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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3 Steps in Becoming a Mouthpiece for Truth and Justice

Have you ever wondered how you might become a mouthpiece for Truth and Justice?  The idea can be intimidating, to say the least.  I mean, how do I:

  • know where to start?
  • know what to say or do?
  • conduct myself so that Christ is glorified?

Or maybe you’re not convinced that you need to be a mouthpiece for Truth and Justice.  If that’s your starting point, perhaps you’d like to listen to this sermon from Pastor Bill on this very topic.

But let’s just say you believe that we should connect our faith to everyday life, and that the world needs to hear from the Christ in you.  And let’s just say you’re not alone.  With a powerful community and The Holy Spirit, you’re more than equipped to make a significant impact in the world.  So let’s get started! Continue reading

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.

Living Water International Trip to Honduras

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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

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Bill Hogan’s Christ Cam

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Jason Zimmerman’s Christ Cam

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Kasey Hogan’s Christ Cam

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Leslie Wakefield’s Christ Cam

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Lisa Harp’s Christ Cam

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Marcus Dillon’s Christ Cam

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Matt Lewis’ Christ Cam

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 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.

Joint Celebration Service with Greater Zachery Baptist Church

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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!

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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!

FaithFULL Kids Celebration

On Sunday June 8, 2014, WordServe celebrated the first anniversary of the FaithFULL Kids program.  God has blessed us and provided not only what we have needed–a meeting and storage location, food and monetary donations, and an abundant harvest of workers to serve–but He has also provided physical and spiritual nourishment for kids in our community.  Because of God’s goodness, we were able to meet (and exceed) our goals laid out for the first year of FaithFULL Kids.

Here are a few ways we have seen God at work this year:

–96 kids have received meals each week.

–In the 37 weeks of this past school year, 3,552 backpacks have been filled.

–This adds up to over $8,500 worth of food.

–There have been over 518 volunteer hours this year alone with an average of 14 volunteers each week.

–More than 220 people have been involved with an average of 6 new volunteers per week.

–Approximately 40 boxes of food were distributed during Spring Break.

–Over $23,000 has been raised to fund the program.

Our vision for FaithFULL Kids isn’t stopping with just these statistics–we have a dream to expand this program and impact even more children and families in the coming year.  This Summer, join WordServe Kids each Wednesday from 10:30-11:30 AM, as we pack meals for FaithFULL Kids at Guardian Taekwon-Do and deliver to Huggins Elementary for pick-up by our FaithFULL Kids families.  During pick-up, we have fun and faith-filled activities planned to help deepen our relationships with these children.  This is a great way for your kids to share their faith and serve the community during the summer months!  To sign up to serve or for more information, click HERE.

 

Lavi–a FaithFULL Kid in Action

Lavi Schwartz, son of Sabrina and Haim Schwartz, is one of our precious WordServe Kids who recently decided to take an active step to help others and demonstrate his faith.  Sabrina said,

“About two weeks before school let out for the summer, Lavi came to me and said “Momma, I want to do a lemonade stand for charity!” Surprised, I asked him “Why?” He said, “So that people who don’t have anything can have something!” Still curious about what he wanted to do, I asked “When?” and of course as expected from an impulsive young boy, he replied “Right now!” I explained to him that I didn’t even have a lemon to squeeze into a glass, so he would have to wait for me to get all the supplies. Lavi was not pleased with that answer and continued to beg. As a compromise, I asked him to start a shopping list and design some sketches for signs. When I saw his sign sketch, I noticed he was asking $40 for lemonade!   When I told him “Lavi, no one is going to pay $40 for lemonade!”, he simply replied, “Mom, it’s for charity; sure they will.”
Once I found a free Saturday morning, we made signs and prepared a table on the corner in front of our house. I posted Lavi’s stand on Facebook and friends, family, and neighbors came from all over–and you know what? Lavi was right!  Within three hours, he had raised $160 to donate to FaithFULL Kids.

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I can honestly say God was at work through Lavi with this because I can’t think of anything that could have sparked this idea. Not to say Lavi isn’t a giving child. He is. I just don’t know where or how he got the idea to do a lemonade stand to raise money for charity. In fact, while people were flocking over to him, he leaned over to me and whispered “I’m so glad I started this business!”

Lavi took a risk–most people really wouldn’t pay $40 for a cup of lemonade even on the hottest Katy day–but his faith that God could use him and his desire to serve others showed that even the smallest acts of service can have a great effect on the world.

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How Long, Lord?

“O LORD, how long will you forget me? Forever? How long will you look the other way? How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day?” (Psa 13:1–2 NLT)

The injustices in this world are maddening, aren’t they?  Why should some have so much, and others so little? And why doesn’t God do something about it?

Do you know what I think?  I think God IS doing something about injustice and hardship… he’s inviting us to partner with him to bring restoration and peace.

A young mother who is now doing her best to take care of her young children plus some extended family might have been thinking, “How long, Lord?”  With 8 children to care for and a house that needs some help, she approached WordServe to see if we could help.  After planning, consideration, and on-site evaluation, WordServe’s Compassion team decided they could take on her house repairs.

Mind you, this won’t be a weekend project.  This will be many weekends, all done by volunteers on their time off.  As I thought about the scope of work, the enemy’s voice started up:

  • WordServe can’t do this… it’s too big
  • The Church will promise and get hopes up, but you won’t be able to deliver
  • You’ll do more harm than good

Indeed, as I rode out to meet the family with our Director of Compassion and our project manager, I couldn’t help but wonder, “How can WordServe possibly pull this off?”

big prayer road signAs this thought crossed my mind, we rounded the next turn. I couldn’t help but notice the street sign:

Big Prayer Road

No… I’m not making that up.  That’s the road name!  And that’s the answer.

God knew long before my doubts that there was a need.  God has been preparing the work site and the workers.  And God is inviting us to join in what God will pull off… not WordServe.

The Psalm above started with a cry for help, but don’t stop reading there.  And more importantly, don’t live there!  Have the faith to see the end of the story, even before the end is clear:

But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me. I will sing to the LORD because he is good to me.” (Psa 13:5–6 NLT)

Want to help?  How about starting with some “Big Prayer?”

Serving joyfully,
Bill

Visit http://www.wordserve.org/habitatforhuggins for regular updates.  Volunteers welcome!

 

FulSERVE 2013

On October 13, 2013, WordServe Church teamed up with First United Methodist Church, Fulshear, to joyfully care for the needs of people in our community. Instead of our regular Sunday worship service, we offered our acts of service as worship to the God who loves us all–and we saw God make a difference in our lives and the lives of those we helped. People packed kits for Katy Christian Ministries and care packages for Living Water International, while others shoveled and raked and repaired homes in the rain, and residents at The Oaks of Brookshire nursing home enjoyed visitors and music. The morning of October 13, we didn’t just go to church. We WERE the Church. Take a look at some of the highlights.

FulSERVE 2013 Highlight Video

FulSERVE Highlights 2013 from WordServe Church on Vimeo.