The Ballestero Blog

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The Downspout In A Bucket Church

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The Downspout In A Bucket Church

 

Eleven people sat quietly in the dank, poorly lit basement room. There was enough seating for about 30 people, but no one could remember it being full.

It had a bit of an odor too. The bare concrete block walls were unpainted and unprotected light bulbs hung from the ceiling by two bare strands of wire. The benches appeared to have not been professionally constructed and the flooring was an unpainted concrete slab. There were no windows in the room either.

This room took up less than one-fourth of the unfinished church basement area. The upstairs, where the main sanctuary was to be, was not completed. Actually, there had never been enough money to even get it started.

Work had stopped on the building many years ago. About 4 or 5 rows high of concrete blocks were all that had been laid for the walls and they sadly showed where the work had stopped. There was no roof. The unprotected flooring was exposed to the elements and left the basement completely to the mercies of what Mother Nature decided to do for the day.

When it rained or when the snow melted, most of the water seemed to just sit in puddles on the flat floor that served as a roof and also as a ceiling for the basement. The basement had leaks everywhere.

It was not advisable to even walk through the other parts of the basement in the rainy season. Only the small area where the services were held had even basic protection overhead from the elements.

The blueprints showed a beautiful church building on this location that would seat several hundred people. Up to now, only the pastor had that vision and no one had any money. All of the saints were poor, they were very poor.

The pastor’s wife was a saint. She sweetly did whatever she could to help make ends meet. There was never enough money coming in from the church to support them, so the burden of being a foster parent in her later years was added to her duties. She played the organ, worked in the garden out back, and kept the old two-story house looking pretty. Every preacher’s wife loved her. She was working and worrying herself into an early grave.

The pastor had grandiose ideas and plans for the church.  He would spread out stacks of blueprints to every visitor that came into his home. He was very personable, but his gifts of envisioning and dreaming never put a lot of bread and butter on the table. There was never enough money to go around.

He had come from a big church as a young saint. Before he pastored he had even been on the trustee staff in another big church in another state.

Somehow, nothing was coming together for him here. The city was big enough to support several churches. Others seemed to be able to grow here, but he somehow just struggled. In the 25 years or so of being here, he couldn’t get passed the feeling he was just spinning his wheels.

The sad-looking building was nearly an eyesore to some in the neighborhood. The neighbors no longer spoke kindly to the pastor who lived next door. Behind his back they made comments. Petitions had been circulated. Inspectors had come.

The cold winters always ate up most of the church budget just for heating. There was minimal insulation at this point.

But the pastor and small flock were faithful.

No one had ever shouted in this church the whole time he had been there. Joy was not a word that was often heard in a testimony service. Victory was just a word in the dictionary. The services were not exciting. Visitors seldom ever came. If they did, more often than not, they rarely came back.

A lady in the church watched the foster children for the pastor’s wife while she played the organ. The pastor’s children were grown and had already moved away.

No new choruses ever made it into their worship here. The worn songbooks had always served wonderfully for 25 years and always would.

Tonight, was a special service. A guest minister was going to preach. (There was never enough money to invite special speakers. This one had already said he wasn’t going to take an offering.) The people were very excited he had come.

It was raining very hard outside and the stairwell that led into the basement’s side door entrance was gathering a fair amount of water. Some of the water began to stream into the small auditorium. No one seemed overly bothered. This had happened before and was taken in stride.

The song service and testimonies had gone well. It was now time for the guest preacher to be introduced.

He stood and came to the small pulpit and made his opening remarks. As he talked he could hear the fast drip-drip-drip-drip of water into the 5-gallon bucket in the middle of the small aisle. It sat at the base of a metal post that ran from the ceiling to the floor.

Fastened to the post was a downspout that emptied the water into the 5-gallon bucket. The bucket filled up several times during every service when it rained. Replacement buckets were always handy.

The downspout was connected to a 10-foot piece of gutter that hung down about a foot from the ceiling. Someone had used old coat hangers to wire it into place. It had been strategically located to catch to the largest amount of drips in the sanctuary area, and it did.

Despite the resounding drip-drip-drip-drip-drip, the anointing came and the preacher preached great! The saints all gathered around the front for the altar call and ignored the dripping of the water into the bucket. God’s will was once again accomplished despite the distractions.

This Too Is Home Missions.

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

December 9, 2017 at 8:33 am

“That’s ‘possum gumbo, brother.”

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Almost fifty people sat in the little wooden church house in Lunita, Louisiana. They had come to a Youth Revival to hear nineteen-year-old Marty Ballestero from South Bend, Indiana. Pastor Kirkland had announced revival services for the next nine nights.

There was only one musical instrument in the church, a piano. The pastor’s sixteen-year-old daughter played the best she could. She was backslidden, but they needed some music, and that’s all they had. No one else could play the piano.

The year was 1963, the month was November, and I was out in the sticks. There was not a traffic light or a stop sign to be found for miles. There was not much to be seen here, but piney woods. While praying in those woods I got 59 chigger bites in one hour. I spent the rest of my prayer meetings indoors. It is easier to scratch indoors.

The song service was started with the ‘choir’ coming up on the platform to sing. The ‘choir’ consisted of whoever wanted to come up. Only a few remained seated in the audience. No one shouted during the revival, nor seemed to be overly blessed by the singing or the preaching. But everyone was friendly and said nice things to their guest.

The crowd was made up of hard-working but poor, salt-of-the-earth kind of folks. During prayer requests, names like, ‘Sis. Turtle’, and ‘One-Legged Willie’ got mentioned. No one seemed to be amused by the unusual nicknames.

The offering pan was passed every night and the change clanging on the bottom was very noticeable.

I stayed in the side wing on the left side of the church, right next to the auditorium. My room had a bed and nothing more. An outhouse was not far from my side of the church. A white building now stands in its place. The wing has been more than doubled in size and everything is enlarged and bricked now.

The woods came right up beside the church house back then. The trees came so close it was almost possible to squirrel hunt sitting on the platform.

Bro. Kirkland, the pastor, lived in a mobile home with his wife, his daughter, and son. The trailer was parked to the right of the church. It sat in the tree line as well. He drove a casket delivery truck for Batesville Casket Company. I rode with him a few times during the day for fellowship.

At night after church, I would be invited to eat at their house.

I had never had much of an opportunity to eat Cajun cooking before. I had spent too many years out west and up north. One night, Sister Kirkland said, “I hope you like gumbo, brother,” as I entered her house.

“Oh yes ma’am,” I said. I didn’t know if I did or didn’t, but when you are only eating one meal a day, you don’t get too picky, because it’s 24 hours until they invite you over again.

I watched how my hosts ate their gumbo. It was served with a whole egg in it on one side and a generous helping of warm potato salad over on the other side. The rue was dark. I was hungry and ate mine up. The taste was a little different, but then I’d never had gumbo before, so I didn’t know what to expect.

“That’s ‘possum gumbo, brother.” The pastor’s fourteen-year-old son said. Did you like it?”

I didn’t want to say I liked it because the inward shock of being told I’d just eaten ‘possum was one thing, but to knowingly lie was another.

“It tasted pretty good whatever it was.”  (I don’t think I would have knowingly wished to eat ‘possum, but I did.)

I had been gone from home a little over a month and had been preaching a few nights here and there. This was my first revival since going full-time.

Since the sixteen-year-old piano player was backslidden, I chose not to have any music for altar service the entire revival. I had to give altar calls without music. I wanted her to pray through and knew she couldn’t play and pray at the same time. She did pray through on the last weekend.

I didn’t know, till after service one night, that President Kennedy had been assassinated two days before. There was no radio in my room or newspaper in Lunita to keep me informed.

Sixteen young people prayed through during those nine nights. Many of them were backsliders.

The last night, Bro. Kirkland announced that an offering had been taken every night for the last nine nights and that a total of $4.65 had come in for the evangelist. He said that he would like to have the church vote to give him permission to take $.35 out of the Ladies Auxiliary Fund to raise the total up to $5.00.

All those that were in favor of the evangelistic offering being increased stood to their feet. It was the first election I had ever won.

After church, I said my goodbyes and went down the road a few miles to Deweyville, Texas, on the Texas/Louisiana state line that night. I spent $3.50 in a phone booth for a 3-minute call to my dad, telling him about my first offering. I then bought 5 gallons of gas at the Billups service station for $1.00, for my ’55 Ford and drove across the street to Nick’s Restaurant. There I ordered a $.35 Cheeseburger and spent my last $.15 on a large Dr. Pepper.

 

I left Deweyville broke and happy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

November 28, 2017 at 9:18 am

The Dancing Blond

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The Dancing Blond

The 10th Anniversary of the Church was a grand event. The storefront church now had a church building and enjoyed its beauty.

The special speaker was back in the pastor’s study. Service was in progress. It was almost time for the preaching, but since the special speaker wasn’t on the platform, the pastor was stalling and trying to fill up some space.

Turning to a young minister he advised him to choose three to testify that would have a “good testimony.”

All three testimonies were edifying. But there was still no speaker. The pastor held up one finger, signaling for one more testimony.

A 19-year-old stood up and marched to the pulpit where he could have access to the microphone. “I got a wonderful praise report,” he exclaimed.

“For two years, my brother and I prayed for God to save our mom, and he did two months ago!” He said.

His middle-aged, blonde mother came dancing down the aisle and across the front while the saints clapped and praised the Lord.

“We prayed for God to get our mom out of prison, and he did!” He added.

Mama kept on dancing and the saints were standing and clapping.

“We prayed and God delivered our mom from alcohol. Every day she would go to the liquor store and buy a bottle of Jack Daniels, but she don’t do that no more!” He continued.

The crowd screamed “No” and gave it’s thanks to God, while they clapped their hands. A few ran the aisles.

Mom kept shouting!

“My mom’s been delivered. Now when she goes to the liquor store, she don’t buy liquor no more!”

“No!” the audience roared, enjoying the victory report! And clapped some more.

“All she buys now is cigarettes!” He said.

 

Mama lost her shout.

The pastor took the pulpit and in an attempt to recover the moment.  He asked for everyone to stand and worship the Lord.

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

November 21, 2017 at 9:07 pm

Posted in God's House, Testifying

The Desire To Be Cherished

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The Desire To Be Cherished

 

“They do not love that do not show their love.” – Shakespeare

 

It’s A Basic Life Need

Cherish – Definition:

To hold Dear:

To Cultivate with Care and Affection

To Nurture

To Treasure, Prize, Value

To Feel And Show Affection For

 

Babies Desire To Be Cherished And Held.

  • They cry often for their Mama’s touch.
  • Children run to her to be comforted.

 

When Babies Are Not Cherished:

I read a few years ago about Romanian orphans who were given only the basic nourishment and hygiene. Soon the babies became withdrawn and unresponsive. They may be forever emotionally damaged… much like adults who are not cherished. They will almost always exhibit emotional problems and act out.

 

All Children Desire to Be Cherished.

Every child remembers if they were loved. Everyone remembers how their parents treated him or her when they were young. Not being cherished is something most difficult to survive.

 

Little Kids Ask Their Parents.

  • Am I your favorite? Who do you love the most?
  • How much do you love me?
  • They are putting out feelers attempting to assure themselves that they are cherished.

 

Teenagers Desire To Be Cherished.

  • They dream about it.
  • They sing about it.
  • They listen to music about it.
  • They want to be loved.
  • They want someone to cherish them.
  • To complicate the matter, their hormones rage out of control during the process.
  • Some girls never feel cherished by their father, so they seek elsewhere for male approval.
  • They never felt cherished at home, so they look for someone to validate and approve of them.
  • They just want to be cherished.

Sadly, the title of the song: “Looking for Love In All The Wrong Places,” has more truth than fiction.

 

During Courtship, Both Parties Practice Cherishing The Other Person.

  • They say sweet things.
  • They do sweet things.
  • Treat each other with tenderness.
  • The boy courts the girl and brings flowers and candy.
  • They overlook each other’s imperfections.

 

My Father-In-Law, the late William R. Starr, gave me some wise insight before I even asked his daughter out on a first date. He said, “Men love with their eyes, but Women love with their ears.”

Dad Starr was telling me in man-talk, that a woman wants to hear that she is cherished! He was a very wise man.

 

All Husbands And Wives Desire To Be Cherished

Every woman wants to know she’s #1. So does every man. When you hold your wife in your arms and tell that you love her, she wants to feel your words coming from your heart, and not just your mouth.

If you are a wise man, you will NEVER stop courting your wife and affirming your love for her and expressing it often. The words, “I love you!” have a very short shelf life. You need to say it every day!

Flowers, cards, candy, dates and accomplishing ‘honey-do-lists’ with a smile, sure helps keep life wonderful at home.

 

Every Prospective Groom Says, “Will You Marry Me?” He is hoping he will be cherished and loved.

Every Prospective Bride Says, “Yes” She is hoping she will be cherished and loved.

 

To The Wife:

Don’t settle for less than being cherished. Likewise, cherish him. It’s a two-way street.

 

To The Husband:

Sir, you are to love your wife As Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it. You won’t easily give your life for someone you don’t cherish. The Lord meant for the husband to cherish his wife with his very own life. It’s really not hard.

 

Jacob Cherished Rachel.

He worked seven years to get her as his wife, and was given the wrong one. The Bible just says: “It seemed but a few days, for the love he had for her.”

 

David Never Cherished Michal

He always referred her to as “Saul’s Daughter.” He never said that he loved her. He never referred to her as his wife. That may be a reason why she acted out so badly.

 

The Proverbs 31 Wife

Proverbs 31:28 Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.

 

“He Praiseth Her”: The word praiseth here is – Halal

HALAL – haw-lal’;

  • To shine; hence
  • To make a show, (let everyone know)
  • To be (clamorously) foolish; (enjoy with enthusiasm)
  • To rave; (to go on and on with excited appreciation)
  • To boast, (brag in public)
  • To celebrate, (honor every achievement)
  • To foolishly glory, (go overboard in expressing praise)
  • To sing, (to express your emotion as deeply as possible, sing His praises.)
  • To praise, (to say every nice thing you can)
  • To rage, (to be wild about)

 

When joined with the abbreviated form of God’s name “Yahweh” = Hallelujah. That’s where the word Hallelujah comes from. (Saying Hallelujah like saying 10,000 praises to Jehovah)

When a man goes to this extent, of ‘Halal-ing” his wife, she will feel cherished and will perform unbelievable things for her home and family because she knows she has the backing of the man she loves.

In like manner, when the same man goes to this extent to Halal The Lord Jesus… there is no telling what the Lord will do for him.

 

Not Everyone Has Been Cherished In Life, But There Is Great News!

 

God Cherishes His People.

They Are The Apple of His Eye

Zech. 2:8   For thus saith the LORD of hosts… he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye.

(Warning: Don’t mess with any one the Lord cherishes!)

 

God Protected Israel In Goshen

  • Egyptian Dogs wouldn’t bark against the Israelites.
  • No Plagues came nigh them.

 

God Protected Israel In The Wilderness

  • Provided in the wilderness.
  • There was no sickness.
  • No one’s clothes wore out.

 

God’s Desire To Be Cherished By Man

Yes, you say you love the Lord, but do you cherish him? Jesus wants to know for sure that you cherish Him before He can use you.

 

Jesus to Peter

John 21:15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.

John 21:16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

John 21:17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

 

David

Psalm 137:5 If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning.

Psalm 137:6 If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.

He was saying he loved God’s house more than anything in the world. David also said, “Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee.”

He cherished the things of God! God said that David was a man after God’s own heart. Was David perfect? Oh no. He was far from perfect. But the way he cherished everything about God, made God smile upon him.

 

The Jealousy of God – Is Another Way Of Saying He Just Wants To Be Cherished.

2 Timothy 3:4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

Exodus 20:3 Thou shalt have no other gods before me.

 

God Desires Man To Cherish Him

Matthew 15:8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.

 

The Lord Knows The Difference Between Lip Service And Heartfelt Expressions Of Love.

  • Men that cherish God – Worship
  • Men that cherish God – Come to His House

 

My Visit To See Marcia, The Girl I Wanted For My Wife, In 1965

Before our engagement, in the early stages of our courtship, I once closed a revival service on Sunday night in Fort Worth, TX and drove 24 hours straight through to Albion, MI… just to see a little Miss Marcia June Starr for one hour. I arrived after 10:30 pm, left before midnight and drove two hours back to my home in South Bend, IN. It’s never a sacrifice to see the one you love.

 

You’re Not Faithful To God’s House?

  • Don’t tell me you cherish God and you can’t make it to church.
  • You don’t cherish Him if you layout of church!
  • It’s never a sacrifice to see the one you love.

Like David, we should all say, “I was glad when they said unto me let us go unto the house of the Lord.”

 

Jacob Cherished The Birth Right

  • Jacob had major character flaws I’m sure.
  • But he cherished the same Birthright that Esau despised, so God chose to love Jacob and discard Esau.
  • God cherished Jacob and said, ‘Jacob Have I loved, and Esau have I hated.’
  • Make God love you too by cherishing those things, which are Godly and eternal.

 

Don’t Tell Me You Cherish The Lord Jesus…

  • If You Don’t Pay Tithes.
  • If You Hate Holiness.
  • If You Aren’t Faithful To His House.
  • If You Don’t Pray.
  • If You Don’t Worship.
  • If You Bring Disunity To His Church.
  • If You Rebel Against His Word.

 

Sing Like You Cherish Him.

Pray Like You Cherish Him.

Talk Like You Cherish Him.

Dress Like You Cherish Him.

 

God is Jealous Of What You Cherish.

Amp Bible 1 John 2:15 Do not love or cherish the world or the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him.

 

You Don’t Cherish The Lord If…

  • If Someone Has To Beg You To Come To Church
  • If Someone Has To Beg You To Worship
  • If Someone Has To Beg You To Pray

Think about the words the next time you sing: “So, I’ll Cherish The Old Rugged Cross”

 

The Old Rugged Cross

George Bennard 1913

 

On a hill far away stood an old rugged cross,

The emblem of suff’ring and shame;

And I love that old cross where the dearest and best

For a world of lost sinners was slain.

 

Refrain:

So, I’ll cherish the old rugged cross,

Till my trophies at last I lay down;

I will cling to the old rugged cross,

And exchange it some day for a crown.

 

Oh, that old rugged cross, so despised by the world,

Has a wondrous attraction for me;

For the dear Lamb of God left His glory above

To bear it to dark Calvary.

 

In that old rugged cross, stained with blood so divine,

A wondrous beauty I see,

For ’twas on that old cross Jesus suffered and died,

To pardon and sanctify me.

 

To the old rugged cross, I will ever be true;

Its shame and reproach gladly bear;

Then He’ll call me some day to my home far away,

Where His glory forever I’ll share.

 

The Lord Cherished Us Even In Our Sins.

John 3:16    For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

 

We Love Him Because He First Loved Us!

 

Here’s Your Homework For Today:

1. Tell Jesus that you love Him!

  • Tell Him from your heart that you love Him.
  • Yes, this very moment… say, “Jesus, I love you with all my heart!”
  • Put your heart into it. He can tell.

 

2. Next, Go Tell Your Spouse And Your Family That You Love Them.

  • Put your heart into it.
  • They can tell.

 

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

November 18, 2017 at 10:30 pm

The Holier Than Thou Church

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The Holier Than Thou Church

It was Wednesday night Bible Class. Brother Dan sat on the front row. He always seemed to have a smile on his face. His recent discharge from the Air Force had allowed him, his wife and two kids to relocate closer to his wife’s family.

Dan was a gifted musician. He blessed the church with his saxophone playing. He had only been a part of this new church about 3 weeks or so. He was readily accepted and seemed to fit in.

The pastor had warmly received him and his family into fellowship because Dan’s former pastor had recommended they transfer there. Dan and his family had been raised in a very conservative church.

The only immediate difference Dan could see was that in this new church they wore wristwatches and in his old church they didn’t.

The pastor was teaching his class from a small lectern in front of the pulpit. During the course of his Bible study, he noticed that Bro. Dan wasn’t wearing a watch.

Having been raised with great respect for those with convictions and a desire for holiness, the pastor honored Bro. Dan.

Yet he sensed a potential hazard and attempted to address it openly, yet as careful as he could.

The Pastor stood in front of the congregation as said, ”Bro. Dan, you and your family are a gift from God to our church. I am so glad you are here! What a blessing you have been already. I love your saxophone playing.”

The church readily responded with a hearty amen and hand clapping.

“I notice that you don’t wear a watch. I also understand that was the teaching of the church you were in before you came here.”

Bro. Dan nodded in agreement. The smile was still on his face.

“I honor you for that. Thank God for those that are trying to be careful in a world that tries to push all the boundaries.

“My Pastor taught me not to make light of people’s convictions. They might be right.”

The people said amen, and so did the smiling Bro. Dan.

“I guess you’ve noticed that most of us here have a watch on.” The preacher said as he pointed to his own black wristwatch.

“We try to be careful here how we dress. Up to now, we have used watches for the purpose of getting to work, school, and church on time, and not for ornamentation.

“What I do not want you to do my Brother, is to go out and buy yourself a wristwatch and wear one because the rest of us are. I am afraid that you will injure your conscience. I can’t let you do that.

“Promise me you won’t injure your conscience and buy a watch just because you can, and hurt your walk with God.”

Brother Dan nodded and grinned.

“On the other hand,” the Pastor said, “If you don’t buy a watch, be careful and don’t let a holier-than-thou spirit get on you. If you don’t buy a watch, that’s fine, but don’t sit back and look at saints and at a Pastor with watches and think to yourself that you have more holiness convictions than anyone here. That gets dangerous.

“What happens when you do that is you begin to feel superior, and before very long the enemy may speak into your spirit and say, ‘How can the Pastor help you? You are already closer to God than he is.’

“You then wind up with an unteachable spirit and you won’t even mean too. One of the signs of the Holy Ghost is that it is easy to be entreated.

“Before you would ever do that and allow yourself to feel superior to your Pastor, I will order you to buy two wristwatches and wear one on each wrist until you get over that spirit.”

The Pastor, Bro. Dan and the church all shared a hearty laugh.

At the next service, Bro. Dan showed his pastor his new watch and smiled. The Pastor smiled too. Bro. Dan was teachable. He didn’t want a holier than thou spirit.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

November 6, 2017 at 1:00 pm

The Get Run Over Church

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The Get Run Over Church

 

“Worship is everybody’s business,” my father said with fervor into the microphone! The song service had been going for twenty minutes or so and the church was getting close to breaking through into another level in the Spirit.

The same old six and seven who always worshipped with all of their hearts, still were. The rest just seemed content tonight to let them do the worshipping for them. This was not their lucky night. Dad wasn’t going to let them off that easy.

Don Zhiss

Big Don Zhiss was enjoying his liberty and began walking around with joy and praising God with great animation. He rolled on the floor. He ran the aisles. He kept running even though no one was following. His gray hair didn’t slow him down.

The song leader was doing a great job, but sometimes, the best of churches can get in a rut. Even good people need to break out of them once in a while.

There was a good spirit of worship in the house that night. The service was not dead. But like a cook tasting the food on the stove and saying, “I think it needs a little more salt.” That’s what my Dad was doing.

He said, “Alright, I want all of you men to get out in the aisles and worship. Men should be the leaders in worship in the church. Come on men. Get out of your comfort zones. Lift your hands in the air. You may not do what I do, but everybody ought to do something for Jesus!”

Like the good obedient people they were, the men gathered self-consciously into the aisles. Even the timid and quiet ones came too. The music was still playing and hands were still clapping.

Several pairs of eyes watched as Bro. Ted moved into the aisles. He had never ventured there in recent memory. He wasn’t a tall or big man. His timid and quiet nature made him seem smaller. He loved to pray, sing and clap his hands, but no one had ever seen him get demonstrative in praise before. They couldn’t wait to see what he would do.

It was quite an accomplishment for him. He stood by the 3rd row in the center aisle facing the pulpit. He raised his hands, closed his eyes and worshipped freely for several minutes. This was something! Bro. Ted was getting close to a breakthrough.

The saints were making real progress. Many were shouting and enjoying the presence of the Lord. People were speaking in tongues all over the house.

Big Don Zhiss began to feel what he called the ‘anointment.’ He felt that the Lord was impressing him to run the aisles, but in a new dimension. He just knew the Lord was telling him to run the aisles with his eyes closed.

Not being slow to respond, Bro. Don charged down the center aisle, full steam ahead. His nearly 300 pounds of mass caused smaller men to step aside, but not Bro. Ted.

Bro. Ted was clueless. His back was to Bro. Don and besides that, his eyes were closed too. All of the worshippers who believed in the ‘watch and pray’ concept, could sense impending doom.

Don hit Ted’s small frame like he was a leaf in the wind. Don barely stumbled. Ted was totally flattened out, face down.

Ted never opened his eyes. He slowly stood back up as concerned saints held their breath. Finally, he stood erect again. By this time, Don had made another lap and came charging down the aisle again.

Once more he waylaid Bro. Ted, and reduced him to a rag doll on the rug. Don didn’t seem to notice the damage he’d done.

Still, Ted tried to continue on without opening his eyes. He was so close to getting something from the Lord. He was finally able to rise up in a kneeling position with his hands still raised when Don came around the 3rd time.

Bro. Don made the corner and laid him out once more. By this time, Bro. Ted had all the worship he could enjoy. He crawled on his hands and knees back down his row and seemed to be content to praise the Lord in the safety of his own seat.

Bro. Zhiss kept running!

 

(Bro. Ted was never seen in the aisles again.)

Written by Martyn Ballestero

November 4, 2017 at 1:30 am

The Head Polishing Church

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The Head Polishing Church

Don Zhiss rocked his 290 lb. frame back and forth between the church’s theatre seats. He occasionally would stop and pat his right foot on the hardwood floor impatiently waiting to be called on. In his own words, he was ‘cited’ about getting to testify.  He might be in his late 60’s, but them old ladies were just taking way too much time testifying and there was no fire in what they were saying. He couldn’t wait. Come on already!

Don was Jewish. He was a 100% literal son of Abraham. At Studebaker’s plant one day, a fellow employee named Lee Silvers had told him that the Jews had killed Jesus. Don was so upset. He wanted to talk about that some more. Lee brought him to a basement church named Christ Temple on the corner of Elwood Avenue and Elmer Street in South Bend, Indiana.

The preacher preached Don to the altar that night. He repented and received the Holy Ghost. Don also received the revelation of Jesus name baptism and was promptly baptized. When he understood that the Jesus in the New Testament was the Jehovah of the Old wrapped up in flesh, he became unstoppable.  He never stopped shouting when someone talked about the Mighty God in Christ.

Into his senior years, Don would lead victory marches around the church and run the aisles. He rolled on the floor sometimes while he testified. If the service was tight, Don had a way of knocking the kinks out of it. He was a worshipper that would have made King David stop and take notice.

He was also highly uncoordinated and unpredictable. When running behind him, the men all knew that at anytime Don might stop and turn around and run the other direction, bringing much confusion and injury to the runners.

This night, Don was fired up. He wanted to testify about Jesus Name. A first time visitor, named Casey, sat in front of Don.

Finally, he got called on. He raised his voice and flailed his arms pacing back and forth. He shook the row of seats in front of him with both hands. The people clapped and shouted amen to encourage to him.

The half a teaspoon or so of saliva, that Don was known to carry in his mouth, began to spray has he exuberantly raved about Jesus name and the Holy Ghost.

Bald headed Casey sat unmoving and frozen while this giant of a man ranted behind him. When Don noticed he had just sprayed saliva all over the visitor’s head, he never missed a beat. While waving one arm high in the air and without so much as looking at what he was doing, Don pulled a used handkerchief out of his pocket with the other hand and began to rub the visitor’s head.

He wiped the spit off of Casey’s head while his eyes stayed glued on the mortified pastor. He didn’t stop with a simple wipe but kept on unconsciously polishing the now shiny dome while waving the other hand and bragging on Jesus.

Oh, by the way, Casey got the Holy Ghost that night.

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

November 2, 2017 at 7:16 pm