Kingdom Hearts: Rebound and Rebuild

Written by Mike Verkaik

Jesus answered, “God’s kingdom is coming, but not in a way that you will be able to see with your eyes. People will not say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ because God’s kingdom is within you.”
– Luke 17:20-21 (NCV)

On Christmas Day, I received a message from Tim early in the morning. As I listened my heart was devastated to hear that the residents living in Jim Se Bos woke up to a severely destructive fire spreading through their community.  Shack after shack was consumed in flames and many residents lost their homes and all their possessions.

With over 30 current students and teachers having traveled to South Africa on Ocean’s Kingdom Encounters, I texted them photos and videos asking for prayers for our partner ministers and the residents of Jim Se Bos. Over a month later I received a text from a high school senior, Claria, asking if we could get a cup of coffee and talk about the ramifications of the fires in Jim Se Bos. Her kingdom heart was percolating with love and compassion.

While meeting together, Claria said, “Mike, you know I am not a leader, and I don’t really know what I can do, but I need to do something. I think God is calling me to lead.” The kingdom heart within her was listening and responding her Father’s voice as He triggered a memory of what she experienced in South Africa. As Claria wrote me, “ The things God taught me and the people I met while I was in South Africa had a huge impact on my life, and I have a desire to live differently today because of the two weeks I spent there.”

The stirring in Claria’s heart to “do something” led us to ask all the high school students who had been to Jim Se Bos to meet during their study period time at school. As we talked and prayed, the group was in agreement that sitting on the sidelines was not an option. There was a unified desire to see their love for the Jim Se Bos residents birth into action to assist them in some way. Out of the meeting came the idea of Rebound and Rebuild.

Rebound and Rebuild was our desire was to use our basketball game between our rival Christian school to raise awareness and resources for Jim Se Bos. Abba’s answer to the stirring in Claria’s heart was to use the intense stage of competition as a platform to demonstrate our unified love for God and our neighbor.

The objective was to symbolize to those in attendance what divides us, our school colors, and more importantly what unifies us, our desire to be used to advance the kingdom of God. Navy and maroon t-shirts would be the representative of our differences, and the common artwork and verse on the shirts would represent our unification.

By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
John 13:35 (NIV)

On faith over 700 t-shirts were purchased for the game. This was the number of t-shirts needed to meet the goal we prayed to achieve. As one student said, “If we need to sell that many t-shirts to meet our goal, let’s buy them.” How encouraging it was to witness student hearts sensing God moving and responding in obedience and trust in His provision, even when we didn’t pre-sell. It was that faith and obedience which allowed for the miracle to happen. As fans purchased t-shirts from both sides, the stands filled up with a sea of maroon and navy t-shirts. When the game was ready to start the two teams stood together at half court as fans from both sides joined together in prayer to bless Pastor Raymond and the residents of Jim Se Bos.

Yes, February 20 was an amazing night at the two gymnasiums where the boys and girls teams played. Abba doubled our goal for the evening, which was amazing. However, he also taught us once again to be attentive to His voice, and obedient to His desire for us to show His love in our actions. Their were literally tears of joy from students that night, while they witnessed Abba taking a whisper in a young girls heart and turning it into a blessing for the broken and the hurting, as well as a reminder of Jesus’ desire for us as believers to work unified for His kingdom to come to earth.

I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one – I in them and you in me – so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
– John 17:22-23 (NIV)


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