Can 7 Sunday’s really be all that important? The next 7 at Thrive are just that…

 

Sunday is coming! I am extremely EXCITED about this Sunday! Why?

It’s Thrive’s last Sunday at the theater!

I have been praying for this day for over 2 years and I can’t wait! Don’t get me wrong, I will miss the theater! I am sad!

But, I am more EXCITED and EXPECTANT and EAGER than I am sad!!

 

Save a Seat Campaign

Have you had a chance to save a seat? If not, there are still seats to sponsor!! Right now **986**seats have been sponsored! That still leaves a few hundred that need to be sponsored!!

If you want to help, THANK YOU! Just head to http://www.thrivechurchmi.cc/give and select CMU fund. Or text, 84321, the amount and CMU!!

****THE NEXT 7 SUNDAYS****

I can’t even begin to explain how important the next 7 weeks are for Thrive Church! I know we’re all busy. But, I’m asking you to consider making these weeks a huge priority, here’s why.

March 26th…Our Last Sunday at Celebration Cinema! Let’s CELEBRATE together! Popcorn, Memories, the most IMPORTANT message ever, Communion, a time of prayer and the band has been putting in extra work on some very special songs.

April 2nd…First Sunday at CMU. 930 and 11am.

April 9th…Palm Sunday. A GIANT Sunday!

April 16th…EASTER SUNDAY [Look Again]. The super bowl of all Sundays.

April 23rd…BAPTISM Sunday at CMU!! Our first ever baptism on the stage at CMU. If you have never been baptized through immersion, please check out this link. http://thrivechurchmi.cc/baptism/

April 30th…The Church has Left the Building! We are not meeting for our experiences, but we will meet at CMU and then spread out all over the area and serve!

As you can tell, wow, this is our MOST IMPORTANT SEASON ever as a Church!!

Thank you for Stepping UP! For Showing UP, for Jumping In and for Doing Good!

 

Sermon Notes: How to Wreck Your Life. Week One. ‘Be afraid to Fail’.

Good Morning Thrive Church! How are we doing this morning?17038628_10158473396200235_138093799698539258_o

  • Who has ever FAILED at something?
  • Who has ever felt like a FAILURE?
  • Well, if you answered YES to either question, you’re in the right place.
  • Today, we look at a way to utterly and positively WRECK YOUR LIFE.

But, here’s the reality, there are a ton of ways we can WRECK OUR LIVES! The decision is all ours.

Make poor decisions, and you will begin to wreck your life.

  • Kind of a downer, right?? But, I can’t even begin to count how many conversations I’ve had over the last 20 years with people who feel like they can’t move forward with life because of failures.
  • Failures with relationships, or jobs, or finances. People get stuck and when Life brings disappointments, we sometimes feel like we can’t move forward.

Olympics

  • Crazy thing about success and failure. 90% of the world’s best athletes never win a medal at the Olympics!?! And so often, the Silver medalists feel like failures because they were so close to Gold!
  • But, so many of us though, have been stunted from life. We just refuse to try new things or move forward because of how bad life has hurt us. The sting of failure keeps us away from trying!

Failure is Everywhere

  • Failure is everywhere, right? Work has not become what we had hoped. Things do not turn out as were led to believe. Marriages that began in hope, end in tears. Our kids are a constant concern and then they make horrible decisions.
  • Friendships are betrayed. Prayers do not seem to be answered.
  • Some of us are really struggling because we thought we would be farther in life. Thought we would be married.
  • Then, even sometimes, the things we do manage to achieve often disappoint us.

Winston Churchill said…

  • Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.
  • Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.
  • The sense of failure is never far from the surface.  

Thrive STORY

  • Story about person telling me that Thrive would never make it with me as pastor.

 

How to Wreck your life? Be Afraid to Fail

Failure is a bruise not a tattoo

Big Idea: Failure does not shape you; the way you respond to failure shapes you

You are not defined by your worst day!

  • What you attempted may have failed, but you are not a failure in God’s eyes.
  • See, here’s the story of God, he’s in the redemption business! He is in the reconciling business.
  • God’s plan involved saving His people from the beginning. He created them perfect and gave them the most amazing life. They had one rule, just don’t eat from the tree. They had everything. They choose to break the rule and sin entered the world.
  • They were immediately banned from his presence. They knew they were sinful. They were embarrassed because of their nakedness. They had to work. Pain entered the world. Sickness entered the world.
  • They failed!
  • But, God is in the REDEMPTION business.
  • Paul wrote about it in Romans 5:8, and this is a verse we should all have memorized and thank God for everyday.
  • ‘But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us’!

  • Sin blocks us from having a personal relationship with Jesus and that’s bad news because we cannot gain access to God or be close to him because He is Holy!
  • But, God’s plan is amazing. He sent Jesus, for us. To die for us. To take our sin and to pay the penalty of it with his life, on the cross! For each of us!
  • And, when we acknowledge and repent of our sin, we confess it. God, I’m sorry. I ask for your forgiveness. I give you my life. I surrender my heart to you. We become followers of Jesus! Children of God. Friends of Jesus. And, we gain entrance to the Kingdom of God. Both on earth and in heaven after we breath our last breath!

Big Idea: Failure does not shape you; the way you respond to failure shapes you

  • Actually, this is illustrated and lived out for us in an amazing way in Luke 22 with the story of Peter.
  • Real Quick, let me catch you up on Peter. Son of John, had a brother named Andrew (also an apostle). We first meet him at Simon Peter. Jesus was teaching and he hopped in his boat and afterward they go fishing. Jesus tells them what to do and they caught a HUGE load. They followed Him.
  • Jesus’ first words (when he started his ministry) were to him, ‘Come, follow me’. His last words were ‘You must follow me”.
  • One of Jesus’ 12. We looked at Peter last week. This is the guy who took the step out of the boat! This is also the guy who tried to defend Jesus and pulled a sword and cut off an ear! 
  • Huge Failure. Crucified under Emperor Nero upside down because he didn’t think he was worthy enough to be crucified the same way as Jesus.
  • He’s guy who stumbled a ton, but he kept following Jesus.
  • He was a fisherman. His name was Simon, and Jesus renamed him to PETER which means…ROCK.
  • He didn’t always live up to his name, but Jesus was looking for models, he was looking for real people.
  • He kind of became the leader of Jesus’ disciples and he was a part of the inner three with James and John.
  • He was brash, he spoke without thinking, impulsive.
  • But, we learn from Peter, you can’t be defined by your worst day

LUKE 22:55-62

54 Then seizing him, [that’s Jesus, Judas had just betrayed him] they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance. 55 And when some there had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them. 56 A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.”57 But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said. [One time] 58 A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.”“Man, I am not!” Peter replied. [Two times] 59 About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.”60 Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed.  [Three times] The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” 62 And he went outside and wept bitterly.

Big Idea: Failure does not shape you; the way you respond to failure shapes you

  • Even Peter Failed! But, you don’t have to be afraid to fail.
  • That fear of failure will paralyze you!

 

  • I’ve failed plenty in my life! Oh my gosh, I’m like the poster child for failure! But, I’ve learned that we can find great beauty in the pain of failure!
  • You are not defined by your worst day! Failure is not final! You can overcome it. You can get victory over it. you can heal up from it.
  • So, if you’re going to NOT be defined by your worst day, understand a few ideas.

ONE…Recognize that everyone fails.

  • Nobody is perfect and everyone fails.
  • We all face defeat and realize that just because you fail at one thing, it does not make you a flure.
  • Even Peter, who was absolutely confident of loyalty and strength, even that guy failed!
  • Peter failed to keep his promise. He failed his loyalty to Jesus.
  • Just like us, right? We have the best of intentions. We start out well. We have the best of intentions.
  • Just remember…

NOBODY IS PERFECT!

  • I love what Thomas Edison said about this.

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. ~THOMAS ALVA EDISON

TWO…God’s love and forgiveness is not dependent on your success.

The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.” ~Luke 22:61 (niv)

  • For me, the first 10 years of my ministry career was all about success! Having a ton of kids at events, speaking at different events and then it all came crashing down!
  • A bunch of years ago, I started a book called ‘A field, a pedestal and a shattered heart. Because it was in a field, where I was knocked off my pedestal and my heart was shattered into a million pieces.
  • Sometimes its just when you’re at lowest point, that’s when you can figure out that you are not defined by your worst day.
  • And, for so many people, there trying to earn God’s love and forgiveness by doing stuff for Him.
  • They make their relationship a check list. Now, yes, we’re called to love and serve others. But, when it becomes a show and you do it for the acclaim, and to brush up your chosen trophy, that’s when God turns away.

‘The LORD turned and LOOKED straight at Peter’

  • Verse 61 is powerful. ‘The Lord turned and looked at Peter. IN the original language of the NT, Greek, it’s defined like an intense look.
  • We all know intense looks. Our moms, our wives can save a lot with their looks.
  • We can also say a lot to our kids with our looks.
  • What kind of look did Jesus give Peter. A look of joy, sadness, compassion or understanding?
  • This was a turning point in Peter’s life though.

THREE…You have to Grow and Learn from your failures.

  • Take advantage of your failure, don’t waste it. Learn all you can from it, every bitter experience can teach us something!
  • And, know this, God is very interested in how you respond to failure.
  • What you call failure, God may call a window of opportunity for learning. In times of failure:
  • You may be given a new opportunity
  • A new open door
  • Chance to move out of your comfort zone
  • Respond in love
  • Verse 62 says that Peter wept bitterly.

‘And he went outside and wept bitterly’

  • That means great remorse.
  • Sometimes we screw up. We make horrifically awful decisions.
    • Getting wasted.
    • Losing a job because of lying or stealing.
    • Getting romantically involved with someone who is not a follower of Jesus. Then, if it doesn’t work out or your faith is always a matter of contention, you wonder why?
    • Failing with finances and you wonder why?
  • See remorse is not enough, Paul says in 2 Cor. 7:10, ‘For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation’

 

  • Lastly…

FOUR…Move on!

  • Have you learned? Are you ready to focus your life more on Jesus? Are you ready to give him the bad habits that got you there?
  • Then, move on!
  • I love the verse of the week, this week…

‘for though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again’ ~Proverbs 24:16

Big Idea: Failure does not shape you; the way you respond to failure shapes you

A New Chapter for Thrive Church + #SaveaSeat Campaign = The Best is Yet to Come

 

Thrive Church is 175 weeks old! It’s been an amazing 3.5 years! Lives have been changed! Marriages have been encouraged and healed! People have found community! And…people have found Jesus and follow Him!! Through it all…God has been so faithful! 

As I look back on 2016, I just scratch my head when I think about all the ONLY GOD moments! You can check out our annual report HERE.

In fact, He has sent the most amazing people to be a part of this church! I am in awe most days when I think about the staff He’s assembled, the leadership team and the body of people who call Thrive home! Just amazing!

A New Chapter for Thrive Church! 

Very soon, we will start a new chapter. For the Church that started in a bar and then moved to a movie theater, we will move soon to the campus of Central Michigan University. WE ARE SO EXCITED!!

This is a total God thing! It’s an ONLY GOD moment and I’m so excited for this new chapter!

Why are we moving?

Simple. We have outgrown our space. Our current Sunday morning location is great and its been awesome! But, our kids ministry has suffered from a lack of space. Plus, our new location will position us in an amazing facility for both kids and adults and its in a great part of town! And we’re praying that God opens up doors for us to reach College students like never before!

So, how can we get there?

#SaveaSeat Campaign

We’re asking people to sponsor seats to change lives!! If we can get enough seats sponsored, we will be able to purchase the equipment we need to turn CMU into Thrive Church on Sundays!!

There are 1200 seats and we’re praying that we can each one sponsored at $40!!

We primarily need to create an amazing environment for our Kids Ministry! Here is a portion of what we need:

 

  • (4) Carts of Portable Kids Ministry Walls (Brand new, these are $8000). We’re praying we can get them donated or fine used ones.
  • (150 feet) of Pipe and Drape
  • (4) Portable TV Cases for Thrive Kidz and the TV’s to go in them.
  • (2) Giant rolls of carpet
  • Bean Bag chairs, toys, slides, little kids tables and chairs
  • (2) Powered speakers
  • (3) Laptops and Label Printers
  • New Signage for Campus for Thrive Kidz and Thrive Church
  • Dream items: Octoball ring, 9 Square in the air, bouncy inflatable

 

It’s super easy to sponsor a seat. Just text 84321, the amount and CMU. Or you can give online, just check the CMU Fund or give at Thrive.

 

Don’t Miss our Ramp up to Move to CMU:

March 1…40 Day Prayer Campaign Begin (Praying for God to move in this new season at Thrive Church)
March 11…Worship & Prayer Night at the Hub. 6-730pm. We will corporately pray for our move, for Easter and for God to move.
March 12…NEW SERIES BEGINS: How to Wreck Your Life
March 25…24 PRAYER DAY. People will reserve half hour slots to pray on their own or at the Hub or CMU.
March 19-31…Hanging Door Hangers all over Central MI and CMU
March 31…Tentative Set Up and Tear Down Training Night for Road Crew/Thrive Kidz/Production (630-9pm)

April 2…Soft Launch at CMU [New Experience Times: 930am & 11]
April 16…EASTER!!!! (LOOK AGAIN)
April 23…New Series: #ForCentralMichigan (Loving where you live, serving where you live) & Baptism Sunday!!
April 30…THE CHURCH HAS LEFT THE BUILDING!! Serving local Schools!

These are awesome times Thrive Church! God is doing some incredible things!

Would you join with me and PRAY LIKE CRAZY FOR SEATS TO BE SPONSORED?

 

What does it take to be a part of Thrive?

I get this question pretty frequently.

Here’s the reality…what does it take to be a part of Thrive? Well, the answer is…

YOU.

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.thrive))church-no-perfect-allowed

  • It’s a place for people who have doubts to come and explore those doubts without being asked to sit in the ‘we’re gonna judge you’ seats.
  • It’s a place for people who are struggling.
  • It’s a place for people who want a different kind of a Church, a Church that’s simple, real and fun. It’s a place for families.
  • It’s a place for singles.
  • It’s a place for College Students.
  • It’s a pace for empty nesters.
  • It’s a place for people who have stalled out in their faith and are looking to experience Jesus in a new and powerful way.
  • It’s a place for fully devoted followers of Jesus who want to put their faith into action.
  • It’s a place where you can be prayed for.
  • It’s a place for people searching for more of Jesus.

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.

Hey Thrive…10 Ways to make this Sunday Off the Charts AHMAZING!

 
OH MY GOODNESS…SUNDAY IS ALMOST HERE!!!!

10 Ways you can make Sunday off the charts AMAZING

1. PLEASE don’t miss this Sunday!! You know, there are 4-6 Sunday’s a year where we plan for longer, invest greater and pray bigger. This is one of those Sundays!! So many amazing things going on!
 
2. Take 5 minutes and send 3 facebook messages or texts to friends about coming this Sunday! Please share info about it on your page. Please like the Thrive Church MI Facebook stuff about this Sunday! Let’s spread the word!
 
3. Would you head to Stadia on facebook and like their post about this Sunday at Thrive? It’s awesome that Stadia believes in us.
 
4. Would you pray like crazy for this Sunday? Pray for 50 new volunteers, 50 new givers. Pray for kids lives to be freed from poverty!! Pray for people to find and follow Jesus! Pray for healing for broken people! img_4907
 
5. BE EARLY! Like 30 minutes early! Come on, please. Don’t miss the CMU Jazz band. Cheer for them and clap!
 
**Be in theater one 3 minutes before it starts!! Don’t miss all the hard work the band has put in on the opening song!
 
6. Come hungry. We’re grilling! 
 
7. Wear your favorite team’s jersey. Dress your kids like super heros.fullsizerender
 
8. Sit up front, and move to the center of aisles please 🙂 Make room for guests!! Clap, sing, cheer and laugh!!
 
9. If you knew how honored I feel and how special it is for Greg Nettle and his daughter, Tabitha to be coming, wow!! Greg is a mentor and friend and this leader is the real deal! Please don’t miss him!! Say hi! Stadia, the organization he leads has been so awesome to Thrive!!
 
10. Sponsor a child! Sponsor two! We can all sacrifice! $38 bucks is all it takes and you will FREE a life from poverty! LET’s DO THIS THRIVE!!!
Check out this link for more information!
 
I LOVE YOU! I’m proud of you!
 
Jason Raitz
 
PS…Some of you have asked about giving to help with the move to CMU! That’s awesome! If just 300 of us gave an extra $166, we would have all we need to make the environments amazing! You should have received some info in the mail about this, if not, let me know!

A Beautiful Post by my wife about Winona’s Death, Moving Forward and the miracle of Kai’s Adoption.

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!IMG_3316

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. 邹宏凯+(1)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!

img_3907

Happy 3rd Birthday Kai David Raitz!!!!

Today is Kai’s 3rd Birthday!!

Happy Birthday Kai David Raitz!!!!!

If the adoption process was lightening fast, we could have had him almost another year, but it’s not that fast. 

But, we will not take for granted that Kai is now a Raitz and its so much fun to celebrate his birthday today!

I can’t wait for his siblings to meet him. I can’t wait for his grand parents to meet him. I can’t wait for our small group and our church to meet him. 

Today is our last day in China! I wish we were leaving, but that’s on tap for tomorrow! So, today, we will celebrate Kai! 

Here are a few things you can be praying for Kai:

1. Pray for our travel home. We will be traveling about 30 hours. YIKES! Pray for God’s favor on that travel. 

2. Pray for Kai to keep bonding with us. 

3. Pray for God to give him favor with his siblings. 

4. Pray for a great transition into life in the Raitz house. 

5. Pray that God would use this boy to wreck the world for His Kingdom. 

6. Pray that Kai would come to a saving relationship with Jesus Christ. 

Yesterday, I had a lot of fun taking pictures of Kai. Here they are!!