You are invited into the story of the resurrected life!

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‘‘The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid. I know you are looking for Jesus Who was nailed to the cross. He is not here! He has risen from the dead as He said He would. Come and see the place where the Lord lay. Run fast and tell His followers that He is risen from the dead. He is going before you to the country of Galilee. You will see Him there as I have told you.” They went away from the grave in a hurry. They were afraid and yet had much joy. They ran to tell the news to His followers. As they went to tell the followers, Jesus met them and said hello to them. They came and held His feet and worshiped Him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell My followers to go to Galilee. They will see Me there.” Matthew 28:5

I love this piece, ‘the Disciples,’ by Eugène Burnand. 

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‘Peter and the other disciple left immediately for the tomb. They ran, neck and neck.’

You can just imagine their feet were moving before Mary had finished talking, with the golden dawn lighting the sky, Peter and John, run, at this point, they are side by side and heading in one direction. Apprehension, amazement and resolve on their faces, hand over heart and clasped in prayer. Mike Frost wrote, ‘surely this is also the posture with which we should approach Easter. Leaning in, wringing our hands, clutching our chests, desperate for it to be true.’

Also described as the visual equivalent of Lectio Divina. “This Resurrection scene does not put us before still figures near a stagnant stone, or figures standing with stony faces in a contrived, plastic posture, pointing to an empty tomb. This scene is dynamic; we are in motion.”

‘The other disciple got to the tomb first, outrunning Peter. Stooping to look in, he saw the pieces of linen cloth lying there, but he didn’t go in. Simon Peter arrived after him, entered the tomb, observed the linen cloths lying there, and the kerchief used to cover his head not lying with the linen cloths but separate, neatly folded by itself. Then the other disciple, the one who had gotten there first, went into the tomb, took one look at the evidence, and believed.’ John 20:4

Meditate upon their faces as Burnand intended you to do and through them discover the empty tomb.

On this day of celebration, you are invited into the story of the resurrected life.

But Michelle, it’s okay for you to talk of this resurrected life, but, is this story the answer to my wandering, my suffocating, my despair, my insignificance. My pain.

Yes! Invite Him in. I did.

Invite Jesus into your tomb and allow him to lead you out. HIs promise is life over your disappointments, your situations, your dreams, your promises.

His promise is resurrection over dormant destiny.

Then, if and when the betrayal of Maundy Thursday, the darkness of Good Friday, the confusion, questions, and doubt of Silent Saturday takes place. You can confidently face them from the place of resurrection – in the power, promise and the presence of Jesus.

He wants you to know how much you loved and created with purpose and a unique song in your soul for this world.

Happy Easter!

Love, Michelle xo

We are thankful today God. For the promise of the resurrection in every area of our lives. What a God we have and how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we’ve been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, including a future in heaven and the future starts now! God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you’ll have it all life healed and whole. Amen

 

God sees Diamonds

 

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Hi friends,

We are seven days into our Pursuit School trip to Normandy in France, working alongside our friends Gerard and Chrissie Kelly and the ministry of Bless.

Our days are filled with time in the Bethanie prayer room, food and games with our new Sudanese friends (connect four champ over here;) speaking at church plants, celebrating D’Day.  Onto worshipping in a tiny chapel on the Compostela pilgrimage, on the grounds of our friends’ new campsite and visiting the landing beaches on D’Day.  

 

Stay tuned for my musings over the next days as I reflect on our time.

Let’s begin with the Bless mission statement written by Gerard 

 

We believe every human being has a worth, worth seeing.

Every name is a sound worth saying.

Your potential is a prayer worth praying.

You see coal – God sees diamonds

 

We believe in the grace of the gifts God gives.

His breath in everything that lives.

Greater gifts to be discovered – deep in you, disguised, dust-covered.

You see coal – God sees diamonds 

 

We see traces of truth in the yearnings of youth

God’s image in imagination.

We crave a community that will honour audacity,

And cherish the dreams of its children.

You see coal – God sees diamonds.

 

We see God seeking a servant generation.

Kindness as the kindling to kick-start transformation.

Love as liberation of a captive creation.

We are digging for the diamonds God sees.

 

During our first visit to Caen, we enjoyed the church of Saint Pierre built around the 13th century and the Chateau de Caen built by William the Conqueror in 1060. Our eyes were drawn to stained glass and broken walls, ancient limestone carrying whispered prayers of hundreds of years – of wars and rebuilding.

It was a warehouse on the Presqu’ile that captured my imagination.  

The old warehouse surrounded by white vans housing trafficked daughters – their candles burning.

The derelict warehouse with shattered windows and prophetic graffiti.

The roof caught my attention.

Among the verses of love in 1 Corinthians 13, we are told that ‘love bears all things.’  Brian Simmons writes, although commonly understood to mean that love can bear hardships of any kind, the nominalized form of the verb (stego) is actually the word for ‘roof’ found in Mark 2:4 which says, ‘since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. Paul is saying that love covers all things like a roof covers the house. And like a roof protects and shields, you could say that love springs no leak. It is a safe place that offers shelter, not exposure.

The challenge is that as we offer this kind of love, we can bring transformation that does not follow a system but looks for ways to take off the roof.

||As we stood on broken glass and sang Amazing Grace, Dedicating the ruins,

I saw the pieces forming a mosaic, Into a place of beauty,

Where the writing is on the wall, And a new song rises from the land||

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Watch this (sacred) space,  thank you for your prayers!

Love, Michelle xo

‘For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink…whatever you did for the least of these you did for me.’

 

On Doughnuts, Being present and Sunsets

It’s Spring Break in Canada. That time when the Collins Clan (-2) load up their coracle (or Honda Odyssey) and see where the wind blows.

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Our first stop was the Moda Centre in Portland, Oregon, to spend a mortgage payment on cheesy nachos and pop and watch the Portland Trailblazers v Cleveland Cavaliers. This game was a big deal! I decided to cheer for the winning Blazers, although, all credit to Lebron crushing a right-handed dunk, drawing gasps from the sold-out arena. They were almost as noisy as our own Heritage School supporters.

We’ve haven’t spent much time in Portland, so, before we continued our journey we caught the MAX light rail into the city and explored for the morning. It was 10.30am and we noticed restaurants rammed with diners – turns out brunch is a big deal in Portland. We decided there was only one place for our brunch and lined up for 30 minutes at the Voodoo doughnut shop – quite the quirky, gliittered walls, cash only, pink experience. We even got to the meet the well-known owner Kenneth “Cat Daddy” Pogson.

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Onto some tax-free shopping and a whole bowl (redemptive) lunch in the square, listening to stories of Bill, and his long history of martial arts, his children, and his knowledge of Jesus. Security moved Bill on as his perceived harassment was an issue.

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As of January 2015, Multnomah County, which includes most of the city, had 3,801 homeless people. Some in temporary, others transitional with more than 1,800 are “unsheltered”—that is, sleeping under bridges, in parks, and on sidewalks. Grateful that Portland has several organisations supporting the homeless,  Portland Rescue Mission, Union gospel mission, R2D2 (right to dream too) 

Our journey continued on Highway 26 to Cannon Beach. With eyes wide open, absorbing the scenery and catching our breath, open fields became tree-lined roads, where we admired the fluorescent green, moss wrapped trees. We were brought to an abrupt stop as one of the first on the scene of a horrific car accident. Phil was able to communicate with emergency services, prise open crumpled cars and help the injured out of their vehicles. The sounds and sights you don’t want anyone to experience or witness. Emergency services eventually arrived and we drove on.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the families who lost their 19-year-old, Kendra and Grandpa, and for those who were airlifted to hospital.

We arrived at our little lodge awaited us in Cannon Beach, the Bible open on my bedside to Psalm 104. Everything I am will praise and bless the Lord! O Lord, my God, your greatness takes my breath away, overwhelming me by your majesty, beauty, and splendor! You wrap yourself with a shimmering, glistening light. You wear sunshine like a garment of glory. You stretch out the starry skies like a tapestry…

….later we walked on the beach with Josiah asking questions, mostly about God being with people in their last moments, and eternity.

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And as the sun began to set, the verse unfolded before us, and we stopped, thankful that God promises to be near, He knows the beginning from the end and every breath we will take.

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You are Loved!

Michelle xo

*all pics mine 😉

Get On With It…

Hey friends!

It’s been a while.

I blame the dreaded flu, an unresponsive Macbook and that January meh.

Anyway! Here I am with a February encouragement for you…

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As you know, Phil and I love to teach, disciple all and invest in the next generation. So it was no surprise when five years ago at a conference in Kelowna, we were given a word about a ‘school’ where people would learn to minister, to preach, to live in God’s presence, to pray – to do. It was a far-reaching Canada wide word.

Then three years ago at Bethel, we were prayed for by several Pastors and were given the same encouragement from the Lord.

We wrote it down, for the appointed time

Last year, Phil was asked the question, ‘who is training the ministers, the evangelists?’ With a divine ‘Kapow’ that appointed time was speaking a clear,

‘Get on with it!’

We wrote a vision document and presented it our denominational leaders and with a resounding YES we gathered a group of people, young and not so, in our living room and presented a vision for a class/placement school in Kelowna, based out of Willow Park.

We dreamed and prayed and pursued.

We worked hard – writing, connecting, decorating, learning, collaborating, wondering…

Last September Pursuit School began with twelve full-time students, starting with a ‘boot camp’ where we took students through our Set Free retreat, Hearing God and understanding the importance of mentoring. The curriculum is packed with subjects, such as how to prep and preach, effective storytelling and understanding culture. Students have shared in church, rang bells with the salvation army, planned projects and taken part in our 21 days of prayer! Pursuit Night School also began with many attending weekly to hear the ‘condensed version.’  

I love the challenge of Bob Goff, ‘quit aiming for what you’re able to do; pick a couple things only God could do.’

I want to encourage you today, dig out your journal of dreams and divine promises.

Allow the breath of God to blow the dust off those prophecies and hear the whisper,

‘Get on with it.’

There’s something for us all in these poetic words of writer and blogger, Sarah Bessey.

My philosophy of ministry right now could best be described as “Get on with it.”

~There will be those who misunderstand: get on with it.

There will be those who judge and find your efforts wanting: get on with it.

There will be those who think you are doing it wrong: get on with it.

There will be those who hold you up as a warning: get on with it.

There will be those who say you have no business doing it: get on with it.

There will be those who believe you’re outside the boundaries: get on with it.

There will be those who are certain you are too much: get on with it.

There will be those who question your faith, your credentials, your right, your voice, your methods, your manners, your tone, your size, your doctrine of atonement, your style, your medium, your translation of the Bible: get on with it.

Get on with the work of the Gospel.

Get on with rising, on with love.

Get on with speaking up and speaking out.

Get on with setting more places at the tables in the wilderness, with opening the doors a bit wider, with blowing the roof off with praise.

Get on with late night walks under the stars and kisses behind the minivan.

Get on with praying for miracles and working for them, too.

Get on with reading widely and listening deeply and being disrupted.

Get on with new paths in unexpected wilderness.

Get on with the people who laugh and cry easily.

Get on with proclaiming freedom and welcome.

Get on with making a home where the dispossessed feel at rest.

Get on with giving away your money and making plans for goodness.

Get on with feeding the hungry and offering water to the parched.

Get on with paying attention.

Get on with staying awake and watchful.

Get on with making a nuisance of yourself to the powerful.

Get on with organizing and protesting and making speeches on Facebook.

Get on with declaring this is the year of the Lord and you’re not going to stop until there is beauty for ashes and joy for mourning.

Get on with making friends and being kind in ordinary ways.

Get on with your own healing and wholeness so that you can offer a healed and whole glimpse of the abundance of God.

Get on with renewal and redemption and resurrection~

We are now accepting applications for Pursuit School starting this September. If you are interested or know someone who might be, get in touch via our website pursuitschool.com

Blessings on you and yours,

Love, Michelle xo

 

A Wordy Reminder.

Day 27.

The Collins home has various degrees of the bleurghs. Colds and sickness and general meh.

But! I was pleased to hear this morning that I had passed the latest module on my degree. I held off on signing up to the next as I wasn’t sure whether the play that I had written about the life of John Harper, preacher on board the Titanic, would be accepted. Apparently it was just fine!  Which means I have now signed up my next module – poetry.

This got me thinking about the time before we moved to Kelowna. The time of  words, songs, poems and the whispers of God through people to reassure us as we moved on.

Those words combined formed this image of words which has held us on the days when we wonder.

Wander? No way. These are the days when the words speak louder than ever.

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Now, enjoy this poem. Written by a friend of ours, Andy, our town centre poet, a wandering bard, a family friend who would sit at my parents table and talk about life and its complexities.

 Au Revoir, You Collins’s (With Apologies To Bob Dylan)

 It’s not a simple twist of fate,

Or an idiot wind that carries you to Canada.

I’d say its receptivity, desire,

Faith and humble stamina.

You’re blowing in the wind,

You don’t know where it comes from, where it’s going.

If it becomes a hurricane, the Spirit’s in the blowing.

Blood of the Lamb on the tracks

Of a partially trodden path,

Like the rolling away of a stone.

Far from us, you’ll bear His fruit,

Far from being complete unknowns.

Remembering us, you may get briefly tangled up in blue:

Subterranean, homesick –

If so, the Son will see you through.

You’ll have a shelter from the storm,

Knock- knock- knocking on heaven’s door,

Held by enduring friendship,

Within God’s abundant store.

Blond on blond on blond on blond on blond on blond,

On highways that you visit and revisit;

Don’t think twice, babes, it’s alright,

Yours are prayers and pleasures, stuff of life,

The joy of the Holy Spirit.

God is making planet waves.

Don’t feel lonesome when you go.

Under the maple leaf, Jesus saves,

The train is coming – why should it be slow?

Constant, He is rearranging:

For the times they are a-changing.

© Andy Mullis 10/06/2010

Why not remind yourself today of the words around your life.

How many Bob Dylan songs can you spot in the poem? Answer in comments…that is if you can find a way through WordPress hoops. Goodness.

See you tomorrow,

Michelle xo

Saturday Soup 3: Thanksgiving.

Found: This little treasure trove. Thanksgiving treats for us Brits in Canada. Shhhh.

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Writing: The relief as I posted my assessments for uni this week! Although $70 postage wasn’t such a relief… as long as I pass (and don’t have to repost…) I’ll be a happy writer.

I move onto poetry. I have always written poetry, the deep, the dark… the fun ode. I look forward to understanding orthometry.  Be prepared for poetic offerings!

Thanksgiving: This weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving and Fall is busy repainting the treetops in vibrant colour – the Collins fam are out in nature – breathing and bear hunting, listening and memory making.

I’m giving thanks, living thanks. 

Mark Buchanan wrote in his blog today ‘God lavishes his grace upon us, not that we would bottle it, but that we would channel it. He’s not looking for holding tanks. He’s looking for sluices. Grace abounds so that it might overflow.’

I will spend my weekend around family, friends and turkey. Reminded to be thankful daily – constant and generous.

Reading: ‘For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.’ Ephesians 2:10.

The Voice translates this as “heaven’s poetry etched in our lives,” the NLT reads “God’s masterpiece” and the Jerusalem Bible says, “God’s work of art.”

The Greek word for “workmanship” used here is “POIEMA,” and it means “that which is made” (Vine’s Expository Dictionary). The word signifies that which is manufactured, a product, a design produced by an artisan. It is the word from which we get our English word “poem.”

We are God’s poem – His work of art. 

Here are a handful of the many poems in my life – those in my thoughts and prayers this week, don’t they make a beautiful piece?

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Let’s try and grasp this verse and understand our worth, beauty and creativity as God’s masterpiece.

Respond with a few words of thanksgiving in comments! Go…

IMG_2903 Taken on Bella’s paper route… finding Him in the ordinary.