Exhale

10350423_616549235118564_4597499449421779246_nVernon from the High Rim Trail

Hi friends,

Phil’s run went well, thanks for your interest. Here’s a little write up from him: Thank you so much for your support on my recent High Rim Trail run. How did this start? I sat one crystal clear evening, listening to the many news reports and I felt powerless over the Syrian crisis – I was a viewing participant but that was it. Then, a compulsion to act – a long distance run/walk flooded into my mind. So I did it! At least I could identify in the smallest of ways, focus my prayers, as each step became more uncomfortable, with those brief moments of isolation, disorientation (I did get completely lost three times). My toe nails, my muscles and the patterns of well placed mosquito bites testify that it was no walk in the park.This all fades into insignificance compared to the displacement of millions of little souls. The path runs north, but in reality twists, tears and lacerates its way through the deep shadows of the forest, with the occasional pairs of green eyes glowing, moving in a cycle from stunning old cedars, to crowds of antagonistic pines, the odd flower filled high meadow, to logged desolation. Relentlessly, the forest works to reclaim this path and stop its travellers. Fallen trees obstructing the way that one has to jump over, climb or bow down on all fours, the shadows seemed to smile at our endless genuflection. Deer paths confused us, thunderstorms and 2 hours of rain stole warmth, but we were encouraged by the many chortling creeks leaping between boulders, high above the Okanagan valley. We only met one other chatty traveller, trying to complete the High Rim Trail himself, he joined us for 30 minutes but soon called for a ride, we left him by the side of a random logging road. I explained to him that last time I looked $6000 had been raised for refugees – so I was willing to crawl to the finish. John Bunyan smiled. Thank you for your support!

In other news. The lost luggage miraculously returned, that’s another story…but needless to say we saw the suitcase miracle. Not because of the importance of clothes, insurance covers that, but the importance of a loving, caring God easing torment.

and breathe…

Todays word prompt ‘exhale’.

I love the image of Gods name…’Yahweh’ being not so much a word but a breath sound. Inhale ‘yah’ and Exhale ‘weh’. Just by breathing we praise the Lord. I love that in spite of ourselves and our pain, by breathing we are speaking the name of God. His name is on our lips! We see the breath of God in everything – through scripture – throughout nature.

Screen Shot 2014-07-02 at 8.00.06 PMWe saw a crazy storm this week in Kelowna!

DSC01723…after the Storm.

“We live in God; we move in God; we exist in God… we are indeed God’s children.” Acts 17:28

Inhaling we are asking the Spirit to take control.

Exhaling we are releasing what the living God breathes into you.

Exhaling is living in a place of confession, short accounts and forgiveness.

Letting go, releasing.

and breathe….

I can’t end this little musing without a thought about Mom. We laugh a lot my Mom and I. A study from Oxford University found that laughter releases pain relieving endorphins, a critical factor and not just a feel good effect. Laughter boosts endorphins and eases pain. It’s not just a giggle here and there, if you want the full effects of laughter it needs to be a full belly laugh that involves the eyes, without eye involvement the benefits do not accrue according to the research. The reason why a full belly laugh has this effect according to researchers is that when humans laugh properly and deeply, we exhale repeatedly without drawing breath! By releasing endorphins you feel a greater sense of well being and that encourages you to be more at ease with lowered defences.

I love that laughter eases pain.

Laughter!Belly laughs.

Praying that as you breathe you find God’s name on your lips,

That you find a belly laugh here and there,

That you know God in your midst.

Love, Michelle xo

Speak to him thou for He hears, and Spirit with Spirit can meet.

Closer is He than breathing, nearer than hands and feet. Tennyson.

 

Five Minute Friday kinda

PS. Thanks Barb x

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Saturday Soup 4: Wear Love.

This week was birthday week for the Collins men.

I whisked Phil away for a night to the Sparkling Hills Resort in Vernon (of course a night feels like a week in parenting years.)

Seriously, what’s not to love about Sparkling Hills?

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Beautiful food, stunning views and cleansing spas.

Coolness of waterfalls. Warmth of fireplaces. 3.5 million Swarovski crystals in virtually every element of the property, many crystals have a permanent coating know as AB, this gives off the rainbow effect as they emanate light and color every where you turn.

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Rainbows of living colour.

Hiding in our own Aurora Borealis.

A tiny glimpse of paradise? 

Allow me to share a couple of things I learned:

*European hour doesn’t mean you have to be European to attend. ‘Oh, Hi pastor Phil’

*Just because there’s a gorgeous bath for two in the window… Doesn’t mean the windows are tinted.

You’re welcome.

I love to celebrate birthdays. Henri Nouwen wrote this.

‘Celebrating a birthday reminds us of the goodness of life, and in this spirit we really need to celebrate people’s birthdays every day, by showing gratitude, kindness, forgiveness, gentleness, and affection. These are ways of saying: ‘It’s good that you are alive; it’s good that you are walking with me on earth. Let’s be glad and rejoice. This is the day that God has made for us to be and to be together.’

As we return from Sparkling Hills to foggy trails we celebrate Josiah’s 7th birthday.

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Energyplex noise, so many toys, and a bunch of handsome boys!

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And yes… ‘Show me the boy at 7 and I will show you the man’.

In 2024, lookout for the man who is a great friend. Understands women.  Who has no fear. Continually questions …and is the best hugger. Yep. Josiah will be that man.

Back to that permanent coat to reflect color…

I’ve been meditating on this verse.

‘So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.’ Colossians 3:14

Don’t you think by choosing to wear this new wardrobe we reflect God and his promises?

Have a great week.

Wear love, it looks good on you 😉

Michelle xoxo

Bethel, Beach and Bond.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bethel.

IMG_2634Bethel music came to Kelowna this week for an evening of worship. We were invited to dinner with the band to share what is happening in Kelowna and to pray with them before the evening. They are a great group of people, serving graciously, living within a culture of honour and genuine worshippers. I love their humble heart and their desire for people to enter into true worship.

We have a lot to be thankful for with Bethel music. For me especially, when I hear their music playing from downstairs in the teenage department!

Hundreds of people packed out the church, worshippers of all denominations. Corporate worship is a heavenly concept and one we are all called to engage in. God loves those who worship in spirit and truth. Not because we sing in a certain way. Or we say particular spiritual words. Or raise our hands at that moment.

No. Worship is a heart response, and when the worshippers gather in all of their styles and expressions – Heaven is released.

We… our cities are changed.

Worshipping together. Let us not forsake it.

Beach.

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Phil and I sat on a deserted beach this week to pray – because that’s what we do.  The still water, dancing with diamonds and our ever present mountains provided an inspiring backdrop as we prayed for our families, church, city, YOU...As much as corporate prayer and worship is essential, so is individual. Investing our lives in prayer and listening to God, changes us and our world.

It needs to be our priority. Let us not forsake it.

Bond. 

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The rather well known British secret service agent made an appearance at our church kickoff this week.

1234114_653672487990977_272162032_nBond. Arriving in style on the 1967 50cc.

I love kickoff and the re-dedication alongside the new. This year will see a house of prayer, pursuing His presence, seeking inner transformation. It all sounds very inward Michelle…We believe that a life of serving and loving and outward living is the true response of  worship, personal prayer and inner transformation.

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1235172_653703914654501_670248027_nBond was challenged by YWAM natives who had taken over the island.

1185175_653676901323869_1021930713_nBaptisms in the lake – loving the joy here.

1239875_653676571323902_1688963978_nGiving Dad a hug after being baptised.

IMG_2739Pastor Steve baptising his wife Candace.

14513_653680687990157_1888150247_nGlen believes that Phil needs to be re-baptised.

1231702_653680721323487_1721902415_n…and there he goes.

1235260_653681641323395_800866601_n‘Mommy, I love church on the beach’

 

Thanks for reading – hope you found some inspiration in there!

Have a blessed week – gotta fly – 007 needs me.

Mx

 

PS. WillowOne, kickoff pics were taken by Chad Perry. Enjoy more of his work here. 

Songbird.

Our week in Kelowna. The Collins Clan drove down to Omak, Washington and drove back over the Canadian border within 24 hours. With one purpose – to renew our visa.

A couple of hours, lots of questions and obstacles overcome.

We were granted 3 more years. Our adventure continues!

A friend of our Hope Centre is having twins and before she heads off to Vancouver to deliver her babes – we threw her a baby shower. Love to bless!

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We held a day of service on Thursday with Heritage Christian School Grade 8’s who served the church with great hearts and attitude. It wasn’t all hard work though, when our youth and children’s department get involved so do water guns, cotton candy machines and slurpees. Thank you again Heritage.

We hit the skate park with Josiah and Bella. Heart in mouth – need knee pads.

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The fair came to town. Oh yes it’s ‘Maydays’ which brings excitement to our home. As the twins were doing there own fair thing. We took the little people and to Josiah’s delight he was allowed on the ‘scary’ rides which he took on without fear.

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Bella and Josiah on the ‘stomach left somewhere in the sky ride.’

With my Friday Faves done, you don’t mind if I squeeze in a five minute Friday do you? Ah good.

The word for this week is ‘Song’. There are so many paths I’d like to travel down with this word. But I have 5 minutes and I’m heading down a muddy path to find a song.

START.

They call it a dawn chorus. It’s more like a rock opera outside my window every morning, and it begins at 4am. Our lives are surrounded by songs. This week I reminisced as I listened to songs from my teens. Then I cried as I listened to one particular song as I thought of my Dad’s funeral service, then remembered it was actually from Mom’s wedding. Tears soon turned to laughter.  I’m sure there’s a song attached to every month of my life. I love music.

Then…

I meet you with no song. Friends who’ve lost their song.

Who cry out as David did in Psalm 40. I waited…I’m waiting patiently, expectantly for the Lord.

How long Lord?

You cry out in your waiting and veiled silence.

How long?

Patience, while positive, isn’t pretty.

Singing from pits echoes your own voice as you strive to hear another.

Steve Bell wrote this piece last weekend. An image of freedom, and the often painful road we need to take to reach it.

‘Today I freed a songbird who was trapped in our garage

And flapped against the pane that rendered freedom a mirage

I had to further terrorise the frantic feathered beast

Who could not know that capture was the terms of her release.’

Psalm 40 continues…

‘At last he looked; finally he listened.

He lifted me out of the ditch, pulled me from deep mud.

He stood me up on a solid rock to make sure I wouldn’t slip.

He taught me how to sing the latest God-song, a praise-song to our God.

More and more people are seeing this: they enter the mystery, abandoning themselves to God.’

Whether you are in the pits, or on the rock – here’s a truth to absorb.

For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty saviour. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” Zephaniah 3:17

The Hebrew word used here to describe how Father sings is ‘rinnah’. It means to express a ringing cry, a loud shout, a proclamation of extreme joy and an expression of gladness.

Wow!

Praying you a hear His song over you this weekend,

Love, Michelle xoxo

STOP

Five Minute Friday

Rainbow Falls

“The heavens declare the glory of God;

the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.

There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard” Psalm 19

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Our view.

Phil and I have just returned from a few days at the beautiful Harrison Hot Springs. Phil spoke at the ‘Pastor and Spouse retreat’ with 250 from our BCMB family. We got to meet and hang out with some brilliant pastors, church planters and ministers, and felt very welcome. It was great to see how the conference really look after and care for their pastors.

We also got to hang out with some of our staff team, which we loved of course!

One of my highlights was renting a boat with our crew for an hour and heading out onto Harrison Lake. After half an hour we came across ‘Rainbow Falls.’

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We disembarked our Glastron and looked for adventure.

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We walked the well worn path into the Northern rain forest. Enormous trees chopped down decades ago to make way for explorers. Mist and sunlight drifted through the trees and ferns. We marveled at the life filled scene which appeared to be set on Instagram  Xpro II. As our magical path turned a corner, it was easy to imagine the Sasquatch right at home, lounging on a cushion of moss.

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Instead, we faced a different giant. Rainbow Falls. The deafening waterfall cascaded, pushing and heaving, forced into the river below.

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We were drawn to the moment. That deep response we feel in our soul? It has to be a deep stirring of spiritual awe for the Creator, God.

Making Himself known. 

Creation singing His story. 

Have you known that response?

In Psalm 42, David asks questions of himself, his soul – his evident depression. He understands the intensity of the imagery of the waterfall before him as wave upon wave figuratively pounds upon him, cascading over his soul, pushing him deeper.

At this point of tumultuous torrents, the Psalmist acknowledges that deep calls to deep. We can know the deeper we go down, that God meets us, having known deeper still.

The Hebrew word for deep is “tehowm,” which refers to a deep place, an abyss (an immeasurable deep chasm, depth, or void). The Hebrew word for calls is “qara” which means to call unto, to summon, to invite.

The Strong’s concordance says that “qara” also conveys the idea of someone accosting you by boldly and aggressively calling you to come closer and meet.

Deep calls to deep.

Our depths are quickened to life. And we hear the whisper. I am here.

A couple of final thoughts on my waterfall musings… The closer I got, the power of the waterfall reverberated and the area took on new life.

There is a richness that is produced when we hit the depths and it’s not just about you, when we can bring forth riches from the depths of our inner life, we will find that other lives will be deeply affected.

The closer we got we caught glimpses of rainbows. Sometimes just momentarily. We needed to be in the right position to catch that glimpse.

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The rainbow? It’s there…

As you know, I am a rainbow chaser. I challenge you to look out for rainbows this week, sometimes it’s simply about altering our perspective.

Be encouraged!

Love, Michelle xoxo

Friday Faves: My Cloud

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Yes, it’s Friday Faves my weekly mashup. (Click on the highlighted words to link!)

Interesting articles:

Why Marcus Mumford’s take on the “Christian” label doesn’t hold up. In Relevant magazine here

The not-so-perfect pastors family, thoughts by a couple of PK’s in Christianity today.

Six reasons young Christians leave the church. Do you agree with this?

Fave podcast:

Brene Brown on Oprah. I love Brene and her message. Feel free to make yourself a cuppa click here and watch the interview. Very liberating.

Here is a free book I’ve downloaded but not read yet by Hugh Halter.

I’m reading a dialogue feast for my course: On Beauty by Zadie Smith, various screenplays inc.Waiting for Godot, Ernest Hemingway’s Short Story Collection and Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf.

I’ve had my head (and camera) in the clouds this week.

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“And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way…”

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“If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves on the earth…” Ecclesiastes 3:11      Wesley says ‘Learn the practice of liberality from the clouds; which when they are filled with water, do not hoard it up, but plentifully pour it forth for the refreshment both of the fruitful field and the barren wilderness’.

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Receive refreshing. Be refreshing.

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In this time of need look up and know ‘every good and perfect gift is from above’.

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Emily and Phil climbed Black Mountain on the first day of spring.

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Passed his Masters in Applied Theology!

Brilliant news, so proud of my man. 

Keep looking up,

Love, Michelle xoxo

Friday Faves: New things.

It’s new…It’s Friday Faves!

A mash up of my faves of the week. Photos, snippets, books, quotes etc – you get the idea. Hopefully, there will be something for everyone. Particularly for those friends and family who, for the most part haven’t a clue what I am writing about.

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I started my new module. Focusing on dialogue, script and screenplay. Loving the subject and having the actors staying with us this week – bonus!

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Josiah learned to ski!

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I tried snowshoeing  (accompanied by the famous DR)

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Phil – When in Canada!

Loved Searchlight’s show ‘Chariot’. Their idea of using church based actors worked brilliantly – particularly with our talented bunch at Willow Park.

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Love this pic from the show. Check out more of Chad’s work at ChadPerryPhotography

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And…as the Big White cloud cleared.

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A new cloud appeared. 

Praying. 

Isaiah 43:19

See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland.

Enjoy your weekend!

Love, Michelle xoxo

 

Handiwork.

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We are in the UK. Family and friends in abundance, catching up on lives and stories of losses and victories. Life.

Overwhelming? Yes. Love it? More. Missing Kelowna? Of course…

Tonight my thoughts linger in Worcester cathedral.

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I knew I would meet Jesus there. How could I not?

The art mesmerizing.

Wood brought to life.

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Glass made vibrant.

By the hands of those who loved, were gifted and gave.

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Iron, copper, gold. intricately forged.

Inspired by the Artist.

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We remembered…

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And in the midst of awe we stopped and heard the words.

‘Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again’.

The Collins clan with rustling shopping bags and phones pinging.

Settled and hushed awhile.

We returned from our diversions and forgot about the tensions.

And knelt down together and held out our hands to receive communion.

The ultimate meal. The love feast.

It was in this moment as I looked along the row of our twelve hands and among the bitten grubby nails, chipped nail varnish and wedding rings I saw life waiting to receive His life.

Our hands. Remembering His pierced.

Our hands. Saying yes.

Our hands.

Hidden in His.

Food for thought? Hope so…

Love,

Michelle in England xo

Retreat – Surrender

I was given the gift of 48 hours of solitude last weekend.
48 hours of a simple life – closed door praying, listening, reading and writing.

No Internet. No social media.

I have to admit I was slightly nervous. It’s so easy for me to hide in busyness, my identity in my non stop mom-wife life.

Within my retreat hills I found a thin place. Not only as a result of frugal feasting, but a place where the things of heaven are easily touched.

A synesthesia of solitude I will hold onto for dear life.

Vastness, wild and symmetry all woven together.

I’m desperate for everyone to realize this gift.

You would never be the same.You would seek until you found…and He can be found, because hidden treasure is your promise.

The glitter of gold on a murky bed. The energy seam within dusty coal.

It requires intention, listening, waiting – lingering longer and drawing away.

Walking slower and further than you thought, yes, just around that bend, over that hilltop.

Catching the movement of water, sitting in a tree.

Listening.

One of the books I devoured was ‘A Holy Wild’ by Mark Buchanan.
He says this about exuberant creation ‘You couldn’t name it all in a lifetime. You would have to plunder dictionaries in twelve languages to describe adequately one square foot of it. All this God makes for the sheer joy of making things. Most of it for His eyes only and then He goes off and makes something else’

There is much more I could write out of the experience because I believe it is so crucial to life.
But I’d like to live in that place a while first, where Sabbath becomes the heart not just a day.

For now here are my pics.
Enjoy the story.

‘If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with gettingso you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met’. Matthew 6:30.

Michelle xoxo

Two’s Company

Vancouver from my hotel.

We found ourselves in several crowds this weekend.

A 420 festival. Coldplay in concert. Heidi Baker speaking.

One was a gift. One I chose to attend. One we attended unintentionally.

I’ll let you work out which.

I love Vancouver. Loved it more wandering around it with my man.

We ran Stanley Park.

Strolled in the dark.

Lingered over sidewalk drinks.

Photo: Mine

Then broke over Hastings – life on the brink.

Photo: Mine

We decided to spend Friday afternoon outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on Robson Square, grabbing ourselves a table in a prime viewing spot we were ready with notebook and camera to watch the world go by. Until, it seemed the world wasn’t going by anymore – in fact, the world had stopped.

Photo: Mine

Photo: Mine

Crowds gathered and a vaguely familiar aroma filled the air.

Yes – Phil and I found ourselves in the clouds of the annual Vancouver 420 pot-smoking rally.

The crowd grew to thousands as bands and speakers fought for their cause.

We walked home through the crowd.

Saturday evening and we entered another crowd for a night of brilliance at the Coldplay concert. Simply awesome. Emily asked me what people ‘our age’ do at a Coldplay concert. As she wasn’t with us she’ll never know…but you can be sure she would have been embarrassed.

Photo: Mine

Photo: Mine

Photo: Mine

We walked home through the crowd.

We joined another crowd Saturday afternoon. The Collins crowd. Ready to lavish love that a little absence increases.

I stepped into a wild crowd on Saturday night – this time to hear Heidi Baker speak. An amazing missionary who lives in Mozambique with her husband Rolland.  They run a wonderful ministry – orphanages, feeding programs, bible schools, well drilling, health clinics.

The Bakers share God’s love and what His love in action looks like.

She has over a thousand staff. She has thousands calling her Mama. Surrounded by crowds day after day.

A night of wonderful worship and testimonies, and for me the overriding message was intimacy.

Face to face intimacy with God.

Cheek to cheek closeness.

And out of that…you can face your crowds.

Photo: Mine

Photo: Mine

Jesus loved the crowds. He also loved intimacy.

Try and find some face to face time this week.

He is waiting.