Statement from Pastor Josh on COVID-19
I just wanted to take some time and address the current situation with Coronavirus and the response of Immokalee First Seminole Baptist Church. I realize that the circumstances are escalating around this virus outbreak at a fairly rapid rate. Because of that and because of the unknown, many have fears or anxieties about what this all means. As follower of Jesus Christ, we can rest in the assurance that no matter what the future may hold, we are secure in Him. John 16:33 tells us this: “in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” I want to encourage you to take heart in that promise.
Daily we are getting new updates, and more and more people are being overcome with fear and anxiety. I believe that fear is one of the greatest weapons of the enemy. So many times we face the unknown and we are gripped with fear. For some, this fear and anxiety can be crippling. It is a very real issue that should not be taken lightly. Matthew 10:28 tells us, “do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell”.
As a believer in Christ we understand that He is fully in control. The hype and hysteria surrounding this virus causes more fear. Let's make a commitment to not contribute to the fears of our neighbors. Let us not be eager to be the first to share a breaking update for the sake of social media notoriety. Let's not fear, but let us prepare.
Read the wise words of King Solomon in Proverbs 22:3 and Proverbs 27:12, "A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences."
We should not fear it, we must be prepared for what this may bring. Countless passages in Scripture tell us that, even as we trust that God is in control, we should be wise and seek to be prepared for anything that we may face. Follow the advice of our healthcare professionals. Use good hygiene practices and if you’re in a group that is at higher risk of infection, then stay home as much as possible. Follow Godly wisdom. When given an opportunity to point others to Christ, do it!
As far as the plan for Immokalee First Seminole, we have chosen to be in agreement with the Seminole Tribe of Florida. Tribal leaders have encouraged caution with gatherings in the tribal communities and on the reservations. With that in mind we have decided to minimize our weekly services to online only at this time. You can tune in to our Facebook page at 11am Sunday and we will continue to stream our service, the only difference being there will be no "crowd" in attendance. Please share this info with anyone you know and encourage them to log in online until the end of March for now. Our March 29th singing will be postponed as well.
Most importantly, remain in prayer for this situation. While there may be some overhyping of the fear, this is also very real and a potentially dangerous virus. Hundreds of thousands have been affected worldwide and we should be in fervent prayer for those who have contracted this virus or been in contact with it in some way. Pray for our healthcare workers who don’t have the option of staying home. And pray for our leaders to make wise choices in the handling of this outbreak.