An Open Door – Obedience

0026622321680 is a telephone number. Yes an odd looking number if you are living in the United States but a life changing number that altered the course of my life and many others. As I write this blog I’m viewing the beautiful baby blue ocean. I am inspired and in awe to be spending some time with a dear brother and sister who call South Africa home. This past week of preaching, ministry appointments and planning for three high school teams from the States to come out in June would not have happened without this crazy looking number.

A few days ago I was walking around the grounds of Beautiful Gate Care Center and was again overcome by God’s Kingdom breaking forth into the world through the staff and precious children who were once abandoned but are now thriving. I praise God for that phone number and how it ultimately has been the link to every trip to Lesotho. I often wonder what my life would have been like if that number was not given to us by John Boyd, a former Mission Aviation pilot in Lesotho. Back in 2002 John had just moved to Redlands, California and was the new president of Mission Aviation Fellowship and I was pastoring at a church nearby when our paths intersected. Somehow he heard that two pastors from The River would be in Lesotho on a World Vision Trip and he shared about a new care center called Beautiful Gate.

The mind-boggling thing is that number would never have been called if everything “went as planned” on our trip. But because the van to pick us up from the hotel was running two hours behind my stepdad Pastor Bill Bierling called the 13 digit number and the rest is history as we were introduced to Ray and Sue Haakonsen the directors of this new ministry.

As I type these words from Ray Haakonsen’s office and reflect on the past 13 years I am beyond blessed seeing small and big acts of obedience by John, Bill, Ray and Sue, and many others have led to the Father’s Kingdom breaking into my heart and the hearts of countless others. Little did John Boyd know when he was nudged by the Spirit to take the time to write down the 13 numbers and deliver them to us, that this small act of obedience would cause a ripple effect that continues to exponentially multiply.

I’d like to challenge you to listen to the nudge of the Spirit one small act of obedience may change a life and cause an unstoppable kingdom movement! So write the email to a friend who needs encouragement, send a donation to a student going on a mission trip, pray for that hurting person God has placed on your mind, share the story of what God is doing in your life with someone God brings your way and who knows the fruit that will come from your simple act of obedience.

“Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him and we will come to him and make our home with him,” John 14:23.


An Open Door – Walking Through – Danny Unterkofler Interview

I had the blessing of interviewing Danny Unterkofler a few weeks ago for this podcast. Danny and his wife Kaylyn are an anointed ministry team that have recently walked by faith through an Open Door. In this podcast Danny shares his journey and how God has showed Himself more than faithful.

Also when you receive this email I will be in Lesotho Africa preaching and planning for some exciting future ministry that is opening up for us in this beautiful country. Please keep Oceans in prayer as we seek to make the Love of the Father Known around the world.

An Open Door – Turning the Knob – Repentance

My son TJ spent his spring break in a small Texas town with other college students at a ministry for ex-offenders. Of all our phone conversations over the past three years away from home none was like this. TJ carried 90% of the conversation as he shared how the Spirit of God broke out in a powerful way among both college students and those in the re-entry program at the ministry.

Heaven opened and invaded hearts during the group’s times of prayer and worship. Students began to share openly with one another and sins were confessed as a spirit of humility and brokenness took over hearts. After four days of this intense work of God one of the students, who wasn’t even supposed to be on the trip, surrendered his life to Christ. His walls were high and thick caused by past pain, but as others shared their personal struggles with sin and their own spiritual battles cracks formed in his soul and the light of Christ broke in and brought everlasting love and salvation.

A few days after this young man’s conversion, the team from Northwestern College led worship at a maximum-security prison with one of the largest populations of lifers in the country. The young man who just received Christ got up in a crowded chapel and shared his testimony with the inmates. TJ said the whole experience was so powerful and the worship so anointed! College students and inmates alike belted out the words to the song, “I am a Child of God.” Truly each of one of them experienced God’s presence, which transformed the room with the joy of the Lord.

As I reflected on my conversation with my son and what their team encountered it is clear that one of the ways the knob to the door of Heaven is turned open is through repentance. As the Northwestern group shared their struggles with sin, confessed them to each other, and called out for mercy and grace to come from the blood of Jesus, Heaven opened. The gospels echo this idea of repentance through the ministry of John the Baptist. John came as a “voice in the wilderness” calling people to encounter the “baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sin, Mark 1:4, this act would ready hearts to experience the gift from Heaven, who is Jesus Christ.

Jesus identified with our sins and was baptized by John in the Jordon River. Mark 1:10 says those present saw “heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him (Jesus) like a dove… True Repentance turns from sin to a forgiving Savior, tears Heaven open for the Spirit of Christ to come and change hearts for eternity. Pause and paint that picture in your mind! Now that is power! I want that Open Heaven above for me!

Go ahead and turn the knob of repentance. It takes courage to look at one’s heart and see the “stuff” we need to confess. BUT repentance leads to forgiveness and the fruit will be absolutely unbelievable. Our Father is on the move as evidenced from what happened to these college students in Texas. I don’t want to miss it! I’m praying that God would give His beloved people a spirit to confess our sins and turn once again back to Jesus. He is the only one who has the power to turn the knob of Heaven’s door and allow His Spirit to bring Heaven to earth.

An Open Door – The Holy Spirit’s Indwelling


Every morning between 5 and 6 AM my alarm clock went off without fail. With some clocks you can hit the snooze and get some extra Zzz’s but not this one, its snooze was permanently out of order. And if I didn’t deal with my persistent alarm by jumping out of bed not only would the whole family wake up but part of the neighborhood as well. I would be fully awake by the time I opened the door to the garage and turned off the barking alarm by filling up a cup with dog food and pouring it into a silver dish. Kiah went from barking to tailing wagging as she delightfully devoured her dog chow. After her breakfast and pouring my freshly brewed coffee she followed me into my office for our morning devotions where she sat content at my feet dreaming of her next meal.

A few weeks ago my alarm didn’t go off, it was a sad day in the Spykstra home as that morning the barking stopped. I was reminiscing with my daughter Anna about our beloved dog Kiah and the joy she brought to our home as well as the numerous life lessons. One of the first lessons we shared was her consistent begging and barking for food. Faithfully at five in the morning and at five at night her internal clock went off and she would not give up until we fed her. Food was her passion; even around the dinner table she would sit up like a prairie dog on her hind legs and give you the saddest look until you slipped her some scraps.

Kiah was a constant reminder to us of what our relationship to the Father in Heaven was to be like. We need to keep crying out and begging the Father to open Heaven’s door and feed us with the presence of His Holy Spirit. E.M. Bounds, a well-known author on prayer says concerning the Holy Spirit, “He is the Father’s greatest gift for the child’s greatest need.” Jesus states this truth when he says in John 15:16ff.

“And I will ask the Father and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever the Spirit of truth…he will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” 

The “daily bread” that is most needed is the Spirit of the Resurrected Lord Jesus Christ awakened in us. Jesus and His disciples after Him would not think of doing life and ministry without the Bread from Heaven. They showed us this Gift from the Father can only come our way by continually “asking, seeking and knocking” on the door of Heaven. Jesus says to us “Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete” John 16:24.

I miss my alarm clock, but maybe now more than ever I’m trying to learn from Kiah’s example of not giving up barking out for food until the door opens and the bowl is filled and “joy is complete.” I believe we are in a new move of Father God where His children are getting hungry again. Neither the treats of this world nor the traditions of men have been able to satisfy the souls deepest desire, only the Father’s presence can fill that with the gift of the Holy Spirit.