Dare to Ask!

The most important question you will every ask yourself, “Can I trust God?” Can you trust Him with your life, family, finances, future, job, ministry, and yes even your sin? To be honest it is a question I wrestle with every single day in one way or another.

I just finished a book given to me in Africa called Dare to Ask: The Questions which Shape our Ordinary Lives by Aukje Brouwer. Aukje and Toby Brouwer lived in beautiful village in Friesland, a rural region in the Netherlands. They had three small children, lived by family and friends, and loved their life in an idyllic setting.

But in the midst of there peaceful life the Spirit began to speak and ended up calling them to South Africa to work with vulnerable children. Aukje shares her wrestling match with God and thoughts about if He really could be trusted: “Was He really who He said He was – a loving caring Father? Could He provide for us? Would He be able to protect our family? As she entered into a passionate open dialogue with God, He made His intentions known to her from these words in Deuteronomy:

“So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic. For the Lord, your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you,” (31:6)

With this fresh revelation from the LORD, Aukje responded, “Yes, LORD. I choose to trust you!” (p. 18). That declaration of trust would lead them to relocate to Cape Town South Africa in 1991. This was during a time of uprising against the injustice of apartheid, the country was deeply divided. Trust in a loving Father propelled Aukje and Toby through many struggles and spiritual battles-but they continued to reach out to needy children and spearheaded Beautiful Gate Children’s Center as a beacon of hope in the midst of a troubled township.

Dare to Ask is an amazing testimony to a faithful and loving Father who cares for His children and above all can be trusted even in the darkest of times. It challenged me to keep my eyes fixed on the precious gift of the Father, His beloved son Jesus. As I often wrestle with the question “Can I trust you Father with_______?” A glance at a crucified Savior taking my place on the cross helps me answer that question. Oh how He loves you and me!

“Since God did not spare even His own Son but gave Him up for us all, won’t God, who gave us Christ, also give us everything else? (Romans. 8:32).

“Spirit Lead Me…”

We drove onto a dirt road that twisted through shacks made of whatever materials could be found and arrived at a pre-school made of corrugated metal. Inside were beautiful children being taught and cared for by women with big hearts and bright smiles. Here was a little oasis in a troubled township called Khayelitsha, which is home to over 1 million people just 20 minutes from the modern city of Cape Town South Africa.

As Mike and I spent time in this township learning about it from various ministries we were overwhelmed by what we saw and heard. The need, poverty, violence, spiritual darkness, and injustice goes beyond anything I have experienced before. The pastor who took us to visit the pre-school shared that only 5% in that township know the love of Christ and the church struggles to survive in this spiritual war zone.

We learned from the leaders of Beautiful Gate, another powerful light in the darkness, how the schools are underfunded and don’t have enough qualified teachers or resources to effectively teach. They also shared with us the family crisis of fatherless homes that leads to gang violence that permeates the townships with fear.

As we were touring Beautiful Gate’s campus a young girl ran up to Mike and I and asked for a hug. Then she wanted us to watch her play on the play ground set with a group of other children. As we got ready to leave she once again wanted to give hugs and followed us back to our car and with a contagious smile said, “I love you!” A couple of mornings later I was reading about Paul’s vision of a man from Macedonia standing and begging him, “come over to Macedonia and help us,”  (Acts 16:9).  As I read these words my mind went to the little girl who needed hugs and love and the Spirit’s voice calling and tugging through her words.

I’m not sure what it all means yet but I know the Spirit is again calling Oceans to step out in faith to follow His leading. We had so many divine appointments and meetings that only the Spirit could have arranged. One morning Mike and I were worshiping together by listening to a play list of worship songs and sure enough the song Oceans popped up and called us again to live in radical faith following the Spirit’s leading:

“You call me out upon the waters – The great unknown where feet may fail – And there I find you in the mystery – in Oceans deep my faith will stand – Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders let me walk upon the waters wherever you may call me…”

Ask the Spirit to lead you today to a God ordained encounter that will will advance His name and love in way that He alone will be praised and glorified through you!

God’s Sovereign Appointment Book!

This week Tim and I are in Cape Town, South Africa. Hard to imagine from the picture isn’t it. We are here to explore and plan for an upcoming trip we are taking with the Colorado Christian University women’s basketball team. Arriving late the night before, we were a little draggy starting our day, but excited for our first appointment at a retreat center run by Africa Leadership International. While walking up to the main building we were greeted with a chorus of prayers coming out of the meeting room. Simultaneous prayers offered by all the participants, bringing praise and petition to their Father individually, and corporately. It was a beautiful melody, reminding us of what our Abba Father hears each day as the countless prayers of His children reach His ears.

As the prayers ceased, we walked into the retreat center and were greeted by what seemed like people from every tribe and nation. Introductions and conversations proceeded as we were once again made aware of the orchestration and connectedness of the kingdom of God. All of our worlds seemed to collide as conversations arose about ministries God used to bring us to this moment. Promise Keepers, World Vision, Beautiful Gate Lesotho, Beautiful Gate Cape Town, and Open Door Ministries were a common thread that God had woven through our journeys, bringing us together at this seemly insignificant place on the side of a mountain.

As we were talking about our amazing day, we discussed Acts chapter 10. How Both Cornelius, a Roman centurion, and Peter a devote Jew were set up for a Divine Appointment through prayer. Their worlds would have never collided in the natural realm but through the spiritual realm the Holy Spirit birthed an explosive movement of God among the Gentiles. Tim and I would have never experienced what we did today if not for prayer and God’s sovereign appointment book. Read Acts 10 if you have sometime today and meditate on the power of two praying men and the unleashing of the Kingdom of God into the world. Let this story and ours motivate you to keep calling on the name of your Good Father and watch God’s divine appointments flood your life with His glory.

Say “Yes to the Dress”

When I looked at the picture on her phone my heart overwhelmed me and caused my eyes to flood with tears.  I guess I wasn’t ready to see my little girl Anna all grown up wearing the wedding dress she picked out.  My little girl who claimed she would never wear a dress said, “YES to the dress,” sparkled with a radiant glow and dad was at a loss for words-just tears.

By far this is the most expensive clothing item I have purchased, but at that moment money meant nothing, the joy on my daughter’s face was worth it all. 

The morning after the dress encounter, I was dialoguing with the Father about it in my journal and here is portion of what I wrote on New Year’s Day.

“Anna found a wedding dress, she looked beautiful… a glorious bride…brought me to tears and took my breath away.  Father this is how you must feel when we put on Christ by faith, when we wear the Holy Spirit.  O Father what glory you must feel, you pay for the dress for your children-and it is costly-but you delight in it, seeing your children sparkle…thank you Father for this amazing gift of love.”

It was a great picture gift the Father had given me to start out 2019. My Father paid with the life of His only Son to cover me with the Holy white of Heaven’s pure love and make me sparkle for His glory.  My Father looks at me through the perfection of Jesus and His heart is moved by what He sees.

As you walk forward with the eyes of faith in 2019 do so with your soul rejoicing with thanksgiving and praise. Your Father is beaming with tears of joy over you as you wear the wedding garments of salvation He has prepared for you (Isa. 61:10).

You are all sons and daughters of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. (Gal. 3:26-27).

A Prayer for “Infinitely More” in 2019

Reflecting on 2018 this text from Eph. 3:20 came to mind:  “He is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would every dare to ask or hope,” (NLT).

I could list countless examples of how this verse has proven true over and over again this last year for Oceans Ministries, but here is a recent one that touched me.

In December my wife and I were “personal shoppers” at an event hosted by Providence Network. This holistic ministry takes people off the streets, provides housing, and helps them heal from addictions, abuse, and the effects of homelessness.

It was such a blessing to walk alongside the Providence Network residents as they shopped for Christmas gifts for their families for a minimal amount. Once gifts were chosen and wrapped individuals were given the opportunity to donate money to help another ministry. To our surprise one of the ministries options was Oceans.

To say the Goodness of God overwhelmed me was an understatement as Oceans received a check for $366.  Abba was pouring out His love through His children who had limited resources, children who had been rescued from the streets of Denver and were just learning to get back on their feet.  I am excited to pass on this Holy Blessing from God to be applied toward the building of Abba’s Play Room at Beautiful Gate in Lesotho Africa.  God’s rescued children in downtown Denver are blessing God’s rescued orphan children in Lesotho Africa!!

Our God is truly the God who is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would every dare to ask or hope.“ I could never imagine God working in the way He did with the Christmas event, but that is the amazing God of love we serve.

God, our Father desires to show Himself glorious in your life. Would you make this verse your testimony for today, for this New Year?

In the verses that precede this verse Paul’s passionate prayer is for the church to unleash God’s glory in our lives. I want to continue to pray these inspired words in 2019 and I urge you to join me as together we watch our Father do “infinitely more” than we could ever dare dream. May we join the apostle Paul in this!

I pray that from His glorious, unlimited resources He will give mighty inner strength through His Holy Spirit. And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts as you trust in Him. May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous love.

And may you have the power to understand as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love really is. May you experience the love of Christ; though it is so great you will never fully understand it.

Then you will be filled with the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Now glory be to God! By His mighty power at work within us, He is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope. May He be given glory in the church and in Christ Jesus forever and ever through endless ages. Amen! (Eph. 3:16-21, NLT).