Megachurch pastor Joel Osteen has come to the defense of his church that was embroiled in controversy over his response to Hurricane Harvey.
When his 17,000-seat Lakewood Church in Houston announced it was "inaccessible" in the immediate days after the storm, the pastor faced a barrage of criticism on social media.
Osteen told Inside Edition about photos that prove the church was not ready to accommodate any Texans seeking shelter.
“It was a crisis here,” he told Inside Edition. “This building for the first couple days was very close to flooding. The waters were one foot from going over the floodgates, so it has since receded but the whole building was inaccessible for at least a day or two.”
He says his own niece was stranded across the street from the church on an overpass.
Osteen added he did not read the negative backlash on social media, saying his staff told him about the firestorm of controversy.
"We stay focused on what we are called to do," he said. "Maybe there are things that could have been done better and we really just try to run our race. Life is too short to focus on all of that negative energy."
Osteen's church is now welcoming evacuees and accepting emergency supplies like medical items and items for infants, such as diapers.
"This whole building is full with blankets and items from the generous people of Houston," he said.