Tag Archives: Bible

September has been a wonderfully busy month. There was another Suicide Awareness walk in Catskill that I was able to attend, as well as a Christian walk down the main street in Hudson. I preached in Rock Road Chapel, Berne, NY and photographed for clients in Texas. I’m also starting to create three different short videos for non profit organizations.IMG_9216

 

The walk through Hudson was a combination of different church groups and has been an annual affair for some time. I take part in it to support the local ministries. It is not as large as the gay pride parade which takes place down the same route and does not have anything like the support which the local politicians or community give to that.  Going down the street with other Christians, I noticed what on lookers there were look surprised and somewhat bemused. As though we were amusingly out of date and a hangover from another era.IMG_9295

 

The bible does warn us to expect to be ridiculed for our beliefs and some slight embarrassment is certainly nothing compared to the real persecution many Christians face around the world. The point is, as Christians, how relevantly do we present ourselves to the people around us so that they are able to relate to us and not reject us out of hand. Paul writes about ‘being all things to all people’ so that he was able to come alongside them long enough for people of all different walks of life, to really understand what the ‘Kingdom of God’ meant.

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I find myself digging deeper into the bible for an understanding of the ‘Kingdom of God’, being here, now. This is what Christ taught us to talk about, that the ‘Kingdom of God was at hand’. How can I witness that in a real way, to people on the street, so they realize that what I want to share with them does come from another world but not from another era? It is as relevant today as it has ever been. Jesus is as completely relevant, completely alive and completely true today as on his day of resurrection.IMG_9289

 

It is up to each one of us to bring that reality to life for whoever is standing in front of us in a way that they can hear it, see it and receive it. For me that is often through praying for healing but there are many ways just as there are many grains of sand on the sea shore. Christine is doing it through prayer and teaching Icon writing. I also do it through creating videos. Every one has a gifting of some form and we all need to use them with the Holy Spirit flowing through us.IMG_9365

 

I look forward to the day that thousands will be drawn to walk for Christ through our local streets witnessing how totally relevant Jesus is today and His Kingdom has come.

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Sending you all love and prayers,

Michael and Christine

Mick’s Photos    Christine’s Icons   Christine’s Icon blog

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Psalm 23

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We hope this summer is going well for you all?  It is a working summer for us- God is blessing us with many opportunities to make our art and share it!  So, it’s crazy busy sometimes but also great fun because we love what we’re doing!  Couldn’t be better!!photo 3

This morning this is the last little baby bird to fly the nest on our front porch!!

Even the sparrow finds a home, and a swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your altars, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God.  Happy are those who live in your house, ever singing your praise.” Psalm 84:3-4

I’ve just taught an Icon Workshop at Holy Cross Monastery and that is always a blessing for everyone, praise God.

Also just took a week long painting intensive at Bennington College through my alma mater, Massachusetts College of Art.  During this workshop, I began exploring the boundaries between Icons and religious painting- something I hope to do a lot more of this coming year.  Here is a photo with me and my Saint Joan of Arc painting. photo 7

This from Michael:  “I have been working on a video on Psalm 23 which has been a wonderful project. It has given me a deeper understanding of how close the relationship of King David was with God. The first line states the Lord is my shepherd and right up front assigns authority to God. David declares that God has authority over him and once that has been established the Psalm then states God’s security, leadership, rest, provision, abundance, redemption, direction, love, family and on and on until finally unity with Him for eternity.

This Holy scripture describes so intimately the relationship between God and David and it is all available when David assigns authority over his life to the good shepherd. David having been a shepherd himself before becoming a king, understood the roles of both of those positions. He likens himself to a sheep under the care of a shepherd, a foreshadow of how Jesus became the sacrificial lamb for mankind under the authority of God the Father. The depth of the love voiced in Psalm 23 is a witness to the love Jesus has for us.
Psalm 23 video

Please watch the video and share it with someone who may not know the Psalm at all. When I started to film people for the video, I approached a group of teenagers on a NY subway platform and asked if they would read the psalm 23, none of them knew what a psalm was, never mind the number 23. One young man was willing to try, but a train came in at that point. That experience just increased my desire to make scripture alive to people who do not get to hear it in their daily lives.”

And, for the first time ever, Michael and I had a pop up exhibition together in my studio in Hudson.  It was so much fun, visiting with our friends and being able to talk in depth with them about our work.  Thank you God!!  FullSizeRender 9

Sending you all love and prayers,

Christine and Michael

Mick’s Photography Site

Christine’s Icon Site

The days are getting shorter and the light is getting lower. Even though it can be incredibly beautiful -the change in the leaves and the cold air at night, is the sure sign that winter is on the way. Fortunately we have Autumn to go through first with it’s brilliant colors.

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But there is a feeling of foreboding outside of the seasonal change as we face an extremely important presidential election in the US, which not only will affect America but also the whole world.

A lot depends on where you get news from as to what it reports on the same event. As has just been seen in the recent presidential debate both candidates were hailed as ‘winners’ depending whether you looked at Fox News or the Washington Post.

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The oak trees are dropping their acorns which I find so beautiful. As a child in England I would collect acorns from the oak trees and sell them to a neighboring farmer, the pigs delighted in them. Acorns for me are the symbol of the hope to come, the seed of the future. They look as strong as the trees they will produce. Oaks were referred to in the bible as geographic markers, they were so formidable and long lasting that locations were named by them; oaks of Mamre, oaks of Bashan, oaks of Moreh. The oak trees remind me of the strength and longevity of God’s word. I can hold on to it, be guided by it, receive truth from it and know that it is always there for me. I also know that it is alive through the Holy Spirit and has power and strength for us today.

We are the church.  We know that in theory, but recently we’ve had a chance to think about that in terms of our local village.  Christine and I have been concerned about the young, underserved families living here in Philmont. To some degree it is a transient population, and they are what’s always happened in this village. Children having children, poverty, and now, drugs are too easy for vulnerable young people like these.  Christine felt God suggested she look into getting a parenting class running here in Philmont.  She met with a representative from Cornell Cooperative Extension who is very willing to run a class here, and arranged a meeting with the local library.  Please keep this in prayer, that God would continue to show us the way to move forward with this.  The children in Philmont could benefit so much from this kind of support.

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Christine is also finishing up the large Icons of Saint Isaac Jogues and Saint Kateri Tekakwitha for the Albany Diocese.  They are looking stunning and spiritually light and powerful!_mg_4776

I have been getting the number three often in my prayer times recently and am asking two of the Kingdom School alumnae to join me to make three of us, to pray and declare the Kingdom of God into the streets of Albany. We are really excited to be coming together to do this and look forward to sharing what God is doing. What we believe is that through prayer and declaration the spiritual atmosphere of a place can change and God will come in. Albany needs it and this nation needs it as well.

Please let us know how we can pray for you and keep us in your prayers too.

His delight is in the law of the Lord and on his law he meditates day and night.  He is like a tree planted by the streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not whither. In all that he does he prospers.

We love you all, so much!

Love and Prayers,

Michael and Christine               www.mickhales.com   www.christinehales.com

 

Bless the Lord

Dear Friends and Family:

“O taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man that trusteth in Him. ”           Psalm 34:8

_MG_5713Summer in Columbia County, NY, is full of wild flowers and one of my road side favorites is Chicory. In the morning it creates lines of strong blues along the side of the road and through the day the color lightens to almost white- finally closing up at night.

Chicory was introduced to America from Europe and its’ roots were used as a coffee substitute.

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One of the significant aspects of my personal belief in God and my faith when I am praying for healing with someone, is that I do not doubt the power of God. I do not doubt that God is all powerful and more than able to physically heal what ever illness may be present. Also I believe from His ministry through Jesus Christ that it is His will to heal people. Having seen prayers in Jesus name physically heal many people I know that He is all powerful and the visual memory of ‘seeing it happen with my own eyes’, leads me forward to pray.

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“The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and His ears are open unto their cry.” PS. 34:15

However, one of my concerns as a Christian today, when Christianity is being marginalized, is that my beliefs do not fade, like chicory from a strong blue to white and then finally close up. That is why it is so important to be around people of strong faith, to be renewed in the presence of the Holy Spirit. Because if you are not seeing much healing when you pray one could easily question if God is still powerful.

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This month I have been blessed to reconnect to some old friends who are still very powerfully walking with the Lord. One is a monk who is recovering from a stroke which paralysed the left side of his body and the other was a gangster from Australia turned powerful evangelist for the Lord. Both men come from very different backgrounds, are now in very different life situations, but they call on the Lord like freight trains of the Holy Spirit. When you are in the presence of someone calling out to the Lord with deep fervor there can be no doubt we have a powerful God.

This nation needs to have powerful people calling out to God for it now. The present situation reminds me of what I think Germany must have been like when extreme rhetoric by Hitler, started to delude the moral compass of that nation. Small steps towards fear and greed are just as dangerous in this nation as anywhere. The devil is happy to do his work in small steps until it is too late to return.

My father was a scout troop youth leader and in that capacity visited Germany before the war and witnessed the ‘Brown Shirts’ start to congregate and stir up hatred. As a child, he told me, how he saw their development grow more radical and violent over the three summers he visited.

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“Innisfree”   photo by Mick Hales

“I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.”  Ps. 34:1

Jesus came that we could love our neighbors as ourselves. It is not an easy road but it is a high road. It is not glamorous, straight forward and often not quantifiable. But it is the road we are called to.

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New Painting by Christine Hales

So I am thankful for powerful intercessors who pray for healing, who pray for justice, who pray for wisdom, who pray for revival in the villages, towns and cities of this country.

Our evangelist friend, that I mentioned above, is still holding revival meetings in tents pitched in fields and changing lives in rural America.

Our monk friend, is starting to move his left arm and leg and I fully believe the left side of his body will be totally restored as we continue to call out for his healing.

We are aware that God is doing something more extraordinary than we can imagine and we are called to ask him in faith, with no doubting, that each one of us can do our part with the gifts that God has given us. With faith we will see the fruit of our prayers.

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God is still with us and all powerful; Thank God.

We send you our love and prayers, and look forward to hearing form you!

Michael and Christine

www.americanassociationoficonographers.com     www.mickhales.com     www.halesart.com    www.christinehales.com    www.newchristianicons.com

 

 

Joseph’s Inspiration

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Spring is valiantly trying to arrive and we send you our love and prayers, waiting for it’s signs to confirm the faith we all share that it will, indeed come! The last few months I’ve been re-reading the story in Genesis of Joseph, Jacob’s son.  Adversity and seemingly hopeless life circumstances repeatedly plagued him, however his faith never left him.  Because of their jealousy, Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery, but God’s plans for Joseph were for good, and each step of Joseph’s journey, God allowed the tables to be turned. Slavery turned into authority and power, jealousy and competition turned into love and forgiveness, separation turned into reconciliation, all through Joseph’s ability to stay connected with the power of God’s love and the faith that His will for us is for good.

Such a good story to remember at a time when our country is polarized politically, religiously and spiritually.   Our God is the God of unity and by activating our faith in adversity, we release God’s true purpose and destiny into our worlds.

“Ye may have meant it for evil, but God turned it into good.” Genesis 50:20photo

May we help each other to remember the way with, God’s help, through the difficulties and challenges and keep a positive vision for our country.

Michael has been working on some new videos – not finished yet, but beautiful as always.  He’s in Alabama right now photographing a book.  We will be exploring more in April the possibility of finding work in Florida for the winter next year. We will do a bit of traveling and visiting to churches, galleries, and possible clients. Would love your prayers to cover all that!IMG_1053

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I’ve finished the Graymoor Icon commission- two eight foot by 3 foot egg tempera Icons.  Quite a lot of physical and artistic and spiritual work, but it’s what I love to do.  Here are a few photos of the oiling process which is the final sealant and causes the layers of egg tempera to fuse in a jewel like surface.photo

Also I’m excited about my contemporary painting – it is getting closer to being able to express the Divine in a secular language.  I hope to find some new galleries for it soon.

“Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship, for they walk in the light of your presence Lord…You are their glorious strength. Our power is based on your favor.” Psalm 89:15-17

May God continue to bless you with His love and favor.  Let us know how we can pray for you and thank you for your prayers for our ministry of God’s presence through the Arts.

Love and prayers,

Michael and Christine

www.halesart.com      www.mickhales.com    www.newchristianicons.com     www.americanassociationoficonographers.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving!

Dear Friends and Family:

As November draws to a close, we have so much to be grateful for.  

Having Thanksgiving in Boston with our son, daughter-in-law and new grand daughter was delightful!  Being able to visit my mother who is recovering well from a broken hip and seeing her smiling, settling in back at our house, seeing old friends and making new friends.

But I wonder if you are experiencing the battles and seemingly unending difficulties that we are?  It’s almost becoming funny, that the moment we solve one huge problem and feel we can relax-BOOM!- another one hits.

And they all seek to distract us from the things that really ARE important.  Like prayer, worship, fellowship with God.  

This is our back garden – can you see the little deer?  There’s a family of them that live back there by the cross.  In a way, our succeeding in all the recent battles secures the safety of their home.   I think that is the way of intercessory prayer, too.  People willingly taking up the battle in prayer wins
peace for many others who are unaware of what it costs.      We are praying with a couple of icons these days -like this detail of Saint Anthony, the father of monasticism.

He was a great intercessor for his time and withstood many temptations and assaults from the demons. In 2 Chronicles 5:13 when Solomon completed the House of the Lord, and brought the Ark of the covenant in, it was the duty of of the trumpeters and singers to praise the Lord saying “For He is good, for His steadfast love endures forever.”  I think this is the task – no matter how awful the onslaught is, to sing praise that God is good, He is always good, and His steadfast love endures forever.  When the people praised God with those words, the Glory of the Lord came down and filled the temple.

We are the Temple and what could be  better than being filled with the Presence of the Lord?  This photo is from the blessing of the icons and the iconographers’ hands at Saint Nicholas’ Church where I teach, in Cohoes last month. It was a joy and honor to be there.

We are planning for  a January start for a house Church in our home in Philmont, a small discipleship group, and Michael will be doing some Bible teaching.  We plan to be praying and asking to see if God is calling us to start a Global Awakening satellite school of ministry in this area in September.

Back in Bristol, we are so encouraged by all the prayer efforts that are happening there. It seems that people are uniting across the denominations to pray together – outside and inside churches. Dec 1 there is a UK wide prayer on the streets which some of our friends in Bristol are participating in, and John Mulinde’s World Trumpet Mission is having a strong prayer presence too.  There are many more prayer events and we are really thrilled to hear about each one, and we pray together with each one.   

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We are also seeing a very powerful presence of the Lord in some of the prayer meetings at St. Michael’s Church in Colonie and experienced being held on the floor by His Presence. We have both started prayer walking on the streets and find it a way to hear God’s heartbeat for the village. There was recently a death in this community which has shaken the village as it happened so quickly and it has opened up opportunities for us to pray for people. It has also revealed a strong masonic presence in the village. The words keep coming to my mind as we discern what God is doing here from a prayer session in June, “Build an Ark, in Philmont. A place of my powerful presence.” So we ask for your prayers for this that we would build God’s ark here, it so desperately needs it.

I prayed for a lady in the drug store in Boston the other day for her broken wrist, she literally said before I started to pray for her, ‘I wish someone would come along and bless me and get rid of all these demons attacking me.’ God had it all planned for me to be there. We always need to remember God has so much more for us than we can possibly imagine and when it seems to be so dark we need to hold on to God with all our heart, for He is really all there is and His love endures forever.

We hope you have a Happy Christmas with the true blessings of the good news of the birth of Jesus Christ our savior, born so humbly yet full of so much power in each of our lives today.

PS  We REALLY want and need your prayers!!! It makes a huge difference!!  And we will continue to pray for you too!           Love,            Christine and Michael.