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.

3 Ways to Get Your Kids Excited About Church

Let me begin by saying…I am not a parenting expert. I am not even close to figuring out this parenting thing. And, I haven’t been a dad all that long. 14 years to be exact. I have a 14 year old and then an 11, 9 and 6 year old. There are some days when I feel like I know nothing about being a parent. Some days are so crazy hard, I don’t even know where to start. And then, well, then there are some days when everything fits together like a giant puzzle piece.

Ok, that being said…

I love being a parent. I love being a dad.

Maybe I love it so much because I had amazing parents. Actually, hah, I still have amazing parents. My parents poured into my brother and I and invested everything they had in us.

But, I believe with every ounce of my being that being a dad is one of the greatest privileges God gives and I don’t want to waste this time.

One of the areas of parenting that I’m asked a lot about is church.

Specifically, how do I get my kids excited for Church?

How do I help my kids understand the importance of church. How do I help them feel involved and included in our church.

So, because I very much love the local church and I love parenting, I thought I would throw out a few suggestions on how to get our kids excited about church.

3 Ways to Get your Kids Excited About Church

Just about every Saturday night, Zach (my 9 year old), lays out his clothes and has all his stuff ready for church the next morning. He loves our church and he loves being a part. Now, of course, there are mornings when all of my kids don’t want to go to church, but here are some ways I try to help my kids be excited about their church.

Disclaimer: Before I go any further, I also want to say that I really believe these apply to best if your local church has an outstanding kids and student ministry. If your church is not investing in kids and the kids environments are less to be desired, these could be a much harder sell.

Also, if your church is on the uber traditional side and your teenagers fall asleep, again, I don’t think these are the answers.

To be honest, I think the best answer is to find a new church. A church that’s alive, has ton of energy, is growing and invests in their kids and students! That may sound harsh or like I’m suggesting that leaving a church is an easy decision. It’s not. But, I really think you need to think it through.

Ok, disclaimer over.

1. Model being a part of the Church. 

Mom and dads…If you’re not actively involved in your church, then there is absolutely no way that you can ask your kids to be excited and involved in church. Now, if your kids are teenagers and you just started being involved, honestly, it may be too late. But, that’s no reason to not get involved. And, its never too late to start.

Notice I didn’t say, just attend church. I really believe we need to be a part of the church. To be the church. That means we…

  • Pour into the church
  • Serve our church community
  • Tithe and model giving to the church
  • Worship
  • Pray for our church
  • Model serving at church
  • Be in a small group

2. Involve your kids in Church Leadership

I personally think one of the absolute best ways to get your kids excited about church is to involve them in serving. If you serve, bring them along. Serve side by side. If they’re too young, tell them what you’re doing. Ask them what they think about it. Tell them all about it. What’s great about it and what’s not so great. Tell them over and over and then over and over again why you believe in the local church.

If your kids are older, encourage them to serve and if that’s not enough, give them a push to serve.

In their youth group, with kids ministry, with worship, or whatever interests them.

For some reason, we push our kids incredibly hard with sports and drama and all the other after school activities. But, sometimes (again, just my personal opinion, we really lay off when it comes time to church. Why is that?

It’s not enough to just attend every now and then. It’s not enough to just attend.

We have to model being actively involved.

3. Ask them their opinions and dream together.

One of the things that my wife and I do a lot with our kids is ask their opinions. We ask them about everything.

We have made it a habit over the years to constantly ask them questions and then to listen.

We spend a lot of time talking about church.

  • What they like?
  • What they think?
  • What could be better?
  • What they would do differently?

And, we spend a lot of time dreaming and praying together.

I know there is so much more, but I think these three will give you a huge help to get your kids excited about church.




A New Kind of #Selfie

This whole month at Thrive Church, we’ve been in a series called…1545123_10152205686798783_345579863_n

#Selfie: Picture a New You

No, we have not taught people how to take better selfies.

No, we have not taught people to be more narcasistic.

But, we have looked into God’s word and have been challenged how we can transform our inner lives more into the people God’s designed us to be.

If you missed any of the series, all of the messages are on our vimeo page.

I so hope you can watch the messages online!

A day with my hero…my dad

Today was an incredible day.

A friend in TN blessed our church with a bunch of really great equipment and my dad and I drove down to IN to pick it up.

That means I got to spend 7 hours in the car with my dad today.

I love my dad. 

He’s my hero.

He’s humble, he’s a servant, he’s wise, he’s a hard worker, and he loves God.

Today we talked. Today we dreamed about our new church. Today we spent time together.

Today was an incredible day.

Have you ever just slowed down and looked around?

We rush, rush, rush.Unknown

We go, go, go.

We check our phones.

We live by our calendars.

We text during our conversations.

We are busy.

I am no different.

Today, I went grocery shopping at Meijer. It was packed, I loved it.

I walked around and just took my time.

It was a rare time. I wasn’t rushed.

I just slowed down and looked around.

I prayed for people as they walked by.

I didn’t know their names.

But, I still prayed.

I asked God to give me courage to share Jesus.

I begged God to heal marriages. To restore relationships. To reconcile relationships.

I asked God to give me favor with people who are far from Him.

And mainly, I just slowed down and paid attention to people.


What if we prayed for others to succeed? No REALLY!

It’s easy to pray for others to succeed, right?images

Yes and No…

It’s easy for me to pray for my wife, my kids, my family, my friends, my church, the leaders I admire, the people I want to have relationships with to succeed. I do that all that time.

I know that’s pretty selfish, but it’s easy, it’s fun and it’s a joy asking God to pour out His blessings and give His favor to the people I really love. I mean, I really want them to succeed!

Done deal, right?!?


Jesus has something absolutely ridiculous to say about taking it a step further and when I say a step…I mean


 “You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves. This is what God does. He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty. If Love-Your-Enemiesall you do is love the lovable, do you expect a bonus? Anybody can do that. If you simply say hello to those who greet you, do you expect a medal? Any run-of-the-mill sinner does that.

~Matthew 5:43-48 (The Message)

Wow! I don’t know if that has set in you, but it hits me like a brick in the face (not that I have ever experienced that!).

Jesus again, does what Jesus does…he upsets the apple cart…BIG TIME. 

Pharisees taught that yes, you should LOVE those near and dear to you (Lev. 19:18) but, they also taught that Israel’s enemies should be hated.  They implied that their hatred was God’s means of judging their enemies.

Oh, but here comes Jesus. Jesus comes right out and says that Israel should demonstrate God’s love even to her enemies!

“He gives his best—the sun to warm and the rain to nourish—to everyone, regardless: the good and bad, the nice and nasty”

What if we prayed for the people who are hard for us to pray for? 

Our competition, our bullies, and the bad and nasty people? Basically, our enemies!

Jesus followers aren’t suppose to have enemies, though, right?

Well, the bummer is, we all do. Family members who don’t understand our commitment to Jesus, co-workers who don’t get our convictions, or other believers who have become upset with you over something.

So, maybe it’s not like a brutal–vicious enemy. But, I guarantee that from time to time you may have relationships go sour, or people who try to compete with you over everything, or out-do you, or bully you or make fun or just simply remind you that you’re not all that great!

So PRAY for their SUCCESS! 

Yeah, I know it’s crazy. But, try it.

Pray for God to give them wild SUCCESS.

Pray for God to unleash the floodgates of Heaven upon them.

Pray for God to bless them…relationally, spiritually, financially, emotionally.

Pray everyday.

Pray humbly.


Why I love my Church pt. 2

A few days ago I wrote a blog post called ‘Why I love my Church‘.2013-07-21 09.35.12

I wrote it just after Thrive’s monthly service and I couldn’t be more proud of our team. I’ve been thinking more about my love for my church and I wanted to add to the list. So, here goes.

Why I love my Church…pt. 2

1. Seeing the dream become a reality is so crazy humbling. It’s wild to think that it was only 12 months ago that Tracie and I were on a walk and she said…“I think God’s called us to start a church!”

That was a crazy day. When your wife affirms something as huge as starting a new church, it’s a GIANT DAY.

Then, a month after that, I was at lunch with a mentor and he said the same thing!

And then, a month after that, Tracie and I had dinner with a group of couples that all said and asked the same thing.

Heres’ the thing about dreaming…

        …The easy part is the dreaming.

Its true, isn’t it? Thinking of new things, how you would do them and what it would look like.  That’s the easy stuff.

          …The tough part is taking the step to ensure the dreams become reality. 

I am so crazy humbled that God would allow me to be a part of this crazy dream. I know that I have a ton to learn and that I’m not the most gifted or talented, but for some reason, God’s tapped my shoulder.

I love this dream.

I love the vision.

I will protect it and do whatever I need to do to see this dream become a reality.

What’s the Dream? 

To see people far from God become life long followers of Jesus. 

2. Witnessing unbelievable sacrifice is so crazy humbling. Have you been around someone who gives all they have to see a vision and dream become a reality? I have and it’s a crazy humbling experience!

We have a team of people who give their time, their finances and their resources in amazing ways to see Thrive become a reality.

It’s a huge honor to be a part of Thrive’s amazing Launch team and to be shoulder to shoulder with them as we launch this new church.

What I love about our launch team are their hearts. They are sold out and committed to reaching new people for Jesus. And, people who may possibly never enter the doors of a church. I love that this team is willing to give and to serve to reach these people.

3. Being around the people that God is assembling is so crazy humbling. Wow! WOW! WOWZERS!

Yeah, that about sums it up. We have a closed facebook group for the launch team and it’s so cool to sit back and see how God can even use a facebook group to build community. People put prayer requests on there and we pray for each other. We post ideas and thoughts and people add feedback. It’s just really cool.

Lately, people have even been sending out group texts with prayer requests. I LOVE IT! And, I love technology, so this is a win-win.

I love when our launch team gathers for our monthly Launch Party! It’s just a blast to watch relationships deepen and new ones form. It’s awesome to pray for each other and laugh with each other!

I can’t wait for our Growth Groups to launch this fall and then step back and see God work even more! Thrivers will have the potential to live out the Acts 2 church and form missional communities together all around the Mt Pleasant area!

I love my Church. 

I can’t wait for August 18th…more on why in my next post. Hope you’ll check it out!