Prayer

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.

An early morning prayer walk

This last month, I started a new habit…prayer walk

Taking an early morning prayer walk around the building that my church meets in.

I have done this in my neighborhood for years and I have spent tons of time walking around other buildings and other neighborhoods.

But, it wasn’t until recently that I started doing a prayer walk around the movie theater that Thrive Church gathers in weekly.

I’ll post more about the ‘why’ I take prayer walks later in the week, but selfishly…I love the time I spend on these prayer walks!

It’s so refreshing, it’s so powerful, it’s so calming and it’s just an amazing time.

Here’s what I prayed for today:

-Gods blessings and favor on our church

-Lost people would find Jesus and broken people will be healed

-The found would be challenged to take big steps of faith

-That God would use our time in this building to challenge and encourage us to go BE the church

-Thrives kids and youth to be poured into and released to help lead our church

-Thrives future kids and youth directors and for the funds to be raised for those positions

-Thrives future college ministry leader and for favor with students at CMU

-Our staff team and for God to increase our giving so we can increase their pay

-For Gods hand and favor for our outside fundraising efforts

-Spouses of Thrivers who aren’t followers of Jesus

-For continued growth (spiritual, numerical, financial)

-That we would outgrow this building

-We would always be focused and passionate about helping the next person find and follow Jesus

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