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
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
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
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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