The Perfect Wedding Gift

Usually when you go to a wedding you bring a gift. You go to the couples’ registry search out their wish list and find a gift, which you hope will bless them as they begin their marriage journey together.

However last week I received a gift from being at a wedding, it was a reminder of the most priceless, precious, and perfect gift of all. You couldn’t have asked for a more spectacular fall day in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. Not a cloud in the sky, the little lake mirrored the surrounding beauty, fish were jumping, and the glowing bride and groom looked amazing.

I can’t tell you what a joy it was for me to stand before my son TJ and his wife to be Elisa and officiate their marriage union before family, friends, and most of all their Father God. But the gift I received that day, and actually a few months before was their wedding text from 1 John 4:7-21.

What a privilege to ponder and pray over this text for many days and find countless treasures, which the Holy Spirit continued to reveal, far too many to share in a simple wedding message. I’m a realist and knowing that most people were not at the ceremony to hear what the pastor had to say, and in fact would forget what I had to say right after the wedding kiss. Yet, I did want to challenge those attending to honor the couple by going home and reading I John 4:7-21.

If ever a marriage needed these Holy Spirit inspired verses it is now. In fact if ever followers of Christ needed these truths it is now. We live in a generation gripped in fear. Returning from Africa it has been overwhelming to see a political charged landscape fueled by fear and doomsday prognostications.

Yet, these 15 verses uncover a life that can be lived free from the countless fears the “father of lies” seeks to chain us to. We don’t have to fear the future, lack of funds, rejection by family and friends, and the forces of evil that seem to be fostering chaos all around us, why? Because:

“Perfect love casts out all fear!” vs. 18

As I focused in on this verse in particular for the last several days and the phrases around it I was reminded of the transforming power of “perfect love.” And reminded of the source of this love, which flows from intimacy with the Triune God!

“Perfect love” which is every hearts greatest need can only be understood by knowing a God who is three in One-Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Yes, the Trinity is a mystery that are finite minds can never fully comprehend, but it is the fountain from which “perfect love” flows as a river of life for all who jump into it.

For the next few blogs I want to jump with you into this River of Triune love, which is the source of hope, healing, and heaven’s greatest gift. Thank you TJ & Elisa for reminding your dad of the gift of “perfect love.” May you to be inspired to read through these verses and soak in the gift of “perfect love!”



A Reflection of Oceans’ Vision


Blog Written by Patty Spykstra

As Tim and I were preparing the upcoming board retreat we spent some time extra time praising the Lord for His blessings, thanking Him for His faithfulness in the unknown and unexpected, and asking for His discernment and wisdom. The sign posted on Oceans Retreat Centre has a logo and the words “Make the Father Known.” The key components of this vision are Prayer, Discipleship and Retreat. I’d like to highlight how this is happening here in Fish Hoek & the US.

Prayer: It is a rare to find a group of 40-50 people from various backgrounds all gathering together for prayer on a Monday night. What a blessing to be able to walk to such a meeting here in Fish Hoek. On Tuesdays at 9am, Oceans’ staff and others seek God’s face with a time of devotion and prayer. On Wednesday mornings, Tim joins a prayer time at a local school, and other opportunities continue to pop up here in Fish Hoek and abroad. We rejoice at how several teams Mike brought out from Michigan have embraced the idea and need for prayer in their personal lives, in small groups and corporately. Spending time in prayer with the teachers at Oceanview Care Center is such a privilege. Many need the power of the Holy Spirit as they overcome the trauma in their own lives and as they live in a community surrounded by drugs, gangs, violence and poverty.

Discipleship: March 2020 in the midst of lockdown those of us on campus and in the US gathered for prayer and study of God’s word via Zoom, and that has continued. Discipleship doors have also opened for us to meet with teenagers and young people in smaller gatherings. Whether that be with a 19 year old young man void of a father, looking for direction after high school graduation or listening to a teen process the loss of a parent when just a child. I believe discipleship can be in the role of encouragement as we connect with other pastors, missionaries and non- government agencies locally. Tim uses his book Stepping into the Lord’s Prayer as a guide for an on campus recovery group. Mike continues to have many opportunities to connect with people at the Wooden Shoe motel ministry and offer spiritual direction to those who have joined on the Kingdom Encounter to South Africa or Lesotho. We pray the blog is also a means of spiritual development. Truly authentic relationships, encouragement, and a listening ear are steps to pointing others to the Father and His love for them.

Retreat: What a privilege to offer others in ministry a chance to rest, regroup, vision cast and pray. My hearts desire has always been to “encourage the encouragers” and during our time here at ORC we have come alongside others to have teas, share a meal or braai, enjoy day retreats, weekend refreshment and fellowship together in praise, worship and teachings. We have hosted groups such as Hope Africa, Virtuous Girls, groups from Wycliffe Translators of Madagascar, World-Wide Evangelism for Christ, Satellite Bible Church as well as YWAM missionaries, pastors and their families have resided on campus.

The conference room is a great location for both teaching and praise and worship gatherings. Each group is unique, some study God’s Word and then sing late into the evening while others desire to have a quiet time hearing God’s voice. Some groups want breakfast with hot milk with tea, others bring their own meat to braai. Although the Retreat Centre is clean and well maintained, it is nowhere near a 5 star hotel, but we think our guests are 5 star and want to let them know they are loved and cared for. For many who stay it is a rare and special occasion to get away from the reminders of the brokenness all around them. Thank you for your support to help Oceans host such get-a-ways a fraction of the cost it would be at other venues.

Tim and I are so thankful for the Oceans Board for their wise counsel, providing direction with ministry opportunities and decisions, as well as keeping Oceans financially accountable.

We so appreciate our friend Henry’s assistance in publishing all 3 of Tim’s books and who also maintains the webpage and helps out with so many behind the scenes aspects of Oceans.

We are also grateful for Mike Verkaik, who joined Oceans in August 2017 and together he and Dawn have faithfully made the Father known by taking teams from the States to Lesotho and South Africa as well as bringing His love to those living at the Wooden Shoe Motel.

We are beyond blessed by so many of you for praying, texting, emailing, commenting on blogs and posts and contributing of your resources to Oceans Ministries. Thank you for your part in “Making the Father Known.”

“All the Lonely People…”


“All the lonely people, where do they all come from? All the lonely people where do they all belong?”

The Beatles sang these words back in 1966 in the midst of a cultural revolution in the west. A revolution that promoted self as god-where you could explore and do anything your heart desired. The same message Adam and Eve heard in the garden from Satan, “the father of lies.”

56 years later those words sung by the British rock stars describe a vast majority of people today. Even though we are the most connected people in the history of the world we “still haven’t found what we are looking for,” to quote another famous rock group, U2.

As we have pushed God out for self -rule we find ourselves like our first parents who felt naked, ashamed, and lonely as they walked away from perfect friendship with Father God. Everything we try to do to cover our emptiness has not worked-but has even exhilarated the loneliness at blinding speed.

This past Sunday we experienced the antidote, which overcomes the darkness of loneliness, LOVE. In a place of extreme darkness where gangs rule, poverty prevails, addictions destroys, and fatherless children roam the streets heaven’s love is breaking forth.

A group of Jesus’ friends called Love in Action, led by Pastor Raymond, ran into this lonely informal community over a year ago and rebuilt burned down shacks, started feeding 700 plus people every Wednesday, and built a pre-school on the community dump. Out of this love in action many were overwhelmed and wanted to know why would anyone do this for them? The Holy Spirit opened the door through love and many heard the Gospel message of the gift of Jesus who takes away the loneliness and replaces it with true belonging.

Sunday we saw the fruit of love in a group of new friends of God who now worship every Sunday in the middle of this community bringing songs of praise to their Savior Jesus. As we were standing there on holy ground it was so encouraging to our souls to see how Christ’s love and friendship can transform the darkest of places. The Beatles never answered the question of loneliness and how to fix it, but in the midst of a simple structure the answer for loneliness was on full display.

I strongly believe before Jesus comes back there will be a body of united believers, a church that lives out the New Commandment Jesus gives in John 13:34-35:

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

A lonely world needs to see the transforming love of Jesus through His followers, how they love one another and spill that love out to lost and lonely hearts. To demonstrate to a world that has listened to the lie and pushed God out- THIS is what true love and belonging looks like.

Oceans wants to thank so many of you who have teamed up with us to bring the message of the Father’s love and come along side other wonderful ministries in Africa and the US that are working as a united body of Christ. We are overwhelmed by your prayers, love, and support that stand as a witness to the Father’s supernatural faithful love.









“When Satan should buffet…”

Written by Mike Verkaik

I’m not sure how many years ago it was, but I remember the day I finally looked up the word “buffet” in the dictionary. I had sung It Is Well With My Soul by Horatio Spafford countless times in various settings before, but for some reason on that Sunday I needed to know what I was crying out when I sang the lyrics, “When Satan should buffet and trials should come.” Looking at the definition, I told myself, that makes sense. Buffet – to strike repeatedly; to strike sharply especially with the hand.

Over the past few weeks, I have been feeling and witnessing the repeated strikes as I partner with residents, talk with mentees, and walk with family members. Life has been more unpredictable than normal and I am feeling the blows through others who have experienced backsliding, sorrows, illnesses, depression and distressing difficulties. The latest strike was the news of my sister’s diagnosis of lung cancer. For a woman who had protected her lungs from substances, it was a decisive and shocking blow.

Feeling the full force of the strikes of brokenness, I cried out to God saying, “I can’t handle watching anymore people go through brokenness.” I resonate with pieces of David’s prayer of lament:

I’m pleading with you, Yahweh, help me! Don’t close your ears to my cry, for you’re my defender. If you continue to remain aloof and refuse to answer me, I might as well give up and die. Hear my cry for help as I turn to your mercy seat, as I lift up my hands toward your sacred sanctuary. Psalm 28:1-2 TPT

Have you ever cried out like that to your Father? Honest, broken and pleading for your Lord and Defender to hear your cry for help? I have found myself waking up many mornings lately with a simple and desperate prayer, “Help me!” What an incredible loving God that listens to us as we cry out with compassion and love. There is no need to pretend or hold it together in front of Him. He encourages us and shows us through the heart of David how to let out our emotions as we feel the effects of the war we are in against the world, our sinful nature and our advisory.

Another remarkable attribute of God is as He holds us and listens, He brings us back to the assurance of our salvation and the love that He has for us in the midst of the battle. Listen to the full stanza written by Horitio:

When Satan should buffet and trials should come Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

The truth of the gospel is what brings us to restoration as our soul aches for the brokenness to stop. The realization again of the love our Abba Father has lavished on us through the blood of the lamb heals our wounds and our defeated attitude. So once again I resonate with the words of David and He brings us into our Father’s presence and the reassurance of whose we are through praise and thanksgiving:

Yahweh is my strength and my wraparound shield. When I fully trust in you, help is on the way. I jump for joy and burst forth with ecstatic, passionate praise. I will sing songs of what you mean to me! You will be the inner strength of all your people. Psalm 28: 7-8

If you are feeling the buffeting of our enemy, may Abba lead you to the place where you can say, It is well with my soul.