The Purple Door


Why in the world a purple door? Last week my dad and I toured a ministry called Providence Network. A ministry miraculously birthed 30 years ago that continues to transform addicts, homeless, abused woman, at risk teens and a whole bunch more for the glory of God in the heart of Denver.


During our tour of this holistic ministry we stopped at a hip looking coffee shop called The Purple Door. I love coffee shops and this one was special! It had a cool vibe about it and an audacious vision.   The coffee shop takes homeless and at risk teens off the streets loves on them and gives them a job at The Purple Door.


They young lady behind the counter was telling me how since being there doors opened for her to get into college and she is pursing an accounting degree, amazing!

As we were sipping some tasty lattes we asked, “so why the purple doors?” I mean it did kind of stand out. She proceeded to tell us that the ministry wants each person who walks into the shop as well as each employee to know they are royalty!


Such a profound statement to indicate that each teen rescued from the streets and each customer enjoying their cup of coffee are created in the image of God and therefore royalty. The vision of the owners is that The Purple Door will bring people to understand that through Christ we become sons and daughters of a loving Father!


My heart leaped for joy as this vision was shared as it parallels the heart of Oceans Ministries. Christ came to open the door for us to the Father’s House so that we can live as royalty. As He said in John 14:6


“I am the way, the truth and the lifeno one comes to the Father except through Me.”


Jesus’ crimson blood was shed so that you and I can wear a royal robe of His righteousness and walk into the Father’s house boldly as His beloved royal kids. When we come to understand the metamorphosis that happens in our hearts because of this truth- the Kingdom of heaven comes to earth.


The Purple Door is a powerful visual reminder to walk into Abba Father’s House and to live as royalty! I praise God for the truth this coffee house teaches and lives into. I hope to enjoy a cup of coffee at The Purple Door sometime and you are invited. But in the meantime let us remind one another that we are His chosen and royal sons and daughters!


Go Find a Rock!


I looked for a stone that would fit into my hand to hurl into the lake but all I could find were small pebbles and the big rock pictured above. Every year during the Jewish feast day Rosh Hashanah (Feast of Trumpets, Lev. 23:23-25), I practice a Jewish custom of throwing a rock into a body of water. This is a visual act of an inward repentance for sins for the past year. 10 days after Rosh Hashanah comes the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur), the Holiest Day on the Jewish calendar which is celebrated tomorrow, September 19.  Yom Kippur remembers the high priest act of once a year entering the Holy of Holies to sprinkle the blood of bulls and goats on the mercy seat to atone for the sins of Israel (Lev. 16).


So one day I threw a rock in a lake and another day I was doing a men’s retreat in Kansas City. I love teaching on Hearing the Voice of Your Father. I shared how the first step to hearing the Father’s voice is developing a humble repentant heart that follows Jesus into the Jordan River (Mt. 3:13-17). Jesus identified Himself with the worst of sinners and walked right into the Jordan as sinless lamb. This act of obedience pointed to His upcoming sacrifice on the cross. Jesus-the Cornerstone-cast Himself into the water as a humble servant to demonstrate that He would take on our sins and not only thrust them into the depths of the sea, (Micah 7:19) but also open up our hearts to the forever love of the Father.


I shared with the men how the Jews believed that the 10 days of repentance before the Day of Atonement would open up the heavens to those whose hearts were repentant and the result was to encounter the voice of God. Now don’t miss this, when Jesus emerged out of the Jordan River after the baptism of repentance He heard the Father say,


“This is My Son, whom I love, with Him I am well pleased,” Mt. 3:17.


I challenged the men to let the Spirit reveal their sin, their rebellious heart, find a rock, confess their sin, and hurl that rock into the water. But since there wasn’t any water at the retreat center we were at we improvised and had a bonfire to symbolize the removal of our sins. Abba moved during this time of repentance-many of the men’s ears were opened to hear the loving voice of their Abba Father.


It has been a week since I rode my bike to the lake, confessed a ton of sins, and with both hands and all the strength I could muster threw that big rock into the water. What a relief to place all my wrongdoings on the Rock of Jesus Christ. Yes, that rock made a gigantic splash! I must admit I felt like hiding behind a rock when I scared a couple sitting nearby. Oops I guess we neither of us will forget that day!

I rode my bike back home full of joy, full of the Father’s love, knowing I am His son because of the gift of the Son. I cherish the words He speaks over me. May you cherish the word He speaks over you!


You are His son, His daughter and He is proud of you!

Go find a Rock!




What’s Normal Anyway?

While Visiting Lesotho With My Special Needs Son Taught Me About the Heart of the Father

(Written by Mike Verkaik)

If you know me in real life, then you probably also know my son Chad. Chad is an energetic, 6 foot 5 college sophomore who has been developmentally delayed since birth. These past 2 years Dawn and I have seen so many of our prayers for Chad answered in Calvin College’s Ready for Life (RFL) program. For the first time this fall he is living independently in his own apartment alongside a fellow RFL student. When I visit him in his new place, I can’t help but rejoice in the way God has shown up in the life of my son through this program.


When I think of life with Chad, I often think of a scene from the movie The Incredibles. At the beginning of the film, our main characters (all superheros with extraordinary powers) are all sitting around the dinner table talking about their school day when the oldest daughter, Vie exclaims: “Normal, what does anyone in this family know about normal?”


This line has stuck with me since the time I saw the movie, and often pops when I think of Dawn and my parenting journey with Chad.


When Chad entered our family, we spent many of his childhood years asking this same question: “What is normal?” At church, is it okay that Chad sits down with head bowed every time we pray even when the congregation is standing? What about when he sings boisterously with a joy not typically seen in Reformed Churches?


What is normal?


Chad’s heart and perspective have shown me that the way you and I define “normal” doesn’t always line up with the heart of our Father. Chad lives without concern for what others think and if the spirit leads him to share or pray he does so loudly. One of the most Christ-like things about Chad is his concern for others, he never wants anyone to feel left out.


Many of Chad’s better qualities were brought into sharp perspective for me this past August when he joined me on an Ocean’s trip to Lesotho. Simply put, I saw the heart of our Father explode through the actions of my son.

1st John 4:18 says: “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.” Chad’s openness to the Spirit astounded me in Lesotho. Putting off any doubts or fears, he responded to everyone with the freedom that comes from living fully alive, just as you were created to be. While in Lesotho Chad prayed freely over the staff and directors of Beautiful Gate. He worshipped openly through song, with inspired motions and dance. He happily shared his testimony to teen moms at the Good Shepherd Center, connecting with them in beautiful authenticity.


Throughout the trip Chad continuously concerned himself with the needs and inclusion of everyone around him. He was the one to ensure all birthdays were celebrated with cake and singing. Every visitor that entered the campus was always invited to dinner, or on a trip, or into a conversation. No one got out of dish duty with Chad on the watch, and if someone was not feeling well, he made sure he found a replacement. Most memorably, when one student, Peter, asked to rededicate his life to Christ through baptism, Chad taped the entire sacrament and made sure Peter got a copy.


Life with Chad, both in Lesotho and at home in West Michigan, has shown me that our normal doesn’t always line up with the life of freedom our Father calls us to live. Without the insecurities and fear that sometimes hold us back, Chad’s heart pours out Jesus to everyone as he naturally fulfills the command to “Love each other as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)


What a blessing to call him my son. He has taught me not to live normal but live like the Heart of the Father!


















It is true a picture is worth a thousand words.

It is true a picture is worth a thousand words.

This photograph was taken August 22, 2014 on Inspiration Road. I. (Patty) was driving home feeling somewhat discouraged as all that what familiar in my life was now very different. I was thinking of my dear friend Kathy who was in the midst of cancer. I was missing the California sunshine. I was driving and praying and wondering what this new era of ministry would hold for our family. And then I noticed the sunset! It was brilliant! The clouds had hovered over the big blue Colorado sky all day long and FINALLY the SUN BURST FORTH! I clicked several pictures on my phone and only days later did I notice an incredible gift portrayed in a figure in the clouds.

Sometimes when we have no words to say or pray….God gives us a picture!

I ask that today God through His Son Jesus Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit will give you a sign, a picture, a word of encouragement, something that YOU KNOW IN YOUR HEART could only be from HIM….for such a time as this.