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Hurricane Updates

We will do our best to consistently update information regarding services and other any important items you may need to know. Please also check our social media (@fcogvb) for more information.

 

Update: Wednesday, September 13th at 1pm

Hi Church Family!

I hope you are safe from harm following Hurricane Irma. There are two reasons for this correspondence: First, to encourage you with the Word of God and secondly, to provide support to those who are in need of cleanup assistance or help with minor repairs.

Let me begin by encouraging you with a story out of the life of our Savior…

33 With many such parables he spoke the word to them, as they were able to hear it. 34 He did not speak to them without a parable, but privately to his own disciples he explained everything. 35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36 And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. 37 And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38 But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39 And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40 He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41 And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?” -Mark 4:33–41

We have the tendency to question whether anyone faces the same temptations, challenges, or storms that we face. To put an end to that line of thinking, just read 1 Corinthians 10:13, which says, No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” Also notice what our text says at the end of verse 36, “And other boats were with him.” Don’t let Satan or your flesh turn your difficulty into a ‘whine’ and cheese party. You’re not alone in your suffering, and the Lord cares about you.

It’s also interesting to note that before Jesus entered the boat, he taught His Word to a crowd of people. Then He gave His word to His disciples that they would make it to the other side of the lake – “Let us go across to the other side.” The take-away is that you and I can trust the words of Jesus. We can trust the Word of God! But also understand that after God teaches us His word, it is usually followed by a time of testing. After teaching comes testing.

Now for the really good stuff… when we belong to Christ, and we allow Him to guide our lives, it doesn’t mean we won’t face storms – it means we can’t be overtaken by the storm! The Bible says that God has promised to bring to completion that which concerns me. Psalm 138:8 says, The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.”

But what if the storm brings death? Paul addressed these matters for the Christian when he said, “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord!” “To live is Christ, to die is gain!” God will bring to completion His work in us! He is faithful!

So, while the storm rages and we’re tempted to question whether God really cares about our circumstance, He is at perfect rest over our situation because He is a mighty God who can calm the strong winds and tumultuous sea by just speaking a word!

The theology of Hurricane Irma is that our God is greater than Irma! He is with us, even in our darkest hour, and He cares deeply about us and will bring to completion that which concerns us. God is not worried whether you will make it because He is the Lord over all! He is resting in His love for you. We must rest in the love that He has for us.

It’s not the outward circumstances that we have to fear, but the inward waves of fear and faithlessness that well up within us. The Lord has given us His Word that He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5).

Therefore, no matter how strong the storm might seem, if we love God and are called according to His purpose, all things will work together for good (Romans 8:28);  He will complete that which He began in us (Philippians 1:6)—and we can be at peace.

Be encouraged today! 

Now, for the second part of this correspondence. As a church family, it is important that we care for you in your time of need. Now that the storm has passed and the cleanup has begun, if you are in need of assistance cleaning up and/or need help with minor repairs, please contact our church office (772.562.2256).

For those of you desiring to volunteer to serve those in need, we would like to send teams of two or more to help those in need from within the body. Please call the church office or email us at congregationalcare@fcog.com to be added to our list of volunteers.

If you’re interested in supporting efforts financially, we are currently working to add an option to give to Hurricane Irma disaster relief on our website. Visit www.fcog.com/give for more information. You can also continue to give to support disaster relief for Hurricane Harvey. All monies collected will go directly to Samaritan’s Purse.

Thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus to those who truly need our help.

Blessings,

Pastor Greg Sempsrott

 

Update: Wednesday, September 13th at 8:15am

We are back in the office today, however...we know you're still working to get settled back into your routines and clean up from the storm, therefore, there will be NO WEDNESDAY NIGHT PROGRAMS. Stay safe and we are looking forward to seeing you this weekend.

Update: Friday, September 8th at 11am

From Pastor Greg:

I thank the Lord for the numerous opportunities to help and witness to people as this storm approaches. 

As of 11:00am today, all requests for assistance that we received at First Church of God - Vero, have been completed. This includes moving shut-ins, and securing the homes of the elderly, widows and single parents. 

I am also so thankful to the army of volunteers from our church who have worked tirelessly in our community, helping so many in need. 

Understand that God is at work in the midst of this storm! The Lord uses all situations to bring glory to His name. Rather than asking "Why is this storm happening?" We should ask, "Lord, what lessons are you trying to teach me as I face this tempest?" 

Here is a passage that we taught two weeks ago in our Romans series. It has ministered to many of our people, I pray that it will minister to you, as well. 

"Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." Romans 5:1-5

"In all things give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus." 1 Thess. 5:18

Try meditating on Psalm 91. It is the Psalm of protection. 

I pray God's richest blessings and protection over you!

 

Update: Thursday, September 7th at 8am

All weekend services are cancelled. We are expecting topical storm force winds beginning on Saturday and want everyone to stay safe. Continue to check here and our social media for more updates.

Update: Wednesday, September 6th at 10:30am

From Pastor Greg, regarding Irma...

Hi Church Family!

Like each of you, the church staff has given quite a bit of prayerful and strategic thought to our response to Hurricane Irma. While we are called to walk by faith and to be people of prayer, we are also taught in Scripture to use wisdom and discernment in making decisions, especially when it involves the lives of others.

Here is where we are in the decision-making process as of today:

ALL Wednesday night activities are cancelled at the church. Please take this time to prepare.

We will make the final decision over whether we will have a service this weekend, by tomorrow (Thursday) morning. Please check our social media accounts for updates.

Our prayer is that the Lord would turn this storm away from land and out into the sea. That is how we are interceding for people in harms way. However, God's ways are not always our ways. Therefore, we need to plan for the worst and hope for the best.

We already know that a large number of our families and individuals are leaving the area. This means that if we have a service, it will most likely be a Saturday night prayer service for those who decide to stay. Understand, the final decision will come tomorrow morning.

Of upmost importance to the leadership of our church is the safety of our congregation. While the storm isn't currently projected to reach us until sometime early Monday morning, the window of opportunity to evacuate the area in a worst case scenario would have already closed.

We would recommend that if you are planning to evacuate, try to do so either today or tomorrow. If you are planning to stay, know that we have one safe room in our church facility that can accommodate around 40 people. (Call ahead if you need to stay. Space is VERY limited.) A couple of our church staff will be on hand to assist those who need to stay in a safe environment.

Lastly, use what time you have to prepare your homes and then do your best to help others. This is a wonderful time to live and share the Gospel with those in need.

Walk by faith and ask God to turn this storm away from land, but use godly wisdom as you prepare for a potential storm. God is sovereign! He has a plan through it all!

Blessings,

Pastor Greg Sempsrott

 

Update: Wednesday, September 6th at 10 am

ALL WEDNESDAY NIGHT PROGRAMS ARE CANCELLED.

We want to make sure you are free to prepare for the storm, so we will have no activities at the church tonight. Please take this time to make your hurricane preparations for you and your family. This is an excellent opportunity to serve others as well, so be on the lookout for how you can help your friends, neighbors and even those you don't know.

We will let you know on the status of weekend services before Saturday morning, at the latest.

 

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