The Gift of Sheila = Unbelievable Generosity that rocks your life!

The Raitz family has been so blessed over the years.

And, when I say blessed, I don’t mean…’oh, we’re so happy’, kind of blessed.’

I mean the kind of blessed where your life, where your family, where your everyday life is so rocked and so moved and so blown away, you just don’t know how to function! And then, all you want to do, is do just that for other people. 

Well, a few months ago, an amazing couple from our Church came over and gave us a gift that knocked the air out of our lungs. We sat there in silence and we had no idea how to respond.

The size and scope of the generosity was absolutely amazing.

Actually, after it happened, Tracie and I went into our bedroom and shut the door and just hugged and cried. That lasted about 2.5 second because we have 5 kids! Hah!

They gave us the Gift of Sheila! Which, if you’re wondering what that is, Shiela is the IMG_8052nick name we gave their mini van.

They gave us a mini van!

I am not even kidding! Just unreal! 

I can’t even begin to express what an answer to prayer this gift was for our family. I can’t even begin to express how incredibly blown away we have been for the past couple of months as we think about what this family did for us!

This is the kind of generosity that literally CHANGES LIVES! 

And, the amazing generosity started back in 2014. We were headed as a family to Florida to speak at a summer camp. Our van was barely kicking. As a last minute hail mary, I put out on Facebook that we were asking for prayer for our van to get to Florida. That’s when I got a message that we could use this couples mini van. It was a huge answer to prayer.

Over the next 3 years, again and again, they let us borrow their van for us to travel to speaking engagements and vacations. We went to WI and to IL and to SC and to FL. Over the course of this time…

Sheila became a part of the family. 

The couple that gave us Sheila has been a part of our lives since 2012. That’s when I first met them. They lived down state and attended a Church that I was speaking at. They were a part of the prayer and I still remember the day I first me them and they prayed over me before I spoke.

Fast forward and they moved back to Central Michigan and they have been a part of Thrive since the very beginning. Actually, Thrive would not exist without this couple. Their heart to serve, to pray and to give just continually blows me away.

Every Pastor needs encouragers. I don’t know where I would be without them. They have taught me so much about following Jesus and so much about generosity!

Every time I drive Sheila I pray for them. I ask God to bless them.

Our hope is that God will use us in a similar way to bless the people around us!



I’ve been speaking to students for 20 years and I love it!

I was driving home today from a speaking engagement and the thought hit me…

I have been speaking to students for over 20 years! 

That’s just crazy! speaking

I don’t even have the words to describe how honored I am that I have been able to teach and encourage and challenge students all these years.

I have spoke in churches, youth groups, conferences, schools, private schools and colleges.

I have traveled all over the country. I have spoke to groups of 10 students and all the way to thousands.

I really don’t speak outside of Thrive all that often anymore, but I loved today.

I believe in students and I have always loved teaching them about Jesus.

I have to say no to far more opportunities to speak now than I’d like, but I love the opportunities I can be a part of! This summer I’m speaking at two summer camps and I can’t wait!

I hope that students experienced Jesus today and they were inspired to live like Him!



I love Summer Camp!

I’m getting ready to leave. I just gave my last talk of the week, 10 all together and I’m getting ready to pack up the car. 2013-06-04 09.48.15

I’m whooped, but in a good way.

It’s been an amazing week.

In 15 years of speaking at summer camps, this was one of the best!

Here are a few thoughts about summer camp…

1. Mom and Dad’s get your kids at a summer camp! Find a great christian camp or  a church youth group and sign your kids up. Holy cow! These weeks are an incredible spiritual and kingdom investment into your kids lives.

2. I adore adults who invest into kids for a week! There were adults here who took off a week of work. Who slept in cabins with kids and who poured into them!

Everyone needs a Sarah…and a Robin

Years ago I read a book that changed my life. It was written by John Maxwell and it’s called…Partners in Prayerprayer partners

It was at a time in life when I was young and foolish enough to think that I could everything on my own! I actually was under the delusion that I didn’t need help.

Well, I read that book and it changed my life. As soon as I finished it, I recruited my first prayer partner and it wasn’t long until I had a team of people praying for me.

That’s why I believe passionately that…

Everyone needs a Sarah and a Robin!

I’m extremely blessed. Through facebook and through email, I have a team of people from around the country who pray for me and my family and my ministry on a regular basis!

But, here locally in Central MI, I have two incredible women who pray for me. And, wow, do they pray. 

Almost weekly I receive facebook messages from them in the form of prayers.

I can’t even describe how honored I am! It is so humbling to read their prayers and to know that they are genuinely praying for me and for God to use me.

I know, I KNOW, that my impact wouldn’t be as great without their faithful prayers. I am so thankful and I ask God to pour His favor on them daily!

If you don’t have a Sarah and a Robin…I suggest doing everything you can to find some!