Month: September 2012

Today’s Agenda

I have a quite a day ahead!

It’s going to be exciting. It’s going to be fun.

And…It’s a huge opportunity and responsibility.

I have the privilege of leading 3 assemblies at Hannah Beardsly Middle School in Crystal Lake, IL. And, I’m leading a talk for the schools student leaders.

This is the unbelievably spectacular part of my job. I don’t even know if I can use the word ‘job’ for it, because it’s the one thing in life I know I was created to do.

So, I am asking for your help.

Would you please pray for me? The assemblies are at 8, 10, 1245 and 145 cst.

Pray for strength, energy, my voice, and my throat.

Pray that God would give me favor with the students. For listening ears and that they would be ready to challenged.

Pray that they would Choose Kindness!

Exciting Opportunity

I had an exciting conversation last month with a long time mentor, Terry Prisk. Terry is the Pastor of a great church in Hartland, MI called the River Community Church. He started the church 10 years ago and it has grown and become an amazing church. 

Over the summer, Terry asked me to be a guest speaker and fill in for him while he was in Africa. I loved it! And, from I’m told by Terry, my speaking went over very well with his church.

During a lunch meeting a few weeks later, Terry asked me if I would speak 4 times a year at the River and help out their teaching team. Well, that was very exciting for me. Whenever you can be a part of something your mentor is doing, it’s huge.

So, I am blessed to have the opportunity to teach at the River a few times over the course of the next year.

This falls perfectly in line with the new chapter and a new journey I started on April 2, 2012.

For the previous 17 years I served as a youth pastor/assistant pastor at local Churches in MI & IL.

On April 2nd, Live Now Leadership was born and for the first time in my career I am giving my entire attention to speaking.

I believe I’ve been called to speak and teach. I’ve been speaking at the local churches I’ve served at for 17 years and, for the last 12 years I have been teaching all around the country for churches, schools, camps and colleges. It’s been an awesome journey and I’m blessed to be devoting my full time attention to it now.

Would love to Partner with your Church!

If you’re Church would benefit from a partnership similar to the partnership I explained in this post, I would love to talk! It would be my honor to teach for you and to fill the gap when you need it.

If you’re interested in talking more, please email at jason@jasonraitz.com.

Can’t wait to talk!

The Sacredness of Parenting

There are a few things that are absolutely sacred to me:

Baseball, playing catch with my kids, walks with my family, family dance parties, listening to Hootie and the Blowfish and knowing that Ted Williams is the greatest hitter of all time!

I’m just kidding, well sort of! Those are both serious and not so serious.

Here are the things are truly Sacred to me…

Prayer. Parenting. Being a Great Husband. Being a Great Friend. God’s Word. There are more, LOT’S more, but let me center in on # 2 on the list…Parenting.

I’m a dad of 4 kids. Bekah is 12, Bobby is 10, Zachary is 8 and Madison is 4. I would give anything for them. I would give anything to keep them safe. I would give anything for them to grow into passionate followers of Jesus.

That’s really my life goal while those kids are under my roof. My desire is to point them towards God and pray that they will follow Him with all their hearts.

The interesting reality is that I spend a lot of time talking parenting with other parents and I spend a lot of time reading and studying parenting. I want to help other parents. I want to inspire and encourage parents to be intentional in their parenting.

That’s why I am terribly excited about presenting a parenting seminar at the Celebrate Your Marriage conference on Mackinaw Island on October 7th. Here’s a little more information about my seminar.

My seminar is called…

The Sacredness of Loving your Kids. Diving Deep into How God Calls Us to Love our Kids.

Every parent loves their kids, right? Yes, parents love their kids! But, how do you love them?

This workshop will help you dive deep into the sacred privilege of loving your kids and how you can continually pour extravagant love onto them. We will explore the depth of God’s love for His children and we will look at steps we can take as parents to love our kids in an amazing way.

I can’t wait to share and I know I will keep learning more and more about the sacredness of parenting.

If you’re interested in bringing this seminar and workshop to your Church, please email me jason@livenowleadership.com.

Amazing Dream Week Ahead…

I am giddy!

I am over the top excited!

I am down right happy.

Why you ask? Because next week…

I have the honor of living out the dream of what God has called me to do.

I will be using the hundreds and hundreds of hours of study, research and prep.

I will get to be face to face with some of my favorite people on planet earth.

I will get to share Live Now’s message of ‘Choose Kindness Over Bullying’ with students from at a middle school in Crystal Lake, IL.

I will have the honor of teaching the Jr & Sr High students at Willow Creek-Crystal Lake.

I will have the privilege of encouraging and motivating parents, students and community leaders to make ‘No More Bullying’ their mantra!

I will also get to share the dream and vision of Live Now with two separate gatherings of friends in South Barrington, IL.

What an Amazing Dream Week Ahead! 

Would you please for me and Live Now?

 

 

Live Now T-Shirts are almost here…

I am very excited!

That seems to be my current theme in my life, but, soon we will be offering 4 different Live Now shirts for people to buy. And, when they do, the profits from those shirts will go to help Live Now partner with schools to help end bullying!

Her’e s a little preview of our upcoming shirts…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I would be honored if you would consider buying 1 or 2 or 3 of them for yourself and your kids, friends, co-workers, neighbors, relatives, McDonald employees and anybody else you know. Hah!

Information about on to do that will be posted soon!

3 Ridiculously Tough Struggles

There are probably more, but at this phase of my life, I deal with 3 Ridiculously tough struggles pretty much everyday.

They haunt me, they plague me and they follow me around with extreme diligence.

I wish I could break free of them. I really do. I wish it was as easy to break free as it is to engage in them. But, the reality is it’s not. It hasn’t always been this way. I have had victory with them in the past and I will in the future. But, currently, there on the leader board.

Here’s the thing about struggles…they love to hold on. They love to penetrate your heart and cause it worry. They seep into your brain and begin doing what they do best…they lie. 

Yes, struggles lie. They lie all the time. They tell you things that aren’t true and they tell you these things at such an alarming pace that eventually you begin to believe them.

And when you do start to believe them, they can be paralyzing. They can hold you back from the Life that God wants for you and they can make you feel like your walking on a tread mill that’s going nowhere.

My  Tough Struggles

1. My weight. Gosh, I could write a book on the struggle that I have with my weight. UP and down, UP and down! Currently I’m UP. Oh, and UP is bad! I’ve gained 9 pounds the last two months and it’s so incredibly HARD to get them off! I have made giant leaps this year to living healthier. I lost almost 40 pounds from April to June and then July and August the wheels fell off. Then, these past two months have been our most stressful financial months ever and when I stress out about money, I eat. It’s a terrible cycle and incredibly painful.

Painful. 

On top of that, I have a back that just won’t cooperate. I was hit by a car when I was younger and it’s troubled me since. Honestly, I have never had a NO PAIN day because of my back. I am always in pain. Bending, sitting, adjusting…all pain. There was a 8 month window when we lived in Chicago when it was at its best. I was swimming 4-5 days a week and seeing an incredible Chiropractor/PT and Massage Therapist. Those were good days!

But, I love to run! my doctor says it’s the worst thing on my back ever. And, I can’t get to a gym. So, I struggle through.

2. My finances. Let me begin by saying this…my struggle with finances has been caused by my decision to start an organization from scratch. I didn’t have a 6-8 month emergency fund, like my hero Dave Ramsey talks about having. Every day, every week and every month it’s improving. God has blessed us like I can’t even believe. He has moved in peoples hearts to help us like I could never imagine and I’m so THANKFUL!

I live a BLESSED life. 

But, I’m in a phase where I raise the annual budget for Live Now Leadership (which includes my salary) and I’m at 35% raised. I’ve been amazed by the gifts we’ve received and the great conversations I’m having with people who are interested in supporting Live Now. What a blessing!

So, not having a consistent paycheck for the last 5 months is both an exhilarating and it’s an anxiety filled ride. It’s exciting because I know we’re walking by Faith. I know God has called me to be a speaker. This is what I do best in life. I encourage and motivate people. So, I get to live my dream and it’s amazing! It’s stress filled, because my first priority in life is to provide for my family of six and I’m not able to provide for them the way I would like to right now…but I know I will!

3. My patience. 1 Corinthians 13 says that love is patient. The greek word patience actually means ‘to take a long time to boil’. My patience is not taking a long time right now. I’ve been short with my wife, my kids, my friends and my dog. And…goodness…other drivers. I’ve lived in Central MI now for 2 years. I still haven’t gotten use to driving here. This is no offense to CM drivers, but wow, we are slow bunch! I grew up in Detroit, lived in the suburbs of Detroit and then the suburbs of Chicago. We don’t drive slow there. We get somewhere and we get there quick.

I feel like sometimes people take a vacation on their right turns!!!!!

Needless to say, it’s been short.

Even though I have struggles, I am finding GREAT JOY in them. I am seeing the BEAUTY in them and I know sweeter days are ahead.

Tomorrow I write about what I’m doing to see that joy and beauty.

A Public Confession…about Email

Here’s a confession…a very public confession. 

I am not great in keeping up with emails/facebook/twitter messages!

And, in that order!

There, I said it! Wow, that was tough. It’s tough because it’s embarrassing!

Now, I don’t get ridiculous amounts of email/messages. Maybe a few hundred a day. But, for some reason, I’m not great in returning all of them in a timely and professional manner. Time after time, I find myself saying “I’m sorry for the extreme tardiness of this reply”! If I’ve done that to you, I’m sorry.

My internal goal is to return all emails/messages within 48 hours. That just doesn’t happen. I read them all. I process them all. I think through how I need to reply, but it always don’t happen right away. Now, I’m not talking about weeks, I return every email/message that’s sent to me. But, I need to get much quicker.

I need an immediate course correction. 

Here’s are my course corrections…

1. I’ve been answering all emails in real time. When I hear the little ‘ping’ I look at the email and read it. Even if I’m in the middle of a project! I’m going to turn that ping off and schedule a few times during the day to specifically check email.

2. I will send some type of reply immediately. Even if it’s…”I’m not sure” or “Let me think about it” and I will get back to you “by”. I’ve learned this from my mentor Kevin Winningham. His emails are incredible! Clear, direct, to the point…but with personality and oozing with care!

Here’s a great post from Michael Hyatt about how to keep up with email.

3. I will keep my emails short. I use a lot of words! I’m trying to keep my emails shorter, but still have personality. My personal pet peeve is people whose emails are short, curt and void of any relational equity. At least say hi!

Here’s a great post from Michael Hyatt about email etiquette.

4. I am going to try to recruit a virtual assistant. Now, I’m not a big deal…farthest thing from it. But, I do spend a lot of time organzing my address book, keeping up with data management of Schools/Churches/Donors. I’ve read Michael Hyatt’s posts on his virtual assistant and I’ve exchanged emails with her and I’m sold. Now, I can’t afford to pay, so I’m going to try to recruit a volunteer to help me.

If you’re interested, check out more information here and email me at jason@livenowleadership.com.

5. Lastly, I’m always going to respond. I get a of emails from people asking for stuff and honestly I send a lot of emails asking people for stuff. I email people and ask them to consider bringing me in to speak for their School/Church/Company, I ask people to give money to Live Now and I ask people for prayer.

I hardly ever get responses. Even from people I know. I’ve just made an internal commitment to always respond. I want to help as many people as I can or see if I can connect them with somebody that can.

What am I missing? What else do I need to do? What do you do?