good next, the next good patch of whatever pleases us. Jobs, houses, curtains, deserts, lawn mowers, TV, scandal, ice cream; we are always on the lookout for the next ‘green grass.’

So when we finally get a ‘wake up call’; from a pandemic, famine or drought, hopefully we realize we are a long way off the tracks.

Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography, Chaplain Duties

So the question raises up again, where is my shepherd now? Nowhere to be seen, although I know he must be around, I have been so very busy, so totally involved, with—whatever. I am lost, I have just kept looking for the next green thing in my life, loosing track of direction, loosing track of a real purpose. Loosing track of the big picture, why am I here?

Hopefully, we will wake up to realize there is no stable ground around us, that there is nothing safe. Except God.

So our heads have to come out of the sand. We can ask for forgiveness and turn back to the shepherd. In fact, when so many people do that, we realize there is an awakening opening up. So many people are getting called back to Christ that we are now praying deeply for revival. For by His wounds we have been healed. How could we forget that?

Mick Hales Photography
Christine doing ballet class during quarantine

This is why our prayers are so needed at this time. That there will be an awakening to how far we have strayed from our Shepherd. Sheep love to follow. I pray that we could turn to follow God and not our own selfish ways. Because Jesus stands waiting for us to come to him, no matter who we are, no matter how depressed we are, no matter how addicted we are, how lonely we are, how nationalistic we are, how partisan we are or how much we have hated our neighbors. He is still holding out his hand to us in this ‘New Normal’. Thank God, in all things.

Please keep Christine and me in your prayers and ask the Lord how to work for His Kingdoms’ revival.

Lime Tree
Lime Tree

 

 

Love and prayers,

Christine and Michael

Mick’s Photography

 

Christine’s Icons

Palm Sunday Video

Getting Ready for Palm Sunday!!

Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography

They say natural disasters have three stages, the approach, the occurrence and the aftermath.

Writing on April first we are still in the approach stage. We have no idea how devastating April is going to turn out to be, certainly New York is going to be hammered and many other metropolitan areas as well. Then the aftermath is going to extend much further than people can digest at the moment; the loss of life, the loss of work and a depressed economy will be with us for a long, long time. Other things will change, our work habits, our trust in the governmental institutions and how we return to worship in churches or not.

Our VIctory Garden
Our VIctory Garden

Yes, we are looking at a huge shaking approaching, larger and more extensive than we can imagine. Think back one month when there was not an inkling of what was coming along, we were not prepared, individually or as a nation. It is times like this that the reality of how vulnerable our lives are and indeed the strength and stability of America is, even carrying a superpower status. Then we look at countries like India with high densities of population and ask what is going to happen there? Maybe the hot temperatures in the many of the vulnerable countries will lessen the power of the virus; it is destroyed at temperatures over 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, interesting enough, the virus does not like light but survives in cold, dark, damp environment, it is not alive in itself but attaches to human cells, corrupting them to then corrupt and destroy others. One could use that as a good description of the demonic.

So much to pray for. So much arrogance to repent from.

Such an awesome God to pray to.

Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography:                                 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mathew 21:21

And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen.

 Taking God Seriously

God is calling us all to take Him seriously. To focus on Him and not leave Him on the back burner. Many of us have time now, while we are sheltering in place to focus on God. This is a huge opportunity to turn away from the distractions of the world and return to prayer.

Indeed, God is inviting us to be in prayer. He is directing us to be in prayer.

Christine and I have been working from home. I have not been allowed to do visitations in the hospital or the nursing home attached to Freedom Village. Freedom Village now has highly restricted access, so I have been preparing for them sheets of collected scriptures on different subjects, for the residents to use as starting points for them to pray from. They are being called, ‘Food for Prayer’, and I hope they can open the door to the Holy Spirit to work individually in them. I have also been preparing You Tube Sunday services and will cover the Easter services in the similar way. God has opened a door for me to use my photography in these video’s which I have not been doing since I took up the Chaplain job. Please check out the two services I have already posted through the links below.

 

Christine has been completing a commission of a very beautiful icon of Christ, where He is holding the scripture, ‘I am the light of the world’.  Additionally, she has created an original Icon of Daniel in the Lion’s Den. She has also been taking an online course from an iconographer in London, Ian Knowles,  which meant very early mornings joining with some 99 other iconographers from around the world. She has also been part of a strong bible study online group of women, which always go way over time and brings a lot of revelation and joy.

Daniel in the Lion's Den Icon by Christine Hales
Daniel in the Lion’s Den Icon by Christine Hales
Look For Silver Linings

One of the silver linings in all of this virus situation is that the online methods of communicating can give us an alternative way of getting many things done. But there is no alternative to actually being with someone one on one when they are going through a bad time.

This was brought home to me last week when I was called to visit someone who lost her husband the previous day. She had not been allowed to see him for the last two weeks that he was alive, even though they were less than two hundred yards apart. They had talked frequently on the phone, but to not have been able to touch each other and look into their eyes       was a haunting separation. These are some of the simple things, which really hurt, when we are denied them. That same desire to be close, so close that we see into the hearts of people, is God’s desire for our relationship with Him. That we would seek to touch Him and look deeply into his eyes and know Him. That is the love He has for us and yearns for us to have for him. It has always been that way and it will always remain that way. I pray we wake up to that in this time of opportunity.

Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography

Let us know how we can pray for you and please keep us in prayer.

 

Do not forget to watch the two videos, one is for Palm Sunday [ZOOE0], I would love to get feed back on them.

Michael’s Video Links- they are great!!

https://youtu.be/I9wyjwZOOE0

https://youtu.be/cXosEs51n7Y

Love and prayers,

Mick Hales photography
Mick Hales photography

Christine and Michael Hales

Christine’s Icon Prints            Michael’s Photography

 

 

 

Jesus Never Forgets

Dear Friends and Family:

Ringing Art Museum
Ringing Art Museum

Christine is off to Santa Barbara to teach an iconography class at the monastery of Mount Calvary, Santa Barbara. Mount Calvary is a brother house to Holy Cross Monastery in the Hudson Valley, NY, where she also holds iconography classes. She has a full class of students and has had to turn some away. There is a growing interest in writing icons and how they are a part of Christian life across the different denominations. Christine has been very proactive in widening the appreciation and purpose of icons through the creation of the American Associations Of Iconographers. Her trip is also a reconnection to Brother William who helped Michael in the early stages of developing the book, Monastic Gardens, the instrument through which Christine was first introduced to iconography in a small monastery in France.

Gail Levin, Author with Christine at the Ringling Museum
Gail Levin, Author with Christine at the Ringling Museum

Michael had a quick trip to photograph a house near Great Barrington, MA, and managed to time it with a good snow storm. Taken in small doses snow can be intriguing especially when one has not had to deal with shoveling  and scraping ice for the best part of a year.  Just a short immersion into winter weather was enough to confirm that moving South from New York was a good decision!

Great Barrington, Photo by Mick Hales
Great Barrington, Photo by Mick Hales

 

 

 

It was on that shoot, after a full day’s photography with snow falling, that Michael headed out to his car to drive to his hotel and found he had no notes of his hotel reservation for that night. It had been prepaid so he could not just abandon it for an alternative. It took nearly 20 minutes of searching the web in the snowy driveway to find a familiar hotel photo he thought he recognized, not being able to remember the hotel’s name!

Frozen, photo by Mick Hales
Frozen, photo by Mick Hales

 

Not a big issue perhaps, but it gave another small window into experiencing how it is when our brains are tired and unable to deliver what our bodies need at any given point. As we get older- so it happens more often. Our minds begin to let us down. It is in moments like these that prayer is so essential. When our minds are a void and we cannot recall a common word or name, or why we walked to another part of the house. It is time to call on Jesus because He will never forget us.

Seeing the Light
Seeing the Light

 

Many of our elderly population are dealing with memory loss, dementia and physical limitations much more serious than being unable to remember a hotel’s name. Fear, confusion, memory loss become more prevalent with age. Mental failures are hard to assess when they are happening within someone else’s mind, especially so with loved ones, and can build up tensions within a relationship.
Dealing with Dementia

Michael’s Chaplaincy ministry has had to deal with many older married couples slowly realizing their spouse’s mind is failing. Situations develop which are heart breaking, couples becoming separated after 50 or 60 years of happily married life.  Mothers being unable to recognize or remember their own children. Dementia can create the worst living situations for those suffering from it and those caring for them.

God’s Word

Isaiah 49:15. “Can a woman forget her nursing child,
that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb?
Even these may forget,
yet I will not forget you.
Mick Hales photo
Mick Hales photo

The elderly need that reinforcement, that God will never forget them. At one time they may have had very active Christian lives and known that simple truth. But then they loose it along with their minds. They often have been forgotten by their own families or are unable to recognize who their own children are. So our job as Christians is to visit and visit again, letting them know that Jesus will never forget them. Never stop loving them.

James 1:27

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

Mick Hales photo
Mick Hales photo

 

Please let us know how we can pray for you and we always need prayer too.

Michael and Christine   Mick’s Photography     Christine’s Icons

Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography

Icons in Sarasota!

 

Dear Family and Friends:

Christine had a wonderful pop up show of her iconography in downtown Sarasota, hosted in a high end carpet store owned by a Christian friend. It was just for one evening, about 15 icons were on show and a lot of people came. Christine gave a talk part way through about what Icons are, how they are created and what they have meant to her in her life. She was totally involved with her talk and she moved into testimony in a very natural way. The training she had received at Global Awakening started to come through and people’s hearts were getting moved to love and experience God’s Presence.

Icons by Christine Hales
Icons by Christine Hales

 

It is a beautiful thing when the Holy Spirit takes over in a secular situation and people realize something special is happening even if they cannot attribute it to a spiritual incursion.

Hales Icon Exhibit Sarasota
Hales Icon Exhibit Sarasota

Conversely, when a negative spiritual force is breaking into our world and people do not realize we are witnessing a demonic incursion, it is a disastrous thing. As this is being written,  a few minutes ago the senate voted not to hear witnesses in the impeachment trial of President Trump. I perceive that as a huge step towards tyranny in this nation. It would appear that an irrevocable damage has occurred to its compass. The rudder was just taken off the boat and thrown in the water, because people were happy with the direction the wind was blowing, at the moment.

Photo by Mick Hales
Photo by Mick Hales

The senate just lost the ability to hold a course through the troubled waters of democracy and voted for tyranny.  What will bring the country to realize it has stepped into tyranny? It has to be a spiritual awakening.

Photo by Mick Hales
Photo by Mick Hales

 

No matter how depressing I find the direction of the nation, as I call out to God, I hear back, to press in with the gifts that I have been given. As a Christian to engage one on one with people using  the gifts I have. For me they happen to be praying for people’s healing and coming alongside those in times of trial in prayer. Well as I write I have a list of ten people in hospital or nursing care that need visiting, six people who recently lost a loved one and also need visiting. I just left praying for someone with a tumor protruding inches out of his leg. This is how we can push into the spiritual malaise in this nation, by using the gifts we have been given by the Lord for the Lord. When we as Christians rely on a spirit of politics to redeem a spiritual malaise in our country it is a false assumption.

Flower by Mick Hales
Flower by Mick Hales

Many nations have gone through very similar situations and after years have managed to come out again. So my prayer would be that we press into using our gifts for the Lord one on one.

Michael Hales, Chaplain
Michael Hales, Chaplain

 

As Paul writes in Romans 12, 6 ‘Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads,[f] with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness.’

Hales Icons in Sarasota
Hales Icons in Sarasota

Please let us know how we can pray for you.

Sending love and prayers,

 

Michael and Christine Hales

Mick’s Photography     Christine’s Icons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy New Year!

Dear Friends and Family:

Happy New Year!  And of course we wish you a really Blessed 2020 with many new doors opening by the Lord.

Happy New Year photo by Mick Hales
Happy New Year photo by Mick Hales

December seemed to happen very quickly this year, perhaps because things just kept popping up that needed to be done.

Our News

Michael had a surprise phone call asking him at 9:30 on Boxing day morning to undertake a marriage at 1:00 that day at the hospital he volunteers at. Christine has developed a lot of new women friends in Christ and was invited to several Christmas parties by them. We managed to receive a day of generational healing prayer, at Christian Healing Ministries in Jacksonville, which was a powerful Blessing. Michael had one memorial service and five other services at Freedom Village to lead and preach. On top of all that we made it to Art Basel Miami to see what was cooking in the art world.

Michael leading a wedding ceremony at the hospital
Michael leading a wedding ceremony at the hospital

Christine completed a commission of St Francis and the Wolf  of Lubbio which came out beautifully. She has been diligently focused on drawing skills and it is really bearing beautiful fruit in her icons. This month she will have a one evening show of her icons at a prestigious carpet gallery in downtown Sarasota called ‘Art to Walk On’ on January 24th and has been preparing a variety of icons for that. It is going to be stunning.

Politics and the love of Christ

Of course we have to bring up what happened this December with the impeachment of the President of the United States. It is almost like the ‘Emperor has no clothes on’ within Christian circles because it is hard to talk about.  As so much division has happened within the body of Christ, much of which seemingly slipped into following a political spirit rather than holding to the Holy Spirit; the evangelical right regarded Donald Trump as a savior, regardless of his overtly unchristian persona.  ‘Christianity Today’, had the fortitude to really question whether the President should be given carte blanche by Christians.  We continue to pray that God will provide good leadership for this country, today and in the years to come.

Seabirds by Mick Hales
Seabirds by Mick Hales

Each month Michael writes an article for the Freedom Village Newsletter, ‘The Crier’ and last month it was about ‘Holding Hands.’

He is adding it below, because it could be extrapolated to the situation our country finds itself in. It is a piece on small steps of faith that can lead to larger changes through unity. Jesus said a house divided cannot stand. How do we bridge the gap of extreme division within this country before it is led to tyranny?

How to return to relying on the Holy Spirit’s guidance and not a spirit of politics within Christian living.

As 2020 opens there needs to be some deep searching for truth in our prayers as to who we are following, Jesus Christ or partisan politics. I pray that each side of this deep divide can reach out to touch the other and heal.

Advent Wreath on Christmas Eve by Mick Hales
Advent Wreath on Christmas Eve by Mick Hales

Holding Hands

We all know what it means to hold hands with someone we love, someone special to us. A spouse or one of our own children. Holding hands is a way in personal relationships we can express trust, comfort, fondness, togetherness and love.

But what about when we hold hands with someone we do not know so well, maybe someone we are visiting and want to show a sign of support for what they are going through, perhaps they are ill or experienced a loss recently. That can take a step of faith to put your hands out for someone who may not know you. The actual activity of sharing another person’s hands results scientifically in the release of oxytocin in our bodies giving us a feeling of safety and warmth.

I remember as a child walking through the streets of Enugu, a town in Nigeria where I spent several years, people would just touch you as you walked past. It was culturally normal that touch would happen between people, even strangers on the streets. To us in a ‘Western mindset’ this seems very intrusive, we prefer to keep an invisible barrier around us that other people stay out of.  We would hate being touched by people as they walked past  us on the streets, by hands held to out to the sides so there was a connection as one passed. This very simple gesture was a way of connecting, a way of placing oneself in the present and acknowledging all life around us as we travel through it.

Saint Francis and the Wolf of Lubbio, Icon by Christine Hales
Saint Francis and the Wolf of Lubbio, Icon by Christine Hales

We find in the scriptures that Jesus throughout his ministry would touch people as he was healing them. We also know that people would try to touch him in the crowd or even just his garment; Mark 3:10, is a good example.

‘for he had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed around him to touch him.’

When Jesus was touching people there was a transference of power by the Holy Spirit to heal. That is why I believe when people come together to support or even pray for others, holding hands is a wonderful way to bring us all closer together, as we present ourselves and our concerns to God.

Let us continue to gather as lovers of Christ and hold hands as we pray for our country, our world, and each other in the year ahead.

Celebrating Michael's Birthday and Boxing Day!
Celebrating Michael’s Birthday and Boxing Day!

Sending love, prayers, and best wishes for a healthy and prosperous New Year!

Christine and Michael

Mick’s Photography      Christine’s Icons      Christine’s Art Work

 

God’s Extravangance

“The heavens declare the Glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork .” Psalm 19:1

IMG_9640

The Sheer Extravagance of God

Going through a month’s snaps to find images which represent our lives for the last month, I always have to include some close ups of plants I have noticed and delighted in.

The thought, ‘the sheer extravagance of God’, came to me as I picked one of the blooms from a Floss Silk Tree which flower here in November. The trees become huge masses of pink flowers before their leaves form.  Their trunks have large thorns like medieval armor.

God is extravagant not only in the beauty of what he has created but also in the huge variety. My mind is astounded and gives thanks this Thanksgiving for how God provides for us so well.

IMG_9687

One of the stories this month was of a woman in my bible study class deciding that she wanted to give back a turkey to the homeless. She had as a child received a Thanksgiving turkey because her family was poor and she wanted to give back, now in her seventies, and she could afford it. She asked if I would help her get the turkey and deliver it when the time came. Well she talked to friends about what she was doing and slowly more people came alongside her donating for turkeys.

IMG_0872IMG_0882IMG_0892

Well, the outcome was we bought 565lbs of turkeys and delivered them for Thanksgiving to a charity called Turning Points in Bradenton.  It was God’s extravagance, each time we thought we had fulfilled the money collected, there was still more left over and we returned to the freezer to pick out some more turkeys!

 

IMG_0941

Christine completed a commission of our Lady of Knock, a five by three foot painting for a school library, which was shipped out this month. The story of a vision appearing to a group of people in the Irish town of Knock, is reported by the Roman Catholic Saints website, as:

‘The apparition in County Mayo in Ireland of Our Lady of Knock is reported to have occurred on the evening of August 21, 1879, the vigil of the octave of the feast of the Assumption. Those who witnessed the miracle ranged in age from five years old to seventy-five. IMG_0305

The apparition was described as follows: “Our Lady was wearing a large, brilliant crown and clothed in white garments. On her right was Saint Joseph, his head inclined toward her and on her left Saint John the Evangelist. To the left of Saint John was an altar on which stood a cross and a lamb.” Standing only a few feet off the ground, the Blessed Virgin wore a white cloak and was described by witnesses as being incredibly beautiful. She wore a bright golden crown, and appeared to be praying with her eyes looking toward heaven with her arms bend in front of her with her palms facing inward.’

IMG_8936

For Christine, this commission has been yet another wonderful opportunity to learn more about the different ways God has interacted with His church. The different streams of the church have such a rich history of how God has chosen to make himself known. It is different for all of us and we cannot judge another’s experience, only give thanks again that God cares enough to find different avenues to connect to us, His whole church. I am sure that everyone who reads this blog could give an example of how God has made himself known to them. Perhaps through a vision, or a healing, maybe through the audible word of God, or just that quiet thought which suddenly appears in our minds which we KNOW we have to listen to and act on.

IMG_0292

In November one of the big events is Veterans day. Michael had the role of leading the service which was really well attended. So many people had served America in one of the five services and each one had a photograph of them dressed in their appropriate uniforms many years ago. For Michael it was a lesson to not look at the elderly as they appear today, but remember how active, dynamic and handsome they were when they were younger. We owe a huge debt to those who have gone before us and spent some of their best years fighting for the values that made America great. Now many are truly disheartened by what is happening in this country today and feel helpless as to what to do.

IMG_1377

The only answer I can offer is for there to be an outpouring of prayer for healing in this nation and righteous leadership.

Jesus prayed that the church would not be divided. In many ways the church has been divided and the country is divided and it is ripe for a fall, as Jesus warned in Mathew 12:25.

Knowing their thoughts, he said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand.’

PRAYERS FOR OUR NATION

Let us pray for this nation, without calling on the ‘spirit of politics’, which continues to be an idol against the Holy Spirit. “Make thy face to shine upon thine servant; save me for thy mercies sake.” Psalm 31:16  May God ‘s face shine upon our country and save us for His mercy’s sake.

As Christians we are called to be active Christians, not waiving that assignment to politicians. The spirit of politics may cover itself with the talk of righteousness but not the walk, as is being revealed now.  ” Be of good courage and He shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.”  Psalm 31:24

Sending you all our love and prayers,

Michael and Christine Hales

Mick’s Photography        Christine’s Icons      Christine’s Icon Prints