Sometimes we find light in the most unexpected places.
Wildwood, New Jersey is spiritually dark. Walking on the boardwalk is walking through Vanity Fair. To walk on the boardwalk to see the depravity of man not just on display, but flaunted. Sandwiched between yet another pizza place and yet another crude T-Shirt shop sits the most surprising building to be seen— our beloved Boardwalk Chapel. In a place where the world in its shabby glory is most loudly worshiped, our God in his majesty is preached unashamedly by his servants. It is a simple building. It is a simple Gospel. The Good News of Jesus Christ is the most beautiful thing in the world, and it can be found here, of all places.
And yet it makes sense. Jesus came to call sinners to repentance. So that’s what we do, on his behalf—as his servants!—going out into the Boardwalk every night. Even when our faith is lacking, even when the night seems eternal and the darkness oppresses on every side, we go out. Some stay behind to pray. Lord, we say. Bless the work tonight. Please.
It is critical to go out in humility. What a wicked temptation it is as Christians to look down on the unsaved. To look at the choices of others and fancy ourselves that we are better than they. “Lord,” we boast as the publican in Jesus’ parable, “I thank you that I am not like other men.” Perish the thought. There is nothing we have contributed to our salvation. To evangelize in pride is not honoring to God. To evangelize in truth is actually one of the most humbling things in the world. It is a daily dying unto oneself to go out. It is a burden to speak the words of Christ. But it is also a gift.
Lord, we say. Thank you for this conversation. Even though it went badly in my eyes.
To the lost, the Chapel is a light in the darkness, a city set on a hill. But the Chapel isn’t just a light to unbelievers.
One afternoon at the Chapel last week, a family of three was standing by our tract rack: a father, a mother, and their son in a wheelchair. Chris Byrd was preparing to leave the Chapel for the afternoon, when he realized that they wanted to speak to him specifically. “I was like, I’ve got two minutes,” Chris recalled. “I went over there, shook the dad’s hand, and then turned to the son. I don’t know how old he is—I’m guessing late teens or early twenties. I don’t know exactly what his condition is; you could see his movement was really hard. But his speech was clear. He said, ‘I just want to thank you for the ministry here. When I was nine, God saved me. Ever since then, I’ve just wanted to share the Gospel. Whenever I have time. If God can use me to bring people to know him, that’s the greatest thing. Ever since I was young, we’ve come to the Wildwoods, and I come by the Chapel. And every time I come by the Chapel I am so overwhelmed with gratitude at the word that’s going forth from here and how it’s being preached, and how God is using it to save people. This is the highlight of my year, coming by the Boardwalk Chapel.’”
We are blessed to be a blessing to this young man.
The Chapel is a light to the lost, certainly. In fact sharing the Gospel with them is our greatest mission of all! But the Chapel is also a light to Christians. How it fills us with joy when we come across brothers and sisters in Christ here in Wildwood! They are strengthened by our ministry and we are strengthened by their joy. Wherever you are in life, and however God is calling you to serve him, let it be done in a way that is salt and light to those around you, whether they be saved or unsaved.
Lord, we pray. Help others to see Christ in me.