Living Stones

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Living Stones Series: First Published in All Around Old Bridge Publication – October 2016

By Pastor Lloyd Pulley

The Township of Old Bridge, along the banks of the Raritan, was once a prized summer destination.

It’s true!

The first residents of Old Bridge, the Lenni Lenape Native Americans, came to Old Bridge from the north each summer to fish and hunt. Over the centuries, countless others, including the British and the Dutch, have been drawn to this area for agricultural, commercial, and recreational pursuits.

A different sort of pursuit prompted my wife Karen and I and our two young children to move from Southern California to Old Bridge in June of 1984. What drew us here wasn’t so much a sense of summer adventure or the promise of a better life, but rather these words from the book of Isaiah in the Bible:

The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones; you shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.

We had learned of a small group of Christians in the area who wanted to closely study the Bible, and so in 1984 we began gathering in our apartment in Parkwood Village on Sunday mornings. With our Bibles open and my five feeble chords on the guitar, Calvary Chapel Old Bridge began. Over the next few years and much to our amazement, the study began to grow, moving from Parkwood Village to Cheesequake School, then to what was then the Carl Sandberg Middle School and ultimately to our current location on White Oak Lane.

Today we stand in awe of the community God has created here at Calvary Chapel. A church of nearly 4,000 people, Calvary is home to dozens of effective ministries, including Broken Loaves, our local food bank, and Calvary Christian School, a vibrant pre-K through 12th grade accredited school right here in Old Bridge.

Calvary is also home to The Bridge Christian Radio, which broadcasts some of the finest Bible teachers and Christian programming in the nation on 91.9 FM in Middlesex County and via other frequencies throughout the area. What’s more – The Bridge will soon be broadcasting directly from New York City. Our beloved hometown here in Old Bridge, NJ, is reaching into one of the greatest cities in the entire world!!

All that has happened is rooted in one – and only one – critical component, the Bible. The best-selling book in all of history, the Bible has directed kings, nations, and individuals. Put simply, the Bible changes lives.

Taught faithfully, it reminds us of our purpose. We are created in the image of God, for His glory.

Read daily, it gives us a roadmap for joyful living. Reading the Bible isn’t drudgery or some mundane religious activity. It gives us hope!

Over more than 30 years, I have witnessed tens of thousands of people come through the doors of Calvary Chapel and leave changed, because God’s Word, as it says, is living and powerful.

That’s why Calvary Chapel in Old Bridge stands on the Bible, and why teaching the Word is the focal point of each service, of our radio station, and each ministry work.

You may be surprised to learn that I wasn’t always of this opinion when it comes to the Bible and Christianity. For years, I believed that church was an irrelevant relic, a dead place where devout people gathered to act holy. But I came to learn that quite the opposite is true. God’s Word turns anyone, even those gathering in a converted warehouse on White Oak Lane, into a living, breathing community.

In fact, the Bible describes the church as place built by “living stones,” people who do much more than gather on Sundays to be religious. As a church community, we turn to the Bible for direction, as my wife Karen and I did all those years ago. As a church, we are empowered to do the impossible, even to obey the immortal words of Jesus to “love our enemies, bless those who curse us, do good to those who hate us and pray for those who spitefully use and persecute us.”

People are the church. People are these living stones, studying God’s living and powerful Word and serving a living and powerful God, right here in Old Bridge.

Aaron Salvato