“Somehow the dishes always need to be rinsed and loaded in the dishwasher!” My wife Patty has come up with a new nickname for me, “Always!” The possible reasoning behind this title are the words often repeat, “I always do the dishes!” The truth may be that I do not “always” follow through with this repetitive chore, and when that is the case, I am “always” reminded of this fact.

“Always” no doubt a potent word. And my wife has made her point that I may want to eliminate it when talking about dish duty. However, the Apostle Paul uses the word “always” as a command given to us that has life transforming power.

“Always be joyful, keep on praying. No matter what happens, always be thankful for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” 1. Thessalonians 5:16 (NLT)

The secret to living a life infused with heavens love, joy and peace is to “always” have a spirit of rejoicing and thanksgiving no matter what life is throwing at you. Paul says this is priority one for those who have been brought into the family of God through Christ Jesus. Because we “belong” our sinful past has been paid for at the cross and the present is filled with the presence of God living in us through the Holy Spirit who reminds us that we are forever loved sons and daughters of a Good Good Father.

I’m continually learning that when I stop and give praise and thanksgiving for all I have been given in Christ Jesus no matter what the circumstance my fears are replaced by the forever love of the Father. It is no wonder that praise and thanksgiving is God’s #1 desire for His sons and daughters.

This Thanksgiving season is a wonderful reminder for us to “always be joyfulalways be thankful!” Not just on Thanksgiving Day-but ever single moment. I know this is not always easy, but doing so you will release heaven’s gifts into your heart! This life style becomes infectious and the world will wonder what you are on – simply tell them Jesus!!!!

Personally, all of us at Oceans Ministries are overwhelmed with Praise & Thanksgiving for all our Good Father has done this year and how He has used so many of you to come along side of us to make His love and name known to spiritual & physical orphans around the world. Thank you for helping spread His love to prisoners, the homeless in hotels in Aurora ,Colorado and Holland, Michigan, retreats, chapels, preaching, mission trips to Lesotho & South Africa, providing funds and muscle to build Abba’s place house at Beautiful Gate orphanage, the purchase & launching of Oceans Retreat Center in Fish Hoek, South Africa and new opportunities for us to do ministry in the townships in South Africa. We are truly overwhelmed by the goodness of God and praise the Father, Son and Holy Spirit for using so many of you to enable this and so much more to happen!!! From the depths of our souls we thank God for you!

As those who belong to Jesus may we “ALWAYS” seek to be JOYFUL and THANKFUL!

Feel the Zeal!

The other week I was speaking with a group of pastors and church leaders in Denver about the journey of Oceans Ministries. In the middle of sharing about one of our stops along the way a lady blurted out, “ “Feel the Zeel!” Some people looked at her with a perplexing stare as she enthusiastically let those words fly, but Patty and I knew exactly what she was referring to. It wasn’t exactly an amen to what I was sharing but rather a reference to a marketing campaign geared to attract people to the quaint downtown of Zeeland, Michigan, where we once lived.

Ironically, or should I say in God’s Sovereign plan, a few days later I was back in Zeeland with a group of men eager to learn more about the Holy Spirit. As we shared, studied, and prayed together that phrase “Feel the Zeel” kept orbiting around my mind. “Zeal” is great energy or enthusiasm in pursuit of a cause or an objective. This describes how the HOLY Spirit works in the life of a believer. This weekend we referenced the Holy Spirit as….

The Holy Spirit as the power and presence of God- who brings us to the perfect love of the Father and Son producing an abundant life.

The Holy Spirit is zealous for us to come into an experiential knowledge of the love of God the Father through the work of His Son Jesus as revealed in Romans 8:15-17:

“For you did not receive a spirt that makes you a slave to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by which you cry, “Abba Father, (Daddy, Daddy). The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ…”

God the Holy Spirit is zealous to bring us into the Father’s house through the finished work of Jesus and lavish Heaven’s unfailing love upon us. To taste it, to feel it, to be transformed by this perfect love that cast out every possible fear in life (1 John 4:19). This is what happened to Jesus at His baptism, to the disciples at Pentecost and what God the Holy Spirit wants to bring to us. Our world is in desperate need of followers of Christ who “feel the zeal” of God’s unquenchable love. Our churches in the US need to be revived afresh by this unstoppable love if we are going to become attractive to a lost and hurting world.

What attracts this zealous love of God through the Holy Spirit? I believe it is when His followers zealously go after Him. After this two day gathering I left extremely hopeful as this group of men from Zeeland committed to pray and seek after the gift of the Father as promised by Jesus in Luke 11:11-13:

Keep asking, seeking, and knocking – if you father’s who are evil know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give you the Holy Spirit to those who ask.

Take a moment to quiet your soul. To hear the Holy Spirit declaring “Feel the Zeal?” May He prompt and prepare our hearts for a fresh move. To bring us into the power and the presence of the the Father and the Son’s love. May this love overflow from the banks of our soul and splash out upon a draw and thirsty world.

“Just One!”

Oceans Retreat Center Staff, Kegan, Thobeka & Michele

Recently Patty and I returned from hanging out with friends in the hotels on East Colfax. We celebrated a friend’s birthday complete with ice cream, party hats, and singing along with Scripture reading and prayer. The evening was special indeed, but as we drove home we both felt blessed and burdened. The addictions, poverty, and demonic strongholds imprisoning God’s precious children is so overwhelming at times!

Then the next day I received this email from Michele, a friend who has been volunteering at Oceans Retreat Center in South Africa. She said:

In my traveling around the Cape Town area, my heart cries with the segregation that still has it’s hold on peoples lives. The horrid conditions and inequality brings me to literal tears. I have spent much time praying about this and asking God what I could possibly do and where does He sees Oceans in this. It is so big and so overwhelming. I have heard repeatedly, just one. Start with just one.  Build relationship, love, encourage, be Jesus to just one. So this is what I have continued praying into.

The words God gave to Michele, “be Jesus to just one,” re-captured for me the essence of our calling as followers of Christ. The stories I love reading in the Gospels are how Jesus lived the “just one” principle. The calling of Levi, the despised tax-collector, a Samaritan woman with a sorted past He met at the well, the man filled with the legion of demons, a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a woman bleeding for 12 years, a little guy called Zacchaeus, blind Bartimaeus, and how about the the thief on the cross, just to name a few.

A big part of Jesus’ ministry was loving the one the Father put before Him that day. Jesus demonstrated the importance of stopping, listening, and loving the one before Him. He revealed to us the heart of our Father-every person matters! We can be a part of changing the world around us by being “Jesus to just one!”

Thanks Michele for reminding me of heavens big strategy – “Jesus to just one!” When you get overwhelmed by the needs of the world around you-remember today He calls to be “Jesus to just one!”

A Prophetic Picture for South Africa!

Rugby Captain Siya giving thanks to Jesus!

I asked Ray Haakonsen, Oceans SA Ambassador, to write a blog on the incredible win of the South African rugby team and how it is a prophetic picture for the country.

On Saturday, November 2, 2019 South Africa WON the Rugby World Cup! In the final match the Springboks convincingly trounced England. For those of you who may not know rugby or how big it is in our country, think TEXAS, Megaburgers, Empire State building, The Grand Canyon, The Super Bowl and World series. YES, this win is HUGE for our country!

As a passionate rugby follower, who played the game for my country of birth at school, U/20 and senior level, I want to share the significance of this win with you as a follower in Christ who believes God has a prophetic calling on this nation to be a blessing to the world. A bit of background information is helpful to realize the importance of this victory.

South Africa has had a tumultuous history with fighting between different ethnic, religious, nationality and cultural backgrounds, and like much of Africa has been used by many outsiders which has added to the struggle to find harmony amongst its people over the centuries. (For further history the book “The Covenent” by James Michener gives insight to that past.) In 1995 The Rugby World Cup was held in South Africa for the first time, shortly after the first democratic elections in our country. With the end of Apartheid and iconic Nelson Mandela voted in as President by a vast majority of the people, our country was in a state of unpredictability.

Hosting the World Cup in 1995 during this extreme tension left many fearing a bloodbath . Thankfully, it was quite the opposite AND our Springbok team against ALL odds and predictions, WON the iconic Webb Ellis Rugby World Cup Final against New Zealand. One will never forget Nelson Mandela holding the Cup with our Afrikaans Captain, both wearing similar #6 Jerseys

I watched the final with my son Kegan at a church hall and on our drive home we witnessed a second miracle, and truly it was alongside the Springboks winning, as people of every race, standing, color, culture and political background, waving South African flags, dancing in the streets, hugging and kissing, ululating, celebrating, not only for the Springbok win, but the coming together of her people around a new nation that was on the edge in so many ways! It truly ranks as one of my most joyous experiences in my life.

A second victory was claimed in 2007 and now again in 2019! Only 18 months ago this team was ranked a lowly 8th in the world. Yet, together, despite faltering against the mighty All Blacks, this South African team-which by the way represented players of every color-came together under the leadership of Coach Rassie Erasmus who instilled belief and hope! And amazing things happened!

This 2019 team chose as it’s Hashtag #Strongertogether and instilled hope and pride and galvanized its people as had happened in 1995. The team continually reminded their fans that they were playing for all 56 million South Africans and the country rallied around them, even those who didn’t know much about rugby. The final was a clash to note with the multiracial and skilled team fighting for the honor and hope of our nation! It was EPIC! The interview of Captain Siya Kolisi was tear-jerking as he shared about his humble beginnings in the townships, and how at times he went without food to eat as a child, never dreaming of winning a World Cup!

Captain Siya with wife Rachel and family.

When Coach Kolisi was asked if the team felt “under pressure” during the tournament, he responded by saying, “pressure is felt when people don’t have a job and don’t know where their next meal is coming from, or how to counsel a family member who has been raped or another who lost a loved one to murder…that’s pressure. We have played to bring hope!”

Many of the players on the team are followers of Christ and unashamedly testify of their love for Christ on their wrist bindings and believe (as I do) that this win was not just for the players and management who have worked so hard, but to bring HOPE to us all in His name. My prayer, in the aftermath of this historic victory, is that the joy, togetherness, hope and fighting spirit of the mighty, but humble Springboks, would permeate into South Africa’s very being as in 1995, and we would see this wave begin to be carried on the wings of the Spirit of God through its people and be shared world-wide.

I believe Abba Father can use all things for His honor and glory, a rugby match, players, coaches, fans and the list goes on. May this event cause unbelievers to be overwhelmed by the love of the Father and see a new dawn arise where hate has often reigned. Yes, I am proud to be South African, but even more proud and overjoyed to be welcomed by ABBA Father and living within His family. May hope and love bring forth much fruit!

Our cry to the Lord is: “For the Earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” – Habakkuk 2:14.

Amen and Amen.