HARRY & SANDRA’S STORY
Harry: I’ve been at West University Baptist, which is now a CityRise campus, since I was five years old until I went to college in Austin. After that I came back to Houston in 1973 with Sandra. We continued to attend the West U campus until 2005, when we went to populate the Crosspoint campus where we have been ever since.
Sandra: We raised our family there because it’s a place where everyone is involved in raising the children, where being involved in the different programs that are available helps to get the kids involved. Even the capital raising event was something for families to participate in.
Sports were a big part of our lives and for our family, and we wanted to give something that would be noticed by our kids. We also took a vacation to the beach every summer, and we knew if we gave up that they would take notice as well. We wanted them to realize that it’s important to do some sacrificial giving.
We gave up the beach for a few years, but you know the saying “You can’t outgive the Lord.” We found an old beach house for sale as we were walking that we would later buy, and it just goes to show that although it’s not the motive for giving, God always blesses us and gives back to us, so you should always obey when the Holy Spirit is urging you.
We found this out when our oldest son became a minister in Bolivia. We knew that we have a tendency to want to hold onto things, but you always have to trust the Lord because he’d be safer in His hands and doing His will than here in Houston.
Giving of our time and talents is part of the way we give.
I learned when you give your time and talents that the Lord would bless that, and although I never gave to be blessed, He always blessed us when we needed it.
Harry: After college when we set up our home and employment, tithing was just part of our setup. That’s what we had been taught, and that’s what we wanted to do.
We gave a little bit of money from summer jobs, but it wasn’t until we were real adults that we began tithing with our money and time. Sandra would work with GA’s and missions, and I would work with RA’s, and from there we would see other leaders who would be mentors to us. Everybody has different talents, but the Lord can use all of them. We saw them model that for us, and it inspired us to help meet any needs we could, whether financially or with our time or leadership.
But generosity goes deeper than just giving your money, you can sacrifice a lot, which we did, but really giving of your time and talents means a lot. I’ve seen many men working and giving to the Lord when I was younger, both Chester Arnold and Hollis Waldt modeled that for me, so I continue to lead in their footsteps. And many other great men give so much of their time, which has allowed us to do some great things at CityRise.
Everything we do and give is directed by the Lord, we just try to point things in the right direction.
Sandra: Even knowing when it’s time to step down and let others take over is part of giving, especially within the church. Nobody is perfect in the church, and we won’t always get along, but sometimes getting involved with different people allows you to see things from a different perspective, and that’s part of the body of Christ. If we all had the same talents we wouldn’t be used.
Harry: Unfortunately, I lost my father when I was 14, so I had to learn a lot from other men in the church. I learned when you give your time and talents that the Lord would bless that, and although I never gave to be blessed, He always blessed us when we needed it. So even when I was working 60 hours a week, I would still carve out time to volunteer at the church. And as soon as I had more time, it was really fun to grow and meet the needs we saw around us in groups, and it continues to bless me to this day.
Sandra: The joy really comes through in our daily living, and even in tough times, we’ve been allowed to have that peace and joy.
We’re really excited about the Deep & Wide campaign, because they’re working to connect people into small groups, as we were once fortunate enough to experience 15 years ago. The transparency that comes with a small group when you’re all together sharing the deepest things in your life really opens doors for growth and community. It’s a great opportunity for young people financially and for the giving of their time and talents.
We believe so much in small groups and the change that they can bring for the Lord, and it’s really exciting for us to be a part of. God is everywhere and we want people all over the world to know this.
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