Max Lucado, senior pastor of Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas, and best-selling author has offered three major lessons Christians should take from Hurricane Harvey, noting that Jesus Christ warned of coming disasters.
Lucado revealed that like other ministries, church services at Oak Hills had to be canceled on Sunday, as the region dealt with the devastating effects of the storm.
At least 29 people were reported dead as of Wednesday, CBS News said, with historic floods spilling over into Louisiana, and 4 to 8 inches of rain forecast in Tennessee and Kentucky through Friday as well.
Lucado urged Christians to pray and to help relief ministries that are on the ground assisting victims and people in need, but also to take important spiritual lessons from what is happening.
"Stuff doesn't last. Relationships do," he titled the first lesson in his blog post on Tuesday.
"As you've listened to evacuees and survivors, have you noticed their words? No one laments a lost plasma television or submerged SUV. No one runs through the streets yelling, 'My cordless drill is missing' or 'My golf clubs have washed away.' If they mourn, it is for people lost. If they rejoice, it is for people found," he wrote.
The preacher suggested that Jesus is reminding people that they matter more than possessions, and pointed to Christ's Words in Luke 12:15: "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of possessions."
For the second lesson, Lucado said "we really are in this together."
"We saw, and are seeing, how humanity can come together and help each other. Lifeboats did not discriminate by color of skin. Rescuers did not ask if the needy were Republican or Democrat. Helicopter rescue wasn't offered only to the rich or educated. People came together to help people," he added.
"We don't have to have a Harvey to prompt us to help others, however. Someone in your office could use your assistance. They aren't stranded on a rooftop, but they are likely struggling with a decision. Someone in your neighborhood could use a friend. They didn't lose their house, but, perhaps they lost their way."
For the third lessons, he reminded Christians that "this world doesn't work, but the next one will."
He argued that the world is "experiencing a rash of birth pangs these days," but they will not last forever.
"It is not to me to declare the day the Lord will return," he wrote.
"But we know this much: it's the beginning of the end and the beginning of new beginnings. Calamities and catastrophes must occur before the birth of the new world. In the meantime — practice what they teach in Lamaze classes — take some deep breaths and hold the hand of the one who loves you."
Lucado further explained that Jesus promised "bad things would occur" before they get better.
"What rescuers are doing for Houstonians, God will do for you. He has entered your world. He has dropped a rope into your sin-swamped life. He will rescue, you simply need to do what many stranded people are doing — let him lift you out," he urged.
Other prominent evangelists, such as the Rev. Franklin Graham, whose Samaritan's Purse relief organization has set up volunteer bases around Texas to tackle the crisis, have said that the rebuilding process after the flood is over is going to be difficult as well.
"People will need help rebuilding not only their homes, but their lives. Christians, let's be there to help and let the love of Jesus Christ shine through us. I call on churches — not just in Texas, but across the country — to pray and to look at how you can tangibly help in this national crisis," Graham said in a Facebook post.
"You can make plans to go and volunteer or you can help financially through many organizations working there including Samaritan's Purse. When confronted with a need, Jesus took action. He told us to be like the Good Samaritan and 'Go and do likewise.' Will you?" he asked.