LOOK AGAIN. Easter at Thrive Sermon Notes

Message Notes |    |

Slide # 1…Series Graphic

  • Good morning Thrive Church! How are we doing this morning? It’s EASTER SUNDAY!!!!! It’s the most momentous weekend in the history of the world! Bigger than any awards show, super bowl weekend, the world series, anything! Today we celebrate Jesus!
  • My name is Jason Raitz and I’m one of the Pastors here at Thrive Church!
  • I am so glad you joined us this morning! Make sure before you leave, if this is your very first time at Thrive, to head to the VIP room right after this experience and pick up your gift!!
  • And for everyone, please take some time to fill out the Connect Card.
  • Also, before we jump in, I so hope you will join us for our next series. It’s called…

Slide # 1a…#ForCentralMichigan graphic

  • We’re talking about how we can Serve and Love where we live!
  • And, on April 30th. We are leaving the building together and we are serving all around Central Michigan! We will meet at Celebration Cinema at 930am. Next Sunday you will be able to buy #ForCentralMichigan T-Shirts for $10 or 2 for $15. We would love for everyone to wear one. If you want to buy a few for us to give away, you can do that as well so everyone can have one.
  • But, we are serving at Schools, we are serving the city of Mt Pleasant, a few shut ins, Hopewell Ranch, and the foster Closet.
  • Let’s SHOW UP big time. There will be a registration link on our website.
  • And one more thing to CELEBRATE!!! 6 weeks ago, we started the SAVE A SEAT campaign! We asked you to give over and above from your tithes to help make Thrive happen every Sunday.
  • God moved! People from all over gave and I’m so thrilled to tell you that as of today, out of 1250 possible seats to be sponsored, 1253 have been sponsored! WE hit our goal!!!
  • When Matt texted me the other with our final number, I had to LOOK AGAIN!!!
  • And, that’s what we titled today at THRIVE. LOOK AGAIN.

LOOK AGAIN17880155_1299373263491318_8132221945181295977_o

  • Have you ever needed to LOOK AGAIN? I feel like this is a constant phrase in my house. My kids can’t find something and they me or Tracie and we say, LOOK AGAIN.
  • Then, I can’t find something, and Tracie says, LOOK AGAIN. I swear there are some days she’s like a MOTHER NINJA or a NINJA MOTHER and she doesn’t even have to get up. The kids are I are talking to each other about where something could be and without lifting her head, she says…’Oh, that’s in the closet under the basket, but inside a box’. Don’t be afraid to move stuff! Anyone relate?
  • Have you walked through a crowded area and thought you saw a celebrity and had to LOOK AGAIN? I have! Many times!

STORY: Scottie Pippen in the Airport

  • You kids out there. Your parents ever get a little touchy feely in front of you and you made the unfortunate decision to LOOK AGAIN to verify that YES, they where doing what you thought and now you’re doubly grossed out?
  • Mom and Dads out there, you ever see something your kids did and had to LOOK AGAIN to make sure what you saw the first time was correct?
  • Here’s a picture of 2 of my boys. This picture made me look again.

Slide # 2…Picture of Bob and Zach in Tuxes

  • I mean, come on, look at those handsome guys! Ladies look out!
  • Then, there have been other times where I’m like, I better LOOK AGAIN.
  • Like this time with Bobby…

Slide # 3…Picture of Bob in Hot Dog Costume

  • Yup, he wore this to the One Youth costume party and then he wore it home and then he wore it to bed. About a week later, I came downstairs and there was a giant hot dog playing the XBOX!
  • Then, when my son Zach went to the Big Stuf summer camp last summer, which we’re going again in July and can’t wait, [OH…Golfers out there. This week you can sign up. We need 50 of you to play in the first ever One Youth Golf Outing on May 13th. We’re still also looking for sponsors. Why? We’re raising money to get our kids to experience the BEST summer camp in the world!
  • But, from last years trip, I kept seeing a photo emerge on instagram of Zach and well, here it is…

Slide # 4…Picture of Zach in Whoopee Cushion

  • Yup, he loved this Whoopee Cushion! He would wear it everywhere around Big Stuf and people would just LOOK AGAIN.
  • Eventually, it wore him out and he lost the Whoopee!!

Slide # 5…Picture Zach sitting down in Whoopee Cushion

  • So, just last week, I had one more LOOK AGAIN moment with one of my boys. Kai and I were on a walk and he wouldn’t come and I turned around and this is what I saw.

Slide # 6…Kai looking up at the sky, looking like an eskimo

  • It took me a second, because I was rushing. I wanted to get done with the walk. I turned around and I was wondering what he was looking at and then I realized, he was just enjoying looking at the sky.
  • You see, this little boy spent the first 3 years of his life in an orphanage and spent the majority of his time in 2 rooms and everything is new to him.
  • I love watching him because he LOOKS AGAIN a lot!
  • What I love about all 3 of these pictures and moments with my boys is that they were all out enjoying LIFE!
  • Sometimes you and I need to LOOK AGAIN. Life has become stale or stagnant or the same ole story and it’s time to LOOK AGAIN. We become negative. We fall away from life giving relationships. We fall into dark filling relationships. We start to LOOK for things that are the opposite of Jesus to fill us.
  • I love this quote by Dr. David Jeremiah…

Slide # 7…‘It’s time to begin righting the story of your life.’ ~David Jeremiah

  • Not writing, as in with a pen and paper, but right-ing. Like, its time to get off our tails and begin living the life God intended us to live.
  • I love how the book of John describes Jesus, because without him, we cannot do any righting of our lives.

Slide # 8…John 1:4-5

‘In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.’

  • Jesus Christ is the creator of life and his life brings light to mankind.
  • In his light, we see ourselves as we really are (sinners in need of a Savior).
  • He lights the path ahead of us so we can see how to live. He removes the darkness of sin from our lives.
  • Here’s what we need to understand about Jesus.
  • What Jesus taught and what he did are tied inseparably to who he is. John shows Jesus as fully human and fully God.
  • Although Jesus took upon himself full humanity and lived as a man, he never ceased to be the eternal God who has always existed.
  • This is the truth about Jesus, and the foundation of all truth. If we cannot or do not believe this basic truth, we will not have enough faith to trust our eternal destiny to him.
  • The disciples themselves had to LOOK AGAIN when they were told that the tomb was empty. fac
  • So, when it comes to experiencing LIFE, are you ready to LOOK AGAIN or are you just going to settle?

Slide # 9…What are you looking for?

  • Are you looking for success? Are you looking for comfort? Are you looking for happiness? Those things lead to an existence.
  • Are these the things that you’re trying to LOOK AGAIN to find?
  • Are these the things that you think will bring you LIFE.
  • Do you know what LIFE really is?

Slide # 10…Life is what you are looking for, not just existence

    • How many of us are just existing and not really living.
    • So, what is LIFE?


  • Life is existence drenched in meaning. Thank you Dr. Tom for that!
  • Can you imagine if we lived that way?


  • But, too often we settle for existence. Here’s the thing about existence

Slide # 11…Existence looks for SUCCESS

Story: Jason and his love for BMW’s

  • So, once upon a time, I was in love with the idea of owning a BMW someday. True Story. If you know me, you’re kind of laughing, because I’ve always owned crazy clunkers. I owned a car once that you didn’t even need a key to start.
  • Except now. About 6 months ago, we were blessed with a car and it’s the nicest car we’ve ever owned.
  • But, for 4 years I lived in the Northwest suburbs outside of Chicago and BMW’s are everywhere. So, we have trackers, Amish and pick up trucks. Over there, they have BMW’s everywhere!
  • Well, in 2009, I was burned out. I had been serving Churches since 1995.
  • I started to work out at this gym and every car was a BMW. I started an MBA and one of my partners was like, Jason, with your work ethic and people skills, you could crush it at my company.
  • I started to dream for that kind of success! I would dream of driving around in a BMW. Wearing cool sunglasses. Listening to Hootie and the Blowfish in style.
  • Sometimes, we attempt to supplement existence with success. We want the validation that comes with achievement, or the security that comes with money.  
  • At the same time, I lead a small group of Jr high boys. I’ll never forget a night when we were going over questions and one of them was…if you could have anything, whnt would you want?
  • This guy pipes up and I really respected his dad. I wanted to be his dad. His dad drove a BMW. Ooohhh.
  • He said, honestly, I just want to play catch with my dad. He’s too busy. This kid had everything.
  • Gosh, that day just rocked me.
  • Here’s what I realized.

ILLUSTRATION: Dropper of water onto sponge.

  • We think Success will refresh us. We think it will bring us life. But, it just leaves us dry. It really doesn’t do all that much!
  • We think that if we were recognized with a promotion, if we had more likes on a Facebook post, if we had enough money for better things.Then, we would really experience LIFE.
  • I know some people who do whatever it takes to succeed.
  • I love what John Ortberg said about this…

Slide # 12…’Winning alone is called losing’ ~John Ortberg

  • The truth about success is found in the book of Ephesians 1:6

Slide # 13…Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son. ~Eph. 1:6 (msg)

  • God graciously accepts us, though we don’t deserve it.
  • When you and I trust in Jesus as our Savior, so much happens in our lives!
  • We have been chosen for salvation, we were adopted, we were forgiven, we have the insight and wisdom of the God of the universe available to us, we have spiritual gifts, we have power to do God’s will and we have the hope of living forever!
  • Life is so much more than SUCCESS!

Slide # 14…Existence looks for COMFORT

  • Next we may try to supplement our existence with comfort.
  • We want relief from pain, boredom, loneliness, and exhaustion that overwhelms us day to day.
  • We medicate ourselves with alcohol, or substances, or food.
  • We live for the weekend.
  • We stay up late at night watching Netlix.
  • We live in our parents basement and play videogames until we’re 32.
  • We loosen our standards on dating so we don’t have to be alone any longer.
  • That’s not living. That’s existence.

Illustration: Dropper of water onto sponge

  • But again we are dry.
  • Work is monotonous, your spouse becomes a stranger, suffering enters life, your schedule and pace of life is overwhelming.
  • Comfort becomes your god. You do anything to just cope and be comfortable.

Story: Jason Coping

  • A few years ago, a guy came to Thrive and Jesus started to change his life. He was baptized. He served. He loved his Church.
  • Then, after a series of unfortunate events, he felt it was wrong of me to go on facebook and ask people to give our adoption fund. So, he went on his facebook page and kind of bashed me and the church.
  • This sort of thing happens when you lead. When you have a big vision, not everyone is going to understand.
  • So, as his post sat on the interwebs, people started to comment and some mean stuff was said. It hurt. I started getting texts and messages from people saying they didn’t agree. One Thriver tried to reason with him in the thread but he deleted them.
  • Man, I was hurt. Now, as a leader, this stuff happens. Some of the Pastors I admire most have been ripped into like crazy.
  • But, it was early on in our Church’s history and in my own leadership, I wasn’t quite ready to deal with that short of thing. Boy, God has worked in me now.
  • So, I started to cope. I started to seek comfort and for me it was food. It was binge watching TV shows and I tried to drown that stuff out.
  • The truth is, comfort won’t bring us life. It won’t bring us life drenched with meaning.
  • Jesus told us how to experience that kind of life in Matthew 11

Slide # 15…“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” -Matthew 11:28-30 (msg)

  • Jesus frees people from a life of comfort. Jesus promises love and healing and peace with God.
  • Comfort is not living. That’s existence.

And, lastly…

Slide # 16…Existence looks for HAPPINESS

  • Finally we try to supplement our existence with happiness.
  • We want the contentment, satisfaction, or exhilaration that comes through favorable circumstances.

Illustration: Dropper of water on sponge.

Yup, its still not enough.

  • But our life sucks up everything we give it without any relief.
  • We chase after relationships and flings, we dabble is substances that promise to alter our experience, or perhaps we are chasing after a fleeting contentment just out of our grasp.
  • The truth is found in Romans 15:13…

Slide # 17…May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 (niv)


  • We don’t have to run to success, or comfort or happiness, we just need to go God!
  • We have to LOOK AGAIN for Him!
  • I love this quote by CS LEWIS

Slide # 18…“It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.” ― C.S. Lewis

  • Here’s the truth so many people are searching for…

Slide # 19..Jesus offers a life drenched in meaning.

  • What we are really looking for is existence drenched in meaning. This is the Life that Jesus offers.
  • Here is how Jesus said in in John 10:10…

Slide # 20…A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of. ~John 10:10 (msg)

  • When you make the decision to follow Christ, give him your life and trust in Him as your Savior. Confidence of belonging to God’s family, peace of knowing God provides, and the purpose of a God directed life.

Illustration: Existence is boring. Take the sponge and dunk it and hold it up!


  • Its up to you, you don’t have to settle for a mediocre life. A life that’s just about happiness and comfort

Slide # 21…Life is what you are looking for, not just existence

Sermon Notes: How to Wreck Your Life. Week Five. Live like an Original Masterpiece!

Message Notes    |     |

Slide # 1…Series Graphic

    • Good Morning Thrive Church! How are we doing on this beautiful Sunday?
    • If this is your first time with us at Thrive, thank you so much for being here this Sunday! Our 2nd Sunday at CMU!! Please make sure you either grab a VIP card from your Section Leader (Section Leaders please stand) or just head to the VIP room just after the experience. It’s just left when you walk out of either door and we would love to give you a free gift.
    • OK, before we head into the message and the final week of ‘How to wreck your life’, I have something to share with you.
    • As you know, this is a Church that exists for people who have given up on God and Church. That’s why we work hard to NOT be all that CHURCHY! We try to talk like REAL people. We dress comfortably. You have no idea how people stay away from church because they have nothing nice to wear. We like loud music. We like to laugh.
    • We also incorporate stuff from our culture in our experiences. Many churches and christians try to shield themselves from everything and that’s just not us. We care deeply about people finding and following Jesus, not a list of rules and stuff that doesn’t matter.


  • And, we CARE DEEPLY as a Church for Kids and Students. We want them to get our best. Not our scraps. This is where so many Churches screw up. If you walk around the kids areas, they are not great. Many churches don’t want kids running around.


    • Again, not us. Our kids and students are not second rate Thrivers. They’re not Thrivers of the future. They are thrivers of today.
    • Honestly, that’s the primary reason why we moved to CMU and did the SAVE A SEAT campaign. To create the BEST environment for kids we possibly could.
    • My own 9 year old was so skeptical about the move. She was in tears one night about missing the old place. I just kept saying, just wait. Well, after last Sunday she doesn’t even remember we met in a theater! Hah
    • But, one of our DNA statements to create ‘IRRESISTIBLE ENVIRONMENTS’. That’s why our banners look amazing. And the store is amazing. And why there’s music playing when you walk in. that’s what there are section leaders and a vip room and the store.
    • Last week I was talking with Jacob, Thrive’s College Director and the director of Chi Alpha and I said, hey, you’re a great deal guy, find us a used inflatable for our kids. I mean, we have a ton of room now!
    • On Saturday I get a call. He’s found a package of 9 inflatables. Way too much money but they were so awesome! I started to pray. We started to put our heads together.
    • Sunday morning he stopped me at the door, what are going to do. Then, he showed me the photo’s of all them! I was like…OH MY GOODNESS.
    • So, I started to have some conversations and one thing lead to another and…


  • Thrive Church Now Owns 9 Giant Inflatable Games!!!


Pictures of Inflatables

    • Check these out: A bounce House, a Giant Slide, a Jacob’s ladder, a 25 foot tall climbing mountain, a velcro wall, a bungee run, a slam and jam, a 32 foot long dual lane slip and slide, and a Zorb Balls track
    • It’s pretty unbelievable!
    • We won’t have these all set up every Sunday, it takes an army to move them! But, we will, when we have a new team of inflatable help, we will set up a few for kids each week! So, EASTER is going to rock!
    • And, just think of the possibilities to use these for the Kingdom.
    • We want to approach schools and offer them for Back to School Nights….for free.
    • We’re dreaming of renting Finch out for Halloween Night and doing a Giant Halloween party for the community. Kids from 6-8, with all all 9 inflatables and pick up trucks for tailgate party, then college kids from 8-10!
    • Dad FEST this year is GOING TO ROCK! We’ll have all 9 set up! Baptism and BBQ will have all 9 set up!
    • We approached Community Church awhile ago and asked if they would allow us to store our trailers in their lot and they said yes from April to October. So, as a thank you, we’re going to offer some inflatables for their big VBS.
    • And, then, I’m having our financial team and our staff look into renting them out. And, anything we make would be split between Chi Alpha, Thrive’s College Ministry and then either Thrive Kidz or One Youth trips, or the Shoe Project or the Church we want to plant in Ecuador!
    • And again, these are going to be used to ATTRACT people to Thrive Church, to you and I and ultimately to JESUS!!!!!


  • ISN’T God incredible!!!


  • I thought we could pray and thank God and let’s thank Him for the Save a Seat Campaign.
  • As of right now, $46019 has been given to help make this move. That means, all we have left is $3981. What I love about this campaign, is that it’s rooted in our future!
  • Here’s the thing, CMU is not our forever home. Someday, Thrive will have a 24/7 building, that will be open 7 days a week. It will be a community center. It will have a giant play area for young kids, it will have spaces for tutoring, it will have a care center to help people who are struggling. And, oh yeah, it will be our Church.
  • But, this move right now, will help us grow to be the size of a church that can begin saving and preparing for that.
  • For now, we’re here at CMU and it’s AWESOME!
  • If you want to help us reach our goal, and invest in our future, please give. We’re going to close this campaign up soon and we would like to hit our goal!!


  • This series has been great! If you want to wreck your life, be afraid of Failure. Be afraid to take the steps that God is calling you to take. Don’t forgive. Live with the bitterness and anger that unforgiveness causes. Settle for less. Keep living on a percentage of the amazing life that Jesus has promised you and then last week, we talked about making it all about you.
  • If you’re social media is filled with constant images of yourself, you’re on your way to making it all about you.
  • And today we finish with a look at Comparison.
  • If you really want to Wreck Your Life, constantly compare your life to others. Because, what will happen, is that Envy and Jealousy will start to take over. They are Comparison’s best friends!
  • I love what Teddy Roosevelt said about Comparison…

Slide # 2…‘Comparison is the thief of joy’ ~Theodore Roosevelt

  • How do you know if Comparison is taking over?
  • Well, do you keep track of all the new stuff your friends get? Do you notice if they wear new clothes? Do you add up how much all that stuff costs?
  • Do you constantly look at your car, or your house, or your life and get upset they’re all not as nice as your friends.
  • Nothing is never good enough for you. A few of us, we’ve already compared the movie theater seats with these seats. Now, these aren’t as awesome! But, a little sacrifice on our behinds is a huge benefit for our entire church.
  • Do you wake up with facebook, eat lunch with facebook and go to bed with facebook? If you do, the Comparison monster is going to get you!
  • I love facebook! I think it’s a great tool for the Kingdom!
  • But, U of M did a study a few years about a very real disease called…’Fear I’m Missing Out’. It’s true and it’s real.
  • Now, all Comparing isn’t bad. It’s how we learn as a kid.
  • But, when our ego gets involved, and if our ego wants to be puffed up and we want to feel better about ourselves than someone else, this is where Comparision gets bad!
  • We compare our cars, our stuff, our toys, our bodies, our TV’s and the list goes on and on.
  • A little mass confession, anybody ever struggle with Comparison?
  • This actually goes way, way back and runs all the way through the Bible, it’s the second sin in the Bible. We’re going to look comparing myself to other people is such a miserable, toxic, anti-kingdom way to live.
  • We see this in the Bible in Gen. 4 with Cain and Abel. They each brought an offering to God and God looked with favor on Abel’s offering and not Cain’s.
  • God loves it when we make giving and generosity a priority. So he teaches his people to not give the leftovers, but the first fruit of the harvest or the firstborn of the flock. Abel makes generosity a priority. Abel does that. Cain doesn’t.
  • He just brings some. The implication is he’s doing it out of obligation or with a grudging heart or because he thinks he has to. Abel experiences what generosity does in a heart. He trusts God and he loves God and he’s living in the reality of God’s favor and dependence on God, and God loves that.
  • God loves generosity. God is a generous God. Cain shuts himself off from that. Cain sees this joy in Abel, and it grates on him. It’s so interesting. Cain gets angry not at himself. He didn’t say, “Come on, Cain! You could do better.” Not even at God. He gets mad at his brother Abel. He thinks, “If Abel wasn’t around, I wouldn’t be feeling this pain.”
  • There’s comparison at the very beginning of the Bible. It’s so interesting. Cain ends up killing his brother. Comparison and Envy were a part of the first murder in the Bible!
  • So, how do you fight the Comparison Monster and his friends, Envy or Jealousy in your life? How do we stop them from taking over?
  • Here’s how…

Slide # 3…Live like you’re an Original Masterpiece

  • We Compare ourselves to others because some time, sometimes we just can’t believe that we’re an Original Masterpiece.
  • We just doubt the amazing, incredible, never ending love that God has for his children!
  • I love how Peter words what we mean to God in 1 Peter 2:9-10

Slide # 4…1 Peter 2:9-10

But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God’s instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted. ~1 Peter 2:9-10

  • We have WORTH because of what God does, not for what we do! Our value doesn’t come from our success and what we can achieve. It comes from Jesus.
  • Live like you’re an Original Masterpiece
  • To be an Original Master Piece means that…

Slide # 4…You are part of a CHOSEN people

  • 1 Peter says…But you are the ones chosen by God
  • You may have been left off a team or not picked for dodgeball, or passed over for a job promotion, but the God of the Universe Choose You!
  • I tell my kids all the time, if all the Madie’s were lined up and I had to pick one to be my daughter, I would pick you EVERY SINGLE TIME!
  • You are CHOSEN!

Slide # 5…Psalm 139:13-16 (the message)

Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;

   you formed me in my mother’s womb.

I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!

   Body and soul, I am marvelously made!

   I worship in adoration—what a creation!

You know me inside and out,

   you know every bone in my body;

You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,

   how I was sculpted from nothing into something.

Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;

   all the stages of my life were spread out before you,

The days of my life all prepared

   before I’d even lived one day.

You are CHOSEN!

Big Idea: Live like you’re an Original Masterpiece

Slide # 6…You are Part of a Royal Priesthood

Slide # 7…’chosen for the high calling of priestly work’

  • Why do we waste so much time not doing God’s worl?
  • God has given each of us gifts to be used for His Kingdom. And, here’s the thing, you don’t need an MBA to use these gifts!
  • You can start today!
  • You can help tear down Thrive Kidz. You can greet people when they come in. You can get here at 7am and help. You can pray with people. You can host a small group. You can sit with kids and model worship. You can serve at your kids school.
  • There is this old thought out there, that only Priests or Pastors can do the God stuff. Like pray for people.
  • That’s just not the case. At Thrive, if you are in a small group and get sick, that group should be praying for you. Helping your family with meals.
  • Here’s another encouragement…

Slide # 8…2 Cor. 5:19-20 (the message)

God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.

  • You don’t have to have all the answers, just be Jesus. LOVE. Be KIND.
  • Defeat the monster of Comparison by

Living like you’re an Original Masterpiece

You are CHOSEN!

You are Part of a Royal Priesthood

Slide # 9…You are Part of a Holy Nation

Slide # 10…’to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you—from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted’

  • When you became a follower of Jesus, an incredible change took place in your life. God has called you out of the darkness and into His light.
  • We can now call God our FATHER and we are now a part of the Body of Christ.
  • And, the CHURCH, is our community!
  • That’s why BAPTISM is so important. On Sunday, April 23rd, we’re going to do BAPTISMS right here! Baptism is a way for you to go public with your faith.
  • Here’s what a Thriver, Colette, said about her baptism at Thrive…

I was baptized Catholic and then later confirmed at the age of 12.  I didn’t really come to know Jesus until I was an adult.  And for a long time I didn’t really feel a need to get re-baptized.  Until I did.  And then this amazing church full of amazing people arrived in my life and I really started to wonder if maybe I needed to make that choice for myself as an adult.

I was one of the “original” baptizees (is that a thing? :)) at Lake Isabella. For me, the biggest thing I was saying to Jesus (and everyone else) was “I’m ready.” I had held onto the “new Christian” identity for a lot longer than was probably necessary.  And so my baptism was me finally being ready to take responsibility for my faith, to say, “this is what I believe, and I’m ready for you to know that and I am ready to act it out.”

I’m by no means perfect (thank goodness, or I wouldn’t be allowed at Thrive! haha!!) but I clung to that “new,” identity in order to keep myself from really stepping out into full leadership.  

My baptism was awesome, for the reasons above.  But also because one of my best friends was the one asking me if I was ready to declare myself a believer.  And I was.  

  • We’re encouraged in scripture that after we confess of our sins and repent, we should be baptized.
  • Going under represents how Jesus died and was buried and coming out of the water represents how Jesus rose again from the dead.
  • It represents how our old life is gone and we now have a new life.
  • If you have never been baptized on your own. People ask me all the time, I was baptized as a baby, do I need to get re-baptized.
  • I really don’t see it as a re baptism. The tradition of infant baptism, seems to me, is for the parents and the tradition.
  • Being immersed is for each Jesus follower on their own to DECLARE that you are a child of God.
  • So, you don’t have to be perfect or in the exact spot you want to be in, you need to have Confessed your sins, asked for forgiveness and given your life to Jesus.
  • And, we will celebrate with you on April 23rd! You will get a MADE NEW T Shirt and this place will erupt with celebration as you come out of the water!
  • You can sign up on our website under baptism or head to the info table and they can get you signed up!

Big Idea: Live like you’re an Original Masterpiece

You are CHOSEN!

You are Part of a Royal Priesthood

You are Part of a Holy Nation


Slide # 11…You are a People Belonging to God

  • You are not a possession, but a priceless treasure to God!
  • That means He is willing to pay any price for you. He has a passion to care for you. He places GREAT value in you. He Honors you and gives you a special place.
  • So, let’s stop with the Comparison GAME!

STORY: Jason Struggles Comparing

  • I struggle hard with comparing!
  • As a Pastor, I struggle. I see seemingly super pastors on facebook who look amazing and preach like rock stars and I compare.
  • I read stories from other churches and I compare. Church Plants that are our age and stage.
  • Like, my buddy Brandon. His Church, Rise City in San Diego, launched the same weekend. Last year, they had a local church give them their 4 million dollar building. They raised $132,000 on Christmas Eve to just give away. They’ve already sent out two church plants.
  • Then, I was leading a webinar of church planters and I was sharing the story of Thrive and they all were like, HOLY COW!
  • I remembered, we’re Thrive Church! God is doing a HUGE work here in this area and I can’t compare what God is doing in a much different area.
  • I now, as soon as the comparison thoughts creep in, I try to just Celebrate as quick as I can!

Slide # 12…Live like you’re an Original Masterpiece

  • Let me leave you with one last scripture…

Slide # 13…

Galatians 1:10…Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. (niv)

Next Sunday is EASTER.

Please PRAY. I really believe this room could be packed next week! And, not because its cool to have a lot of people, which it is and there is so much momentum.

But, imagine hearing all those voices sing!

You just can’t tell me that someday this room won’t be absolutely filled!

Imagine hearing 1250 sing songs to Jesus in this room!

Imagine a church of 1250 people spreading out all over Central Michigan as a movement!
Live like you’re an Original Masterpiece

Today I Get to make one of the BIGGEST announcements I have ever made at Thrive Church and I’m SOOOOOO EXCITED!!

I don’t think I’m exaggerating.

Today, I get to make a freaking huge announcement!

I mean, it will have giant implications for Thrive Church. Especially for our Kids and Teenagers!

And, I believe its going to help make a GIANT IMPACT in the Central MI area and beyond.

Oh man!

I am so thankful and honored that God allows me this GREAT privilege to Lead Thrive Church!

HERE WE GO!!!!!!

4 Super Important Ways to make Sundays GREAT at your Church

Here’s the thing, Sunday is just one day! And for the CHURCH, again, Sunday is just one day. I believe whole heartedly that we should care about the other 6 days as much as Sunday! I mean, the Church was started to be a movement, so let’s MOVE! 

But, we’re also encouraged in scripture to not give up gathering together and the Sunday gathering is an important part of our walk with Jesus.

So, if you have a found a Church home and it has become family to you, stop concerning yourself with attending and be just a part.

Really Be A Part!


  • If you have a Church home.
  • If you’re committed to your Church.
  • If your church is your family.
  • If you believe in the Vision and Mission.

This is for you.

4 Easy & Important Ways to make Sunday GREAT!

ONE..Show Up! Yeah, I told you these would be easy. We live in a day and age where it seems like everything else is more important that just showing up to be together. And, sometimes we need a rest, or vacation, or to be with family or the list goes on. But, for many people, it’s time to make a commitment and stick with it. 

So, yeah, just show up!

TWO…Pray. Yes, pray for your Church. Pray for your Pastor. Pray for your staff. Pray for your Elders. Pray that God would send new people. Pray that people would fall madly in love with Jesus. Pray that lives are changed. Pray that your Church becomes a MOVEMENT! 

So, yeah, really pray!

THREE…Attend One, Serve One. Something amazing happens in your faith when you use your gifts to serve others. In your home, at your Church, in your neighborhood and at your work. Stop settling for just sitting in a row. There is so much more available to you!

So, yeah, serve it up!

FOUR…Contribute all you can. Keep an eye out for new people. Learn names. Connect people together. Sit up front. Sit the the middle of rows and leave the best seats for guests. Worship Loud. Give sacrificially. Look for ways to make your church better.

So, yeah, contribute.

Again, these are easy, but they’re equally important. If enough people at your church start living these out, just imagine! The entire culture would be so amazing!

And, your Church would be a MOVEMENT 


Sermon Notes: How to Wreck your Life. Week Four. Make it all about You!

Message Notes    |    |

Slide # 1…Series Graphic

  • Good Morning Thrive Church! How are we doing today?
  • Well, welcome to CMU! After two years of praying and seeking God, we start out Chapter Two of our history.
  • If this is your very first Sunday at Thrive, please take a second to head to the VIP Room, out the back doors and to the left and we would love to give you a free gift. And, we have folks who would love to meet you!
  • Let’s acknowledge the elephant in the room, there are a bunch of seats open. That’s good news! That means we have the opportunity to PRAY BIG GIGANTIC BOLD PRAYERS!
  • Next Sunday and Easter and will give us a good feel for what the fall is going to be like!
  • Ok, here we are in week 4 of How to Wreck Your Life. If you’ve missed any, head to the Thrive website and catch up! We’ve talked about Failure, Fear and Settling for Less.
  • Now, today…

Slide # 2…If you really want to WRECK your life, make it all about you.

  • The good news is, probably no one in this room struggles with making it all about you. Right!?!
  • Who do you think of when you think of the greatest of all time?
  • Mohamed Ali, right? Once he told a flight attendant that he didn’t need a seat belt because he was superman. She told him, well, Superman didn’t need an airplane!
  • If you want to WRECK your life, make it all about you.
  • Ok, here’s the deal though. If you’re a follower of Jesus, this really is for you. If you’re still doubting this Jesus stuff or haven’t truly given  your life over to Jesus, this really isn’t for you yet.
  • Because, Jesus came to turn the world upside down. He came to point people to God’s Kingdom and God’s Kingdom is both now and later. It’s both for our time here on earth and its for our time when breathe our last breath and then spend an eternity in heaven.
  • So, this idea of not making it about you is so anti-today.
  • Social Media tells us to make it all about us. Social media has given everyone a voice, which is awesome. But, it’s also taught us all of our opinions are the only ones that matter all the time.
  • I was talking with Dr. Tom and imagine this, he said something that made me go…ooohhhh, he said

Slide # 3…‘A self centered life reduces your impact’ ~Dr. Tom Rundel

  • In the short term, being all about yourself seems like a good idea. It helps you get ahead. And, who doesn’t want to get ahead?
  • But, here’s what Paul says in Romans 8:8…

Slide # 4…

Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. ~Romans 8:8 (the message)

  • There is a lot of self help love in our world, isn’t there? There are billions of dollars in the self help industry.
  • And, it’s a good thing to take advantage of how amazing God created us to be!
  • So, Paul isn’t saying to not care of yourself. He is saying there is a line. A line we cross when we start to care more about focusing on our self than we do on God.
  • I know for my life, I operate at my best when God comes first. When a few days go by and then a week and then a month when I take my focus off of God, that’s when things start to get sticky in my life.

Big Idea: A self centered life reduces your impact

  • Self-centeredness is “immoderate concern with one’s own interests and well-being; self-love or egotism.”
  • Multiple Mirror Selfie shots
  • Self-centeredness is a sin because it leads to being devoted to self-gratification and overlooking other people’s needs
  • Here’s the thing…

Slide # 5…There is Self Love and then Love of Self.

  • Looking out for our own interests is natural. In fact, Jesus uses our innate self-interest as a basis for gauging our love for others: “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31).
  • In other words, in the same way that you (naturally) love yourself, learn to love others. Our universe should be others-centric, not self-centric.
  • Paul gives us a In Phil 2 command leaves no room for self-centeredness.

Slide # 6…Phil 2:3-4 (message)

if you have a heart, if you care— then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.

  • Again, this is so anti what we’re lead to believe is the right way in today’s world!

STORY: Jason in my first 10 years of ministry

  • I wanted to be the GREAT Somebody. I wanted everyone to know me.
  • I wanted to be a GREAT speaker.
  • I read a biography on Ted Williams, the greatest hitter ever, and he always wanted people to say when he walked by…there goes the greatest hitter of all time.
  • I wanted that.
  • God humbled me, or my pride humbled me and I’ve been a recovering tool ever since.
  • 10 years ago I never would have worked hard to have a teaching team. Why? Because I wouldn’t have wanted anybody to get an praise but me.
  • Here’s what I learned…

Slide # 7…Self Centered Living is: a SIN and leads to EGOTISM

Big Idea: A self centered life reduces your impact

Slide # 8…Live to Love others.

  • Love and care for our neighbors (John 13:34–35),
  • to not pass judgment on others (Romans 14:13),
  • to bear others’ burdens (Galatians 6:2),
  • and to be kind and forgiving (Ephesians 4:32).
  • Being self-centered is directly opposed to the clear command, “No one should seek their own good, but the good of others” (1 Corinthians 10:24).
  • There are many other similar commands calling for selfless sacrifice and service to others (Romans 12:10; Ephesians 5:21; Galatians 5:26).
  • Every act of self-love is rebellion against the authority of God. Self-centeredness is rooted in one’s fleshly desire to please self more than God. In essence, it is the act of supplanting God’s authority with one’s own ego.

Slide # 9…

James 3:16 (message)

Whenever you’re trying to look better than others or get the better of others, things fall apart and everyone ends up at the other’s’ throats.

Slide # 10…Big Idea: A self centered life reduces your impact

Sermon Notes: How to Wreck Your Life. Week Three. Why do we Settle for less?

**These sermon notes were cut and paste right from my google doc. That’s why there are cues to when the slides go up. 

***This was also one of my favorite messages ever at Thrive! 

Message Notes    |    |

Slide # 1…Series Slide

    • Good Morning Thrive Church! How are we doing today?
    • Today is the day. The last Sunday at Celebration Cinema.
    • It’s both sad and happy, It’s both emotional and exciting.
    • Today is the day we close one chapter of our Church and we move on to the next.


  • I can remembering spending time on Sat mornings praying around this building before they even approved us to use it! It seemed like a GIANT ask of God. I mean, so many people thought there was NO WAY they were going to let us use this.


  • I can remember so many times I have seen people just cry sitting in these seats. I can remember so many times when we have laughed in this room.
  • As you know, laughter and fun are a big deal to us. We just don’t buy the lie that says you can’t laugh in church. I believe that JOY entered the world when the stone was rolled away!
  • So, with that, I want to show you something. Every once in awhile I’ll walk by Matt and Dave’s office and they will just be laughing. You know, working for a church is awesome. It’s also ridiculously difficult. Sometimes, you have to laugh.
  • Sometimes, Matt will put my sermons on slow speed and they will just laugh and laugh and then they will call people into their office.

VIDEO: Drunk Jason

In the office, we call these drunk Jason videos. Now, I don’t even drink and we’re not making light of alcoholism. But, it’s pretty funny! Hahah.

  • I can remember so many times when people greeted me in the hallway and said, I never thought there would be a day when I stepped into Church, but here I am.
  • I can remember the time someone brand new to church was leaving theater one and he came up to me and he yelled…I LOVE THIS F’ing Church!
  • I can remember the hundreds of times I have seen one of our elders, David Stevens praying for people the green room.
  • I can remember the hundreds of times I have seen my dad and Bryan Huntoon, and Ethan Gage and Brian Hull and all the Road Crew folks unload trailers and set everything up.
  • I can remember the first time this place really started to fill up and Matt and I looked at each other and said…ONLY GOD.
  • I can remember the times when I’ve stood up and casted a big vision and I could see the ‘what is he talking about’ looks and then somehow, someway God shows up. Money is raised. Like we did in December of 2014. We raised 15k for our youth and kids. In March of 2015 we raised 14k for shoes. In April of 2016 we raised 24k for shoes and now, our biggest and most successful campaign ever has raised $41,000 for the move to CMU. If you still need GOD confirmation that He’s leading us that way, I’ll give 41000 reasons and soon, I BELIEVE, I will be able to give you 50,000.
  • I can remember the time we had a homeless guy out front and so many Thrivers talked to him and he told someone that he needed a watch and he was then offered 20!
  • I can remember hundreds of times when I walked down the hallway and I’ve prayed for all of our volunteers and begged God to bless them.
  • I can remember the first time we did baptisms in here and we baptized a student and all his friends were in the front couple of rows cheering!
  • And, today, we celebrate all that God has done here in this place.
  • The title of this message is: Why do we settle for less?
  • So often we do, right?
  • Except for things we really care about?
  • When it comes to food, some of us will send back the plate multiple times at the restaurant if the food isn’t just right. Which after working at restaurants for 6 years, I would strongly advise against that.
  • When it comes to our cars, some of us do not settle.
  • When it comes to our technology, some of us are Apple snobs.
  • But, sometimes, when it comes to our eternity or our walking with Jesus or our church, we settle for less.
  • We have to stop settling. We have to want more out of our walk with Jesus. We all should do everything we can to make our Church the BEST is can be. We all should reject the notion that’s it all about us and daily, do everything we can to make this place better for people who haven’t even come here yet.
  • So, do you settle?
  • Are you fine with…well, it’s good enough?
  • Well, I’m not. I want this Church, I want my relationship with Jesus to be the BEST it possibly can be.
  • I love what Mark Batterson said in his book…The Circle Maker. Which, chapter two is where I found some of the inspiration for this message! Mark says…

Slide # 2…‘God does not answer vague prayers’ ~Mark Batterson

  • Right in chapter two he says…Bold prayers honor God, and God honors bold prayers. God isn’t offended by your biggest dreams or boldest prayers. He is offended by anything less.
  • If your prayers aren’t impossible to you, they are insulting to God.
  • Why? Because they don’t require divine intervention. But ask God to part the Red Sea or make the sun stand still or float an iron ax head and God is moved to omnipotent action.
  • There is nothing God loves more than keeping promises, answering prayers, performing miracles and fulfilling dreams. That is who He is. That is what He does.
  • So, stop settling for less.
  • I hope you walk out of here this morning and remember…

Slide # 3…Big Idea: There is so much MORE LIFE available to you

  • Ok, let’s go to the OT part of the Bible for a minute, to the book of Duet.

Slide # 4…

And the Lord said, “Now get up and cross the Zered Valley.” So we crossed the valley.

~Duet. 2:13 (niv)

  • At this point, the Israelites (God’s chosen people) have been wandering the desert for 38 years. Why were they wandering? Because that generation of people didn’t trust in God and weren’t allowed to enter the promised land.
  • Moses lead them out of slavery in Egypt, and even though God did miracle after miracle, they just doubted. Even though God promised them, THEY SETTLED FOR LESS.
  • I mean, they started to miss slavery. That’s settling!
  • So, here they are and have been wandering for all these years.
  • And then finally God speaks and says…get up and cross the Zered Valley.
  • This was a huge moment because this was the start of the end of the wandering. The promise land was coming soon.
  • The crazy thing is though, they didn’t need a sea to be parted. They didn’t need food to fall from the sky like it had. They didn’t Moses to hit a rock for water.
  • God just says, cross this valley. Here’s the deal about the Zered Valley. It’s tiny. All they had to probably do is a little robe holding up to cross it.
  • And, the cool thing is, in the Hebrew, Zered Valley means Exuberant Growth.

Slide # 5…Zered Valley = Exuberant Growth

  • It got me thinking about how many times in my life I’ve settled for AS IS or the way it’s always been done and EXUBERANT GROWTH could have been right around the corner.
  • We don’t say that word exuberant very often.

STORY: Kai in the pool

  • I took Kai swimming the other day at SAC and he has this life vest and I’ve taught him to lay back and then I’ll spin in circles as fast as I can.
  • You should hear this little boy laugh. If I stop, in his words, he just asks me and asks me for more. So, I spin more. And, he’s experiencing JOY and I’m experiencing JOY and it’s amazing!
  • That’s what it’s like to experience EXUBERANT GROWTH.

Big Idea: There is so much MORE LIFE available to you

  • One more story from the Old Testament, from the book of Joshua.
  • Fast forward a little bit of time and now Joshua is in charge of the Israelites and they are marching toward the first city in the Promise Land, Jericho.
  • The first glimpse of Jericho was both awe inspiring and frightening.
  • They were in the wilderness for 40 years, they saw nothing like this city.
  • The closer they got, the smaller they felt. They finally understood why the generation before them felt like grasshoppers and failed to enter the Promised Land because of fear. Which, the interesting thing is, Moses originally sent in 12 spies and only two of them (Caleb and Joshua) had positive things to say. The rest were like, it’s too big, those people are giants.
  • Now, 40 years later, Joshua is leading the people and they are going to take this city.
  • The walls were 50 feet high and 6 feet thick and encircled the entire city. The mud brick walls were so thick and tall that the 12 acre city appeared to be an impregnable fortress.
  • Seemed like God had promised something impossible and His battle plan seemed nonsensical.
  • March your entire army around the city once a day for 6 days. On the 7th day, march around 7 times. Oh, and be quiet.
  • The first time around, the soldiers must have felt foolish.
  • With each circle, a holy confidence was building pressure inside their souls. By the 7th day, their faith was ready to pop. They arose before dawn and started circling at 6 o’clock in the morning.
  • At 3 miles per hour, each mile and a half march around the city took a half hour. By 9, they began their final lap.
  • In keeping with God’s command, they hadn’t said a word in 6 days. They just silently circled the promise.
  • They the priests sounded their horns, and a simultaneous shout followed. 600,000 Israelites raised a holy roar that registered on the Richter scale, and the walls came tumbling down.

Slide # 6…

When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted, and at the sound of the trumpet, when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed; so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city. ~Josh 6:20 (niv)

  • After 7 days of circling Jericho, God delivered on a 400 year old promise.
  • He proved once again, that His promises don’t have expiration dates.
  • And Jericho stands, and falls, as a testament to this simple truth: If you keep circling the promise, God will ultimately deliver it.
  • Our prayers NEVER die.
  • Now, don’t confuse wimpy prayers with courageous, bold, praying with every ounce of your being kind of prayers!

Illustration: Prayers

  • My parents prayed for 20 years for my spouse. Tracie is an answer to prayer.
  • I have prayed for 17 years for Bekah’s future husband. I pray every day that he is a Jesus loving man who will keep his hands off her till they’re married!
  • I have prayed for 14 years for Bobby. When Bobby was born, a leader at my church told me she had a dream about Bobby. In her dream, she said she saw my dad teaching dozens of kids. Which, he was my youth pastor. She saw me teaching hundreds and she saw Bobby teaching thousands.
  • I have prayed for Zach for 12 years that God would heal him of his pku.
  • I have prayed for Madie for 9 years of the same thing.
  • From the moment we knew that Kai was our son, I have been praying the same thing.
  • I pray for God to use each of them for His kingdom at school and wherever they go.
  • So many people want the miracle RIGHT NOW. They want the ANSWER RIGHT NOW. But, like the miracle at Jericho, that promise took 400 years.
  • We’ve been praying for CMU for 2 years. Our Elders got together last May, after Easter and started praying for CMU.
  • So, what’s your Jericho? What promise are you waiting on?
  • How much MORE LIFE could you be living?
  • What kind of EXUBERANT GROWTH could you be experiencing?

Big Idea: There is so much MORE LIFE available to you

Slide # 7…Know exactly what you want God to do.

  • More than a 1000 years after the Jericho miracle, another miracle happened in the exact same place. Jesus is on His way out of Jericho when two blind men hail Him like a taxi. The disciples see this as in interruption. Jesus sees this as a divine appointment.

Slide # 8…Luke 18:35-43

As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging.36 When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. 37 They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.”

38 He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

39 Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”

40 Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, 41 “What do you want me to do for you?”

“Lord, I want to see,” he replied.

42 Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.”

  • This guy KNEW exactly what he wanted Jesus to do.
  • Lord, I want to see.
  • What do you want to see Jesus do in your life?
  • Are you asking humbly?
  • Are you asking for something inside of God’s will?
  • Are you willing to put in the prayer time?

Know exactly what you want God to do.

Slide # 9…Each step requires your whole heart

Slide # 10…Duet. 6:4-9 (niv)

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

  • Does Jesus have your whole heart? Be honest!
  • What’s holding you back?
  • Someone said to me once, I want to experience the miracles you seem to experience. And, I have experienced GIANT miracles. The house I live in is a GIANT miracle. The 3 old little boy running around my house is a miracle. Both cars in my garage were given to us and are miracles.
  • I simply responded with…do you really want to experience miracles. Because sometimes much pain comes along in the process of experiencing miracles.
  • We almost lost Kai in November because we were $8000 behind to our Adoption Agency. I stayed up all night and paced my house. I cried to God. I shouted to God. I begged God. I sang to God. I got on my knees. I raised my hands to God. I walked silently. I quoted scripture for hours that night. I finally fell asleep and knew that the next day I might have to tell Tracie we lost Kai.
  • Then, God sent a miracle to us in the form of our friend, Lindsey. She had this idea for a puzzle and she paid for it. And people could sponsor pieces. By the end of the week, we raised the 8k and we could keep Kai!
  • When we started this Church, I was traveling as a speaker. In 2012, my adjusted gross income was something like 9500 for the year! Someone God got us through. As my speaking began to grow in 2013, we were able to save some money. But, when we started this church, we needed a lot of money. So, Tracie and I gave everything we had. And, that included our retirement account. Not too long after that, 4 Detroit area churches gave Thrive 75k to get off the ground. A miracle!
  • Even last week, I prayed for one of those, oh my goodness God, will you help us out here kind of miracles. To be super crazy honest, we knew it would be a lot to adjust financially after Kai, but wow. And, don’t get me wrong, I feel so blessed at what the church pays, but with 5 kids and 3 with PKU, it’s a lot. But, many years ago, my plan would of been to stop giving or drastically decrease what we gave to God through this church. But, the miracles I have experienced since Tracie and I made tithing a priority is unreal. And, for us, we believe the starting point to tithing is 10% of our income before taxes. Then we sponsor 5 kids through Compassion and whatever is left, we give to a few organizations that are close to our hearts. Adoption and PKU and Church Planting are close to our hearts.
  • But, the last couple of weeks, we were hit with a few, ‘didn’t see those’ coming bills? You know the kind?
  • So, Friday morning, I’m at the SAC swimming and praying for help. Then, I do a prayer walk around Warriner. 7 times. Each time around I just keep getting a deeper peace.
  • I come to the Hub to pick something up and I stop at the mailbox. Inside it is an envelope to me from a couple that I’m performing a wedding for next month. In it is 3, 100 gift cards!
  • This is after my parents bought my PKU 175 dollars worth of PKU food!
  • I lost it! I sat in my car and cried like a baby! I just thanked God!
  • Does God have your whole heart? Do you lock Him out of parts? Have you only given Him a little bit?

Know exactly what you want God to do.

Each step requires your whole heart

Slide # 11…Spell out your Jericho

Slide # 12…‘Don’t just read the Bible. Start circling the promises. Don’t just make a wish. Write down a list of God-glorifying life goals. Don’t just pray. Keep a prayer journal. Define your dream. Spell your miracle.

Slide # 13…Well-developed faith results in well-defined prayers, and well-defined prayers result in a well-lived life ~Mark Batterson (The Circle Maker)

Big Idea: There is so much MORE LIFE available to you


  • It’s time to circle your promises! It’s time to start praying well defined prayers.
  • It’s time to start experiencing the LIFE that God has for you.
  • These are my journals for when I started praying about starting this Church! Maybe it’s time for you try something new if you’re not experiencing the LIFE that God has for you!



You were handed a circle at the beginning of this message.

Today is the day to start writing down some of these prayers.

On one side, write down personal prayers you have for your future.

Mine includes Physical Health and Financial Blessing. Our family has also been praying for a larger vehicle. And, I’m asking God that my kids would still be passionate about Him and the Church after they graduate from high school!

The other side is for our Church! Write down how you want God to use you. Or what you would like to see God do.

I’m writing down fill Plachta. I’m writing down for us to do 5 Schools in a year for the shoe project. I’m writing down a Big Rapids and Midland Campus for Thrive. I’m writing down a budget that fits our vision. I’m writing down 1200 Seats sponsored for the SAVE A SEAT Campaign.

Before I ask some folks to come up and pray for our next chapter at CMU. I just wanted to remind you why Thrive exists!

Slide # 14…

Mission Statement  [what we’re called to do]

Thrive Church exists to help people find and follow Jesus.

We want to make this easy as possible.

Vision Statement  [Why we’re called to do it]

To create environments that people who are done with church and God will find irresistible.

We want to be prepared for Guests. We want to be ready. We exist for people who don’t yet know Jesus as their Savior. That means those of us who buy into this vision, we’ve decided that Church isn’t about me.

That’s why we go out of our way to use whatever tools we can to reach people. That’s why the music rocks. That’s why we use clips from movies. That’s why we dress like comfortable people.

Slide # 15…DNA  [This is what drives our vision?]


  • Lost people matter to God.
  • Create irresistible environments.
  • Make bold moves.
  • Teach for life change.
  • Intentionally develop leaders.
  • Unleash a culture of generosity.
  • Circles are better than rows.


Slide # 16…What every Thriver can do…

[Show Up, Jump In, Do Good] Graphic

I’m challenging and asking you to Lean in to our church like you’ve never have before. If you’re at 50% come up to 100%.

For our Next Chapter to be as successful as possible. We will need more than 25% of us carrying the load.

It’s time for you and I to experience MORE LIFE and stop settling for LESS!

180 Weeks equals an amazing Chapter One for Thrive Church!

Having a hard time putting into words how I feel about tomorrow morning. 

You see, its not just another Sunday morning!

Not one Sunday morning is just another Sunday morning! They are all special. They all mean the world!

Tomorrow is Thrive’s last Sunday at the theater we’ve been using for 180 weeks!

The night before our first Sunday (October 5th, 2013), I wrote this…

blog post.

To be honest, not much has changed since that Sunday! We’re still extremely passionate about being a Church for people who have given up on God and Church! We still exist to help people find and follow Jesus.

But, we’ve grown. We’ve matured as an organization. We’ve had unbelievable highs and super deep lows. Through it all, God has been so faithful!

So, I can’t wait.

I really believe to my core that Thrive’s next chapter will be our BEST YET!

Next Sunday we will move to the campus of Central Michigan University. Which is a miracle!

In Two Sundays, we will experience EASTER! Which is always tremendous!

In Three Sunday’s, we have our first baptisms on campus!

In Four Sunday’s, we are cancelling our morning experiences and heading out all over Central Michigan to serve!

I can say whole heartedly…

The Best is Yet to Come!