Praise at the Paint Store!

               Deb’s journal

The Oceans Retreat Centre building is rather thirsty for paint so we’ve gotten to know the manager, Deb at the paint store, rather well.

“Pastor Tim how are things today?” smiled Deb.

My response was “Hectic!” A good South African term which means busy or out of control.

Deb could see I wasn’t feeling very pastoral, as we fellowship at the same church. She continued “let me show you something.”

She pulled out a journal with a list of 20 praise and thanksgiving items listed. She said she has to! Deb went on to share that some years back she went through an extremely dark season of loss and grief. So many people she loved in a short time passed away and the shock shattered her heart and paralyzed her emotionally. The pain kept her imprisoned with little hope to find freedom from the despair.

Deb was challenged in a grief support group to start each day with 20 things she was thankful for. As she heeded this advice and daily practiced thankfulness heavens light broke through the stronghold of darkness. “First on my list is always faith,” she pointed out, “It was only through the gift of faith in Jesus and His love for me that I’m here today.” It was in Deb’s thanksgiving to Jesus for His love and daily blessings that the battle was won.

Early the next morning I was reminded of Deb’s powerful testimony as I battled my own racing thoughts of what appeared like another “hectic day” brought on a heavy sigh. But before my mind could race to far down the freeway of stress-I picked up my journal and jotted down all the things I was thankful to Abba Father for. Before I knew it I ended up with 21 blessings and the presence of shalom replaced the sigh and set the tone for a blessed day.

The Biblical truth of the transforming power of thanksgiving flows like a mighty river through the core of Scripture. Thanksgiving is not always easy, it takes an obedient faith, especially when times are dark. But when Abba’s children choose gratitude even in the midst of grief His grace will flow in supernatural ways.

One of my favorite Biblical stories of this truth is found in 2 Chronicles 20. King Jehoshaphat is faced with 3 warring countries rapidly descending upon Judah. In the natural there is no way to defeat the onslaught from happening. But the King called the people together for prayer to seek Divine intervention.

The Word of the LORD came back to them and said;

“Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s…Have faith in the LORD your God and you will be upheld,” (vs. 15,20).

And as a declaration of their faith Jehoshaphat appointed the choir to lead the army into battle and they sang Psalm 136:

“Give thanks to the LORD for His love endures forever!”

And as the people began to sing and praise the LORD the enemies began to fight against themselves and destroyed one another, thus bringing victory to His singing children.

How thankful I am for Deb and the needed reminder of the supernatural power of Thanksgiving. As she challenged me I would like to challenge you to start your day with a thanksgiving list and watch the Father take care of your enemy whatever that may be.

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ’s Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:17







The Forming Wave of Revival


Watching in wonder, massive waves began to form as surfers flooded the secluded beach not far from where we live. We had just attended a funeral of a precious saint, and needed some soul time, the impromptu drive resulted in watching surfers pounded while paddling to their sweet spot to catch the perfect wave. After an enduring  battle their efforts brought forth an experienced surfer’s heaven as huge waves were caught-the ones with the barrel or tube.

Spiritual Waves appear to be hitting shores around the world. Perhaps you’ve  have heard about it? The February 8th revival that broke forth on the campus of Asbury University in the small town of Wilmore, Kentucky.  After an ordinary chapel service a group of students stayed and kept worshiping and the floodgates of heaven poured down upon them. A wave of the Spirit hit!

There was no hype, no celebratory speakers, just a few hungry students pressing into the Father’s heart and He released His love in a supernatural way. It was a repeat of what happened 53 years earlier in the same chapel where the Spirit brought repentance and a great awakening to the holy, loving heart of God. Since that chapel service thousands of people from all over the world invaded the small university and town to encounter a Sovereign work of the Spirit.

The wave that hit Asbury is now hitting several other colleges, universities, churches, and schools across the US and the world. What is so amazing about this move is how the younger generation is caught up and thrust forward by His transforming grace. Over the past several years this generation has encountered demonic darkness and a heaviness which has sought to destroy their hope. BUT NOW these young people are being filled and overflowing with the joy of heaven.

Recently a group of middle school students on Oceans campus for a Kingdom Encounter. To be honest we were all a bit apprehensive and thought it could be a challenge to connect. However, by the end of our time together we witnessed how the Spirit saturated hearts. Together we shared times of confession, tears, prophecies, praying over people with a mighty boldness, and coming up with spiritual truths and insights that only the Spirit could have taught. The Father is raising up a new wave of young people that will cover “the earth with the glory of God as the waters cover the sea,” Hab. 2:14.

How, I praise Abba for this small group of Asbury students who skipped class, remained in the chapel, and sought to find a spiritual wave to empower their thirsty souls. May this encourage each one of us to press into this promise from Jesus:

“…so it is with your prayers. Ask and you’ll receive. Seek and you’ll discover. Knock on heaven’s door, and it will one day open for you. Every persistent person will receive what he asks for. Every persistent seeker will discover what he needs. And everyone who knocks persistently will one day find an open door.

Let me ask you this: Do you know any father who would give his son a snake on a plate when he asked for a serving of fish? Of course not! Do you know of any father who would give his daughter a spider when she had asked for an egg? Of course not! If imperfect parents know how to lovingly take care of their children and give them what they need, how much more will the perfect heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit’s fullness when His children ask Him.” (Luke 11:9-13)

Keep paddling out for there’s a Wave Coming!







“I Resented God”

The heart of the Father is expressed  beautifully by this blog written by Siete Hicks. Be blessed as you hear Abba’s voice of healing love through it.

Almost three years ago today I wrote a post talking about how I was fatherless by choice. The post ended with me asking God to give me the strength to open the doors to my heart and let Him reveal Himself as a Father.

Well…up until about a week ago, I was still keeping Him at arm’s length. I wanted to believe He was a good Father, but how do you believe someone is good when they’ve taken so much from you? And how do you accept someone as a father when you haven’t seen that side of them and just want the dad you had back?

I had finally gained peace about my earthly father’s death and could see how God worked through that, and I could see God’s different attributes and declare them good, but His being a Father was still something I struggled with and quite frankly didn’t want to experience since I had already determined He wasn’t a good Father. A little piece of my heart still resented Him, but it hid the resentment well.

Also three years ago, I was signed up to go on a mission trip to South Africa that COVID-19 ended up canceling, and I took the opportunity to add that to my list of things God had taken from me. Then later that year was when I decided that I was going to wrestle with God. And I did. I yelled, I screamed, and I even tried to run away at one point. It was exhausting in every way possible, and it hurt as I worked through my pain, but it was encouraging as I looked back and realized how God was reshaping and restoring me.

In the end, I was grateful I didn’t go to South Africa because there was no way I could’ve been a blessing to others and be blessed myself by the trip with all the unresolved feelings I had towards God.

Fast forward to the present day…Yesterday I got back from that trip I was supposed to go on three years ago. I flew there curious why God was allowing me to go years later, and I flew back so much more healed in my understanding of Him. God had given me a glimpse of who He was when I wrestled with Him the first time, but this trip…this was about Him showing me specifically who He was as a Father because that was His attribute I still struggled to understand, and accept.

I went to South Africa and I saw Him. I saw Him in extreme brokenness and heartache. I walked among people whose lives could not be any more chaotic, and yet there was proof everywhere of God being a good Father. These people’s lives had been shattered, and yet they still called God good and found Him worthy to be praised.

These people had so little, and yet there was proof of God being a provider.
These people lived among violence and chaos, and yet there was proof of God bringing peace to their lives.
These people…had experienced so much heartache, and yet there was proof of a Father loving His children so deeply.

There’s a song called “Good Good Father” by Chris Tomlin. This past week was the first time I was able to sing that song. Every time I heard that song so much anger and resentment would stir in my heart and I literally could not physically get myself to even mouth those words. And now…now I have tasted and seen that God is good.

During one of our outreach days, I was holding a little girl who lived in a community controlled by gangs; a community where violence happened on a regular basis. I had never met this girl, as she wasn’t in the class I was helping with and had picked her up after a boy had come and shoved her down on the ground.

After talking with the boy and making sure there were no tears, I asked if she wanted me to put her down so she could play, but she clung to me even tighter and refused to be set down. So I stayed put and cherished the fact I was holding a little girl whose story I didn’t know; who simply just wanted to stay in my arms and be loved. So there we stood with her face buried in my neck, and her arms and legs wrapped around my body. She then suddenly pulled away, looked at me, then put her forehead against mine, and closed her eyes. As I closed my eyes, I felt a peace settling over us and the chaos around us stilled. The harsh wind softened, and in that moment I felt how much God loved this little girl whose name I didn’t even know, and in turn how much He loved me. As a Father. He was showing me what His fatherly love felt like. I felt Him tell the resentment in my heart to leave, and relief washed over me as the weight I carried for so long was finally taken away. My heart finally understood and accepted the Fatherly attribute of God.

If I had gone to South Africa three years ago, I wouldn’t have gone to the same part of the country, and I wouldn’t have met the people who poured into my life for the past week and showed me God’s heart. God DID want me to go on this trip. He didn’t take anything away from me, but He had me wait until I was spiritually ready, and until I would be able to go where He wanted me to be. God will never stop chasing and showing you who He is. He will seek you out and prove Himself to you. He is a good, good Father, He is perfect in all of His ways, and He is perfect in His timing.

“But you, O God, are both tender and kind, not easily angered, immense in love, and you never, never quit.” (Ps. 86:15 MSG)

“Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see how good God is. Blessed are you who run to Him.” (Ps. 34:8 MSG)

“What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called children of God! That’s who we really are. But that’s also why the world doesn’t recognize us or take us seriously, because it has no idea who He is or what He’s up to.” (1 Jn. 3:8 MSG)

The Only One Not Seen!


Who was the only one in human history that was not seen? This past Sunday morning I asked this to a perplexed looking bunch during a church service. You could tell minds were zipping through stories in Scripture seeking to find the answer. Finally, a middle school young man from Holland Christian in Michigan, almost fell out of his seat as his hand flew up and shouted out “Jesus! He was spot on.

Lately I been reflecting on how perhaps our heartfelt need within each and every one of us is to be seen. We want somebody to notice us. We want to matter. The last 10 days we were reminded of this as Oceans Ministries was privileged to lead middle school boys joined by their principal, a high school senior, a sister and a mom on a Kingdom Encounter. These young men, and those accompanying them, were amazing, serving almost 1000 meals to those in extreme poverty, loving on children, and praying with boldness over many in the community.

Each evening as we gathered for “family time” there was a sense of expectancy and excitement as each of us shared a high and low about the day. Behind these quirky, energetic, always hungry young men, were boys who welcomed hugs, had the freedom to cry, and soaked up words of affirmation. Deep down aren’t we all like that? When we don’t feel seen we end up doing some crazy things in life; just to be seen. Think about the outrageous posts on social media or the way we act out to draw attention to ourselves because deep down in every soul is a need to be seen.

And that is why the Father took His eyes off His perfect Son Jesus. Jesus, the only One in human history who for a moment was not seen by His loving Father as He took on the sins of the world. Jesus became our curse, carrying our rebellious heart to the cross and He was crucified for our sins, so that we would never experience the Father taking His eyes off of us. We will never have to call out like Jesus did, “My God, my God why have you forsaken me” Matthew 27:46.

Healing and transformation happens when our eyes of faith are opened to the One who really sees and knows us with His perfect love. Read Genesis 16 sometime and you find a story laced with sin. Sarai is tired of waiting for God to act and give her a child. So she comes up with disastrous plan of giving her servant Hagar to Abraham in order to have the child God promised. Abraham sins by sheepishly going along with the plan and once with child Hagar sins by mocking Sarai with pride.

All this erupts as Sarai mistreats Hagar and she runs away. In the midst of all this sin and pain God goes after Hagar and tells her she is going to have a son and to call him “Ishmael,” which means God hears. Hagar responds in faith and from then on Hagar referred to the LORD, who had spoken to her as,

“The God who sees me!” (vs. 13).

What a picture of how our Father runs to us in Christ in the midst of our sin and misery.  As we call out for help He is there to forgive and show us His love in the gift of His Son. Jesus, His onlySon whom the Father looked away from so that we could be seen and loved by our Good Father.

Our last night with these amazing group we shared Communion, anointed and prayed over each one as a symbol of the Holy Spirit sealing their hearts to the fact that they are seen by their Father.

Praise God for the Holy Spirit, the Word, our Baptism, and the LORD’s Supper that shout out to us,

“I have seen the God who sees me!” (Gen. 16:13)




How Then Shall We Live?

How do we live as followers of Christ in a culture that is rapidly becoming anti-Christ? Last week I was asked to speak to at a rehabilitation group dealing with addictions. For six weeks Dutch clients are sent to South Africa to work on their recovery. The director is trying to introduce both a spiritual and service side to their recovery.

But for the first time in my ministry I found myself speaking to group where the majority had no faith or even anti faith. You could sense and physically see manifestations of anger in some toward what was been shared. As I ended the time with comments and questions I heard painful stories of their past and even church experiences that left them angry toward God or even denying His existence.

As I drove home I pondered the experience and asked the Father how do we live in the midst of a culture where what happened is the norm? Here are a few thoughts that came to mind:

  1. Secure in Him – Followers of Christ must find their security in the perfect love of God the Father. As we become the minority, our identity can’t be determined by what the crowd thinks of us. It must be rooted in a love shown to us in the Father’s gift of Jesus and His precious blood. This blood offers us forgiveness, healing and restores us to the Father’s arms, giving us security throughout our lives. The apostle Paul ministered in every town and city as the minority and yet what gave him boldness and courage was a love that he could never be separated from his Lord. “…nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of the Father that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Rom. 8:39.
  1. See with The Father’s Eyes – As I was speaking to the Dutch clients I could see red angry rising in some. I prayed for the Father to show me His heart for these broken individuals. So I could see past their resistance into the pain and the protective layers covering their wounded souls.

Too easily we can run from these encounters or become defensive. But behind the facades are hurting children created in the image of God who need His love. If the Father demonstrated His love to me in the midst of my sin and rebellion I am called to have a patient love like His (Romans 5:8).

Our secular world needs to see the Father’s love pouring out of us serving even those who hate and despise what we stand for. This was how the early church transformed their culture as the hated minority. They loved the poor, the sick, the broken, their persecutors showing the supernatural love of Christ in them as in 1 Peter 3:15.

  1. Spirit Led – It is not our job to change hearts, rather the Spirit’s. We are called to be faithful to where the Spirit leads us and trust His power not ours to speak and love through us to the most hardened of hearts.

I was reminded of this after the meeting as I spoke with some who wanted to talk more. One person asked if I thought his kids would every forgive him and if he could ever forgive himself. This opened up a door to share about the source of all forgiveness. After this conversation I was told that just a few days earlier this person voiced his utter distain for God.

I leave you with Paul’s amazing words as one who lived and ministered as the minority and left the results up to the Spirit of God:

“When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that you faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.” (1 Cor. 2:1-5)

This is how we should live!