Enjoying the Journey
This week I am preaching at the historic Sixth Avenue Bible Baptist Church in Brooklyn, NY. This beautiful 150-year old church is the continuing fruit of a faithful man. Robert Lowry is now famous for the many hymns that he wrote. Great songs like “Christ Arose” and “Nothing But The Blood Of Jesus” came from his pen.
But Lowry himself said that he would rather preach the gospel than write a hymn. He did both well. While pastoring in Brooklyn he helped to begin the Flatbush Mission – another gospel preaching station – which would later become the Sixth Avenue Baptist Church.
Just across the East River in lower Manhattan stands the Bowery Mission. It was there that for many years one of Lowry’s dearest friends, Fanny Crosby, sang and shared the gospel with hurting souls. Two people with a song in their heart and a salvation to share!
As I have observed the historic churches throughout the area and reflected on the spiritual need in this place God has stirred my heart with these thoughts:
Beautiful buildings are not enough. Walk through the city streets of New York and you will find churches of every size and stripe imaginable. They are everywhere…and yet there is so little light in this dark place. Stately structures and ornate meeting halls are on every corner – but where is Christ?
Godly heritage is not enough. Many of the buildings scattered throughout this great metropolis have amazing stories behind them. Spiritual awakenings and gospel advances are in their history. But what of today? Another generation has come that does not know their God or what He did there (Judges 2:10). Many have become secular establishments or social clubs at best.
Dead laborers are not enough. Every generation needs its own light. A living God deserves living witnesses! Sadly there are too few laborers coming to an ever increasing harvest like New York City. That does not mean that everyone could, or should, come to the great urban areas. But someone must. There is a need for gospel preachers as never before!
Pray for another Robert Lowry and Fanny Crosby. Intercede for the faithful laborers who are here holding the light. I am encouraged to see churches like Sixth Avenue still pointing people to the Lord Jesus. It was a joy to see a number of souls come to Christ on the Lord’s day. Let’s ask God to use us to strengthen the things that remain, to start many more churches, and to see a stirring for Christ in our day!