My Summer at WordServe

 

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WordServe is truly wonderful. I have spent my summer exploring my call to ministry as an intern here, and I can’t say enough good about it. I could not have asked to be placed at a better church for this process. The people here are incredibly welcoming to newcomers, authentic, and committed to ministry in a way I have seen in few other congregations.

Starting even before I arrived the people of WordServe were letting me know how excited they were to have me. I received countless emails from members of the staff and congregation welcoming me into their family and even inviting me to their homes for dinner. When I arrived at the church, I quickly discovered that they really wanted to make me feel as welcome as they could. After the services on the first Sunday I attended, many members of the congregation made it clear they wanted to get to know me and that they were there to help me however they could. I can honestly say I have never felt so immediately at home in a new church, and I can’t thank everyone at WordServe enough for putting a very nervous young intern at ease.

The people here are incredibly authentic. They are the kinds of people who want to know what is going on in your life. Watching them after services has made it clear they really do care about each other. Most of the congregation will stay at the church and just talk with each other after services instead of immediately disbanding. Many are more than willing to help each other when they are called upon, and they strive to build relationships with each other outside of church. Coming from a relatively large church where that doesn’t happen much, it is extremely refreshing to see and experience.

One of the main goals of any church is to equip the congregation to do ministry. WordServe has been one of the few churches I have seen have overwhelming success in this. People of WordServe take any and every opportunity to serve the community. One of the coolest things here is it isn’t just the pastor giving the message. Since I’ve been here I’ve already seen two of the members of the congregation give amazing messages. Such a willingness from the congregation to share God’s word with others is something I have never seen and something I very much admire about the culture being cultivated at WordServe. I can only hope when I am serving as a pastor I can cultivate this kind of culture.

All in all the people at this church have taught me much. This has been one of my best summers, and I’m so glad to have had this chance to grow in Christ with these people. They have welcomed me as one of their own, and this church will always hold a very dear place in my heart. So, to the WordServe family a very heartfelt thank you from a young man just trying to find his role in God’s Kingdom. I’ve had an incredible time getting to know you all, and I’m not looking forward to the end of my time here. Keep up the great work!

-Trevor Guidry, Summer Pastoral Intern

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Authentic Relationships

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WordServe is amazing. It’s a small church with a family feel, and a big reason for that is community groups. Community group is where we have experienced the most depth, challenge, and growth in our faith. We have learned two big lessons in our five years at WordServe for thriving in community.

First, we had to have realistic expectations for authentic relationships. Sometimes the impression can be that as soon as you enter a community group, you will have an instant, fully-invested community. To be honest, we were not always perfectly thriving in our groups. Groups, like friendships, can be tough and take time to grow. Brand new groups, especially, struggle at first to find their groove. We were in a few different community groups, and while they were each wonderful, they were not yet home.

During this time, God worked on our hearts and developed us in exciting and unexpected ways. Meg, for example, works in a male-dominated field and was more comfortable talking to men than women for years! Through community group she formed strong bonds with the women she met and learned that her true home was with these wildly wonderful, faith-filled ladies. Through their support, she gained the courage and vision to begin attending seminary at Houston Baptist University. Matt entered community group young in his faith walk. When he started engaging with other men, especially in men’s group, and receiving the loving accountability, support, and encouragement that comes from their camaraderie, he made great strides in his maturity and his faith. Through their wisdom and support, he gained a stronger faith foundation and greater courage that ultimately led to him stepping into his role at WordServe as youth leader.

Our second big lesson… we realized we have to be courageous enough to ask for help when we need it. A dangerous, unwritten expectation can be that if we have a prayer request or discuss a need, people will automatically assume we need help and offer it. When we needed help the most, we were so busy trying to survive that we failed to ask for help from those who would’ve been most willing to give it. Outside looking in, we had it all together! This left us floundering instead of diving deeper into what community means – asking for help and being there for one anther in all of life’s circumstances in both struggles and celebrations.

God finally led us to our homes in the men’s and women’s groups. While these groups have grown and changed, their hearts for God and for each other have stayed the same. Even when we have had to step back from attending the group, we have kept our relationships with members and continued to engage them in our faith and personal lives. These men and women are people we feel we could reach out to with any need and receive support.  They are the body of Christ to us.

-Matt & Meg Lewis

 

Refreshed, Revived, Repurposed, Renewed

 

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I am journeying through a life transition.  It was knocking my socks off, and I needed a church home to be refreshed, revived, repurposed, renewed.  WordServe centers their mission around celebrate, compassion, community and connect.  These seemed juxtaposed to what I was seeking and where God was leading me.

I have never attended a church service where the compassion of the Lord has been so alive!  I feel revived every single time I am around the members of WordServe.  Whether I am sitting next to them in service or Bible study, running into them at the grocery store, having lunch with them, or in the parking lot of PetSmart, the people who go to WordServe are genuine.  When the pastors ask how I am, they really mean it.  I am revived in this setting.  It stirs my soul to go back to be the genuine me that God created to serve him!  The hugs when I am tearing up, the laughter with others who have experienced my journey, the delight in the faces when I am greeted, have all revived my soul!  These people are Jesus with skin on.  They are real, honest, vulnerable, sinners who seek God.

The compassion of this church body is awesome.  They are involved in helping the community in the house they are building, in ministering to the children of a local school, in making meals for those who were displaced during and after the floods of Hurricane Harvey, in the washing of clothes, helping the flood victims, and joining local churches in the same area.  They know the heartbeat of this community and take care of it!  I have hungered for helping those around me, and this is where God led me.  I can make meals, wash clothes, make homey things for our Huggins’ families, visit children at school, as well as pray for them, because I can see their faces, feel their hearts and know their needs.

This church body has reached out to me and renewed my faith that God is everywhere.  They welcomed me with open arms.  They have gone out of their way to include me and let me know my skills, talents, and heart have a place here.  The Women’s Community Group on Tuesday nights have welcomed me, and I have never felt like a stranger.  Though I am unable to attend regularly, these ladies have contacted me by phone, text, lunches, asking how they can pray.  They have opened up to me on how I can pray for them as well.  They have been vulnerable with me and allowed friendships to grow.  They made the first and ongoing steps that renewed my starving soul.  I do still have a purpose, place, and peace.  I fit in!

This is the first church body I have been a part of that truly lives the church in Acts.  They get it!  They are real!  They celebrate!  They show compassion!  They know and serve the community!  They connect with those within the church body!  I thank the Lord for leading me to WordServe.  As 2018 begins, so does my furthering journey.  This will include these loving people at WordServe whom I am proud to say I am one of them.

-Robin Ferguson

 

Why WordServe?

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So, Why WordServe?  Simply put… because our church gets it!  Our church knows how to be overwhelmed for God’s things.  We can’t thank God enough for bringing us to this beautiful church in Fulshear.  Immediately we felt at home because God’s love was beaming right through the walls.  It wasn’t just the love everyone has for each other, but, most importantly, we saw the love that WordServe has for those outside the church walls.  That is contagious, attractive and refreshing – it’s seeing Jesus!

Serving is a huge part of life for us, and that is what we have been doing together since we got married nine years ago.  But, we have learned that serving too much can be spiritually dangerous if we don’t do it right and consult God first.  We got so busy following our agenda that we lost sight of what’s more important – growing closer to Jesus.  We craved a deeper relationship with our Lord and with each other.  Without a doubt, obeying God when He called us to follow Him to WordServe has been life changing for us.  God has shown us that He honors obedience and will blow our minds away with the impossible things He has in store for us!

Recently, we saw God’s mighty hand at work.  Jim’s dad passed away unexpectedly on September 6th, and we left for Oklahoma to prepare his funeral and be with family.  Our lives were filled with busy days trying to get things done, and we just didn’t seem to have time for soaking in His Word during that week.  We missed it dearly!  But He immediately reminded us that during the difficult times He carries us.  It’s not about what we do for Him but what He does for us.  We know many of you were praying for us and we felt the power of those prayers.  No matter how many hours we put in during the day, we always seemed to wake up with energy to keep going the next day.  God’s strength came upon us and led us through a very difficult time.

Serving is our way of saying “Thank You” to God for His many blessings.  He is teaching us that a genuine relationship with Him is what guides us in choosing the areas of church in which we serve.  When we seek Him first, His hand is with us and He blesses the offering of service.  That in turn blesses us and fills our souls and bodies with rest, strength and more love for Him and for others.

We are so happy to be serving God alongside each one of you, but even more ecstatic to be growing in Christ through the teachings and serving opportunities at our new church home.  That is why we choose to serve God at WordServe!

Together let’s allow the loving currents of God’s grace and power to carry us to live beyond the limits for His glory!

-Jim & Liz Boggs

 

I Love My Church

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“I love my church.” It’s been a refrain I’ve oft repeated over the last year and a half to anyone who would listen.  I think sometimes we overuse words like “love”, “blessed”, and others, but for this church, at this time, it’s perfectly applicable.  Through an interesting set of circumstances, my family — husband Matt and 7 year old twins Ryan and Quinn — made our way to WordServe in early 2016.  From the moment we entered the doors, we felt wrapped in the arms of some of the most awesome God-loving people I’ve had the pleasure to meet.  Churches are a funny thing, really.  It’s often an intangible feeling of why you decide to call one your “home”.  But once we attended our first Christmas Eve service, I turned to my husband with tears in my eyes and felt it was just that… home.

A little back story, but way back 10+ years ago, I worked for WordServe’s parent church, Grace Fellowship.  I remember distinctly as the leadership there prayed and mulled over name suggestions for this new birthing in Fulshear.  And now having been a part of these mission partners for 18 months, I can say with 100% certainty that the name was absolutely God-ordained.  This church so perfectly lives out that name — grounded in the Word and committed to service outside ourselves. It is just rare to have so many serve so selflessly, day in, day out, and forever transforming lives in our community.  I feel privileged to witness and participate in these acts of service.  And honestly, as a parent, nothing beats seeing my children grow and blossom into devoted followers of Jesus.  Because of the love and guidance of those who serve so beautifully in WordServe Kids, my children have since both taken the huge step of publicly proclaiming their faith through baptism.  Those are moments that I will never forget and I am forever thankful of the examples set by our mission partners to show them exactly what loving God looks like.

I am so excited to experience what God has planned for WordServe and all of the lives that will continue to be transformed both in and outside these walls.  It is an honor to worship with you all each Sunday and to do life with you regularly outside of that hour.  That is a defining characteristic of a church… living faith out LOUD.  Our tagline “Life is Different” is not just a cutesy phrase.  It’s truth.  Thank you for loving our family well.  We are forever changed.

-Meagan Clanahan

 

Build-A-Bear Compassion

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Earlier in February, WordServe had the opportunity to bless Texas Children’s Hospital with custom-created Build-A-Bear gifts. The bears will be given to children who are battling illness and injury and face an extended hospital stay.  As WordServe values elevating others as God’s masterpieces, we hope that the children receiving these bears will find comfort, joy, and encouragement from these tangible displays of compassion. People of all ages and walks of life–young children, moms, dads, youth volunteers–gathered at Guardian Tae-kwon-do and assembled the bears and stuffed animals with clothing, accessories, and love.

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Texas Children’s Hospital was delighted to receive the bears and wrote:

“Because of donors like you and with the support of our community [we are] better able to alleviate stress and anxiety, promote positive coping, and create special moments for our patients and families.”

Thank you to all who participated in this awesome Compassion event!  Stay tuned for more upcoming service opportunities.

Schools Helping Schools through FaithFULL Kids

For many high school students, taking part in community service is a meaningful way to give back to others and gain skills and experiences valuable for future pursuits.  We are blessed to live in a community where high school students are passionate and proactive about serving others.  Seven Lakes High School’s National Honor Society, a chapter with close to 600 members known for its enthusiastic community service efforts, adopted FaithFULL Kids as its Fall 2014 service project.

Christina Zapalac, who serves as SLHS’s NHS sponsor, heard Rachel Dillon speak about the vision and mission behind FaithFULL Kids at during a recent service at WordServe.  Moved by what FaithFULL Kids is accomplishing in the community, Christina quickly mobilized students from SLHS to volunteer for the Sunday afternoon packing parties at Guardian TKD. Students jumped at the chance to earn service hours and help others, and packing parties soon became full.  But NHS didn’t stop there.  Every fall, the organization promotes a school-wide service project to benefit the surrounding area.  The students who had already served with FaithFULL Kids knew of the weekly food needs and could think of no better way of helping out than to conduct a food drive and donate the collections to FaithFULL Kids.  Over the course of several weeks, SLHS NHS collected 50 boxes of non-perishable food to restock the FaithFULL Kid shelves.

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WordServe is so excited to have SLHS NHS join our efforts to ensure that no child from Huggins Elementary goes hungry.  Right now, pray blessings for every child receiving food backpacks from FaithFULL Kids, as well as every student who provided a simple food item for the drive!  Thanks, SLHS NHS!

Habitat for Huggins Update: Moved In!

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It’s official:  the Habitat for Huggins house can once again be called HOME! After an entire year of prayers, love, and hard work, the house is occupied. Move-in day has been described as “Simply AMAZING. Holy. Truly beyond words.” Thank you to everyone who had a hand in this transformation; you have truly done God’s work.

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If you didn’t get to help out as much as you had planned or hoped, don’t worry. This mission has just begun! WordServe Church is already saving funds for the next family in need.  The entire offering collected at WordServe’s Community Candlelight Christmas Eve service was donated to Habitat for Huggins!

To learn more about Habitat for Huggins visit wordserve.org/habitatforhuggins.

WordServe Kids Focus for January: Rehearsal Room Commitment

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Have you never had to endure a child learning to play the clarinet? It’s pretty awful. It sounds more like a person strangling a duck than anything close to actual music. But that goes with any musical instrument, doesn’t it? To become great at playing an instrument, you need to practice … to rehearse. You need to commit to sticking with it even when you don’t feel like it.

Maybe you’re not really a “music person.” Maybe your interest involves the soccer field or basketball court. Or maybe you find yourself at home on the stage acting or dancing. Whatever your “thing,” you know firsthand that in order to get better—to master your sport or hone your craft—you have to put in the work and practice, practice, practice.

The same is also true for faith. It takes practice to grow and mature in your relationship with God. It takes commitment. That’s why we’re spending the whole month of January to discover how commitment can show up in our lives as we practice our faith.

Commitment is making a plan and putting it into practice.

If we want to know God better, we need to practice our faith. But practicing isn’t something that comes naturally to any of us. That’s why we need a plan. And the best place to start is with spiritual disciplines; or what we call in the Orange world, “faith skills.”

This month, we are focusing on four faith skills that we think kids need to practice to know God better. We’re taking this month of commitment to dig deeper into these faith skills to help kids get a handle on what it means to practice their faith. We use four simple words to help us remember these skills:

HEAR. PRAY. TALK. LIVE.

Each week this month, we’ll focus on one of the faith skills as we talk about making a plan and putting it into practice.

In Week One, we’ll look at the word Hear. We want kids to learn how to hear from God as they listen to what Jesus said, listen to God’s Word, and His Holy Spirit. For the first week of commitment, kids will focus on navigating and personalizing Scripture as they look at the familiar parable of the wise and foolish builders found in Matthew 7:24-27.

Our Bottom Line is: Practice hearing what God says. We can’t do what God says until we know what God says, and that begins with listening to God.

For Week Two, we’ll discover more about what it means to Pray. We want kids to understand that praying is an important part of growing in their faith. They can pray knowing that God knows them and wants to hear from them. They can pray with gratitude and honesty; pray for their needs and for forgiveness. They can pray anytime, anywhere because God is always listening. That’s why we’ll look more closely at Luke 11:1-4 and the way Jesus taught His followers how to pray in the Lord’s Prayer.

Our Bottom Line is: Practice praying to God. We hope kids will come to believe that they can share anything with God. There’s nothing too big or too small for Him to handle.

Our faith skill for Week Three is Talk. We can actually get to know God better by talking about Him with others. But this isn’t just about talking about Jesus with people who don’t know Him yet. There’s also another important aspect of talking about God. As kids process their growing faith, they will have questions and doubts. We want kids to know that they can talk about God and work through their questions with others who also believe in Jesus. We’ll spend time in Matthew 16:13-20 and look at the moment when Peter declared what he believed about Jesus in front of all the disciples.

Our Bottom Line is: Practice talking about God. We can all share our story of faith with confidence knowing that Jesus is who He said He is.

We’ll wrap up the month with the faith skill Live. We know that most kids love to sing and worship God. But worship isn’t just something we do when we sing at church; worship is really how we honor God with our whole lives—through how we love others and serve them, and how we obey and praise God, or how we make time to rest. “Live”is also about giving of our time, money, and talents.

That’s why we’re looking at the story of the widow’s offering in Mark 12:41-44. There were people giving lots of money, but Jesus knew that the two coins the widow gave meant more because they were everything she had.

Our Bottom Line is: Practice living for God. We hope kids realize they can worship God every day with whatever they’re doing, no matter what they have.

During the month, we’ll memorize a great verse that reminds us about the importance of making a commitment to practice our faith. 1 Timothy 4:8a says: “Training the body has some value. But being godly has value in every way.” When we commit to practicing our faith and follow through on our plan, we’ll grow in such a way that will impact our entire lives.

Remember, as we unpack these four faith skills, not only this month but every week in Small Group and at home, we’re giving kids an opportunity to develop these skills over time so when they grow older, they will understand what it means to be the church, and understand how to work, live, and move in their relationship with Jesus Christ.

We can’t wait to see what God will do in the lives of kids and families this month as we commit to practice our faith and grow in our relationship with God.

For the January Elementary Student Parent Cue, click here!

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

WordServe Kids Focus for December: Wrapped Up Generosity

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“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.