“If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead” (Jm. 2:17).
Faith without helping storm-ravaged South Texans is dead, particularly if we live in the unaffected surrounding areas.
Early in the week, Twitter stormed with hurricane-like fury over Megachurch Pastor Joel Osteen’s initial hesitation to offer assistance to thousands of displaced Houstonians.
To his credit, Osteen has since offered the Houston Rockets’ former home as a distribution center and storm shelter, and it's possible that critics' claims have been debunked. I share this not to take sides, but as a case-in-point that the heart of the church is tested in crisis, and the world is watching.
They watch with the squinted eye of a skeptic—more likely to see what the church ISN’T doing than what it IS doing. It’s tempting to open our mouths in defense, but the best response is to roll up our sleeves.
Actions speak louder than creeds.
So how are you showing compassion for the victims of South Texas?
Compassion disrupted Jesus when He entered our storm and felt its wrath.
Compassion disrupts the life of the Christian, just as storms disrupt the life of the victim.
Below is a letter I wrote to our church about how Wellspring plans to show compassion. Even if you are not a part of Wellspring, I invite you to participate with us. Just follow the links to give or comment to find out more. Note also that since I wrote the letter, a new webpage has been created by the church we support, offering even more helpful info, welovehou.com.
Dear Wellspring family,
Our staff and elders have been praying and strategizing about how we will respond as a church to Hurricane Harvey. It’s moments like these when the church of Jesus needs to shine the brightest, and with sacrifice. I often say that we don’t want to just be a church that has good Bible Studies. We want to be a church that ‘walks across the road’ like the Good Samaritan… a church that sees human suffering and shows God’s compassion.
In the immediate term, we will give: money and supplies. Financially – I want you to CATCH THIS because it’s very exciting – Wellspring will MATCH EVERY DONATION, DOLLAR-FOR-DOLLAR, up to $10,000. So if Wellspringers donate $10,000, then we will give an EXTRA $10,000 – for a total of $20,000. See details for how to give at the bottom of this email.
What will we be giving to? We will be giving toward RESCUE, RELIEF, and REHABILITATION. We don’t want to give to someone’s overhead. We also don’t want to give to secular organizations. Our focus is on the church, because the church can minister to physical as well as deeper spiritual needs. One church we are connected with through Caleb Southerland is Houston Northwest (HNW). Caleb used to live in Houston, and he preaches at HNW regularly. The church has about 2000 people, so it is large enough to have a focused staff for mobilizing volunteers, but it is not a bureaucratic behemoth that sucks up donations on overhead and moves slowly. They are moving super-fast and focusing 100% of their fundraising efforts on the community around them. The church shares some of our most basic DNA, and you can find out more about it on their homepage (www.hnw.org). Houston Northwest’s recovery plan is spelled out a little more here ( https://www.hnw.org/weather-update/). If you’re on Facebook, I’ve shared Pastor Steve Bezner’s post on Wellspring’s FB page, which has more helpful information.
Now, I mentioned “supplies”, for those who prefer non-monetary donations. Please bring supplies to church on Sunday morning. We will have some crates just outside the Worship Center for you to place supplies on as they arrive. HNW will be spending the next few weeks “de-mudding” so a big need is cleaning supplies. Here’s a list of what you could bring on Sunday:
Disposable safety masks
Construction trash bags
Walmart Cards, Target Cards
He says, “Please do not send clothes”
Last question: how will we get these supplies to them? Answer, we will deliver them. Our hope is to send a team next week as the water subsides. It would probably be a 1-day trip, either very early Friday morning, return Friday night…. Or leave early Saturday morning and return Saturday night. Staying over night gets complicated for obvious reasons. I wish I could nail this part down more firmly, but it really depends on how the church can step in and serve.
So now I have a question for you! Would you be willing to lead the team that’s headed down there? Or be part of the team? If the supplies are significant, might you be able to bring a trailer or truck? *Maybe* even a boat?
Wellspring is donating financially to Houston Northwest Church, where 100% of our donation will go toward rescue, relief, and rehabilitation. Our hope and expectation is to give $20,000 by matching donations. Praise God for that! (link at the bottom)
Wellspring is donating physical items listed above, which you can bring to church on Sunday.
Wellspring is sending a team next week on Friday or Saturday (9/8 or 9/9) for a day-trip. We don’t know yet who is going. Will you?
And finally, tomorrow morning is our day of prayer. We will pray for all things Hurricane Harvey from 6-9AM if you can make it at any point.
Wellspring is not a church that exists for itself! God so loved the world…. And therefore, so do we. So let’s pray, let’s give, and let’s serve, in the name of Jesus Christ our wonderful Savior.
PS: Heres the link to give: https://wellspringdfw.churchcenteronline.com/giving/to/hurricane-harvey-relief-fund
You can also text an amount to give to 84321 and use the using the designator, “Harvey”