The Ballestero Blog

"That's what I'm talking about!"

Archive for May 2010

I’m Talking About Your Pastor And That Other Guy

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I’m Talking About Your Pastor And That Other Guy

He’s God’s gift to you and your church. His office as Pastor is to be honored, and I personally thank you for loving him.

On occasion, your Pastor will invite a guest speaker or an evangelist. He wants you to like them and enjoy their ministry. It’s a compliment to his good judgment of preachers and ministries if you do.

Where there becomes an issue that is uncomfortable for your Pastor and his friends is when you give the guest preachers nicer and more frequent compliments than you give to your own Pastor.

After all, he’s the one that worries over you, prays for you, counsels with you and answers to God for you. Not the others. They may like you, they may like you a lot, but there is a line that must be drawn between them and you.

Make sure you give better compliments to your own Pastor than you do to anyone else.

It’s kind of like a man giving another woman a compliment and he doesn’t even compliment his own wife. Something is very wrong in their relationship. Something is very wrong with your relationship with the Man of God if you are guilty concerning this.

A seasoned evangelist can often spot those that have a problem with their Pastor and then try to give the guest the personal attention and honor that belongs to their Man of God.  That is just so wrong.

It even gets more complicated than this.

There are many Godly, precious people who dearly love their Pastor and would never knowingly do a thing to injure him. In innocence they attempt to interact with another preacher they admire and sometimes feel put off or hurt because of the lack of warmth in his response to them. Actually, in good conscience, he can’t. So don’t take it personal. He does like you and appreciate you, he’s just trying to be careful.

In the day of Facebook, emails and text messaging, don’t try to personally interact with other preachers (unless they are family or life long friends) no matter how much you like them. It becomes quite an uncomfortable position for ‘ethical minded’ preachers.

Don’t expect him to respond to your emails, or private messages. His loyalty is to your pastor. Do you realize that if word got out that an evangelist was having conversation, exchanging emails, phone calls, private messages on Facebook, and text messages with saints, that his days as an evangelist are numbered? It’s not right for you or him. Don’t give him your information and don’t let him give you his.

Any contact with other preachers should be directed through your Pastor. If he sees fit to pass your message or request on, then fine. If he doesn’t, then trust his judgment. He knows what he’s doing and why. Your spiritual safety is his greatest concern. Work with him on that.

Guest preachers that ‘work the crowd’ by lingering long with each saint and learning personal things about their world should raise everyone’s eyebrows. Most evangelists know to stay on the platform after service or near the Pastor for proprietary’s sake.

If you don’t understand why, imagine you as a woman contacting, calling, writing or leaving messages for a male acquaintance of your husband.  Or maybe it’s him calling you. Your husband would have serious questions for you both, and rightly so.

If he didn’t run when you called, then if he has even part of a conscience, he would not be comfortable anymore around your Pastor because of guilt. He’d know he had crossed the line of ministerial ethics. His days would be over. It’s not worth it for him or you.

If you love your Pastor then protect him. Protect how he feels about you. Protect his relationship with other preachers. Protect yourself. He’ll love you all the more for it too.

On his behalf, I thank you.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

May 21, 2010 at 3:50 pm

Posted in Ministry

The Importance of A Low Standard

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The Importance of A Low Standard

Coming from a very conservative background has developed in me an absolute and unchangeable love for Holiness. I have been raised to respect the convictions of others; they could be right!

I grew up hearing Holiness preached by men who lived what they preached. Their ministry instilled carefulness in me that I never wish to let go of. I was taught the necessity of convictions and the importance of dress standards. I am doing my best to hang on to everything that was given to me. Every generation has to get this for themselves. I believe there is much safety in Holy living.

The saddest moments in Apostolic conversation is when in hushed tones, the name of a ‘Holiness’ preacher or a respected saint who messed, is mentioned. The groups that mock Holiness seem to express great joy over the event. Evidently the moral failure of a conservative makes liberal people feel justified about their own lack of convictions.

We all have heard of people with High Standards that still fell into sin. Evidently, their High Standards didn’t keep them from messing up. With that in mind, I wish to suggest the importance of a Low Standard.

A Low Standard? Absolutely!

All of us, in addition to having a High Standard, should also have a Low Standard. By that I mean, there should be something in your heart that draws a line and says:

  • I refuse to stoop any lower than this.
  • I will never cross this bottom line I’ve drawn.
  • This is as bad as I will ever allow things to get.
  • I desire to protect my morals, so here is where I draw the line.
  • I wish to preserve my walk with God, so right here is where those other activities stop.
  • I don’t want to displease God by how I dress. Regardless of fashion, here is where I draw the line.

Others may do things I cannot do. They may go places I cannot go. They may wear things I cannot wear. The reason I cannot do what they do is because I have a “Low Standard” and I refuse to allow my walk with God to stoop to that level.

Interstate Speed Limit Signs tell you what the High Standard is. They also tell you what the Low Standard is. The signs are saying, if you wish to drive on this road, you must pay attention to both.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

May 21, 2010 at 12:12 am

The Day God Quit Going To Church.

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The Day God Quit Going To Church.

Isa. 1:10-17

The Message Bible

10“Listen to my Message,
you Sodom-schooled leaders.
Receive God’s revelation,
you Gomorrah-schooled people.

11-12“Why this frenzy of sacrifices?”
God’s asking.
“Don’t you think I’ve had my fill of burnt sacrifices,
rams and plump grain-fed calves?
Don’t you think I’ve had my fill
of blood from bulls, lambs, and goats?
When you come before me,
whoever gave you the idea of acting like this,
Running here and there, doing this and that—
all this sheer commotion in the place provided for worship?

13-17“Quit your worship charades.
I can’t stand your trivial religious games:
Monthly conferences, weekly Sabbaths, special meetings—
meetings, meetings, meetings—I can’t stand one more!
Meetings for this, meetings for that. I hate them!
You’ve worn me out!
I’m sick of your religion, religion, religion,
while you go right on sinning.

When you put on your next prayer-performance,
I’ll be looking the other way.
No matter how long or loud or often you pray,
I’ll not be listening.
And do you know why? Because you’ve been tearing
people to pieces, and your hands are bloody.
Go home and wash up.
Clean up your act.
Sweep your lives clean of your evildoings
so I don’t have to look at them any longer.
Say no to wrong.
Learn to do good.
Work for justice.
Help the down-and-out.
Stand up for the homeless.
Go to bat for the defenseless.”

Written by Martyn Ballestero

May 20, 2010 at 12:25 am

Posted in Christian Living

What’s Going To Happen To Your Mantle?

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What’s Going To Happen To Your Mantle?

As a father and a grandfather, it becomes easy for me to see the importance of imparting things both natural and spiritual to my children and grandchildren.

It is important in my mind that they all have the benefit of learning from my mistakes and life experiences. It’s not right that I should make them start where I started. I want them to be able to start where I finished. After all, I had help. I want to boost them as high as I can and then let them build on from there.

Look at these Bible characters. One Prophet passed his mantle, one didn’t. To a Prophet, his mantle was an important and powerful symbol.

Elijah:

1. Cast his mantle on Elisha as he passed by as an invitation to join him in ministry.

  • 1Kings 19:19 So he departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him.

2. Used it to perform miracles.

  • 2Kings 2:8 And Elijah took his mantle, and wrapped it together, and smote the waters, and they were divided hither and thither, so that they two went over on dry ground.

3. Left his mantle behind as a gift to his protégé.


  • 2Kings 2:13 He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan;
  • 2Kings 2:14 And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the LORD God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over.

That is the story we love to preach about. The power packed lives and ministries of those men are not easily forgotten. They impacted their generations.

Samuel:

Where would you have to go to find a better example of what a Prophet should be?

Yet his sons were wicked. They had not learned to love the things of God as had Samuel. Regardless, he promoted them and appointed them judges even though God had not sanctioned them.

  • 1Sam. 8:1 And it came to pass, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel.
  • 1Sam. 8:2 Now the name of his firstborn was Joel; and the name of his second, Abiah: they were judges in Beer-sheba.
  • 1Sam. 8:3 And his sons walked not in his ways, but turned aside after lucre, and took bribes, and perverted judgment.

In King Saul’s final hours he visits the witch of Endor. The Prophet Samuel has died. Saul has no direction. God has ignored him. He asks the witch to bring up Samuel so he can talk to him.

  • 1Sam. 28:11 Then said the woman, Whom shall I bring up unto thee? And he said, Bring me up Samuel.
  • 1Sam. 28:12 And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice: and the woman spake to Saul, saying, Why hast thou deceived me? for thou art Saul.
  • 1Sam. 28:13 And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth.
  • 1Sam. 28:14 And he said unto her, What form is he of? And she said, An old man cometh up; and he is covered with a mantle. And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself.

Samuel died still in possession of his mantle.

I wonder how different some chapters would have read if his mantle had been passed on.

Don’t die still wrapped up in your mantle. Take the time to invest yourself in the following generations.

  • Don’t get too possessive of your mantle!
  • Someone else really needs you to give it to them.
  • There’s still much work to be done in God’s Kingdom.

What’s Going To Happen To Your Mantle?

Written by Martyn Ballestero

May 19, 2010 at 12:58 am

How To Become A Friend Of God

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How To Become A Friend Of God

We have a tendency to judge everything from our personal vantage point and life experiences. It possibly colors our perception even of Biblical characters.

If we were to judge some Old Testament heroes by the current accepted behavior of our society, their humanity would scream with imperfection.

Abraham is a perfect example. He is called the Father of the Faithful. His name is hollowed.

Yet by today’s standards he was guilty of:

  • Lying about Sara his wife. He claimed she was his sister.
  • Creating havoc in his home and the promise of God by fathering a child with Hagar.
  • Rejecting and banishing Hagar – (Spousal abandonment?)
  • Abandoning Ishamel his son.
  • Neglecting his own child.

I’m sure other things could be found to make more dark marks on his name.

Do you know when his relationship with God changed?

  • James 2:21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?
  • James 2:22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?
  • James 2:23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

In spite of all his imperfections, Abraham was called a friend of God AFTER he built an altar.

You want to be called a friend of God?

I don’t care about how your life story reads, I promise, you can become a friend of God too. It starts with one easy step.

Build an altar!

Written by Martyn Ballestero

May 17, 2010 at 11:42 pm

Whatever Happened to Modesty?

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Whatever Happened to Modesty?

On A Pentecostal Minister’s Forum, I found a thread about Modesty from an unexpected source. I went to the link, read the article and wanted to share a couple of it’s comments here.

It’s by Michael Hyatt of Thomas Nelson Publishers. His company is publishing Brittany Spears mother’s book.

He is the Chief Executive Officer of Thomas Nelson Publishers, the largest Christian publishing company in the world and the seventh largest trade book publishing company in the U.S.

After watching a MTV awards show he asks:

“Where are these girls fathers? Has anyone ever taught them the concept of modesty?”

He then give us his thoughts about modesty.

Here they are: “Four Guidelines for Modesty”:

  1. If you have trouble getting into it or out of it, it is probably not modest.
  2. If you have to be careful when you sit down or bend over, it is probably not modest.
  3. If people look at any part of your body before looking at your face, it is probably not modest.
  4. If you can see your most private body parts or an outline of those parts under the fabric, it is probably not modest.

If you think these guidelines are helpful, you might want to pass them along to the young women you know. Evidently, not many are getting the message elsewhere.

http://michaelhyatt.com/2008/09/whatever-happened-to-modesty.html

Written by Martyn Ballestero

May 15, 2010 at 12:59 am

Call Yer Mom!

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Call Yer Mom!

My cousin Pastor Clayton Brown and I sat in the quaint little Italian restaurant across from Bro. Paul Price in Napa, California. It was an honor for us to have supper with such a respected Pentecostal leader. He had been a dear friend of my family and my wife’s family over the years.

“I hear that you call your mother every day. Is that true?”

Those were his first words that evening as we sat down to eat. I was taken by surprise.

“I do my best to call her every day. Sometimes we have a problem connecting because I’m in a bad area or something.”

“Yes but you do try?” He pushed the subject. But now I noticed his eyes were beginning to brim with tears.

“Absolutely!”

The tears still made me wonder why this subject brought emotion so close to the surface for him.

“I’m proud of you for that. I wished more sons would call their widowed mothers.

“I just got off the phone talking to a man about that. I had to bawl him out for neglecting to call his widowed mother. She had no one to check on her. She was desperate to hear his voice. He said he was busy. I can’t tell you how much that upset me.

“Do you know that the Bible has much to say about the treatment of widows? There are curses on those that mistreat and neglect them. God hates them that do.”

The air was not completely out of Bro. Price’s sail yet on the subject, but we were interrupted by the waiter. Although we never continued the subject, I never forgot it.

I didn’t want to know who the person was, but I was glad it wasn’t me and that I had tried to call my Mom as often as I could. I also didn’t know who’d told on me, but I was glad I got caught doing something good for once.

Although my own Mom does very good for 88 years, there are many moments when I wish her short term memory was better. I may have to remind her a time or two within a single phone call where I’m preaching a revival or if my wife is with me or at our house.

It doesn’t matter whether she can remember tomorrow that I called her today or not. I remember. Right now that’s what matters to me.

I’ve pray my children keep close tabs on my beloved wife when I’m gone.

Oh, and here’s a bit of unasked for advice for the rest of you… ‘Call yer Mom!’

Written by Martyn Ballestero

May 14, 2010 at 6:57 am

The Star Search In Pentecost

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The Star Search Of Pentecost

Today’s Christianity is sadly becoming more and more about personalities than about the Savior. The focus of some seems to be about making money and a name for themselves.

Mr. Bill Breen wrote an impressive article on leadership. Part of which, I wish to share here.  In this excerpt Breen explains that the head of the Caterpillar Company never promoted himself, just his company.

The Three Ways of Great Leaders

By Bill Breen

The Leader as Manager: Louis B. Neumiller

“Whereas entrepreneurs are company creators and charismatic leaders are agents of change, managers are value maximizers — they make the most out of something that already exists. Such is the case with Louis B. Neumiller, who rose through the ranks of Caterpillar and became its chief executive in 1941. Two months later, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. Just as C.W. Post used changing demographics to launch the cereal industry, Neumiller seized on the massive geopolitical event that was World War II to build Caterpillar into a global organization.

Neumiller really didn’t build anything new. By the end of his era, Caterpillar’s product portfolio didn’t look all that radically different. What changed was the corporation’s scale and scope. Neumiller capitalized on the war effort and then the rebuilding effort to transform Caterpillar into a global giant. And like all great managers, he took his identity out of the business — he let his company become a hero instead of himself.”

http://www.fastcompany.com/node/54065/print

••••••••••

Harvard Business School wrote:

“Under Neumiller’s “”home-town-boy”” leadership style, Caterpillar’s revenues grew from over $100 million in 1941 to $827 million in 1963, prospering through World War II and the global post-war boom. Neumiller built the Caterpillar brand into a common worldwide name, developing only the highest quality products, and expanding Caterpillar’s dealer network to include 258 dealers with as many employees as Caterpillar itself.”

http://www.hbs.edu/leadership/database/leaders/louis_b_neumiller.html

•••••••••••••••

†  John never allowed himself to be looked at as a hero, although thousands followed his teaching.

He refused to allow his ministry to point arrows towards himself, but rather let his words be arrows pointing towards the Lamb of God.

  • John 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease.

† Paul had to deal with hero worship issues in the minds of saints nearly 2,000 years ago. (It’s nothing new.)

  • 1Cor. 1:12 Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ.
  • 1Cor. 1:13 Is Christ divided? was Paul crucified for you? or were ye baptized in the name of Paul?

Paul had to remind the Corinthians that they were wrong in focusing on personalities and not on Christ.

I detest the spirit that seeks to promote itself, and then encourages others to join their self made fan club.

†  Even Jesus was careful about how He approached the ministry that was before him.

  • Phil. 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

My Father taught me that if you have a gift, it will make room for you, don’t make room for your gift. It still makes sense to me today.

While I thank God for the gifts of music and ministry in these last days, Pentecost doesn’t need to run after stars, superheroes and holy action figures. Are we promoting the Kingdom or ourselves?

This life we’re living is not about us. It’s ALL about Him! We need another revelation of that.

If there is ever a ‘star’ search in our ranks, let it be the same search the 3 wise men had. I know where that search will end.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

May 13, 2010 at 12:02 am

“It’s OK To Struggle, Let Us Struggle…”

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“It’s OK To Struggle, Let Us Struggle…”

I sat the phone down slowly. My eyes were still brimming with tears. What I had just heard was heart wrenching and heart warming at the same time.

I had been talking on the phone to my oldest son Anthony and his beautiful new bride Kim. She was the former Kimberly Elrod of Piqua, OH. Her father Richard Elrod pastored there. Anthony and Kim had just gotten off their honeymoon just a few days prior.

My son had been asked to be the Youth Pastor in Jackson, MS at Bro. Tommy Craft’s church. The church had secured housing for them. It was a nice apartment that was furnished with a stove and a washer and dryer.

I knew that their small U-Haul truck did not contain much more than a bed, and a dinning room set she had purchased at a yard sale. Not much else besides personal articles and clothing. They were just starting out in life. Both had graduated from JCM only a few weeks earlier.

It dawned on me that there was no mention about a refrigerator in the house, I asked them about it on the phone. When they told me they didn’t have one, I felt desperate for them.

I had saved up about $350.00, so I volunteered to help out. I said to them, “Look, I  have some money put back, and I will send you $350.00 to buy one. You still have the U-Haul, and maybe you can find a used one in the Classifieds and use the truck to haul it.”

That’s when the sweet feminine voice of my new daughter in law piped up. She said, “No dad, don’t do that. We’re OK. Let us struggle. It’s OK to struggle!”

Emotion overwhelmed me. I cried silently. I had already fallen in love with her beauty and her talents. But I was unprepared for how beautiful her heart was. I immediately fell hopelessly in love with her sweet spirit and would then have freely given her half of my kingdom… if I’d had one.

“Well, you call me if you need me and I’ll be glad to do what I can to help!” I added.

(I couldn’t believe that there was still people like this in the world.) She was serious. She didn’t want me to intervene. They would make it, she said. Somehow they did.

The struggles in life of those you love is not easy to watch. You would love to bail everyone out of whatever mess they are in. Even when you know you can’t, you still want to.

The problem however is not always fixed if you do. When you look at nature it’s a clearer, although harsher picture.

Remember your journey to the farm when you were a kid? One of the highlights was watching baby chicks hatch. The 6 hour procedure is excruciating to observe. You see their little head hanging out. The look wet, helpless and tired. The heat lamp is keeping them warm. The shell is cracked. They’re exhausted and have to stop and rest for long periods which makes you want to help them.

If you try to help the baby chick, at best it may live 2 days. More than likely it will die sooner. I hate to say how I know that. The success of the chick’s survival is not the help, but the struggle.

Just because we are struggling in life, doesn’t mean God hates us, that we are out of His will or that our support system of loved ones has let us down.

Struggle is necessary to survival. (You’re still here aren’t you? Then don’t give up or give in.) It’s OK to struggle. The Father knows where you’re at. He’s watching. You’re going to make it!

Written by Martyn Ballestero

May 12, 2010 at 1:35 am

The Pot Bellied Church

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The Pot Bellied Church

Let the record show that I’ve got a pot belly. My 226 lbs today is 98 lbs more than it was when I started evangelizing full-time in 1963. My flat tummy disappeared years ago. I don’t like it; I wish it were a one-day fix. It’s not. I no longer button my suit coats.

  • How does a man get a pot belly?
  • What happens to him?
  • How does he cope?

He’s not proud of the fact that the flatness of his stomach was replaced with a bulge that prevents him from buttoning his suit coat. He does not wish to get any bigger but he refuses to alter his detrimental eating habits. He also refuses to admit the growth of his girth.

What he did was just pull his pants up as far as was comfortable. His comfort zone now was no longer where it used to be. It was at the bottom of his pot belly.

He no longer could see his belt buckle without bending over. He had to continually keep pulling his pants up and finally realized why suspenders were invented. He might have gained weight, but he still wore the same size pants. Things were just moved to a lower level.

The line that was higher up, had to be moved lower. It got lowered one day at a time. It no longer looks like it did. It would take a major change to get it back to where it used to be. It’s not a one-day fix.

This is what happens when the diet of the church gorges itself on worldliness.

  • The line gets lowered.
  • Compromise begins.

To keep things from getting alarming low, additional help is required. Suspenders become necessary. They try to find attractive suspenders that get compliments so that the lowered line is ignored. Lowered lines are quickly seen.

Most with weight issues and lowered lines have also been known to express concerns about back problems as well. Being overweight causes back pain.

Back pain is caused from backbone problems.

Backbone problems are common among those that let down under pressure and give in to the spirit of the age.

P.S. The photos are not of me.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

May 11, 2010 at 11:44 am

Posted in Christian Living