Abiding not Striving.

It’s time for a catch up!

Summer in Kelowna saw bible camps, road trips, hikes, praying mantis finds and speedboat thrills.

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Summer in Kelowna was a houseful of the loveliest ones in our lives, alongside ‘one thing after the other’ … ending with an ‘all clear’ following my mammograms, ultrasound and biopsy. Thank you Jesus.

Nanny Pop (Phil’s Grandma) passed away which led the Collins clan back to Stourbridge where Phil led her funeral service, as the family were able to remember together. Sad days, walked out on Clent hills, with the best of friends in hidden caves and great pub grub.

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We enjoyed a God given moment as we left Pop’s house. His tears flowing in his grief – 73 years is a long time. Phil, myself and the children prayed for Pop, the comfort of God was present in the room – and in Pops heart.

And here we are at the end of September! We have just seen the end to our teachers strike so look forward to the twins starting their new school on Monday. We also have a Korean student, Chloe (12) with us for the school year. We recently enjoyed Korean Thanksgiving where samgyupsal, jjimdak, kimchi and dukboekki ’ were devoured by all!

The church enters a new season – our kickoff happened last weekend where all of our congregations joined our downtown service. A beautiful evening of worship, baptisms and community.

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We have Philip Yancey and Searchlight theatre with us this weekend at Willow Park Church for a time of understanding ‘What’s so Amazing about Grace’.

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As the children head back to school on Monday, I head to Mwanza, Tanzania on Tuesday.

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Phil and I have been involved with Living Waters for many years and I look forward to visiting there again with a group of women from our church. We will be involved in many activities – schools work, assemblies, helping in the children’s home, involved in the feeding program, leading a women’s seminar… and singing in a village church 😉

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Now those are our plans – we are excited for those, also for the surprises God has in store for us. We want to be love poured out to the lovely community in Mwanza, blessing the ministry that is established there.

More on that over the next couple of weeks, I will attempt to write and post pics as and when possible. Please pray for us – safety, health, for our families at home, for anxiety to calm, and for God to use us mightily!

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. Acts 1:8

A couple of months ago I started to ask God for a message to carry. It was no surprise when the Lord began to weave scripture together, confirming it each and every way I turned – everything I read, listened to and watched.

The message began as I browsed through my first bible. Remember those big NKJ bibles, enclosed in a burgundy leather case, complete with gold edge indexing? This bible is dated, underlined and highlighted in many places – the joy of my salvation jumping out in yellow marker. It’s a verse I underlined during my first year of giving my life to Jesus – the days where the presence was tangible and His whisper wild. It’s good to be reminded of those promises. To smile at those fulfilled and to question why some struggles remain the same.

It was this verse…

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, 
 whose trust is in Him. They will be like a tree planted by the water
 that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; 
its leaves are always green.
 It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7

I was promised drought will come…but that fruit will be produced.

The underlining is not just a cheesy exercise – it’s a lifeline – a promise.

A river in the drought.

God knew to highlight that verse to me in those early days. He knew that life would hurt me, that death would affect me, that I would despair for loved ones, that Christians….

He knew I would always go back to the promise, that even in that season there is fruit. I have a choice to make. It is easy in difficult times to put it down to a ‘season’ – dark, winter times when God feels absent.

This verse tells me another story. It tells me I am a tree planted by Gods river and that I can bear fruit 12 months of the year. The promise of nourishment. The person who trusts in the Lord is like a tree planted by a stream. The roots make their way to the fresh and nutritious flow. The tree will never lack for food. The promise of protection. The heat comes, but the tree by the stream is appropriately shielded. So the believer will experience heat through various circumstances and challenges. We need some heat to make us grow. But God will always be there to protect us. The promise of fruit. Dry times come. But the tree planted by the stream has everything it needs to bear fruit.

The beginning of the verse says ‘blessed is the person who trusts’ TRUST, a word that comes from a root word meaning ‘to lean on, feel safe or secure, to be confident, to find refuge and security’ It involves an act of the heart and will and weaves wonderfully with John 15 and abiding.

I have just written the seminar for the women’s day we are leading in Tanzania on Intimacy and Fruitfulness. So excited for this!  1 John 3:1 says ‘How great is love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God’ Lavish is an incredibly rich word. It means over the top – more than you can I imagine. Giving us the beautiful title of Son or Daughter!

Heidi Baker says  ‘We cannot create fruit, but we can live in intimacy!  A tree produces fruit by simply abiding, not striving’

Intimacy. But how? What does that look like? What is this fruit? I have gathered my thoughts from friends who live this out and will write a post on this in the next week.

Meanwhile I need to pack!!

I will leave you with a couple of questions:

What is the message you are currently carrying?

God has spoken promises over you – which one do you need to be reminded of today?

Love, Michelle xo

PS. Good to be back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Compelled by Love.

IMG_4253How’s your January going? I have read a lot over the past two weeks of the destiny over 2014. ‘Watch closely: I am preparing something new; it’s happening now, even as I speak, and you’re about to see it. I am preparing a way through the desert; Waters will flow where there had been none.’ I am already seeing these waters and I’m jumping in…you?

My mind whirls and I want to write – but I don’t know where to start, so I start right here. Write here. Phew. They say just keep writing. Right? Write.

My poetry module is progressing, although I find it challenging, when is the piece complete? I sent an assignment to my tutor this week – so I’m sure he will let me know!

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This week was the ‘Kelowna Week of Prayer’ it kicked off at Church@33 – what a great evening of churches praying in unity.

We look forward to Searchlight theatre in Kelowna this month too. Don’t miss the world premiere of this WWII adaptation of the bestselling classic novel “The Pilgrim’s Progress” by John Bunyan. Reserve tickets here. It’s always a treat to welcome these guys to Kelowna. Don’t forget my chocolate DR!

Today’s musings are from these words from the ‘Signature of Jesus’ by Brennan Manning.

Laugh with me! Death is dead! Fear is no more! There is only life! There is only laughter! If the darkest night is upon you as you read these words, know that the risen Jesus is wild about you even if you can’t feel it. Listen beneath your pain for the voice of Abba God.

‘Make ready for the Christ, Whose smile, like lightning, Sets free the song of everlasting glory that now sleeps in your paper flesh, like dynamite.’ Thomas Merton.

There is a wonderful Saviour wild about you, with a smile like lightening. Powerful, drawing you, reassuring, loving YOU. Reaching deeper than your darkest.

Yes! I hear some say. I am in that place…Then I know for others it’s as if you are living in a constant stress dream, where you are shouting and screaming but the words just.won’t.come.out.

Be encouraged today with this.

‘The moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.’ Romans 8:26 The Message.

The relief I have found in this verse. When my deepest soul cannot find words as I think of loved ones and situations around me. Heaven goes deeper than our darkest…

CompelledCoverLogo2Back to smiles like lightening. I watched ‘Compelled by Love’ last week, this feature-length biography traces the journey of Heidi and Rolland Baker, Heidi is often described as a modern day Mother Theresa. Their pursuit of the presence of God has transformed a poverty-stricken and war torn 
Mozambique through love in action. Shot on the run over a period of 20 years, in 10 countries and on 4 continents in war zones, brothels, and Ivy League campuses, from Hollywood to Mozambique. The film chronicles the power of one life fully yielded to God and the truth that love wins: One life surrendered, one nation transformed…

The truth of one in love with Jesus, who said yes and who encourages us to step into our yes.

The pain of living through harrowing Mozambique, one of the poorest nations is clear. Heidi shares how she lets her Mozambican children inside her house to replace their “orphan spirit” with a “spirit of adoption”. Allowing them to eat her food, to celebrate being family. Unconditional love evident.

I loved this movie; a reminder of what Jesus can do in your life when you say yes. Yes to the gospel. To His love. Yes to being Him right where you are. I loved to watch Heidi – she emanates love. One of my favourite lines was this – ‘Fruitfulness flows from intimacy’ and one word I know I’m chasing in 2014 is intimacy. Jesus is calling us to intimacy. His presence.

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Our response when we see this love, is to be compelled to say ‘send me Lord’ and to know that sometimes ‘send me Lord’ starts right where you are.

Are you compelled by His love?

Love, Michelle xo

Stop for the One.

cold.Hi! It’s Day 3.

The excitement of Canadian Thanksgiving filled the Collins home a few weeks ago. The aroma of roast dinner floating though the house and the sense of all things are good. I blogged this truth and loved the concept of thanks living.

My children were most upset that I hadn’t purchased Pumpkin Pie for dessert.

‘But Mom, it’s thanksgiving…’ they cried in their twangy English accents.

I drove down to Coopers and the favor of God fell as I purchased the last pie in the store. I put on my best Canadian accent in case there was a battle of the pies.

As Bella and I left the store I saw a friend from the Hope Centre. He was sitting on the cold concrete, his cap empty. We chatted for a while, he’d had a good day. As I left I said ‘Happy Thanksgiving’ he responded with ‘Will you be down at the church this week’. ‘Yes’ I responded. ‘See you there!’

Thanks-living?

I drove home quiet.

We ate our thanksgiving feast, the taste of conviction strong.

I chatted with Phil who challenged me. Is this conviction or condemnation?

‘Conviction leads you to Christ, condemnation leads to guilt’.

Shortly after dinner I jumped into my car and went to find my friend. To change my response, take him a thanksgiving dinner, bring him to the house, buy him some groceries. ANYTHING!!

I drove around looking, searching, ‘Lord, just show me where he is’….

I would love for this to have the obvious happy ending, that I fed him roast dinner and my family made him feel loved and warm.

But I couldn’t find him.

Thanks-living?

As I drove around the streets of Rutland the conviction of God burned through to my soul.

Tears, gosh the tears.

As I said, the conviction leads you to Christ – to his heartbeat.

Why do I write this? Because although there’s not the obvious ‘happy ending’ the truth of God’s heart burned in me that day like never before for those who are hurting, hungry, empty.

As you know, I spend a lot of time in our Hope Centre, where these guys hang out – I feed them weekly, clothe them, and sit with them. As I wrote yesterday, they are like family.

But – it’s also about those moments. The one.

‘Simply take a moment and love the one in front of us. The pressures and busyness of daily life creates a self-focus that hinders us from stopping for the one. However, the love of God is made manifest through simple acts of kindness.  When you love God first and then love the one person He puts in front of you each day, the Gospel becomes simple’. Heidi Baker.

Next year Thanksgiving will look very different – you’re all invited!

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Christ has no body on earth but yours;


no hands but yours;
no feet but yours.


Yours are the eyes through which he is to look out

Christ’s compassion to the world.


Yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good.


Yours are the hands with which he is to bless others now.

Teresa of Avila (1515-1582)

 Let me know who God places in your way today – keep your eyes open for the one.

See you tomorrow!

Love Michelle xoxo

NaBloPoMo November 2013

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.

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Then broke over Hastings – life on the brink.

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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.