You have to know 3 things…
Are you praying for that? Are you asking God to provide? Are you asking Him to open up the floodgates of heaven on our Church? Please do!
Are you praying for that? Are you asking God to provide? Are you asking Him to open up the floodgates of heaven on our Church? Please do!
I pinch myself daily because I believe that God assembled an…
I mean, I think I have a little experience in the matter! I have served at local churches for 22 years! In that time, I have worked and served with some amazing people. But, BUT and its a BIG but, I have never worked and served with such an amazing group of people!
They really are selfless. Many of them work crazy amounts of hours, way more than they’re paid for, to serve the people of Thrive Church. Many of them raise their financial support so they can be a part of the team. They just serve tirelessly and they do it to serve Jesus and others. No one has gotten a raise. No one is here to get rich. Any one of them would drop anything to see someone find and follow Jesus!
And now, God has increased our team! The Thrive staff team is made up of a few different positions. We have full time Pastors, we have part time paid staff, part time volunteer staff and then we have interns.
Sam is absolutely incredible! She’s been involved at Thrive for about a year and a half and
in that time has made an unbelievable difference! She’s humble, she’s hard working, she has an incredible attitude, she is a team player, she loves kids, she serves volunteers, she’s hungry to learn more, she’s a leader, she’s a very good communicator, she always brings so much life whenever she is a part of something, she is a difference maker and she loves Jesus!
She is really a spectacular woman!
So, when the opportunity arose for Sam and I to talk about her coming onto the Thrive staff team after she graduated from CMU, I jumped at it!
On May 16th, she’ll join the team full time! She’ll concentrate on creating irresistible environments for Thrive Kidz. Environments where kids can learn about Jesus in fun and exciting ways. She has already, in her team at Thrive, begun to build an amazing team of creative folks who pour into kids each Sunday at Thrive and that will just get better and better.
Sam is also raising 100% of her financial support for this position and she is stepping out in faith to do so! Yeah, its pretty amazing.
I wish. I dream. I know someday Thrive will be at the place where we can afford for our staff to not raise funds, but we’re just not there. For our size church, we should be. But, there are some variables working against us and we’re working hard to figure those out.
I am so excited! Our team is excited!
If you would like to help Sam raise support, you can give here. Just click on her name.
The Best is Yet to Come!
I get this question pretty frequently.
Here’s the reality…what does it take to be a part of Thrive? Well, the answer is…
It just takes you. You just have to Show Up and let God do the rest.
Thrive Church is a place for people who aren’t really all that interested in God or Church.
So, what do you say? Why don’t you check out Thrive today. We gather on Sunday’s at 9 or 1015 at Celebration Cinema. Just wear whatever you’re comfortable in. Come about 10 minutes early and if you have kids, stop at the Thrive Kidz check in and they will help you.
What does it take to be a part of Thrive? Just you. Come today and be a part.
Today is a bittersweet day for me. A year ago we were plowing through the adoption paperwork and checklists to bring Winona Mae home. We had a crib, stroller and had just bought paint for her room and had planned to paint over the weekend! Things were moving forward and we couldn’t wait to hold her in our arms!
The afternoon of 2/1/16 I had emailed our case worker a question about some paperwork and she replied right away with ‘are you home? Can you call me?’ I wasn’t too worried since I had requested a PHE level update on Winona and thought she wanted to give those to me. What she would tell me instead was something I never expected and still today hurts to think about. Winona had passed away…all we know is a virus was going through her orphanage and her little body just couldn’t fight it off. I was in shock, I was pacing the street in front of our house talking to our caseworker and wondering how I was going to go inside and tell the kids? When I hung up with our caseworker I called Jay and told him. We didn’t talk too much cause we were both in tears. Going in the house to tell the kids after talking to Jay was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do.
That night we were surrounded by friends and family who grieved with us, sat with us and held us while we cried.
The next few weeks were a blur as we tried to process the news. We questioned moving forward with the adoption process…how could we without Winona? How would we even begin to choose another child? Did we even want to move forward? Should we wait a few months, a year or stop altogether?
After praying and talking about it we decided to move forward with the home study and see what happened.
Fast forward a couple weeks and the picture of a little boy who also had PKU was sent to me by a fellow adopt parent who was adopting from his orphanage. We felt a connection to him but he was with a different placing agency and at the place we were at we didn’t feel called to switch agencies. Again we questioned the journey we were on but still felt God telling us to move forward and trust him. We looked at other files of kids with our agency but neither of us felt really called to any of them (they were all precious and needing a forever family, we just knew we weren’t theirs). I was just about ready to call it quits cause it was getting to hard emotionally when I received an email and FB message late on a Saturday night from our case worker saying she had a file of a little boy on a 72 hour hold for us if we wanted to review his file. I opened the email and there was the picture of the little boy we both felt a connection to earlier! Everyone else was asleep but all I could do was look over the pictures attached to his file and smile!
The little boy in the file and pictures was Kai! The next day after a long Sunday (we had Thrive, then family over for Bek’s birthday) I emailed our case worker our LOI (letter of intent) for Kai to be sent to China. A couple weeks later we received our PA (pre-approval), and as you all know almost 2 weeks ago we brought him home!
When I think back to the beginning of our journey and how we almost quit when Winona passed away I get sad thinking of the love, joy and happiness we would have missed out on with Kai had we not listened to God’s voice and moved forward even though it hurt! Even though we wanted to stop cause it was too hard and we couldn’t see the end!
I am so glad we were obedient and faithful through the hurt and pain and and so thankful for Kai and for the love and joy he has already brought to our family in just the short amount of time we have known him!
I am excited to see what God has in store for this little boy who has captured our hearts! We still grieve not getting to hold Winona by know she is free of sickness and pain in heaven and will one day meet her! She will always hold a part of our hearts and will forever be a part of our journey to Kai!
How about that for a headline!?!
That’s the reality though, without the local CHURCH, Kai’s adoption would not have happened.
Tracie and I weren’t in a position to afford this adoption on our own. Maybe that should have stopped us from pursuing it. It has stopped many. A few people expressed that opinion to us. Well, not face to face but on Facebook and to others. But, as we prayed about it, we just felt God’s overwhelming push to move forward and to ask the CHURCH to help. So, we did. We did it on Facebook. We did it through emails. We did it on my blog. We did it Face to face.
And…the CHURCH DID!!!!
Here’s what I mean by that. Not one Church is responsible for Kai’s adoption or one person or one family, but MANY.
We had 6 year olds give $5. We had teenagers give. We had families give $20. We had some who gave thousands. We had people give from Central Michigan, the Detroit Area, Grand Rapids and up north. From…PA, IND, VA, CA, CO, NV, TX, LA, NY, OH, IL, WI, WA, FL, TN, KY, DC and some I’m forgetting about.
But, Kai’s adoption couldn’t have happened without every one of those gifts.
And, how about this…
99% of the people that gave were followers of Jesus.
You know why? Because generosity is close to the heart of God! I mean, HE Gave HIS Son for us! Jesus gave everything! The Acts 2 Church gave to support each other. We, as the Church, are called to give! I believe we’re called to give first to God through the Local Church and then to give as God leads us to give.
I love what Todd Clark said about generosity…
‘Generosity will make you rich not poor’
I have found that to be 100% true in my life. Embarrassingly enough, I fought this for years. I didn’t give because I thought that because I made hardly anything working for the church and because I gave so much time to the Church, that that was the same as giving financially. I was wrong. Dead wrong. There is a very strong and compelling reason that Jesus said your treasure is where your heart is. He knew that we struggle like crazy to Trust Him and He wants our heart. If we can’t put our finances ahead of our heart, we won’t experience all He has for us.
I can honestly say that is true. I have experienced that. When you make generosity so common in life, like breathing, and you do that over time, whether times are good or bad, one day…
You will wake up and experience a waterfall of the Holy Spirits presence in your life. I have. It’s amazing.
THE CHURCH MADE KAI’S ADOPTION A REALITY!
And, actual Churches made Kai’s adoption a reality. This just completely blows my mind! It’s still had to wrap my mind around!
3 Churches, who really don’t know my family or I all that well (I mean, I have a friendship with their Pastors) took offerings to help us! ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?? So, we will always be in awe and so grateful to 242 Community Church in MI, New Bethel Church in IN and Canvas Church in VA.
Then, Thrive Church in CA, who knows more of me and my Church because we’re in the same network of Churches, received an offering as well. ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME?
Also, the night before we left, I asked some folks from my Church to gather and pray for us. And they did! And, they threw us a surprise shower to help with Kai’s clothes and toys and toddler stuff!
THE CHURCH IS AWESOME!!!
The Church is responsible for this adoption. Of all the complaining and whining I read about the CHURCH, I’m sorry if I can’t join in! I love the LOCAL CHURCH! She is the bride of Christ. The local Church, when working right, is the Hope of the World. The Church preaches the Gospel. The Church gives people a home. The Church allows the generations to come together. The Church is a movement! The Church is the hands and feet of Jesus! The Church is the LIGHT to this dark world.
That’s why it just shocks me that Christians have become so apatathic towards their Churches. But, that’s for another blog post.
Here’s what I know…
A boy who didn’t have a family, now has one. A boy who didn’t have a Church home, now has one. A boy who wasn’t going recieve the level of medical care his PKU needed, will receive one. A boy who slep in a crip with 12 other kids, will now have 4 siblings. A boy on the other side of the world, one of the 17 million orphans in the world, now has a home.
The Church did that!
I love the Church.
‘Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you’ ~ James 1:27
Some people ‘go’ to Church because they have an internal voice telling them that its the right thing to do.
Some people ‘go’ to Church because they want to be seen by other people.
Some people ‘go’ to Church because they have heard good things and don’t want to miss out.
Some people ‘go’ to Church because they’re starving for community and connection.
Some people ‘go’ to Church because its one more thing on their moral check list.
First of all…
Second of all…
That’s where the real power is!
Here’s what I believe passionately, you will miss out on the real POWER of Church if you’re not connected and if you’re not connected for the right reasons!
All those reasons TO GO to Church miss out on the power that is available to you. If Church is just a country club to you, a moral compass, another box on your to do list or another thing for you to feel good about yourself, you’re missing out.
But, when you get CONNECTED at a local Church that is working right and use your spiritual gifts to serve that body and to serve the community they live in…
Some Ways to Get Fully Connected:
ONE…Actually make it a priority to be there! Again, so simple but so hard in this day and age of crazy business. If you really want to experience the power of connection, be there. Make it a commitment to be with your Church every week!
TWO…Actually make it a priority to serve! Again, sounds simple. But, what if we approached serving our Church as a number one priority in our life? Be there. Show up early. Serve with your whole heart.
THREE…Actually make it a priority to get to know people. Again, so simple to say, but so many people shy away from this. They know if they actually do this, they will start making connections and then it gets harder to be nominally involved.
FOUR…Actually make it a priority to be known. Again, sounds so simple, but so many people give up on church right before they really get connected. What are you so afraid of? God created us to live in community with each other. Jump in and feel the power of being connected.
Today is your day! Make the decision to let nothing stop you from being connected. I really believe when you do, you will start to feel the power of being connected and then your life will change for the better!