Neighbors Loving Neighbors
// Tim DeTellis
With my carry-on luggage on the floor, I began to pack for a trip that was looking like it was going to be canceled. When Friday arrived, the decision was made not to go. Hurricane Harvey was off the coast of Texas and my weekend plans to be in Houston were cancelled.
Waking up Saturday morning to the news of the flooding across Houston broke my heart. Reaching out to friends and churches there made me begin to pray: “May the local church rise up and neighbors love neighbors like never before.”
Over the next 72 hours, I received updates from Champion Forest Baptist Church in Houston, Friendswood Baptist Church, and The Luke Church in Humble, Texas. Each of their pastors were on the front lines of helping neighbors and letting their testimony be their life. I was in awe and inspired to see God at work in the midst of this catastrophic storm.
Dr. David Lorenz serves as the senior pastor of Friendswood Baptist in Friendswood, Texas, and his wife Brandie (who formerly served at New Missions in Orlando) had posted on her Facebook wall a photograph of her husband and neighbor out making boat rescues together.
Watching Dr. Timothy Sloan, pastor of The Luke Church in Humble, Texas, host “Believers Call” meetings via Facebook Live, to unite the church family to be ready and serve after the storm, was inspiring. Jesus commanded us to love our neighbors as ourselves. In the moment of a crisis, we can wonder who will help us; or we can love others first in the midst of our own need. One of my life dreams is to see neighbors loving neighbors everywhere.
“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV) As we look around us, we know we live in a world that needs faith. We can be part of sharing faith and hope as we love. As my friend Pastor Johnny Hunt would say: “Love loud!” I believe we must love loud to lead others to know Jesus. Why? Because God is love. “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” 1 John 4:8 (NIV)
Today, where you live, will you be the neighbor who loves? Two days after Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, I watched a YouTube video from Dr. David Fleming as he shared how the downstairs of his home was completely flooded, and he made a video with flood waters surrounding his home to announce one of their church campuses was open as a shelter. In the midst of his own personal crisis, he was leading efforts to care for others. I am thankful for how he models reaching the neighbors and nations. His Christ-like testimony is something we all can learn from.
Tears began to flow when I reached out to a dear family and close friends who live in Kingswood, Texas, and learned their home was flooded. Thankfully, they have family who live only a few miles away and came to their rescue.
Galatians 6:2 reads: “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (NIV) May we love one another. May we love in action. Through the trials of life, may we love loud and draw others toward Christ because of His love for us. ~Tim DeTellis