5 yr old and under Churches that I’m Inspired by and Learning from…pt 2

Yesterday I posted a list of churches that inspire me and that I’m learning from.

If you read through the list or clicked on the links, you probably noticed very quickly that they are all the ‘super-big-crazy-God story’ churches.

Today’s list also includes ‘super-awesome-crazy-inspiring-God-honoring’ Churches. And, a part from 2 churches on this list, all these pastors are friends or mentors.

Thrive Church

Great Lakes Church

One Love Church

Rock City Church

Journey Church

The Church at Visalia

Hope City Church

Rise City Church

Verve Church

One Church

So, who am I missing? Who do I need to be learning from and studying?







Churches I’m inspired by and I’m Learning from…pt 1

I’m a bit of a research hound. I’m always reading, searching through church websites and studying other churches.

And, I love the church and I love my church. I’m always looking at other churches and trying to learn as much as I can.

Here is a list of churches that I resonate with and am always learning from.

NewSpring Church

NorthPoint Church

Willow Creek Church


Central Christian Church

Kensington Church

2|42 Community Church

Elevation Church

Flat Irons Church

Tomorrow I’m post a a list of churches that have been started in the last 5 years that I’m challenged by and learning from.





What!?! There’s no Thrive this Sunday? How can that be?

What I’m about to write is both sad and exciting. So, here goes…10393817_10153133626923455_1907645602712838713_n

Thrive Church is not gathering together this Sunday for our normal experiences.

What!?! How can that be?

I told you it was sad! But, here’s the exciting part. We’re not gathering together for 2 main reasons…


To give our volunteers a break! Every single Sunday we have a dedicated team of people who show up early and stay late to turn Celebration Cinema into a Church. We are giving them a Sunday off. Thats exciting!!!!

It’s a Sunday to…hang with family, sleep in, rest, check out another church or spend time with extended family.

I know, I am partly sad about this. But, I know this will be huge in the long run for our volunteers.


To give Thrive families some time to just be together. It’s no secret, I dream of the days that the majority of Thrive families will be at Thrive on Sunday’s 3-4 Sundays a month. The national average for church attendance right now is just about 1-1.5 times a month. I dream of the day when Thrive helps raise that average.

But, right now, we are about there.

So, I hope this Sunday off will give families a chance to re-tool. Relax. Unwind. Hang out. Pray together.

Don’t miss January 4th!!!!

All that being said, I can’t wait for Jan. 4th at Thrive!! Please do everything you can to be there!!

Can’t wait! The best is yet to come!

Oh, and if you would like to help with our Year End giving, you can give online here

Proud to be married to such a Selfless woman

I am so Proud to be married to such a selfless woman.IMG_4073

We were talking last night, and in Thrive’s short existence, she’s never sat through the experience. She’s never heard and sang all the worship songs. Never heard one of my full messages. Never. Nota. None.

Why? Because we just haven’t had enough volunteers in Thrive Kidz for her to be able too leave that hallway. And, she does it willingly. She doesn’t have to do it, she chooses it. Just because she’s the Pastor’s wife doesn’t mean she has to serve kids, But, she does. And, she works tirelessly throughout the week to get things ready for Thrive Kidz.

Tracie and I have been married for almost 18 years and she’s always been selfless.

I don’t mean this in a mean way, but she’s so low maintenance its crazy sometimes. I can count on both hands the amount of times she’s had her hair done or her nails done. She never asks for jewelry, or shoes or clothes. I actually have to push her to buy stuff for herself. Again, not trying to be mean, but it’s annoying sometimes!!

She just always wants to make sure the kids and I have what we need. For 10 years, she has spent thousands and thousands of hours taking care of our PKU’ers diets and I just can’t remember ever hearing her complain about it.

One of the things I was most attracted to about her was her servants heart! And, that’s still the case.

I just don’t know how’s she done it over the years. Because I’ve served at Churches for the last 20 years, we have never gone to church together. (That’s change with Thrive because our whole family drives to church together at 630am). We’ve had a few pockets where we could sit with each other and actually drive to church together, but never really be a part together. If that makes sense. Again, I can literally count on both hands the amount of times we have sat together in church. Crazy!

Then, as babies have come along, she’s been on her own to do the whole ‘get the family ready for church’ thing.

There were years when our kids were really little and she was getting the special PKU diets all together, feeding and getting our other two kids ready and then bringing them all to church on her own. And, for 4 years, we had the privilege of being a part of a GREAT Church in Chicago…Willow Creek. It was a massive building and literally took 25 minutes to get all 4 kids in their classes and she did it alone all the time.

I talk with young couples now who have little kids and it’s funny to hear stories about how their lives come to a grinding halt when they have kids. It just makes me more proud of my wife.

She’s strong. She’s wise. She’s a hard worker. She’s in love with Jesus.

Again, not sure how I married so well!!

You’re invited to Christmas Eve at Thrive

Wait a minute!! Hold the phone!!IMG_3345

How in the world will Thrive host a Christmas Eve Experience? Isn’t that the church that doesn’t have their own building and meets in a real live movie theater?

Yes, but, we will gather together for Christmas Eve at Celebration Cinema. Oh Yes we will!

So, come and celebrate with us. 

Sing Christmas songs, bring your entire family and lets gather together.

Tomorrow night at 6pm at Celebration Cinema in theater one. There is no Thrive Kidz, so everyone will be in theater one together!!

See you then!!

My family is Blessed! A box, a fixed car, a cool shirt, a borrowed van

I’m not even sure how to express what happened yesterday. IMG_3403

It’s something that literally took my breath away and really messed with me for quite awhile. Messed in a good way, that is.

First of all, it’s been a crazy week. Lots of extra planning, details and running around to add all the special elements to Thrive yesterday. A very full week! Very worth it, but lots of extra hours on top of an already full week.

Second of all, my car broke down. It’s a ’99 and so that’s kind of expected, but really bad timing.

Third of all, as much as its an exciting time of the year for my family and my church, it’s pretty stressful. I worry way to much. And, my anxiety really flared a ton this week. I worried about Christmas gifts for my family. I worried about if some Thrive families were going to be able to get gifts. I worried if people would show up to Thrive on Sunday. I worried about Thrive’s Christmas Offering and Year End giving. I worried if I could get our Thrive staff a Christmas gift.

I know it’s not healthy and it’s a sin, but gosh, it’s hard not to worry.

So, back to yesterday. During our first experience, I get a text from a Thriver that Tracie and I and Matt and Helena need to be at the green room between our experiences. I thought that was a little weird, but I went with it.

When I got there, they handed Tracie and I a box and we opened it and it was filled with little gift bags. In each bag was a different gift.

Things like…

  • New glasses for Tracie, Bekah and I!!! ARE YOU EVEN KIDDING ME??? Tracie hasn’t had new glasses since 2007 and me around 2008!
  • There was a card with money to buy PKU food for Zach and Madie. UNREAL!!!
  • There was a gift card to one of my favorite resturants, Cheesecake Factory
  • And more!!! It literally almost knocked me off my feet! I mean, how do you respond to that kind of generosity?!?

Then, a family grabbed me in the hall and handed me a gift! They were so excited to see me open it. Inside was a Hootie and the Blowfish baseball jersey!!! Are you kidding???? How awesome!!! I love Hootie and I love baseball!!!!

If that wasn’t enough, I had asked a Thriver if I could borrow their van to take my family to a speaking engagement in WI in Jan and they said yes. I can’t even begin to explain how much stress and worry that takes off my shoulders!! Are you kidding me?????

Then, I get a text last night from one of the most amazing men I know saying that my car was fixed! He’s a guy who has blessed my family before and it’s humbling to think he used his precious spare time to fix our car! Wow!


How do you deal with stuff like this?

I love to give. I love to serve. I love to help others. Honestly, its hard to be on the receiving end. I am just so thankful.

I am ridiculously blessed and just blown away by my Church.

Yet another reason…


Week Three of ‘Christmas Remixed’…Jesus Saves