J. Mark McVey, Rev. Harrison Sanchez, Rev. Raj Ram, Joe Pellegrino, and Lee Rouson at the Good Friday Prayer Breakfast. Photo courtesy of Ed Lamoureaux.
By Tom Campisi
A crowd of 300 men and women attended the annual Good Friday Prayer Breakfast hosted by the Wayne-Lakeland Chapter of the Christian Business Men’s Committee (CBMC) and Legacy Minded Men this morning at the Brownstone in Paterson, NJ. After breakfast was finished at the stylish banquet hall, a series of messages filled their souls with the bread of life and energized their spirits as Easter weekend began in dynamic fashion.
J. Mark McVey, who played Jean Valjean in “Les Miserables” on Broadway, performed a stirring rendition of “Mary, Did You Know?” and an original song. Joe Pellegrino, the founder of Legacy Minded Men, presented Rev. Raj Ram (First Baptist Church, West Caldwell) with the John Stanley, Sr. Legacy Minded Man of the Year Award.
Later, Pellegrino talked about the hope we can have on good Friday. He exhorted the people from Ephesians 2:10, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”
“God has given us the Holy Spirit,” Pellegrino said. “The same power that raised Jesus from the dead—it’s in you if you know Jesus. But we have capped the Holy Spirit. We have not unleashed the Holy Spirit. By next year, we will all see unbelievable fruit if we allow the Lord to work in us and through us.”
“The power of the cross is the message of Good Friday.”
Lee Rouson, a two-time Super Bowl champion with the New York Giants, shared his testimony, recalling how he first found his identity in “being black” as a young man growing up in North Carolina and, later, in sports, as a star running back in high school and as a college football player at the University of Colorado.
Rouson said he prayed to receive Jesus Christ when visiting a family in Colorado during a college summer break, but did not pursue the Lord and did not experience any real change. It wasn’t until his playing days were over that he became a fully-committed follower of Christ. Ironically, the turning point came when a dispute in his suburban New Jersey neighborhood with a man who hurled racial insults nearly turned into a fist fight. As he was ready to crush the man, Rouson said he heard the distinct voice of God telling him to turn the other cheek.
That Voice said, “Lee, come home right now.”
“That’s when I first realized that God loved me. He calls me to love Him, to go after Him. He is looking for all of us to return to glory—to return to the glory that Adam once had. We need to understand who we are in Jesus.”
The last speaker of the morning was Pastor Harrison Sanchez of The Fountain Christian Church in Passaic, NJ. Sanchez spoke about the abundance that came when Jesus multiplied fives loaves of bread and two fish (Matthew 14:31-21) and said we can similarly experience overflow in our lives if we place everything in His hands. Sanchez used four points (all starting with the letter B) to illustrate the message: “First, we need to bring it to God. Is it in your hand or God’s hand? Psalm 55:22 says to cast your burdens on the Lord. Second, we need to be still, have faith, and stop worrying and losing sleep. ”
Finally, we have to be willing to be broken and blessed, said Sanchez, referring back to the prophesy of the suffering-servant Jesus in Isaiah 53, which had been read earlier at the breakfast.
“Sometimes, the breaking involves changing attitudes and unlearning certain things. God will wipe away every tear from your eyes.”
“Jesus said, ‘I am the bread of Life.’ His body was broken and poured out for us.”