The Gift of the Father – The Position of Thanksgiving


This past weekend Patty and I helped lead a Marriage Retreat in beautiful Indian Wells, California. I can’t lie the dessert sun was a nice break from shoveling snow in Colorado. We were blessed to be apart of this event that sought to refresh and revive marriages in the midst of a cultural war that continues to fight against this union of a husband and wife that God has ordained from the beginning of creation.

I started out the conference by sharing Paul’s epic prayer found in

Ephesians 3:14-21.

For this reason I KNEEL before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name…

Paul goes on to pray that these children of God would be filled with the power and love of Heaven that words can’t describe and leads to the Father being glorified through their lives. The challenge that I presented was to kneel together before the Father for the next 40 days and pray that the Holy Spirit would fill them with resurrection POWER of Christ and the sacrificial LOVE demonstrated by Christ on the cross. With these indescribable gifts of the Father a richer and the fuller marriage is possible and a richer and fuller life as individuals as well.

At end of the retreat Patty and I kneelt down and asked the others to join us as together we pleaded for the Faithful Father’s power and love to flow down like a mighty river our marriages. It was a powerful moment as the tears begin to flow and the Spirit was released over that room. The picture of that moment will be seared in my mind for a long time as we acknowledged our weakness and total dependence on the Father and desired His good gifts for marriage.

To me kneeling is such a powerful position to offer with a spirit of Thanksgiving. At the beginning of this prayer in Ephesians, Paul states that he is going to the ground before a glorious, humbling himself before a Holy Father who is the only one worthy of praise and who can provide His children. Being on our knees is a picture of total dependence and I believe is a powerful action that shows our absolute need for the Father and this action gives Him glory and praise.

Maybe before you have your Turkey and all the other yummy dishes to get down on your knees and give your Father thanks by showing how needy and dependent you are on Him for everything in your life. May this spiritual posture carry you through the Christmas season! Go ahead and ask your Good Father to flood you and your loved ones with Heavens power and love and wait with great expectations for the unveiling of these gifts that are on their way.

Happy Thanksgiving from Oceans and the Spykstra family!

The Gift of the Father – When God Shows Up

“This is what happens when God shows up!” This a quote from a powerful movie Patty and I went to the other night called “Woodland.” If I had the money I would send everyone I know to check it out. Yes, I loved it because it was based on a true story about a football team in Birmingham, Alabama in 1973, and featured an unexpected high school athlete, Tony Nathan. But the movie is so much more than awesome football action; it is the amazing story of the reaction to when the Holy Spirit unexpectantly brings revival to a team, a racially divided school ready to close down, and to a hurting community.

Hollywood could never have created a script like the one you encounter in this movie. Only God could get the credit for bringing an uninvited chaplain to speak to football team at a school filled with hate. This courageous man preached the simple Gospel, shared about forgiveness, and guess what? It spread like wild fire and brought Heavens love to heal and break down demonic strongholds. One of my favorite scenes in the movie was when a prayer service broke out in the gym that lasted for 3 days. It was powerful, authentic and unscripted! Many were brought to faith in Jesus by the powerful move of the Holy Spirit.

“Woodlawn” brought me back to my childhood days in the early 70’s where each Sunday I watched people commit their lives to Christ. It was not at all surprising for a Sunday night service to go on for 2 to 3 hours, and the truth was that no one wanted to leave. Even as a young boy I sensed something miraculous. Truly the preaching of the Word came with Heaven’s power and for a season that church was filled with a powerful transforming love.

Maybe that is why I continue to daily pray for another Great Outpouring in our day. Only an invasion of Heaven can heal the deep wounds in hearts, families, churches, our nation and the world. What are the answers for global terrorism, demonic racism, the god’s of materialism and greed, and religious systems that are man centered? Will our political system fix it? How about a better educational program? Maybe throwing more money at the problems or having perfectly constructed worship services? Are these the answers to heal all life’s social ills? No, I believe there is only “One Way,” that slogan that was used in the Jesus Movement in the 70’s. How we need Heaven’s love to visit us once again, a fresh revelation of the Father’s love through His Son made real by the Holy Spirit.

Go see the movie, take your family and friends, and have a good talk afterwards. May this movie challenge you to pray, to be bold, and believe in a day where we can say, “This is what happens when God shows up!” 

“LORD, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD. Renew them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.”

Habakkuk 3:2


The Gift of the Father – A Voice From Heaven


This week while reading through the gospels I was blessed to be reminded of the story of Jesus’s baptism in the Jordan River. This is where the Father opens the heavens and undeniably invades earth with powerful words of love and encouragement, “this is my Son whom I love; with him I am well pleased,” Mathew 3:17. In times of revival and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit the voice of the Father breaks forth to begin a new work, just as He did with His son Jesus and his disciples.

I sense the Father is doing the same thing in our day. I can’t tell you the conversations I have had in this last season with a variety of different people who are being awakened, loved, and called into a new work by the Father. And I have observed similarities in each of these stories where hearts have been opened to hear the voice of their Father. In each of these situations I noticed:

  • A time of crisis or brokenness that has led them to turn to Jesus with hurting hearts crying out in prayer for help.
  • For others a season of fasting, and seeking to be still before the Lord.
  • A renewed passion for His Word, not for more knowledge but for an authentic relationship.
  • The Father speaking through others by way of divine appointments, dreams, visions, scriptures, and prophetic words.
  • A new call to trust the Father and step out in faith, being willing to risk security, reputation, and comforts of this world.
  • A peace and an inner joy that words can’t describe as they hear the Father.
  • A new inner boldness to live for the Father’s fame even though the journey is not completely clear.

These conversations have renewed my hope and heightened my expectation for new and continued works of God the Father for today. Each bolded truth listed above can be traced back to the Scripture and the first century church. Truly, the voice of the Father always comes to His people when He is ready to move and show Himself glorious and mighty to save.

Jesus demonstrated to us how to open up our ears to hear the voice of Heaven as He journeyed to the Jordan to be baptized by John. There Jesus identified with the sins of the people, despite being without sin; he was baptized as a sign of repenting of sin and turning focus back to the Father.

Join me as together we step into the Jordan River and repent of our lack of trust in the Father. May the blood of the cross wash over our sins and may we each step out with a renewed passion to seek His face. And in His perfect time, Heaven will open and we will hear the loving Voice of our Father lead us into a powerful new move of His Spirit.


The Gift of the Father – Heaven’s Unity

“How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s bread, down upon the collar of his robes. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling down on Mount Zion. For there the LORD bestows his blessing, even life forevermore,” (Psalm 133).

These words from King David describe in great detail the precious life giving Spirit of the Father coming down on brothers and sisters who become one in His love. Recently Oceans had the blessed privilege to experience this unity with pastors, prisoners and others who gathered to hear more about Oceans Ministries.

When Heaven Invades Earth and God’s Spirit pours down there is Joy, a new sense of His Holiness, AND a Unity that breaks down social, traditional, racial, and denominational walls. It was such a joy to be apart of a pastor’s event held at the beginning of October. This event was organized by my friend Mike and took place in Western Michigan. Mike diligently got all the details in place, which believe me is no easy task when it comes to inviting busy pastors to any type of event. Yet, what an amazing morning it was with 70 pastors gathered around tables eating, enjoying each other’s company, building relationships and allowing the Holy Spirit to break down walls. Our Father rejoices when His children come together through the work of His Son and fellowship as One Family.

At the end of October I walked in, and several hours later, out of Chino Prison. My friend Mario and another brother accompanied me and truly our hearts were filled with overflowing joy. The three of us spent the evening with men from almost every racial background and walk of life. Men who had experienced overwhelming pain and brokenness because of the power of sin and the lies of satan. And yet as we worshiped, prayed, gave testimonies, studied the Word, and fellowshipped; the life giving love of the Father flooded the room. I am blown away that the book “The Journey to the Father’s Heart” has somehow been a tool to stir in the hearts of many of these men the need to forgive their earthly fathers, others and even themselves.

We left with our cups overflowing and I said to my two brothers, “This was a taste of Heaven!”

Heaven Invades Earth when the Father’s children unite in their brokenness around Jesus Christ and His love poured out for us on the cross. As we receive that gift of love and it fills our hearts, we then release that love to brothers and sisters we come into contact with, and that love is reflected in how we live our lives. It is a testimony to the world that we belong to Jesus (John 13:34-35). It is unfathomable to me that the Father’s love can break through a world divided by war, hearts full of hate, and even into a prison chapel and bring the life giving unity of Heaven to earth.

May the Holy Spirit allow you to taste and see the blessing of unity this week!