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!


Stories from Senegal

ctc_04_img0959I received this story from a missionary that I get to serve with in Senegal, West Africa. I asked them if I could share this story and they were glad for me to do this because of the One who gets the glory from it. It is a story of how God is still at work even when the Evil one has such a strong hold. I pray that this encourages you and opens your eyes to see how God is at work in your day and life.

What we are about to share with you is a story of power, a story of who God is , a story of salvation and deliverance. It’s a story that involves you and I and those who are in Christ’s kingdom here in Senegal.

We are still awed at how God works in different ways around the world and yet He never wavers or changes. He is an absolute constant, a faithful Rock. He is all powerful!!

In this story I am going to use different names for the safety of us all.


Our story unfolds in one of the villages we minster to along with Mission Inter Senegal “MIS”. It is a story about two wives who came to know Christ in a most unusual terrifying way! The entire family is actually saved now.

These two ladies are now part of the church in this village and their story of salvation is mind-blowing and miraculous! A Sene and F Sene are both married to the same husband. There husband was a very evil man and practiced witchcraft. In fact he was the right hand man of a super powerful man witch called a Laga. They deal deeply in demonic activity. In order for A and F’s husband to maintain his power he has to do what the Laga tells him to do. This involved sacrificing his own children.

A, his first wife, only had two children left so the husband tried to take children from his second wife, F, to sacrifice. F was a very outgoing lady and very talkative, boisterous and loud. According to the Laga and demonic spirits they like to perform rituals secretly, under the radar so to speak. F was so loud and talkative about the situation to the village that the Laga and the demons refused to use her children for sacrifices. A and F’s husband had to quickly come up with a child to sacrifice. The Laga, through the influence of the demonic spirits, grew impatient with A and F’s husband and cast a spell on him and he died quickly.

Now the Laga was looking for someone to replace A and F’s husband to continue the demonic work in the village. He chose A’s eldest son P to replace his father. A and P were terrified and could not stop the events that were about to take place.

The demons attacked P in the form of a bull but only P could see this bull. It was a terrifying situation for all the family and those nearby even. P was under such fierce combat with the demons he appeared crazy!

A and F remembered how a women by the name of E who was the wife of the pastor in this village, was delivered from demons by a group of people at an evangelical center. They did not know where to turn for help and this was the only thing they could think of that could help A’s son P.

So they sent P to the same place that E received deliverance from the demons. At the evangelical center they prayed for P. He was delivered instantly from the demons. P said he could see the demons fleeing. P gave his life to Christ and returned to his family. When A and F saw P for the first time after being delivered they could not believe their eyes and were amazed. They gave there lives to Christ that day and now the whole family are believers!! Wow, Praise the Lord!

It is hard for us Americans to comprehend the magnitude of this story but it is real and God is victorious over the darkness. Rest assured this is happening in many places in Senegal and around the world. Jesus Christ is showing Himself strong! Hallelujah!

I wanted to share this story with you to remind you that GOD IS AT WORK! And at work in some mighty ways all around this world! Thank you for your prayers and financial support. You are helping and enabling us to serve some great men and woman of faith around the world!

Take just a minute now and pray for West Africa. Pray for the believers that are working hard to spread the good news of Jesus. Pray for the harden hearts to be softened to the love of Jesus. Pray that evil will not win. Pray for our workers that are giving their lives to this great work. God bless!


Visiting the Community, South Africa part 2


The second half of my trip to South Africa was pretty amazing! My beautiful bride was able to fly down and join me for the second week which very cool for us. It was the first time in 5 years that we have been able to travel to Africa together. When we are together in that special place it is always some kind of wonderful.

The reason for this part of the trip was to visit one of the biggest projects/ministries and groups of missionaries that I support and have the blessing to serve alongside here at UWM. My biggest priority for this part of my trip was to gain a better understanding of who we are and what we do in South Africa. My favorite part of the trip was having the privilege to spend time with the people that are living and serving in South Africa. What better way to get a feel for the ministry than to get to know the people.


I have wrote about East Mountain, the ministry there outside of Cape Town, a couple times and many of you have heard me talk about them because they are just that awesome. **Actually the very first missionary couple and the first intern that I had the opportunity to work with when I came on board here at UWM, both went to serve here with East Mountain South Africa. I just wrote a blog post on East Mountain not long ago and you can read more about who they are and what they do here EAST MOUNTAIN or you can check out their website for more info here

DISCLAIMER – This may sound like no work and all play but…I enjoy my work so much and most of my co-workers live in beautiful places around the world so…most of my work does feel like it is all play. Great things were accomplished for the Kingdom while we enjoyed every sight, sound, and taste of South Africa! If you got to have a job it might as well be one you enjoy, right!


When I travel I usually get the question, “how was your trip” from many of you and my response is often, “amazing!”. This time I would say exactly the same thing, “amazing!” So, I thought I would share with you some of the experiences, pictures, and stories that Lara and I had from being there and being with the East Mountain Community that made it “amazing!”. It was a full week but really fun! Fun, not just because we were in one of the most breath taking places on earth but because of the people we were with…the giant mountains, gorgeous beaches, perfect weather, wine country, and delicious food didn’t hurt either!

Sunday: Lara had just arrived the night before so we took it easy and hung out with the Halbert family. They allowed us to crash with them for the week and it was great. These guys are great host and friends to spend time with. Sunday lunch was at a local winery where they have what they call, “market”every week. It was like a small, relaxed festival with local food and crafts. Then we headed to the famous Table Mountain to hike and see the sunset. The views were unbelievable! Pictures can not do it justice. Unfortunately, we did not see the sun set because the winds were so bad they evacuated the mountain. Still an awesome day!


Monday: We did the “Loop” as they call it. Basically, you start going down the eastern coast of Cape, down to Cape Point, then back up to Cape Town. This was a long day but a really fun way to see much of the area and cool sites like, penguins, Cape Point, and the beach! We finished the day off having dinner with all of the interns from the US and Africa that live at the East Mountain house. Awesome day!



Tuesday: We were invited to the staff meeting where we had the chance to hear about some of the things happening and coming up in the next few weeks. It was good for me to see all of the Community together and working together. Later that afternoon Lara and I went out with Gabe Smith, friend and founder of East Mountain, to the oldest winery in Stellenbosch. We had a good time catching up on life and ministry while doing a wine and chocolate paring. So yum! Later that evening we sat around with the more friends catching up, laughing, dreaming about the future, and talking about how God is doing a great thing with this work here in South Africa. Awesome day!


Wednesday: The morning was freed up so that Lara and I were able to spend a little bit of time together in the city. We walked around exploring this quaint city, checking out little coffee shops, talking just to two of us, and we enjoyed all of the fun shops that line the streets of Stellenbosch. For lunch and dinner we went out with two different couples that serve at East Mountain and got their view of life, ministry, and experiences as they have just recently finished up their first year being in South Africa. These times are valuable and very helpful for me as I work with others interested in serving overseas in the future. Another awesome day!


Thursday: This day got off on a good start! We had an early meeting to talk about future work and plans for East Mountain and how I could help resource them with the right people. The kicker is, our breakfast meeting was at the beach starring at the cliffs running off into the ocean. In the words of a wise person I know (wink wink you know who you are), this did not suck! We were then able to visit with another leader at East Mountain who serves one of our partner churches and school in a local township to see transformation…real life changing, long lasting transformation. Today this poor, lower class community is better than it was last year and in the next 5-20 years it will radically different! This isn’t the nicest, safest, or most welcoming township but there is a bit of light that is springing up out of the local church. They are educating, feeding, loving on people, tutoring, creating fun spaces to learn the bible and how to worship, meeting needs, interacting with the least of these, and making it a better place today and for the future. We have the opportunity to come alongside them as a resource, friend, and support to help them do even more of the things God has called them to do. This was one of the most impactful times of our trip for Lara and I. We were able to participate in some of the ministry while sitting with people in their homes and walking the streets. We ended the day by having dinner in the home of another “fresh to the field” missionary family that seem to be rocking it! It was truly an awesome day!


Friday: We headed back home but before we did Lara and I took advantage of this great weather and wonderful little city. We went walking, site seeing, got some coffee, ate at our favorite breakfast spot, and said our goodbyes to some of our new friends! It was an awesome day other than the fact that we had to leave!IMG_5886.JPG

East Mountain is a community of people who love Jesus, the local church, and each other. We are blessed to have spent some time with each one of them. For all of you who partner with the RouseHouse through prayer, financial support, and encouragement we want to say a BIG THANK YOU for making this time possible! It meant a lot to us as well as to the men, woman, and families we were able to sit with and encourage during this week. Thank you and God Bless!IMG_5854.JPG

J-Life Leaders Summit, South Africa part 1

Leo (my friend from UWM living in South Africa), Palgrave (from Ghana), and me
Two weeks ago I arrived in another country for the first time. South Africa! I have heard a lot about this place but really had no idea what it was like. All I knew about this country was Nelson Mandela and the rugby movie with Matt Damon. South Africa is an extremely beautiful and wonderful place! It definitely has a different feel than anywhere else in Africa that I have been to but still has a little sense of Africa underneath the initial impressions.


This week I was invited to come to a leaders summit for a new ministry that we are looking at partnering with called J-Life. J-Life focus is raising up indigenous leaders who will passionately pursue the mission of making disciple makers. I don’t know that I have seen any other organization so laser focused on making disciples like these guys. Their vision is clear and their methods are simple and highly effective! They believe that if they can especially disciple the youth of this continent they can reach the entire continent of Africa. They are currently serving in 30+/- countries and doing pretty well. I am excited for the future of United World Mission and J-Life’s partnership. J-Life
J-Life country leaders working on strategies together
While being here in South Africa I have come up with 10 things that I have seen, heard, or experienced that stood out to me this week. When I get the opportunity to travel to a new place I love seeing the differences as well as similarities of other places so making a list of 10 things really helps me with this.
So here they are…
  1. Africa is the most beautiful place in the world to me and I find myself falling in love every time I come back.
  2. No matter what country, region, or tribe you are from, all of us need some close relationships to make life better.
  3. Africans wake up ridiculously early and when they do they are not quiet they immediately get LOUD! Usually with singing.
  4. Africans will willingly give you the shirt off their back if you asked for it or not.
  5. Everybody loves free stuff! No matter what continent you lI’ve on, you love free stuff but Africans appreciate the free stuff more than most.
  6. Africans love you and make you a part of the family within a couple minutes meeting them. They have never meet a stranger.
  7. God is always present no matter where you go in this world. The problem is, the enemy is also.
  8. Africans don’t always do simple things in simple ways. They do it the way their families have always done it.
  9. Africans love to sing and dance no matter what country, culture, or language.
  10. This place and these people are like good medicine for my soul! You should try it sometime too.

    A late afternoon way out away from the city enjoying a long walk

What Africa really needs

This is an article that I read on The Gospel Coalition website a few weeks ago. This story proves why we are focusing on more training of Christian leaders and discipleing believers in Africa at UWM (read to the end to hear more). It is an inspiring story of what God can do through anyone.

Bringing Christ to Castaways

He was cursed before he ever came out of his mother’s womb.

Maxwell Blay grew up in Ghana as an outcast of his tribe, stigmatized as unclean by virtue of being the tenth-born of his mother. The Bulu curse branded him and all those around him. Yet he had not been aborted before birth—the fate of his kind—or killed or abandoned in the jungle. Instead, his parents chose to keep him, even in the face of condemnation. His mother, strengthened by her Christian faith, put her trust in the Lord in sending Maxwell to them.

The belief in Bulu or Badu, the Ghanaian name meaning tenth-born child, springs from dark tribal folklore in remote areas of the country, and marks people as cursed. This same superstition applies to so-called “spirit children,” those born disabled or diseased, or whose mothers die in childbirth.

Though no official statistics exist, it’s believed that thousands of babies have been put to death. Untold more are abused, exploited or abandoned.

Maxwell, whose wife, Joana, is also the tenth-born in her family, carries a heavy burden for castaways. Through God’s miraculous providence, he became founder and president of Ransom Foundation, an indigenous Christian charity. In 2007 he partnered with the Children’s Hunger Fund Mercy Network (CHF)to reach out to people in dire poverty. To read more….

In 1910, 9% of Africans professed to be Christian. Today, that number is 38%. This tremendous growth has left Africa in a desperate need of discipleship and leadership training. By 2050, it is estimated that 1 in 3 Christians in the world will be African.


One of the ways we, UWM and the RouseHouse, are tackling this great need is through a ministry in South Africa called East Mountain. They are dedicated to developing Christian leaders from Africa as well as the US. Participates in the East Mountain program receive practical experience in local ministry while being mentored spiritually and theologically by seasoned leaders. These participated return to their local communities more equipped to be effective, godly leaders. m,mm

I am very excited to share with you that Lara and I will have the chance to visit East Mountain in Cape Town this month! We both feel blessed to have this opportunity to travel together as well as it is the first time in 5 years that both of us have been in Africa!!! Please pray for us as we prepare and travel to South Africa. We will be sure to send some vlogs (videos blogs) while we are there.

Thank you for all that you do in partnering with the RouseHouse!




Super Heros or Missionaries

(None of these pictures are UWM personnel or ministry sites) 

  I LOVE missionaries! Since the age of 14 I have had a draw to those who are living out there faith in big ways among another culture…why I ask. 

I am standing here in a time of worship with a group of missionaries and I begin to wonder what is it that is so remarkable about them. They truly are amazing people and families, so what is it about them? 

  This is a personal reflection that I have listed out that I thought I would share with you. I share it because I believe that they aren’t some super Christians or more anointed children of the King than anyone of us have the right to, but when you are with them you realize there is something more about them. So, here is what I have noticed…

  • They pursue God all out with their life! 
  • Worship is sweeter to them
  • Prayer is more powerful to them
  • That care deeply for others
  • Their love is not just a theory but an action
  • They are normal people that believe God can use them
  • They have the idea that life is short so enjoy it…they know how to have fun! 
  • They care less about themselves and more about others
  • They see people as those loved by God 
  • They are adventurous
  • They are a bit crazy (in a good way)which leads them in faith not rationalizm 
  • Their joy is attractive 
  • They are steadfast and strong

Missionaries are encouraging, inspiring, and in my mind, resemble Jesus. The hero’s of faith that I look up to and use as guides to who God wants me to be actually have faces and names that the majority of this world will never know…I thank God that I have the previledge of knowing many of them that are true world changers! 


Thailand weekly update, 2016

Earlier this year I decided to start vlogging instead of just writing blogs. I’m still trying to get the hang of it. One reason for this change was to give others an opportunity to experience the amazing places I get to visit and people I work with. Unfortunately, here in Asia I am not able to disclose many of our field personnel due to safety measures but I can share the beauty of God’s creation like here in Thailand! 

This week is the annual UWM Asia Conference and here is an update of me sharing what I have been able to experience and get out of this time. Thank you for following along! 

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.