The Pilgrim’s Progress

Out of times of our greatest brokenness God births beautiful works for His glory!

I was thinking about that while I set up the movie “Pilgrim’s Progress” for a group of high school girls at Oceans Retreat Center.  None of them had ever heard of John Bunyan nor his famous allegory first published in 1678; an amazing book that has never been out of print and translated into more than 200 languages.

These young ladies were about to encounter one of the greatest stories outside of Scripture about the narrow path of salvation and the journey of a true disciple of Jesus.  Bunyan wrote this timeless story during a lengthy imprisonment from 1660 to 1672. Much like the Apostle Paul who wrote many of his powerful letters from prison, Bunyan was in prison for preaching the Gospel outside the established rules of the church of England.

The church in Bunyan’s day was spiritually dead and directly linked with political forces of the day. He was so moved by the Holy Spirit to speak the truth of the Gospel that he preached outside of the church buildings and in streets and homes.  Even though the enemy hoped to silence Bunyan with jail time, God used this seemly unfortunate situation for a story to unfold that would capture minds and hearts with the truth of the Gospel and what means to follow Christ for almost 350 years.

Out of John Bunyan’s season of isolation and separation from loved ones and friends The Spirit birthed a literary masterpiece teaching Biblical truths which would transform millions over the years, including some teen age girls in South Africa. If you haven’t read it or seen a movie on it, I believe it would bless you, especially in light of the days we are living in. In fact the 2019 computer animated film we watched is well done and good for all ages. It will encourage you in your walk of faith and remind you that this world is not our home. We are pilgrims on our way to a celestial city to live forever with our loving Father and Savior God.

Bunyan’s life and the book Pilgrim’s Progress is an inspiration during this pandemic, the political craziness, and a cultural spinning out of control and believe it or not  this is when our Sovereign God does great works. I can’t wait to see what our Father is going to birth out of all the brokenness of 2020. Just like John Bunyan, the Apostle Paul, and you & me God uses times of brokenness to birth beautiful works for His glory!

“My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness,” (2 Cor. 12:8).






I want to share with you my favorite summary on the Why, How, and the What to pray for from LORD’S DAY 45 in a short video clip.

Stepping Into the Lord’s Prayer


Mockup of Stepping Into the Lord's Prayer, a new book by Tim Spykstra

Some years back I climbed up into the foothills near where we lived to spend a day in prayer. As I overlooked the bustling city below I had a difficult time quieting my racing mind. As I was losing the battle to stay focused in prayer I turned to simply praying through the Lord’s Prayer.

As I slowly and meditatively pondered each of the words of Jesus-lifting them before the Father my mind settled and a tranquil peace pushed away a boat load of anxiety. As the prayer became alive streams of spiritual insights began to replenish my dehydrated soul.

My thoughts wandered brought back to the summer of 1988 when I attended my first Alcoholic Anonymous meeting with my dad who was just starting his road to recovery. At the conclusion of the meeting everyone joined hands and prayed the Lord’s Prayer in such a passionate way that I had never encountered before. As I recalled that powerful moment, my mind began to make rapid connections with the 12 Steps of AA and the Lord’s Prayer. I took my journal and matched up each step with the anointed words of Jesus.  That aha moment eventually transpired into a sermon series. Yes, I was overwhelmed by the realization that Jesus’ gift to us in this short prayer had the transforming power to help us overcome sin and addictions controlling our lives.

A few years back I felt moved to turn the sermons into a short book that could be used as a tool to help in the battle with sin and addictions that seem to have a strangle hold on our culture. I truly believe that Jesus has given us the way to break the power of the enemy’s lies and give us abundant freedom in a relationship via prayer with our Heavenly Father.

sample pages from Stepping Into the Lord's Prayer

Please join Oceans Ministries as we pray that in some way the Holy Spirit will use this work to encourage many to cry out and receive these healing Biblical Truths that can set captives free.

If you would like to learn more about the book, please visit our website.

You can also go directly to Amazon to purchase your own copy.

If you would like a copy but can not afford it please let us know and we will do our best to get you a copy.


The Prayer that Breaks the Power of Addiction!

Kerry* stopped by Oceans Retreat Center last week to ask for money to get some breakfast. I had met him some months earlier when we were feeding the homeless at the beginning of lock down. Kerry has a warm smile and a gentle spirit so it was hard for me to say, “no.” But instead I felt prompted to ask him what his drug of choice was? Instead of walking away he paused looked me in the eye and responded, “alcohol, sometimes tic (which is crystal meth), and gambling.”

It was as if a dam broke within Kerry’s soul and he opened up about his constant battle with addictions.  He went on to say that if I would have given him money there would have been a strong possibility he may have found himself at the liquor store looking for a cheap bottle of wine. He said, “the Holy Spirit tells me not to-but most of the time I can’t resist.”

He shared how he has been on the streets for 4 years here in South Africa and that addictions destroyed his marriage and burned bridges. His father died when he was a teenager and drugs were how he dealt with the pain and he has been turning to it ever since.

In the course of our conversation I asked Kerry if he knew the Lord’s Prayer?  He nodded yes. I went on to explain how every thing he needed for recovery & healing is found in this short, yet powerful prayer. Yes, he looked a little perplexed as he has tried drug support groups and other programs but nothing seemed to help. I challenged him to heart fully start praying this prayer Jesus gave His disciples.

I know this sounds rather simplistic for such deep seated roots that strangle people in addiction. However I truly believe in this short prayer there is healing power to break the satanic strongholds that keep on many people in bondage.

When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray they saw in Jesus something they could not explain. A whole man, not trapped by the lies of power, materialism, peoples’ opinions, legalistic religion, and fleeting worldly pleasures-but a man who walked in a secure love from another world. They sensed the source of Jesus’ radical new way of living came from His relationship to His Father in prayer and they wanted what He had.

Next week I will share more about a book that God has been forming in my heart for years-teaching me about the transforming power of the Lord’s Prayer. I believe if Kerry prays this incredible prayer Jesus taught and applies the truths revealed He can encounter the healing power of the Spirit of Jesus.

Maybe you are going through your own battles at this very moment. I challenge you to stop what you are doing and slowly ponder and pray this gift Jesus has given to His children:

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy Name, Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever and ever. Amen.




Breaking the Power of Addictions!

“Alcohol, Addiction, and the CRC Pastor.” This was the title of an article I recently received in my inbox. The blog openly addresses the intense battle many pastors face with alcohol and how this season of Covid has only accentuated the problem for many in church leadership. It makes me wonder–if shepherds are falling into this addictive trap, how many of the sheep are struggling as well?

Here in South Africa many experience the same struggles with alcohol and addiction. If fact, for a few months during lockdown all liquor stores were closed due to the sad reality that more people were in the emergency rooms for alcohol related abuse than from Covid. If the list of addictive agents is expanded to include social media, pornography, food, drugs, fill in your own addiction of choice, another criss of pandemic proportions is set before us.

The pain of the pandemic has pushed many to succumb to a temporary solace, a worldly fix that will only spiral into deeper despair and eventually destruction of the soul. How do we navigate this uncertain, painful world we live in where all the foundations we have stood on seem to be crumbling?

I believe a key component necessary to ground us particularly during this time of uncertainty can be found in the request of the disciples in Luke 11:1, “Lord teach us to pray!”  Perhaps some of you are thinking that such an answer seems rather simplistic for such a complex issue like addictions. Yet, I strongly believe this powerful request leads to the Father’s plan of breaking through the bondage of addiction and living in freedom as sons and daughters of the the Eternal King.

This phrase, “Lord teach us to pray” is so unconventional. This band of disciples who hung around Jesus did not ask Him to instruct them on how to teach or how to preach, how to  heal the sick, how to drive out demons, etc, so why how to pray? What did these followers observe in Jesus’ life and ministry that would prompt them to ask this?  Do you think the right prayer and prayer life can break the powerful stronghold of addictions, why are why not?

I welcome you to share your thoughts on why the disciples asked Jesus this particular question.

I invite you to make the same request of Jesus:  Ask Him to teach you to pray.

I look forward to sharing more insights on this relevant topic in next week’s blog.