I have been going to Christian churches for the last 30 some years. During that time, my wife and I visited over 50 churches as we continually searched for my wife's healing and people who were truly living God’s word.
One common factor among all of these churches was the consistent request for tithes and offerings, oftentimes at the start of each service. My wife and I grew accustomed to this concept, and found that we sometimes gained ‘special attention’ from pastors over the years based upon our financial success. In fact, at the last church we attended, the pastor spoke to some of his leadership about me, stating, "Take good care of him; he is a ‘big fish.’" I guess this pastor never read the word about not showing favoritism to successful people. At the church we attended prior to that, the pastor wanted to put my picture in the lobby with the title "financial advisor," yet he wouldn't show me any financial information. I refused because I did not want to deceive the congregation. I guess they never read in the Scriptures that the righteous walk with integrity.
Then came the day when I stepped into a church that made absolutely no mention of tithe or offering. This immediately caught my attention! United Faith Church in Barnegat, New Jersey became my home church from that day forward. As I grew closer to the leaders, Pastor Jerry and Pastor Janeth Santiago, I quickly learned that money did not buy power or influence at United Faith Church. I also will never forget that the heart’s condition with God is invaluably more important than money, as I remember how Pastor Jerry and Pastor Janeth Santiago returned a five figure check to me, emphasizing that God wants our hearts, not our money. Needless to say, I was shocked when I saw just how little money mattered to Pastor Jerry and Pastor Janeth Santiago.
At the start of my journey at United Faith Church, Pastor Jerry and Pastor Janeth Santiago didn't speak about money to me. Instead they only spoke the gospel and the truth in the word. Instead of only focusing on parts of the bible regarding prosperity and healing, as I had always done in the past, Pastor Jerry and Pastor Janeth Santiago led me to read the bible in its entirety. As I studied all of the scriptures in depth, I began to see just how ‘poor’ I really was... I realized that all this time, I had been chasing after the blessing and had forsaken the One from whom all blessings flow. I had been seeking the gift and had forsaken the Giver. I came to see that the one true God, Jehovah, wasn't my God. My god was money.
Because Pastor Jerry and Pastor Janeth Santiago, were uncompromising in their belief that a man profits nothing if he gains the whole world, yet loses his own soul, they showed an unwavering concern for my soul to be fully restored to God. My heart began to change and an incredible transformation started to take place in my life as I surrendered my old nature to God. No longer was I driven by a desire to make money. The Lord replaced my desire to make money with a desire to teach others about the true treasures of God!
Even my future plans began to radically change. Like most businessmen, I always knew when and how I would retire. I had always planned the typical retirement dream to escape the cold weather for six months in Florida and enjoy the warm weather for the other six months in New Jersey. As God’s mighty, all-consuming word began to establish purpose in my heart, I discovered that there is no ‘retirement’ in the kingdom of God! The true abundant life with God is an adventure that never ends. This year, the Lord has directed my wife and me to sell our Florida house because United Faith Church has become our true house, and ministering in the Kingdom of God in the Barnegat area has become our true line of work. We’re just starting our careers!
I am a member at United Faith Church with Pastor Jerry and Pastor Janeth Santiago because I truly believe God led me to them. It takes a powerful move of God and the Lord using the right people to change the heart of a prideful man who has attained so much of what the world has to offer. I have spent significant amounts of time with Pastor Jerry and Pastor Janeth Santiago over the last eight years. I have never seen them do anything where their personal gain came before service to the Lord. I continuously see the true love and servant-hood of Christ in them. These are the kind of people I spent my life searching for, Christians who have laid their lives down to serve the Lord and who have the power of God working through them. I am truly blessed to have found pastors who LIVE the word. What a loving God! He is amazingly good to His children.
United Faith Church in Barnegat, New Jersey believes and teaches that sanctification is a work made possible by God the Father, through Jesus Christ, and completed by the Holy Spirit. United Faith Church trusts that God, Himself, sanctifies those who put their trust in Him and walk in obedience to His commands. The blessing of walking in obedience to God is called sanctification, as United Faith Church believes. The process of sanctification is an act of God the Father in which He imparts His holiness into the lives of believers. United Faith Church believes that the work of Christ does not cease at salvation, but rather it just begins, and His work continues throughout the life of the believer. Therefore, United Faith Church teaches that sanctification is an ongoing process for the believer that continues until he or she goes on to meet the Lord.
United Faith Church in Barnegat also teaches the importance of submitting to the commands of God during the process of sanctification and actively practicing obedience to Him. God is the One who sanctifies and leads His people by the power of the Holy Spirit into an ever-increasing measure of holiness.
Jesus lived a sanctified life, made evident by His obedience to God the Father. His obedience was rewarded with the holy presence of God wherever He went. United Faith Church acknowledges that just as Jesus sought to please the Father through His obedience, so should believers strive to please the Father above all else. This obedience, coupled with God’s sanctifying power, produces an inner change transforming believers into the likeness of His Son. God honors those who honor Him, and in turn, He imparts His holiness to them. United Faith Church affirms that through sanctification, the believer is set apart to do the works of God.
United Faith Church in Barnegat recognizes the great privilege of being set apart for the Lord. God has chosen His Church to be set apart from the world by upholding His Word and worshiping Him in spirit and truth. He sets apart His Church to shine the light of the Gospel and carry it to the nations. He compels believers to love the lost, heal the sick, demonstrate His glory, and to do the work of the Kingdom! The Apostle Peter passionately admonished the Church with the Word of God that commands believers to “Be holy, as I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). This command is the call for United Faith Church believers and believers across the nation to be sanctified and set apart for the very use of God.
United Faith Church in Barnegat believes that the power of the Holy Spirit will cause a believer to purpose him/herself to turn away from sin. He enables His people to change and to better themselves for the glory of God. He empowers believers to no longer be controlled by the flesh, but led by the Spirit of God producing love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. United Faith Church teaches that God enables the believer to live a holy life by His sanctification. Jesus prayed in John 17 for God to "Sanctify them by Your truth." United Faith Church teaches that the Word of God is truth and as believers follow the truth they are sanctified by God's mighty power.
United Faith Church in Barnegat acknowledges the call to walk in obedience to God the Father by the strength He gives through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Many at United Faith Church are being made holy as they obey the Lord and walk each step by faith in alignment with His Word. The members of United Faith Church in Barnegat are a people who are on a journey of sanctification, being set apart to impact those around them for the glory of God. United Faith Church believes and teaches that the Lord looks to dwell amongst a people that are preparing themselves for His return. He delights in those who have been set apart for holiness and who walk out their faith in obedience, as United Faith Church believers strive to do, demonstrating His power in the blood of Jesus to bring victory over sin, and leading many to the sanctifying power of the Lord Jesus Christ.
In this day and age of tolerance where anything and everything goes, it is refreshing to understand that there are some things that remain constant. United Faith Church in Barnegat acknowledges that Jesus Christ is constant and unchanging. He is the Word made flesh and the complete fulfillment of the scriptures, from which not one letter will ever pass away. United Faith Church believes that when one puts his or her trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, he or she is a new creation and has passed from death to life. This new life can now be discipled by those appointed by God, whose lives bear the fruit of His Word.
United Faith Church believes that the Church has been commissioned to make disciples. Disciples are those who follow the Lord Jesus Christ and all He has commanded. United Faith Church believes that disciples are not just called to live the commands of God, but to teach them as well. For a believer to become a mature Christian he or she must have read the whole counsel of God and must be walking in and demonstrating the power of God in his or her life. Although this is a process, the mandate to follow what He has commanded is an absolute must to all who call themselves disciples of Jesus Christ. Jesus only did what His Father commanded Him to do, and those who follow Him will do the same.
Just as a new baby can recognize the voice of his or her mother, so the believer must be able to recognize the Father’s voice and obey. The believer knows that the Father’s voice is always aligned with the written Word of God. The Word nourishes new believers in their new lives. It is the spiritual food that is necessary in order for the believer to grow as a disciple of God. Rather than being led by emotion, United Faith Church upholds that believers must be directed by the Word of God. The Word does not change. It is steadfast and serves even in this day to correct, rebuke, lead, encourage, and grow the disciple in the ways of God. United Faith Church trusts that the Word of God is consistent and unfailing; it is as relevant today as when Jesus walked on this earth.
United Faith Church believes that the Word is the truth of God that never fades or changes. Therefore, it is often offensive to the ever-changing culture of this day. Nevertheless, the Word must be preached as the forever constant, powerful written Word of God. It is by faithfully upholding the Word of God that disciples are made. United Faith Church believes the Holy Bible is the handbook of life for all believers. United Faith Church encourages all believers that as disciples, their speech and their actions should reflect this handbook. United Faith Church understands that this Holy Book has withstood the test of time and has proven to be the everlasting, unchanging Word of God. Through this Word, disciples are empowered to become true followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Living Word of God.
United Faith Church in Barnegat believes in the mighty power of God to heal. Joining together, United Faith Church creates a culture of biblical teaching, allowing faith to rise and producing an atmosphere where the power of the Holy Spirit is evident. A key verse that has come to bear much fruit in the people of United Faith Church is Isaiah 53:5, “By his stripes we are healed.” United Faith Church in Barnegat worships the Living God who has made provision by his death on the cross to heal all who look to him. In an atmosphere of worship and expectation, the Holy Spirit is allowed to move and bring healing to the sick at United Faith Church and Jehovah Rapha, the God who heals, is exalted. He truly is the God who has made atonement for our sins and by his death on the cross, we can be made whole.
The people of United Faith Church believe they are in a time of healing through the power of the Holy Spirit. Although many believe that the power of the Holy Spirit is no longer being poured out on people today, United Faith Church maintains that the power and gifts have certainly not ceased. Man has simply stopped believing. As Jesus said, “If you believe, you will see greater things than this.”
United Faith Church notes that many foreign countries see healings in the natural course of their everyday worship of the Living God. People in these countries not only believe in miracles, but the miracles are expected and they occur frequently. Many of the disciples of United Faith Church in Barnegat have witnessed this first hand, as they have ministered at the daughter church in Honduras, Iglesia Fe Unida.
United Faith Church also believes that the power to heal can be seen throughout the Universal Church of Jesus Christ. Many healings have been witnessed amongst the congregation at United Faith Church. One woman, who had been looking for healing for over twenty years from a kidney disease, was given new life by the Lord Jesus Christ. Today, eyes that were once dim shine as bright as her radiant face. Her life has been radically changed! She is no longer sick but well by the power of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Another woman at United Faith Church diagnosed with cervical cancer, has been given a new life through the power of prayer and the miracle power of the Lord. A young woman that was diagnosed with bowel cancer while pregnant underwent surgery as United Faith Church prayed and fasted. Five years later, both she and the baby are worshiping God. United Faith Church announces that she has since given birth to another child and is cancer-free.
United Faith Church in Barnegat has witnessed instant healings of drug and alcohol addictions, fevers, and mental illnesses. The congregation of United Faith Church has not only seen physical healings but also spiritual ones. People have been delivered from fears, hatred, childhood traumas and anxieties. Marriages have been healed. Personal relationships have been healed and restored.
Most importantly, however, are the healings that restore relationships with the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the source of all healing. United Faith Church embraces the power of the Living God. He has the power to heal and to make men whole. He has the power to restore. His divinity and His greatness continue to be manifested in the lives of His followers.
The Lord Jesus is still bringing about miracles of healing; He is still saying, “be thou made whole.” Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. His Kingdom reigns and it shall never end. The people of United Faith Church in Barnegat believe that one day all will be healed as they gaze upon His radiant face and He takes them home to dwell with Him for all eternity.
When a person begins a relationship with Christ, there is an excitement and a new-found joy that is inexpressible. This is how the start of our marriage felt. We were elated as we said heartfelt vows to love one another. Granted, we had no clue how to be a husband and wife, and like most people, we came into our marriage with a lot of baggage from our past and our own ideas of what marriage should look like. We had no idea of how God had wanted us to communicate or love one another. Whenever we tried to fix the problems we had in our own strength, we failed. We found that the real problem in our marriage was much greater than the sum of all of these shortcomings put together. Our real problem was the selfishness of our hearts. Over time, we saw more and more clearly that just as we needed Jesus Christ to save our souls, we needed Jesus Christ to save our marriage.
Thanks to the everlasting mercy of God, Jesus made a way for us through discipleship at United Faith Church with Pastor Jerry and Pastor Janeth Santiago in Barnegat, New Jersey. Many think of discipleship as simply training someone to read the Bible and pray to God. Thanks to our pastors, we found that real discipleship is about relationship and is completely practical, applying the word of God to every aspect of life, including marriage.
Pastor Jerry and Pastor Janeth Santiago began to teach us the most beautiful truths about marriage from the word of God. They modeled these truths in their everyday lives and taught us to do the same. Who knows what might have come of our marriage had it not been for the consistent and unwavering commitment, time, prayers, and love that our pastors have poured out to us over the last seven years. There is simply not enough space or time to write all of the wonderful truths that God has taught us about what it truly means to love one another as Christ loves the church and has given up His life for her. We are so grateful!
In our marriage, we have finally come to learn the secret of true love that lasts forever… believing in and obeying the greatest commandments: to love God and to love one another! If these truths are not firmly established and practiced, no marriage can ever be what it was purposed to be, which is an amazing representation of Christ’s relationship with His church. Just to share a glimpse of the transforming power of God in our marriage, we have come to a place where God’s greatest commandments are in our house and in our hearts.
Above every other concern that life brings, our primary focus each and every day is to ensure that we are both growing in our relationship with Jesus Christ. We have committed ourselves to bless one another daily by speaking the truth in love to one another, by knowing and delighting in one another, by embracing, obeying, and sharing the word of God, by staying in fellowship and accountability with our pastors, brothers, and sisters in United Faith Church, and by placing one another’s welfare above our own. Daily, we expect to grow closer to God and one another, and we are! By God’s grace, we and the other families in United Faith Church are walking in this love, and the unity and harmony that has blossomed out of this journey is nothing less than incredible! We can say with confidence in God’s perfect word that our marriage will continue to grow stronger and stronger in the love of Christ!
If you’d like to know more about how the Word of God can help you to develop a strong marriage, visit unitedfaithchurch.org.