DAD FEST is COMING to Thrive Church and we need your help!

DAD FEST is coming to Thrive Church! Actually…it’s almost here!

It’s on Sunday June 14th and it’s after each Sunday morning experience. There is a special DAD TENT (Yes, there is some SUPER COOL STUFF in the DAD TENT), Inflatables for kids and students, a Giant Football Competition area (Thanks to Eagle Village and Victims to Victors), Dunk Tank, a Live Band, FREE FOOD, Cool Cars and a ton of other fun!

I AM SO EXCITED! 

Here are photo’s from last year’s Dad Fest!!! This year, we’re taking it to a whole new level! Why? Why are we doing this? Investing the time, energy and finances into this event?

Here’s why…to get more men to be a part of Church. To give men a chance to fall in love with Jesus. To encourage Dad’s to be the spiritual leaders in their house holds.

And, to reach as many people as possible!! Actually, I’m praying that this will be our largest attended Sunday to date!

How you can be a part of Dad Fest 2015

1. Pray for Dad Fest! Pray that God would send men! Men that would never step foot into a Church! Men who desperately need Jesus. Pray that men, women and children would respond to the Gospel. Pray that the weather would be amazing! Pray that our parking lot would be stuffed! Pray that the extra stuff we’re looking for would be donated.

2. Be at Dad FEST! Be there. Make it a priority!

3. Serve at Dad FEST! We need a completely other team to set up, run and tear down DAD FEST. If you can help, email Sarah.burkhart@thrivechurchmi.cc.

4. Invite and Bring EVERYONE you know! This Sunday you will be given little invite cards, pass them out. On Wednesday, June 11th at noon, be a part of the DAD FEST Facebook flash mob! Message people. Call them. Invite them. Email them.

5. Donate. Thrive is only 84 weeks old and hosting events like these cost a lot of money. It’s well worth it because we’re able to reach exponentially more people than a normal Sunday, but help donating stuff would be awesome. Here’s what we need:

  • Cans of Pop.
  • Cases of Water.
  • Bags of little chips.
  • Paper products (Plates, cups, napkins).
  • Sponsor an Inflatable. It’s about 300 per inflatable and we would like to have 3.

If you can help, email Sarah.burkhart@thrivechurchmi.cc.

It’s coming! Get ready!!

dad fest

 

 

The time my 12 year old was ticked about baseball

I love baseball. I love that my boys love baseball. IMG_4900

I have played catch with them since before they were walking.

Every trip we have ever gone on, we always bring our gloves and play catch. We’re always throwing something. Always hitting something.

Honestly, as they’ve gotten older, it’s so fun! We throw harder…they dive…it’s fun.

I love it! 

But, today my 12 year was ticked about baseball! Let me back up. Yesterday, Bob, had a great first baseball game of the spring. Hit a great double to centerfield, pounded another ball that was caught and was hit by a pitch, and he eventually scored! He’s a good ball player. He loves playing baseball. It’s not his life, but I’m glad he plays.

Today he found out that some of his baseball games are on Wednesday nights and he was ticked.

No, I mean, straight up TICKED!

Why? Because that means he will miss ONE YOUTH. One Youth is Thrive’s student ministry and HE LOVES IT!! I love that he loves it. But, my goodness, he was mad.

I explained that we’ll get him to One Youth as soon as the games are over, but that wasn’t good enough for Bob.

Ok, this is tough for me. I love baseball! I love watching my boys play. So, it’s hard to see him mad about it.

But, I love ‘the Church’ and I love our church more. I love our student ministry. And, I’m proud–glad–excited–happy that he’s ticked about missing One Youth.

Yes, today I am one proud dad!

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!

Why Kids and Students matter so much at Thrive Church

I’m going to cut right to the chase and I believe this passionately about Thrive Church

 

  • If kids and students don’t love Thrive Church, we don’t have much of a future as a Church.
  • If kids and students aren’t begging their parents to be a part of Thrive Church, we don’t have much of a future as a Church.
  • If kids and students aren’t being poured into, taught and shown Jesus, we don’t have much of a future as a Church.
  • If kids and students aren’t given the opportunity to lead and use their gifts, we don’t have much of a future as a Church.
  • If kids and students aren’t challenged to be Jesus and to be a light to the world, we don’t have much of a future as a Church.

That’s why kids and students matter so much at Thrive Church! cool thrive kids pic

They have to matter! And, every single adult who attends, who is a Thrive Partner, who volunteers, who gives and who prays for our Church has to be passionate about investing into them!

We have to invest amazing resources into our kids and students.

We have to be excited every time they lead.

We have to get them involved as much as possible.

We have to get them to camps and retreats.

We have to inspire them.

We have to encourage them.

We have to help them find and follow Jesus.

That’s why kids and students matter so much to our Church. They are not only our future, they are our now.

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!