Thursday, June 29, 2006

To make matters Worse...

Coming home from camp yesterday I got a speeding ticket, and in a construction zone. I was on the freeway for all of 5 minutes and the cop got me at 74 in a 60. He said and I quote..."Even though you have a great record, I still have to write you up". Well, thanks. 3 points and 125 dollars...I will see you in court, oh yes, you will.

It's a sad, sad day

Today I have to return my ibook to 2|42. So, it's a sad day. It's kind of a funny story. When I started at 242, I already had my ibook and I said I would just use that, because I would use it for 311 stuff as well, and to consider it a donation. Don't know why I donated my personal (and 311's) ibook, but I think I was incredibly grateful for the position and for the stability. So, three weeks later a shelf at the 242 office falls on my monitor and kills it. Apple says it's going to take 800 to fix, so the church just bought a new one. Well, long story short, they want the new one back and they will give me the busted one.

I understand, but it puts me in a huge bind. I have a doctor's appt. in 20 minutes because the medicine they gave me for my new gave me a rash ALL OVER MY BODY! So, I quickly trying to dump all my data. My buddy Shinn tells me I should buy an external hard drive, but I didn't listen and I am putting stuff on cd's. Man, I am stupid.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Quick Post

From Davision, MI. The camp I am speaking at is actually in Otisville, MI, but apparently they don't like technology there. Seriously, how do those people live with cell phone service and wireless internet. So, I drove 25 miles to another town and I am in there public library.

The best part of this camp is my lodging. Now, I have stayed in all sorts of places while on the road. Let me clarify, I am not a "big time, mr. speaker person" that gets a hotel room or at least a room in an actual building on this trip. My room this week is a 4 wheel camper. No JOKE! If you know me, you know I hate camping with a passion and now I am sleeping in a camper. I can't even use the bathroom in there because I don't fit, SERIOUSLY! I want to see somebody who could actually fit, well, not actually see them go to the bathroom, cuz that would be gross, but I want to see someone...AH nevermind, you know what I am talking about.

So, back to camp for some more camper action. Please don't get me wrong, I am not complaining, or am I? Nah, I wouldn't do that. I did get to play softball for 2 hours this morning, how awesome is that.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Little Stop at BD's

On my way to the camp, I realized that I will be driving right by one of my favorite places to eat...Mongolian BBQ, or BD's as we love to say. Well, I walk in, and there's Stefanie Koenig. Stef was in my youth group at Shepherd Fellowship and now she is almost done with college. Crazy how time flies. Sitting with her at her dad's funeral was probably one of the toughest moments I have had in youth ministry.

Wow, what a great lunch!

Just sent out this email to the local Metro Detroit Community of Youth Pastors


I know summer is upon you and you are crazy busy with camps, mission trips, and hanging out with your families, but I wanted to give you a quick update on some Project311 news.

Round ONE

First of all, thank you for making our first round of community wide connecting a huge success. This last year we were able to host a Metro Detroit Youth Workers Lunch that over 110 of you attended and thank you to all of you who made it out to one of our Coffee Breaks. Also, thanks to those of you who attended our 1st ever Training Event on April 12th. Thank YOU!

Round TWO

So, we are quickly planning a fall gathering and a possible training event for volunteers and I wanted to give you the run down and get your thoughts. Project311 exists to Love & Encourage Students and the People who Love Students. The way we do that is by providing Teaching (Students) /Training (Adults), and also by Connecting with youth workers and connecting them to each other and by providing Events to unite Metro Detroit together. So, that’s why we do what we do. In a nutshell, we love you and are praying for you and want to do everything we can to be a practical help for you.

Lunch. Our early thoughts are to host the next Metro Detroit Youth Workers Lunch in early September on a Thursday (14th) and go a little longer, maybe 1100am to 100pm. Faith Lutheran Church in Troy has graciously opened their doors for us and I hope you will consider attending, even if it’s more than a 45 minute drive for some of you. Our purpose for this gathering is to provide you with an opportunity to connect with youth workers from all over Metro Detroit, provide some resources, encourage you and hopefully bless you. For this next gathering we are thinking of bringing in someone (National youth ministry leader) to do a short training/encouragement. We have also thought about spending some time praying, and uniting together to pray for the students in our area. Please be praying as we try to find sponsorships for this lunch. If you think your church would be interested in helping financially, please contact Joe Jeffrey at

Volunteer Training Event. Just about two-thirds of the surveys from our first lunch said that Project311 could help by sponsoring a training event for their volunteer leaders. I thought this was odd considering that the Core (Youth Specialties) comes to town every year and Group Magazine Live was just here, but the more I thought about it, I think it would be a great unity building event for the Metro area.

How does early October sound on a Saturday morning? We are also thinking about gathering together an All Star team of veteran youth workers from the Metro Detroit area to do the training. I don’t know if they would go for it, but I think they would add so much wisdom to this event. We will let you know ASAP but we are tentatively thinking about October 14th. If you would like to be a part of the planning team for this event, please email me and let me know.


The Raitz family is moving to Chicago! It still sounds weird to say, but Willow Creek Community Church in S. Barrington, IL has offered me a position to be a part of their Jr. high team and we accepted. I will be one of their Community Life Pastors and will be training/encouraging leaders, teaching students and will be working on some of their neighborhood ministry development. So, I know some of you will have questions and I know many, many of you will not care at all, so skip this part of the email.


In a nutshell, I never thought we would leave Metro Detroit. I love this area, my wife loves this area, our family is all here and Project311 exists to partner with and love Metro Detroit youth pastors. But, Willow (Scott Rubin, Jr. High Director) approached us back in late April and asked us if we would be interested in talking and our first thought was...”Well, Willow is not in the Detroit area”. Also, as some of you know, we joined the staff at 2|42 Community Church in Brighton, MI and Project311 was starting to build some steam. With all that being said, we, we told Willow that we would at least pray about it.

We prayed about it as a family and I was amazed when my wife told me that she had a complete and unexplainable peace about the possibility. I never thought that would happen, but it became clear to us that this was God preparing our hearts for a move. It was extremely tough resigning from 2|42 after only a few months, but I knew they deserved someone called to serve there and I knew I was not the right person. Please be praying for them as they search for a new youth director. 2|42 is a great church and they have a great team. Project311 also weighed heavily on my heart because we love this area and our dream is to see youth workers cared for, encouraged and loved. But again, God worked that out because Willow is allowing me to be still be a part of Project311 and we are praying about some possible exciting partnership opportunities.

So, we met with our trusted advisors and finished up the interviews and they officially offered us the job. It’s tough to convey what a hard decision this has been and they’ve been and we haven’t taken any of them lightly. I love being a part of the Metro Detroit community and I have enjoyed getting to know many of you.

Would you pray for us? I have a hard time asking for prayer, but this has been the toughest year of our lives for a variety of reasons. It really started a year ago when we found out that our first event, Blitzfest, fell $50,000 of covering our expenses. And then not having a steady paycheck for 10 months, while trying to raise support, we have had the biggest financial pressure we have ever had. Through it all, God has been so faithful and He has sent so many wonderful people in our lives to help us. So, moving is more than just packing for us. It is asking God to provide some miracles so we can move. This is also extremely interesting because with my travel schedule, I am home only 7 days and then I travel most of the next month. We have so much to do, it makes my head spin, but again, the peace that God has given us is incredible. So, thank you for praying for us. If you would like specifics to pray about it, please email and I will get you them. Also, if anybody wants to hook a brother up by helping a family move, let me know.


Even though we are moving to Chicago, Project311 will not end and will not stop at reaching our goals of encouraging youth pastors and seeing our area united together to reach students. But, because of this transition, it is imperative for Project311 to find some like minded people to help with this transisition.

Round FOUR

A new day for Project311, yes. It will be new because I will not be in the area and that is exciting to me. I have known for awhile that Project311 was becoming a one man show and I believe this will help us to NOT be a one man show. So, we are going to start looking for some folks who are passionate about seeing youth workers encouraged and connected and see if they would like to be a part of the Project311 team. If you have any interest at all, please don’t hesitate to contact me at We don’t have the resources to pay you, but if you’re still interested and have a spare hour or two a week, I would love to talk with you.

Sorry this email is forever long, but I wanted to let you know what’s going on with Project311. Thank you to many of you who have already read this information on my blog and have already emailed, your encouragement has been much appreciated.

Please know you are being prayed for,


PS...Very soon our newest blog,, will be up and running with news from our Project311 “Summer of Love” tour.

Here we go

Off again, but this time I will only be a few hours from home. I was going to take Bobby with me, but he decided he will miss brownie too much (our choc. lab). So, it's just me. Which may work out well, because I have a ton of writing to do, emails, talks, and some I have to finish a few books. I am also going to re-read Willard's, The Spirit of the Disciplines, so that should be fun.

Pretty Bad Slip Up

Recently at a camp I was at, I was telling a story about how in the 8th grade, my best friend pants me at a pool party. That would of been great if I would of said that, here's what I did say:

When I was in the 8th grade, my boyfriend pulled my pants down.

Now, I have no idea why I said that and I couldn't get them back after that comment. I am still shocked that those words came out of my mouth. Well, what are you going to do.

Psalms 139:13

"Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mothers womb" (The Message)

I have probably taught on this verse a thousand times and I use in alot in a couple of my self-image/God is crazy about you talks. Well, in those talks I always talk about how we are not factory assembled creations and it not like God was just spitting us out a conveyer belt. But, he spent time creating us, he knows how many hairs on our head, we are his work of art, etc, etc, etc.

Well, I am beginning to rethink the whole factory assembled part. Well, at least, the "there is no one like you anywhere else, you are unique creation". I have been speaking at camps and retreats for the last 7 years and the last couple of years I have been getting out of Michigan more and more.

Here's what I have found. Either God is tricky or kids just look alike. I swear, the last couple of years it's been like playing a giant matching game with kids from all over the country. I met a Jr. high boy this week who could be the twin of a guy from my youth group at NorthRidge. I met a girl in Albany, New York that I swear could be the twin of a girl I met last summer in Kentucky.

So, I am wondering what's going on. Did God just get tired? I, of course am not trying to question God on his creation making ability, but it's fun playing the country wide matching game.

EL Pepe

So, I tell this story about El Pepe. I break every comedic rule with this story. Jr. highers never get the punch line, but the build up for the story is what they love. So, I told it this week and they loved it. I even have El Pepe shirts, I know, I am a TOOL. You can buy one at, wow, what a tool. Anyway, some kids went a little a far with their love or hate for El Pepe.

Great Family Pictures from the trip

Cool Camp Timber-Lee Pictures

Sunday, June 25, 2006


No other way to describe how I feel tonight. I was supposed to cut the grass today, but after I ran some errands today...sat in traffic and hung out with my parents and brother and Dave Kurt, I got home and said...I will cut the grass in 5 minutes. Then that turned into an hour, then two and now it's 10 O clock. I used to have some high students who use cut our grass when we were on trips, but they are all grown up and past that phase of life. So, hopefully my neighbors don't report me.

To top it off I can't remember what time I am suppose to be at the camp I am speaking at tomorrow. I looked over all my emails from the youth pastor in charge, and I can't find a time. I see on the schedule that there is a morning chapel, but I could never make it in time. The camp actually started tonight, but he wanted me to come out tomorrow. So, I think I will head out mid-morning or after lunch. This camp is talk lite, only 4...yippee. Last week's camp was 11.5, holy cow, that was a lot. Don't get me wrong, I am not complaining, it's just a lot of time to talk. I used stories that I didn't even remember. Whatever that means. This camp is also Sr. highers, so that's cool. Last week was about 400 jr. highers and I think this camp will be about 70 high schoolers, so that will be cool.

So, I have a bunch of emails to send tonight, including a big one. It's the email I am going to send to the Metro Detroit youth pastor community about us moving to Chicago. I don't think the majority of them will care, but with all the emails I have sent to them, I feel like I should send them one about the future of Project311. So, we'll see. I think I will post it on the blog as well. I think, maybe.

New starting date

Well, looks like instead of starting at Willow August 1st, I will now be starting July 1st. I will just be working from location during July. It's huge for us and I have to start studying for my first talk on August 5/6 and then a talk I am giving for Elevate's summer camp August 7-11 and some other stuff.

When we go back July 5-7, I will get my Wilow email address, and my Willow issued laptop. So, that's cool but the laptop is a PC. Don't get me wrong, the first two churches I worked at I didn't even get a computer, I will just be going through Mac withdrawl. I have to give my ibook back to my former church this Thursday and I am already in mourning. But, hopefully we can save for a MacBook Pro, well, I won't get my hopes up. So, I will have to remember how to use a PC.

So, life is changing and I am so thankful for the unexplainable peace that God has given Tracie and I about all the changes.

Just got home

Wow, what a day! We have been gone for 7 days and it's good to be home. We decided that Tracie and the kids will stay home for this next camp, just to give the kids a rest. We had a blast at Camp Timber-Lee, but it really took a lot out of the kids. So, my sister-n-law Tammy is going to stay with Tracie while I head out to a camp. I guess I should figure out where I am going on Monday.

We woke up today and loaded up the van and then ate breakfast, and did our last chapel. It was a blast. All the parents were there and the place was electric. The really cool part was that almost all of the students are from the area that we are moving too, so it was cool to talk to lots of kids about the area we will be living in.

Wow, I am tired. We left Camp Timber Lee and drove to my new boss's house and had lunch with his family. It was a blast. We then left and drove to Jackson, MI, picked up Tammy and headed home. The kids are now asleep and now it's time for us to go sleepy.

I have to been Chicago more in the last month, than I have been in the 4 years. We are heading back out there July 5-7 to hopefully find a place to live and I have to fill out a bunch of Human Resource forms for my new position. So, a selfish request: Would you please pray that God will open up a door for the Raitz family to find an affordable rental home? Thanks.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Driving Home

I miss the internet, I do. I am driving home from WI and I have about 3 hours to go. The camps wireless was down all week and I have been without it. I am home tomorrow and then its off to a 3 day camp and then I am for 6 days, YES.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Blogging Withdrawl

I am going through internet withdrawl, ah! There is only one building with wireless at this camp and its down, ah! We resorted to sitting in a hotel parking lot earlier today to grab a few minutes of wireless. This post comes complimants of my Treo 650.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

A little Raitz family news

Not only are we traveling to WI, OH, MX, TX and parts of MI this summer, we are also getting ready for a move to Chicago in August. Yup, that's right, we are re-locating to the NorthWest suburbs, at least I think that's were our new employer will be.

Willow Creek Community Church in S. Barrington, IL, per Scott Rubin (Jr. high pastor) has offered us the position of Community Life Pastor for their Jr. high team and we accepted a few days ago. It's been a relatively short process, maybe a couple of months, and I really never thought they would hire me, but as of August 1st, I will be on theie team.

They approached me a little while back and after praying about it as a family we thought we should at least have some intitial conversations with them. Then that moved to a trip down there, and that moved to another a trip and then after the finger print test came back clean, they called and offered.

It's been tough because we never thought we would move away from family. We love Metro Detroit, we love our family and friends and we love the church we started at in March, 242 Community, and I love the youth workers in Metro Detroit. All these were hard to think about and work through, but after praying as a family and seeking the wise counsel of family, mentors and friends, we said yes. I can't explain the unexplainable peace that we have about this decision. I never thought we would consider moving away, but we believe we have clearly heard God's voice in our lives.

So, I know that's the quick version, and I will blog more about it this week. My head spins thinking about everything that has to happen in order for us to move, but I again, we have a great peace about this. Thanks in advance for praying for our family in this time of transition.

And We're Off

Leaving an hour after I wanted to, but we are leaving for East Troy, WI. Thanks to Dave and Cathie Kurt for letting us borrow their van and thanks to Stefanie Hamilton for house sitting. They saved us. It's going to be interesting finding a house sitter when we move to Chicago, but I am sure we will make friends out there as well. At least I hope. More on that.

The Night Before A Trip

Well, it's 12:40am and it's the night before a long week away from home. We are traveling together as a family to East Troy, Wisconsin to Camp Timber-Lee for there Jr. high summer camp. I get the honor of being the guest speaker and I get to bring my family.

Earlier in the week, I think when we were in Chicago, I was thinking to myself..."Jason, I want you to go to bed early and have everything packed and ready to go". That sounded nice, but it just didn't happen. Tracie went to bed early with a terrible headache and I am trying to get all the laundry done. So, in between loads, I am doing a little blogging.

I am looking forward to getting to know the staff at Timber-Lee, spending a week with my family at camp, and driving through Chicago on the way back home. Can't wait. Now to fold whites, ah, I hate folding socks!

I Hate Target, No wait I love It

I have a Huge Love/Hate with Target. I love it because it's great and they have all those incredible deals.

But I hate it because they trip you with all those deals. I mean, our kids outgrow their clothes and shoes faster than Rod Burgandy deals the news and Target is the place to go. We are there yesterday and they have boys shirts for 2.78. How do you turn that down when your kids need clothes and they have them for 2.78. Seriously.

I am Alergic to Ultra Conservatives

Seriously, we stopped by a school last week that we are possibly looking at putting Bekah in and we loved it. It had the nicest facilities we have ever seen, the classrooms were incredible, everything was great.

Then we started reading the packet. If Tracie were to volunteer at the school, she would have to wear a dress. If Bekah were a middle school student, we would have to sign a contract saying we wouldn't let her listen to rock music, play cards, use any electronic devices, dance and pretty much not have any fun.

Anyways, I think it's too far.

Here comes 1st Grade

I can't believe Bekah is done with Kindergarten. She did great this year and can stinkin count to 50 in Spanish.

Here's the crazy thing, one of her teachers, was also my 26 year old's Kindergarten teacher. That's wild. Neat-O, Super-Duper.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

The Wedding is a Comin

My sister-n-law Stefanie is getting married in July and today was her shower. I am so GLAD men don't have to go to these things. Anyways, Bekah is in her wedding (Flower Girl) and I hope she does well. Bekah was in a wedding (Flower Girl) back in the fall and froze and didn't end up walking down the aisle. Well, you live and learn.

Bedtime with Zachary...Always interesting

Zachary is always pushing the limits at bedtime and we are racking our heads right now. We are because he is definately winning the bedtime game. Tonight he took it to an all new level, not only did he throw everything out of his crib, he wrapped himself in his sheet and tried to hide from us. Original we thought.

The last vote is in

Now my brother, God bless him on his birthday, has now questioned my mansculine alliances about my blog.

So, I get it. I will now begin the search to find a new template. Maybe I can find a picture of some grass or a dude surfing, nah, that's already been done.

Well it's Official

My mom said I need to change my blog template, so I guess I will change it, but this does not make me a momma's boy. I mean, for pete's sake, I am 30.

I will now begin the hunt to find a new blog template. Here I go. Super Duper.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

What the Doctor Said

Ok, I went to the doctors and good timing it was. It's been hurting since last week, but I couldn't get to the doctors till today. Over the weekend I was in Albany, NY and then T & W of this week, I was in Chicago, so today I got to the doctors.

They immediately sent me to a Orthopedic Specialist. I thought that was weird, but my doctor was worried the infection on my knee spread to my joint, WHAT!$% I really didn't think it was that bad, but I guess I was wrong. Well, I spent all day in 2 different doctor offices to find out that it didn't spread, but it is a serious infection. I guess I should of noticed that my right leg swelled up to the size of a Georgia bell and my knee was leaking.

Well, they numbed up my knee and sliced of the tip part off, so that was fun. All this from some of kind of bug bite.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Sweet Mother of a Messed Up Knee

I know my blog isn't super deep like some out there, wait a minute, it's my blog though, oh yeah, so I can post what I want.

So, My knee is not BENDING! That doesn't work well with driving for 5 hours. Man, it burns, It's a Deep Burn and I am not talking about Ron Burgandy doing 1000 curls to work his guns. It's all swollen, it's leaking, and it feels like my flesh is tearing off of my limbs. What a baby I know, but it's crazy. Guess I should of gone to the doctors.

Oh My Un-Bending Knee

I know no one cares, but my knee is going flippin crazy. I can barely bend it and it stings like a mother. My wife thinks a wolf spider bit me, if it did, hope I don't find that little guy.

Monday, June 12, 2006

What a great Weekend

Well, I am home and on the way home from the airport, Tracie and I and the kids stopped at the new IKEA store, yeah! Wow, it was crazy busy, but very cool.

The retreat went awesome and it was great getting to know Patti and her team. Now, it's time to get ready for tomorrow night.

I met a miracle this weekend

His name was Sean and he is a walking miracle. Last year he had a stroke. Here's where it gets crazy, he was only 25 and newly married. He was home alone and he just fell over from the stroke. He was unable to move and had to wait 3 hours before his wife got home. They ran a ton of tests on him and finally found a growth on his heart. He got most of his movement back, but he needed open heart surgery to remove the growth, so they started getting ready for the surgery. Well, he had another sort of stroke moment and they rushed him back to the hospital.

Long story short, they ran a ton of tests again and he got better and better. Well, finally they ran a slew of tests again and they couldn't find the growth and he is totally back to normal. It was incredible to hear his story.

Either I am Wuss or...

Last week I get this bump looking thing on my right kneecap, no big deal. Well, 5 days later it is the size of a quarter and it's growing. It's a solid bump and it hurts like heck. Bending my knee and when anything touches it, is so much pain.

So, either I am a wuss or I am in pain. I want to stick a needle in it, but Tracie won't let me. She says something about going to the Doctor's and I was like, "babe, I ain't no wuss". And then she says, "babe, your lying on your back crying in pain like a baby, go to the doctor's".

So, we'll see.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Unexplainable Joy

It's amazing to me how much Joy our kids have brought to our life. I just don't understand folks who never want to have kids, I don't get it. Yes, it's forced selflessness and it's tiring, but it's so much Joy and Laughter and Love. It's incredible. I had a friend tell me that he didn't want kids because he didn't know if he wanted to do that to them because the world is so hard. I don't get that either. All I know is they are my life and I want to do everything I can to help them succeed and Love God and Love Others.

This should be fun

I found out when I got here that I would be addressing the entire convention on Sunday morning. Well, that sounds like fun. The convention room is this old school room that just packs people in and has a really old campy feel. So, tomorrow I am going to address around 1000 people and let them know what we have been talking about.

And that's Love, imagine that.

Report from Speculator, NY

I am in Speculator, NY, it almost sounds like the birth place of the Terminator, hah. I at a camp called Camp in the Woods and the place is friggin huge. There are over a 1000 people at this camp and it's crazy. I have experienced a lot and I had an awesome God moment last night. First a little about my experience:

1. This is my first trip speaking for Episcoplians. I am the youth speaker for the Episcopal Diocese of Albany, New York. The entire diocese gathers for a convention and the youth spend some time with the adults, but they also have their own rallies.

2. Men in robes. I haven't been a church where the pastors or (Priests/Bishops here) wear robes for a long time. I grew up Missouri, Syndod and our pastors wore robes, but not like these robes. These are hard core robes.

3. I haven't been in a Liturgical service for a long time. Again, growing up Lutheran I really got a bad taste for Liturgy in my mouth. I hated it, thought people where just spouting out words that they didn't care about it. But, it's weird, but I may have come full circle with Liturgy. What I use to hate, I now find inspiring and hear God the clearest in my life. Still flushing all this out, but I am just so tired of the happy, feely worship and I really connect with the reading of scripture, Liturgy and reverantial worship. So, still working on all this, but I very much enjoyed and connected with the service. It was also amazing to sing Stand up for Jesus with 1000 people, wow, that was awesome.

4. My God moment. I shouldn't have these right? I am the speaker, does it work in reverse? Well, it did for me. During the opening service of the convention, where everybody was gathered, I tell you what, I know God spoke to me. It wasn't audible, but I know the presence of God was surrounding me. It was almost like he said to me to just keep going. These last couple of months have been extremely tense, stressful, anxiety ridden and hard. We just feel tired as a family and we are longing for a fresh touch from the hand of God. So, I feel like God spoke to me and encouraged me and let me know He is here and I can rely on Him to help us get through all that is going on. Wow, what an awesome moment and it came it just the right time.

5. The election of an Bishop. I don't know much about the workings of the Episcopal church, but I sure have learned a lot this weekend. This weekend I met the almost new Bishop of Albany. That's not the right wording, but the title is entirely too long. His name is Father Bill Love and it will become Bishop Love. What a great name. "Hi, I am Bishop Love". As he was introduced, a group of nouns from Africa sang in their native tongue and danced in front of him as they walked him to the stage. It was absolutely amazing. To hear these 5 little ladies sing and to see the translation on the screen about, wow, another God moment.

I think so many times I have fallen into the trap that my church, my denomination, my worship style, my songs, my view of the gospel, my view of the church is the ONLY way, or the RIGHT way and the really exciting part in getting to partner with churches from all over is I get a much broader perspective. Now, I don't agree with or aline with all of the Episcopalian doctrine, but I sure know that I serve the same Lord and Savior and it's an honor to be here this weekend.

6. This is the first trip in a long time that I haven't memorized all the kids names. I am just mentally wasted and it takes a lot out of me. But, I have tried to stay available when kids have wanted to talk. I haven't had this many meaningful talks with students in a long time. So, I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. I always try to point kids to their small group leader or youth leader when they want to share deep things, but is that the right thing? I don't know.

7. Patti Gibbons. What a great person! I was hooked up with Patti by Adam Mclane, thanks Adam! And I am blessed to partner with her. She is an amazing example of Christ and she is great. Patti runs the youth portion for the Diocese and she does a great job.

So, one more talk, good-byes, a 2 hour drive to the airport, a flight home and then I get to hold my babies and kiss my wife! Yeah.

Things are Different...

They just are and I am glad. I can't even begin to explain all the things that are different in my life right now, but one that stands out is how much I miss Tracie when I am on trips. I know that probably sounds weird, because I should miss her on every trip and I think have, but nothing like these past couple of dozen.

It's hard to explain, and I think I am going to go Jerry McGuire here, but I just don't feel complete without her. There was a pretty good span of trips where I didn't feel like this, and I don't know why. Probably my stupidness, most likely. But, I just miss her. We have probably talked 3-4 times today and have been texting all day, it's like we're high school kids and I love it.

What's the hardest about traveling without her is that I don't feel like I get to experience it fully without her here. I don't know if that makes sense or not, but I have been to some really cool places the past couple of years and as I think about them, I am just like, well, it would of been better with her. I wish she could travel with me, but I am really not mister big time speaker who can ask for a second airfare. Well, I have started asking, so hopefully people don't think I am a tool for asking. The other hitch is finding people to watch the kids if she comes, thats a whole other deal. I actually almost brought Bekah with me on this trip and I think that would of been great fun. Maybe the next.

Anyways, I think I have learned a lot these past 9 years of marriage and I am so blessed to have Tracie. She is the most faithful, consistent, loving person I know and I miss her.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Zach is 2!!!

Today is Zach's second birthday! We had fun singing to him this morning and he loved it as well. Tracie made him a special protein-less cupcake and I know he will love it.

We are having a big party for him on July 1, so we can have Bobby's party then as well. That way, it will be easier for family. So, consider this your invite.

And so it Begins...

Well, I think today is the official start of my season. I won't lie to you, it's been nice having to not travel. Last summer was a killer, but here I am, ready? excited?, well, at least I am here. Just kidding. I get to partner with some great youth ministries and I have been looking forward to this. It's a huge honor and a blessing and I just pray that God would use me.

So, I am at Detroit Metro right now, getting ready to fly to Albany, NY for a weekend retreat.

Then, on Monday night I get to encourage the student ministry adult volunteers of Kensington Church, MI, that will be a BLAST!

Then, Tracie and I get ready to load up the kids for Camp Timber-Lee in East Troy, WI. We get to spend a week out there at the camps Jr. high summer camp and that should be a blast. I haven't ever been there, but I am told it's great. They are also talking to me right now about doing a winter retreat for them in 2007, so that will be a blast!

We get back from WI, have a day off and head up north (Michigan) to a three day summer retreat for Beth. Christian Church.

I get back from there, have a few days off and I am working out some details to head to Houston, TX to speak to the youth group at Lakewood Church. That should be a heck of a experience and a whole lot of fun. Plus, my buddy is the youth pastor and it will be great catching up with him.

I get back from there and then it's off on the Project311 "Summer of Love" tour. Summer Celebration (summer camp for jr. high kids), Matamoros, MX (mission trip for AIM) and then Camp Velocity.

The tour ends, and then I will head back over to Willow Creek to speak to Elevate, their Jr. high. And then one last camp, in the middle of August for a great church in Sterling Heights, MI.

I still can't believe that God has opened up these doors for us to partner with so many great ministries, what a blessing!

Alright, Neat-o, Super-duper. Here we go.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Tracie's vote is in

I asked my wonderful wife what she thought of the new blog look and she got quiet, not a good sign. Well, turns out, she was surprised I picked this template because she thought it was so girly looking. WHAT?! Don't call my blog girly. Any other thoughts?

I am so Proud

So, I get a call from my Buddy...Jason Shinn a couple of days ago. This is not abnormal, we talk very frequently, but not as much as girls, so don't call us girls.

Anyways, he tells me there is a new youth pastor in his town and he's trying to track him down for lunch. Then he calls me and says "you wanna come"? So, I am getting ready to leave to have lunch with those guys.

Well, this whole deal is cool to me. I think it is so valuable that youth pastors take care of each other and this really warmed my heart.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

A new look for the blog.

I like it a lot. I really do. Hopefully you will as well.

The Recital is Tonight!

I can't believe that tonight will already be our third recital, Wow. Bekah is in a Ballet and a Tap number, that part will be great fun. Then comes the next 40 numbers that we have to sit through, that won't be great fun. Better charge my phone!

Wish I would of had a camera

There is a church in our area called Brighton Assembly of God. Last week Tracie and I were driving at night by the church and we noticed something that made us chuckle. Let's just say the maintenance team needs to change some light bulbs, because the church sign read:

Brighton Asse of God.

Oops. It's not a little sign, no, it's friggin huge and the church is right off the freeway.

It's a week later and to the best of my knowledge, it's still not fixed. Wish I would of had my camera!

Monday, June 05, 2006

More Pictures

Pictures of Blitzfest

The 1 year Anniversary of Blitzfest

So, yesterday was the one day anniversary of Blitzfest. Blitzfest was a 2 day music fetival that our ministry hosted last year that had over 60 bands. Including Pillar, Tait, Starfield, Kids in the Way, Skillet, Grits, John Rueben, Paul Wright, Stellar Kart, TFK and many more.

Anyways, I haven't written much about Blitzfest or I really haven't even talked much about it. Partially because I still can't. I can't explain it, but it is still hard to think about it. Basically, the event went great, but we fell about 800 people short of what needed to cover costs and we hit rock bottom.

After Elevate Sunday night, Tracie and I drove through the park where we hosted it. I hadn't been to the park since last year and it was good to go back.

I learned a ton of lessons through Blitzfest and I am thankful for those. Needless to say, this last year has probably been the toughest of my life. When I am ready I will write more about it. But for now, here are some photos of the event.

We were blessed!

Tracie and I for our 9 year anniversary were blessed bigtime by some good friends. Not only did they watch our kids for us, they gave us gift certificates to the movies and to dinner. We went and saw RV and laughed and laughed. It was awesome and we had a
great time.

Now for the plans for our 10 year. Let's just say, it's going to be fun.

IKEA is almost here!

I love IKEA, I do, I am in Love. Every time I think about IKEA, I say to myself..Yippee, Super Duper, and Neat-O. June 7th, Canton, MI. I love it.

What a great picture of Zach

Thanks to Dave Kurt for this awesome picture!

The Zachinator

Zach is all out. Whatever he does, he just goes. Well, the other night Zach was running down a driveway and tripped and didn't get his hands up to protect his face from the driveway. Ouch. At least when he does it, he does it right. I am told he didn't even cry very long. Then at church yesterday he was running and totally ran right into a table. We all thought was going to move, but nope, crash and he hit the other side of his face. Ouch.


This is a huge week for Rebekah Sue Raitz. Tomorrow night is her ballet/dance recital and then Wednesday afternoon is her Kindergarten graduation. Wow, I can't believe how big she is and how lovely she is. I know she is drop dead beautiful but I love it that she has an incredible beauty within. She cares for others and her hugs are out of this world.