Formed After the Father’s Own Heart Men’s Retreat

“You formed my innermost being …” Psalm 139:13. A while back while hiking Elsie’s Peak I sensed the Lord impressing these words upon my heart.

We all need to be reminded that we are formed by the Father and reflect His image. This is especially important for men in this day—oh how the devil seeks to distort and destroy men in order to keep them from living out their Biblical role.

In response to the words from Psalm 139 we would like to invite fathers, sons, brothers, uncles, grandfathers–men of all ages–to gather in the Rocky Mountains and explore what it means to be Formed after the Father’s Own Heart.

We ask you to prayerfully consider joining us as we spend time encountering the Father’s Heart through His Word, listening to His loving voice while enjoying His spectacular creation and fellowship with other men.

The Details

The retreat will be held at the Highlands Presbyterian Camp & Retreat Center, which is located about 20 minutes south of Estes Park, Colorado.

Highlands Presbyterian Camp & Retreat Center
1306 Highway 7 Business Route
Allenspark, Rocky Mountain National Park, CO 80510-0066

Click here to see location on google maps.

The price for the retreat is $300.

The amount will include 3 nights of lodging and all meals. (See the tentative itinerary below).


Friday, July 28th, 2023 4:00-6:00 pm – arrive at retreat location
6:30 pm dinner
8:00 pm opening session
9:00 bonfire
Saturday, July 29th, 2023 7:00-9:00 am – breakfast
9:30-10:30 am – morning session #1
10:30 am – break
11:00 am – morning session #2
12:30-1:30 pm – lunch
2:00-5:30 pm – free time
5:30 pm dinner
7:00 pm – evening session
9:00 bonfire
Sunday, July 30th, 2023 7:00-9:00 am – breakfast
9:30-10:30 am – worship & morning session
11:30-12:30 pm – lunch
1:00-5:30 pm – free time
5:30 pm dinner
7:00 pm – worship, communion & anointing
9:00 bonfire
Monday, July 31st, 2023 7:00-9:00 am – breakfast
9:30-11:00 – closing session

Space is limited for this event, so please register soon!

Register and pay by clicking here.

PLEASE NOTE: If registering and paying for more than one person, please adjust the number on the next screen next to the “add to cart” button accordingly. After clicking on “add to cart”, follow the checkout procedure and when you arrive at the page where you enter your name and billing details, please add the names and email address of the other people you are paying for in the “additional information” field.

As an option, you may also send your check by May 15th, 2023 to the address below. Make checks out to Oceans Ministries and add “2023 Men’s Retreat” to the memo field, then send them to:

Oceans Ministries
6928 Elks Court
Aurora, CO 80016
Attn: Men’s Retreat

For additional information, please email Tim Spykstra @:

Release It!


Maybe one of the best ways to describe a follower of Christ is that they daily learn to “release it!” The other week with the help of a team from Haven church in Michigan we hosted an appreciation dinner for the teachers and staff of Ocean View Care Center.

After a wonderful meal and time of fellowship we gathered in the comfortable chairs in the family room for a time of ministry. Kayleigh Grassmid, youth director at Haven, read a prayer she was inspired to write specifically for the teachers and staff.

Hearing these truths from their Abba Father many hearts were moved and precious tears freely flowed from His daughters. These amazing ladies fight every day to bring love to children who come from all sorts of brokenness in their family environments. The teachers and staff have heavy burdens to carry as they seek to teach, train and provide a safe space for each of the students, and at the same time carry their own burdens for their own family.



At the end of our time together a basket of rocks was passed out for each one to take and hold. The rocks represented the hard and difficult circumstances in our lives from sins, heartaches, or impossible situations beyond our control that weigh us down.

1 Peter 5:6-7 was then read:

“If you bow low in God’s awesome presence, He will eventually exalt you as you leave the timing in His hands. Pour out all your worries and stress upon Him and leave them there, for He always tenderly cares for you.”

Taking a few moments to be still, we reflected and prayed about what we may want to release. As we clutched that rock in our hands holding on so tightly to whatever it was we opened our hands and “released it” all to Him. Next, all 26 of us walked to the ocean and threw that sin, hurt, worry, pain, and fear to the One who lovingly cares. As the rocks were hurled into the Ocean we “released it” all to Him, trusting in the Father’s love to carry it for us so we can walk in the joy of His Son Jesus who lives in us.

It was a Holy moment on the beach as we lived in the spiritual blessing of releasing it all to the lover of our souls. I challenge you to: Find a rock. Find an ocean, lake or river. And “release it” all into His loving hands.




He Turns Dumps into Gardens

A year ago the place where the tent is erected was a dump. The community of Jim Se Bos discarded waste from their “homes” into this vacant lot.

A year ago a team from the US joined with Pastor Raymond and his team of Love in Action to feed hundreds of people from this trash site. Now this ground has become holy ground. A place where daily young children are feed and ministered to, where hundreds come every Wednesday to receive the only healthy meal all week.

On Good Friday this once dump was transformed into a beautiful garden with brilliant smiles, joyful songs, and heartfelt dancing. This place that hosted broken glass, discarded containers, and rotten smelly food, is now alive with heavenly hope.

What transformed this literal dump into a sanctuary of praise? Christ on the cross of Calvary, another forsaken sight outside the city, possibly a dump. Because of Jesus’s physically broken body, our life literally a spiritual wasteland can be turned into a magnificent garden. His perfect love was poured out in blood that Good Friday to heal the deepest wounds and brokenness in our human hearts to restore sinners to the Father’s arms of unconditional love. Oh there is power in the simple Gospel of the death and resurrection of Jesus shared and lived out!

After the worship celebrations teams passed out 1000 loaves of bread and 1000 cans of fish into the community. Places of despair and darkness encountered the healing light of Jesus through His radiant children. It is hard to describe the joy as His love weaved through the crooked narrow streets of tin shacks.

It’s this constant, supernatural love from once discarded, broken people, remade by Jesus who have helped turn spiritual dumps into gardens. By the end of the weekend we saw many more broken hearts saved by the power of the resurrected Jesus and repent and turn their lives into gardens for the Father’s glory.

Our broken world is in desperate need to see and hear the love of Jesus who takes the discarded and broken things of this world and makes them into beautiful gardens. All who have been found by His love have a story to show and tell. May the Holy Spirit help you share yours with someone today!

“If anyone is in Christ he is a new creation the old is gone the new has come! All this is from God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.” 2 Cor. 5:17,18



Introducing Psalms Journal: A 21-Day Devotional Journal

This blog is written by Henry Miersma.

Psalms Journal is a newly released book, yes, but it is really a workbook–a devotional tool that invites you to meditate and reflect on one Psalm each day for 21 straight days, prompting you to journal your observations, reflections and responses to God’s Word. Additional prompts help you create prayer points for praying into the day’s Psalm.

Tim asked me to share how the book came into being, so I’ll start by asking this: Have you ever spent a significant amount of time walking alone with someone–just the two of you? My wife Rhonda and I did that some years ago when we committed to join a group from church on a tour of Israel. We were advised to get into good hiking-shape for the trip, so we set aside multiple hours a week, for several months, to do exactly that.

Rather than walk the flat sidewalks of our neighborhood, we drove 10 minutes to a loop of fire-roads that meandered up-and-down our local hills. There we could walk side-by-side for close-to an hour while getting in a good workout.

Did we get into good hiking shape? Yes, we did. But there were added benefits, too. The hikes provided us with an extended time where we could be together, talk quietly, and catch-up with each other’s life. Those long walks together were great for our relationship.

That season helped me understand the level of relational intimacy implied by the phrase walking humbly with our God found in Micah 6:8. That phrase tells me that our Father in Heaven desires for us to slow down and regularly spend extended time alone with Him. So when Tim wrote last week about how we live in the “noisiest time in human history,” it struck a chord in me because I recognize my need to “work on my walk” and Satan is seemingly doing everything possible to distract me from spending time with God!

It was within that spirit, of desiring to work on my own walk with God, that Psalms Journal was born. But it is not why it exists.

The Genesis of Psalms Journal

Psalms Journal is a result of two adventure retreats I took in the wilderness of Utah, some twenty-five years apart. The first trip included hiking the slot canyons of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The second was a multi-day canoe trip down the Green River.

Two things tie the trips together in my mind.

First, both trips featured solo time in the profoundly stark quiet of the Utah wilderness. Second, both trips were the brainchild of my cocontributor and cousin (by marriage), Dave Tanis.

During the first trip in 1997, Dave provided the members of our group with a devotional outline to use during our quiet time. At the bottom of the sheet was a list of eighteen psalms to consider reading. The outline’s title was “Actively Acknowledging and Engaging in God’s Presence.” I used the outline during the trip and continued using it when I returned home. I’ve kept the worksheet ever since.

Fast forward twenty-five years: Dave invited me to join a group of men on a combination adventure/spiritual retreat canoeing Utah’s Green River. Remembering my need to improve my walk, I agreed to join the group. That was April of 2022.

I spent my solo time on that trip sitting on a mesa above a bend in the Green River, enjoying the protective shade of a stand of cottonwood trees and the views of red-rock canyon walls around me. It was there, while journaling, that I felt a prompt from the Spirit centered on the word writing.

I wrestled with that prompt for quite a while. After returning home and praying for several months for clarity, I didn’t feel called to write, myself. Instead, my understanding of the prompt I received is this: I believe God wants us to write—to journal, to cry out to Him from the depths of our hearts. My role has been to create a tool that encourages us to write.

That’s why Psalms Journal exists.

Once my role became clear to me, I decided to expand upon the outline Dave Tanis provided back in 1997. Consulting with both Dave and Tim Spykstra, we produced the final list of 21 psalms and the prompts that guide you through the journaling process.

Reflect, Journal, Pray

Psalms Journal is a devotional workbook that offers a guided journey through twenty-one selected psalms to help you ponder their meaning and examine their connection to your life today, all while you develop a habit of journaling and praying.

It is designed to help you with:
• Thinking–to truly focus as you ponder and meditate on His word
• Growing–in Knowledge of God’s Word
• Authenticity–in taking an honest appraisal of your own heart
• Learning–on how to be transparent with God
• Retaining–to remember what you read and study
• Referencing–tracking how God has worked in your life, both currently and in the past
• Prayer–formulate your prayers based upon the words and themes of these 21 selected Psalms

The ultimate goal is for you to discover the heart of the living God, to cry out to Him through journaling and prayer, and to strengthen your walk with Him.

Click here to find the book on Amazon!