Heartbreak in the Heights

We happen to live in Washington Heights, venue for the popular movie, “In The Heights”. I moved here 40 years ago as a student in the 80’s. It was, at the time, the cocaine capital of the east coast and the Marielitos prevailed in vicious crime sprees. Two blocks over from my building is Armory which, at that time, sheltered 800 homeless men who often spilled out onto building doorsteps. None of this bothered me in fact, it was a renters delight at the time and perfect venue for a social work student.

While I have never seen Dominicans singing and dancing in the street, I have a love for my neighbors and community and appreciate enduring with them over the years. My husband and I remained active in our downtown church for over 20 years, but also hoped to find a church in the neighborhood. While the Lord graciously opened a small Bible study in our home for a year, my heart yearns for more, to worship and share the Gospel within the community. Is it just me or the Lord charging my heart?

We learned of a church gathering in the park just 3 blocks from us. Their website had some solid foundational tenets although with some contemporary ‘buzz words’, but we were open to whatever the Lord would show us, outside in a park on a summer morning. I love the idea of praising God, in English and Spanish, out in the park – may others hear and hearts stir!


Everyone was kind and welcoming. After a time of praise, the pastor spoke with a simple message from John chapter 3, ok. It was good to be with neighborhood folks, most I have never met. However, after the service we met with the pastor to flesh out the beliefs, mission, and teachings of the church. He was excited about youth outreaches, invites to athletics and games and gauging the needs of the community. From there he spoke with vigor of his Genesis Bible study, expounding on things that most people, including myself, don’t know and never heard of…”the first tabernacle was really in the Garden of Eden…..” He quoted a central author in this discovery whose name he mentioned several times but I can’t remember.

He explained at length how violations of “Social Justice” is the central issue behind of Israelites’ exile, founding the church mission of social justice. We could barely wedgeway into his mount of scriptural justifications – my head couldn’t digest his perspectives. Back to Genesis I honed in to ask point blank, “Do you believe in the Biblical account of creation, that God made all in six days?”

A two second hesitation here is all I need but he fueled up more fervor to explain how he was ‘freed’ from the conventional Biblical account through elaborate studies in sophisticated theology, history, and Egyptian culture. I will not even elude to at or hint at what he shared; unraveling the supernatural demonstrations of God’s power and His magnificence is just devilish.

At the end I restated, “I believe in the Bible’s account, it is the foremost introduction to God’s greatness and awesomeness. To diminish that, questions all of His supernatural power and the miracles throughout the Bible…”

As though speaking down to the ‘unenlightened’ he replied, “Yeah, my father still believes that” (I immediately thought, does he have a church? Where is it?) he added, “…and about 30-40% of our attendees at the church still believe that” (Until, I thought, they take your Genesis course and the truth is scrubbed out of their hearts!)

We left with my head swirling with ‘deep’ religious explanations I had never imagined but, moreover, I was heartbroken for the lack of holiness, brokeness for the lost and a fear of God.

God can surely call us to a place that is imperfect, incomplete – even chaotic. But never where truth is disdained and error is taught with fervor. Not sure how long we’ll still be in the Heights but my heart is still searching for God’s presence here and perhaps some sheep to join in worship, who love God and His precious unchanging word, and have a heart for the lost.

I will “keep on asking, seeking, and knocking”, praying for the Lord to order the steps of my feet and my heart. May He lead us to where He is working that we may co-labor with Him in the fields for the harvest.

33 thoughts on “Heartbreak in the Heights

  1. Thanks so much Lisa, Teresa and I are having a very difficult time finding a solid church here in Florida. My best to Bob,

    John Ash

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is heartbreaking, frustrating and becoming more and more prevalent. This man’s cavalier regard to the Word of God will not go unchallenged on his day of judgment. People today are completing ignoring James 3 which says many should not be teachers and that they will face a harsher judgement. Praise God the Triune God is indwelling believers now helping us to discern truth from error. Keep going sister, your voice and witness is needed! Love, hugs and blessings!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Amen sister! So glad to hear from you and agree with every point. “Praise God the Triune God is indwelling believers now helping us to discern truth from error.”
      This is SO important! I was thinking the Lord this morning for foundational truths. I’m finding more and more how vital they are to stand upon and discern deception. Thank you Mandy, you “shine like a star in the universe” – you bless us by reading and writing! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Praise God this is not in the WordPress abyss! I agree with you about thanking God about foundational truths. I was watching a new video from Justin Peters and plagiarism in the SBC. So many false teachers! Whether it’s the SBC or your experience at the park, God has a standard. While the glory of man is prevailing at the moment, we know that one day every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father (Phil 2:11). So very thankful for your heart for Truth and speaking/writing the Truth!


    • Thank you so much Mitch, its good to hear from you. I did see some of the filming here (was not ‘discovered’!) but haven’t seen the movie yet.
      I appreciate your encouragement and always enjoy your blog.


  3. Lisa, Sad that these are the days we are living in. So thankful that you have discernment. Praying you and Bob will find a body of believers to worship with. He does direct our step.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had the thoughts you’ve expressed in this post. I’ve had similar experiences of hoping to join or even visit some church only to be sadly disappointed when I find out that they don’t believe Jewish people need the Gospel, or they are yoking in ministry with Roman Catholics, or they support LGBT just the way they are. I agree that we don’t have to walk lockstep with everyone but I am finding extremes in falsehood. This is where we are sadly today. Great post, thank you for sharing. Sometimes we feel like we are the only one experiencing these things.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much sister, your comments truly wrap up the apostasy today. May our Lord lead us as we seek true believers – we’ll surely need godly fellowship in the days ahead.
      Thank you again Cathy, you’re a blessing.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Lisa Beth. I too lived in Washington Heights in the eighties. I receive pastor Carter’s daily devotional and a few days ago in his devotional he said that he took a stroll down Broadway from 52nd to 33rd street. He said “the sensory of assault of anger, immorality, spiritual blindness, arrogance and the absolute lack of simple courtesies in people could be overwhelming except for one thing: God is still able to turn darkness into light.” My son still lives in Manhattan across the street from Central Park North. He is a good son who fears the Lord but is not attending church. I pray that God will lead him to a church where the UNCHANGING Word of God is taught. The Lord spoke so much about these false teachers and it is mindboggling the things these wolfs in sheep clothing come up with. May the Lord help us and keep us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow Eve, we could have unknowingly seen each other! Pastor Carter is right, there’s such a lawlessness here now. We’re in an age of apostasy but there are true brethren around. We need to find each other and gather.
      I’ll pray for your son too, he may not be looking for godly fellowship but the Lord has a way to stir one’s heart and make it happen.
      Press on sister and thank you for sharing edifying comments and encouragement.


      • Thank you Lisa Beth. My son’s name is Jonathan. He had a difficult childhood because I became a single mom and when people who meet him tell me that I did a good job, I say “no, it was God’s mercy.” My beautiful Lord even warned me before I moved to Florida in 2000 that my son was going to cry bitter tears in Florida. A sister in Christ said to me “Evelyn, I dreamt with Jonathan last night and in the dream he was crying and his tears were like pearls.” I did not understand the meaning of that dream until I came back to New York five years later. My son cried bitter tears in Florida. I knew I had to come back to the city he loved for his well being. I just pray that the Lord will put a burning desire in his heart to seek Him.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for sharing that Eve, I will remember to pray for Jonathan. Trust in the Lord to meet him here in the city, as He met me…when I wasn’t looking.


  6. This is soo soo sad. I don’t like pastors like that and I’m saying this as a Christian first, pastor second. Praying for him tonight to see the Word as the Word. Hope you be able to find a sound church

    Liked by 1 person

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