On October 21 our prayer breakfast keynote speaker Rev. Alphonsus Platt, president of the United Clergy of the Oranges and pastor of NIA Fellowship Baptist Church, spoke to a gathering of 50.
He began with scripture readings from Ephesians 2:14-22 and 6:10-12, which say that Jesus made peace between Jews and Gentiles through his sacrifice on the cross. He did away with hatred and separation between them, making them part of one family in God. However, he added that we still need to put on the full armor of God to defend against the rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world.
“The church has struggled and failed to excel in being relevant in many communities because we have not been united. This disunity is a replica of what we bring to the church. United families are hard to find today especially the kind of family that God designed us to have.” When we take responsibility for the brokenness of our family…we begin to grow stronger and reunite ourselves. Rev. Platt asked the audience, “What happened to UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDED WE FALL? What happened to THE FAMILY THAT PRAYS TOGETHER STAYS TOGETHER?”
He then shared an experience he had several years ago, while visiting the Capitol and the White House. He saw a short film about how America became a strong nation. He was so inspired that he bought a t-shirt from the gift shop which had “E Pluribus Unum (Out of many, one)” printed on the front – the motto on the United States Seal.
The success of America is based on the foundation of the founding fathers’ prayers and strong faith…which challenged this country to come together. Unfortunately, we did not hang on to the power of prayer. We have lost the power of prayer because we allowed it to become more of a religious act than a relationship tool to stay connected with God.
Three things that will help to get the power of prayer back in our personal relationships, family relationships and our relationship with God. First, we must understand the consequences of separation. Second, we need to understand that being reunited is essential to growth in any relationship. Third, we need to understand the benefits of the power of being united.
Oneness of the church is not based on the law but on salvation through Christ.
Rev. Platt pointed out that Paul explains in Ephesians that Christ came as the fulfillment of the law. He was the common denominator. There was no need for separation between Jews and Gentiles. He is still the source of peace and grace for all who believe in him.
$1 bill represents (financial) power. However, it means nothing when half of the bill has been torn off. Rev. Platt pulled out a torn dollar bill from his pocket to illustrate a point about separation. He said that even if you had a million half dollars, they would be worthless unless they could be reconnected to the other halves.
Separation breeds a false sense of power which ends up stunting our spiritual growth and leaving us broken. The church struggles to grow because there is so much division. Division causes our Kingdom builder (Jesus) to suffer. We need to reunite. Being reunited is essential to growth within the church. When we are re-united we will find ourselves growing strong even without knowing it.
Jesus died so we could unite and build His Kingdom! Rev. Platt closed by reminding us that we are united for God’s Kingdom building. As Kingdom builders we are building blocks for a new foundation for a holy temple that will have Christ as its chief cornerstone. He went on to tell everyone that they could not receive all the blessings of God without being united with him and the body of Christ. “Once you become united at home your family will change. Once you become united in your relationships your love will change. Once you become united with God your spirit will change. Once you become united with your church your community will change. Once you become united in your ministry –your ministry will be effective.” It all starts with YOU. Put on the full armor of God. Be ready to fight. “Unity has no power without YOU!”
The sermon was followed by the introduction of Rev. Greg Agulan, who will assume the leadership for NJ ACLC District activities. Rev. Agulan introduced two of his guests. Rev. Cresente Selera, pastor of New Generation Church of Jersey City, who was actively involved in ACLC in 2009, and Evangelist Rene Ballenas, a close friend and prayer partner of Rev. Agulan. Bishop Michael Sykes gave the closing prayer.
Looking across the room I felt a powerful spirit of determination and commitment among the participants, to become united as God’s Kingdom builders.
Contributed by: Rev. Kathaleen Sato, ACLC-NJ