Gregg Matte, Pastor of Houston's First Baptist Church
When a man named Harvey and his ugly sister Irma came to town, it turned our lives upside down. Uninvited guests are the worst kind — especially when they don’t clean up after themselves. As a result of Harvey, our church, Houston’s First Baptist, has over 20 staff members and hundreds of church members with flooded homes. What do you do when a tragedy like this happens? Here are a few thoughts for the three groups of people who have been affected:
1. Those who made it through basically unscathed.
I’m in this group and have experienced tremendous anxiety, but as the storm has passed, normality has returned. This group must realize that God has protected us to use us. Move past survivor’s guilt and into your Savior’s service. We now have the ability to serve, give, and encourage our friends and neighbors. Don’t let life drift back to business as usual but, instead, walk helpfully into the new normal.
2. Those who were impacted.
3. All of us.
Love first. In 2 Corinthians 1:5, Paul says, “With the comfort we have received in Christ, we comfort others.” Show the love of Christ first and foremost in your care and service to those in need. Be a differencemaker in your neighborhood and church. We need tens of thousands of people to rise up with love in this time. This needs to be both organic and organizational. Organic is “See a need, meet a need.” — like friends and family stepping forward quickly. Organizational is “Sign up and sent out.” — like the church mobilizing an army for good to help the community. We need both — in droves. God is going to use these storms and us for eternal impact.
You will make it through this and grow in your faith because of it. Keep trusting and serving. And remember — when the rains fall, the church rises!
Follow Pastor Gregg on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Listen to other messages from Pastor Gregg about the impacts of Hurricane Harvey, and learn more about Houston's First Baptist Church's LOVEFIRST Disaster Relief efforts.