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!

 

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!