In Southeast Portland, the facility we rent is shared with a couple other churches, who also rent the building. Last week, a computer was stolen from one of the other congregations while we were in the building. Of course, because the homeless have such a reputation for being theives, it is assumed that it was one of our folks that did it, and we were asked to not meet in the building until they locked the section where the other church met.
I fumed, I raged (to myself and to a couple people in the house), I wrote many emails. It didn't help that I was really ill this last week with bronchitis. But the manager didn't budge. He didn't want us in. He insisted that he wasn't punishing us, and I know he was trying not to be unfair. But the fact is, if we didn't meet, then people would go hungry and some would not hear the word of God that was necessary for them. And why should the many be lacking because of the evil of one-- one who we do not know the identity.
Last Sunday, we met and I decided to preach about the sitution-- "How To Respond When Falsely Accused." But the most important thing we did was pray. Not that I didn't pray before, but we prayed as a congregation for the situation to get resolved.
It wasn't five minutes after the service ended that the owner of the building walked in. He is an old revivalist preacher and missionary to Russia who loves the work we're doing. I hadn't seen him in three months and he knew nothing about the situation I'd been struggling with all week. He came in innocently and asked first thing, "How is everything with the building?" So, hesitatingly, I told him. He said, "Oh, I'll talk to my son about that" and spent the next twenty minutes telling me about revivals from the 1880s to the present day.
A couple days later, his son, the manager, said we could meet in the building. We took extra precautions, but it was a great meeting. We talked about Revelation 3 and hypocrisy.