A man I admire and respect more I can even begin to explain

I’m sitting in the back of the room and listening to one of my oldest friends teach about the Gospel.

I’m sitting in the back of the room and I’m remembering almost 20 years of life shared with this amazing friend.

I’m sitting in the back of the room and I’m listening to an explanation of the Gospel and my heart is full and my soul is refreshed.

I’m sitting in the back of the room and I love that I can remember dozens and dozens of conversations about God over the years.

I’m now sitting on my couch and my Facebook messages have been very active tonight with people messaging me about our time tonight!

I so can’t wait for September 6, 2015, when Dr. Tom Rundel is the guest speaker at Thrive! Get ready!

The battle I can’t seem to win

I’m a fighter. I think the people who know me best would say that I’m a fighter. Of course, I’m a lover. But, I’m talking about fighting through struggles and the hardships of life.

I believe I’ve always been a fighter. I’ve always tried to walk towards the fight. I’ve tired to not turn tail and run. Yes, are there conflicts I walked away from? Yes. Not proud of that.

But, I hope it’s true that I’m a fighter.

The battle I can’t seem to win

But, there is one area of my life that I just can’t seem to get any traction, get any footing on and I just can’t win. I’ve battled this fight for most of my life.

It’s my health.

Plain and simple, I’m struggling to get healthy. To be healthy. To live in a healthy way. I’m obese. I’m overweight and it affects everything. My well being. My leadership. My self image.

I’ve listened and read everything. I’ve tried and tried. And, I have a new group of people in my life who are holding me accountable. But, wow, this is a battle that is almost to hard to win.

2012 was a pretty horrible year for me personally. That’s kind of an understatement. The year sucked! I left a job sooner than I anticipated and attempted to start a non profit. We had no money. In the stress of leaving and starting, I was stressed, anxious and mad. So, I worked out. I fought through my back pain and in literally no time, I was down 50 pounds. I felt amazing. I felt confident. I felt awake. I felt alive.

Then, the weight slowly came back. 

In the fall of 2013, I made great changes to my life and again, 40 pounds fell off. Again, I felt great.

Then I started a church and I experienced the most amount of stress I’ve ever experienced. As soon as I started the church, my back went from the normal pain I’ve been experiencing for years to a def con 5 kind of pain.

Living with P A I N Sucks. 

Everyday. Most moments of the day. Most movements have caused pain. In Jan. 2014 I had back surgery. I was praying I would rebound quick. I didn’t. I moved slow. The pain was just too much. I fell deep into a hole. In the midst of living with excruciating pain and then not being able to do all the things I love…playing catch with my kids, going on walks…I gained weight like it was a hobby.

At the start of 2015 I was killing it. Eating the way I know I’m suppose too. Working out 4 days a week. I still couldn’t run or do any time of physical movements (jumping jacks, jump rope), but I could use the Elliptical and swim. And, it was going well.

Then, in mid February I made the stupid decision to play racket ball with a few friends. I paid the next 2 months for that.

I’ve gotten use to not bending. I don’t pick up anything that’s on the floor.

But, I have found a great chiropractor and my back is getting stronger and better everyday. I still wake up with great pain every day. But, with a massive amount of stretching and walking, it’s so MUCH better.

 

Getting out of the hole

 

Have you ever been so far in the hole that you give up hope that there’s anyway out?

That’s the land I live in with my weight.

I know better, that’s the deal. I have read so many books and articles on health. I know I should eat more salads. I know I should stop drinking pop. I know leaders take care of their bodies. I know I’m an awful example to my kids and to my wife and to my church and to my friends.

I know.

But with the pain and with the stress of starting a church and the stress of our own family stuff, I’ve fallen deeper and deeper into the hole.

It’s half way through 2015. I turn 40 September 22.

That’s enough to give me the kick in the pants I need.

So, here goes. I’m going to fight this! I’m going to give it my all.

Would love your prayers!

Dad Fest 2015…An Absolutely Incredible Moment for Thrive Church!

DAD FEST 2015 Rocked! dad fest

I can’t believe that Dad Fest was 5 days ago! We planned and prepared and prayed for months and months and it’s already over! Even though everything didn’t go according to plan, it was still one of our BEST days as a Church and it was just incredible!

Why did it rock?

Because God used it to reach people who normally would never step foot into a church! Because there were multiple stories of men who told their wives they would come back to this church. Because families were introduced to Jesus.

What was DAD FEST you ask?

Dad Fest was a special day to honor dads and to give our Church an incredible opportunity to make it as easy as possible to invite and bring friends and family to check out Thrive Church! Last year we hosted it on the actual Father’s Day, but since we live in a college town, there are a ton of Thrivers who travel home to see their dads…so, we did it a week early.

What did we do at DAD FEST?

We planned to have (cool cars, police vehicles, giant inflatables, a live band, 40 ft climbing wall, a football skills area, fun archery, face painting and water balloons) in the parking lot, but because of rain we had to cancel it.

Even though that happened, it was still an absolutely STELLAR morning for Thrive Church!

During our experience, I challenged Dad’s to just not pass on DNA to their kids, but pass on what matters most. And, we looked at the example of Jesus in Mark 10. Our band was awesome and lead us in some great worship. We brought a couple of dad’s up and did a fun DAD vs DAD competition.

AND…we had a ton of food! No joke, we had a special DAD TENT and DAD reserved area where there was a ton of food covered in bacon (thanks to an amazing volunteer) and DADS and MEN received a chilled bottle of root beer with a DAD FEST cozi. It was just awesome!

Plus in the lobby of the movie theater we rent and in the tents after the experience, we had a ton of free food and drinks. And we had a picture wall for Dad’s to get a picture with their kids.

It was just a lot of fun and a ton of impact! 

And, actually, in spite of the rain, people still showed up! On a typical Sunday morning at Thrive, we have around 400 people. At Dad Fest 2015 we had 602. Its just nuts that we had a 136% increase over last years Dad Fest. And, all that for an 88 week old church! God is good!

ONLY GOD!

We do all of this because we want to passionately help people find and follow Jesus! And, we’ll do anything short of sin to reach IMG_5745people for Jesus! And, we’re willing to do things that no one is doing to reach people that no one else is reaching.

I am so incredibly thankful to everyone who prayed for Dad Fest. Who served. Who gave financially. Who invited and brought friends and family. And, those who showed up!

It was a major day for the history of Thrive Church and I already can’t wait till years!

Put down June 12th!!

We’re not even close to being done! There are 80,000 people in Central MI who don’t ‘have a Church home and we won’t stop or slow down!

I can’t wait till we add our Thrive location on the campus of Central Michigan University. And then a campus in Midland, Alma and Big Rapids!

Honored to be a part of this Church and I know the best is yet to come!

#ilovemychurch

Oh…in case you want to see more about Dad Fest, check out these links:

Watch the experience.

Look at the pictures.

Email Sarah.burkhart@thrivechurchmi.cc to get a copy of our Stratetic Plan.

Can’t wait to share a HUGE Announcement and start our #Fail series @Thrive today!

I am BEYOND excited!

I am BEYOND thrilled!

I am BEYOND humbled!

Yes, I have been waiting for May 17th to come forever! Ok, not forever, but awhile!

It’s been hard to be patient. It’s been hard to wait. But, the 17th is here and I’m ready!

Ready for What?

ONE…I have a HUGE announcement to make.

And, what I’m going to announce has been take a year of praying. A year of seeking God and egging Him. A year of prayer walks. A year of conversations. A year of dreaming. A year of being on our knees.

But, the time is here and I’m ready to announce it! I can’t wait! And, I am beyond excited!

I am so humbled that I get to announce this news when Thrive Church is only 83 weeks old!

TWO…We start the #Fail series! fail

I have been waiting for this series since last June when we started writing it! Failure and success is something that EVERY single person deals with and we’re going to dive into God’s Word to see what He has to say about how to respond when life disappoints us!

So, whether a relationship has failed, you got fired from a job, you received terrible news, something you’ve been working on bombed or when life has just beat you down. This series is for you!

Don’t miss a week of it! It’s 3 weeks and like always, head to Celebration Cinema at 9 or 1015!

See you this morning at Thrive Church!