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

 

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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

 

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

 

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 November: Time Out! Gratitude

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“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.

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.

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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.

 

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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!

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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!

 

 

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.

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.

 

Connecting with FaithFULL Kids

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Recently, WordServe hosted a Compassion event after Sunday morning worship for families to pack boxes of food for children participating in FaithFULL Kids, a program that provides non-perishable foods to kids on free/reduced lunch at Huggins Elementary.  Through this opportunity, families worked side-by-side to elevate others as God’s masterpieces, joyfully serving children who might not have otherwise had food over the Spring Break holiday.

One of WordServe’s community groups committed to greet and encourage families that came to pick up their food boxes before Spring Break began.

Cheryl Dent, Director of WordServe Kids shared, “We were giving the drop off locations a try with the hope that we could begin to build relationships with the families. It was wonderful to watch the kids that came to serve and the ones that came to pick up the food immediately connect and begin to play tag and hide and seek with each other.”

However, the children were not the only ones who connected on a deeper level.

Cheryl continued, “One of my favorite memories of that afternoon was watching the interaction of one of the kids there who came up to one of the adults. She showed her a hollow stick and the adult asked her if she would like her to make a bracelet out of it. It was special to watch the two of them interact as they found pine needles and tied them together and then looped the pieces of the hollow stick on it. The little girl’s smile and the lady’s smile as they worked together made this God moment a special memory for me. The next time our community group met, another adult there said she saw that little girl at her child’s school at lunch time. The adult was able to greet that child by name and hug her! It will be great to see how God will use just a small interaction to build relationships! God is at work as we transform our community one relationship at a time!”

If you are interested in participating in FaithFULL Kids, or have questions about this ministry, check out http://www.wordserve.org/faithfullkids for more information!

Here are a few pictures of WordServe Kids helping to make life different!

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WordServe Youth enjoy “Life is Different” weekend

In January, WordServe Youth took to Lutherhill Camp for three jam-packed days of fun, laughter, games, spiritual challenge, worship, and growth! It was an awesome chance for students and adults to get away and build great relationships with each other and with God.

Check out the video from the weekend: