This morning, I sat down as I do each morning to begin writing. Just before I began, I saw a notice about a 12-minute documentary film a friend of mine, Danny Hall, had edited and posted on his Facebook wall. For some reason, I felt led to put aside my normal writing schedule and watch the film. I sensed the word I was to write would come out of the content of the film. The documentary was about the devastating fires of last fall that burned the nearby cities of Phoenix and Talent, Oregon. I had friends who lost everything in that horrible fire.
As I watched the documentary, a couple of quotes caught my attention. The first quote was from a man who lost his home and all his belongings. Regarding the challenging task of rebuilding his life, he said, “Without community, I don’t think I can ever move forward.” When everything is lost, community becomes everything to those who have nothing. It is in a community that the support and resources we need to rebuild are freely offered to us with love and mercy.
The second quote was from Ryan Rhoden, pastor of Living Waters Church in Medford, Oregon. Ryan is the man the Lord asked me to entrust our church to when Jan and I moved from pastoring into a new assignment. I have never doubted that decision. Ryan supplied the second quote that caught my attention. He said, “All we did was open the doors.”
What impressed me about Ryan’s statement was the fact that the warehouse seen in the backdrop of the film was to become the future sanctuary of Living Waters Church. While waiting to raise the funds required to finish the construction for the new sanctuary, the fires struck. As a result of the available space, the future sanctuary site became a warehouse and resource hub for the region to help resupply those who lost everything. In all the demands being made by some to reopen churches, perhaps the kind of “opening” we see taking place at Living Waters Church will have a more significant Kingdom impact in our community than returning to a typical Sunday morning service.
I took two things away after watching the film. When life has reduced us to a pile of emotional, spiritual, or physical ash, the way forward is found in community, not isolation. We need each other. And when we ask the Lord to open a door, and nothing seems to open, the door we may need to open is not one that God opens, but one He asks us to open.