My biggest hurdle in 2015

2015 is looking pretty darn good.

Which, to be honest, 2014 will be tough to top! I had a great year in 2014. It wasn’t easy by any means and actually it was one of my toughest yet, but it was a great year.

The only negative I can muster up about 2014 is…my health. I mean, leading a church…especially a super young church is not easy. We dealt with a ton of not so fun moments, financial stress, growing pains and leadership challenges. But, even with all that, 2014 was great.

It was just my health.

My back surgery was so much harder than I ever thought and it took me a long time to bounce back. In fact, bending is still a constant struggle and the pain from that is still not fun. The simple act of getting out of bed or putting on socks, yeah, these are extremely painful tasks for me!

I miss running. Playing basketball. Swinging a baseball bat or a golf club. Wrestling with my boys.

So, for me, that pain and struggle has given me excuse after excuse to let my weight go. The discipline of eating well, while dealing with the pain is just something I flat out failed at in 2014.

That’s my biggest hurdle for 2015.

I just can’t continue to live the same way. But, changing, like everyone knows…well, that’s hard! Actually, hard doesn’t even cut it. Its a ridiculously hard battle and I am way down deep in the hole. I’ve tried to change for months and each time, well, I fell back into old habits.

Every time in the past, I have been able to work out. I have been able to run. This time, I just can’t.

So, here I go. This is my biggest hurdle to 2015 and one that I’m ready to take on.

I would love your prayers for strength and courage.

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!!

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 dad, a son and a grandson…One of my favorite moments ever at Thrive

Yesterday was an awesome day. IMG_3302

There was a moment at Thrive that was very special.

I asked my 12 year son, Bobby, and my dad, Bob, to come up and each pray for the Christmas Offering. 

I can’t even begin to tell you the joy I have about serving together in ministry with my family.

My wife loves our Church. My 14, 12, 10 and 6 year old love our church. My parents love our church.

Now, my kids may not always love it. I know that is a very real reality.

But, for the time being, I love my that family serves together at Thrive Church.

My dad is one of our humblest volunteers. You will never hear him complain. His body aches, his back hurts, he knees are bad. And yet, he’s at the church every Sunday morning at 7am to unload and set up church.

One of the things that I will never take for granted is that my childhood was rooted in God. I am so thankful that my parents talked about God, studied God, taught me to pray, taught me to serve and now do the same with their grand kids.

It’s just awesome.

And, to know that my kids get to witness their grand parents help build our church together, yeah, that’s just an honor.

A dream a long time ago

When Bobby was born, it was awesome. To be able to introduce Bobby Raitz to Bob Raitz was a life highlight! Well, not long after that, one of the ladies at our church told me she had a dream about my family.

Honestly, I was a bit skeptical. She told me in her dream she saw my dad teaching dozens of kids. Ok, that part made sense because my dad was my youth pastor. She went on to tell me that saw me teaching hundreds. Ok, again that part made sense. I was a youth pastor and I had been traveling and teaching at camps and retreats.

Then she said…she saw my son teaching thousands.

Wow. I still don’t know what to think about it. But, I will tell you this. I will support whatever path of life any of my kids feels is the one God is calling them too.

But, if God calls them to ministry, man, that would be awesome!

So proud to be Bob Raitz’s son and so proud to be Bobby Raitz’s dad.

A little bit of Saturday randomness and ramblings…

A little bit of randomness and ramblings…

1. It kind of makes me sad when people unlike Thrive Church’s Facebook page. Probably shouldn’t. Don’t know why it does. But, really, who does that?

2. Somebody asked me today why I take a prayer walk around Celebration Cinema every week. Because I’ve read Circle Maker a dozen times. If you haven’t read it, buy this book and get ready!circle

3. Someone just messaged me and told me that for the first time in their life they are excited to be a part of a Church.

Yeah, that’s amazing and so humbling!

4. One of my favorite things to do is go to the movies. I just realized that I haven’t been to a movie in months and months. That’s a first.

5. I really can’t wait for tomorrow! I love Sunday!

Ok, there is your Saturday’s dose of randomness and ramblings!

 

What I want for Christmas…Low Protein food for Zach & Madie

In the last week, a few people have asked me what I wanted for Christmas. IMG_1651

That’s really an easy question. I personally don’t need anything. I personally don’t want anything. Ok, that’s not true. But, there’s nothing I really need.

I would like Santa to bring Low Protein food for Zach and Madie to the Raitz house this year. 

That’s it. Easy. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, here’s a little background.

Two of our 4 kids have Classic PKU. If you haven’t ever heard of it, check out the video below. The mom in this video is great and nails what its like to have PKU and what PKU is all about.

In this video, the mom talks about the costly food for PKU’ers. That’s really one of the toughest parts of having two kids with PKU. Low Protein food is ridiculously expensive. And, for some reason, the government hasn’t mandated insurance companies to reimburse the cost of this special food. It’s actually really frustrating, but that will be another post.

BUT…we are so blessed to live in a state that provides medical formula for our kids. Someday we will have to start paying a portion, but right now its free. A HUGE BLESSING. Why? Because they need that formula to be healthy! And, it’s crazy expensive!

Back to the food. You and I pay what for a loaf of bread? 2 bucks? 3 bucks? Low Protein bread costs $12.99 a loaf and you have to have it cold shipped which is a little bit of cost as well. We could spend $500 and get 20 or so items and those wouldn’t last too long. Especially with a son about to head into the pre teen years.

So, that’s what I want.

I know, it’s selfish, but I was asked!! Hahah

What do you say Santa, can you bring Zach and Madie some of their favorite Low Protein foods?

 

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!