Attracting the Dove – A Longing Soul

I so appreciated the “dove” sightings that were shared with me after the last blog. One of the pictures and stories, which blessed me, was from Karen, whose husband Rick passed away in March. Rick, was and I believe still is, a prayer warrior for many of us as he sits with Christ in the heavenly realm, which makes this picture and story super special.



Karen says: “This lovely dove has been here over a month. She laid, sat, and hatched 2 babies then they all left for a little over a week but I saw them in the flowerbeds as she nurtured them in survival skills. Now she is back sitting in the nest again in the stag horn fern on my patio. She gently reminds me the Holy Spirit is indeed always with me.”


What attracts the Holy Spirit to settle upon our soul? A soul in need that longs after the presence of God. I can’t help but think that our Good Father sent a physical dove to Karen to remind her that in her pain and loss of Rick, His glorious presence is filling her and comforting her in the midst of her wilderness of loss.


One of the reasons that the Dove came upon Jesus at His Baptism and “remained upon Him” (Jn. 1:32) was because His deepest longing was for the presence of the Father’s love. Jesus modeled this longing through out His life. At the age of 12 He chose the Father over Mary and Joseph (Lk. 2:49) and on the cross screams from the depth of His soul as He feels the separation from the Father’s love that had daily sustained Him (Matthew 27:46).


After the resurrection Jesus has a teachable moment with the disciples taking time to reiterate their soul need for the Holy Spirit. In fact He tells them before He ascends to heaven not to do any ministry until the gift of the Father’s love comes by way of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-5). The disciples heard, obeyed, and the Father delivered the Dove to their longing souls.


We are living in great days! Yes, I know it may seem the opposite with the natural disasters, political unrest around the world, daily reports of school shootings, etc. But I believe such circumstances are creating a longing for something the American dream can’t bring to our souls, the supernatural love of the Father.


The Dove will come and nest in a soul that longs for the presence of God more than anything else in the world. Augustine of Hippo got is right when he said: “Thou has made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.” So what are you longing for?

Attracting the Dove


I recently read about a missionary couple sent to Israel. They were given a home to live in near Jerusalem. After a few weeks, they noticed that a dove moved in the eave of the roof of their home. They took this as a sign of God’s favor over them in Israel. But they also noticed that the dove would fly away every time they slammed the door or yelled at one another.


The dove is a shy, sensitive bird and in order to keep it at their home they needed to live peacefully and therefore adjusted their behavior in order to keep the dove as their houseguest.


R.T. Kendall writes about this story in his new book Holy Fire. I would strongly recommend it as a balanced, Biblical view of how the Holy Spirit works in our lives. This past Sunday Pentecost was celebratedthe arrival of the Holy Spirit on the early church. On that particular day the believers received the Holy Fire of the Spirit and the Gospel went forward with signs and wonders from heaven. How I long to see Fire fall again on my needy soul and the struggling Bride of Christ.


But I wonder, perhaps before the Fire will descend, maybe we need to attract the Dove, the symbol of the Holy Spirit, the one that empowered Jesus at His baptism (Matt. 3:16, Mark 1:10, Luke 3:22, John 1:32). Notice the words of John 1:32-33:,


Then John gave this testimony: “I saw the Spirit come down from heaven as a dove and remain on Him. I would not have known Him, except that the one who sent me to baptize with water told me, ‘The man on whom you see the Spirit come down and remain is He who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ ”


Do you see the word “remain?” The Holy Spirit never left Jesus because Jesus never offended the sensitive person of the Holy Spirit. Jesus lived a sinless, obedient life that brought glory to the Father and attracted the anointing and power of the Spirit.


Have you experienced the Dove come upon you? There is no greater gift. There is a heavenly peace and a “joy unspeakable.” You don’t worry about time or the future, because you are engulfed in eternal love. This sweet anointing from the Dove empowers with a courage and boldness to live for the glory of God.


What is puzzling is He, referring to the Holy Spirit, doesn’t seem to stay or remain like He did on Jesus. Now don’t misunderstand if you are a child of God the Holy Spirit will never leave you (John 14:16). Yet the Scripture teaches it is possible to “grieve” and “quench” the Spirit by how we live. It is as if the Dove flies away, although the Spirit never leaves you, it feels like His manifest presence and anointing from heaven has vanished. Why is this so?


The next few weeks I’d like to wrestle with what causes the Spirit to seem to fly away and how we can prepare our hearts to attract His presence and anointing. Join me as we continue to search our hearts and cry out for the presence of the Dove.

A Mother’s Heart


I asked Danell Czarnecki, a Board Member of Oceans Ministries, to share this post and invitation to Africa.

As we celebrated Mother’s Day this past weekend it was such a blessing to have all three of my children and their families together. My son has recently moved his family to another state, so having his family here was an unexpected gift. As I enjoyed the love, noise and a bit of chaos, I thanked God for the privilege of being called mom and grandma. Being a mom has brought me such joy; and if I am honest some pain along the way; but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

My reflections on Mother’s Day also brought about precious memories of my recent visit to Lesotho, Africa. I had the honor of spending time at Beautiful Gate, a childcare center for orphaned and abandoned babies ages birth to 5; as well as visiting The Good Shepherd Centre for Teenage Mothers, and Semonkong Children’s Centre, a care center for orphaned and poverty-stricken children located in a one of the mountain villages.

While I was at Beautiful Gate I was overwhelmed with emotions as I watched the House Mom’s (BoMme) of Beautiful Gate care for the 12-15 children in their care, (there are 5 baby houses, so about 75 children are housed at BG) they sang over them with joy, tended to each child, one after the other without rest, without complaint and loved them unconditionally. And because I know some of the stories of the children and the BoMme, I know there is pain, tears and loss and yes, even a joyful loss as they send one of their children to a forever family. I couldn’t help but think of Jesus and how overwhelmed with love he is for us; the joy our Abba takes in us, and yes, the pain and tears He sheds for us too. The time at Beautiful Gate was such a beautiful reminder of the joy, care, and patience our Abba has for us and I am so grateful to not be left orphaned but to have been adopted by the Perfect Father.

Our team also had the chance to spend some time at The Good Shepherd Centre. They house teenage girls who find themselves pregnant, often as a result of incest or rape. Many have been rejected from their homes due to poverty and/or shame. The Good Shepherd Centre takes in these young moms-to-be and offers them hope. They receive love, pre and post-natal care, education, skill training and learn how to care for their newborns. I again found myself overwhelmed by the goodness of the “mothers” that cared for them and the Abba who loves them so much. And us “moms” on the team had the pleasure of holding these beautiful new mother’s babies with joy while listening to their moms stories; knowing these babies will not likely be found abandoned in a field, by a dumpster or worse; all because someone took the time to share the Father’s love with them.

My last few days in Lesotho I kept thinking about my own daughters and how I want them to know they too are loved and rejoiced over; and I thanked their Abba for calling them into His family so they can experience the unspeakable joy of knowing they will never be orphaned or abandoned. And I couldn’t think of a better way to help them understand just how deep that love goes other than taking them to Lesotho to experience it for themselves.

“The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing.” Zeph 3:17

Those words in Scripture are some of my favorite, and it is exactly what you feel in the mountain Kingdom of Lesotho. After returning home God made it very clear that I was to plan a Mother/Daughter trip to Lesotho in late September of 2018. I’ve been praying God would bring a few more moms and daughters to join me and mine on this life-changing journey. If you are interested in more information regarding the Lesotho Mission trip in September of 2018 or scheduling a trip of your own contact, tim.spykstra@oceansministries or

Randy’s Church

Part 2 from the Wooden Shoe!

For the past few weeks I have found myself in Randy’s* room, one of the residents of the Wooden Shoe Motel. Randy struggles with addictions, but I found his room to be a place of peace. During my first visit to his room I heard all about his childhood and looked at two framed pictures of himself growing up.

As I looked at the two multiple opening matted pictures, he abruptly asked me, “Mike why are you here?” As I shared with him the heart of his Abba Father, I ended by saying, “Randy I just want to know how I can pray for you.” As I said those words Randy quickly approached me and grabbed my hand and shoulder tightly. I was not sure what was happening and definitely could not have predicted the outcome even if I was given multiple opportunities.

As He squeezed my hand tightly and looked deep into my eyes he said, “Father, I thank you for Mike, for bringing him here … and Jesus, I thank you for saving me.” As he finished his prayer, I offered mine, but honestly I was overwhelmed by my encounter with Jesus.

As he released his grip on my hand he continued to look deeply in my eyes as he said,” Mike, it has been a long time since I prayed with someone, thank you.” What a gift my Father gave me as He broke through Randy’s addiction bringing us both into His presence where we experienced His joy because we have the same hope found through love in action in Romans 12: 12-13

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

The next week we were meeting again and he began to open up about his struggle with alcoholism. He looked at me and said, “Mike, I have been drinking… I have my problems, but I believe Mike… I believe.” I told him that I already knew both these things – not only that he had been drinking, but also that he believed. No sooner had I finished my sentence than my son came by and said, “Dad we are going to pray as a group in the community room… Randy, you want to come?”

Without saying a word, Randy got up, found his walker and followed my son. As we stood there in our circle holding hands Randy broke the silence with the song, “Be still and know…” What followed this was a peaceful time of prayer in the midst of much pain and brokenness. As we finished I went to Randy and thanked him for coming. He looked deep into my eyes and said, “Mike, this was church!”

And it was church. Once again as we came to serve and bring shalom to the chaos, Jesus was already there, blessing both those being served as well as the ones who served them. Be on the lookout for where you will experience church this week.






Jesus at the Wooden Shoe

I asked Mike Verkaik to share about an Oceans Ministries work going on right in Holland Michigan. Be blessed as you read how our Good Father is at work. 

How did he get here? This was the question I contemplated after talking and praying with Sam* in his hotel room while volunteering for Jesus on Colfax last September. Sam was living there with his wife and 2 children, while looking for work. They were the first family I served that night, and the memory of our conversation, prayer, and his children playing happily in their small room lingered long after I left.

As I returned home to Michigan my mind continued to dwell on the experiences I had serving on Colfax. I reflected on the people I met, the stories they told me, and the prayers we had shared together. All of this was racing around my head as reentered my life in Holland, MI; a city I saw as completely different than Urban Denver where I had just visited. The following Sunday I was sharing my experience in Denver with a friend and no sooner had I finished when he said: “Mike, we have the same thing here.”

After he shared the location, the wheels in my mind really started to turn. What would it look like if Oceans Ministries could replicate what was happening on Colfax here in Holland?

Inspired by my friend’s conversation and heart for the residents living there, I was led to do prayer walks around two hotels located on US 31 in Holland. One of my initial prayers on that day in October was that God would present an opportunity for us to serve a Christmas dinner for the residents of one of the hotels.

For two months I continued to walk circles around these hotels, asking God to open doors both physically and spiritually for a ministry to begin. On December 22, 2017 God opened those doors, and three couples spent the following evening sharing a Christmas dinner and praying with residents of the Wooden Shoe Motel.

And that wasn’t our last time sharing dinner with those who call the Wooden Shoe home.

Presently, we serve a meal every Tuesday night to the residents living there and each week we see Jesus in the conversations, laughter and prayers we share with the residents. It is this offer of prayer that opens their hearts, as well as their needs, concerns and wounds.

Last week we brought meals to 3 families over at the Economy Hotel next door. After a conversation with the manager we were granted permission to do ministry there as well.

What does this mean? Well, it could mean distributing food, praying and developing ongoing relationships with 50 more rooms. Our team is currently praying about what this would look like as well as how we could do effective ministry there.

If you live in the West Michigan area and would like to get involved, contact me at . We would love to work alongside you. You will be blessed, as you are a blessing.