Beliefnet
Mark D. Roberts

I want to interrupt my regularly scheduled blogging to put up a request for prayer. No doubt many of my readers have seen the stories related to the fires in Southern California. You may even have noted that Malibu Presbyterian Church burned to the ground in the still-out-of-control fire in that seaside city. This is sad news, indeed.

The remains of the sanctuary of Malibu Presbyterian Church

I have known Malibu Pres over the years. It has always been a vital, Christ-centered community. This church has a heart for mission, especially outreach to the nearby campus of Pepperdine University. The current pastor, Greg Hughes, is a friend and a faithful, godly man. My heart is heavy for Greg and his flock today. It must be a devastating experience to watch your church buildings burn to the ground.
In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Greg explained that he rushed to the church at 6:00 a.m. on Sunday morning when he recieved a call telling of fire near the church. At first he and his colleagues hurried to remove valuable items from the buildings, but then they were forced to evacuate. Greg watched the church campus burn on television. (Another photo of the sanctuary on fire. For the news clip from which I took this still photo, click here.)
What does one say at a moment like this? Here’s Greg’s conclusion: “We didn’t lose any members. We only lost a building. We’re going to regroup. We believe God will make something beautiful out of ashes.”
Many headlines read “Malibu Church Destroyed.” That’s true with respect to the building. But the real church, the people of Malibu Presbyterian Church, were not physically hurt. They are still a strong congregation. Of course they now face major challenges. But the church survives because the church is people, not buildings.
Please join me in praying for Malibu Presbyterian Church and for its fine pastor, Greg Hughes. Let’s add prayers for others in the Malibu area who have lost homes in the fire, and for firefighers throughout Southern California who are putting their lives on the line this very moment.
Added: The Children’s and Family Ministries Director of Malibu Pres has a blog, with some pictures and open-hearted commentary. Thanks, Kristi, for sharing this with us. .

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