“Every Square Inch…” Prayers for a Christian High School

This last week I was once again climbing up my “Prayer Mountain” also known as Elsie’s Peak. Just before arriving at my favorite spot I noticed an usual piece of wood, and when I looked closer I realized it was a foot- and these words were inscribed on it “Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God!” As I picked up the piece of wood, my heart skipped a beat, “Was I seeing things? Was this for real,” I thought to myself.

Over the last several months the Oceans’ board and team have fervently been praying about partnering with a Christian Tutoring Centre and launching a Christian High School on the Oceans Retreat Centre Campus. This opportunity came about through a series of conversations and God ordained meetings and would be an amazing blessing to the valley as there is not Christ-centered high school anywhere nearby and the need is enormous for so many reasons.

Perhaps it’s because I’m getting older or maybe because I have experienced the cost of moving forward in faith and the spiritual battles that accompany such steps. It is times like these that I know I need to be on the mountain and seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit in prayer. So, when I saw that wooden cut out of a foot and read the words on it I felt the LORD was saying, “keep stepping out in faith-this is My doing not yours and remember every square inch of this world comes under My dominion and reign.”

Stumbling across this wooden foot at the top of Elise’s Peak reminded me of the words from one of my favorite heroes of faith, Abraham Kuyper, a Dutch theologian and prime minister of the Netherlands, who boldly claimed:

“There is not a square inch in the whole dominion of our human existence over which Christ, who is sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!”

These powerful words of Kuyper’s along with his passionate heart led him to start an Educational movement with a Christian emphasis not only in the Netherlands but through out North America. And that vision continues to have a global impact today for the glory of God.

Today more than ever a Biblical World and Life View that is founded on trusting and believing in Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God and knowing that He reigns as the Sovereign King will ground teenagers growing up in this broken world.

So many young people in South Africa are wrestling with the emptiness of this life and struggling to find hope; the same humanistic spirit that has swept through the countries of the West has hit African shores with a vengeance. The gospel of self as the ultimate god has brought nothing but despair, depression and destruction.

The Oceans’ board and team believes God is opening doors and prompting us to seek Him and trust Him as we take this step to leave His foot print in the valley. What a a great opportunity this would be to point students to “Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God.”  To allow Biblical truths to be presented in every arena of education and allow the Holy Spirit to work in the lives of each student.

The words on the wooden foot led me to recall these promises in Daniel 7:13-14:

“In my vision at night I looked and there before me was one like a Son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into His presence. He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and His kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.”

Moving forward in faith, the Oceans’ Board and Team is asking for your prayers as we take this next step-believing that it will only be through His miraculous work that a footprint will be left for His glory.

Peace in 2024: Father’s Home

On Christmas Day over 100 families in Jimsebosh, township lost their homes. In a matter of minutes the fire consumed everything but their lives. A day of celebration turned into heartache and despair. These people who suffer daily trying to find food and a job just to survive now have to start over with nothing, so hard to understand.

Yet, a few weeks later we were invited to attend a thanksgiving service that Love in Action ministries put together for these families. The worship was amazing, tears were flowing generously throughout the room, and by the end of the service many of these who lost everything found a new home through Jesus Christ.

 All this made me think of the passage we have been looking at the past few weeks from Philippians 4:4-9, and what is our true home. Maybe the best description of what our true home is like is found in verse 7:

 “The peace of God that transcends all understanding which guards our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”

The word for “guard” is a military term, referring to fortification or protection from an on coming enemy. It is God’s peace living within us overwhelming our heart with His presence no matter what external battles and trials we may encounter.

In the book of Acts 16 Paul and Silas worshiped in prison because of the peace of God dwelling deep within them. This type of peace is not found in stuff or the idols of the world we chase after. And yet we continue to search frantically within the depths of our souls for this peace. Only when we embrace heaven’s true and lasting peace found in a relationship with Jesus will our souls be satisfied.

This section of Scripture ends with these final thoughts from Paul to the church:

“Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Vs. 9.

Paul is saying live as I modeled to you and shared with you and then you will know the peace of the Father and Son making their home in you through the Holy Spirit. Paul could make such a bold statement because the Peace of God made His home in Paul’s heart. He could write these words from a prison cell where he would soon die because of the powerful peace of God living in him. There was no fear of death because the perfect peace living in him gave him hope of the eternal home of peace soon to come.

I know people who have absolutely everything this world claims will give you peace and yet they are miserable because they are living apart from the peace of God. It is only living in absolute dependence on the life, death, resurrection and reign of King Jesus that will encounter perfect peace that passes all understanding.

If you recall the last two blogs I shared how heaven’s peace comes as we fix our minds on the truth, which is the saving work of Jesus Christ and that we continue to worship in Him through praise and prayer in every situation.

This is exactly what happened at the service at Jimsebosh. Jesus was exalted, the cross was preached, and the Father’s peace found a home in the hearts of His beloved children for all eternity. No fire, no scheme of man or the enemy will ever be able to take their eternal home of peace from them.

So as you enter into this new year with all the unknowns and uncertainties may you find the shalom of God filling your hearts home.

“Rejoice in the Lord always …do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your request to god. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.”











Peace in 2024: Worship


Lately I’ve been singing a childhood Sunday School song when I sense my peace beginning to waver. The words are from Phil 4:4:

“Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say Rejoice, Rejoice, Rejoice and again I say rejoice!”

 There was such joy when the kids loudly belted out these words in a round. I recall how the atmosphere changed when these powerful, life-changing words were sung. And here I am 50 plus years later still blessed to be singing these words of truth.

 In last week’s blog I shared from Philippians 4:4-9 and Paul’s God inspired plan to push fear and anxiety away by focusing our hearts and minds on being filled with the “peace of God that transcends all understanding in Christ Jesus.”

As you remember it starts with a focus on Jesus THE truth (Revelation 1 Jesus) and as we focus on Jesus-our response will be biblical worship. I would define worship as an absolute dependence on our Sovereign King Jesus.

The fruit of this absolute dependence is a life saturated with praise and prayer. That is why Paul can give us the command to “Rejoice in the Lord Always!” He personally knew the Revelation 1 Jesus and therefore he learned he could “rejoice” in any and every situation.

I love the story found in Acts 16 where Paul and Silas find themselves in a prison in Philippi. The local merchants were quite upset, as these men of God, cast out a demon from a slave girl, and this resulted in the end of their fortunetelling business.

But instead of moaning about being chained up in a dark dungeon-the scriptures tell us Paul and Silas were “praying and singing hymns to God.” Do you remember the rest of the story? How their worship brought a supernatural earthquake-breaking their chains and opening all the prison doors. Yet, instead of escaping Paul and Silas shared the Gospel with the other prisoners and led the jailer and family to Christ. Out of this prison, where they chose to worship rather than worry, a powerful church was birthed. That is the church of Philippi that Paul is now addressing.

To know Heaven’s Shalom, it is essential to focus our faith on Jesus, which leads to absolute dependence on Him, and necessitates us humbly submitting our lives each and every day to prayer and worship in all circumstances.

Paul encourages believers in vs. 6:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your request to God…”

Just as we are called to “rejoice always” we are also called to “pray” about “everything.” Yes-absolutely everything! There is nothing too big or too small that our Father is not concerned about. He desires for us to give it all over to Him, demonstrating our absolute dependence on Him.

The other day we ran out of water at the retreat center. Not a good time as we had a missionary team coming that night. The very first thing I said out loud was “why now God!” (I’m still a work in progress.) As I attempted to determine the problem I reminded myself to sing “rejoice in the Lord always…” It took awhile but peace showed up, along with my neighbor Delgun, whose expertise resolved the issue.

What if the body of Christ committed to worship in absolute dependence on Him and decided to rejoice and pray always no matter how difficult the situation. Think of the spiritual prisons cells that could open up and the opportunities to show and tell Christ to the nations. How supernatural churches could spring up and Christ’s Kingdom could grow in the darkest parts of the world.

Dig out that old Sunday School song buried deep in your heart and mind, and sing out “Rejoice in the Lord Always” and I challenge you to sing the words especially when you don’t feel like it!






Peace in 2024: Truth

While living in Africa, physical exercise for us is walking and hiking. So at the end of last year Patty suggested we memorize Scripture during these times. The verse she chose to start us out was Philippians 4:8:

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.”

Oh to have a young and fresh mind again. Needless to say we were in the text for a while. Which was actually a good thing as it made me think about the context of this portion of Scripture.

The theme of this section is about living an anxiety free life by being filled with the

“Peace of God, which transcends all understanding, which will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.” Vs. 7

The Holy Spirit knew I needed to dwell right there. I needed that perfect peace of heaven to “swim in” in the midst of seas of uncertainty. And I believe the Spirit is calling each one of the Father’s children to dwell in this shalom, as there is such an absence of it in our polarized world motivated by fear.

Fear brings anxiety, which leads to a desire to control everything around us. Which only brings more stress as we realize we really are not in control of anything.

What a glorious passage the Spirit gives us for a plan for peace. This plan permeates powerfully in vs. 4-9. I challenge you to memorize these verses in 2024. I continue to return to these life-giving words of truth in my mind whenever my neck aches. As this pain is my body telling me, “Tim you have lost your peace!”

The battle for peace always begins in my mind. So that is why Paul emphasizes the importance of training your mind to think on whatever is “true, noble, right…” If you have trouble memorizing the entire list just focus on the first word, “TRUE,” which defines the 7 words that follow.

The Greek word for “true” means doctrine or right teaching, which point us directly to Jesus, who is “the way, the truth and the life.” Jesus is the “True” WORD from the Father to us. He is our anchor in the midst of the storm. He is the one that calls out to the winds and waves in our lives “Peace be Still!”

If I spend too much time churning over the news or even fretting over difficult situations in my life my neck tells me my focus is off. I need to take a deep breath and think on Jesus. I try to picture the Revelations 1 Jesus-who when John saw Him- he collapsed before His glory as one who was dead. If you read John chapter 1 before ingesting the news media, I promise it will alter your perspective.

Notice what the Revelation 1 Jesus did and said to John:

“Then He placed His right hand on me and said; “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One: I was dead, and behold I am alive forever and ever! I hold the keys of death and Hades,” (vs. 17-18).

 Peace that is beyond your understanding starts with a faith that focuses on the resurrected, conquering, living King Jesus. He holds life and death in His hand. And He holds you! Turn around in faith and look at your Glorious Savior!!

In the next two blogs I’ll focus on worship and walking by faith, grounding us as believers in TRUTH. The hope is that we can experience peace no matter what battle we face or fears the world tempts us to pay attention to.

I hope you will make time to dwell in these verses and perhaps even memorize these timeless truths from Philippians 4:8 and perhaps even do so while exercising.



Just Follow Me!


It is always good to go back and visit places in your life where God performed miracles beyond your ability to grasp. It quickens your faith for new adventures the Father may be asking you to follow.

This past weekend Patty and I were blessed to visit Mike & Dawn and a team from Haven Church at Beautiful Gate in Lesotho. Because of Covid and obligations in South Africa, it has been 4 years since visiting the Mountain Kingdom.

Walking around the Beautiful Gate campus jolts my mind back 22 years when my step dad Bill and I first saw the land. Ray & Sue Haakonsen had a passion and a God size vision to build a proper orphanage to rescue unwanted babies.

The journey was long and difficult with many dark valleys to travel through, yet what a memorial shouting out the absolute glory and faithfulness of Father God. Hundreds of babies saved, jobs provided, countless guests from all over the world have experienced the Kingdom of Heaven breaking forth as the Holy Spirit revealed the heart of Jesus on the campus of Beautiful Gate.

Here it is already 2024 and returning to this holy ground where love for the forgotten abounds I’m reminded of the voice of the Holy Spirit saying to me as He did 20 plus years ago “Just Follow Me!” Isaiah says it well;

“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts,” (55:9).

I would have never chosen to go to Africa way back in 2002, nor would I have ever imagined Patty and I would be living in Africa. However, God’s ways are so different from any strategic ministry plan with proper goals and objectives.

Over the years the Father has tried to teach me over and over again He has the right plan and it usually looks different then mine. His plan will always stretch my faith and call me into something that is way beyond my abilities, dreams, and personal security.

Sometimes He has asked me to deal with something in my own heart, other times with another person. In either instance the only hope has been His supernatural intervention. It is during such times He says, “Trust Me, don’t try to fix it in your own strength, keep handing it over to Me and wait for Me to work.”

Other times in my life it has been a ministry objective or some calling way bigger than the resources, staff, or structures could possibly handle.

Recently the Oceans board was discussing an opportunity the Lord seems to be placing before us. All the board members shared it will take another miracle-but they sense the Lord is leading us. I praise the Lord for their faith even though at times my own fears can keep me up at night as my mind races through all the possible scenarios and to be honest challenging my own my weakness and faith.

So I’m thankful to walk on soil in Lesotho that was once an empty field but is now filled with life and preaches again to my soul, “Just Follow Me!” “Yes, Tim you may feel weak and tired for this but it is not about you it is about trusting me on this journey of faith.”

So my Father’s Words to me for 2024 – “Just Follow Me!”

The Father also has a way for you to follow that may seem too much and overwhelming, hear the Spirit say, “Just Follow Me I will lead you and be with you and you will see My glory!”

“To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps.” (I Peter 2:21).