WordServe Kids Focus for December: Wrapped Up Generosity


“It’s official—the holidays are around the corner. How do I know? Relatives are asking for Christmas lists so they can get their shopping done. The commercials on TV are rolling out their latest toy temptations to get children drooling. Even the shopping malls and discount stores are busy stocking Christmas decorations just in case you feel like getting a jump-start on your seasonal lawn ornaments and light displays.

With all this Christmas hoopla, it’s easier than ever to lose focus on why we celebrate Christmas in the first place. That’s why we want to spend this month talking about Generosity: making someone’s day by giving something away.

We hope kids get wrapped up in others as they show them how much God has been so generous toward us. There’s a danger in getting so wrapped up in ourselves or so wrapped up in our things that we miss the essence of this season. There’s just something about giving that reflects the character of God to those around us. Every good thing we have is a gift from Him. But we also know that God’s generosity has a purpose. God gives to us and expects us to do the same for others in return.

Generosity changes us when we learn how to give the way God gives. This month, we’ll look at four great stories from the New Testament that help us understand God’s plan for generosity in our lives.

In Week 1, we start our month on generosity in Luke 12:13-21 with a parable Jesus told about a rich man who was wrapped up in the wrong thing. He worried more about storing up more stuff and ended up losing everything that really mattered. Our Bottom Line is: Don’t get wrapped up in your stuff.

In Week 2, we get to eavesdrop on a conversation that Jesus had with a rich ruler that Luke recorded in Luke 18:18-25. This man was so wrapped up in his stuff that he couldn’t let go of what didn’t really matter in favor of what mattered most, a relationship with Jesus. Our Bottom Line is: Get wrapped up in what matters most.

In Week 3, we celebrate that God sent us the greatest gift when He sent us Jesus. Through John 3:16-17 and Luke 2:1-18, we will focus on Jesus’ birth as we pause and remember that God gave us His only Son, so we could have a personal relationship with Him. Our Bottom Line is: Get wrapped up in Christmas.

In Week 4, we’ll see that the wise men knew how to be generous. In Matthew 2:1-12, we read about the men who came to visit Jesus. They went above and beyond to see Him and show generosity. Our Bottom Line is: Get wrapped up in giving.

Our memory verse is a great reminder for us. “Be rich in good deeds … be generous and willing to share,” 1 Timothy 6:18. Many times, we think that our ability to be generous is connected to our stuff. However, being rich really isn’t defined by how much we have or collect, or how many presents we get. We’re not generous because we are rich; rather, we are rich because we are generous. This month, we hope that kids will discover what it really means to be rich—to let God’s generosity show up in their lives and help them get wrapped up in others.”

Click HERE for the December Baby and Toddler Parent Cue.

Click HERE for the December Preschool Parent Cue.

By Dan Scott ©2014 The reThink Group. All rights reserved. http://www.ThinkOrange.com *Used by permission.

WordServe Kids Focus for November: Time Out! Gratitude


“Have you ever been watching a sporting event where one of the teams played like they were falling apart at the seams?

The pitcher giving up run after run.

The defensive line that just can’t stop anyone.

The full-court press that simply can’t get the ball back.

It’s a mess. Finally the coach calls it: “Time out!”

He brings the team in, takes a moment to regroup. He adjusts and recalibrates to get his team ready to get back on the field and face their opponent.

The same goes for life.

Everything can be going well. You’re happy at work. The kids are excelling at school, and they are even getting along with each other at home. Life seems pretty perfect.

Then overtime something happens. Not overnight and maybe even so gradually that you don’t notice it. But one day you wake up and it seems like nothing’s going right and everyone is grumpy.

Something is off.

Something is broken.

And everyone needs a time out.

There are just some things that need an adjustment.

God wants to work in your life and the lives of your kids to tweak some things in your character. In a lot of ways, He’s taking a time out and making adjustments to conform you to the image of His Son. In those times, it’s like God is pulling us over to the side and reminding us when we need to recalibrate a few things.

And it makes sense, really. If God made us, He knows what we need to give attention to. That’s why it’s important to pay attention to His instruction manual and what He has to say about certain attitudes. Take the idea of GRATITUDE, for example. If we never take the time to acknowledge what God has done in our lives or how others have helped us, we may develop an unhealthy ego or a growing frustration at the people around us. We might become bitter and complain about every little thing.

That’s why GRATITUDE is a really big idea that God talks about so much. It affects more of your life than you probably have ever imagined. That’s why we’re taking this month to talk about what it means to show GRATITUDE: letting others know how they’ve helped you.

For week one, we kick off the month by taking a closer look at our memory verse: 1 Thessalonians 5:18. It says, “Give thanks no matter what happens. God wants you to thank him because you believe in Christ Jesus.” (NIrV)

We want to help kids understand why God wants us to give thanks in all circumstances. We believe something will happen in the heart of any child when they learn to take a TIME OUT, think about this verse, and remember the Bottom Line: You always have something to be grateful for.

In week two, we will take a look at a powerful story in Luke 17:11-19 about 10 lepers who asked Jesus to be healed. But when their skin condition went away, they became so ecstatic about the miracle that they ran off and forgot to say “thank You.” All except for one, who came back. It’s great to influence children in such a way that they become the kind of people who put our Bottom Line into action: Take time to say “thank you.”

For week three, we’ll dig into a parable Jesus told one day about some vineyard workers. In Matthew 20:1-15, we read that a few of the workers started making comparisons to what others were getting paid and became ungrateful and started complaining. Then at the end of the day, they had a bad attitude because they thought, that’s not fair. Have you heard that around your house lately? Well, then, maybe it’s time for this week’s Bottom Line: Take time to adjust your attitude.

In week four, we’ll explore Exodus 23:14-19 and discover how some of the rules God gave His people included some major celebrating with entire DAYS and sometimes WEEKS set aside to give His people an opportunity to take time to celebrate. That’s what we want our kids to do too: Take time to celebrate what God has done.

Finally, we’ll look at how the Apostle Paul closed out his letter to the Roman followers of Jesus. He thanked people—a LOT of people—for helping him on his journeys. We hope kids come away with this Bottom Line: Take time to remember how others have helped you.

Sometimes gratitude takes a little bit of intentionality. Sometimes, you have to literally take a time out and remember what you have to be grateful for. A great way to do that is through giving.”

This fall, we’re excited to partner with Operation Christmas Child (OCC). Each year, they facilitate the packing and delivery of millions of shoebox gifts to children in crisis areas and third-world countries around the globe. Most of these kids have never before received a Christmas present. Check out http://www.wordserve.org for more information about OPP during the month of November!

Click HERE for the November Parent Cue.

Click HERE for the November Parent Time.

Click HERE for the November Parent Cue for Babies and Toddlers.

By Dan Scott ©2014 The reThink Group. All rights reserved. http://www.ThinkOrange.com *Used by permission.

Get Your Bearings: Risk-taking as Sacrificial Worship–Pat’s Story


Since October 19, Nolan and Bill have been preaching through a new sermon series titled “Get Your Bearings”, which focus on five core values that can calibrate your relationship with God to one that is vibrant, fruitful, and life-giving.  During yesterday’s service, Pat Penner, Executive Director of Sealy Pregnancy Crisis Center, shared a personal testimony of how God is using the value of risk-taking as sacrificial worship to strengthen and stretch her relationship with Him:

“Dave and I married in April of this year. The day I returned to work from our honeymoon I was told that I was part of the group of lay-offs, and would be on the payroll for 60 days starting the following month and could not accept a job during that time or I would forfeit my severance. I had worked for BP for almost 35 years and really hadn’t pictured myself as leaving in this manner. I was saddened, but I accepted it as a new chapter in my life about to begin.

My immediate thought was, to update my Linkedin profile and get my resume together as I had a list of 30+ recruiters in a spreadsheet in preparation for such a day as this. However, my wonderful husband suggested I take these next 60 days and listen to what God had to say, as maybe He had other plans.

I took that time and reflected, on my life, where I was and how far I had come. In looking back, I had seen Gods hands all along the way leading me. Each time it was for a specific purpose, as I was going through these trials, I would get angry or frustrated because I didn’t understand. But when it was all over, I’d reflect back and could clearly see that His purpose was obvious. For now I know and have confidence that my Father either removes me from the storm or will hold my hand and be with me through it. Either way, He has never abandoned me.

So I knew that I had to step out in faith by trusting that this was a new stage in my life and He had a plan for me. At the time, I didn’t know what that plan was, but I needed to be still and listen. That meant I had to trust God and walk that tight rope knowing that he had that protective hand just below me, in case I fell. And if I fell, it was because there was something for me to learn. That’s because I have total trust in God and know that He has my best interest at heart.

During that down time, I asked myself, what I found most fulfilling. Volunteering at the Pregnancy Help Center came to mind immediately. I thought well there are no jobs available there, the pay is too low and 52 miles was way too far to commute on a daily basis. So that thought was a big “No Way!” Within a day or two, I received a call from the center director Sylvia Johnson asking me if I would be willing to help out periodically during the week while I was off as they were in need of help. I gladly agreed to volunteer on Mondays and Saturdays. The commute on the weekdays was horrible. Eventually, I thought, I can’t keep this up; gas is expensive, wears on my car and it’s not bringing in any income. But supportive Dave encouraged me to continue.

A couple of weeks later I was in the grocery store in Sealy and was reflecting on some of the young ladies I had counseled that day and the issues she was facing. I felt God tell me “Look around. See, there are young ladies here in need. Where can they go for help? There is a need for a pregnancy center here. That’s what I want you to do.” Sadly, I said “Is this in my head or is that You speaking, God? Because if it is, I need you to prove to me that it’s really You.” Then I said, “Number one, starting a business is a lot of work. Number two, I can’t do this by myself, so if this is what You really want, I need Your help and your guidance.” I then thought, “I just got married, my salary would go to literally nothing, I can’t do that to Dave and I couldn’t dare tell him that I was going to start a pregnancy center knowing that starting a business requires a lot of time, money and no salary. Not only that, I’m a control freak: I had a job, owned my own home, and paid my own bills. That would mean in a few short months I’d go from total control to no control.” My entire life was being transformed before my eyes.

One evening, as we sat down to eat dinner, I had this nagging push to tell Dave and I kept pushing it back down thinking “He’s going to think I’m nuts.” Finally, I told him and his response was positive, supportive and he said ‘Who am I to stand in the way if God is calling you to do this. You have the time. See where God takes you with this.” I called Sylvia and told her the idea and that I was just thinking about it and immediately her response was excitement and she said that she was willing to help and work with me to get it off the ground and she was telling me all that I needed to do to get setup. My immediate thought was fear and “what if this isn’t Gods calling and it’s just in my head? I don’t want people getting too excited about this just yet. Let’s just keep it low and under the radar. I’m just thinking about it, not sure I’m going to do it.” The fear in me began rise higher and higher.

So what did I do? I prayed. “God, if this is what you want me to do, make it clear and obvious. I’m listening. I don’t know where to start and, I don’t want it to be a burden on my husband. Please help.” He has done just that.

With every step taken, I have clearly seen Gods hands. When I need help in any specific areas, He has brought the right person across my path at the right time and reason to answer any questions, give me guidance and offer assistance when needed, such as Cheryl, Marcus, Cathy, and others. I thank Cheryl for her help, as she has been giving me any spare time she has to pull data, look up information, you name it. She has become a wonderful friend. You see I have learned that we need others as we walk our walk.

I felt God tell me, “All that I have brought you through has been to prepare you for just this. All that you have learned up to this point prepares you for what I have in store for you, at this stage in your life.” You see over the years, I have worked in accounting, administrative services, HR, as an engineer, commercial analyst, project manager, etc. Many times I’ve looked back and thought, if only I had made better decisions I would have been so much further in my life and career. But God has taken these experiences and given me an opportunity to share them with others, offering encouragement not to give up and that it’s never too late and never beyond hope for them and their child. As I have progressed through this, I have met others that have this same passion and encouraging stories to share and they too are a part of this plan. So, I have learned through this process to be open so that others have room for their spiritual growth through this process as well.

He has been and continues preparing us for the betterment of His Kingdom. He wants someone to be there for the young ladies who are losing hope and don’t have anywhere else to turn, and I am so honored that He has chosen me as His vessel to do His work. You see what I haven’t mentioned is that I, too, was one of them. I had my son at age 16. He is now 37 and is an amazing intelligent young man of whom I am very proud. I can’t imagine him not being here or where we would be without the love and support I too received at that time. Through all of these experiences, my relationship with my Father continues to grow stronger and stronger.

I remind myself often that this isn’t about me; it’s about God and His work. I am just the tool He uses. And if I hadn’t said yes, He would have chosen someone else, as His work will be done, with or without me. I’m glad I said yes.”

Teachable Moments from Habitat for Huggins

As of you may know, WordServe has been involved in an on-going construction project called Habitat for Huggins which is aimed at helping a local family whose home was in need of much repair and re-building.  A couple of weeks ago, WordServe had a service day to put in insulation at the house, and then later that weekend, WordServe Youth built a playhouse for the family’s children.  This weekend project was a perfect picture of the body of Christ coming together, with its many unique and special parts, to work together in unity for a common purpose.  One of our WordServe servants, Pam Gdanski, shared a powerful testimony about her experience helping the Youth build the playhouse.

“One thing that stood out more than anything was Rick Gdanski working with one of the family’s younger sons.  Before Rick ever did started working this project, he first showed the boy what he was doing, walked him through how to do the job, then had him complete the task himself, with Rick guiding him the whole time.  The boy was right there with him soaking in everything Rick was telling him.  Rick was so patient with him too, and involved him in the conversation and the decisions that were made about the playhouse we were building.  I noticed how respectful the boy was with Rick and how much he watched his every move.  I loved seeing Rick model this behavior for the young boy and teach him valuable life lessons!
Another obvious heart-warming moment was watching our youth play with the family’s kids and the other neighborhood children.  There were no barriers because of who they were, or the house they lived in.  The youth were giving piggy back rides, letting the young girls braid their hair, and playing “rock” ball.  The youth loved on these kids this afternoon and included them in all the games.  We also got to go into the house and look around.  One of the daughters pulled me by her hand and showed me every inch of the house.  The smiles on their faces were priceless; there was so much joy and excitement.  Just spending the afternoon with them was a blessing in itself.”
I’m sure the young boy will forever remember the patient, loving instruction given by Rick.  Even though the task might have been completed faster on his own, Rick saw the value in providing a teachable moment for the young boy, giving him ownership and pride in the project.  Not only did the children end up with an awesome new playhouse, but they were able to experience the joy spread by the servants there, and vice versa!
WordServe’s next Habitat for Huggins workday is on October 25.  You can sign up to serve by clicking here.  We hope to see you there!  You won’t regret being involved in such an incredible demonstration of Christ’s love!

WordServe Kids Preschool Focus for September: God’s God It!

How often do we throw out the words, “I’ve got it”? More often than we’ve actually got it, I would think. You know who’s actually “got it”? God. God’s got it. He is everywhere and has power over everything. That’s what we want our preschoolers to learn this month. No matter what’s going on, God’s got it.

They’ll learn God has the power to answer prayer through the story of Elijah and the fire. They’ll hear the story of Moses and the burning bush and learn that God has the power to speak to them. We’ll continue with Moses and tell the story of the pillars of clouds and fire to show our preschoolers that God has the power to show us the right way to go. And finally, we’ll close the month with the super amazing story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego where preschoolers will learn that God is so powerful that He can always be with them. Always. And, because He’s always there, He’s always got it!

Click here for the September Preschool Parent Cue!

by Kathy Hill, Editor in Chief, FirstLook

Back to School Sunday

Whether you were ready for it or not, school officially started again this past Monday!  At the beginning of the fall semester, many students, teachers, and parents set goals and routines for the new school year after having a busy, lazy, or restful summer.  At WordServe Church, we believe that a huge part of having a successful school year means focusing on spiritual preparation and priorities, not just excelling in academics and sports.

Every year, one of our favorite Sunday celebrations is Back to School Sunday.  This past Sunday, we set the tone for the new school year by introducing our latest sermon series, The Happiness Project.


Parents, grandparents, and friends also had the incredible opportunity of praying over their students through the Blessing of the Backpacks.  Each student brought his or her school backpack and received prayers and blessings of encouragement from the congregation.



We also had three very special guests in attendance:  Doug Waddill, principal of Huggins Elementary, and Fred and Patti Shafer, namesakes of Shafer Elementary.  These people clearly love students–they allowed them to make ice cream sundaes on top of their heads!


We hope that as you begin your fall semester, you make a relationship with Jesus a vibrant part of your daily life.  We have many opportunities for you to grow your faith and put it into action–FaithFULL Kids, Community Groups, WordServe Youth, Habitat for Huggins, and of course, Sunday morning worship.  We pray this is the best school year yet!



Living Water International Trip to Honduras


Over the summer, WordServe participated in several activities and projects that built relationships with members of the community and met needs, like FaithFULL Kids and Habitat for Huggins.   Though our mission focuses on reaching our own communities for Christ, we believe in the calling we have as Christians to reach the nations for Jesus.  From July 26-August 2, a team of servants from WordServe traveled to Honduras with Living Water International to help drill a water well for a community that lacked a source of fresh, clean water.  Through meeting a physical need for clean water, the team was able to introduce the community to the source of living water that will never run dry–Jesus Christ.  When the team returned, each member shared testimony of how they saw Christ at work during the time in Honduras.  In case you missed the Celebration Service, you can check out the videos below:

Chad Yelverton’s Christ Cam


Bill Hogan’s Christ Cam


Jason Zimmerman’s Christ Cam


Kasey Hogan’s Christ Cam


Leslie Wakefield’s Christ Cam


Lisa Harp’s Christ Cam


Marcus Dillon’s Christ Cam


Matt Lewis’ Christ Cam


 As you can see, this trip was truly life-changing for all who were involved.  If you have questions about the trip, please ask one of team members.  If you are interested in going on a short-term mission trip of your own, contact Nolan Donald or Bill Hogan for information about future trips.

WordServe Kids Focus for September: Opportunity Knocks–Responsibility

sept responsibility

Have you ever walked through your local grocery store and noticed the potential just sitting on the shelves?

You can head down one aisle and discover spices from around the world.

Over in the produce stands, you can find the ripest apples, cartons of blueberries, maybe even some obscure Dragon Fruit.

Not to mention all of the staples on another aisle: flour, sugar, eggs, and milk.

Incredible ingredients that will sit there and go bad unless someone takes them home and creates something delicious.

You can speculate all day about the potential in that grocery store, but until there is some type of response to what you believe can really happen, it’s just potential. In other words, with the right kind of response, faith in a process I can’t fully understand, and a big mess of dishes, those ingredients could turn into warm, sticky-sweet, apple cobbler goodness. But if those ingredients just sit there, even though they have incredible potential, the flour will just stay powdery and tasteless. The butter will soften. And those apples will turn brown. In fact, if you do nothing, they will lose their potential and turn into something that just makes your trash smell bad.

Think about someone’s life, with all of the God-given, God-created ingredients. You have time, talents, opportunities, words, and resources. The point is, we can choose to either respond to what God has given us or we can ignore it. One of the most powerful things leaders and parents can do is to inspire their children to trust that God can do amazing things through the abilities He’s given them. Kids should grow up knowing that their faith in God’s ability to do that, can profoundly affect how they view and respond to their unique potential.

That’s why we’re taking September to look more closely at what the Bible has to say about responsibility. We define responsibility as: Showing you can be trusted by what you say and do.

In Week 1, we head back to the garden of Eden where God created Adam and Eve and gave them their First Job. Through passages in Genesis 1 and 2, we’ll see how they were put in charge of the entire world. They took responsibility and began to cultivate the earth.

Our Bottom Line is: Show you can be trusted by taking care of what God has made. The first job God gave to Adam and Eve was a task that we can continue today.

In Week 2, we’ll look at 1 Kings 19:16-21 and 2 Kings 2:1-15. Elijah was nearing the end of his work as God’s prophet. God chose Elisha to carry on the work. But first, Elisha had some things to learn.

Our Bottom Line is: Show you can be trusted to lead by learning how to follow. We all want to lead, but we need to learn from our leaders before we can be in charge.

In Week 3, we’ll hear from one of Jesus’ parables in Matthew 21:28-32. In the Parable of the Two Sons, a father asked his sons to do some work. One said “yes” but didn’t follow through with his actions. The other said “no” at first, but ended up completing the job anyway. We’ll discover that it’s important to do what you say you will.

Our Bottom Line is: Show you can be trusted by what you do. You can’t just say you’ll do something; you actually have to do it.

In Week 4, we’ll look at another of Jesus’ parables found in Matthew 25:14-29a. In the Parable of the Talents, a business owner went on a trip and put three guys in charge of some money. Each one did something different, but only two of them were found faithful and given more responsibility.

Our Bottom Line is: Show you can be trusted with more by taking care of what you have. If you want more responsibility, show that you can be responsible with what you already have.

Our memory verse this month is Luke 16:10a, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much.” (NIV) When we show responsibility with the little things, there’s a good chance we’ll have opportunity for greater responsibility in the future.

God has created everyone with potential: talents, time, resources, opportunities. And we can either respond to God with our abilities in a way that honors Him, or we can waste what He has given. Think about the word responsibility. It really breaks down into how you respond with your abilities. And we want children to not only understand how to respond to the ability that God’s given them, but also how to respond to God’s ability to work through them to change the world around them.

Click here for a copy of the September Weekly Parent Cue!

 By Dan Scott ©2014 The reThink Group. All rights reserved. www.ThinkOrange.com *Used by permission.

Joint Celebration Service with Greater Zachery Baptist Church

greater zachery

A couple of years ago, WordServe Church had the vision that the best way to begin the new year would be to join forces with another local church to celebrate the work God was doing in the community, to encourage one another, and to establish unity as bodies of believers.  So, on the first Sunday of 2013, we began what we hoped would be a tradition of worshiping with the Greater Zachery Baptist Church from Fulshear, TX.  The service was a beautiful time of fellowship and worship–the music was so rocking that we even blew a breaker and momentarily lost power!

Due to scheduling issues, we were unable to celebrate together on the first Sunday of 2014, but we again joined services on Sunday, July 6 at Shafer Elementary.

Reverend Jackie Gilmore, pastor of Greater Zachery Baptist Church, shared a message from Philippians about joy that was powerfully uplifting.  His son and worship leader at Greater Zachery, Torrey Gilmore, joined the WordServe Praise Team by playing keyboard and adding his beautiful voice to the mix.  The Greater Zachery choir even made an appearance and blessed us all through song.  The service was such a success that WordServe and Greater Zachery are exploring options for coming together again soon.  Our time together was also a powerful reminder that while we all have different backgrounds, different traditions, and different styles of worship, we are all children of God and that He is so pleased when his children worship together in unity.

Habitat for Huggins Update

Since December, WordServe has been involved in an on-going project called Habitat for Huggins.  WordServe was contacted through our adopted school, Huggins Elementary, about a family in need of major home repairs. The family has eight children, four of whom are currently attending Huggins. After meeting with school leaders, counselors, and other city officials, WordServe decided to commit to rebuild this house and make all the necessary repairs so that the family can return to their home.   Going into the project, we as a church realized that this was a great undertaking that could take up to a year to complete.The following video highlights the vision for the project, as well as showing the “before” condition of the home.

With the help of many volunteers from WordServe, a host of handy “Mikes”, generous donors from the community, and God’s gracious provision, much progress has been made on the home!  The house demolition and clean up was completed on May 10 and we have turned the project over to a contractor for flooring, framing, drywall, roofing, electrical, and plumbing.   Check out the current transformation!






We are excited about the challenges still left before us and feel that this project is clearly in line with our vision of “transforming communities one relationship at a time.” This project is a direct link to our adoption of Huggins Elementary and represents our focus on changing the community through the schools. It is our hope that every person connected to WordServe will play some role in bringing this project to completion. We know it will take skilled workers for much of the construction, but it will also take people willing to serve through clean-up, painting, prayer, food for the workers, and in any other way that God might lead someone to serve.  We will provide updates when the contracted work is complete and we are able to schedule our regular Saturday workdays again.  We hope you will take part in what God is doing to transform our community one relationship at a time, through one hammer and nail at a time!