Battle for the Heart

Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men of courage, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love. 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 

Above all else, guard your heart,
    for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23

This past weekend I was privileged to attend a retreat with some guys that I work with here at UWM (United World Mission). Honestly, I had too much going on and this felt like just an event that I couldn’t wait to be over. Little did I know the Father was going to meet me there. And He was going to radically transform my heart that will then offer life and growth to every other part of my life.

The Battle for the Heart is a long weekend but it is so much more than an event. I was blessed to go with 4 other men that serve with UWM and spend 4 days outside Birmingham, Al learning about this battle that is going on inside each of us. This time was about each one of us learning who God has created us to be as men, what He has chosen each of us to do, how evil is hunting my heart constantly, and how a community/fellowship can protect and propel me into the Larger story of life…His ultimate story.

After the first night I went to bed thinking that my head was going to explode! It was like drinking water from a fire hose. I was ready to go home. I felt like I had only begun to realize just how messed up I was and felt like I was a big ball of tangled mess.

The second day things began to move to my heart as I processed them with my group and alone with the Lord. The mix of large group times, small group conversations, and time sitting in the woods asking the Father to speak to me were pretty moving!

The third day was all about the Father revealing His amazing love for us and me seeing me the way He truly sees me. I had a face to face moment with God that completly blew me away.

On Sunday, the last day of the retreat, I was able to start putting all of the pieces together. I was also able to share them with a group of men that were now brothers not just co-workers of mine. We spent that morning telling one another what we see God doing in each persons life, affirming the unique glory of the Father coming out of their life, and challenging one another to live out His purpose in their life, family, marriage, work, ministries, etc. This was a powerful moment!

Before this weekend I had heard two friends at work talk about this retreat and how it was the most impactful thing that they have ever been a part of other than receiving Jesus. I honestly thought it was a sales pitch to get us there. I even told one of them that and he said, “well, what do you think now?” After going through this weekend and now knowing that get to walk with these men for the next year, I am sold! It honestly is the best, most important, impactful, life changing, transformational thing that I have been a part of other than Jesus saving me from my sin!!! My life, marriage, children, ministry, and every other relationship in life will never be the same again! My HEART will never be the same again, Praise the Lord!


I could talk for days about my experience and how the Lord meet with me! It was a sweet, sacred time that I am so thankful for. Instead of talking about everything that I heard, learned, and experienced I thought I would list just 5 of the 1000’s of quotes or truths gained:

  1. I am His Beloved, I am enough just the way I am, and I am an image bearer of God Himself.
  2. Deceitful Desires: Expecting fulfilment of a surface desire – any material, experiential, positional, or relational desire – to satisfy a deeper desire. Only God can satisfy a deep desire.
  3. Our deepest desires aren’t bad. They were put in us by the Father himself because they reflect who He is and who I truly am.
  4. I can have impact not only by what I can do but simply by being – being who God created me to be.
  5. Evil is hunting me today because I am a danger to him. Evil is going to cleverly try to get me off track through fear, anxiousness, and pride so I am not able to live and love as the man God created me to be to my domain (life, marriage, family, work, ministry, friends, etc.)

I would strongly encouarge every person I know to attend and go through the Battle for the Heart! If you are interested click here and if you would like to hear more from me about this time I would love to share. Just let me know!


BIG Things, Legacy, Life’s Purpose….

Grey (left), Mac (center), Elly (right)

I believe that God has created me and called me to do BIG things in this world! Big things that will move the Gospel forward. Big things that will change lives, families, and communities. Big things that will help people know Jesus better and better. Big things that will put a smile on my Heavenly Fathers face and things that will become my legacy.

I have dreams of what these BIG things might be, could be, or want them to be. They all revolve around our life and family’s mission statement…we are going to love people well, serve those in need, and help them know Jesus and grow in a real relationship with him…The BIG things could be endless with a focus like that.

But what if the BIG things that I dream about and hope for are smaller than I initially imagine? I had this thought the other day and it is something that I have really come to ponder a lot over the past couple of years. What if the biggest thing I ever do for God, for those in this world, or as my legacy is NOT to change the world?  When I say change the world what I mean is making a lasting difference wherever and with whoever the Lord puts in front of me.

What if God’s whole purpose for me in life is to simply raise/disciple/train up 3 little people that will then go on to change the world? Not that this is or would be a simple task but at first glance it does seem way smaller than the dreams I have for changing the world.  What a difference could it make if I simply tried to, Be the best, most Godly dad I can be to my children?  I whole heartily believe that if this is one of the main focal points of life that my children will go on to change the world, at least the world around them. They will be people and are people that love others, enjoy serving others, and know the truth that Jesus loves people more than anything else already. If this is who they are today, WOW, who will they be in 10, 20, 40 years from now!!! They will go on to do BIG, HUGE, ENORMOUS, GIGANTIC, UNIMAGINABLE things for God. I get the opportunity to shape these kind of people. That seems like a mission worth pursuing.

I know two things in life. God has created us to be people that love and trust Him wholeheartedly, and He has called each one of us to a specific purpose. If I can live out the first part of that then I will live out the second. As I come to love and trust God with my life I will live out the purpose of raising world changers! I have never been great with words but I do great with numbers therefore, 3 is always better than 1. What the 3 of them will do with their life will make a greater impact than my single life could every make. I can live with that kind of legacy!


Everything is going to be alright

Tis the season…

This is this Christmas season. It is also the season that most of us get sucked into stress, worry, and feeling overwhelmed because of the extra financial items in the monthly budget. I could talk about how bad this is and how this is nothing more than the enemy distracting us from the real reason for the season, Jesus, but this week I am caught up in the cycle of worrisome and frustration too. Therefore, I am probably not the best to be talking about the reason for the season.

We have been trying to save money for a new car since both of our cars have well over 200,000 miles but it seems like the more we try the harder it gets. Just in the past few weeks we have had expensive plumbing issues, both cars needing extensive repairs, medical bills from Lara’s shingles and my ankle, and all that comes along with Christmas. Needless to say the car fund has been depleted and I have been stressing over my stupid, rich, first world problems! (Embarrassed but honest)

–On the bright side I am SO thankful that we had the money to pay cash for some of these items. That is a blessing and we know it!–

After spending some much needed time of being refreshed by the Holy Spirit, I began looking through some emails and work stuff when I ran across this..It was a video from one of the missionaries I support in Africa that serves local at-risk-children. It was a GREAT reminder that “everything is going to be alright because of Jesus“. Hearing little African voices singing this song broke me, renewed me, and reminded me that life is all good with Jesus. I am blessed. 

This video doesn’t exist

I am thankful for the small reminders my Heavenly Father sends me right when I need it! He is so gracious and merciful to this slow learner he calls, His beloved.

Pittsburgh last week

I am learning that in the fall my travel schedule will be mainly domestic events. These travels consist of meeting with church leaders, other mission organizations, universities, and missionaries that are in the States for home ministry assignment (all that means is they are meeting up with supporters, churches, and family/friends).

Last week I was in Pittsburgh with an organization that we at UWM partner with called GoCorps. It was a week of training some of our new young missionaries and planning for  future work together. GoCorps connects Christian young adults with ways they can use their degree overseas along side strategic long-term projects.  We partner with GoCorps to mobilize Goers to those beyond the current reach of the gospel by recruiting young adults from all career interests to serve globally using their marketplace skills for two years among the least reached and those in extreme poverty.

Goers serve in the hardest places where culture, history and economics have converged to leave generations without access to a culturally relevant understanding of the gospel.  Goers are often the first to tell those in the city that they are placed in, about the good news of life in Jesus Christ. They get the opportunity to work alongside long term seasoned missionaries to reach the most unreached in the world.

It is exciting to help recent college grads and young professionals serve the Lord among the nations with the skills and experience He has giving them!

GoCorps promo video

New neighborhood, new school, new opportunities

IMG_4770So we made it through the first week of school! We have one child that loves school and misses it about half way through the summer (Mac). We have another that dreads the thought of waking up everyday and going (Grey). With them starting a new school we really didn’t know what to expect but so far so good. Grey, the one we worry the most about, came home from school the first day and said it was heavenly. After we picked our jaws up off the floor we asked him why. He said that his teacher was so nice and doesn’t give out homework or at least she doesn’t this first week of school. We are hoping that he still like her next week when she loads him up with homework.  Mac obviously loves it and is already making friends while he is trying learn who all is a “walker” and where they live.

Walker” – we do not use this term in the same manner as zombie like creatures from the show The Walking Dead even though this is exactly what comes to mind every time the boys tell me about a new walker they meet. Walkers are kids in the neighborhood that live too close to the school to be assigned a bus…they have to walk. Our kids are walkers and we think that it is the coolest thing. I tell people that it feels like we live in a storybook. Who walks to school with their neighbors! So cool!

While walking in the morning with our kids we spend time talking, praying for their day, and praying for our neighbors. We truly believe that God has great plans for this community, the school, and the people here, so we ask daily that He will do a great work among us. We also ask that God will give the Rouse House favor and influence as well as opportunities to love and serve those here. We know that influence will likely come as we have a chance to serve them more. We have been thinking about ways we can get to know others since that seems like the obvious first step in living missionally. This morning it hit me! Walk to school and talk to those we see along the way! Sounds simple enough but it actually works!

This morning after I left the boys I saw a family that was leaving for school too. They live on the corner  between our house and the school so we see them each morning. I have tried to talk to these guys a few times but they never seem interested…I still wave, smile, and say hey…Lara and I were joking the other day because I waive at everyone I see in the neighborhood. I told her I want to be known as the crazy guy that is constantly waving and saying hello…Back to this family on the corner. I saw that their fridge was sitting out by the street this morning. I asked if it broke and if they had another one yet but they don’t. I asked him if he would be interested in a new one if I could find it for him and with a big smile he said, “Oh yea. That would be great.” We then quickly introduces ourselves.

This little moment this morning may not seem like much but I know that it is a start. All great things in this world had to start somewhere and I believe that they probably started with a quick hello. The RouseHouse may have big dreams, passions, and prayers for this community but we know that we have to start somewhere. Today it could be simply helping a neighbor get a new fridge, tomorrow it could be cutting a neighbor’s yard, next month it could be coaching a boys club after school, next year it could be leading a small group through the bible in our home, and before we know it God can have done something amazing here in our neighborhood. Something that last for years and even generations as we focus on caring for people and their families. It is a HUGE as, even overwhelming when we think about all of it, but today we are just going to keep walking to school, smiling and waving, and being the kind of neighbor that Jesus would probably be until He says He is finished with us.

What kind of neighbor are you?

Do you know your neighbors by name?

What if we went out of our way to meet those around us and find ways to serve them? I would love for you to leave a comment on how you are going to meet and serve your neighbors!!!

Romans 15:2 The Voice 

Each of us must strive to please our neighbors, pursuing their welfare so they will become strong.


That isn’t smoke, it is midst rising from the falls. You can see it from miles away.

Every couple of years we gather all of our missionaries from around the African continent for what we call conference. This is a time of renewal, rest, realignment. This was my first time attending the UWM African Conference and it was held in Vic Falls, Zimbabwe…It’s actually called the Afro Conference but I just can’t bring myself to call it that :)… This was my first chance to meet many of these missionaries. I have talked on the phone, Skype, and emailed most of them but there is nothing like face to face time! I spend almost every minute of this week meeting with people to hear their stories, getting to know them, finding out ways I can better serve them, and praying for them. They are long days and I am always exhausted by the time I get back on my plane to head home but I wouldn’t want it any other way! I love what I do!

The Baobab is also called the upside-down tree because when bare of leaves, the spreading branches of the Baobab look like roots sticking up into the air, as if it had been planted upside-down. – This isn’t even the largest of their kind!

I had an opportunity to speak to 3 different groups while I was there and give a brief presentation on how we were going to serve them and their ministries better. My number one goal was to connect with them personally and have them leave feeling like I was for them and their ministry. By the power of the Holy Spirit it went great! I was able to gain their trust, let them see my passion for Africa, and begin building a strong relationship with them. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.

Psalm 66:3Say to God, "How awesome are Your works! Because of the greatness of Your power Your enemies will give feigned obedience to You. 4"All the earth will worship You, And will sing praises to You; They will sing praises to Your name."
Psalm 66:3Say to God, “How awesome are Your works! Because of the greatness of Your power Your enemies will give feigned obedience to You. 4″All the earth will worship You, And will sing praises to You; They will sing praises to Your name.”




I was texting Lara one day to tell her how the day was going and she said, “You have the best job in the world!” I think it was because I mentioned to her that I was standing at the glorious Victoria Falls having a delicious cappuccino. My “job” is pretty awesome! I get to travel to amazing places, meet awesome people, help others achieve their dreams, passions, and calling, and I have the privilege of seeing/being a part of the Church taking action by equipping leaders, establishing new churches, and engaging in holistic ministries.

Some crazy, fun parts of my trip to Zimbabwe were:

Two of the great minds and missional hearts that I get to serve alongside! Kevin (expansion) and Tom (strategy)
Two of the great minds and missional hearts that I get to serve alongside! Kevin (expansion) and Tom (strategy)


visiting Victoria Falls – it is mind-blowing at how grand and beautiful it really is!!! NO WORDS!

eating some wild game like buffalo, crocodile (taste like tough chicken), warthog (the best meat I have ever tasted! So tender you need no knife), antelope, ox tail (fatty, I do not recommend it), ox liver (not bad), some other animals liver, and a couple other ones.

raIMG_4468fting sown the mighty Zambezi – No joking here, I thought at one moment I had taken my final breath of air while being tossed around a whirl pool in a class 5 rapid! It was an amazing experience after that! The hike in and out of the gorge was pretty awesome too!

watching elephants from the deck just before dinner come to the watering hole in large herds!IMG_4633








watching the sunrise over the African plain each morning!

Sunrise from my room
Sunrise from my room







One of my favorite pictures! This is the sunset on the Zambezi river.

taking a sunset cruise on the Zambezi leaves you breathless!







Shortly after snapping this picture this little guy attacked me! I was definitely more scared of him than he was of me!


Watching monkeys jump in your room to steal food or jump up on the table in the restaurant to grab the sugar packets never gets boring.










Africa always seems to surprise me with its beauty and awaken my soul to the voice of God. The sights, sounds, smells, taste, and people refresh me every time and leave me wondering when the Father is going to ask my family and I to move there. But until then I am choosing to enjoy this wonderful

journey that He so faithfully is leading me on! Jeremiah 1: 4Now the word of the LORD came to me saying, 5“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.”


To all of you who prayed for me and for my family during this time I want to say Thank You!

This is our home!

Almost 8 years ago Lara and I since that they Lord was telling us to sell our new home that we had built just a couple of years ago. We knew that God was leading us into a life of full-time ministry and wanted to make sure we had more financial margin than we currently did. We are so glad we listened and did sell it! We had no idea of the journey that was before us.

We thankfully had a great home to move into but planned to only be there for 6 months – 1 year. Well, we never really had a chance to move out of that home and we never felt like God was saying it was time. Until now.

Also, 4 years ago we were led to start a ministry in a local neighborhood (Piney Grove) after serving in a variety of countries for that past few years. This became a large focus of ours and our church’s (Ridge Church). We have seen God do some really awesome things around the school, with the staff of the school, and with a handful of families in the neighborhoods surrounding the school. There are some pretty amazing stories we can tell and some that are still in the making! Then towards the end of 2014 around the same time I was privilege to take this new role with United World Mission, the RouseHouse felt the Lord might want us to move into the Piney Grove neighborhood. We toyed with the idea and prayed some about it but didn’t know if we were ready just yet. Some of our closest friends began to feel the same stirring to move into the neighborhood which seemed really cool to imagine both of our families living and serving together. Then our pastor, Chris Brown asked us, “Have you thought about moving into the neighborhood?”

We began wondering what it would look like for “us” to become a “them”? How much more could we live intentionally and missionally if we were in the midst of the community? Why wouldn’t we do this? Is God putting all of the pieces together for us to take this step? This could actually be a huge blessing for the RouseHouse in so many ways.

As we began praying through and wrestling with these and other questions we quickly found our hearts becoming more attached to the idea of living in this community. Therefore we started looking for houses with our friends. Every home that was for sale over the last 6 months in this neighborhood we have looked at. Early on in our search we found one house that was in much better shape than most and it seemed to have a lot of community living space; 2 living rooms, patio, large back yard, and a front porch. For the reasons we want to move in this neighborhood we knew that we needed living spaces like this. So, we made an offer! Unfortunately, the night before the seller accepted someone elses offer. We were bummed but had to try to move on. We just couldn’t move on though. At least I couldn’t. I genuinely felt that the Lord had told me that this was the house He had for the RouseHouse but it didn’t make sense because someone else was already buying it, so I prayed that if it was His will He would make a way. And He did, about a month later the contract fell through and we were the first offer on the table!

The RouseHouse on the front porch of our new home

It isn’t the dream house, it isn’t the biggest house, it isn’t the newest house, it isn’t the area we would normally choose to move too…it is however the place God has called us too! It is our mission field and these are the people He has put on our heart  and in our path to serve/love for this season of our life. This is our home and we love it already!

The RouseHouse is so excited and so nervous all at the same time. We know that there will be days that may not be the easiest or the most comfortable. We are also hopeful for the days when we get to sit on the front porch or in our living room with new friends laughing with them and caring for them. Our goals are simple. We want to be the best neighbors, make good friends, serve those in need, seek ways to bless those around us, and after all of this, we want to show people how to follow Jesus and worship our God.

As we take this next step in life and ministry we would love for you to remember us in your prayers often. Please be praying for His Spirit to be so evident, His blessings to cover us and our new home, that we may be a “city on a hill”, that we will gain favor from our neighbors and have great influence in their lives, that God will provide a smooth transition for us and the kids, that our kids will build some great friendships, and for the Fathers blessings and presence to flood us during this season of life.

The best is yet to come!

What can you start doing today?

Some of you may follow me on Facebook and saw an article that I posted earlier this week about missional living. The article suggested 8 easy ways to live missionally.  It sparked a brief conversation between a good friend and me. **Let me tell you first that this guy lives out his faith, missional living, better than most American Christians that I know or have heard of. He, day by day, is loving on and serving those in his neighborhood. He is relentless in-spite of how messy and jacked up it can get…and it gets messy up often!

His point was just that, missional living is not easy. While I agree with him, I also believe that each one of us can start doing something today that is an easy next step in living out Jesus. Practical ways of being His hands and feet, salt and light to the “world” around us.

The problem I see is how we, churchy people, label missional living as something radical that only missionaries do or those crazy people who move to poor neighborhoods and say they are called to do. When in reality (God’s perspective) we are all called to live missionally. I am NOT saying that we are all called to be missionaries or sale our houses and move into a low-income areas to start a church! No not at all! ~Well some of us are probably called to do things like this if we are to be honest with our self.~ But for every single one of us we are “called” to love our neighbors, serve those in need, and live in a way that will point others to worship Jesus.

My question for each of us is, “What is one simple way we can start living missional today?”

Take a look at this article then ask where, who, how can I begin being missional. I would love to hear what step you are going to begin taking today towards missional living! Let’s start a movement of love, love that is in action!!!

This is my fb post regarding missional living. you can read it by going to my Facebook page,
This is my fb post regarding missional living. you can read it by going to my Facebook page,

December 2014

During this time of the year most of us are celebrating the birth of the Savior of the world, enjoying some down time, and looking toward to the new year.

This year during December I have been reflecting more than ever with a new sense of clarity, eyes wide open one may say. This year has been a bit taxing on the mental, emotional, and spiritual side of life for the Rouse House. Life has been good but on the inside it has been a little more than we would wish to have carried. Let’s just say transitions are tough, even good changes can be hard. On the bright side, I know that we have grown in our relationship with Christ and discernment for His will for our life and ministry. I would not be honest if I didn’t at least say God has blessed us more this year than any other year, for real! Our children are incredible, we are healthy,  life is exciting, and ministry is ramping up. God is up to good things in the Rouse House!

With the thought of the new year, I am growing with excitement with the sense of what God is building with in the hearts and dreams of the Rouse House. So much good; good probably isn’t the best word to use because I have come to learn that His plans are not merely good but UNBELIEVABLE. Lara and I have began talking through some of these crazy God size dreams. Dreams and ideas that revolve around missional living. Don’t get me wrong, with dreams come plenty of fears. My thought is, we shouldn’t continue in the ordinary just to have a life of comfortableness, but to take a step into the extraordinary to experience the fullness of this life, is the true meaning of life! The life He is offering to us who dare follow (John 10:10). What does it look like for us to be living “missionally”? We don’t really know the specifics but we do know that it is taking the opportunities we have and living in away that people, families, and communities are changed. Living life in a way that is pleasing to God through our faith and loving others in a way they may know Him more. I am sure we will be able to share more in the days to come so stay tuned.

This new year I am so excited to jump deeper into my role at UWM (United World Mission). I have been loving it so far!  I have had the privilege to start the connection with people that have a passion for what God is doing in the nations, help build and create local partnerships, and seek new opportunities to for UWM to serve. I can not believe the amazing world changers I have been able to meet and get to know thus far. People from the poorest areas of Charlotte to the largest cities in China. The stories they have one could write a book about!!! I am honored to call this a job!

January 1 I will be heading to Thailand for 2 weeks (what a way to start the new year!). I get to be a part of our Asia Conference with UWM and get to meet missionaries from all over that region. I can not wait to tell the stories from that trip! I will try to post regularly during then too. The majority of my time will be working but I do have a wish list of things I hope t to do while I am in Thailand. Just a few of them are visiting the lying Buddha in Bangkok, take a river taxi, visit the floating market, and take a ride on an elephant (believe me I will post a few pics of this one).

In February we will be tackling some big projects at our local ministry at Piney Grove Elementary. The school has received a new grant to improve certain areas of the school and asked if we could provide the workers. I am so glad we will be able to be apart of rebuilding a food pantry and clothing pantry for those who may need it! We would love to have you come volunteer with us if you are local. More details to come.

We have much more on the horizon for 2015 so please stay tuned by following us. We would also love your prayers for our family as we keep pursuing God’s desire for who He has created us to be and what He has called us to do.

Love the Rouse House, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!