For our first ACLC Prayer Breakfast of 2016, we returned to our very first host church, Evangelical Reform Baptist Church, where the grandfather of New Jersey ACLC, Elder James P. Paige was the host pastor. Elder Paige has been hosting ACLC events since 2001. He will be 94 years young on July 4th.
Rev. Dr. Michael Sykes (ACLC National Executive Committee Member and NJ ACLC Co-chair) and his wife Rev. Zena Sykes shared the role of MC for the program. A colleague of Rev. Mitchem was asked to offer the opening prayer.
After breakfast, the New Jerusalem Choir sang a rendition of “Awesome God” to usher in the presence of the Holy Spirit and prepare everyone’s heart to receive the word from the preacher of the hour, Rev. Dr. Kenneth Mitchem.
Rev. Dr. Kenneth Mitchem launched into his sermon by saying …we all need LOVE. He reminded everyone of the question posed by Tina Turner many years ago. “What’s love got to do with it?” He pointed out that when we look at our world and society we see that love is a lost art. There are those who claim to love but their actions fail them …How we let people know that we love them is not only essential but paramount.
Love is an action word
Dr. Mitchem emphasized that traditionally, when people say “love” they mean one thing (Philia love) – brotherly or sisterly love toward each other. He then highlighted the fact that a city had been name after it – Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love… However, there is also Agape love, the love that God has for all of us and Eros love, which a man has for woman or a woman for a man.
God’s arrangement and order of things demonstrates that he loves us
Rev. Mitchem stressed that there is nothing like the love between a mother and her children or a father and his children. That is what God has for us. He loved us so much that He gave everything. When Adam saw Eve he said “Whoa” is that woman for me? When Jacob saw Rebecca he said, “I’m going to work seven years for her.”
If you have faith but no love, it means nothing
The entire Bible from Genesis until Revelations speaks about “L O V E.“ First Corinthians 13:13, talks about faith, hope and love… The greatest of these is love. If you have faith but no love, it is nothing… Jesus so loved us that he died for you and me. That’s love.
Three things about God’s love
Dr. Mitchem enumerated three points about God’s love. His love is present…. “He wakes me up each morning and gives me a chance to get it right with Him. Every time I fall down He picks me up, turns us around and says, I’ve got your back …and when the world turns against me God still says, That’s my son.” It is always precise. “If you ask God for a fish, He is not going to give you a snake. God gives the very best that he has. He gave his only begotten son so that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Rev. Mitchem brought his message to a conclusion by saying, our unity is only because of the love we have for one another. We are the body of Christ and Christ is all about love… “What’s love got do with it – Everything!” No love, no babies. No love, no joy. When we have Jesus we‘ve got all we need – “L O V E.”
Love in action
Elder Paige gave the closing remarks with a testimony about how their church puts love in action, through their ministry to the homeless. Just the day before, they invited a young single mother to come to the ACLC Prayer Breakfast, with her five young children. Elder Paige introduced her to the participants and later invited her to join their Sunday Worship Service, the next day. This resulted in her committing to be baptized along with three of her children (the other two are still infants.) The church is united in its effort to help her and her family nurture their faith and commitment God.
Contributed by: Rev. Kathaleen Sato – New Jersey ACLC