An Open Door – The Heart of a Child

A blizzard, a dog, and a picture that captured my heart. Last week my brother and his family ventured off to sunny Southern California and asked us to look after their dog Daisy. While they were making sand castles at the beach I was trying to navigate through one of the worst Colorado blizzards on record to rescue Daisy.

After making it through 20 plus inches of snow that was literally blowing from every direction I sat down on the couch with Daisy snuggled on my lap and warmed up with a cup of hot coffee wondering if our Ford Escape nicknamed Miles had what it took to make the excursion back. As I slowly perked up from the caffeine I noticed a picture on the wall that caught my attention. It was of a large wooden ancient door in the midst of a stone block fortress. Towards the bottom of the picture was a blonde two- year old boy wearing blue overalls, he had his right hand on the door handle and was just barely pulling it open. The door was cracked open only few inches, and a bright light streamed through as the young child peered his head inside to get a peek of what was beyond the door.

With Daisy in hand I got up to take a closer look at the painting and written on the bottom in cursive were these words, “to such belong the Kingdom of God.” As the storm raged on outside, shaking the windows violently I heard a gentle inner voice whisper, “doors are opened by babies who believe.” Isn’t this what Jesus taught us in Mark 10:15, “I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” The Greek word for “little child” is an infant or a baby. The door to the Kingdom is opened by “spiritual babies” little two year olds who by faith grab the handle and pull it open.

As I continued to think about the picture I wondered what the young child saw as he peered into the light? Perhaps the answer is found in Mark 10:16, “And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.” The first person behind the open door who is waiting to bless us is Jesus. When we have that child like trust and grab for the handle the reward is a Resurrected Savior, who unlocked the door to the Kingdom by His death and resurrection! He is waiting to receive us with His everlasting arms of love that will never let us go. Jesus is the greatest gift an open door brings. No matter what door He is leading us to and through He is always on the other side waiting to carry us in His loving arms on another Kingdom adventure.

As we just celebrated the gift of Good Friday and the victory of Resurrection Sunday I praise God for a blizzard, a dog named Daisy, and picture that reminded me “that doors are opened by babies that believe!”


An Open Door – A Greater One

Talk about a long time ago! I was just a young, seminarian who thought he knew all the answers back then. You can’t imagine how surprised I was to receive a letter from a man I met more than 25 years ago at Folsom Prison. Vance is the one I credit for opening the door for me to begin speaking in prisons, well actually God used him, but nonetheless way back when he wrote a letter to the President of Westminster Seminary things changed for me. Vance’s request was for fellow believers to help bring God’s Word to those behind bars, I “happened” to be in the right place at the right time, although I wasn’t so sure at the time, and was asked to submit paperwork so that I could teach in the prison chapel. I had no idea that this would later be a significant moment in my Christian walk. To put it bluntly, “My life was forever changed!”

The prison doors clanked behind me, I entered into a place where grace and forgiveness flowed freely, and the powerful Kingdom of God penetrated through those prison walls! It was in this unexpected place that God taught me different lessons through men like Vance. It was here in this “home for hardened hearts” where I realized His heart and that this is where Jesus loves to hang out. It was here that God used Vance sentenced to life in prison to initiate a reformation and revival that broke out of the prison doors and would eventually touch lives all over the world!

Let me share a portion of his letter with you:

I have come to that great crossroad where I put aside all of my own ambitions for this life in this world (such as freedom) when I had that epiphany that Christ is about salvation, and the resurrection from the dead into sinless perfection, and face to face with God in all His glory and beauty forever. When Jesus said at Gethsemane, “Not my will, but your will be done,” he provided the perfect example of denying selfish wants and desires picking up the cross that God has given, and doing his will. Tim, it came to me that Jesus said, “If possible, take this cup from me.” Therefore, it was not possible to free me from prison and fulfill His plan for the hundreds of men touched by my direct ministry in here…

Vance surrendered to the will of His Father in prison and another, greater door has opened for him to witness to many others residing both inside and outside of those prison doors. I wonder how my life would have been different if Vance had not written that letter way back then, and if I had not been the one asked to drive up the California coast to preach. I wonder if I would have missed out on a great Kingdom training ground for my soul and the Kingdom movement that was birthed because of Vance’s surrendering heart.

All this makes me reflect on this week, Holy Week and Jesus’ prayer to His Abba Father of “not my will but your will be done.” I wonder if Jesus had blurted out, “No” to becoming a prisoner of wicked sinful me; and, “No” to his execution on a curial cross? If this was the case the world would be left hopeless and forever imprisoned to Satan and his cohorts because of our sin.” But Jesus humbly said, “Yes to the cross” and this act of obedience opened wide a greater door for sinners to be washed in His perfect blood and enter into the Kingdom of a loving Father forever. I know for sure that I am forever grateful!

Jesus shows us the way to that greater door when he prays:

“Abba Father…everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will” Mark 14:36.

You and I need to remember this verse that when our requests for a particular door to open is answered with a “no,” perhaps we need to step back and bring to mind Vance and more importantly Jesus and look for the greater door that awaits. We need to only walk through it.



Reflecting on 40 Day Prayer Challenge with Mike Verkaik

I had the blessing of interviewing Mike Verkaik.

An Open Door – The Divine Adventure


Last week Tuesday my friend Steve emailed me about a radio interview he heard with John Ortberg, a pastor who authored the book, All The Places To Go How Will You Know? God has placed before you an open door. What will you do? This was quite astounding as I had just posted a blog that morning on “An Open Door” from Revelation 3:8. Even more interesting is that Steve and another friend Mike had flights to Colorado arriving on Friday to help in the discernment process concerning a possible ministry door. The question before us, “Was God calling us to walk through this door?”

Steve found the book and bought 3 copies out with him for us to read as we seek, discern and pray about this possible ministry door and God’s will. We all dove into the book and had some fantastic discussions. It is a worthwhile read, especially if you are sensing that God may be calling you to walk through another door. Here are few words from the back of the book:

God places lots of open doors in front of us every day. For those who recognize them and choose to walk through, life becomes a divine adventure. And those who don’t well…not only are they missing out on a lot of incredible adventures and experiences, they’re missing out on all the amazing work God wants to do through them! 

As I have been pondering some apparent open doors, not wanting to miss “a divine adventure,” yet still faced with some fears, I again pondered Revelations 3, especially verse 7:

“These are the words of him who is holy and true, who holds the keys of David. What He opens no one can shut, and what He shuts no one can open.”

Jesus holds the keys to all the doors because He is the true King, the one king David pointed to. The one who opens the door into the presence of God the Father and His Kingdom through His life, death, and resurrection. Jesus is the one always calling out to follow after a divine kingdom adventure. I think of Peter and the other disciples struggling to stay afloat in a violent storm and Jesus appears even walking on water. But Jesus does more than that He calls out for them to “take courage it is I don’t be afraid,” and tells Peter to come, an open door to do the impossible. And Peter accepts the invitation and walks forward and walks on water. Talk about a “divine adventure.” All was good until his eyes looked away from His King and focused on the impossible life-threating storm it was then that fear griped him.

However as Peter began to sink like a rock, the King immediately rescued him in his arms and said, “You of little faith…why did you doubt.” Walking through the door into a divine adventure is always risky and uncertain, sort of like walking on water. But the key is to keep our eyes on the King who holds the keys to the Kingdom.

I praise God for some great friends this past weekend that reminded me to keep looking at the King who always waits for me on the other side of the door he has opened.

An Interview with Ray Haakonsen

I had the blessing of interviewing Ray Haakonsen.

Ray and Sue Haakonsen pictured at Beautiful Gate, Lesotho, in 2010.

Ray and Sue Haakonsen pictured at Beautiful Gate, Lesotho, in 2010.