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Tony Pappalardo
2 Corinthians 5:17

Friday  Study Ministries

The Body of Christ
by Tony Pappalardo

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. Old things have passed away. Behold all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17)

In 1986, the Holy Spirit instructed a guy named Mike Pappalardo to pray for his brother.  Being obedient to the Holy Spirit, Mike and a group of people began to pray for his brother’s salvation.

You see, Mike’s brother was on a deadly path. That path was strait to hell, by way of fast cars, wild women and a gun. A nine-millimeter with a silencer and a twenty round clip, to be exact. Dealing in drugs, adultery and pornography, Mike’s brother was broken and didn’t care. He would say “I’ve got reservations in hell, Room 666.”

That group of people remained faithful in prayer for over a year. Mike invited his brother to church and witnessed to him almost weekly. Finally, the brother found himself in that group of “Prayers.” He gave his life to Christ, flushed four ounces of pure cocaine down the toilet and changed his reservations from 666 to 777.

That broken brother… was me. That group of people who prayed, though they did not know me, was and is the Body of Christ.

My name is Tony Pappalardo.

I made the decision to follow Jesus. I joined the Body of Christ, which dwells in different places: your congregation or home church; in the mission fields locally and around the world. It dwells in families seeking to live in faith and love for one another. Wherever two or more are gathered in His name, there is the Body of Christ. The Body of Christ is the Christian community. Dedicated to the mission of bringing people to disciple for Jesus, teaching them to become leaders in and for Christ.

The Body of Christ is made up of people of different races, classes and backgrounds. This is when the body seems to be at its best. When people come together from all areas of life for the common good to serve, teach and influence society.

It’s been reported that Rev. Dr. Billy Graham, while walking with Walt Disney in Disneyland, said to Walt, “Look at all the different people and backgrounds here today. They are all getting a long, having a good time. What a wonderful fantasy world you have created inside these walls”. Walt replied, “This is the way the real world is supposed to be. Outside these walls is the fantasy.”

My son Joshua was involved in a horrible accident. He was hit by a Van and dragged for over 100 feet. He was rushed to the trauma ward with burns, a broken pelvis and a crushed chest. As he lay in the hospital, his mother, girlfriend and I prayed in the parking lot. As we prayed, we felt hands join us and then voices began to join us in prayer. As I looked around me, I saw friends and family. The Body of Christ gathered to pray for Josh.

For a period of time, we didn’t know if Joshua was the John Doe or the DOA that had arrived that evening. I thought, “How can I go and identify my Son’s body”. I knew that if he was dead I would have to be the one. I prayed for help, then as we finished praying I looked at the crowd of people and saw my oldest brother, Mike, there, the one who always protected me as a kid.

Finally they said we could see Joshua. My brother went with me. I touched Joshua’s arm and it was cold as ice.

I thought he was dead, then a nurse said, “He’s alive. Just in an induced coma.”

Months later, as my son was being released, a nurse walked in and said to Josh, “You are my miracle child. When you came into the emergency room, they said you wouldn’t make it. So, my friend and I laid hands on you and prayed.”

The Body of Christ is alive and active, even when we don’t see it.

The Body of Christ is gifted in as many ways as there are believers. It is these differences that motivate the Body. Each one of us has different and unique gifts and these are given to us to be used in and for one another.

In John 14:12. Jesus said: “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in Me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

But first we must follow Jesus. When we talk about different gifts, we are not talking about a particular talent. Singing like Sinatra or shooting baskets like Shaq won’t get you to heaven. We’re talking about an athlete who gives to the needy and doesn’t boast about it. A singer who supports his wife’s home for abused children and no one knows until he has passed into eternity. These things are gifts from the heart, which build up people and the Body itself.

I prayed for the Lord to use me and God showed me a door. That door was hard to open at first. Now I knock on doors to evangelize to strangers and I love it. My biggest fear, my weakness became my strength in Jesus Christ alone. Let Jesus be your strength. Let Him use your weaknesses. Go, just go in faith.

Thanks to the prayers of the Body and the grace of God, my son Joshua is alive and well. He actually took 13th place in the Barstow to Vegas off road race, riding a dirt bike last year.

As for myself, through the grace of God and many persons in the body of Christ, their prayers…. their love, I stand before you…. Not perfect, but not broken. I am married, with two sons and two grandchildren. The body of Christ has been there for me. I want to be there for others like me or like I was. If you want to know how bad I was, just ask my wife, Victoria. She was one of those praying for me, before she knew me.

--- By Tony Pappalardo


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