As Laurie and I tracked the devastation and heartache caused across Texas and Florida by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma over the past weeks, I found my mind going back repeatedly to a question Jesus posed to His disciples: “ . . . who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:15)
While the opinion of the public at large in Jesus’ day was up in the air — some thought he might be John the Baptist, Elijah, or one of the Jewish prophets — His closest followers had received a true revelation of who Jesus really was, as revealed by Peter’s bold declaration: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (v. 16).
As Harvey and Irma bore down upon south Texas and the Florida coast in late August and early September, that same question was ringing out to millions: “Who do you say that I am?” And as committed follower of Jesus, you and I were — and are — poised with the answer: Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, with all the comfort and compassion needed to turn disaster and despair into hope and healing. As His people, we are the representation of Jesus to a lost and broken world, beaten down by the storms of life, both literally and figuratively.
No one was more deeply moved by that truth than my parents, TBN founders Paul and Jan Crouch. Their goal throughout life was to replace the hopelessness and despair rampant throughout the world with a real and relevant representation of Jesus’ love. Of course, it all began with sending life-changing Christian programming to every corner of the earth through TBN. But on many occasions it extended to reaching out with compassion to those facing life-and-death circumstances.
For example, as Hurricane Katrina slammed into New Orleans and the southeastern U.S. in August 2005, my parents were already moving into action, calling on friends around the nation and world to partner with TBN to respond with compassion and help to the individuals, families, and communities in need. And respond they did! Through the kindness and prayerful concern of our dear friends and partners, TBN was able to give over $500,000 to Samaritan’s Purse and other ministries as they quickly deployed to New Orleans to render both physical and spiritual aid to distressed and hurting people.
And shortly after an earthquake devastated Haiti in 2010, they quickly deployed a team from TBN to set up mobile medical stations in Port-au-Prince and reach out to the tens of thousands of homeless, sick, and hurting. On many occasions I accompanied my parents as they made their way in person to similar locales to reach out to those in need with the love and compassion of Jesus — and to report back to their precious TBN partners.
Today that legacy of serving as Jesus’ hands, feet, and voice to a lost and dying world continues through TBN’s global family of networks. It starts with making certain that every country on every inhabited continent has access to 24-hour television programming that brings hope and healing through Jesus.
But TBN is far more than a Christian television network. At our very foundation we are a community of Christ followers all over the world, equipped and inspired to reach out in every way possible to make Jesus known through declaring — and living out — the gospel message.
With that in mind, when Hurricane Harvey and the flooding that followed devastated south Texas, TBN quickly responded with donations on behalf of our partners for $100,000 each to Samaritan’s Purse (led by Franklin Graham), Houston’s Lakeland Church (Pastor Joel Osteen), and Church Unlimited (Pastor Bil Cornelius) in Corpus Christi, Texas — each of which was on the leading edge of providing hope and relief to victims of the storm.
And as Hurricane Irma pounded Florida, TBN and our partners were ready once again, presenting the following donations to organizations reaching out to victims:
– $100,000 to Samaritan’s Purse.
– $50,000 to Trinity Church in Miami (Pastor Rich Wilkerson).
– $50,000 to LiVe Church in Orlando (Pastor Tye Tribbett).
– $50,000 to El Rey Jesús Church in Miami (Pastor Guillermo Maldonado).
– $50,000 to Potential Church in South Florida (Pastor Troy Gramling).
TBN continues to receive many calls from our viewers asking how they can partner with TBN to provide aid to individuals and families impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. We are encouraging everyone to reach out generously to one of the following churches and outreaches, which are rendering aid on a daily basis:
– Samaritan’s Purse: 800-789-1070
– Lakewood Church, Houston: 713-635-4154
– Church Unlimited, Corpus Christi, Texas: 361-993-5900
– Trinity Church, Miami: 786-888-4673
– LiVe Church, Orlando: 321-800-8469
– El Rey Jesús, Miami: 305-382-3171
– Potential Church, South Florida: 954-434-1500
Thank you for joining Laurie and me in being a bold, real, relevant, and powerful representation of Jesus to those in need. God bless you for your prayers and generosity in this time of deep need for so many.