Be Kind to Yourself today!

Friends,

A quick summer Collins catch up…

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Summer is in full flow here in Kelowna, Mom and D have enjoyed their annual visit, Phil and I took advantage of Josiah at the Ark camp and stayed at Spirit Ridge Resort, Osoyoos last week. Highly recommended! Em and Bella had a great time at Watson Lake in the Yukon, Em with the youth team and Bella with the children’s. You can read about the camp in this local newspaper report here.  Phil visited both of the teams and camps for a few days and was so blessed by their energy, commitment and the way God is using the church and camps we are involved with, and of course, he enjoyed the many bears and other wildlife (lynx!) along the Alaska highway.

 

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Emily and Jessica are heading to the UK for a visit in a few weeks to visit Family and friends before they head back to College in September.

Me – well I think about my France trip and all that I saw and how God is using our friends in Caen. If you didn’t catch my thoughts on the trip, you can read about it here and here. I’ve also just signed up for my final writing degree module and looking ahead to September and our new intake of Pursuit School students. If you know someone who would like to join us from September 2018 to June 2019 (a 6-month program is also available) point them to our website here!

There are many musings whirring through my head this week – of answered prayers and gratitude and observing first hand the promise of God over my family. But that’s for another time. But…for now, be encouraged that God hears every prayer you pray for your babes – every prayer. He answers and is always faithful.

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While Emily was at work last week a little girl couldn’t find her Aunt, Em asked, ‘what does she look like.’

The girl thought a while, smiled and replied ‘she’s very kind.’

I love this!

How is kindness looking on you today?

Some of my favourite verses are from Colossians, ‘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 3:12-14

Can you imagine if we lived like this?

One of the areas highlighted in my life recently has been kindness.

In a world of cruelty and opinion and frustration, the universal and divine language of kindness helps to drown harsh updates, hungry humans, and wandering souls.

But it doesn’t just happen – in the garden of our hearts, we need to prune, tend, cultivate and give away the fruit.

There are whole lists of kindness we can follow, but we all know those don’t we?

I believe it starts with this act of kindness, which, when applied, inevitably affects those around me – the act of being kind to myself.

It’s time to be vigilant on behalf of your own best self which includes treating yourself as you treat a dear friend.

Kindness allows silence and hears a whisper of worth over your soul.

Kindness allows questions, doubt, and grief.

Kindness rushes in like a parent over their hurting child.

Kindness takes the opportunity to free your baggage.

Kindness affects your whole being with both nurture (caring) and action (motivating).

Kindness recognises that you are created with qualities that are a blessing to others – what are yours?

You’re created by God, made in His image and loved beyond measure. God is calling you today to be kind to yourself, to acknowledge your beauty and God-given gifts.

Be kind to yourself today; it looks good on you,

Love, Michelle xo

Listening

Reading (more to come on this book…)

 

 

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Transformation!

Hello again from France!

As our time here draws to a close, I thought I’d offer part two of my musings alongside a few pics – click here for the first.

The theme of transformation runs deep through the ministry of Bless.

Whether it’s the land on which they live (shout out to these girls who laid the floor this week!)

or the lives they reach,

What a privilege to partner for the past 10 days and involve ourselves in the joy and hands-on work of transformation. As our time in France comes to an end, we know it’s just the beginning of a renewed friendship with our longtime friends here in France.

Our refugee friends hold a place in our hearts. Our new brothers with their wide smiles and long eyelashes. Their laughter. Their fierce love for dominos.  Of creativity and colour. The ones who have walked across the land. The desert. The Alps.

Who are leaders and dreamers and carers

Who are created in the image of God.

WIth purpose.

This week we have offered meals, water, fruit, clothes and lots of shoes from the converted ambulance. SOS Chai needs our help to keep going! You can give through their Giving page here.  

 

This song will remind me of this trip. 

I am no victim

I live with a vision

I’m covered by the force of love

Covered in my Savior’s blood

I am no orphan

I’m not a poor man

The Kingdom’s now become my own

And with the King I’ve found a home

(And with the King I have a home)

He’s not just reviving

Not simply restoring

Greater things have yet to come

Greater things have yet to come

He is my Father

I do not wonder

If His plans for me are good

If He’ll come through like He should

‘Cause He is provision

And enough wisdom

To usher in my brightest days

To turn my mourning into praise

I am who He says I am

He is who He says He is

I’m defined by all His promises

Shaped by every word He says

Greater things have yet to come!

Praying you’ll experience the transforming grace of God in your life today,

Love, Michelle xo

 

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.’

 

You are Invited!

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C.S Lewis calls it ‘The Strangest Story of all’

‘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

The Strangest Story of all, the Easter Story.

It’s all about stories.

Those ordinary ones who put Him there that day, the same men who went home to their wives making dinner, to their kids. Pilate…Caiaphas…Soldiers…those doing their job.

The nameless carpenter who crafted the cross. Doing his job.

These ordinaries remind me of the destructive darkness that lies deep… that we are all capable of.

I am reminded that the cross dealt with that darkness and if I don’t deal with it then it deals with me.

It’s all about stories.

Your story, His story.

What will you do with your story, do you live it for yourself, or do you occasionally allow God an appearance…or do you take your story and fully immerse into God’s story? 

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. 1 Peter 1:3 MSG

Richard Rohr writes ‘Most of human life is Holy Saturday, a few days of life are Good Friday, but there only needs to be one single Easter Sunday for us to know the final and eternal pattern. We now live inside of such cosmic hope. Jesus trusted enough to outstare the darkness, to outstare the void, to hold out for the resurrection of the forever-awaited “third day,” and not to try to manufacture His own. That is how God stretches and expands the soul, and makes it big enough to include God.’

Today you are invited into the story of the resurrected life.

‘But Michelle – it’s okay for you to talk of this resurrected life, but really, is this story the answer to my life that feels so dead and dark? How do I leave my Holy Saturday life, how do I leave a tomb life, a life of darkness that I can’t see my way out of.’

Invite Him in, as I did 28 years ago, I invited Jesus into my tomb – my lost, twisted mess. You can do the same, he will lead you out.

A life of life is yours! He came to give you everything in abundance, more than you expect —life in its fullness until you overflow! (10:10) 

…and as life happens, whether its the betrayal of Maundy Thursday, the darkness of Good Friday, the confusion, questions, and silence of Saturday – we can face them from the place of resurrection.

We can face those days in the power, promise and the presence of Jesus.

Happy Easter!

Love, Michelle xo

 

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

 

I’m stuck in Hope

Hey y’all  – a quick check in from the land of Hope!

Pursuit School of Evangelism was prayed for and commissioned yesterday at the Multiply conference in Vancouver with Luis Palau. Excited to see where God takes this vision!

I am sitting here in a terracotta colored motel room in a town called Hope, BC. Perhaps not our first choice of vacay but the Coquihalla is closed due to multiple accidents and severe weather warnings. In fact, it’s the first time in many years that all roads between the Coast and the Interior are closed. We are often involved in firsts.

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So we end up in Hope where Rambo was filmed! There are a few more visitors tonight as sleepy motels fill up #quietatmosphere

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It brings me to thinking about… wait for it…Hope!

I reposted a blog yesterday, which told the story of my baby bro – here it is. It was read and shared more than ever. Always thankful for hope being shared and the power of prayer realized.

I was thinking about some of my old Hope posts and remembered ‘Camp Hope’ from 2010. Can you remember the emotional scene as we watched 33 Chilean miners rise in the Phoenix capsule, following the natural response of family, friends and strangers setting up an actual ‘Camp Hope.’ Above ground. Waiting.

I love hope, not wishful thinking hope but a confident expectation kind of hope.

I spend a lot of time in Camp Hope. Praying and believing for those trapped, blinded by the dark and awaiting rescue. I’ll wait in Camp Hope for as long as it takes – until I see the Phoenix. We all have our role in the camp, some keep spirits high, some cry, some keep order and some can’t find words  and that’s ok too.

‘The moment we get tired in 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’ Romans 8:28

Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark.

My favorite quote is in a letter written by 19-year-old Chilean miner Jimmy Sanchez? ‘There are actually 34 of us, because God has never left us down here’

And then there’s Jacob (Joseph’s Father) in the Old Testament.

On reaching Jacob they told him, ‘Joseph is still alive! In fact, he is ruler of all Egypt. Jacob was stunned; he did not believe them’ Genesis 45:26

This far surpassed any news he could have expected – in fact – the King James Bible says he fainted. Of course he did! He had concluded that Joseph was dead – therefore he was unable to conceive any alternative.

God loves to break in far beyond our imagination, far beyond our expectations and our conclusions and surprise us.

Let’s allow our imagination to run wild and find our faith extreme.

I’m staying in Hope,

Love, Michelle x