Faith Lessons from a Spiritual Father – Part 2


My divine appointment with George Mueller that early Sunday morning several years ago continues to speak to me and sometimes-even shouts to grab my attention. When I read and re-read his life story what continues to come across loud and clear is a testimony of real, radical, faith! Throughout his life George was routinely asked, “What is faith? His response was:

Faith is the assurance that the thing, which God has said in His Word, is true, and that God will act according to what He has said in His Word. This assurance, this reliance on God’s Word this confidence is faith, (p. 30).

The bedrock truth for Mueller was to hear and trust in the Living Word and to become like a young, humble child. Listen to the words he shared at the age of 76:

I have been able with the simplicity of a child, to rely upon God. I have had my trials, but I have laid hold upon God, and so it has come to pass that I have been sustained. It is not only permission, but also positive command that He gives to cast the burdens upon Him. Oh, let us do it! My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, ‘Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall sustain thee,’ (Ps. 55:22), (p. 35).

Muller’s life demonstrated that faith increases by the exercise of it. He goes on to add that the way we grow in faith is through – “trials, obstacles, difficulties, and sometimes defeats, are the very food of faith,” (p. 32). How right he is as you read the stories of so many heroes of faith-check out Hebrews 11-notice that each one’s faith was forged in the furnace of adversity. How often is this true in my own life? At times the Father strips away chunks of what I consider security. Or He has allowed me to face impossible situations? Then, I realize that He is all I have left; He is the only One who can truly help. He was simply waiting for this needy child to hand over to Him “the impossible” and allow Him to grant a glorious intervention of His mighty grace.

The first time I read about the works by George Mueller I was taken back, here I was a seminary student and thought, “I will never have the same gift of faith that this man does!” But then Mr. Mueller’s response was right there in the text for me:

This is a mistake –it is the greatest error- there is not a particle of truth in it. My faith is the same kind of faith that all God’s children have had. It is the same kind that Simon Peter had, and all Christians may obtain this like faith, (p. 36).

The key for Muller was to start by trusting God in a small ways. First he prayed and trusted the Lord for a smaller gifts like $10, then he slowly increased that prayer and trust for $100, or $1000. Over time the small amounts added up and because of the Father’s faithfulness more than a $1,000,000 was given to provide for the orphans under his care. Day by day, month by month, year-by-year George Mueller prayed and learned that if he trusted for something in accordance with His Father’s promises in His written Word the answer would come no matter how impossible it appeared.

Receive George Mueller’s words of encouragement in your OWN faith journey:

Fifty-one years, and God has never failed me! Trust Him for yourselves and find how true to His Word He is!! (p. 36).





Faith Lessons from a Spiritual Father


It was in the early hours of the morning and I just could not fall asleep. To say I was nervous to preach at my home church in Colorado was definitely an understatement. This was my first “official message” delivered as a first year seminary student and my mind relentlessly replayed the scripture and main points over and over again. Realizing that a good night of sleep was not an option, I rolled off the mattress of the pull out couch and started to roam around my dad’s house. I found bookshelf and thumbed through the shelves until a small orange booklet on caught my attention. The pamphlet was titled George Mueller – Man of Faith-it was a short read of about 50 pages and I was sure this would soon put me to sleep. My plan failed miserably. I was now wide-awake and completely overwhelmed with conviction of what real biblical faith looked like in this humble follower of Christ.


I had never heard of Mr. Mueller. The booklet told of a young man who after a season of wild, godless, living was transformed by the message of the Cross-at a prayer meeting and soon after declared, “My whole life shall be one of service for the living God.” He became a pastor in the early 1800’s in Bristol, England and taken aback by the plight of orphans in his day founded Ashley Down Orphanage.


“God’s Orphanage,” as he called it would be home to over 10,000 destitute children who were loved, trained, educated, and sent out into the world. The amazing part of this story is that Mueller never asked anyone for help or hinted that money was needed. Solely in answer to believing prayer almost 1 billion dollars was sent to him for building and maintenance of the orphanage, for his missionary enterprises, and for circulation of Scriptures around the world. In his old age he traveled nearly two hundred thousand miles in 42 countries preaching the Gospel to 3 million people. He died in 1898 at the ripe old age of 93 full of joy with not a penny to his name, giving everything he had to serving the Lord.


Can you understand why I couldn’t sleep? And check this out about his preaching:


“He prayed more about his sermons than anything else and that often the text was not given him until he had ascended the pulpit stairs, although he had been praying for it all week,” (p. 11).


Ouch! I had worked on my first sermon for hours and prayed for minutes. Right there in the wee hours of the morning the Holy Spirit was teaching me the absolute importance of prayer before ever preaching His Word. He was teaching me through George Mueller that ministry as well as the Christian walk demands absolute dependence on the Father for everything!


I can’t recall many details about how that first sermon went that Sunday many years ago but I will never forget the orange booklet and the impact it has had on my life and ministry. My wife and I have read many books about George Mueller and his faith filled life, and for the next few weeks I hope to highlight some powerful lessons we both have gleamed from this spiritual father.



Defending the Cause of the Fatherless

Right now I’m in the middle of planning Oceans Ministries’ next trip to Lesotho, Africa, this coming January. I enjoy the planning and preparation phase of the trip, but have learned along the way to wait with anticipation of how God will impact each trip in unimaginable ways. Every time I have the privilege of leading a team I find myself surprised by God and the way He expands his kingdom through the hearts of His children.

I specifically remember a young woman from a previous trip sharing the ways she encountered her Abba, Father in Lesotho. During a walk around the Beautiful Gate campus her heart was broken over a young boy whose father had died the night before, leaving him an orphan. As she walked, thinking about the boy, she was surrounded by countless children who wanted nothing more than to be held and feel affection. Simply put, she saw more brokenness in a week than she had in her lifetime. Her response after she returned home astounded me. She said, “While I was in Africa the thought that kept going through my mind was this is Heaven, this is the closest I have ever been to Heaven.”   

As I listened to her words, I was struck again with the mystery of our Father God’s kingdom. How is it that through the brokenness of loss, hunger, and injustice she felt the love and acceptance of God through endless hugs from orphan children? I think the answer is this: As her heart softened and became broken for these children, she was sensing a fulfillment of God’s call in Psalm 82:3 to: Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. You see, God does some of his best work through brokenness, he uses it to open our ears to hear His voice, and through this, His kingdom expands.

Kingdom expansion is what we are seeing through our trips to Lesotho. This upcoming trip will focus on discipleship and the working of the Holy Spirit through our partner ministries in Lesotho. As always, Beautiful Gate is a focal point of our trip, but this summer we were also introduced to a care center in Semongkong, a two-hour drive from Beautiful Gate. During our visit the hearts of our volunteers ached for the children who live there with very little food, clothing or care.

Oceans Ministries has decided to partner with this care center to assist in meeting their needs and bringing hope. In fact, it will also be one of the focal points for the January trip we are planning right now. A few weeks ago I Skyped with some business people who will be joining us on the trip. These individuals also visited the Semongkong care center this summer and Christ’s call to care for the poor and broken came alive for them. Their response to action was like hearing the voice of God saying: “we can’t let those children go hungry!”

These memories, combined with the plans and details of this upcoming trip leave me excited and hopeful for what God will do next through our continued connection in Lesotho. If you feel the pull of the heart-strings of our Father, let us know we would love for you to join us.

– Mike Verkaik


On another note, Climbing Prayer Mountain is now available as an ebook on the Kindle platform.

Until the end of September, you can purchase the Kindle version on Amazon for the promotional price of $4.99. After that, the price will revert to $9.99.

The Weaving Ways of our Good Father

For the next two weeks I asked Mike Verkaik to share some of his heart with you as Mike officially started with Oceans Ministries September 1. Please lift Mike, Dawn and their family up in prayer as they have taken this faith journey.

When my son and I were in Israel, our guide stopped us as we were walking to look at the side of a hill. What we saw were small sheep paths that were weaving up and down the mountain. That picture taught me a lot about our Father’s leading in our lives. For me, as I look back on my teaching years that took me from coast to coast and eventually to Oceans Ministries, rarely do I see a straight path.

During my teaching career I always found great joy and fulfillment in investing in the lives of young people. Ever since I graduated from college teaching and coaching has provided me with countless opportunities to do so. In the math classroom, it is an “Aha Moment”, when a student’s smile lights up their face after patient questioning helped them grasp a concept for the first time. In coaching track it is celebrating with an athlete after a personal best is achieved after months of training and pouring confidence in them they could reach their goal.

Since 2014, God has also placed me on a new path to invest in high school student’s lives, co-leading trips to Lesotho, Africa. This past year Tim and I have had many discussions about how God is ruining students’ hearts for His kingdom through our trips to Lesotho. The movement by the Holy Spirit in the lives of the participants has been amazing and contagious. We have seen this movement through student testimonies shared with teen moms, a young woman answering an alter call at a Basotho church, and countless moments where we stand in awe of His orchestration of events. I am so blessed to have a part in helping trip participates experience the kingdom God in Lesotho. Watching our Father make Himself known there is something I can never get enough of.

Tim and I have also both been blessed to disciple these young lives after their trip is completed. This summer, after returning from Lesotho with a group from Holland Christian High School, a young man texted me, “Hey Verkaik, yesterday Ben and I were talking about how we both have helping with mechanics in Lesotho on our mind. It doesn’t seem to fade. Was wondering if we could talk it over and throw some ideas around.” Later that week the two young men stopped at my house and shared the dream our Father had placed on their hearts. I smiled as I sat and listened in amazement at the passion and vision they were given to use their skill in auto mechanics. They shared ideas and questions for over an hour as I listened, prayed and wondered. My main question was, Abba, what are you going to do through these two young men on fire for your kingdom? Later that week I received a document with the details of their plan. For now, we talk, wait in anticipation and pray. This is just one example of how our Father is implanting a passion in young lives to use their gifts, serve long term, or ponder what God would have them do next.

Watching these young peoples hearts being ruined for the kingdom has ruined my heart, and given me a greater passion to follow with confidence and trust this curvy path I am on.


Tim with the team from Holland Christian Schools