Kingdom Joy!

How do you know Christ the King has come into our world? Christmas Day we were asked to give the message at the church that gathers at the Ocean View Care Center.  Although Patty and I missed family and friends back in the States, we couldn’t help both felt  it was one of the most joyful Christmas celebrations we can remember.

It was outside, windy, no choirs, no instruments (well except speakers connected to a cell phone) , but heavens joy descended on the gathering. As we were singing:

Joy to the World, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart prepare Him room
And Heaven and nature sing
And Heaven and nature sing
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

I thought about how we are literally at the southern western tip of Africa in a struggling and spiritually dark township and yet praising the name of Jesus 2000 years after His birth. This statement is the answer to the opening question. This is how I know Jesus came into the world with all the sin and brokenness. Jesus died for sinners. Jesus rose from the grave! And Jesus now rules the world as King.

You can’t stop the joy of His Kingdom! It flowed from His birth in a cave, to a cross, and now the glory of His crown continues to invade the darkest places with saving grace. No government or human agency, can rescue the lost and bring transformation to the most hopeless situation-EXCEPT the Spirit of King Jesus!

Earlier in the week, Mike Verkaik sent pictures of a Christmas party for the residents of the motel and the children acting out Luke 2 and again it brought great joy. As the Kingdom through loving actions every week has opened the door for the greatest good news ever told to come in the midst great spiritual darkness at a motel in Holland, Michigan.

Children acting out Luke 2

Let the pictures below encourage you to let the King who lives in you (Luke 17:21) break out with Kingdom Joy in 2022. We have a Good News message of “Great Joy” that our world needs right now.

“Good news of great joy to all the world”

Christmas Dinner for Wooden Shoe Residents

Dawn & Mike with children from Wooden Shoe at Haven Church lighting the candle of peace.

Christmas Service Ocean View

Baptisms from Ocean View Church

“Our Beloved Father, dwelling in the heavenly realms, may the glory of Your Name be the center on which our lives turn. Manifest Your Kingdom realm, and cause Your every purpose to be fulfilled on earth just as in heaven.” (Matthew 6:9-10).











Heaven’s Supernatural Hug

“We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance and we need 12 hugs a day for growth,” according to therapist and author, Virginia Satir.

Research states hugs release oxytocin, which has amazing benefits. Consider the following:

  1. Strengthens the immune system.
  2. Boosts your mood by releasing dopamine, serotonin and endorphins.
  3. Supports heart health by lowering blood pressure and stress.
  4. Increases empathy and even self-esteem.
  5. Promotes feelings of safety, trust, and belonging.

Today we are living in a season where hugs and physical touch have been discouraged and even forbidden. It is no wonder our world is feeling incredibly isolated, lonely and hopeless.

The Christmas message is timely as the world is in need of a hug. In fact, I would say at the heart of the Christmas message is Heaven bringing a supernatural hug to a desperate world.

Luke 2 and Matthew 2 give evidence that heaven declares some really good news! Good news proclaimed through the shouts of angels! Good news displayed by a brilliant star! This good news is that the world will be forever changed as a Savior, a King has been born and He will restore the lost to a right relationship with Father God.

Despised shepherds and wealthy wisemen receive supernatural encounters that bring them by faith to a baby who restores their soul to a loving God. I cannot say for sure if Mary let these guests hug the baby Jesus or not, but in their hearts they were forever embraced by the Gift of Grace. Their response of worship and overwhelming joy that flooded their souls as they were “hugged by the Father” through faith in the Son, truly indicates the magnitude and gratitude of the gift of Jesus, the promised Messiah, that they freely received.

30 years later Jesus shares a powerful parable of what this supernatural transforming hug looks like in the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15. The son living in brokenness, isolation, and hopelessness because of his sin is jilted into reality of his loss and limps back home to his Father.

As his father sees the son staggering up the road as a wounded beggar notice his other worldly response:

“…great compassion swelled up in his heart for his son who was returning home. The father raced out to meet him, swept him up in his arms, hugged him dearly, and kissed him over and over with love,” (vs. 20, PT).

This is the heart of the Christmas message, a Father who runs to His lost children by sending Jesus into this sinful world. Yes, Jesus arrives with hope-a supernatural hug. His humble entrance began in a cave in Bethlehem and ended as a perfect sacrifice on a cross in Jerusalem where His arms embraced our long list of sins-forever burying them in a grave.

It is because of the cross, followed by the resurrection that we can join the angels in heaven shouting to the world:

“Glory to God in the highest realms of heaven! For there is peace and good hope given to the sons of men!” (Luke2:14).

As human touch and hugs are so vital for our physical and mental wellbeing how much more so is heavens supernatural hug from our Father.  As Covid has kept many away from a human hug, likewise sin has separated us from Heaven’s hug. Yet, what a time of the year to share the hope given to us in the gift of the Father through Jesus.

If you have not received Heaven’s hug I challenge you to come back to the Father through trust in Jesus as the prodigal did. Or maybe you are really struggling in this season and you need to be reminded by the Christmas story that your Father runs to hug you in Jesus His son.











The Church That Jesus Builds

Johann with graduate and Bernie the director

After the joyous graduation celebration it was only fitting to ask founder Johann Kikillus to share a few words. We thank the Oceans’ Family for their financial gifts in 2021. Johann and the Oceanview Care centre are examples of how Oceans Ministries is able to support and bless the surrounding communities in which we live. There is no doubt that the love of the Father is being made known by this shining beacon of light, yes this is the church, the Ekklesia. To God be the glory!

One morning in January 2015, I borrowed a mat and a chair and asked someone to read a story to a small group of kids living in the flats in OceanView. The kids sat outside a shop on a cold slab of concrete. After an hour we realized the kids were hungry so we made a plan to get them something to eat. It was only over the next few days that it was realized who these kids were. Most of them were sons and daughters of drug addicts, prostitutes, gangsters, and criminals. Many were neglected, often abused and very hungry. Back then there was no money or resources to address this problem, but yet we felt very strongly that God wanted us to reach out and the Oceanview preschool was birthed.

Fast forward to December 2021 and the recent ceremony of the seventh graduating class. This year sixty children finished the preschool programme and 39 younger children attended and will hopefully return next year to graduate. All were fed twice a day, received a very decent education, were given uniforms and school supplies and received counseling, therapy and whatever else was needed to prepare them for school. This was all done for free. The team of broken, yet dedicated, teachers and staff continues to grow and it is evident that God is bringing restoration.

Last week at the graduation a large number of people gathered, the crowd that came was made up of drug addicts, gangsters, prostitutes. These were the parents. Every year it has been the same.

A few years ago while planning the annual graduation the police came to my door voicing a concern that some of our parents were rival gangsters and they feared that all hell would break loose in the hall that night. Thankfully nothing happened.

Over the past seven years, this centre comprised of shipping containers, has been a church to over seven hundred families and most fall into the category of drug addicts, gangsters or prostitutes. It has been a very messy business and many tears have been cried. Sadly a number of parents have died or been murdered. But we have been there every step of the way. Despite initially having no money or resources, God has carried this church through. Over the past two years three similar programmes in equally challenging communities have started. We praise God for everything single thing that was provided as tithes and donations are not solicited.

The most amazing thing about this church is that no person can take any credit for anything. We get visitors from all over the world, and even the most hardened atheists have had to admit that God is behind it. This is the Ekklesia that the Bible speaks about. Be encouraged, and believe God can grow and sustain His church even in the most hardened and unexpected soil.

“I’ll be home for Christmas…”

Even here in South Africa you can hear Ben Crosby singing the holiday classic, “I’ll be home for Christmas You can plan on me. Please have snow and mistletoe and presents on the tree…”  It doesn’t matter that we are coming into summer and snow is out of the question the song still invokes a nostalgic feeling for family and the childhood joys of Christmas past.

Patty and I have had people ask us if we were planning on going back home for Christmas to be with our family and did the new travel bans from the US prohibit us. “No, not this year we had no plans to go back,” we reply.  However, we know of people who have traveled here who are stuck because of the new regulations who are not able to be home for Christmas.

To be honest as we see our kids decorate their trees and have the name drawing presents for the family Christmas exchange we get an ache in our hearts to be home with family. We know once again we won’t be part of their Christmas memories.

But believe it our not the other day as I was humming the tune of “I’ll be home for Christmas” I was given incredible peace. I started thinking about the word home, and thinking actually where is my home. Is it Colorado? Is it now Fish Hoek SA? Is it where ever I’m with Patty or family? The well quoted phrase “home is where the heart is,” hit my head.  The heart is where my affections are, and yes for sure they are with my wife and family, but I will not always be near them because of distance or even death someday.

The peace came as I was reflecting on these words from Jesus the night before His death:

“And the time has come when you will all be scattered, and each one of you will go your own way, leaving Me alone! Yet I am never alone, for the Father is always with Me. And everything I’ve taught you is so that the peace which is in Me will be in you and will give you great confidence as you rest in Me.” (John 16:32-33 PT).

Home for Jesus was knowing in His heart that He was never alone, “The Father is always with Me!” The glory of Christmas, why Jesus came to earth is so that we would know where our true home is. Jesus came so that our hearts can be filled with the Father’s love and the love of Jesus through the Holy Spirit  (see John 14:23).

Because of the work of Jesus and His living in me, I’m always home for Christmas because the Father loves me and lives in me, I’m never alone. The Christ in me makes Christmas everyday as He connects me to my Father now and forever. Nothing can separate us from our true home and heavens love that overwhelms us, we can access it and live in it every single moment of our lives.

So as Patty and I remain here in South Africa, “We will be home for Christmas!” We pray that you will be able to know the GIFT of the Christ of Christmas is that your heart has found your true home.

“Because I set you, Yahweh, always close to me, my confidence will never be weakened, for I experience Your wraparound presence every moment. My heart and soul explode with joy – full of glory!” (Psalm 16:8-9 PT)