A Jim Beam Skillet, $10 and the Wonderful Goodness of God

Jet leg hit hard coming back to Africa. For two nights I had a lot of time to think, pray, and contemplate our quick trip to the States as sleep was scarce. We had so many divine appointments and overwhelming gifts from God’s children-which left us humbled and overflowing with tears of praise and great joy.

One of the encounters I was giving praise to the Father for in the early hours of the morning was for a couple named Happy and Josie, pictured above.  Mike Verkaik wanted to show me the room Oceans rented for ministry at the Wooden Shoe located in Holland, Michigan. Together we spent some time praying in the “former motel room” praising God for how the Holy Spirit has been using this space to touch children with the Gospel as well as be a light and a safe place for the residences.

As we left the room it felt like a river of shalom had  flooded our souls and it was hard to leave. Mike noticed the door was opened next to it and said, “Tim you’ve got to meet this couple who are getting ready to move out into an apartment.” As we walked the shalom continued to flow as we were greeted with loving smiles and Josie exclaimed, “I know you, you are the guy who wrote the book I read!” She went on to ask about the work in Africa and what was God up to.

As we were talking she got an angelic look on her face and started to chuckle. Mike responded, “Josie, what is God telling you?”  I thought I might have missed something, but Mike had seen this before and knew God was speaking to her.  She reached into a bag and pulled something out and said “God is telling me to give you this for your ministry in Africa.”  She handed me $10 and a new Jim Beam skillet. Josie saw the expression on my face, which must have looked confused, and said, “don’t rob me of the joy of giving.”

Yes, humbled again and doing all I could to hold back the tears as this amazing couple were powerful tools of Abba’s love.  I can’t explain all the thoughts and emotions that were bouncing about in my brain as we ended our time holding hands in prayer.  Only God can do crazy stuff in the most unusual ways and places to show His absolute goodness.

Remembering this amazing encounter with Josie and Happy, along with so many other touches from God during our time in the states, helped pass the sleepless hours, later in the morning I turned to my daily Psalm reading and this was a portion of what I read:

“I will exalt you, my God and King, and praise Your name forever and ever.  I will praise You every day; yes, I will praise You forever. Great is the LORD! He is most worthy of praise!…I will meditate on Your majestic, glorious splendor and Your wonderful miracles. Your awe-inspiring deeds will be on every tongue…Everyone will share the story of Your wonderful goodness…” Psalm 145

As I finished praising God with this Psalm for His “wonderful goodness” we experienced in the US God said “I’m not done showing my goodness even right here in Africa.” There was a lady outside the retreat center wanting to speak with me. I opened the door to a familiar face I knew from Zimbabwe, “Pastor Tim, the LORD has blessed us and we felt Him telling us we need to bless Oceans Retreat Center with a gift.”  She handed me an envelope with hard earned money from two refuges trying to survive in a foreign land.

Yes again humbled, and tears, at the “wonderful goodness of our Father God!”

I pray Abba Father will give you a story to tell today of His Wonderful Goodness!  How our world desperately needs to hear about our Good Father!




Our Great Need for Spiritual Fathers

By way of a miracle Patty and I were able to get back to the US for a few weeks. It has been a whirlwind of a time trying to pack in a wedding, family visits, some ministry appointments and a little biking.

One of the gifts was to spend time with our fathers.  As we repack our suitcases to head back to Africa I reflected on the importance of father’s in our lives. We go back to a South Africa where roughly 15 % of all children are orphans and 62% of children under 18 live without their father. The effects of fatherlessness has been devastating on every aspect of the society.

On Father’s Day I spent some time thanking and praising God for my grandfathers, fathers, and spiritual fathers who have deeply influenced my life.  Without the presence of fathers and spiritual fathers in our lives we are rudderless ships tossed every which way by life’s storms.

Ever since the beginning of creation there has been an all out assault against the Father child relationship. Adam and Eve’s Father was God. Daily they communed with Him walking in His pure love and security. But as we recall they chose to listen to the father of lies, Satan, who deceived them into believing they did not need God as a Father  and that they could manage just fine on their own. Look at the devastating results of trying to live with out The Father.

The Father overcame the fall and its damning effects by giving us His only Son to restore us back to the Father child relationship. He has also filled His followers with the Holy Spirit so that we rest in the great assurance that we have been adopted back into His family and can know our Father intimately (Romans 8:14-15).

Certainly our world is in desperate need for men who are filled with the Spirit of the Father to be spiritual fathers to orphan sons and daughters. That orphan spirit that started at the fall in the garden with our first parents has crushed countless souls with the spirit of abandonment and rejection. Just visit a prison, a gang infested city, a drug rehab center and listen to the stories.

I praise God for grandfathers, my dads, coaches, teachers, and pastors who were agents of the Heavenly Father speaking truth into my soul that shouted louder than the lies of the enemy. I wonder if the majority of the chaos our world is experiencing is due to the absence of spiritual fathers who can point us to Jesus the very image of God the Father (Hebrews 1:3).

7 years ago on a Father’s Day in Lesotho Africa as Oceans Ministries was just starting I was asked to preach in a local church. I shared with them the vision of Oceans: to make the love of the Father known to spiritual and physical orphans around the world. After living the past year in Africa, as well as seeing how Covid exposed deeper heart issues all over our world, I’m even more convinced of the vision.

Our world needs the Father and our world needs fathers and spiritual fathers who will reflect His love to lonely and abandoned children, teens and adults. Each of us needs that voice in our life. If you don’t have one ask God to bring you into relationship with someone who can be the Father’s love and voice to you.  Or maybe He is calling you to be a spiritual father to a son or daughter He is bringing to you. Join us as we pray into the prophecy of Malachi 4:5:

“Look, I am sending you the prophet Elijah before the great and dreadful day of the LORD arrives. His preaching will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers.  Otherwise I will come and strike the land with a curse.”