As Believers, How are we to respond to Houston? (Hurricane Harvey)

Seek God for understanding

– It is an emotional time, but God does not address emotions, He speaks to our spirit:

            Exodus 4 – Moses’s argument with God about leading – God went right over it

            Joshua 1:1-2 – Joshua, Moses is dead; arise and go.

            Acts 9:10-17 – Ananias, I [God] know who Saul of Tarsus was, now go…

Trust our God IN our brothers and sisters, and not get caught up in what others are saying. Romans 12:10 – Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

Luke 9:49-50; 1 Thessalonians 5:11-13 – Know those who labor among you, and esteem them very highly in love for their works’ sake. And be at peace among yourselves.

Trust God, and Know that He is in charge

– Acts 5:29-39, specifically Acts 5:35 &38-39 (KJV) 35 And said unto them, Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men…. 38 And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: 39 But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.


Everything we think, say, and do is recorded in heaven

. Malachi 3:16-17, Psalm 56:8; Psalm 139:23; Proverbs 15:3; Luke 10:21. If Jesus can know our thoughts, so does God. Matthew 9:4; 2 Corinthians 10:5


Whose Job is it anyway?

  • The EkklesiaMandates on God’s Ecclesia’s
    • Yes, we know the Ekklesia of God is to be God’s example in the community, but the leader has to be focused on what the Lord is saying immediately to him/her, and not what “the people are saying”
      • Moses smote the rock instead of speaking to it (Numbers 20:10-12)
      • King Saul did not kill everything as God had instructed him (1 Samuel 15:3, and 13-19)
    • Church is more than what we see on Sunday. Operating the Church is both spiritual and administrative – There is a governance side to church as well, and this is the side most who are not involved in their church do not see.
      • We are indeed registered citizens of heaven, but the earth is our home right now (Luke 10:20; Philippians 3:20), and we still have a responsibility to govern ourselves under the authorities appointed over us (Romans 13:1-8; 1 Timothy 2:1-6) We still have a responsibility to the local, county, state, and Federal government/governance.
      • What are the laws of the land that we must obey?
        • As a Non-Profit Organization of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Code (501 (c )(3)
        • We are fiscally/financially responsible to the Department of the Treasury, Commissioner of the IRS.
      • As citizens of heaven and earth – Let us ask ourselves, Did I seek the Lord, trusting in God to show me for whom to vote, and then vote for Christian leaders who will govern according to God’s plans? (Psalm 20:7; Psalm 28:7; all of Psalm 37; 2 Chronicles 20:12 & 20)
  • The GovernmentGovernance (Exodus 18:13-26) – Especially Exodus 18:14-18. Acts 6:1-7. Pastors and Set-Gifts: One person cannot do it all, so delegate TO THOSE WHO ARE FILLED WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD, WHO KNOW HOW TO GOVERN THEMSELVES UNDER HIS AUTHORITY, AND GOD’s APPOINTED AUTHORITIES.
    • God said, “Touch not my anointed, and do my prophets no harm” (1 Chronicles 16:22 and Psalms 105:15).
    • We are not to speak against our brothers/sisters in Christ (1 Peter 2:17)
    • We are not so speak against what we do not understand, but to seek God for understanding, knowing that if He chooses to reveal it, He will – He is Sovereign, and He does whatever He pleases. (Psalm 115:3 and Psalm 135:5-6).
    • Let us watch our mouth for we will have to give an account for every idle word (Matthew 12:36)
      • God appointed and anointed Joshua (Numbers 27:18-23; Deuteronomy 34:9)
      • God appointed and anointed King Saul (1 Samuel 15:1)
      • God appointed and anointed King David (1 Samuel 16:12-13)
      • God appointed and anointed Pastor Joel Osteen – check out his website under “Our Ministry” for the mandate on Lakewood Church; he is accountable to God for the mandate, not you or me (Romans 14:12)
  • The Government’s Responsibility to its people. [EDITORIAL: My background is Healthcare Administration. I was on deck at the Federal level when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, and I must tell you, there are many, many levels of involvement in responding to our National Disasters. As a member of the Army Medical Department, our first criticism was “Why isn’t the Army doing anything about this?” We talked about “mandates”. What is the Army’s mission/mandate? To go fight and win International Wars. What is the Army Medical Department’s mission? To provide healthcare (medical, mental, dental, eye sight, etc) to those who go, fight and win International wars.
  • There are laws that preclude the Military at the Federal level from intervening – Posse Comitatus. What is that? – This Federal law limits the powers of the federal government in using federal military personnel to enforce domestic policies within the United States. It was passed as an amendment to an army appropriation bill following the end of Reconstruction, and was subsequently updated in 1956 and 1981. The Act only specifically applies to the United States Army and, as amended in 1956, the United States Air Force. While the Act does not explicitly mention the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps, the Department of the Navy has prescribed regulations that are generally construed to give the Act force with respect to those services as well. The Act does not apply to the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard under state authority from acting in a law enforcement capacity within its home state or in an adjacent state if invited by that state’s governor. So we could not have helped if we wanted.
  • At that time, the Department of Health and Human Services stepped in because the Department of Homeland Security was still trying to get its arms around being established, its role, its authority, etc.]
  • For Houston, whose job IS IT to help? Not necessarily Pastor Joel Osteen and Lakewood Church. We know for sure it is the Government’s Department of Homeland Security (FEMA) and the Department of Health and Human Services, administered at the State and local levels.
  • Houston’s Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) states: Welcome to the City of Houston Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) Website. Our mission is to provide programs and activities to City residents and departments to help them prepare for, cope with and recover from the effects of natural and man-made disasters. We do this through all four phases of emergency management: preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation.
  • Houston’s Government has an Emergency Management Plan, a Hazard Mitigation Plan, and an Operations Plan that helps to drive Houston’s Response by which they designate certain locations throughout the city as shelters
    • Do you know whether or not your church designated as an emergency management plan shelter?
    • Do you know where your nearest Emergency Shelter is located?
  • There are many people with many different needs that must be administered
    • Medical – Who are you and what are your needs
    • Medical – Do we have the capabilities to care for multiple medical needs
    • Medical – Triage
    • Mental – Do we have the facility capacity, staff support
    • Mental – Emotional stress; loss of loved ones
    • Hygiene – The logistics of food, clothing and shelter
  • The Compact Center is not listed as one of the primary shelter facilities. Even if it was, it is a “Church”, not a Hospital. Lakewood also becomes legally responsible for what happens to those under their roof – Does Lakewood have the staffing capacity and the resource capability to govern a diverse number of people, with diverse issues, in such a contained location? Does your/my church have that capacity/capability?
  • Governance – Respect Authority and Position – 1 Corinthians 14:40 Let all things be done decently and in order. Let whoever is in charge be in charge – Since God allowed them to be in that leadership position, God and Jesus will judge their heart/actions (Acts 10:42; 2 Timothy 4:1; 1 Peter 4:5), and their work (1 Corinthians 3:11-13)
    • Houston’s Office of Emergency Management has a website:
    • Houston’s Mayor’s Office has Staff and Directors who are trained, and rehearse for such concerns
    • Houston has a Director of Emergency Medical Services and a Director of Neighborhoods
    • Houston’s website shows preparedness – They conduct routine meetings on emergency preparedness, and they invite neighborhoods to participate, schedule, or host these meetings
  • Our Response to Houston
  • Our service/ministry/stewardship – What is God speaking to you/me right now regarding our time, talent, and treasure responsibility for our Houstonian bretheren? (1 Corinthians 4:2; 1 Peter 4:10)
  • Our speech – every idle word… (Matthew 12:36; Romans 14:12)
  • Our works – our response will also be judged (Revelation 20:12-13)
  • Our love toward all mankind, and to one another (Galatians 6:10; 1 John 3:18)
Elder Denise Anderson, Executive Associate Pastor
The Dwelling House, Tampa, Florida
29 August 2017