Month: July 2014

What I love about Thrive

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I look forward to writing this mid week update on what I love or what I loved about Thrive from the Sunday before. I really do.

Partly because I can’t wait to look back in 2 years and 5 years and 10 years and read through these. I think it will be incredibly fun to look back and to read what God did in our church. And, to read the ups and downs and see God’s faithfulness! Exciting!

That being said, I wasn’t at Thrive this past Sunday! I missed it like crazy.

What I love

1. Pastor Swap.

This past Sunday, Terry Prisk (The River’s Pastor) and I swapped places. He came up to Thrive to speak and I went to the River to speak. Terry knocked it out of the park!

We’re in a series called ‘Skeptics Wanted’ and he tackled the question ‘Do I need to be baptized’?

If you missed it, here’s the message.

What’s awesome about this is the fact that Thrive would probably not exist without the help of Terry and The River! I’m so thankful for their partnership and support.

2. Yes, I want to get baptized!

This just never gets old. On August 17th, we’re having a Baptism & BBQ celebration as a Church and this past Sunday, 5 more people signed up to be baptized!

YES!!!!!!!!!!!!

3. Our Church. 

I was talking to a Thriver on the way home from being at The River and they said something to me about ‘our church’. I just love that!

Why? Because Thrive is not my church. It’s the people that make up Thrive.

Every once in a while I get on people for saying…’we need to do this at your church’. That implies that its mine, it’s not.

What a great privilege it is to lead Thrive Church!

I love my church! 

 

 

Happy Birthday Bobby! My son is 12!!!!!!!!!

Today is Bobby’s 12th Birthday. IMG_0806

I can’t even begin to express how much I love this young man.

It was about this time 12 years ago that I was heading on stage to lead worship and my wife stopped me and said it was time to head to the hospital.

I’ll never forget that day. We had a waiting room full of people and Bobby was born. He was our second and our first boy.

One of the best moments of my life was introducing him to my dad. It was so much fun to say…

Bob Raitz meet Bobby Raitz. 

What I love about Bob…

Bobby is a thinker. He’s a processor. He’s a calculator.

Bobby is one of the best question askers I know. His questions are deep and well thought out.

Bobby has great discernment and he most often figures out or sees what is happening in a situation.

Bobby also has the gift of empathy. He has so much compassion for those who are hurting or beat down.

Bobby is a builder. He loves building legos and he loves figuring stuff out. IMG_3611

Bobby does not like the spot light. He does not have to be first or recognized.

In fact, Bobby is just ok with not being up front or being the center of attention.

But, if he’s comfortable, look out. He’ll dance, sing, act goofy and play around.

This past week he was a youth retreat and I saw him come alive. It was just awesome.

Bobby is a good athlete, but again, he doesn’t like the attention.

He loves video games. Probably more than anything else.

I can always rely on Bobby to pray. Whether it’s before a meal, at youth group or even at church. Which is surprising because he does not like being up front.

Bobby loves to rest and chill. He loves chocolate and he loves watching movies.

We love going to the movies together. Watching TV shows like Arrow and playing catch or shooting hoops.

He loves to fish and would love to hunt if I took him more, I need to work on that.

What I pray for Bobby…IMG_4917

1. That He would become a Man of God.

2. That his love for Jesus would continue to grow.

3. That he would have a passion for God’s Word.

4. That Jesus would be the Lord of His life.

5. That God would be His life’s focus.

6. That he would learn and pursue the calling that God has for his life.

7. That the fruit of the Spirit would be evident in his life.

8. That he would love people in a huge way.

9. That God would protect Him.

10. That God would use him to reach thousands of people for His Kingdom.

I love this boy. I am so proud of this young man. I am so blessed to be his dad. 

Father God, please make your face to shine up Bobby Raitz and be gracious to Him. Please open up the floodgates of heaven and pour out your blessings on Him. Please give Him the strength to keep his eyes focused on you.

3 Musts for Sunday at Thrive

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If you haven’t been to church for awhile…this Sunday is the day!

If you have been to church but haven’t volunteered or served…this Sunday is the day!

If you have been down…this Sunday is the day!

If you have never felt closer to God…this Sunday is the day!

If you have never invited a friend to church…this Sunday is the day!

Whatever place of life you’re coming from, this Sunday is the day to…

Gather together, Pray together, Worship together, Give together, Serve together, Learn together and Love each other!

I can’t wait for this Sunday at Thrive and I wanted to make sure you knew a few things before you showed up:

1. Invite someone. 

Yes, I know I ask you to do this a lot, but it’s so crazy important! And, it’s something I wouldn’t ask you to do if I wasn’t doing it myself. We all have a ton of people (friends, family, neighbors, co-workers) who desperately need to hear the good news of the Gospel. And, we all know people who need to have a church home.

Thrive could be that church home.

2. Week Three of ‘Skeptics Wanted’. 

This Sunday we tackle the question…”Do I need to be baptized to be saved”? We talk about the why’s and the how’s behind baptism and why it’s so incredibly important for every believer to be baptized.

If you’re interested in signing up now, head here to sign up.

The next baptism is August 17th and we’re doing it at Lake Isabella. It’s going to be a great day for our church and we will celebrate together!

3. Are you praying for our church?

If Thrive is your home church. If you’re a Thrive partner. If you’re thinking about making Thrive your church, then you should be praying for our church.

Would you pray for Thrive Church? I hope you will consider! Here are some things you can be praying for daily:

  • For courage for Thrivers to invite people to church
  • For God to move daily and work in our hearts
  • For people to put their trust in Jesus
  • For Thrive to be a Church of radical generosity
  • For Thrive to have favor with unchurched people in Central Michigan
  • For healing for those who are sick

If you’re reading this and don’t have a church home, I would like to invite you to Thrive.

We meet on Sunday’s at 10am at Celebration Cinema’s!

If you’re reading this and Thrive is your church home, Thanks! Know I’m praying for you and can’t wait to see you! 

A Thrivers thoughts about last Sunday at Thrive…

Last month I emailed a Thriver with an idea. She is a fantastic writer, editor and thinker…Wendi Brownson. I pitched an idea to her and the idea went like this…

What if we ask Thrivers to write personal reflections and thoughts about the message at Thrive and post them the week after Sunday’s message?

The idea is to add to the message, agree with it or disagree with it and to add stuff that was missed or left out.

She loved the idea and we’ve been off and running. I’ve been meaning to post each of them on my blog but they’ve moved down my ever growing to do list. Well, I moved it up!

So, here is a personal reflection from Thriver Zendi Ruggles on Sunday’s message ‘Can I be a Christian and still have doubts’?

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I am so thankful that our pastor models honesty. Honesty with himself and honesty with others.

Because I would be a big fat liar if I said I didn’t doubt God.

I grew up with an agnostic dad. I have a melancholy side to my personality. And well, life can just suck sometimes. So yep, I deal with doubt.

Mostly I have doubted God’s goodness and His sovereignty.

Some time ago my husband took a job as an associate pastor. We felt sure that it was the Lord’s will. We packed up the house and moved our family from a beautiful island on the coast of Georgia to Columbus, OH. I know. Dumb. But we were sure that is what we were supposed to do. Less than a year after we left all that we loved my husband was called into the head pastors office and told in no uncertain terms, pack up your office, leave the church property, we don’t want to see you again, ever.

It has taken me a while to not look at God and His goodness and His sovereignty through the glasses of that horrible experience. I have had to wrestle with what is True. Is God who He says He is? Can He do what He says He can do? How do I know?

God has been faithful to show himself to me.

I liked it when Jason said, “It’s in our nature to look for reasons. God’s nature is to offer relationship.” I wanted reasons for the bad things that happened in our life. I still don’t understand why many of them happened. But I do know more than ever that Jesus loves me. I know that He takes care of me. I know that He is after my heart more than anything else. I know that when I give Him my heart, I am most at peace.

Week Two of ‘Skeptics Wanted’…Doubt

What I love about Thrive

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Sunday at Thrive was just awesome! I know I say that a lot, but my goodness, when you give everything you can and see a team of people doing that as well…wow!

I know for the average person that checks out Thrive or has been attending here and there, this probably just doesn’t have the same weight. But, it takes a lot to do what we’re doing and I can’t even comprehend how thankful and humbled I am to the teams of people who volunteer at Thrive!

I’ve said it a million times,  Thrive is so much more than Sunday mornings. But, that being said, Sunday is a big part of what we do (especially in this first year) and I want to take time to celebrate what God is doing at Thrive.

What I love about Thrive

1. Our Volunteers! I just talked about our volunteer teams, but my goodness, I am going to talk about them again! Our volunteers are the foundation of Thrive! Thrive would not exist without these amazing people! People like Rich Schuch, a Thrive Kidz volunteer, who leads our large group for Thrive kids and is there week after week!

There are some Sunday mornings I walk around and hold back the tears because it’s just awesome to watch these amazing people pour in there time and invest into our church!

If you’ve yet to take the step to volunteer at Thrive, I would really encourage you to get involved and step up and serve!!

2. ‘We’re in’. I was talking in the lobby after church with a few people and a guy came up to me and politely interrupted and said:

‘we’ve been praying for a church home for a long time, we’ve found it! Thanks for all you do!’

Are you kidding me?!? That is just awesome. To know that this family has decided to make Thrive their home church…well, that is just awesome!

3. ‘Thank you for sharing your doubts’. We’re in a series called ‘Skeptics Wanted’ at Thrive and this past week the topic was…’Can I still be a Christian and have doubts’?

Big and heavy topic! Whew! I was standing outside after church watching our families play kickball and a person came up to me and said:

‘Thank you for sharing your doubts’. They went on to explain that they thought that since I was a pastor, I probably would not have been that vulnerable about my own personal doubts.

I shared a few very personal doubts on Sunday:

…My original call to ministry. My entire childhood people said I would be a pastor, I fought it.

…If God was so good, why would He allow my grandmother to be killed in a car accident

…My fight with God to start Thrive Church. I wrestled with God for a long time over starting this church.

In the end, I encouraged people to know it’s ok to have doubts, but we must stay focused on God. That God is more interested in a relationship than the reasons that we’re searching for and that there is an equation to remember when it comes to doubt:

doubt + surrender + trust

I can’t wait for this Sunday at Thrive!

Thank you Thrive Kidz! Such a GREAT Story!

Ok, I love Thrive Kidz! What is Thrive kidz you ask? It’s the children’s ministry at Thrive ChurchIMG_5216

At Thrive Church, we love kids! We REALLY do! One of the things I say pretty frequently is…we don’t ever want our children’s and students at Thrive Church to get the scraps. I’ve seen it over and over in 20 years of being a part of Churches. I just can’t ever let it happen at Thrive!

Do we have the perfect environment for our kids and students yet? No. But, we’re working really hard on them and doing everything we can to improve them.

Actually, because of our kids explosive growth, I made a HUGE announcement yesterday at Thrive and I will blog more about that a little later. Can’t wait!

But, I’m writing this whole post because a mom at Thrive posted an incredibly awesome post in our Thrive Facebook group. (Which, if you would like to be a part of that, just email me…jason.raitz@thrivechurchmi.cc).

It’s so encouraging! It’s so humbling. It’s so awesome! And, it’s just GREAT!

Thank you to our Thrive Kidz volunteers for making Thrive Kidz a place where kids are loved, are safe and are taught about Jesus!

A huge thank you to our Thrive Kidz leaders (Katie and Tracie) for doing an amazing job!

And, a huge thank you to the moms and dads and their kids who are a part of Thrive Kidz!

Here’s the incredible post…

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