Prayer

A crazy humbling moment…

Today I have the honor of being a part of Kensington Community Church’s Church Planting Network meeting.

They host this gathering for pastors and church planters 2-3x a year and it is just a fantastic experience!

Now, I’m a little partial to Kensington. I have always admired this church and over the years I have spoke many times for their Jr/Sr High Ministry. And, they are one of the churches that helped launched Thrive and their Executive Pastor serves on Thrive’s Management Team.

Needless to say, it’s a crazy honor to be a part!

And, Kensington is a model of being an open-handed church. They have helped start more churches than I can possibly imagine!  It’s just unreal! They give and give and give!

There is nothing like being in a room full of pastors and ministry leaders. It’s just awesome. To hear what God is doing in so many churches is crazy inspiring. To rub shoulders with ministry veterans and rookies is just awesome.

Today there was a moment that just totally blew me out of the water.

Greg, the director of the Church Planting Network asked me to share a few words about our launch. Which, are you kidding me?!? What a GREAT honor! So, I shared what God is doing in Mt Pleasant at Thrive.

Then, Steve Andrews the Pastor of Kensington asked everyone in the room to pray for me and to pray specifically for my back.

It was one of the most humbling moments I’ve ever experienced. Pastors laid hands on me and prayed!

Wow. Just humbled and blessed. 

 

The answer to worry is…

I don’t know about you, but from time to time, I struggle with the disease of worry.Pray-Hope-Dont-Worry

It’s not all the time, but sometimes it just totally takes over. 

It honestly can come out of nowhere and then bam…it’s all encompassing.

Almost like it hijacks my thoughts. 

When it gets to that point, it takes over more than my thoughts. It can take ahold of everything. And, before I know it, my back could hurt, cold sores could form and I could just get sick. It’s crazy!

Can you relate? 

I don’t know what you worry about, but here are my biggies:

1. Finances.

2. My families safety and protection.

3. Will my kids stay focused on God.

4. My families health.

I worry about other stuff, stuff like: Will Thrive Church make it? Is Thrive reaching people? My back and my problems there. Are my kids making right decisions. And, an absolute litany of other things.

Can you relate?

In the book of Matthew, Jesus comes along and he has to say quite a little bit about worry, he begins with getting right to the point…

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life”

BAM! He just lays out the answer to worry. No lead up, no warming up the crowd…just…don’t worry.

He goes on to say…“Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”

And another BAM! Makes total sense, right?!?

So why do we invest so much time worrying! 

I don’t know about you, but I can start to dwell on a worry and it just takes over. My mind races, sometimes my heart races, I can cold sores, headaches, back pain and the list goes on and on.

So, here’s my question. If I really believe Jesus is God’s Son and He is my Lord and my Savior and the Leader of my life…shouldn’t I take to heart the truth He gives?

If worry doesn’t add any positive to my life. If all it adds is negative, then I guess I should worrying?!?

Ok, but how? How do I stop?4397162_700b

When worry begins to head into your thought life…

Immediately…

And I mean IMMEDIATELY…

Begin to Pray. 

Consume yourself with talking to Jesus.

Tell him about your worries.

Pour out to him what’s going on.

Cry to him.

Call to him.

Be with him.

Ask him for his help.

More on that last part tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

The power of Sunday’s

I so love Sunday’s.

I always have. I know I always will. I have been a part of going to Church, serving at Church and leading at Church for as long as I can remember.

Honestly, there have been seasons of my life when I have been burned out from Church. And seasons, where I wanted to be done with Church. But, thankfully, they have only lasted about a half a blink.

Here’s why I love Sundays, and specifically, the gathering of Jesus Followers:

Because of possibility.

Because of the power.

Because of the catalytic experience.

Because of the unity.

Because of the love.

Because its a tremendous time to get the body together and encourage people to live out what they believe.

I really believe the Church becomes a country club when those things don’t happen. And, I know of churches where they don’t. Sunday’s are dry. Sunday’s passionate less. Sunday’s are just another check on the list.

If you’re headed to Church this morning, know it’s just a part of your week.

Lean into it. Meet new people. Pray before you go, while you’re there and when you leave. If your church sings, sing. If your church worships, worship. Give. Serve and then give some more. Look for people who look like they need community and be there community. Invite someone or a family you don’t know to lunch. Ask questions. Go home and pray for them.

Then…spend the week putting into practice what you learned at Church. See, the Church is not a building, it’s a gathering on Sunday’s, it’s not following a list of ‘we’ve always done it this way’.

The Church is you, it’s me and its us being Jesus to the world around us. To your family, to your neighbors, to your co-workers and to the strangers you’ll come across everyday.

But, I believe that Sunday can help lay the foundation for week. I believe that Sunday can be a power boost and give you  the tools you need to be a fully devoted follower of Jesus.

So, get up, put your feet on the ground and give this day to Jesus.

 

An early Sunday morning note to Thrive’s leaders

*I actually just posted this in Thrive’s leadership Facebook group. Though I would share it.

Good morning Thrivers!!

I know it’s pretty early, but I am beyond excited to see you all in a few hours!

I’ve been up for a little while praying and I wanted you to know 2 things:

1. I’m praying for you! I’m praying that God uses you in a great way this morning! We all play a HUGE part. Whether it’s a smile, greeting someone, going out of your way to reach out to someone you don’t know, sitting by someone new, helping set up, helping tear down, praying with someone or really…

just being at Thrive!

It’s all crazy important. Especially in this start up season!

So, I prayed for each of you this morning and I can’t wait to hear how God is going to use you today and everyday!

2. What we do this morning is of eternal significance!! It is! The local church is God’s plan A for reaching people and helping build this church is making an eternal difference.

I know many of you have had tough weeks. Tiring weeks. Stressful weeks. I pray that God fills you up this morning. I know many of you are searching for purpose, I pray that you will find it this morning as you pour into people. I know many of you are worried, I’m asking God to give you rest.

Come ready. Come expectant. Come seeking. Come searching. Come ready to give. Come ready to pour out. Come ready to see Jesus move in hearts!

Know you’re loved and prayed for!!

The best is yet to come!

Jason

Rain + Outdoor Tailgate = Great Opportunity to Pray

Today is Thrive’s 1st Annual Tailgate PartyTailgate_Party_FBBanner_MI-01

Yeah, I’m excited!

Woo Hoo!

We’ve advertised, we’ve planned, we’ve bought food, we’ve invited friends, we’ve prayed.

The Tailgate party is after Church and everything is being set up outside of the movie theater we use for Thrive Church.

The Hitch…

I woke up this morning to rain. Yeah, kind of a bummer.

But, with every bummer, there is always a great opportunity

Here’s the opportunity.

We’ll get to see God work in the midst of our plans changing. 

He has a plan that is greater than our plans and I know that He has a GREAT plan for today.

But, we’re praying for Sunshine and we’re praying the rain dries up.

And, most importantly, we’re praying that God moves powerfully in the hearts of those far from Him and those close to Him.

#thrivechurchmi

School starts tomorrow and this is what I just prayed for my kids…

I just tucked in my 4 kids. 

I started with Madie, then I moved to the boys and then I went downstairs and tucked in Bekah.

Tomorrow is the first day of school for the Raitz kids.

And, we will have all 4 kids in school!

This is a first! 

We have an 8th grader, 6th grader, 4th grader and a Kindergartner! Wow! This sure did sneak up on us.

But, I thought I would share what I prayed for my kids. I put my hand on their forehead and this is what I prayed…

Dear Jesus,

I thank you for Bekah Sue, Bobby Jay, Zachary James and Madison Jean. They are a tremendous blessing and they are my life. Thank you for giving me the privilege of being their dad.

I humbly ask you to give them an amazing school year. I ask that you protect them, guide them, give them wisdom and most importantly, I ask that you give them the courage to be Jesus at their school. God help them be the light. May their friends, teachers, other kids and administrators know there is something different about them.

God, I pray for amazing courage and strength. May they do the right thing, tell the truth and treat others with crazy awesome kindness. Give them your eyes, your ears and your heart as they make friends. God, please use them for your kingdom.

Help them stick up for those who need support. Remind them to help their teacher and encourage them. Remind them that their your children and they are your creation!

Father, I ask that you make your face shine upon them and be gracious to them. God, would you please open the floodgates of heaven and pour your blessing on them.

Oh yeah, may they do a great job with their academics as well!

In Jesus name,

Amen.

Tired? Worn Out? Stressed? Worried? Start here…

Can you relate? Are you beyond worn out? Anxiety filling your spirit?

A few short and simple steps to take…

Go to Jesus. 

Talk to Jesus. 

Ask Jesus to Hold you. 

Here’s what Jesus says about it…

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

Go to Jesus.