2012 - 2013 SCHEDULE
The Center For Christian Partnership
St John's Church, Woodbridge, NJ

A Ministry of St. John's Episcopal Church, Woodbridge, NJ


Easter marks the resurrection of ourLord and Saviour Jesus Christ. On Easter morning some women and apostles wentto Jesus' tomb, expecting to find his body. But the tomb was empty, and theangel at the tomb told them, "He is not here; he has risen!" Laterthey saw their risen Lord face to face.

The gospels record these events, butthe earliest written report concerning the resurrection of Jesus Christ waswritten by St. Paul within twenty-five years of Christ's death in 1 Corinthians15:3-8: "For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance:that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried,that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that heappeared to Peter and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more thanfive hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living,though some have fallen asleep." Later St. Luke the historian wrote in hisintroduction to the book of Acts, "After [Jesus'] suffering, he showedhimself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. Heappeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom ofGod" (Acts 1:3). Because ofthe miracle of Christ's resurrection, Jesus' depressed and disappointeddisciples were instantly transformed. They began to preach the gospel withpower, and the resurrection of Jesus was at the heart of their preaching. Why?Without the resurrection, there is no Christianity. These disciples of Jesuswillingly suffered martyrdom for their faith. The enemies of the gospel weretotally unable to refute this central claim of the gospel. They could notproduce the body of Jesus Christ and put a stop to Christianity. The Jewishbelievers, meanwhile, were so impressed by this miracle that they began toworship on the day of Christ's resurrection, Sunday, rather than on Saturday,as their custom had been.TheResurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ totally transformed the disciples fromdespair to hope; from sadness to joy; their sorrow into enthusiasm; from fearand timidity to boldness and courage. Their joy knew no bounds. There was adramatic transformation of the disciples from dejected and dispirited escapistsinto Witnesses whom no opposition could muzzle. Peter who could not own upbeing a follower of Jesus Christ before a young maid could preach with boldnesson the day of Pentecost, and 3000 were converted to Christianity.  Asbelievers in Jesus Christ today, we can have complete confidence, as did thefirst Christians, that our faith is based, not on myth or legend, but on thesolid historical fact of the risen Christ and the empty tomb. Most important ofall, we can experience the power of the risen Christ in our life today. Firstof all, we can know that our sins are forgiven. 1 Corinthians 15:3. Second, wecan be assured of eternal life and our own resurrection from the grave.1Corinthians 15:19-26. Third, we can be released from a meaningless and emptylife and be transformed into a new creature in Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:17 Rememberthat God will fulfill His promises to you. God does not depend on ourcircumstances. His Power transcends all other forces. Jesus has won the victoryfor us and we need to do is to put our trust in Him. May the joy of the risenChrist transform our lives and renew our hope to know that we are serving aliving God. Amen.           


                          MISSION STATEMENT (UNDER REVIEW)

The Raritan Bay Episcopal Team Ministry seeks to serve people in New Jersey USA area and beyond by bringing the message of salvation through Jesus Christ. We believe Bible to be the word of God which should be taught and lived unadulterated. We teach that people can live in the power of the Holy Spirit and triumph over evil. We recognize the healing ministry of Jesus as active in the Church today and the power of the Holy Spirit on the people of God. We believe in using the resources God has given us to reach out to the less privileged all over the world.

Thank you for visiting our new Internet site. As Christian Ministry, we want to give you the opportunity to stay in touch with us.

At present, our web site is still under construction. We are making an effort to present you with our entire spectrum of offers as soon as possible. Check this site later, please.

You can reach us by contacting our Pastor, the Rev Canon Martin Oguike,PhD. at  1-732-634-2397 or 1-732-602-8910 and by fax at 1-732-602-1183. We are looking forward to hearing from you. You can also contact us at our e-mail address: oguike@verizon.net.

If you are not familiar with our Churches and your first contact with us is online: We would be pleased to hear from you! Please let us know what your needs and questions are, we will be more than happy to help.

LENTEN MEDITATIONS – By the Rev Canon Martin Oguike, Ph.D.  


Mark 1:9-13

9.  At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10  As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11  And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased." 12  At once the Spirit sent him out into the desert, 13  and he was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.  

During the weeks of Lent, we will meditate on what I consider the 3 Ts: Temptation, Testing and Trial. We will also consider the Cross which incidentally is shaped like a T. Although these four are related, they differ from each other. Sometimes they are used as synonyms, which creates confusion and misinterpretation. There are yet other related words such as tribulation, affliction and visitation which are sometimes translated trial.  God does not tempt anyone but the devil does. God can test us as He tested Abraham in Genesis 22. God allows us to go through trials and tribulations to bring out the best from us. Jesus calls us to take up our Cross (which is a symbol of suffering and shame) and follow Him if we would be His disciples.  We pray that the Holy Spirit will enable us to have the right perspective and understanding of these “wilderness” experiences.    

To tempt is to entice to do wrong by promise of pleasure or gain. Temptation is the act of tempting or the state of being tempted especially to evil. It can mean allurement, enticement or seduction. The Bible makes it clear that the architect of temptation is Satan. Since we do not see the devil he works through our minds or using other agents or circumstances as instruments to carry out his devices. God does not tempt anyone but rather delivers us from evil. The ‘Tempter’ referred to in Matt 4:3 and 1 Thess 3:5 is Satan. In fact James warns us in his letter: James 1:13  “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted with evil and He Himself tempts no one.’ Hebrews 4:15 reminds us that Jesus in all points was tempted as we are yet without sin.    

Our reading taken from Mark 1:9-13 presents us with a brief account of the temptation that Jesus went through in the Judean desert. Jesus spent 40 days of fasting and prayer in this wilderness during which time Satan tempted him.  Matthew 4:1-11and Luke 4:1-13 contain a more detailed account of the event. The brief account by Mark suggests that his readers already knew the details. The 40 days that Jesus spent in the this wilderness recalls Israel’s 40 years in the wilderness as well as Moses fast of 40 days and 40 nights on behalf of faithless Israel as recorded in Exodus 34:28; Deuteronomy 9:9,18.   A number of striking revelations can be noted from our reading:    

It is striking to note that directly after the Baptism of Jesus and the proclamation by God the Father: ‘This is my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased’, backed up with 40-day fasting and prayer, Satan can still have the audacity and effrontery to tempt Jesus.  The fact that Jesus is the Son of God did not deter him. If Jesus was tempted, no one is above temptation however “Super Christian” that person might be. The devil does not mind how long you have been a Christian or whether you are a preacher or miracle worker. The fact that you are a very committed Christian makes you his number 1 enemy and he is not going to give up on you. In December 1986 I attended the European Missionary Conference held in Utrecht, Holland. One of the major speakers, whose ministry has mobilized so many people for the Lord narrated how the devil followed him when he went to fast and pray in a lonely bush. He chose to go to the bush in order to get away from all distractions. As he walked into the bush he looked up and saw a magazine on top of a tree. He wondered what it will be and decided to bring it down. When he began to go through the pages, the pornographic materials contained in it filled his heart with evil desires that he ended up abandoning his prayer and fasting. Many Christians have become backsliders today because of their carelessness in playing around with temptation.  Many marriages have also broken as a result. Paul urges us in 2 Timothy 2:22 to shun youthful passions and aim at righteousness, faith, love and peace. Concentrate on the Lord and be wise. Do not expose yourself to temptation.    

The 40 days that Jesus spent in the wilderness was for fasting and prayer. Jesus fasted and enjoined his disciples to fast and pray. Fasting helps us to bring our flesh unto subjection. It makes us more serious in prayers. It is significant that when the Disciples of Christ could not drive out a demon from a boy, who was demon-possessed, Jesus told his disciples that “this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” Matthew 17:21. Acts 13:2,3 shows quite clearly that the early Church practiced prayer and fasting. Do not allow food or any other form of pleasure to control you. Satan tempted Jesus to satisfy physical cravings. Jesus knew that man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. Deut 8:3. We need to constantly feed on God’s Word.  Our food and craving should be to do God’s will. Fasting helps us to become humble and God desires us to have “a broken and contrite heart.” Psalm 51:17; Isaiah 57:15. Take advantage of this period of Lent to fast and pray.    

Do not play around with temptation because you are capable of yielding to it. Rev. Canon Michael Green of St. Aldates, Oxford UK,  has done extensive studies on Temptation. He said that some of us play with temptation; we virtually say to temptation “feel free, make yourself at home and have a drink’ and yet we wonder why we fall. Jesus resisted the devil with the word of God. Three times He reminded Satan that “It is written”. Do not doubt the word of God. Take God by his word and obey Him in all circumstances. Make prayer your hallmark. It has been said; “when the weakest Christian is on his knees, the devil begins to tremble”.    

In the midst of the temptation, Angels ministered to Jesus. You may be going through a period of temptation right now. Put your trust in the Lord He has promised that He will never leave us nor forsake you. Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that “No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” May God grant you the grace to overcome every temptation. Amen.




“After these things God tested Abraham, and said to him “Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Mori’ah, and offer him there as a burnt offering upon one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”  

In our first study, we considered the subject of Temptation which is the first in a series of our meditation for this season of  Lent. We examined the temptation of our Lord Jesus Christ as recorded in the Gospel according to Mark. (Mark 1:9-13) We pointed out that the architect of temptation is Satan as the Lord does not tempt anyone. James 1:13. We noted that: 1. No one is above temptation. 2. Jesus fasted and we need to fast and pray. 3. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 4. The Lord will never leave us nor forsake us.  

Our theme today is “Testing.” To test is to put to the proof; to determine the attributes or performance characteristics. Tests are conducted in various fields of endeavor not to destroy people of fail them, but to prove them. When a new car is manufactured, they are tested to prove them. Schools conduct tests for students. Car drivers are tested before they are licensed. There is always an encouragement that comes from passing a test.   In our text, Genesis 22:2, God tested Abraham by asking him to offer his only son Isaac as a sacrifice (burnt offering). This is a very emotional text, which raises a number of questions bothering on human sacrifice which a different topic for another sermon. Abraham rose up in the morning, traveled for three days with Isaac to the place God had chosen for the Sacrifice of Isaac. In obedience to God’s command, Abraham bound his son Isaac with a rope and placed him on the wood, lifted up his hand to slaughter him, but was halted by God. Abraham had passed the test. The Angel of God said to him in Gen. 22:12 “Do not lay your hand on the lad or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” 

As I was thinking and praying about this text the Lord pointed out a number of things we need to note:  

Before the birth of Isaac, Abraham was frustrated regarding childlessness. In Genesis 15:2,3 he cried out: “O Lord God, what would thou give me, for I continue childless, and the heir of my house is Elie’zer of Damascus? …Behold, thou hast given me no offspring; and a slave born in my house will be my heir.” God assured him that this man shall not be his heir; but his own son shall be his heir.  Abraham and his wife Sarah were so frustrated about this situation that they became impatient with God and tried to fix the problem themselves outside of God’s plan.  In Genesis 16 we read that Sarah gave Abraham her maid Hagar so that they can have children by her. Hagar bore Ishmael but this proved to be a terrible mistake. Sometimes we make the same mistake of becoming impatient about God’s promises and we ‘try to fix it ourselves.’ Is there anything you are expecting from God at the moment? Don’t be impatient with God; wait for His own timing. Our Epistle reading for today rightly points out that nothing shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. Romans 8:38-39. Hagar had to go with her son. In the fullness of time, God fulfilled His promise and Sarah gave birth to Isaac. In the fullness of time God will fulfill His promise to you. Say Amen to that. Amen. Isaac was an only son, born at old age; born when Abraham had attained 99 years. See Gen. 18:11-13; 21:2,7; .He was the son of promise, through whom God will establish his covenant.  Abraham loved him very dearly. Isaac was to Abraham something of an idol. God recognized this when he said to Abraham “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love….”  

An idol is whatever that rivals the love and allegiance we should have for God. We have noted the fact that Isaac must have become something of an idol to Abraham. Abraham is the “father of faith” and a “friend of God” through whom all the families of the earth shall bless themselves. Gen. 12:3. His complete allegiance and devotion must be to God. He needed to sacrifice his idol. It must have been very devastating for Abraham to consider the sacrifice of this beloved son Isaac. However, Abraham loved God more dearly and was prepared to obey God in every circumstance. Even though, God prevented him from killing his son, he had already sacrificed Isaac by his willingness and readiness to offer him. In fact God virtually returned Isaac to him. This was recognized by the writer of Hebrews in Hebrews 12:17-19: “By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was ready to offer up his only son, of whom it was said, “Through Isaac shall your descendants be named.” He considered that God was able to raise men even from the dead; hence figuratively speaking, he did receive him back.”   God will not require us to sacrifice our son today because He Himself has offered his own son once and for all. In our Gospel reading for today taken from Mark 8:31-38, Jesus announced the up-coming Sacrifice to his disciples. Peter could not take it. He took Jesus aside and began to rebuke Him. Jesus silenced him. It was necessary for Jesus to obey God rather Satan. We face many challenges of testing in our lives in which we have to choose between God and something else.   

There is a blessing for passing the test. As a result of Abraham’s obedience, God pronounced a blessing on him. In Genesis 22:16-18 God said to Abraham: “By myself I have sworn, says the LORD, because you have done this, and have not withheld your son, your only son, I will indeed bless you, and I will multiply your descendants as the stars of heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore. And your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies, and by your descendents shall all the nations bless themselves.”    In the book of Daniel Chapter 3 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed’nego were confronted by a difficult test, either to worship the idol set up by King Nebuchadnez’zar or be thrown into the fiery furnace. They said to the King, in vs 16-18 “O Nebuchadnez’zar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace; and he will deliver us out of your hand, O King. But if not, be it known to you, O King, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up.”  They were eventually thrown into the fiery furnace but God delivered them miraculously. The same Nebuchadnez’zar decreed the worship of God and promoted the three men. Daniel 3:28-30. In Acts 4:19-20 we read that Peter and John decided to obey God rather than men.  Search yourself today to see whether there is any gift that God has given you which you need to offer back to Him. It is true that “God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering” but he makes use of us and our resources and gifts to archive His purpose. Stop holding back. Freely you have received, freely give. As you face the daily challenges of testing; may God grant you the courage to choose to obey Him that He might bless you. Amen


TEXT: 1 PETER 1:6,7

 “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while you may have to suffer various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold which though perishable is tested by fire, may rebound to praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”  

Trial is the third in the three Ts: Temptation, Testing and Trials. Trial is a state or fact of being tried by suffering. It connotes the test of ones virtue, faith, patience or stamina by being subjected to affliction. The other words from the Bible that are related to trial are tribulation, affliction, visitation and the cross. Whereas trial implies a test of ones patience, self control, courage or resistance to temptation;  tribulation stresses the suffering of a trial. Whereas affliction stresses the imposition of trouble or suffering; visitation heightens the idea of affliction, stressing the severity of suffering in suggesting an ordeal. The cross can suggest an undeserved suffering or a suffering borne for the sake of the Christian course. Our Lord Jesus Christ was crucified on a cross and He calls us to take up our cross daily to follow Him.   In our text, 1 Peter 1:6,7, the Apostle Peter was addressing Christians who were undergoing a period of trial or suffering for their faith. Peter points out that our present experiences are all preparatory, making us fit for glory. Trials and tribulations are part of our Christian life. I would like us to take note of the following points arising from our text:  

1.      TRIALS ARE BOUND TO COME Peter in our text points out that “you may have to suffer various trials”. Trials are very much part of the Christian life. Jesus reminds us in John 16:31 that in the world we have tribulations but we should be of good cheer because He has won the victory for us by overcoming the world. These trials and tribulations can come to us by way of affliction to try our faith. Trials can come to us through sickness. It can come to us through broken relationships. It can come to us through financial difficulties. It can come to us through the death of a loved one. More often than not, the devil complicates our trial in order to put pressure on us to compromise our faith. He tried it on Job. His own wife even felt it was better for him to curse God and die, but Job was determined to overcome the trial. In Job 2:9 we read: “Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good at the hand of God and shall we not receive evil? In all this Job did not sin with his lips. Recently a lady well known to me tried to commit suicide by taking poison. She was in coma for four days but the Lord restored her to life. Some others have taken their own lives when they felt that their own trial was too much for them. Some have given up the faith. Hold on to the Lord and He will show you the way out in due course.    Trials can also come to us through persecution from other people on account of our faith. You must be prepared for that if you are to live an uncompromising Christian life. Jesus reminded us in John 15:20 “A servant is not greater than his master, if they persecuted me, they will persecute you.” Paul makes it emphatic in 2 Timothy 3:12 that: “Indeed all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” Paul has a long list of the trials he went through himself in 2 Corinthians 11:24-28. You may be a Christian doing your best to be faithful to the Lord and yet you are going through trials either in your health, marriage, finances, work place or your neighborhood. Perhaps you are receiving bad treatment from people because of your commitment to the Lord. Rejoice. Don’t be discouraged because trials must come. 

The next point that Peter brings out in our text is that trials bring out the genuineness of our faith. Peter reminds you that you go through trial  “so that the genuineness of our faith, more precious than gold which though perishable is tested by fire.” When gold passes through fire, the dross is burnt  off and pure metal is revealed. Trials archive the same purpose in us. It makes us better Christians. Job speaking about his trial said in Job 23:10 “When he has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.” I know many Christians whose faith in the Lord has become stronger as a result of trial. If you are going through trials today, hold fast to the Lord. Continue to abide in Him. He has promised that He will never leave you nor forsake you. Believe that you “shall come forth as gold. John 2:13-22 records the event of the cleansing of the Temple by Jesus. Jesus drove out all the merchants and moneychangers from the Temple.  Our body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit. My prayer is that Jesus will drive out all the merchants and moneychangers in our lives. Trials can help us to get rid of them. We shall come forth shining as gold.   


Finally, Peter makes the point that our trials will rebound to praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Christ. This is the Christian Hope. Jesus compares our trial to the sorrow of a woman in travail who will rejoice after the birth of her baby. The joys of heaven are worth suffering for.  In John 16:21,22 He said “When a woman is in travail, she has sorrow, because her hour has come; but when she is delivered of the child, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a child is born into the world.” Christ suffered and left us an example. If we suffer with Him, we shall also reign with Him. The troubles of this present time cannot be compared with the glory we shall behold. We have an assurance in 1 Corinthians 2:9 that “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love Him.” James 1:2 admonishes us to count it all joy when we meet various trials. Peter reminds us that “The Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trial, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment until the day of judgment and especially those who indulge in the defiling passion and despise authority.” 2 Peter 2:9,10. Do not compromise your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ because of the trial you are going through. Be patient and prayerful. Cast all your cares upon Him for He cares for you. Surrender your life completely to Him and hold on to Him. Your trial will rebound to praise and honor at the revelation of Christ. 

 “Now to Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you without blemish before the presence of His glory with rejoicing, to the only God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion and authority, before all time and now and for ever. Amen.