Finding Radical Faith in Uncertain Times

After an incredible night of prayer and worship last Wednesday a couple asked if they could meet with me the following day before South Africa was scheduled to go on lockdown. In my mind I was thinking they may need counseling or possibly financial assistance to sustain their family for the next 21 days as both of them would be out of work.

March 26 is a day I will never forget. Not only was it the last full day before we into quarantine as a nation, but it was my encounter with this couple that I will remember for the rest of my life. It was humbling, overwhelming, left me speechless, and filled my heart with overflowing hope and joy.

The couple started out sharing how they were touched by the Wednesday night of prayer and worship at Oceans Retreat Center and believed God was telling them to give a gift to the ministry. That’s when my heart started to beat rapidly and my tongue got tied. My mind flooded with countless thoughts on why they should not give due to the trial they would be facing in the coming days. I felt I was the one who should be giving money to them. When I finally was able to put a sentence together I said, “I have been coming to Africa for 17 years and I have never had this happen to me before, I don’t know what to say.” They both grinned with giant smiles saying, “it would be our joy for you to receive our widow’s mite.”

I shared with them that when God called us to start Oceans Ministries He told us not to ask for money but to pray and watch Him provide for all our needs. I went on to share with them about a spiritual hero named George Muller, just as I got those words out the wife jumped up out of her seat and gave a shout of praise. “Pastor Tim, it was George Muller who cared for thousands of orphans in England and never asked for funds, we love his example of prayer and faith in Almighty God!” At this I jumped up out of my seat and gave her a proper fist pump. I knew Abba was speaking powerfully through this brother and sister in Christ to encourage me to keep the faith.

Before this radiant couple left they asked if I could pray over them and their gift that God would some how be glorified through it. We all got down on our knees, laid hands on the gift. I praise God for what He is teaching me through such people of great faith, even in the midst of such uncertain times.

Their faith was a precious gift of the Goodness of the Father showing Himself faithful. It also inspired me to take time during this lock down to get to know the the Greatness of the God they follow and to live with radical faith. Wherever you may be during these unprecedented times will you join me in crying out to the Father for a greater awareness of the Spirit of Christ who lives in us so we can walk in faith through His abiding strength (Philippians 4:13).

“What is faith? it is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see…So, you see, it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to Him must believe that there is a God and that He rewards those who sincerely seek HIm.” Hebrews 11:1 & 6 NLT

Last Wednesday’s Praise and Prayer Night at ORC

The Fire & the Family

Greeting from South Africa!

Praying you sense the Father’s unfailing love surround you. I want to share with you a video clip of a vision I had back in July that I believe is prevalent during this season.

A Great Time To Become a “House of Prayer!”

Hi all! Just want to share a quick video hello from South Africa and a prayer challenge!

Making the Father Known – Self-Sacrifice

“What do you think of Americans?” I asked this question to a group of South African’s we were having dinner with. One of them responded, “serving!” She went on to explain how many US teams want to help our country and “work really hard!” Honestly, I was a little worried when I asked the question but was blessed by this answer. This individual just witnessed a bunch of incredible servants from Western Michigan pour their hearts and soul into several work projects at Oceans Retreat Center.

Last week we looked at how Jesus lived totally dependent on the Father which highlighted the Glory of His Abba. Another way Jesus made His Father known was living sacrificially. You simply cannot read the Gospels without being overwhelmed by the heart for service displayed by Jesus. From healing the sick, feeding the multitudes, listening to the lonely, washing the grimy feet of clueless disciples and placing His perfect life on a painful cross to provide a way for sinners to enter the Father’s forever loving presence.

Jesus lived the servant leadership manual for us to follow and stated boldly:

“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Mark 10:45

Therefore if you and I have received the gift of Jesus’ sacrifice and He lives in us and our new spiritual DNA is wired to serve. I guarantee that the more you “deny yourself, take up your cross daily, and follow” the leadership model of Jesus and serve others-you will experience an abundant life (see Luke 9:23-27). When you live out of the Spirit of Christ in you and love others by serving them you point others to the gift of the Father, which is Jesus!

Everyday I wake up at a miracle called Oceans Retreat Center. The miracle was birthed out of tons of people who made sacrifices of time, money, prayer, and hard work. This campus is a standing stone to the glory of God the Father who filled His children up with the servant love of Jesus Christ. A love received in order to be released on a world that will only be transformed by Jesus’ followers who walk in His steps.

If Jesus is in you-He is waiting for you to display His love in tangible ways. I challenge you to find someone today that you can serve for the glory of your Father in Heaven!

Making the Father Known – How?

Everyday hundreds of people walk by Oceans Retreat Center and see our new sign. During that first week it was put up I could hear conversations of people asking, “what is Oceans?” And “what does making the Father Known mean?” It opens a great door for us to share our mission, but it also prompts me to ask ,”how are we making the Father known?”

A few months ago I gave the Oceans board & staff the assignment to choose a Gospel, spend a month reading it, and then answering the question, “how did Jesus make the Father known?” This was the purpose Jesus came to earth- to reveal the Father’s love to a lost and dying world (John 3:16, John 17:3,26). If by faith you have died with Christ and have been raised to new life through His resurrection your mission and my mission is to make our Abba Father’s love known to an insecure and fearful world just as Jesus did.

As the Oceans team pondered the Gospels for a month they came up with 7 key points revealing how Jesus modeled for us how to made the Father’s love known. The first take away from the text is to Live a life of total dependence . Jesus didn’t do anything without listening to the heart beat of His Father. He stated, “the Son can do nothing by Himself, He can do only what He sees His Father doing…the Father loves the Son and shows Him all He does,” John 5:19-20.

In fact, Jesus didn’t start His ministry until He was filled with the Father’s love through the Holy Spirit at His baptism. Daily I watch hundreds of people walk by the Retreat Center-which daily reminds me that I need the Father’s love to wash over me as just as Jesus did. It is only when I find my security in His love-that I can truly love. The Father’s love is the most powerful light that will overcome the darkest soul. Daily I need to be reminded of and receive His love in total dependence. It has to be the very breath I breathe, so I can then release the aroma of His grace to those around me.

As we enter in this beautiful season of Lent I challenge you to open your Bible to Matthew, Mark, Luke or John, one of the Gospels and ask the Spirit to show you how Jesus made the Father known. It is amazing to note that everything flowed out of Jesus’ intimate, dependent, love relationship with His Father. May you also experience that total dependent love and watch how His love overflows.