What happens when you give to God through your local Church

Yes, I know it’s a shocker, but I’ve doing some reflecting this week! Hah!

I was thinking about giving and tithing. Not a super fun topic for some! I was thinking about why my family tithes to God through our local Church (Thrive). I was thinking about why we believe the tithe is be returned first (on the Gross) and that 10% is just a starting point. I was thinking about all the years I screwed this up. I was thinking about all the excuses I gave for not returning back to God what He blessed us with. I was thinking about what God has done in my family since  we started to not screw this area up.

And, I was thinking about all the life change that happens because people take this obedient step in their faith. Its just amazing!

For instance…at Thrive alone:

  • A few Sunday’s ago we were able to bring in Dr. Tom Rundel from Liminal Living to teach on anger. His grasp on the depths of scripture is unreal and he has a way to bring it alive and apply it so well! He was a huge blessing.
  • On our TWO year anniversary as a Church, we were able to give HopeWell Ranch a gift of $1000.
  • Last Sunday, someone trusted in Jesus! 7 people have in the last 7 weeks! And, 8 people were baptized in October! ONLY GOD!
  • Last Sunday, we were able to bring in a guest worship leader (Jimmy Savage) who was used by God to bless a lot of people and point them to Jesus.
  • This Sunday we’re able to bring in THE SPARK and give our musicians a rest and to inspire them. AND…again, people will be blessed and people will be pointed to Jesus through an amazing time of worship.
  • And, we’re hosting a free concert with THE SPARK at Plachta on the campus of CMU!
  • Last Sunday, lonely, hurting and depressed people were encouraged with scripture and the truth of God’s word.
  • Last Sunday, scripture was taught to help people deal with confrontation and conflict and I’ve received a few emails this week about how it helped people to take some necessary steps toward restoration.
  • Last Sunday, people showed up early to serve other people. That’s always a win for the Kingdom!
  • Last Sunday, adults and students poured into, loved and taught kids about Jesus!
  • Last night, students gathered at One Youth! They were welcomed into a loving environment that’s fun, that points them to Jesus, teaches them about worship and gives them a chance to be in a small group so they can have an adult pouring into their life and a small group community.
  • This week multiple families were helped with some very practical needs. Gas money, grocery money and help with bills.
  • People are donating coats, hats and gloves to be given away through a community outreach.
  • People visited Thrive’s Counseling Center and received some much needed help with their heart and soul and working through some of the complex issues that they’re dealing with.
  • Our Thrive staff met for staff meeting and prayed over the requests from Sunday and lifted other requests in prayer.
  • Speaking of our Thrive staff, there are families that are provided for because of their staff position at Thrive Church. They receive a salary and are able to take care of their kids.
  • In a week and a half, 4th and 5th graders will head to SpringHill Camp for a life changing weekend retreat and some of them will receive financial help from others in our church.
  • Next year our middle and high school students will head to a winter retreat and a summer camp and that will happen in part because of people’s generosity.
  • Marriages have been saved. Relationships have been healed.
  • People have fallen in love with Jesus.

It’s extremely simple to say, but all that just doesn’t happen without people taking the obedient step to honor God with their finances and to return a portion back to God.

I’ve had people tell me (not face to face but through someone else) that they’ve left Thrive because they think we talk about tithing or giving and money too much. I make no apologies for the fact that we point people to what scripture teaches about money.

And, I always say, you’ve got to figure this out between you and God. If you can’t start at 10%, then just prayerfully decide between you and God what you will give and give sacrificially and generously. And, if you don’t want to give or believe you shouldn’t have too, then don’t. You are still welcomed, wanted and accepted at Thrive!

I just know that I am proud of the fact that I’m a part of a Church that’s making a difference in my community and that when my family gives sacrificially (and yes, it’s a sacrifice, it’s not easy) I’m helping to extend Christ’s love to my community.

And, there are so many other churches in our community that are doing the same thing!

I’m so proud of my Church! I’m proud to be a part of a community of people who give so others can be reached for Jesus.

A new series @ Thrive…’Turn down the Drama’

This past Sunday at Thrive we started a brand new series called ‘Turn down the draDrama’.

We actually didn’t come up with the name. We stole the idea from Central Christian Church in Las Vegas because we loved it so much. And, the amazing thing is, we emailed them and asked if we could use it and they didn’t just say yes, they sent us all the graphics they made for it! Wow! That’s just awesome! We’re taking a little different course on the content, but its cool when churches just give stuff away!

We’re spending 4 weeks talking about this because it just seems everywhere we turn, there is a ton of drama these days. Either we cause it or we’re brought into it. So, week one was all about humility and we dove into Philippians 2:3-5. Here are a few thoughts from the message…

The absolute best way to Turn down the Drama is to…Consider others better than yourselves. 

If we’re going to live our this very simple but very complex truth, we said you need too…Check your PRIDE. Recklessly pursue Humility.  And then, Passionately consider others better than yourself.

This Sunday we’re diving into Ephesians 4:25 and we’re trying to figure out if we can get  a grip on our anger and bitterness and slander and gossip.

Imagine the drama that would be turned down in your lives if we did!?!

If you missed the message, you can check it out below. See you on Sunday!

Random Late Night Thoughts about Thrive turning TWO!

**Note: I am typically not up this late at night and so there are probably many typos in this blog post. 

Well, tomorrow is a big day.

It’s Thrive’s TWO year anniversary. Gosh, these past two years went by quick! Like, lightening quick! It really seems like yesterday that I was sitting in a coffee shop and writing this blog post. And, here we are almost 3 years later and Thrive is turning TWO.

I’ve learned a ton over the past 2.5 years. Here’s the most overwhelming truth that I’ve learned…

God is faithful! 

It’s been a wild ride. Way, way up and way, way down. Some months have been amazing and some months have produced such amazingly awful pain. But, all in all, I wouldn’t trade any of it.

Thrive Church turns TWO tomorrow and I’m proud of my church. I love my church and I know God has some great plans ahead for Thrive Church.

It started as a few couples sitting around a dining room table and it has grown into a movement of over 500 men, woman, students and children. We have no affirmations of being a big church, we just beg God daily to have a big impact in Central MI for His Kingdom. We ask God for big life change to happen in peoples lives.

We’re not stuck on tradition. We’re not stuck in following a list of rules. We do things a little different. We run after the mess. We work really hard to create an environment and culture where everyone is loved. We’re passionate about people and we desperately want to see people fall head over heals in love with Jesus.

That’s why we do all of this. For Life Change. For people to walk away from what’s holding them back from being formed in the image of God.

People have come and people have gone. Some were just along for a short season and some have been at Thrive since the beginning. Some people come in and get all excited and then fizz out. Some people come in who are hurting and hopefully Thrive is a place for them to heal up. Some people serve so sacrificially, it’s just amazing.

Thrive wouldn’t exist without the help of other Churches. Without them, we would have never gotten off the ground. I am eternally grateful to…

Kensington Church, Venture Church, Heritage Church, Lapeer Community Church, and Thrive Church TX.

When we started we didn’t have a sending church. A Church that sent a group of people to get us going. But, we did have a few of us who have worked for churches and have been around church leadership and that was invaluable to have. We never sent any mass mailers. We just started. We turned to Facebook. We turned to word of mouth.

And, in our short 104 weeks, 112 people have been baptized!

112!

We started with nothing. I didn’t even own a computer. God provided. We didn’t have a copier, God provided. We didn’t have a trailer, God provided. We didn’t a staff, God provided. We didn’t have a prayer, God provided. We didn’t have a worship leader, God provided. We didn’t own any equipment, God provided. We didn’t even have a space to gather on Sundays and God provided. And, we didn’t have an office area or a place for our students to meet and again, God provided.

It’s been amazing to see people who had totally given up on Church and God, find a church home and a relationship with God. It’s been amazing to see marriages healed. It’s been amazing to see our church family live out Acts 2. It’s been amazing to watch kids fall in love with Jesus. It’s been awesome to see our students grow and begin to lead. It’s been awesome to see how God has used our little church to impact our community.

Of course, there have been painful moments. Week in and week out, it’s so hard sometimes to hear all the pain and hurt that people are dealing with. Job loss, debt, sickness, cancer, death, loss of relationships, gossip and pain. There have been times when I had to make decisions that a few people disagreed with and they left Thrive over it. There have been moments when you invest so much energy and time into someone and they simply let you down. There has been a lot of heart break.

But, I love my church. I love the staff that God has lead to Thrive. I love the Church leaders He has brought. I love the family He has brought. I love the kids and students.

I know He has some amazing plans for us. Tomorrow is a big day. Tomorrow we’re actually attempting to take a huge step to expand our REACH.

We have dreams. Dreams to bless even more. Dreams to give away more. Dreams to reach more. Dreams to operate a 24/7 facility that will be open to the community whenever! Dreams to continue being a church for people that aren’t perfect. Dreams to continue pointing people to Jesus.

Thank you for your support and encouragement. Thank you for your prayer! Thank you for your financial support.

I can’t wait to see what God has for us in the next TWO years!