The Concern He Might Think I Spent The Night In My Car
The first time I met Rob Carnahan face to face was a strange experience. We were meeting for lunch at the Clocktower Ales restaurant in The Dalles, Oregon, about a two hour drive from my house. It was late August of last year. I like to walk in the morning so I decided to arrive early, go for my walk, and then cool down for ten minutes or so before lunch. The cool down part was important because, well, I’m a sweater. Some people work up a sweat mowing the lawn on a hot summer day. I can work up a sweat vacuuming the living room. So I was hoping to be cool and dry before Rob arrived. I even brought a towel and a fresh shirt to make sure. It was a good plan.
I walked along the Columbia river enjoying the views of the water, birds, and boats — but, turns out I walked too far. On the way back I realized I was going to be late so I ran part of the way. Which made me sweat more. And, it was quite windy there along the Columbia river. So my hair was starting to acquire that Albert Einstein look, which is a really great look if you’re a genius — but I’m not a genius. By the time I made it back to the car, I had just enough time to towel off and change shirts but no time to cool down — so — I was still sweating when Rob arrived. To say that I looked a bit disheveled is an understatement.
But I’m not even to the strange part yet. I was meeting Rob so he could decide if I was a good choice to be the speaker at a trapshoot event his church, and some other area churches, put on the Saturday after the Super Bowl. They provide free ammunition, clay pigeon launchers, clay pigeons, and even shotguns for anyone who doesn’t bring one. It’s an outreach to the community. Anyone who wants to can come. So as I approached the restaurant, here comes Rob, clean shaven and looking like a bank president. Crazy thoughts began to run through my mind. “Will he think I slept overnight in my car?” “Will he think I’m sweating because of withdrawals from a drug addiction?”
And here’s where we get to the weird part: Rob didn’t seem to notice. In fact, within two minutes I had the distinct impression that Rob loved me. He didn’t even know me but I just felt that. I saw that in his eyes. It was weird, especially under the circumstances. I could feel the love of Jesus in Rob.
We had a great conversation during lunch and he wound up asking me to speak at the trap shoot which was last Saturday. To this day he’s never mentioned my appearance at that lunch meeting.
The Trapshoot In A Blizzard
The trapshoot last Saturday was a crazy sight to behold. There was snow everywhere, lots of snow. And it was 20 degrees. The roads were in terrible shape and we wondered if anyone would even come. But they did! So many people came from all over the area.
Free ammunition was provided, free clay pigeons to shoot at were provided, free food was provided too. So much time, energy, and money went into this event. But it was the spirit of love for each other and for the community that stood out to me.
The Beautiful Picture
And something else stood out too. As I met people there, both those who were helping put on the event and those participating, I kept hearing the same story about Rob’s church, Calvary The Dalles. As an example I’ll share about one of the people I met named Keith.
Keith told me he grew up in a church-going family, but when he became a young adult, he decided it was time to go church shopping. He said he wasn’t just looking for a good church but he was also looking for Mrs. Keith at the time. When he visited Calvary The Dalles, he didn’t find Mrs. Keith, but what he did find were a group of people who genuinely seemed to love each other. That’s what attracted him to Calvary, and he’s been attending ever since.
I kept hearing versions of this same story. People were attracted to Calvary The Dalles church by the way the people there loved each other, and they wanted to become a part of it.
I was blown away. But it wasn’t just the stories from others about the people of Calvary. Kathy and I spent the weekend there. We arrived Friday evening, hung out at the trapshoot on Saturday, spent two nights at Rob and Becky’s house, and went to church Sunday morning.
And we experienced the love of Jesus from these people first hand.
So to me, and a whole bunch of others, the people of Calvary The Dalles are known for their love.
That’s such a beautiful picture of how we the church are supposed to be.
“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Jesus Christ, John 13:35