Fiji Report


Fiji Report –

This past month, from February 14 to March 6, 2017 I spent three weeks visiting seven different communities to interview people in these communities concerning the transformation that has happened through the ministry of the Healing The Land Ministries.

BRA_f-2ry-BLCc0OmCnfVAJXubFkl9sivVSkU5mRBpQ,2YpJsyT305gRqlyIwuJupW9WiZueKo849UV0kcWT5IMHealing the Land Ministries was formed in Fiji in response to the amazing works that God was doing in community after community as they came together and believed and began to live out 2 Chronicles 7:14,

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.”

What I  saw and heard was at once incredible, and inspiring, and at the same time so simple and straightforward.

From Coral Reefs that had been dead for decades coming back to life, to fish returning as the sand and sea were dedicated back to the Lord.


Tavua beachTo the restoration of land that had been stolen a hundred years ago being returned to it’s rightful owners.



To crop production being increased a hundred fold and more.


To a spring of water that had been cursed generations ago, being transformed into the purest water in all of Fiji as historical curses were broken and the land dedicated back to God.


IMG_4970To a gold ring of just the right size miraculously appearing on the table.

To government agencies building roads and bridges, and beginning bus service without any request from the people of the communities. A result of the people taking seriously 2 Chronicles 7:14.



The truth is, God is faithful to His Word, and His promises. He only waits for us to clearly understand His Word and believe what He says.

In each interview, I asked one final question: “If you could tell the people who might read the story of what happened in your community one thing, What is the one thing you would want them to know?”  — Time after time the response was simply, Believe God, Trust this good God, Believe His Word and follow Him.

I am now in the process of putting these amazing stories in book form to pass this on so that others might know of the greatness of our amazing God.  I don’t have a timeline yet. I would covet your prayers as I undertake this task.

If you would be interested in my coming and sharing with  your church or group, contact me at, or 360-862-5646.

It is real, it is powerful, and it is for anyone who will believe and obey.

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The Inconvenience of Brokenness


The Inconvenience of Brokenness

broken vessel

 I was reminded recently how inconvenient the Biblical teaching of brokenness really is. In many Christian teachings, it is much easier to talk about verses such as Romans 8:37, Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us, or Philippians 4:13, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. But if the subject of brokenness comes up, the topic seems to be quickly diverted to all we can conquer through Christ. To talk about our weakness and frailty doesn’t seem very victorious. It’s much more encouraging to talk about how we will overcome and win the battles and vanquish every foe. Now, don’t get me wrong. There is a valid place for all of this teaching, but these teaching of conquering and victory must be understood in the light of what the Bible teaches about brokenness.

Part of the problem with this thinking is a lack of understanding of how God views brokenness. You see, to God, brokenness is never weakness. Some Christian teaching and the views of the world around us would have us believe that being in a place of brokenness is a place of weakness and vulnerability. Our response is that we need to get out of this place and pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and get going. And to be perfectly honest, at least some of what results from the teaching of overcoming and more than conquerors is nothing more than Christianized self-effort. And that is abhorrent to God. It is a glorification of our own self will, self efforts, and self talk. So we need to understand the Biblical principle behind this idea of brokenness.

Perhaps not surprisingly, most Christians acknowledge the importance of brokenness but do everything they can to avoid the experience of it. There is a fundamental teaching about brokenness that helps us to understand it’s importance in the economy of God. That is simply, brokenness brings us to the place to complete and total dependence upon God. And that is God’s gracious purpose, because when we are completely and totally dependent upon God, then He is free to fulfill in us, all the destiny that He purposed for us before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4). There is an interesting cycle of brokenness and strength that is found in Philippians 4: 11 – 13. We are used to quoting verse 13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” but that comes in the context of Paul saying that he has learned how to be content in any circumstance. How did Paul come to that place? To be able to be content whether starving or having plenty? This is understood in light of chapter 3 where Paul says he puts no confidence in the flesh, and considers all his fleshly advantages to be as garbage. The one thing that is of utmost importance to Paul is to know Christ (Philippians 3:10).

Allow me to give this simple insight into “brokenness.” I have read several posts where people do not agree with the idea of “brokenness” and when I read them I realize that there is a misunderstanding of what this brokenness really is, and how it works. So here is my humble attempt.

Brokenness is being in that place where we have come to realize the total emptiness, and abhorrence to God of our fleshly efforts to please and serve our Most Holy God (John 15:5). Brokenness is the state of being more and more totally dependent upon the power of God to work in and through us for His purposes (Colossians 1:29). Brokenness is constantly on guard against the subtle influences of the flesh and when it realizes that fleshly attitudes, or efforts have begun to influence our total trust in God, there is immediate repentance and turning from the flesh to God (I Corinthians 15:31).

Brokenness can occur in times of trial, where God is testing us as He did Israel, to see what is in us, and Brokenness is an ongoing attitude of dependence upon God alone for our power, wisdom,  and service for Him. Think of this, take an unbroken clay jar and put a light inside, cover the top and how much light will shine through? NONE
Take that same jar,break it and then glue it together again, but the light inside, cover the top and light will shine through each of those broken places.

The flesh rebels against brokenness, the Spirit of God guides us into brokenness because brokenness is the place of usefulness and blessing, and God’s loving presence. Let us learn to embrace brokenness (James 4:10).

Finally, I leave you with this illustration that has touched my heart many times over the years…



Once upon a time in the heart of the western kingdom, there was a beautiful garden. There in the cool of the day, the Master was wont to walk. Of all the dwellers in his garden, the most beautiful and beloved was a noble bamboo tree. Year after year the bamboo grew more noble and gracious, conscious of his masters love and watchful delight.

One day the master himself drew near to contemplate his beloved tree, and bamboo in a passion of adoration bowed his great head to the ground. The master spoke: “Bamboo, I would us you.” It seemed the day of days had come. The day for which the tree had been made! Bamboos voice came low, “Master, I am ready, use me as you wish.”

Bamboo, the master voice was grave, “I must take you and cut you down.” “Cut me down! Me whom you, master have made the most beautiful in your entire garden, cut me down? Not that, not that! Use me for your joy, oh master, but do not cut me down!”

The Masters voice grew graver still, “If I do not cut you down then I cannot use you.” The garden grew still. Wind held his breath. Bamboo slowly bent his glorious head. There came a whisper, “Master, If you cannot use me unless you cut me down, then do your will and cut.”

“Beloved bamboo, I must cut your leaves and branches from you also.”  “Master, spare me! Lay my beauty in the dust, but would you take from me my leave and branches also?” “Unless I cut them away, I cannot use you.” The sun hid its face. A butterfly glided fearfully away, and bamboo shivered in expectancy, whispering low, “Master, cut away.” “Bamboo, I would divide you in two and cut out your heart, for if I do not, I cannot use you!”

Then Bamboo bowed low to the ground. “Then master, cut and divide.”

So did the master of the garden cut down bamboo, and hack off his branches, and strip off his leaves and branches and cut him in two and cut out his heart. Then he carried him to where there was a spring of fresh sparkling water in the midst of the masters dry fields. Putting one end of broken bamboo into the spring and the other into the water channel of his field, the master gently laid down his beloved tree.

And the spring sang, “Welcome!” and the clear sparkling waters raced joyously down the channel of

Bamboos torn body into the waiting fields. Then the rice was planted. And the days went by and the shoots grew, and the harvest came.

In that day, Bamboo, once so glorious, was truly put to use in his brokenness and humility. For in his beauty, he had life abundant for himself, but in his brokenness, he became a channel of abundant life to his master’s world.

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Give Thanks with Me…. Dar Graças Comigo


(clique aqui para uma versão em Português)


The day was January 3, 1969

I was in the Air Force with orders for Vietnam. My life up to that day had been increasingly filled with drugs and alcohol abuse. I had been watching my life slip farther and farther away, but I had no power to stop the slide.

My friend from High School, Mark McPherson had written to me about a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, and my response was, “I’m glad you found something that works for you, but that’s not my thing,”  But January 3, 1969 found me headed for his house in San Jose, California… just for a quick visit. I was on my way home to my parent’s house in Palos Verdes, in Southern California. I was planning only about a ten minute visit. After all, we didn’t have that much in common any more. He had his faith, I had my drugs, and booze. I was coming from a time with friends in Sacramento, California where I was on drugs or alcohol most of the time.

All I had was Mark’s address in San Jose. I had no map, so at the first San Jose exit off the freeway, I pulled into a gas station to ask directions. To my amazement, when I asked how to get to that address, the attendant said, “oh, that’s easy! Just go to the next light, take a left turn, take another left turn and you are there.”  I thought that was rather strange… little did I know I was being set up by the God of the universe! Mark told me years later that when he saw me walking up to his house, the Lord spoke t him and said, “Don’t let him leave until he knows where he is going.”

That planned ten minutes ended being the entire day. Mark was faithful to what the Lord spoke to him, and faithfully witnessed the love of God to me over and over again. We had lunch together, and he talked about a personal relationship with God. All through the afternoon. Over dinner, he faithfully answered my questions and continued to share about a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ, and His death on the cross for me.

That night, about eight in the evening, while waiting to see a movie, sitting in my 1969 Triumph Spitfire,  spitfire1he asked me the ultimate question… “Are you ready?” I said yes, and prayed right there, asked the Lord to forgive my sins and make me a new person in Christ. There was no big flash of light, but the lifting of the burdens on my heart was immediate and profound. The desires for drugs and alcohol were immediately gone, and never returned.

My time in Vietnam turned out to be a time of rapid spiritual growth thanks to the img080ministry of then, Overseas Christian Servicemen’s Centers, now called Cadence International. I was baptized in April of 1969 in the South China Sea off the coast of Nha Trang, Vietnam.

vietnam-baptismEach year, on January 3, I take time to remember the power of a faithful witness, THANKS AGAIN, MARK! and the power of God to transform a life. This year, 2013 marks my 45th spiritual birthday, and I am eternally grateful to God for His grace and mercy, and how over these past 45 years, He has been faithful in every way. I would never go back, and count myself among those most blessed by God’s amazing love. I have never doubted for a moment since that night that I have a personal relationship with Him. Since that day 45 years ago, my only desire has been to serve Him in whatever way He has directed me.  As Pastor, Bible Teacher, Prayer Ministry leader, I have only one desire.. that on that day when I stand before Him,

I will hear the words, “Well done, Steve! Enter into the joy of your Lord.”

I invite you to give thanks with me to God for His love, and mercy and grace that sent His Son to die on the cross for you and me, rose from the dead to conquer death, and ascended to heaven, and one day He will return for us.  If you do not have a personal relationship God in this way, feel free to contact me, I’d love to share with you how Jesus can transform your life, and give you a personal relationship that is for all eternity.

Thanks for sharing this Spiritual Birthday with me….  The Adventure Continues….

…till next time…




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A Response to the Current State of American Affairs…


A Response to the Current State of American Affairs…

manI have been, as many of your have been, watching the current horrific actions of our national leaders centering around the partial government shutdown and the debate over raising the debt limit. I have been appalled at the petty actions to hurt the American people, and American Veterans by denying access, and even arresting those who cross barriers to national monuments, and denying people access to their own homes or businesses if they happen to be on federal lands.

I have to confess my total outrage and disgust at the pettiness that is being shown on so many levels, and on many different sides of our society today.

My heart is broken for our society in these days, where at a school in Washington State, balls are banned from the playground because they might harm students, and the NSA spying issues, the lack of leadership and the list can go on, and on.

I have to confess also, that I have found myself being caught up into a sense of hopelessness for a time… a negativity that we have seen the last gasps of our great republic. I had thoughts that I have lived to see the descent of The United States of America into a form of government that was never intended by our founding fathers, and that most of us so not want, but have not stood up to defend.

But God…

Those are the words that I was reminded of out of that pit of hopeless thinking. I was reminded that this is a perfect time, and a perfect opportunity for the church to respond in an appropriate manner… in the manner that has, in the past brought great awakenings to our country.

I think many American Christians today are not aware of the writings and teachings of the revival historian Dr. J. Edwin Orr.

In a speech called, “The Role of Prayer in Spiritual Awakening,” Dr. Orr describes the conditions in the colonies prior to the First Great Awakening. This is what  he writes:

Not many people realize that in the wake of the American Revolution there was a moral slump. Drunkenness became epidemic. Out of a population of five million, 300,000 were confirmed drunkards; they were burying fifteen thousand of them each year. Profanity was of the most shocking kind. For the first time in the history of the American settlement, women were afraid to go out at night for fear of assault. Bank robberies were daily occurrence. What about the churches? The Methodists were losing more members than they were gaining. The Baptists said that they had their most wintry season. The Presbyterians in general assembly deplored the nation’s ungodliness. In a typical Congregational church, the Rev. Samuel Shepherd of Lennox, Massachusetts in sixteen years had not taken one young person into fellowship. The Lutherans were so languishing that they discussed uniting with Episcopalians who were even worse off. The Protestant Episcopal Bishop of New York, Bishop Samuel Provost quit functioning; he had confirmed no one for so long that he decided he was out of work, so he took up other employment. The Chief Justice of the United States, John Marshall, wrote to the Bishop of Virginia, James Madison, that the Church “was too far gone ever to be redeemed.” Voltaire averred, and Tom Paine echoed, “Christianity will be forgotten in thirty years.”

Take the liberal arts colleges at that time. A poll taken at Harvard had discovered not one believer in the whole of the student body. They took a poll at Princeton, as much more evangelical place; they discovered only two believers in the student body, and only five that did not belong to the filthy speech movement of that day. Students rioted. They held a mock communion at Williams College, and they put on anti-Christian plays at Dartmouth. They burned down the Nassau Hall at Princeton. They forced the resignation of the president of Harvard. They took a Bible out of a local Presbyterian church in New Jersey, and burned it in a public bonfire.

Christians were so few on campus in the 1790’s that they met in secret like a communist cell, and kept their minutes in code so that no one would know.

In case this is thought to be the hysteria of the moment, Kenneth Scott Latourette, the great church historian, wrote: “It seems as if Christianity was about to be ushered out of the affairs of men.” The churches had their backs to the wall, [highlights mine] seeming as if they were about to be wiped out. How did the situation change? It came through a concert of prayer.

Dr. Orr goes on to describve how people began to gather in concerted gatherings of prayer, and in response to concerted, humble, desperate prayer, God responded with what we now call the First Great Awakening.

The Word of God is always true in every fluctuation of society, and when He says:

Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and prayer and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and heal their land2 Chronicles 7:14

It is a promise we can count on today…

Are things terrible in our country today? Yes, on many levels. Does any of this catch God by surprise? Not at all! Is any of this beyond His ability to bring revival and transformation to our country? Not in the least.

The question is, what will my response be? What will our response be? Will we wring our hands in fear? or will we pound our fists in anger? or will we get on our knees and humble ourselves and confess that we as the people of God have been part of the problem? Will we cry out to Him in concerted, humble, desperate prayer? Or will we hold on to our own sins and pride, blame everyone else, and watch thigns continue to crumble before our eyes?

I am not claiming to be a prophet, but I know the Scriptures are true, and I know the testimony of history. If we will respond as God directs us, He will be faithful to answer us, as surely as the sun rises in the morning (Hosea 6:1-3).

Now is the time for the church to unite in humble, desperate,  united prayer for our nation. Turn off CNN, and Fox News, yes and even Facebook, and gather in prayer with other believers and petition God for the salvation of our nation. It is not too late. The Lord awaits our response.

This is my plea to believers wherever you are…start now… Dont’ let up until He answers with power in  your life, in your family, in  your city, in our nation…

praying man

Cry out for mercy, for revival, for transformation.

Even so, Come! Lord Jesus!

Humbly submitted,

Steve Loopstra

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Wanted: Theolgians


Wanted:  Theologians

As you read this title, you might be thinking of excluding yourself. After all, you are not a theologian. That is someone who has gone to seminary, and studied for years and is an expert in religion.


But wait… before you leave the room. Let me remind you of who we are REALLY looking for here.

The Webster online Dictionary defines Theologian this way: one who specializes in Theology

They further define Theology as: the study of God and of God’s relation to the world

A Theologian, simply put, is someone who studies the nature and character of God  and how He relates to this world and it’s people. Theology is simply, the study of God.

Does that sound a bit like the Apostle Paul in Philippians 3:10 – 11? that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead (NKJV).

We need theologians in the church… NO! I am not saying everyone needs to go to seminary… please no!!  But, I am saying we need more people who give themselves over diligently to the study of the nature, character, and ways of God. We need people who are growing in their knowledge of God.

bible fire

We do not need people who are studied in religious systems and theological debates. We need people who are growing in a personal knowledge of the Living God!

Why? Why is this important for you? What difference does it make? Friend, it makes all the difference in the world!  And here is why:

If you are not a theologian, a person who is growing and learning the person and character of God, you will not know how to handle the challenges, and storms of life. You will be tossed about as a dingy in a hurricane. You will be left to try to figure things out by your own perception, and that is a sure formula for failure, depression and wrong thinking.

I HATE using myself as an illustration here, but for the sake of this point, I am going to use my own experience to make the point. Two years ago, my wife, Marilou was in a hospital in the Seattle, Washington area, and finally being given the news from an oncologist that she had stage 4 cancer of the pancreas that had spread to the liver. There was no cure, no treatment except to relieve pain. The doctor said we had, at the outside, two to three months. Thirteen days later, she left this life.

My experience is not unique. Many people have travelled that road. I know of a friend whose wife died in a similar fashion. His response was to retreat into his home, avoid contact with others, gain weight and start drinking to mask the pain.

But if we are a theologian, one who knows and seeks to understand the character of God, we will know that our God is a God who gives strength, hope, and a future to those who grieve. I sure did, and continue to grieve the loss of my wife. But because I am convinced that God is who He says He is in His Word, I decided I would step out into the new territory of His character. He invited me on a new adventure, and today I am experiencing new dimensions of Him that I would never had known if I had not decided many years ago to be a theologian.

Are you a theologian? Are you actively seeking to learn more and experience more of the character and personhood of God? Is your life dedicated, as Paul’s was, to “know him?”

glory to godBecoming a theologian will prepare you to be able to weather, and be victorious over any circumstance that this life may throw your way. And you and I both know this life on earth can be difficult. I urge you to decide today to become a theologian. It’s the greatest decision you can make because you will find in Him, a treasure trove of grace, and love, and mercy, and hope, and so much more that you can apply to your everyday life.

 The church, and this world needs more theologians!

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Why Should We Care?


Why Should we care?

The other day, a friend on Facebook asked a very good question. “Why is it important to us what is happening in Egypt and Brazil?” She was speaking specifically regarding the public demonstrations that have been taking place in these countries (and others by the way).

FireShot Screen Capture #009 - '‫والله اروع فيديو رأيته عن ثورة مصر 25 يناير __ هايبكيك‬‎ - YouTube' - www_youtube_com_watch_v=sNVsvEo46YY

I asked if I could have some time to put together a response. These are my thoughts. Certainly not complete, or exhaustive, and others may have better answers, but perhaps here is the beginning of a discussion.


 Why is it important to us what is happening in Egypt and Brazil? ( and other countries)

  1.)   God cares about the nations.

The Scriptures are full of the evidence of God’s heart that the nations know Him as Lord. Psalm 2:7-8 (NLT) states: The king proclaims the LORD’s decree: “The LORD said to me, ‘You are my son. Today I have become your Father. Only ask, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance, the whole earth as your possession. The condition and the destiny of nations matters to our God, and by implication, they should matter to us. God’s puGod painting the earthrpose for Israel was not isolationism, but that through them, the nations would know that He is God. As the nations observed their submission to the Lordship of God in their nation, other nations would be drawn to them, but also they were to be emissaries for Jehovah to the nations. God cares about nations because nations are made up of people, people for whom Jesus died on the cross and rose in resurrection power. We should care what happens in other countries because God cares what happens in other countries. The Old and New Testaments speak about the conditions, and activities of nations, and God’s responses. But His heart is always toward redemption and restoration to Himself. We should care about what happens in other countries because God cares enough about nations to set their boundaries (Acts 17:26). We care about nations because God continues to care about these nations.

2.)   We are to understand the times in which we live.

Jesus chided the Pharisees because they were not aware of the times that they were living in… the time of the Messiah…in Matthew 16:2-3 (NLT) He replied, “You know the saying, ‘Red sky at night means fair weather tomorrow; red sky in the morning means foul weather all day.’ You know how to interpret the weather signs in the sky, but you don’t know how to interpret the signs of the times!

I am among those who believe that we are living very near to the return of the Lord Jesus. It would be unwise and even disobedient, according to Jesus admonition, for us to not try to be aware of the times in which we live. The “end times” involves the nations of the world that will be in turmoil. Or look at it from another perspective. Luke tells us about two people, Simeon and Anna (Luke 2) who were so in tune with the Spirit of God and the times in which they lived, that they were privileged to greet and pray over the young Messiah. I personally believe that we as believers need to be keenly aware of the times in which we live, and be ready at all times to share the hope of the Gospel with the world around us. And, be prepared for the imminent return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. clock Jesus taught us this as well in Matthew 24 and other passages. Peter asks the question in 2 Peter 3:11, as we are aware of the future of this world, what manner of people ought we to be? A question that perhaps is not asked enough in these days. And a question that is relevant to this discussion.

3.)   We can make a difference through prayer.

History is replete with the accounts of how the informed intercession of God’s people has made a difference in the history of nations. There are many books that give us examples of this. One of the classics is “Shaping History Through Prayer and Fasting” by Derek Prince. One chapter in his book is entitled, “Seeing History Shaped Through Prayer.” In other words, we are not helpless victims in the stream of history. Many events in history have been turned around in answer to the prayers of God’s people. Time does not allow sharing these here, but they are plentiful. We are called to be active participants in the history of nations, and peoples. This was true in Scripture as well, Think of Abraham, Jeremiah, and Daniel only to name a few who through prayer changed the course of nations. praying man This is not triumphalism, but it is realizing the power of prayer and intercession that God has placed in our hands to bring glory to His Name, and people into His Kingdom. The many stories of transformation and healing of the land that The Sentinel Group have documented are further evidence that God calls us to be agents of transformation through prayer, intercession and our lives in the world in which we live. Passivity is not a virtue in the Kingdom of God.

4.)   It allows us to be touched by the heart of God for people.

To watch the people on the streets, whether in Brazil, Egypt or the many other countries that are in this time in chaos, reminds me of the words of Joel 3:14 (NKJV) Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.    I earnestly believe that the heart of God aches and is broken for those who are in that valley of decision… believing there is no hope, or believing that the only hope is in a political figure, or institution, or in the power of the state, or any other of a number of false gods that people are grasping for in these days. If we are truly in touch with the heart of God, our hearts too will be broken for the lostness of men in our day, and that will motivate us toward taking the Gospel of Hope in our Lord Jesus Christ to them by any means possible.  missionsThe promise of the Lord Jesus in Matthew 24:14 (NLT) is, And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come. We are to go into all the world with the Gospel and reach every nation and hasten the coming of the King of Kings. If we are in touch with the heart of God as we see those scenes from this current turmoil, our hearts will be moved to pray, and give and go for the sake of the commission He has given to us, and the sake of His Kingdom.

These thoughts are surely not exhaustive, but I trust they will stimulate our thought about how we view the images that confront us of the world and times in which we live. These are indeed challenging days. It would be easy for us to want to isolate ourselves from the nonsense, violence, chaos, and confusion that is all around us, yet we are called to be salt and light in this world, not to hide our light under a cover. There are two verses that I find very interesting, especially in these days. This is not to say I believe we are in the Tribulation period, I do not, but Revelation 13:10 and 14:12 describes that in that time of trouble the saints will be characterized by patience and faith. looking

I believe we are approaching those days, and we are also called to exhibit those same characteristics in our world… patience and faith. Placing ourselves in the Hands of God and believing Him to carry us and direct us how to live in our present world. May God grant  us each one, His patience and faith by the power of His Holy Spirit. AMEN.

Even so, Come, Lord Jesus…

Steve Loopstra


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Taking a Look at 2 Chronicles 7:14 – Another “If-Then” passage


Taking a Look at 2 Chronicles 7:14 – Another “If-Then” passage

Bible 3

Probably one of the most familiar of the Biblical “If-Then” passages is 2 Chronicles 7:14:

2 Chronicles 7:14 (NKJV) … if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

And perhaps our familiarity with this passage makes it more important to look at this more carefully. Especially in the light of where our country seems to be headed.

 A Question:  Let me pose a question here. Given the assumption that the Word of God is true, and the precepts upon which this verse if founded are true. In other words, when God says that if we will do the “If’s,” He will do the “Then’s,”  why do we not see more “Then’s?” We have all been in plenty of prayer meetings where this verse has been prayed out and used to plead with God, or convince God to come and heal our land. But if so much pleading is happening, why are we not seeing more answers? Why are we not seeing more divine response to our pleading of this promise?

question mark2

If God is true to His Word, and I am coming from the assumption that He always is, then the fault must lie with our “If’s.” We are not correctly understanding what our part is. Or we are misapplying what our responsibilities are. And the reality is, that there are numbers and numbers of examples where this verse has been lived out, and God has answered with divine fire of revival, and transformation. The Sentinel Group has been documenting such cases for years. And they continue.

So, if the fault lies with us, and it always does, what must we do, what must we understand in order for us to experience the forgiveness, and healing that God promises? We do not have time to go in depth here, but let’s look at each part of the “If’s.”

 If my people who are called by my Name – This group of people is not just “anybody.” These are not simply “church people.” For there are, unfortunately, lots of people in our churches who do not truly have a personal, redeemed relationship with the Lord. Those who are called by His Name, are the ones who are not simply church members, but those who through genuine faith in the finished work of Jesus Christ in His death, burial, resurrection and ascension, paid the penalty of sin once for all, have become the children of God through faith in Christ’s finished work. These are those who have the authority to do the “If’s” in this verse. And those who know they are called by His Name have the responsibility to take that authority seriously.

praying man

 Will humble themselves –   We can get all tangled up in talking about what “humbling ourselves” means, but the bottom line is simply that there are no more excuses, no more self-justification, no more wiggle room. We are the reason that our society, our land is so messed up. It is our sin that is the source of the dysfunction in our society. Oh sure, that is not to take away from the effects of the lives of the unsaved. Sin has had and continues to have a devastating, and debilitating effect on every area of society. However, we cannot run away or hide from the fact that when the people of God are living righteously, and with the wisdom, grace, and love of God flowing in and through their lives, those affects are greatly mitigated, and the presence of God is invited into a community resulting in revival of the Church, and transformation of society at every level.

 And Pray – Ask anyone who is living in, or has lived in a time of revival and transformation and they will tell you that what came was the result not of casual, convenient prayer, but of intense, soul wrenching, agonizing, persistent intercession. It is not my intention to do a teaching on intercession here, but I believe that we do not understand well all the dimensions of what this entails. We can tend to be one dimensional in our praying for revival and transformation, when in reality this will take on many forms … which I believe reflects the multi-faceted heart of our God. There are times for bold and forceful storming of the gates of heaven, and there are times when the weight of the sin before us relegates us to silent, desperate weeping before His Holy Throne. There are times of individual intercession, and (this is the most difficult part) corporate prayer that calls for us to set aside our church, denominational, and other preferences for the sake of the greater desire to see God come to our cities, and our countries. This is broken, desperate, peristant prayer that keeps on praying UNTIL God answers.

pleasure of His presence

 seek my face – A short summary would be that the “Face of God” represents His presence, and the completeness of His Personhood … in other words all that He is. His completeness for every area of our lives. To seek the Face of God means that we have adopted the heart attitude that we cannot live another day without His manifest presence in our midst. It does not mean hiding off in a monastery somewhere, but it does mean that we seek His Presence in every area, and in every situation of our lives. Every part of our lives is submitted to His Lordship and His Presence there without exception. A complete abandonment to the desire to have Him present in our home, in our work, in our schools, in our private times, in our family times, in our churches, in our government, in our arts and entertainments. In every aspect of life we hunger for His deeper presence.

 turn from their wicked ways – True repentance, is not just a few words spoken out in a time of emotional outburst. True repentance is a change of lifestyle and habit patterns. Giving up of “pet” vices, and a recognizing of what are idols in our lives. Ancient Israel was constantly erecting idols of worship… the Lord called this spiritual prostitution. We are greatly deficient in recognizing the idols in our own lives. And of course one of our excuses is that the Lord wants us to “have fun.” Indeed, the Lord gave Israel many feasts and talked a lot about the joy of His presence, but He did not tolerate those things that they turned to “first,” or that they “substituted” for worshiping Him in spirit and in truth. Paul makes clear in 1 Corinthians that those things will be different for each of us. That is why it is so important for us to be willing to be instructed by the Lord in what He sees as idols in our lives, in our families, in our churches, in our society. Then we must completely turn from those things, putting them in their proper place, and making a change of lifestyle that reflects true repentance by walking it out in a different lifestyle guided by His Holy Spirit.


 “IF” we will give ourselves to our part… God, who is the ever faithful One, will keep His part of the equation. Do we truly want revival and transformation in our lives, our churches, our families, our society? The choice is before us. If we will…. He will…

He only waits upon us….


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The Ministry of the “Boiler Room”


One of the exciting ministries that has now begun here at PIB (  Primeira Igreja Batista ) First Baptist Church in Valentina… is the “Boiler Room,” or  House of Prayer.

The term “Boiler Room” has reference to the ministry of Charles Spurgeon, who attributed the power and success of his crusades to the men and women who would intercede for him in the boiler. See this link: “Spurgeon’s Boiler Rooms”

Here at PIB, the “Boiler Room” was inaugurated in December of 2012 with a great celebration in front of the house.  boiler room opening1The “Boiler Room” actually  began functioning in January of 2013

Currently, we have one week per month that is 24/7 prayer and worship. The church is built upon a cell group model, so each cell group takes at least one two hour session in the “Boiler Room” each week. This includes men, women, youth, adolescents, and children. children





The “Boiler Room” is located on the first floor of the house where I live. I live on the second floor. That enables me to give oversight to the “comings and goings”  of the “Boiler Room,” and be blessed by the worship and prayer that takes place just below me.KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA





The “Boiler Room” consists of several rooms and areas in the house.

First is the Area of Promises. Here intercessors can post promises from God, and be reminded of His promises in their lives and the lives of others they are praying for.

Room of Promises



There is also the Room of Worship… click on this link to watch a YouTube video. You will  get a little peek at what happens here. Boiler Room Worship

Then there is the Room of Silence. A place for meditation, Bible reading and prayer for the nations. Room of Silence When I moved here from the US, I brought with me some items that we had collected in our travels over the years. In this room and the Room of Promises, I have placed these items as ways to remind intercessors to pray for the nations.

Then there is the Room of the Arts, where people cRoom of the Artsan express their hearts of intercession or adoration to the Lord through art, and post these on the walls.


In the months ahead, it is our goal to continue to expand the ministry of the “Boiler Room” until we do have 24/7 prayer 365 days a year.


Please join us in prayer that the Lord would do mighty things here in Valentina, in Joao Pessoa, in Brazil and in the Nations as the incense of intercession flows from our “Boiler Room”


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The Power of Encouraging Words


I was struck today by the power of simple words of encouragement. As you may realize, most of the time these kinds of reminders come in the simplest forms. So it was today.

IMG_1928[1]I was folding some T-shirts that had dried in the warm Brazilian air. And as I was folding my T-shirts, the words of my wife echoed in my head. A few weeks before she died, I was doing the same chore… folding my T-shirts, and she made the simple comment, “You fold those so nice and narrow.” It was a simple statement, but now eighteen months after her death, her words come to my mind. Seven simple words. She could have told me I wasn’t doing it right. She could have said I need to do it a different way, but she simply said she like the way I folded them “nice and narrow.” Simple positive words that actually come to my mind every time I fold my T-shirts.

How easy it is for us to forget the power of our words. Especially if we happen to be task oriented kind of people. We have a certain way of doing things, we know how things need to be done, and we have no problem telling other people how they should handle this or that task to be more efficient. And in our desire to “do things right” we often miss the golden opportunities to enrich someone’s life. Countless stories are told my people who had just one teach in school who spoke encouraging words to them and made all the difference in the direction of their lives. The simple power of encouraging words.

Scripture is full of reminders of this. Proverbs 25:11 tells us, A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold In settings of silver. (NKJV)  Paul reminds us in Philippians 4:8-9 (NKJV)  Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things.  The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.  Even the Lord Himself is an example of this. Psalm 85:8 (NKJV)  states: I will hear what God the LORD will speak, For He will speak peace To His people and to His saints;

positivewordsEvery once in a while it is good for us to stop and take inventory or our lives. How is it with your words? Are you speaking words of encouragement to those around you? Are you focusing on things that are true, and noble, and pure, and lovely, and praiseworthy as you relate to your co-workers and your family? As you speak to the clerk in the grocery store? You never know what effect simple words of encouragement can have in the lives of those you encounter.

Start today to keep a watch over your words, and ask the Holy Spirit to help you to be a person of peace and encouragement. There is power in those simple words.

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Different Christmas Reflections #2 – Fullness


Different Christmas Reflections – #2 – Fullness

Another different perspective on this Christmas season for our thoughts and meditation… Fullness.

I know what came into your mind… and this has nothing to do with Christmas dinner, Turkey, stuffing, or Pumpkin Pie, although we do “stuff” ourselves with the Turkey … after we stuff the Turkey!!


No, this fullness has to do with the coming of Emmanuel… but it does not involve physical food. I want us to look at the fullness that Paul says we are to have in his reference in Ephesians 3:16-21 –

  (NKJV) …that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height– to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (emphasis mine)

This fullness is to be filled with all the fullness of God! Emmanuel came, yes, to pay the deadly penalty of sin, but He came for so much more! He came that His own life should fill us to the max. One of the words that Strong’s uses for the word “filled” in verse 19 is, “crammed.” We are to be crammed full. Full of what? We are to be “crammed full” with “all the fullness of God.” What does that mean? The New Living Version puts it this way, “May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.”

Imagine! Your life, my life lived every day, with all the fullness of life and power that could come from the very life of God living in us! This is not triumphalism. Paul certainly was not one who was without trials, persecutions, and even doubts at times. No, not triumphalism, rather a realization of the purpose of God in our lives. This is the way Jesus lived. It is the way He desires us to live.

You ask, “How do I get this fullness?” Paul does not leave us to guess. He says he wants us to be strengthened in our inner person so that Christ will be at home in our lives, and we will be growing in our understanding of His love for us. A love that is so high, and deep, and wide, and long that it is impossible to comprehend it, yet available for us, each day. When we are growing in our comprehension of the love of God through Christ, we will be able to live in that kind of fullness.

But this means, “knowing Christ.” It means cultivating my relationship with Him through regular Bible study, prayer, worship, witness, humility, dependency, and humility. It means that Jesus’ advent was for so much more. Maybe it means that I have not been realizing the full potential of the life of God in me. Maybe I have not been living in the Fullness of all the completeness of God’s character and power in my life each day. Maybe, just maybe there is more to this Christmas story than I had connected with the manger.

And just in case you thought it might be quite impossible for you to live such a life, Paul makes sure that we understand that what God intended for our lives in His Fullness, He is quite capable of accomplishing… so Paul reminds us in verse 21, Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen That is a pretty strong reminder that God is able to accomplish this in  your life and in mine if we live in the place of knowledge and intimacy with Him. Do you feel your heart being stirred, and drawn deeper? Me too.

This Christmas season as we remember and celebrate the advent of Emmanuel, God with us, let us remember the prayer of Paul in Ephesians 3, and seek after the greater Fullness that Christmas brings to us.

May the Lord bless you with all His Fullness this Christmas Season and each day of the New Year.


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