Category Archives: chaplain

Happy New Year

Dear Friends and Family:

Bromeliad, Mick Hales
Bromeliad, Mick Hales

Happy New Year!

 

For us this is a New Season as well as a New Year. We finally sold our house in New York on December 27th. This has been the culmination of many steps for several years. Although we loved our house and had nearly twenty years of great memories there, it was a strain on our time and resources which we would rather direct towards God’s purposes in our lives.

We are now in Bradenton, Florida, in a modest 1970s low rise condominium complex. There is a wonderful community spirit amongst the residents here which is what attracted us to start with, as well as the semi tropical weather, plant material and life style. IMG_3122

Christine spent a lot of her time in Florida as a child and Michael was in Pakistan and Nigeria, so the weather is quite familiar.     IMG_3203

Icons of Women in the Church

Christine has finished a wonderful Icon commission of Mary. It will be delivered to Palm Beach latter this week for the Church of Saint Patrick. She is now starting on a beautiful  Icon of Mary Magdalene. She has been reading the book, “The Meaning of Mary Magdalene, Discovering the Woman at the Heart of Christianity”, written by Cynthia Bourgeault. Christine takes her commissions very seriously and does a lot of background research as she initiates her drawings.

Blessed Mother Icon by Christine Hales
Blessed Mother Icon by Christine Hales

Chaplaincy for 2019

Michael has been tying up some of the jobs involved with the house move and is excited to be starting to volunteer as a Chaplain at a local hospital.

Michael writes: Thinking of a new season, I am reminded of Jesus visiting Nazareth, where he had grown up and reading in the synagogue from Isaiah a prophecy which all the Jews were familiar with:

Isaiah 61:1

[ The Year of the Lord’s Favor ] The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.”

Then boldly declaring to the congregation that they were witnessing the fulfillment of that prophecy. He was declaring a new season, declaring the presence of the Holy Spirit within him and what that would mean in the future. They could expect things to be different, especially for the poor, brokenhearted, sick and downtrodden. It was a declaration of faith, at the start of his ministry as a human being, a new season for Him and for all of us.

As a Christian I ask myself, “do I carry that message in my daily life to people I meet, whether through words or actions”? I know that Jesus came to change our lives and to release us from captivity- in whatever form that might be for us. One way I try to do that is by praying for people wherever I discern a need ,and that brings me to two questions- or more correctly, two prayers.

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Lord, help me know how to pray for people I meet in my daily life.

This is a question that often comes up for me. “How do I pray for the person that is right in front of me, right now?” Often the question which arises before that is, “Lord, how do I ask this person if I can pray for them?”

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How do we bring God into a chance meeting with someone in a natural way, which does not intimidate or push people away?  How comfortable we are in our relationship with Christ will be transmitted in every nuance we have in our voice, words, body language and eyes. The words we choose to suggest prayer to a stranger will be given to us by the Holy Spirit if we recognize it is God’s heart that we request to pray at that time.     IMG_E3221

Every Day Another Opportunity to Pray

Yesterday, while in an auto shop getting a price quote for car work, I got to pray for a mechanic and his wife.  After looking at my car and giving me various estimates, we chatted a little and I noticed a bible amongst the large jumble on top of his desk. Soon he was sharing how his wife had suffered two years of multiple surgeries to fight cancer. As soon as he started sharing that, I knew this was a God appointment for me to pray with him.

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I find that picking the right time in a conversation to openly declare, ‘I am a Christian and love to pray for people and have seen God heal many people. Would you mind if I pray for you right now?’

That is what I want to get over but those are not necessarily the words to use. Each person gives out leads about themselves and how open they might be to receiving prayer and it is up to us to read those leads correctly and kindly, lovingly, bring God into the picture.

 

This is when we just stand in God’s love ourselves and share it. Quoting many bible versus is not appropriate at this point, showing who God is, as a loving living caring person within you, is. Simple words, lovingly delivered right to the point of the situation, in Jesus Christ name. We are standing in for Jesus. We are representing Jesus directly and inviting Him and the Holy Spirit into this moment and the situation we are praying for.

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This is not revelatory information, it is nothing new but if for the New Year we stepped out and simply prayed for more people, Jesus would be represented on the streets, super markets, laundries, airports, subways, anywhere we see a need. What happens after that is up to Jesus. Sometimes there is a healing right in front of our eyes, sometimes it is as though we have just been separated from the busy world around us, sometimes we get rejected outright, often we have no idea what God is doing and when. But that is OK, our part is to step up and love the person in front of us and invite Jesus in.

New Year’s Resolution

That is my New Years resolution to move through any fear I might have and pray for more people. Can you imagine what that would be like if all Christians actually stepped out and prayed for people?

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We hope and pray that 2019 is a great new year, with fulfilled hopes and dreams, and that it users in a great and God filled new season for us all.  Let us know how we can pray for you, it is our pleasure to add your prayer requests to our prayer time each day.

Love, Michael and Christine

Mick’s Photography Website      Christine’s Icons

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kingdom Arts Ministry Blog: November 2018

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Thankfulness Becomes Gratitude.

I will always remember sitting with Christine in church, this Thanksgiving morning, and realizing how profoundly thankful I was to be there. I had a deep resonating gratitude. My thankfulness developed into a well of gratitude which I still draw from weeks later.

New York snow plough
New York snow plough

Part of it came from a safe arrival at 3:30 am that same morning after a 1300 mile cold drive from New York, part of it came from a wonderful sermon on how we are called to be thankful as Christians at all times, but most of it came from being with Christine and worshipping together.

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Icons

Christine has been very busy with icon commissions and has recently completed one on the ‘Harrowing of Hell’ where Jesus is pulling out of death and hell Adam and Eve and the saints who passed before His i resurrection. She has also been working on a large ‘Blessed Mother’  icon for St Patrick’s church near Palm Beach.

Harrowing of Hell Icon by Christine Simoneau Hales
Harrowing of Hell Icon by Christine Simoneau Hales

I have been so grateful to have time to thoroughly read her book, Eyes of Fire, and receive the richness of her experience, strength and hope from it. Her book is a really valuable tool to understand what Icons are, how they relate to contemporary art and their place in our spiritual lives. For those people who are Christians but cannot relate to Icons this is a ‘must read’ to get an understanding of this whole rich spiritual life.

Eyes of Fire Icon Book
Eyes of Fire Icon Book

Thankfulness

There is a song line which says, ‘we do not know what we have till it is gone.’  Sadly, there is a lot of truth in it. Being thankful for what we have, whether relationships, possessions, security or freedom to worship the God of our own choice, is a directive Christ gives us so we can live life in all its fullness. When there is no thanks in our lives ‘for all things’, whether good or not so good, there is a lack and where there is a lack the demonic will try to fill it with something else, perhaps alcohol, food, medications, sex, shopping, watching TV: the list goes on. Each one of these ‘fillers’, when used in a balanced and righteous way are part of a full life, but when they are used to fill a lack or emptiness they can become addictive and destructive, a part of the demonic’s arsenal.

 

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From Thankfulness Turns To Action

Volunteering in a homeless day shelter this week, I got to pray on the street for a lady who was donating some clothes to the shelter and also looking for her brother, whom she had not seen for a year, but she knew he had used the shelter in the past. We prayed in the street that she could be reunited with her brother. She was so grateful for the prayer that she decided to immediately start to volunteer at the shelter. Thankfulness had moved to gratitude and was causing her to take positive Godly action, to donate her time to help those in need.

Parrots at the Sarasota Jungle Garden
Parrots at the Sarasota Jungle Garden

When praying for the sick, most of my prayers are just thanking God. Repeating over and over again, ‘Thank you Jesus, thank you Jesus, thank you Jesus for your presence.’  When we are in a place of gratitude with the Holy Spirit the demonic is pushed out and healing can take place. That is why even when something horrible has happened, if we can stay in a place of gratitude and in contact with God, the demonic is not able to use that horrible event to cause further destruction by attaching unforgiveness, or resentment, anger, envy, hatred, revenge; anything to keep the horror of the event alive and burning in our lives. Anything that keeps us from having peace.

But that is not God’s will, as we read in Colossians 3:

15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Please keep us in prayers as we move into this new season in our lives, that we may always be thankful for what God is doing in our lives.

Also please let us know how we can pray for you.

Love you all,

Mick’s Website    Christine’s Icons 

Click here to Purchase Christine’s Icon Book

Love, not Fear and Hate

Dear Friends and Family:

Icon Class at Immaculate Conception Seminary
Icon Class at Immaculate Conception Seminary

Christine had a wonderful Icon writing retreat at the former Roman Catholic Seminary of the Immaculate Conception, in Lloyd Harbor, NY.

It was a privilege to be able to spend time in a seminary building which had so many priests pass through its doors for many years. Although no longer a seminary, as such, a lot of retreats and teaching classes continue in the extraordinary building and grounds.

Icon Painting Class with Christine Hales
Icon Painting Class with Christine Hales

Christine was teaching Iconography to a wonderful group of students keen to learn how to write an icon and practice this spiritual discipline over the Columbus Day weekend. The building has an extraordinary collection of religious paintings, stonework, ironwork and all manor of crafts and a deep presence of prayer.

Eyes of Fire Getting Great Reviews!

Christine’s book has been getting wonderful reviews and is #1 new release in spiritual books on Amazon!! If you have not had a chance to order a copy yet please go for it.

Eyes of Fire Icon Book
Eyes of Fire Icon Book

It is wonderful to see how God has worked through her struggle as an artist to come up with a vibrant position to talk to artists as wells Christians. This is a well resourced book for this who are interested in writing Icons, but it is also a deep revelation of her walk and faith in using the gifts God has given her.

Here are two links for you to get a copy.  Book of the Month Club    and   direct link to  Amazon.   Get your copy today!!

 

Our Move is Coming Along!!

We achieved a major move from the Hudson Valley, NY, to Bradenton, FL. It is by no means completed yet but the major part has been done.

Paintings and photographs preparing to move
Paintings and photographs preparing to move

Moving is thought to be one of the five most stressful situations normal life offers. Certainly driving a heavy loaded truck 1400 miles is stressful, let alone all the packing and now unpacking, all the decisions about what should be kept and what should be given away or discarded.

We were Blessed though, we knew where we were going and that people at our destination were glad we were coming.

 

Our thoughts and prayers though go out to the much maligned people who have lost a safe place to live in their homes in Honduras and as best they can are travelling on foot to find a safer life. This is the ‘Caravan’, desperate people fleeing because they no longer have safe homes. They have become a political football for the Trump administration to build fears about immigrants, even though they are still one thousand miles away from the US border travelling by foot, 5200 troops are being sent to ‘guard’ the borders. President Trump has described the coming midterm elections as the ‘Election of the Caravan’. It is alarmist rhetoric which is fueling hatred in our country leading to political and anti semetic violence.

As a Christian I have to say this is not of God. As a Christian I have to say this nation is heading in a hedonistic direction which is contrary to its values of the past.

Attending to homeless in NYC
Attending to homeless in NYC

As a Christian I refer to scripture,

Isaiah 58:6-8 English Standard Version (ESV)

“Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed[a] go free,
and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you;
the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.

Children learning Franklin D Roosevelt's Four Freedoms
Children learning Franklin D Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms

It is worth going back to Franklin D Roosevelt’s speech known as the Four Freedoms made in January 1941, where he talks of the freedom of speech and expression,  that every person can worship God in his own way, freedom from want and freedom from fear. These four freedoms he declared are for everywhere in the world and attainable in our own time and generation. America seems to have turned in on itself and lost the vision of a caring leader of freedom in the world.

This is a time where prayer for this nation, with all of it’s power and wealth, for all of its responsibilities to the world as a whole, would be guided by the Holy Spirit and a heart of love not hatred and fear. Let us all come together and seek before God His wisdom on the direction of this nation in prayer.

Love and Prayers,

Michael and Christine