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Summary: Hurricane Sandy did not affect us, but it devestated millions of others. How should we respond? What should we think? What should we do? Jesus answers these questions from Luke 13:1-5

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Here in South Jersey, we rode Hurricane Sandy Monday and Tuesday,. W were thankful that very few in our area were affected. Phone calls and visits on Tuesday revealed that this time, we did not have the damage and devastation like we did during July’s devestating dorecho storm that knocked out power for a week and downed thousands of trees.

We breathed a sigh of relief on Tuesday, BUT since then, the news has been growing worse all week as we realize the suffering of others nearby.

- BEACH COMMUNITIES of Ocean City, Seaside Heights, LBI have had devastating damage. Entire blocks of homes are gone, as well as iconic boardwalks and amusement rides.

- BAY COMMUNITIES. Such as Fortesque experienced a huge storm surge that swept away many homes.

- In NORTH JERSEY, the towns of Brick, Toms River, Bayone and Hoboken are suffering with loss of power, loss of public transportation, flooding and storm damage. JONEL Arcedera had his MINISTRY CANCELLED today at First Filipino Baptist church in Bayone.

- STATEN ISLAND was hit the hardest. From the NY Times we read this story: “Staten Island Was Tragic Epicenter of Storm’s Casualties” By JAMES BARRON, JOSEPH GOLDSTEIN and KIRK SEMPLE

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Published: November 1, 2012 “Glenda Moore, 39, ...packed her two boys into her blue sport utility vehicle and was trying to flee the storm by driving to her sister’s home in Brooklyn.

The storm thwarted her getaway, first by stalling the engine, the police said.

Ms. Moore managed to step out of the S.U.V., taking 2-year-old Brendan in her arms and leading 4-year-old Connor by the hand. But a wave slammed into them, driving her and Brendan into the marsh and breaking her hold on Connor’s hand. Another wave carried him away moments later.

About six miles away, rescuers searching a wooded lot found the bodies of an 89-year-old man and his 66-year-old wife on Thursday; the couple had lived less than 500 yards away.

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Personally, most of my family members live on Long Island. My sister’s condo was flooded with 2 feet of water which contained fuel and oil. It will cost thousands of dollars to repair, and most homeowners do not carry flood insurance.

Two of my other sisters have been without power for one entire week. Temperatures are in the low 30’s at night. A niece has been hosting 20-30 people per night in her home which did not lose power. But there are problems getting gas for cars and heating oil for homes. The scene is one of devastation!

We are left with many emotions and many questions;

happy that we were spared

wondering if it is OK to be happy that we were spared

sad for the many victims

Life seems normal here, but less than 40 miles away there is devestation

How should I feel?

Is there anything that I should do?

This sermon is titled “What Should You Do When Disaster Strikes?”

It’s a question that we are all contemplating today, and I want us to gain God’s perspective on this issue as a church family today.

This is a question that Jesus addressed in his earthly ministry. We read of his answer in Luke 13:1-5.

“Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. Jesus answered, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”” (Luke 13:1–5, NIV84)

There are FOUR IMPORTANT LESSONS for us to learn from the Savior’s answer to the question of “why do innocent people suffer?”

We are not told much about the background of Christ’s remark. The people who asked Jesus about Pilate’s actions in this passage are not revealed. It appears that the event must have been widely known, and must have made a deep impact on the people of Jerusalem. Jesus takes the opportunity of this question to teach his disciples important lessons about the reasons for human suffering.

FIRST: Disasters Occur Without Prejudice. Luke 13:1-4

Jesus makes it clear that the popular idea that “God will get you” must be discarded. Jesus remarks on the question of the apparent deaths of Jerusalem worshipers who were killed by Pilate during their sacrifice. This comment addresses the situation of HUMAN INJUSTICE. In the illustration brought up by the people, the cause of death was human injustice. This is as troubling a situation for us today as it was for the Jews of the first century.

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