Tag Archives: church

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 As though we were amusingly out of date and a hangover from another era.IMG_9295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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Hope Rocks

Hi Friends and family:

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Perhaps the most profound way in which our own awareness of the vulnerability of life dawns upon us is when suddenly we are surprised with the news that a friend or family member has just passed on.

Even worse than that, is to find out they took their own lives.

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This is however happening more and more often with the opioid epidemic which is ravishing our communities. It is happening within people of all ages, all classes and in all locations. Drug overdoses has become the leading cause of death in America for those under 50, more than are killed by guns and car accidents together.

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Joseph DeFino, a teacher in Saugerties, NY, had lost so many of his students to suicide he felt compelled to try to bring the community together and place a paradigm of HOPE before people and not Despair. He organized a festival, ‘Hope Rocks’  bringing together people and agencies involved with recovery in a festival like situation.   There were four stages with rock music that was being played by different bands. There is no doubt in my mind that this was a breakthrough initiative. A humble beginnings to what could become a portal for awareness for people who suffer from addiction that there is hope. Also for those who are not addicted but have lost family members to this disease for them to receive healing as well.IMG_9081

I was able to attend the festival for two days and met and prayed with many parents who had lost their children through suicide. Even years after the loss the wounds are still deep. Many of the parents now work actively in some of the recovery or suicide prevention organizations. As I talked with I found many needed prayer to be able to forgive themselves. This can be the deepest regret that people were unaware of the nature or presence of addiction in friends or family.IMG_9008

Addiction is a disease and needs to be recognized as a disease by society, not hidden under the carpet as a moral weakness. People do recover from addiction if they are able to get help. There is a huge place for Christians to pick up the role for healing and helping, not only those who are addicted but their family members as well.

Just having an AA meeting in the basement of a church does not go far enough for the church bodies’ responsibility in this area. As a national crisis we all need to be aware of who and how we can be helping. The Holy Spirit is well able to direct healing prayer, especially for forgiveness. Forgiveness is often the key. As God’s representatives we can open the door for forgiveness to happen, and then very often physical healing can follow.

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Forgiveness, as we know is foundational in the prayer Jesus gave us to pray, ‘ Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us’. It is also foundational in the twelve step programs of recovery, step eight in AA says, ‘”Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.” That list can often include ourselves and is often the last person we approach after a fall. Certainly it is Jesus will to forgive when we have an honest desire to change. Jesus came that we could live life and live it more abundantly, more than we can imagine ourselves. That paradigm is so opposite from despair. Despair is from the devil, life and hope is from God. For those who are caught up in despair we need to show them the life and love of God in a humble and beautiful way and ask, ‘Can I pray for you?’

That’s all for this month.  Christine and I send our love and prayers to you all.  Be sure to read her Icon blog for her news this month.       IMG_9049

 

Love and prayers,

Michael and Christine

Mick’s photography website    Christine’s Icon Website

 

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.
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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

Lent

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In 2015, Pope Francis said the following in his lenten address:

“Indifference to our neighbor and to God also represents a real temptation for us Christians. Each year during Lent we need to hear once more the voice of the prophets who cry out and trouble our conscience. God is not indifferent to our world; he so loves it that he gave his Son for our salvation.”

During Lent we like to either give up a bad habit, spend extra time in Church, or with the poor and needy – some personal sacrifice that reminds us of the gift we all have received of salvation through the suffering of Christ.

Earlier in the month we were in a city in Florida which has a considerable amount of homeless and in some areas people were laid out asleep on the streets in daylight, not half a mile from hundreds of luxury yachts. When I remember that these people are just as precious, unique and special to Jesus as any other, it comes again as a wake up call.photo 6 There are so many people in this country who depend on voluntary help from churches and organizations like the Salvation Army. They receive shelter, food and fellowship, from people who give of their time, energy and resources. These helping hands are going to be even more needed in the years to come as the government walks a path away from those in need, towards those who exploit for commerce.

 

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This month Christine has led two icon writing retreats, one at The Church of the Redeemer, Sarasota, FL and the second at Holy Cross Monastery, West Park, NY.

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What extraordinary experiences these retreats have been with people spending time in deep prayer and learning, as they are skillfully led by Christine to write an Icon, for many of the participants this was their first one.photo 1

Writing an icon, it is called writing because the painted image represents the written word, is a truly appropriate spiritual discipline to undertake during lent. All those taking part went through their own inner journey as the Lord brought to mind aspects of their lives for them to pray through.

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The primary icon which Christine was using for their initial work, was the face of Christ. It is wonderful to see the different variations created by the different hands and personalities of the group derived from the same original. It is a reflection of how we are all individuals before God. Each one of us is unique, to and for the Lord. Each one of us has a precious reason for being, we are a special facet of His church.

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This month CIVA, Christians in the Visual Arts   Serious Art, Serious Faith, published a piece written by Christine on Icons and the American Iconography.  It’s worth taking a look at!

The next Icon Retreat Christine will be leading is at MorningStar Retreat Center in Miami Florida.  This will be a Tritium Reteat for Holy week,  with Stations of the Cross on Good Friday in the beautiful outdoor garden at Morningstar. Register now.

This Lent, let’s keep our country, the poor, and the disenfranchised in our prayers.

Father, show us the way to bless those who need your blessings,  Help us to help others.

“Today if only you will hear His voice do not harden your hearts.”  Psalm 95:8

We send you love, joy, and anticipation of Easter!

Christine and Michael

Mick’s Photography website   Christine’s Paintings   Christine’s Icons

Ash Wednesday

As I drink my tea in the morning, my favorite cup reads,
‘Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.’ Hebrews 11:1. But when I go back to my ESV bible the same verse reads, ‘Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.’img_6592

Those slight variations in translation can be an opportunity to explore further the nuances of the Holy Scripture or the beginning of misunderstanding and doubt. The whole chapter of Hebrews 11 digs deeper into those faith filled people of the past. But what of today? Who are the people really walking in faith with Jesus?
Our church, the whole body of Christ, seems to be divided as to what truly walking in faith means. Is that because there are so many ways to translate the bible, or so many ways to interpret what it says, or so many ways to make it fit with our own life styles and values; or even political world views? img_6480

Those are all good questions. However the question of real significance is, are Christians truly getting the benefits of walking in faith, believing they are new creations in Christ and receiving fully the power God assigned for that walk? Are we Christians making things happen, which in our own strength could not be possible, because we have faith that the Holy Spirit will back us up? Are we so grounded in our relationship with Jesus that we are sure we are walking in His will not our own? When we are in that intimate relationship, God will do extraordinary things through us, more than we can possibly imagine.img_6549

God calls us to take the first step and believe that He will be there with us when we take the second step and the third. It is our faith that He will be there for us that enables us to move forward. Having God’s path for us, completely set forth from the start to the finish with all the details in place, has never happened in my own experience, as Hebrews 11:1 says, ‘the conviction of things not seen’. I believe He calls us to push forward in ways far beyond what our rational minds can see, but by being guided by the Holy Spirit and having faith, Jesus is with us. We will fulfill His call on our lives. It is in the journey that we share daily with Christ that we receive His promise of life and life more abundantly.img_6582

Christine has been working on an icon of the Archangel Michael which depicts the scene of Revelations 12:7, where there was war in heaven, Michael and his angels fought against the dragon and his angels and the dragon lost the battle. It is an extraordinary icon and dynamically shows the energy of the fight. The dragon is seen with seven heads and each spitting furiously. It is always a good thing to hold fast in our minds that the dragon and his angels lost. That is a fact we can have faith in as we keep our focus on Jesus and what He is doing through our lives as we walk as new creations in Christ.***  cshportrait

 

Christine is preparing for three Icon Writing Retreats this Lent.  The last one will be at Morningstar Renewal Center in Miami Florida, and will finish with the Stations of the Cross, using her Icons for prayer and meditation.

Another one will be at Holy Cross Monastery, in West Park, NY, March 21, 24.  There is still time to register! Contact Br. Joseph, guesthouse@hcmnet.org

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As we often pray for you, each one, we continue to send our prayers and thoughts for your good health, wisdom, and peace.  I’d like to pray a blessing over you now, that comes from Roy Godwin’s book “The Way of Blessing“:

“I bless you in the name of Jesus, that God may reveal to you everything you need to know to enable you to be fully who you were made to be, and that you receive everything you need, that the fulness of life might be released to you.”

Amen!

Love and prayers,

Michael and Christine

Mick’s Photography Website    Christine’s Painting Website  American Association of Iconographers

 

 

Volunteering

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Some of the fun when volunteering for different organizations is meeting other volunteers and getting to know them. This month Michael has been blessed with the chance of making a short video for an organization called ‘Books for Kids’. This came about when a man spoke from the heart about a charity he had formed for kids who grow up in homes where there are no books available. The consequences are that during the summer months those children fall behind in their literacy skills, compared to children who do have books and parent who read to them. Consequently each year they progressively get left further and further behind in their reading ability. ‘Books for Kids’ is a program which supplies volunteers to go into schools and read books to the kids and then give each child a book to take home, each school month. I volunteered to make a video of what the program does, to help with its promotion to possible volunteers and businesses which could support the program.

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It is wonderful to see how much it means to the kids to get these books and how much it means to the volunteers to have the chance to help. The blessing works both ways. It happens because the leader, Ted, has such a heart to help the kids that it becomes infectious. Michael got the chance to pray with Ted and revealed to him how this was a calling from God and how he was stirring up others to follow through his complete dedication to the work._mg_8047

 

img_5993Twelve years ago John had a stroke which left his right hand curled up and without function. He has difficulty walking and getting up to his first floor apartment. Pretty much every morning he makes his way to his car to drive it into a sunny spot in the car park and just sits there for two or three hours. He likes the warmth of the car. He also loves to have people stop by and chat through the car window- so of course I go and pray with him. It can take him a little while to get the words out but he always tells me how much God loves him and will be coming soon.img_5491

This week I was also blessed to pray for people’s healing in Jiffy Lube, in our launderette and in a food pantry. There is joy in the every day chance meeting when one steps out and offers prayer. Doors get opened, people’s countenance changes as the Holy Spirit moves through them bringing things back to life, in their minds and in their bodies. It is so wonderful to be a part of God working even in the smallest way.

img_5898These are the opportunities which we ‘gently approach’ to bring a living Jesus to people around us. So many people need healing in their bodies but few look to prayer for healing. Sadly many Christians do not pray for healing, or pray without real belief that something will change with their prayer, it is done more as a rote or obligation.

Praying for healing can be one of the most exciting things a Christian can do, Jesus only did what God the Father asked him to do and he healed throughout his active ministry time.

Icon Talk
Christine’s Icon talk at Church of the Redeemer in Sarasota this month

 

Sometimes when praying, we know what Jesus is doing, but often we do not. But I am sure he loves it when we do pray for healing. Then occasionally there is an e mail in your IN box that lets you know.

 

“We wanted to thank you for praying for all of us at the Alive Church. We thought you might have been an angel showing up! I had recently been saying that a lot of us need healing for our backs. I know the Lord answers prayers ♡ We were and are grateful for your humble and obedient spirit. My back hasn’t given me trouble and I am happy for that manifestation.” Mellody C.

So, thank YOU for praying for us, and we continue to pray for you as well!

Love and prayers

Michael and Christine

Mick’s website    Christine’s website    Christine’s Icon website   Icon Blog

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

 

Advent Waiting

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One of my friends has made his Christmas puddings and is now waiting… and we are all in the season of lighting candles and waiting.  It is a Holy time, and we look forward to celebrating Christmas in a special way each year.

Looking back over 2014, we realize the direction that God is giving us and want to share that with you, our trusted partners:

Living in the Capital region which has the lowest churched population in America, we are  recognizing the need for changing our strategy about how to bring the Kingdom to our region.

archgabrielWe realized that operating as a ministry we are competing with other churches and ministries for the same small group of people. Meanwhile, the unchurched remain disinterested or sporadically participating in ministry activities.  Power evangelism needs to be adapted to reach a hardened and skeptical population.

Over the past year, Kingdom Arts Ministry has been involved in building Pastoral relationships through Michael’s involvement with the Capital District Ministers Association. He has also been the guest speaker at several area local churches, regularly brought meals to the elderly through the meals on wheels program, and been a strong supporter of the local “Community Spirit Day” that attracted over 250 low income local families to hear the Gospel message preached through Teen Challenge and local churches. The message was mingled with free food and entertainment for the children and held in our Town Park.

photo copy 10Christine has been reaching out to artists  in the capital region and has a strong desire to create more community events for artists. Last Spring, she partnered with the Columbia County Arts Council and the Hudson Chamber of Commerce to produce an exhibition and performance of local artists meeting the business community. She has also started an Artist Way group –a spiritual program of development for artists, in our home. She is working on a large commission of eight Icons of modern saints for Saint Vincents Church in Albany, as well as leading Icon retreats in Saratoga and an ongoing Icon writing class and fellowship at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Albany.photo copy 9

Waiting for 2015, we realize that we are laying foundations of relationships that we can partner with over the next year to find ways to collaborate and bring a culture of God and honor to our region. We are so grateful to all of you who partner with us financially and in prayer. Without your help we really would not be able to do what we do. Our world is certainly in a difficult time and challenging in so many ways. We draw strength and joy from your prayers and support. You are instruments of God’s help and a source of His provision for us. Thank you! LadySign

Next month we will outline our direction as a ministry for 2015. We have already been laying the groundwork and it promises to be both exciting and challenging!

Thank you and we love you, Please pray for us that we stay close to God’s plan and hear His voice clearly. You are in our prayers daily too.

Love, Christine and Michael

Giving Thanks in November

Hello Friends and family:  photo 2

The fall has been so beautiful – I can’t resist sending you some photos of what it’s been looking like around here.  A great place to live if you’re a painter or photographer :).

We attended the ANGA Retreat this fall and met some great people- Betsy and Sam Stalcup have a ministry called Godhealstoday and we are looking into partnering with them for teaching and prayer ministry events in the new year.

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We are focusing on local prayer partnering opportunities and are happy with the relationships God is bringing to us.  Last night we had a prayer meeting in our home and prayed for Philmont, Claverack and all the families within our area.  We plan to meet regularly to pray and share about the ways God is answering our prayers.

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THe Albany Icon class I teach is growing into a prayerful community of artists that are growing in their understanding and technical skill in Icon writing. _MG_6745__ The Healing Icon Retreats in Saratoga have been really wonderful. Action packed for two days, but such a joy to see people concentrating in prayer and fellowship for two days.

 

 

At Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Albany, we will be giving workshops for their Holy Spirit Weekend, November 21 & 22 ,.My workshop will be “The Joy of Prophetic Painting”.  This will be a hands-on workshop and all are welcome. Michael will be teaching on deliverance.

Often we have no feed back for how our prayers have helped others. At the ANGA retreat sitting at our small group table was someone we did not know and he surprised us by saying Michael had prayed for him in Brooklyn nearly nine months before and he had received healing from a very painful nerve condition. Sometimes we get to hear what God did when we reached out to others but often that is not the case._MG_6624__ Michael loves to pray for healing for people and yesterday he had a visit to NYC and got to pray for three different people for healing, one in an elevator and two on the streets. The reactions initially are surprise that someone would offer to pray, then always real gratitude and then the comments like ‘I feel peace, or warmth or soothing just happened’. The last person he prayed for last night said ” Wow, thank you so much for your prayer. I really felt something and I’m Jewish!’ What Joy God is!

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is Good! His faithful love endures forever.” Psalm 136:1

We give thanks to the Lord for you all and keep you in our prayers.
Blessings and love,

Michael and Christine

 

September News!

Dear Friends and Family:

Such a beautiful summer and so much to be thankful for.  We hope that you are all looking forward to fall and the new season.  Michael preached yesterday at West Hoosick Baptist Church and we were blessed to minister to the people there.  Here are two links to sermon excerpts:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lL65r75seBE&feature=em-upload_owner

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKJXcImspl0&feature=em-upload_owner

I had some trouble with the sound, sorry.  I need to improve my video skills :).

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Kingdom Arts Ministry’s School, “Fired Up” has extended its Fall deadline to Wed, September 10.  Email Michael Hales for an application form: mhales@halesart.com

Fired Up is a high energy, hands on training school that supports people and local churches by training adults, aged 18 and older who are passionate about pursuing their God given destiny. Students will attend three away conferences to facilitate their ability to step out, have hands on training,  take risks and experience ministries that promote a culture of love, faith and honor.

Many Christians ask, ‘Is there More?’  Well we know there is always more when you pursue Jesus with a hunger. He responds with more revelation of who He is and where He wants to go with you. The Fired Up course is an experience of pursuing Jesus and the gift that He has given us, The Holy Spirit. Many Christians are unable to say what the Holy Spirit is let alone give you a personal account of being touched by it. This course is designed to give people an awakening into the nature of the Holy Spirit. If you are hungry for that in your life then this is for you no matter what denomination or church you go to. You will have a life changing experience and start on the road to your God given destiny.

If you have questions call Michael Hales on 518 672 0014 or send an e mail.photo copy 8

For information on Christine’s Healing Icon Retreat in Saratoga Springs, October 25 &26,   email Catherine Lanci at: nurselanci@hotmail.com

If you’d like to donate to our scholarship fund for students who want to take the school but can’t afford it, send checks to: Kingdom Arts Ministry, PO Box 927, Philmont, NY  12565

Kingdom Arts Ministry is a registered 501-c3 non profit.

 

Blessings and love,

Michael and Christine Hales

http://www.newchristianicons.com

http://www.mickhales.com