Tag Archives: Mick Hales

Self Examination

Florida in January!

January 2021 has been a momentous month. The political fervor in the United States had been whipped up to a crescendo, which had its explosion in the storming of the Capital buildings, while Joe Biden’s presidency was being confirmed in congress.

After the event I remember seeing a photo of a man standing, with his head bowed, holding a life sized cross on the mall, with rioting confusion in motion all around him. For me this was one more sad realization of how misdirected parts of the church body had become, when it whole heartedly endorsed a ‘spirit of politics’, rather than work through the Holy Spirit and the example of Jesus Christ. Without a doubt this has been a very painful time for the body of Christ; from those believing they were striving through a prophetic word with all the zeal they could muster, to those who perceived them turning a blind eye to the complete lack of the fruits of the Holy Spirit and consistent lies.

Photo Mick Hales
Photo Mick Hales

However, God can and will turn this situation into a time of self examination, because the whole body of Christ has suffered through these polarities. Jesus always called us to stand together knowing how important that was, he prayed at length in John 17 for our unity.

 ‘Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.’

Jesus prayed that the church could follow in his ways, his teaching and his name. If we are able to move closer together as one church, it will be a healing opportunity. A healing opportunity I recognize I need.

Our News

Christine Hales
Christine Hales

Christine has been working on two icon commissions, one is the last supper and the other depicts St. Teresa of Avila with St John of the Cross. She has also completed another online icon teaching class which was very well attended. Also an application has gone to the Prince’s School in London to pursue doctoral study of contemporary iconography and its place in Western Christianity.

The Last Supper Icon in progress
Photo Mick Hales
Photo Mick Hales

Michael’s work as Chaplain to an elderly community is running another Alpha program in person. He has found people in their 80s, and 90s respond really well to the program and are able to share personal spiritual experiences of their childhood which had formed life long rejection of Christianity. Alpha is available on line [alphausa.org] and is being held all over the world, especially during the present lockdown; for elderly people the challenges they face with the internet requires they use in person programs. Unfortunately sharing a meal, usually enjoying a meal together is a central part of an Alpha evening, we are unable to do that with restrictions.

Photo Mick Hales
Photo Mick Hales

Another initiative has been to set up an ASK [ask, seek, knock] e mail list; where people can share and put out prayer requests. Many of the seniors can handle using e mail rather than social media and this has been getting a lot of use. Having people connect after such a time of forced separations and loneliness is a needed healing for us all.

Photo Mick Hales
Photo Mick Hales

Our prayer in this time is for the church to work together, using all the variety of gifts and view points we have, to build it up; as Paul writes 1 Corinthians 14:26

“What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.”

Let us know how we can pray for you and thank you for your prayers.

Sending Love and prayers,

Michael and Christine

Michael’s Photography Christine’s Icons

Happy New Year!!

Purple flower by Mick Hales
Purple flower by Mick Hales

Christine did a series of four illustrated talks for the Church of the Redeemer on ‘Art in the Church’ up to 1600s. They were mostly viewed on line and You Tube has been carrying them as well. It is a fascinating subject, how Art was affected by the split between the Eastern and Western Churches. The Eastern remained more God centered and mystical utilizing icons where as the West became more humanistic and pointed towards man and his achievements. Christine is very interested in where art’s function is in contemporary Christianity; especially how that relates to the fundamentals of iconography in the American Christian culture today. She has been exploring a post graduate study in this subject, possibly in London.

Christine Hales
Christine Hales

Here are the you tube links for the talks- they are great!!

First Talk: https://youtu.be/Vr3QAYxUdS4 Second Talk: https://youtu.be/Omt6QrIZj-k

Third Talk: https://youtu.be/vm08il91LBo Fourth Talk: https://youtu.be/qcZo2blc0Rg

Mick Hales, Hibiscus
Mick Hales, Hibiscus

Michael’s Ministry

Michael, continues with his chaplaincy work in the local hospital when specific terminal calls come in. The Covid transmission is expanding again and inevitably the deaths are increasing too. Spending even a small amount of time around the nurses and patients on the front line of this pandemic, there is no doubt that to downplay the seriousness of Covid 19 is an arrogant deception, as some news stations have purposely and tragically successfully done. 

Mick Hales shells
Mick Hales shells

Thank God, that within nature we can also be reminded of the creative hand of God. In deed that is so significant at this extremely pressured time to turn our eyes onto what is good, as Philippians 4:8 always reminds us. 

Christine Hales, Sarasota
Christine Hales, Sarasota

‘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.’

Also to seek the truth, not be led by deception away from focusing on Christ but swimming in the spirit of politics, which has surrounded the recent election, as 2 Corinthians 11:3 warns.

‘But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.’

Mick Hales, Christmas
Mick Hales, Christmas

So my prayer is that we keep eyes on God and the Blessings he continues to pour into our lives through this New Year, filled with new opportunities for the church.

Sending you all our love and prayers for a blessed, healthy and Happy New Year!

Michael and Christine Hales

Mick’s Photography Website Christine’s Icon Website

Alpha at Freedom Village

Dear Friends and Family:

Alpha at Freedom Village

Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography

One of the wonderful developments this month for me has been re connecting with the Alpha program. Christine and I ran the program ten times at local churches in New York in the mid 90s and it was very foundational to our introduction to the Holy Spirit.

I am now running an in person Alpha program at Freedom Village, which is bringing a lot of fresh thinking about Christianity to the group who are in their 80s and 90s. My two co-leaders are both in their mid nineties and doing a great work.

The elderly community, Freedom Village where I am Chaplain, is getting opened up again with tight restrictions and precautions; I will be running a weekly grief support meeting, Bible study and in person Sunday Vespers, as well as the Alpha course. So we are trying to enable some normalcy but with tight precautions, as the community is so vulnerable to Covid.

Christine’s Icons

Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography

Christine has led another online teaching class, again with wonderful results, and people are signing up for future classes she is offering in  November, 2020   and  January 2021 . She is breaking new ground with the online classes, but also, her spiritual perspective as she teaches, is also being warmly received.

This last class the icon of   Archangel Raphael,  was written and the next class will be on the Vladimir Madonna in November, 2020 . Click here for more information about her classes.

Remembering Timothy

Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography

For me, one of the hardest issues was the passing of my brother Timothy, in England, and being unable to attend any of his last months of deteriorating health and funeral. We were able though to have some good phone conversations and prayer times. Grief of lost ones is ongoing and little sparks of memories bubble up at different times pushing themselves without excuse into our daily lives. I remember Tim’s ability to double up in laughter, with great gasps for air, as the pathos of humanity, was celebrated and dissected with humor. We all miss him. I created a short video relating to some of our conversations, ‘God wants you too’.  Click here to view.

 

Continue to Pray For Our Country

Mick Hales Photography
Mick Hales Photography

The many difficulties America faces, can really consume all of our thoughts, if we allow that to happen. I love what Paul says in Philippians 4:8, and especially the translation which uses the word lovely, it seems like such a complete word for how to kindle our thoughts in this season.

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.

Please let Christine and me know how we can pray for you, and please also hold us up in prayers.

Sending lots of love,

Michael and Christine Hales

Michael’s Photography    Christine’s Icons

 

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

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

Expectations

Dear Friends and Family:

September has been very busy.

Florida sky by Mick Hales
Florida sky by Mick Hales

 

Christine taught an icon class at St Patrick’s church in West Palm Beach. She has done two large Icons for them in the past and this was the first class she has taught there. The students worked on the Archangel Michael icon and in the short time they had turned out really good icons. Christine puts a lot of work into the preparation which enables the students to cover a lot of ground quickly. Of course, the main work involved in writing icons is the actual prayers which go on for the whole time.

Icon Class Saint Patrick's Church
Icon Class Saint Patrick’s Church

Christine Hales Icon Class
Christine Hales Icon Class

 

Christine has been commissioned to paint a large scene of ‘Our Lady of Knock’, which this time will be acrylic and not egg tempera. The scene depicts, Mary with Joseph and John. Knock is an Irish village where an apparition stayed for over two hours and was seen by a congregation of people ranging in age from 5 to 75. During that period the weather deteriorated and it rained heavily but it did not affect the apparition. The painting will be for a school library.

Michael had a fast visit for some photography to Montauk, NY. Our other large achievement was that we moved house in two separate moves, one to empty a storage unit and another to bring the major furniture over to our new home. We still have a lot of unpacking to do but are very relieved the heavy lifting is done.

New House
New House

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michael’s Chaplaincy work has taken him to three different charities this month which are involved with helping the homeless in Manatee and Sarasota Counties. One in particular called Harvest Home in Sarasota has been in operation for about 26 years and came directly out of Harvest Church. The church realized that feeding people was not enough and they began to provide buildings and beds for them. Initially the pastor second mortgaged his home to buy the first building. That initial risk has since enabled many people to get clear of homelessness and also restore some of the very run down housing stock in Sarasota.

 

What are you expecting, Michael?

Mick Hales Leaf
Mick Hales Leaf

 

That question kept coming into my mind as I sat in church last Sunday. Each time I answered it in my mind it just came right back up, as though God was saying to me, ‘No, wrong answer. What are you expecting, Michael.’

After a while I realized I was not expecting enough. All of my aspirations and thoughts had been very manageable by my own actions and accountability, flawed as I am. But God was asking me to name a vision far beyond my own ability. I was being remanded by God for not thinking large enough, not pushing into harnessing the power of God.

That afternoon I was preaching on the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, how the two men’s situations reversed totally and irrevocably after their death’s. The sermon was based on Jesus’s warning that God really does care what we do with our riches. Riches indeed enable power, if you have the money you can buy good healthcare, good legal help, great clothes, etc, etc, individually; or on a national level, you can build a strong army and really exercise that power.

Power in itself is not evil, as money in itself is not evil. It is how it is used that God cares about.

The command, ‘love thy neighbor as thyself’; really defines God’s care about how we treat others, how we utilize our power or riches for others.

 

Similarly, God really cares if we are not utilizing the power he has given us through the Holy Spirit for His purposes. I think that was what His question to me was about. It certainly has made me search for answers in prayer and to start thinking further into the future.

 

Please keep us both in prayer, especially as we discern our direction for what God is calling us to do- and let us know how we can pray for you.

Love and prayers,

Christine and Michael Hales

Mick’s photography      Christine’s Icons

 

 

 

Practice!

Dear Friends and Family:

Confession of St. Peter Icon by Christine Hales
Confession of St. Peter Icon by Christine Hales

Christine completed the large St Peter icon commission and Father Keith Owen collected it by driving down from St Peter’s Church, Lakewood, Ohio. It underwent a quick installation to coincide with the official opening of new buildings for St Peter’s Church on Pentecost.  Now she is working on some smaller icons, St Camillus and the Holy Face of Christ. It is a very different process of icon writing when the size is a lot smaller and she finds that it is always good to have a change.

Christine Hales' Icon Studio
Christine Hales’ Icon Studio

Photography

I had a quick trip to NY and Newport, RI for photography. The Newport job was in an extremely interesting property which has follies, grottoes, fountains et al. All very personal to the owner of the property. He has created all this over the last 20 years. I was fortunate to have just a short hail storm otherwise it was beautifully sunny window in a very wet spring and many beautiful photographs were had!

Hail Storm by Mick Hales
Hail Storm by Mick Hales

 

Chaplaincy

One of the people I visited this week with my Chaplaincy work told me that having a good singing voice takes continued practice, it is not something one keeps unless it is exercised. It was obvious to me once she had said so but I had never thought of that before. I used to sing in a choir at school but now find it hard to carry a tune through the length of a hymn.

There are so many aspects to ministry that one needs to keep on practicing so you do not lose them, which becomes a loss to you personally and also to those you are ministering to.

Hales Icon Studio
Hales Icon Studio

1 Timothy 4:14-16 says this perfectly.

14 Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you.15 Practice these things, immerse yourself in them,[c] so that all may see your progress. 16 Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.

 

Flowers by Mick Hales
Flowers by Mick Hales

God’s Calling

Yesterday I presided over a memorial service in a Baptist church. It was for a man I had ministered to, prayed with and watched him go through the slow stages of going from life on earth to everlasting life. It was all part of the work I now have as a Chaplain in an old people’s community. I love what I am doing; teaching, praying, visiting, preaching, studying the word and caring for people in the last chapters of their lives. Quite often they have experienced very full lives and been highly trained and educated. I make many mistakes and I so often feel inadequate, but I believe God called me to that work and yet I still often hear God calling me in my head, ‘Michael, Michael I am calling you.’

I reply ‘take me Lord, what are you calling me for?’

It comes again, ’Michael, Michael I am calling you.’

Am I still not engaged as God purposes? Is there more?

Then I realize, of course there is always more. God always has more than we can imagine. What I need to pray into though is to hold fast the gifts God has given me and to keep exercising them. There is a destination to keep my eyes on and not turn around to look at my past; like a ploughman holding steadfast his course exercising his skills till the end of the furrow. God will direct my path if I keep exercising His gifts and loving Him.

Luke 9:62. Jesus said to him, ’No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.’IMG_6696

 

So please keep us both in your prayers as God continues to work His will in our lives that we would truly know His purpose and destination for us.

 

With His Love, Michael and Christine Hales

Mick’s Photography

Christine’s Icons

 

Cleaning House For Visitors

Greetings Friends and Family:   Our House Mick Hales

Over Memorial weekend we were visited by some of our family and then with short notice some strangers came through.

As we cleaned house it struck me that we keep a pretty orderly, clean, beautiful house, but if I was looking at it for the first time, as through the eyes of a stranger, I would be struck by all the imperfections of an old well worn house. What had become acceptable to me through years of living here would not look good to a first time visitor.

Through the Old Testament the phrase ‘God will surely visit you’, is used as a reminder that God’s righteous eyes will be looking at our lives and seeing how we live and what we worship. What we have become accustomed to and what our society accepts as good and normal, is often not how the bible relays God’s perspective. Of course for us to know what the bible says, we actually have to read it and sometimes the bible seems to be the last thing we want to read. Even for committed Christians there are days when the bible seems to not have the allure it once did when we first found ourselves hungry to read it, to dive in deeper each day.

What I am writing about is how we become dulled by our ongoing day to day lives. We do not notice things we ought to change in ourselves; how we act, how we think and how we pray. The passion of our first love is diluted until we are just going through the motions when we talk to God, not yearning to be so close to Jesus.

Rhododendrons
Rhododendrons by Mick Hales

This is a dangerous place for us to be, but thank goodness, like the sun breaking through the clouds, God will visit us. He will shine his light on us and invite us back to the place of our first love with him. Our hunger for His word will come alive again. We will learn how God sees the lives we are leading and what we need to clean up.

Central Park by Mick Hales
Central Park

How can I say this will happen, because God’s love for us is so deep that he will rescue us time and time again. As the graffiti artist put it, ‘Love is a crazy thing’. We can not get our heads wrapped around the love that God has for us. It is ‘crazy’ that His son was prepared to go to the cross for us, but that is the truth and it will always be the truth.

So for me, the next time I am cleaning house, I will remember how much God loves me, that He is alive in me through the Holy Spirit and I am righteous through His redemption of me.

Christine’s Icon news is in another blog, please read for details!

We always value your prayers, and you are in ours daily.  Please keep in touch,

Blessings and prayers,

Michael and Christine

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