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Mt. Sinai A.M.E. Zion Church

2909 North Nebraska Avenue, • Tampa, FL 33602 • United States • 813-229-3573 • AME

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Mt. Sinai AME Zion Church History

Mt. Sinai was founded in 1863 by newly freed men and women seeking to worship God in spirit and in truth. The AME Zion Church is known as The Freedom Church. Noted members include Harriett Tubman. Mt. Sinai sits just a few blocks north of the Ybor City Historic District near downtown Tampa, an area known around the world for its arts and entertainment. The pastor and members of Mt. Sinai welcomes all of God's children, regardless of race, color, sex, or nationality. There is One God, One Faith, and One Baptism.

Sermon: TRAGEDIES - FATE OR FAITH ??

Scriptures: Isaiah 55:6-11, Luke 13:1-5 , and Romans 8:35-39

I. INTRODUCTION
Greetings in the mighty name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!! It is such a blessing to see your beautiful faces today. Has fate or faith brought you here today. Some may say if was faith. That they needed their spiritual bank recharged. Others may say it was fate. Events happened and things just kind of fell in place that led you here. Which ever way you got here, know this, God sees your situation and He is in control of the situation.

II. LIFE MYSTERIES - Isaiah 55:6-11
We have all seen he devastation and destruction that has fallen on the people of Haiti due to the earthquake on January 12th. When you hear or see such suffering, do you ask - Why God? Why? We do not know the deep mysteries of God when He allows the souls of men, women, and children to be taken from this world, and to be put into the spiritual realm. Isaiah the Prophet received this revelation concerning God's sovereignty:
Isaiah 55:6-11
Seek the Lord while He may be found. Call upon Him while He is near. 7 - Let the wicked forsake his ways and the unrighteous man his thoughts and let him return to the Lord, and He will have compassion on him. And to our God for He will abundantly pardon. 8 - For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways declares the Lord. 9 - For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts. 10 - For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there without watering the earth and making it bear and sprout and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater. 11 - So shall My word be which goes forth from My mouth. It shall not return empty without accomplishing what I desire and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. What matter has God in mind concerning the people of Haiti? When even the archbishop of their Roman Catholic Church was killed in this tragedy. What kind of purpose does God have? We may not know now, but in time God will reveal this purpose to us. When we lose love ones, we do not understand why God will allow someone so close to us, whom we grew up with, ate with, slept with, and toiled through life ups and downs with, to be taken away by death. Yes, they are taken away and we are left feeling empty and sad. Why God?? Why?

III. WHEN TRAGEDY OCCURS - Luke 13: 1-5
It is only natural for us to ask the WHY question concerning tragedies. Followers of Jesus asked Him the same thing in Luke 13: 1-3.
1 - Now on the same occasion, there were some present who reported to Jesus about the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 - And Jesus answered and said to them, Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate? 3 - I tell you no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. 4 - Or do you suppose that those 18 on who the tower in Siloam fell and killed were worse culprits than all the men who lived in Jerusalem? 5 - I tell you no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Jesus was not talking about the physical perishing which last for a moment, but perishing eternally. Some religious people have tried to exploit God's actions for their own self-importance. Every time a tragedy happens, especially to poor people, they come out and say that God is punishing them for being wicked? Well, what happens when rich people suffer tragedy? The pundits do not say that God punishing them? They call it a misfortune or fate. Like Job when confronted by God, if we do not understand the reasons of suffering, we should keep our mouths shut. John 9:1-3 says
1- And as Jesus passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. 2- And His disciples asked him saying, Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind? 3- Jesus answered, "It was neither, that this man sinned, nor his parents, but it was in order that the works of God might be displayed in him." Imagine that! Sometimes, tragedies happens that has nothing to do with how a person was born or how they are living, but that the works of God might be displayed in them or someone else. I am telling you church that His ways are not our ways, neither His thoughts like our thoughts. For God lets the sun to shine on the just and unjust, and He brings rain on the just and unjust. And this word is especially for ministers - Stop judging people when you have no idea what God is taking them through. It may be for the salvation of their soul, or yours.

IV. GOD IN THE MIDST OF TRAGEDIES
Now, we must separate natural tragedies such death, and the insurance people favorite - Acts of God, from man-made tragedies like murder, war, and famine. Both tragedies can take lives, however, tragedies attributed to God are based on faith and man-made tragedies are based on fate. God sees both and can intervene in both at His own discretion, However, on many occasions, God let the free will of men and women play out, or in other words, let them write their own script. You may ask how is that? I can see instances where God never directed a person to start taking drugs, drugs that would later result in dirty IV needle usage which would later result in death. Or take the devoted lady pastor in Oklahoma who diligently drove miles every Sunday to be the first at church to minister to all in the community. Yet, she was stabbed 25+ times in church by a still at-large murderer. The devil and demonic forces have their hands in man-made tragedies, to influence people to commit crimes and destroy God's property. That is why a lot of murderers plead temporary insanity, when caught red handed in their crimes. God told the first would be murderer, Cain, in Genesis 4:7 - "If you do well, your spirit will be lifted up, and if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door, and its desire is for you, but you must master it." In most cases, innocent people suffer the fate of death, due to the murderer's hatred of himself/herself, God, or other people. Was this not the case with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who went about his life not harming anyone, only to be killed by the evil bullets of James Earl Ray. Yes, God could have intervene at the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, just like He did for Dr. King when he was almost stabbed to death in Harlem, but God chose to let evil men and their leader, the Devil, play out this scene. Another thing you should know about God is that He will not allow any person to be killed who is working for Him on a spiritual project that has yet to be completed. You are invincible when you are in God's Work Zone. How many times did Jesus tell His disciples, "My time has not yet come." And when it did come, Jesus knew it. This is why He told Peter, "Get thee behind me Satan". He had to finish the work God had put Him on this earth to do. And when Jesus finished, He said upon that cross, "It is finished". What about you, what project are you working on for God? It may not be anything big like preaching, evangelizing, or doing mission work. It may be something small like being there to aid a relative or fellow man in need. If you are working on a project for God in His Work Zone, you are immortal, until God is ready to call you home. So for those of you who have said that you are not going to do anything else for God or God's church - Beware, Beware!! You may be cutting your time short here on earth. Satan loves people who are doing nothing for God. Work every day in "God's Work Zone" !!

V. GOD'S PROMISE TO US
Perhaps the most comforting message from God to us in times of tragedies are these words ; "I will never leave you nor forsake you". You may be living in good times. You may be going through bad times. In the good and the bad, God is there with us. Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 8:35 "What shall separate us from he love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, o r nakedness, or peril, or sword? 37 - But in all of these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loves us. 38 - For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 - Nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN !!

UPCOMING EVENTS:
March 26-28,2010: Mt. Sinai 147th Church Anniversary!!!
June 23-27,2010: Mt. Sinai hosts the South Florida AME Zion Annual Conference. Conference hotel is the Hyatt Regency at Rocky Point.

A.M.E. ZION CHURCH LINKS:
AME Zion Church Website: www.amez.org

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Our Services & Events

Sunday Morning Worship

9:00 AM / Sunday

Sunday School

8:00 AM / Sunday

Bible Study

6:30 PM / Wednesday

Our Staff

Rev. Lillian Zakay

Pastor •

Rev. Larry Jacobs

Associate Minister • ljacobs38@tampabay.rr.com

Rev. Bernard Moye

Associate Minister •