Love

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 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

ARE YOU EVENING KIDDING ME??????

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…

I LOVE MY CHURCH!!!

What I love about…Thrive Church

I love…What_I_Love_Logo

  • Our passion for people who have given up on the church

I really love…

  • How welcoming and accepting we are

I love…

  • That we have fun as a church and we love to laugh

I really love…

  • How we clap, cheer, sing and hoot and holler during our Sunday experience

I love…

  • That Thrivers are so excited to invite friends and family to Church

I really love…

  • That our church is passionately in love with Jesus.

I really do love my church!

Every day I am more and more excited about what’s ahead and every day I thank God for giving me the privilege of being the Pastor of Thrive Church. It’s a privilege I do not take lightly and one that I love!

Oh, here is what I loved about today at Thrive

1. I love that a 4th and 5th grader were our hosts for the experience and lead from the front!

2. I love a high schooler read scripture from the front.

3. I love that a team of people were not at Thrive, but were at the traveling homeless shelter.

4. I love that Ethan and Bob (Thrive volunteers) took our trailer to the traveling homeless shelter, packed it up and took it to the next church.

5. I love that we had pictures with Santa at Church. And, we had an indoor snowball fight…wore ugly Christmas sweaters…and showed a super funny video at the very end of our experience.

6. I loved the band! Holy cow they rocked! They did such a great job of leading us in worship.

7. I love how many adults serve on Sunday’s in Thrive Kidz!!

8. I love how many new faces there were at Thrive today!

9. I loved the moment a Thriver pulled me aside and thanked me. Wow, so meaningful.

10. I loved, LOVED, that 7 people trusted in Jesus today at Thrive.

I LOVE MY CHURCH! 

A little bit of Saturday randomness and ramblings…

I can’t believe Christmas is in 4 days. Someone asked me today what I’m getting for my wife and I said, I’ll think about that after I get through Christmas Eve. Hah! Guess that won’t work.

I really LOVED this post by Perry Noble about the Church. He’s so right on and I couldn’t agree more.

I always have great hope for the future, but I’m kind of sad today. It just really breaks my heart when christians are so awful to each other. IMG_3277

I know this is really selfish, but I need chairs in my office for people to sit in and I really like this one.

I gathered together with a group of people at 7am this morning to pray for Thrive Church.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? I still can’t believe people would get out of bed to pray outside in the cold weather! So awesome!

My wife continually blows me away. She serves and serves and serves!

I love how much my kids love their church.

I’ve been praying for tomorrow at Thrive all year. Desperately praying God moves in the lives and hearts of everyone who gathers together!

 

A morning with my Zach

A typical Saturday morning for me goes like this…I get up around 6am, I head to Celebration Cinemas in Mt Pleasant and I takeIMG_3194 a prayer walk around the theater.

Then, I head to the office and I finish preparing for Sunday at Thrive. I’m there as long as it takes me and then I head home and hang with my family!

Well, last Friday night we had our staff Christmas party and we got home pretty late. Needless to say, it was an amazing night of laugher and fun!

I forgot my phone in the van. That meant that I didn’t sent an alarm. Well, I slept in till 7:50am! I can’t remember the last time that happened!

As I was getting ready, Zach said ‘Dad, can I go to work with you?’ I went to say no, and then thought, why am I saying no? I explained that he would have to hang out in my mom’s office on the computer and he loved it!

We went to the theater and we did the prayer walk together. I told him to put on some worship music and IMG_3198talk to God. I did the same thing. It was awesome!

On our drive to the office, we talked about a ton of stuff.

It was the coolest time ever! 

We talked about school. Who his best friends are? Why are they his best friends? We talked about his PKU and how he’s doing with that.

Then, we talked about Church. Gosh, this kid loves our Church and of course I love that.

Here’s what amazing…I almost missed it! 

It’s not all the time I can bring my kids to work and still get done what I need too, but last Saturday was a day that I could and my first reaction was to say no.

I’m so glad I took a moment and rethought that.

I know the older my kids get, I’m gonna have fewer and fewer of these moments and I have to take advantage of single one now.

I loved my morning my Zach and I looked forward to many more!

4 Ways to make your daddy/daughter dates great

Yesterday I posted a bunch of reasons to take your daughters on daddy/daughter dates.

Today, I thought I would give 4 super easy ways to make your daddy/daughter dates great!

4 Ways

1. Put the date on the calendar and let nothing else trump it.

NOTHING!

2. Spend a few days asking your daughter what she wants to do on your date.

Give her ideas, but let her dream. If she’s old enough, text back and forth about it.

3. When you’re on your date…Listen, Listen, Listen. In order to do that, you have to ask a crazy amount of questions.

Questions like…

  • What’s your favorite…Band, Singer, Web Page, Food, Bible Verse, Color, Store
  • What friend cares for you the most? What do you do for them?
  • What kind of boy makes you smile?
  • How much do you think Jesus loves you? Why does He loves you?

4. Do whatever she wants.

Don’t say no or not now. And just do it. Ok, don’t rent a private jet and fly to London for her to hang out with One Direction! Do it if you can! But, there are a million ways to make the date special, so…make it special.

Dads…4 Reasons to take your daughters on dates (ok, 10!)

I love my girls.IMG_1612

If you ever visit my Facebook page or hang out with my family, it will probably become very apparent that I love my kids. I have two boys and two girls.

I adore all 4 of them. Being a dad is the best!

I’m trying to be very intentional  about taking out each one of my kids. To get one on one time and to pour into them.

Dads…here is a simple list of why to take your daughters on dates. I thought I would write 4, but 10 just popped out.

Reasons to take your daughters on dates 

1.     Their childhood only happens once

2.     Their childhood zips by at the speed of light

3.     Their childhood is the only one they have

4.     Their childhood builds a foundation for what kind of husband they are going to look for IMG_1583

5.     They need your one on one attention

6.     They need your hugs

7.     They need your words of affirmation

8.     They need those memories of when you put them first above everything else

9.     They need you to listen

10.   They need to hear your stories

Dads, take your daughters out on dates. Trust me, it will deepen your relationship with them in ways you never would have imagined!

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.