One of the reasons we’re adopting…

Tracie and I both had amazing childhoods. Tracie and I both have amazing parents.

We’re blessed in that department!christmas card photo

Our parents were both extremely intentional and we’re so thankful for that. Our parents spoiled us with their time and amazing creativity. To do this day, we are very close to both sets of parents. Shoot, my parents moved to Central MI to help us plant a church and be by their grand kids.

One of the reasons we’re adopting is because we love being parents! That was passed on to us from our parents!

We love being parents!

I’ll never forgot the day Tracie told me she was pregnant with Bekah! She showed up at my office and she was beaming!! I don’t think I ever saw her smile that much! And then God blessed us with Bobby, Zach and Madie.

To be honest, my family is the best part of my life. Yes, we are not perfect. Yes, we do get frustrated with our kids and they get frustrated with us. But, we laugh a lot as a family. We talk a lot as a family. And, we’ve had some amazing trips together.

So, one of the reasons we’re adopting and adding to our family is because we love being parents.

We would be honored if you would help us add to our family.

If you would like to help us, you can do that HERE.


The Raitz Family Needs Your Help to Adopt and Bring home Winona Mae!!

The Raitz Family has some some HUGE news! IMG_3316

We’re trying…praying…hoping… believing that we are going to Adopt Winona Mae from China! That’s our name for her. It’s after Tracie’s two grandmothers. She actually wanted to name both girls that, but Bekah and Madison won out then. Now it’s time for Winona Mae. Her name as of right now is An Fu Le and she is a beautiful 17 month old baby with PKU from China! She’s very tiny for her age.

The Story 

Ok, let me back up! We have four kids. Our life is pretty full. We planted and now lead a growing and exciting church. Our kids are in sports. Have homework and activities. Both Tracie and I work many hours every week for our Church. In the midst of all of that, we believe that God has called us to adopt a child with PKU.

The Calling

God put a calling on my heart almost ten years ago! I was flying home from a mission trip to Mexico. It was a year after Zach was born and his PKU still rocked me to my core. Actually, I could hardly deal with it. I was journaling and I was thinking about the children I saw on that mission trip and the thought that kept sticking with me was…what if Zach was born there? He just wouldn’t make it. That night, God put the call to adopt on my heart. Tracie has always wanted too add to our family and together through a ton of prayer, we have decided to take this step.IMG_3305

It’s taken ten years, but we have found a baby girl in China with PKU and we have been pre-approved by China to pursue her adoption. She’s been on a PKU diet but she is behind a bit developmentally. She is in an orphanage with 800 other children and just doesn’t get a lot of stimulation or individual attention. That’s why we need your help to bring her home!

There is a lot to be done before we can bring Winona Mae home! Paperwork, interviews and and honestly, the biggest part is raising $30,000. And then, we no longer have anything for babies! No cribs, strollers, toys, pack n plays, clothes, etc.

Yes, $30,000!

I know, I know, I know. That’s a lot of money! But, there are a ton of fees. There is airfare. Tracie and I will need to spend 2 weeks in China. There is paperwork costs. There are more fees. There is her paperwork fees. And so much more.

But, it will be worth it! We will add to our family, which the Raitz kids are totally EXCITED about it! And, we will give a loving home with a  great family to a child who desperately needs it. Plus, we already have two kids with PKU! So, she will have a ton of support with her own PKU!

And the cool part so far is… everyone we’ve told so far is totally excited! Our parents, our siblings, our kids, our friends, and circle! We’ve even had people already tell us they will help us raise the money! We’ve had friends who said they will contribute. We’ve had friends ready to help get her room ready! It’s pretty exciting!

We’ve already decided that we are going to try to sell everything we possibly can to help raise as much money as we can. We’re going to be hosting some fundraising events and we will even have a T-Shirt that people can buy.

So, will you consider helping us Bring Winona Mae home? 

Any amount and gift is a HUGE BLESSING!

Here’s what you can to do help us bring Winona Mae home:

  1. You can head HERE to give. This is a Go Fund Me account and will help keep our donations organized!
  2. Share this blog post on your Facebook page.
  3. Share our Go fund Me page on your Facebook page.
  4. Pray. Yes, that should have been number one, but please pray. Pray for the smoothness. Pray for favor with the Chinese government. Pray for God’s favor on raising these funds. Pray for our family.

Ok, I can’t thank you in advance! Thank you for praying! Thank you for giving! Thank you for sharing our Go Fund Me page on your own social media pages!

Let’s bring Winona Mae home!!!!!

Excited to Encourage 2nd Graders to Choose Kindness over Bullying today at Beal City School

It’s been awhile, about a year and a half, but today I’m encouraging 2nd graders to

Choose Kindness over Bullying.

Let me back up. Before I planted Thrive Church, I started a non profit called Live Now Leadership and I spoke in schools to encourage students to Choose Kindness over Bullying. But, with the rapid growth of the church, I just haven’t been able to head out and speak in schools. I’ve missed it.

So, we were at Madie’s parent teacher conference and as we were taking with her teacher it came up that I use to speak to students. She jumped on it quickly and asked if I would speak to all the 2nd graders at Madie’s school.

Helping kids, students and adults treat each other with kindness and respect is actually a HUGE passion of area of mine! My heart breaks when people mis-treat each other.

Just imagine if Parents would be passionate about teaching their kids to treat each other with unprecendeted amounts of kindness and respect. Imagine if parents treated their families and their peers with that kind of kindness. Imagine if 2nd graders understood the importance and began to treat others with kindness…the world would change!

This wasn’t a tough decision at all.

So, this morning I’m headed into Madie’s school and I get to help out. I can’t wait!

And bonus, my kids have heard me speak on this so many times that they’ve been helping get my talk together this morning! I love that!

Thanks for praying for me around 8ish this morning!

I just want more of Jesus

I’ve been pretty stressed lately. Lot’s going on for our family. Lot’s going on at Church.

Life is full. Too full. 

Just like any family, we have a lot going on. We have kids in baseball and track and we have kids with special diets and lots of homework. We have a teenager, a pre teen and two who think their teenagers. For the first time in years, my wife is working again. She was a full time stay at home mom, but now she works for our church 25 hours a week (unpaid) and our family has adjusted to that.

Just like any Pastor, my week is insanely full. I take my work home. I’m constantly thinking about my messages, the people who haven’t been to Thrive in awhile, our church finances, are we an accepting church, future hires, spouses who don’t know Jesus, the upgrades we need, fundraising, who we can help, who we can’t help, our staff, our staff families, upcoming outreach events and the list goes on and on.

And, when I get too busy…I take my eyes off Jesus. It’s that simple. I’m not proud of that.

My morning quiet time is replaced with hustle or sleeping in or something else. 

My prayer walks go away or are less frequent. 

My reading of the books I love (typically about spiritual formation) is replaced with Yahoo news. 

My patience goes out the window.

My eating habits go from bad to even worse. 

I hug my wife and kids less. 

Again, I’m not proud of any of this. But, it’s amazing how easy it is to slip into this mode.

But, I can’t let my life stay in this mode! And, the only solution I know of is…


I just want–Need–long for more of Jesus. 

So, I’m going to keep my eyes focused on Jesus. I’m going to make sure to pay attention to my life when it starts to get too full and I’m going to do everything I possibly can to protect my soul.

I just want more of Jesus in my life.

A special trip to CA with just my Bobby

I will NEVER forget the day that Robert Jason Raitz was born! It was a total surprise that he was a boy! We already had Bekah and I was absolutely convinced we were going to have all girls. IMG_3383

Then, the day came. I was about to lead worship at church and my wife (Tracie) came back stage and said…um…you won’t be leading worship today. So, I took off my guitar and headed to the hospital. Our whole youth group came to the waiting room and played board games and then I came out and announced that Robert Jason  Raitz was born.

One of the coolest moments of my life happened about an hour after he was born. My dad, Robert Raitz, came into the room and I introduced him to his grandson, Robert Raitz. Wow, what a moment!

Bobby is now 12 years old! It’s just flow by. He’ll be 13 this summer and I just can’t even believe it!

13 years old! A teenager! And the crazy part is, we’ll have two teenagers! Just awesome!

Well, tomorrow morning he and I leave the house at 445am to drive to Detroit to hop on a plane to CA. I was asked to speak at a great event in Southern CA and it worked out great to bring Bobby! Just me and Bob.

I’ve been praying about this trip for a long time. I’ve been praying for this trip for a long time.

Why? Because Bob turns 13 this summer and that’s a major milestone! That’s Huge and as his dad I’ve worked hard raising him and pouring into him and I can’t wait to have fun, and do more of that this weekend.

Here’s the thing. It will be just Bobby and I. I don’t have a ton of money, so we’ll check out the ocean. We’ll talk. We’ll play catch on the beach. And, like he’s done hundreds of times, he will sit and listen to his dad speak from stage.

In a perfect world, I would have the money to rent a convertible, but honestly, the cheapie compact car will be just fine!

So, we are going to have a BLAST! We’re going to talk. We’re going to experience a cool trip together. We’re going to pray. We’re going to hang out. We’re going to be together!

I can’t wait! My Bob turns 13 this summer and I couldn’t be proud of him. He’s a young man who loves Jesus. Who has great empathy for others. He’s compassionate. He’s a deep thinker. He’s profound. He’s funny! He has a great smile! And..he’s just awesome!

Fix your eyes on Jesus

Can imagine, as a Jesus Follower, if we actually did that and if we really took those words seriously!?! Just imagine the life change in us that would happen. Just imagine the change in our families lives and friends.

New glasses

Today I get to go to an optometrist. Actually, my wife, Bekah and I get to go!

And, I am excited!!!! 

Get this and I’m not proud of it! My wife hasn’t had new glasses since 2007 and I’m not much behind her. And, our Church, Thrive Church, came together and blessed us with a terrific Christmas gift of new glasses for the three of us!! Just so humbling!!

Everything will probably change for me as I get new glasses. Ok, not everything, but a lot will. My eyes and what I will be able to focus on is about to change dramatically. I squint a lot right now. I struggle to read things far away. Shoot, I struggle to read things close up! But, that’s all going to change.

And, that will make life better. Unknown

As a Jesus follower, the author of Hebrews 12:2 encouraged us to fix our eyes on Jesus to focus on Him. Focus on how He lived and to live our lives in the same way.

Here’s how the message version says it…

Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. 

In 2015 I’m doing everything I can to keep my eyes on Jesus.

To focus on Him. To Live like Him. To be Him to as many I can. To be as focused on my life mission as He was.