Do you really want to be like Joel Osteen?
Many of us saw the news this week about Houston’s Lakewood Church refusing to open its doors to people in need of shelter during the flooding. It turned out to be fake news – on the day of the hurricane, the Lakewood building was inaccessible due to high water on city streets. Once the flood levels dropped, they were taking in needy people by the hundreds. Many were quick to judge on both sides of the issue. Some were critical, saying that Joel Osteen and his staff were insensitive to the needs of their city. Others were quick to defend, claiming Christian persecution during tough times. Regardless of your opinions about any one church or minister, everyone agrees that helping those in need is a good thing.
So why is this significant?
Because Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church is known for being active in the community. Their absence – even for 24 hours – was noticed and felt by the entire city. Think about that: there are hundreds of churches in Houston, many with large facilities that can house thousands of people. But because Lakewood is so closely identified with the city of Houston and being an encouraging voice to the people, the very idea of them not lending a hand sent up premature alarm bells. People had an opinion about this incident precisely because Lakewood is a KNOWN force for good in the Houston area. The world NOTICED when Lakewood Church wasn’t fulfilling the ministry of Jesus, even for a few hours. Ask yourself, “if my church or ministry suddenly disappeared from my city, would the people of my community notice?” As the Body of Christ, we are called to be His hands and feet. To feed the hungry, clothe the beggar, and heal the sick. If you devote your ministry to living like Jesus, the world takes notice. And then they notice if you are suddenly are not there. Let’s all be encouraged by Lakewood Church AND the hundreds of other local congregations in the Houston area who are joining first responders and aid organizations in caring for the hurt and displaced people of the Texas Coast. We should be challenged to put actions to our faith – to go beyond ourselves and serve when the need arises. There are lots of ways to serve, and one of the most helpful ways is with your financial support. Our friends at Christ in Action need funds to support boots on the ground assisting the victims of this ongoing disaster in the greater Houston region. If you are able, please donate to the relief effort. And after that, take some time to evaluate your own heart of service and ministry. If my church suddenly wasn’t there, servicing the people of my community, would people talk about it on the Internet? Would there be public outcry? Let’s be a Fellowship that lives like Jesus and makes a difference in our world. In Christ, Steve Holder