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Archive for September 2011

The Pentecostals At The Church Of Christ Funeral

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The Pentecostals At The Church Of Christ Funeral

The funeral chapel was jammed with about 30 Pentecostals and nearly 100 Church of Christ members.  Evidently this funeral was considered important. Six Church of Christ pastors were in attendance and each one spoke. No Pentecostal preacher had been invited to speak; yet several of us came anyway. I sat close to the back with my brother-in-law Pastor Nathan Yandris and my sister Ramona.

The large framed picture sitting on the closed casket was one of a beautiful middle-aged woman named Phyllis. She had a look of professionalism and class about her. Her brown hair was cut shoulder length. It appeared her make up had been professionally applied for the photo, and her jewelry looked very expensive.

The front row contained a grieving husband and beside him, his redheaded son and daughter-in-law. The son appeared to be the only child. No others sat near, leaving the guests to assume the mourners were alone in this crowd.

The Church of Christ preachers spoke one by one, and each said comforting things that I am sure helped. The final speaker did a superb job, actually. One could tell this was not his first funeral.

At the conclusion of his homily, the minister announced, “It is the wishes of the family that those who wish to say a few words about our beloved sister, should have an opportunity to say a public goodbye. He then walked to the front row and sat down.

One at a time, six middle-aged women walked to the podium and spoke sweet words about the loss of their friend. All of them mentioned that they had met Phyllis at either AA or Al-Anon.

They spoke of her friendship, of her church activities, her help with their lives, and her struggle with addictions and theirs.

After the last one sat down, there was a moment of quietness as all waited for someone else to stand. No one did.

Turning around and giving the crowd a swift appraising look, the redheaded son clutched a new Bible as he stepped to the small podium. His 25 years seemed much older. He was poised. He held the Bible in his left hand up close to his heart.

With a voice that never broke, he thanked everyone for coming. He thanked the ministers that spoke and he thanked his mother’s pastor as well.

With a smile to the women who had come to the front to speak, he thanked them as cherished friends.

That is where his story began!

“Almost 6 weeks ago, I first heard that my mom had cancer.  The doctor said that it was terminal and inoperable. I was shattered. Then they said she only had a few days to live. I was an immediate basket case.

“My mom was young, she was beautiful too,” He said, pointing at her picture.

“I went home that night and sat on my front porch. I was drinking a beer and smoking a cigarette, and was crying my heart out, when this man saw me and stopped.” (He pointed at a large black man on the 2nd row.) “He asked me if I was alright? I told him no.

“When he came up to the porch I told him the news about my mom. He spoke comforting words to me and asked if he could pray for me. I said yes and he did. I felt something I had never felt before.

“Then he sat down beside me and taught me what he called a short Home Bible Study. He showed me about Acts 2:38. He said that I needed to repent, and get baptized in Jesus name and that the Lord would give me the Holy Ghost. He said that Jesus would be my comforter.

“I prayed right there on my porch and asked Jesus to forgive me of my sins. I told him I wanted to be baptized the Bible way, so he took me to his church, Apostolic Tabernacle, and the pastor came over and baptized me in Jesus name. When I came up out of the water, I was speaking in tongues. I got the Holy Ghost just like they did in the Bible!” He said, as he raised and then waved his Bible.

The Pentecostals responded with much noise and many of us stood and clapped our hands. The Church of Christ crowd went silent.

“I was thrilled! I had never been so happy in my life! That night I prayed that God would help me to share this with my mom. I knew she had to have this before she died.

“I prayed that God would help me find a way to speak to her. I knew she was wrapped up in her Church. She had been a lifetime member, and had always been involved in one department or another.

“The first thing the next morning, I prayed before I went over to mom’s house. When I got there, I was surprised to see a Bible lying open on the kitchen table.”

“I asked mom what the Bible was there for, and she said that she was close to dying and didn’t feel saved. She said she was looking for more than what she had.

“I said mom, you been a member of the Church of Christ for 45 years.”

She said, “That’s right, but I’m not ready to meet God. I need more!”

(He turned to the Church of Christ pastor and said, “Sorry sir!”)

The redheaded new convert was filled with Holy Ghost enthusiasm as he told his story. His eyes were red rimmed and watering.

I said, “Mom, let me tell you what had happened to me last night. I told her the whole story. About the beer, the Bible study, the baptism and the Holy Ghost.

“Mom started crying and said son, ‘Tell me what he told you.’

I sat down with her and showed her the same scriptures in Acts that my new friend had told me.

“She got down and began to repent like the Bible said to. When she finished, she said that she couldn’t leave the house to go to church. She was too weak and was attached to an oxygen tank.

“Mom said, maybe we could fill her big Jacuzzi tub up and baptize her in that. Dad helped me and I baptized my mom in Jesus name. She came up out of the water speaking in tongues just like I did. I was so happy, I shouted all over the room.”

(All of us Pentecostals are now on our feet, with our hands in the air, worshipping!)

“My dad said, ‘Baptize me too!’ So I did and he got the Holy Ghost too”

“I sure did,” came a strong voiced reply from the front row. The dad had his hand in the air.

The Pentecostal’s worship was so overwhelming that even some of the church of Christ people started crying by now.

They all knew that a man with an experience is never at the mercies of a man with an argument.

The worship of the small group of saints roared in the ears of opposition. For several minutes it went on. It felt unstoppable.

“All of you Church of Christ members need this Holy Ghost, he went on. “It will do for you what AA can’t. It will do for you what Al-Anon can’t. You need to be baptized in Jesus name to be saved. You need the Holy Ghost speaking with other tongues to be saved. If you want to see my mom in heaven, then obey Acts 2:38.

When he walked back to his place, the crowd stood and gave him a standing ovation.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

September 15, 2011 at 9:41 am

“She’s Just A Spoiled Brat”

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He started the church in 1993, and immediately began to have Revival. Seven were baptized the first week, and the new church continued with baptisms and Holy Ghost in-fillings weekly for well into the second year.

The young pastor was aware of the town’s reputation of being a transient town, yet he felt like that was soon to change. It was also a military town.  A revival however, broke out on the Marine base. Several top ranking men became members of the church.

After renting a building for one year they purchased their present property in November 1994. They soon had a building with an auditorium that was rated to seat 300. The church planned for revival for the next year with great expectations.

At the end of 1995 the church was running a consistent 120-125. A home missions director stated that headquarters wanted to feature the church for Christmas For Christ.

At the conclusion of 1995, there was a very unfortunate moral situation concerning 2 families in the church. The only option for their future was to leave, through a chain of unstoppable events, 5 families got caught up in the fallout and also left.

At the beginning of 1996 some of the military men shipped out. By the end of the year there were none left. In November of 1996, the pastor looked at the remaining remnant and had only solid 15 people! He was violently ill.

He and his wife, along with their infant son moved into a backroom of the church. The finances were gone. They watched night after night as the remnant of the folks would plan to go out to eat. They would make excuses why they couldn’t go.

He would lay down at night, after the lights had gone out and stare at the wall and say to himself, “Just beyond that wall is the ladies restroom.  How low do you have to be to take up residence 6 inches away from the ladies restroom?”

It was during the time of living in this “dungeon” that a woman in the church called the pastor’s wife a “spoiled brat.” Now, imagine this, they were living in a room no bigger than a Sunday School room, eating off a hot plate, using an ice chest and a small refrigerator to keep things cool. They had a very small window A/C unit to combat the insufferable desert heat.

One week all they had was 10lbs of potatoes to eat. They ate potato soup, fried potatoes, baked potatoes and potato tacos until finally their last meal was “potatoes gone rotten.”

Their infant son was very sick with fever. They took turns staying awake to watch him in his fitful sleep.

The pastor did some construction side jobs to pay the church bills. His wife bought her necessities at the Dollar Store and the Goodwill. (Do you even know what it’s like to even entertain the thought of your wife having to buy her undergarments at a thrift store?) But all this little “old biddy” in the church could say about the struggling Pastor’s wife was…”She is just a Spoiled Brat!”

The pastor received a call to preach at an established church that was over 200 miles away.  He excitedly accepted the invitation and waited for the appointed Sunday to arrive.  He got up that Sunday morning and took the last of his money and filled the little blue van with gas and hit the road..

The van made it 60 miles into the desert and had a blowout and then he realized there was no lug wrench. He did find a pair of Vice Grip Pliers. The only way he could accomplish this feat was by sheer desperation to make it to this “thriving” church and possibly receive a much-needed offering.

He rolled into the parking lot 10 minutes after the service had started, and ran into the bathroom to wash the grease and grime from his hands. He straitened his tie and went to the platform.

He remembers to this day what he preached that Sunday morning. After service the Pastor took him to a very nice meal and gave him a check.

He thanked him profusely for the offering. After the other pastor drove away, he drove around town a little while until he found a suitable spot and then pulled into the corner of the parking lot and locked the doors and tried to go to sleep.  You see, it was Sunday and the banks wouldn’t be open until 10 o’clock in the morning and the only way he could get back to the dungeon and his precious little family was to cash the $125.00 check.

In all their struggles, they never missed a church payment.

They never questioned whether he was in the will of God!!

They realized they could mope or just bite the bullet and plow!! So they bit the bullet and plowed on.The pastor would go to church and preach like there were 300 people in that building.

  • He would sing like he was a choir.
  • He would conduct every service with dignity and honor at being in the presence of God.
  • He never commented on the size of the congregation in a demoralizing light.
  • He would carry on without the crowd as if they had never gone.
  • He planned events and functions that would only be expected by a church with considerable resources.
  • He was determined not let the devil see his discouragement bleed through into the reality of the situation.
  • He never let the facility go or get run down. It may not be the best, but it would be clean and presentable.

They started a Sunday School promotion in February of 1997 and saw 116 first time visitors. From this group they made contacts that are still members of the church. In 2002, the attendance on a regular Sunday morning was about 160.

God has helped them with 13 building programs in 14 years.

Today The Pentecostal Assembly in Yuma, AZ continues to enjoy the blessings of the Lord under the wonderful leadership of their sacrificing and faithful Pastor Jerry Rowell and his precious wife.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

September 13, 2011 at 3:23 pm

Posted in Church Planting

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The Working Pastor

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The Working Pastor

(The story is true, the names have been changed.)

He hated working an “outside” job but the bills had to be paid. The small congregation’s offerings just didn’t go far enough. Working at a steel mill was not his calling in life. He hated most days there. He was grateful for the wonderful and consistent source of income. There just wasn’t a whole lot of day left over when he got off work. After work there wasn’t much time for church, family or personal life. He had to work to pay the bills. Carrying the financial load of the church, and his own, was not easy.

What bothered him the most was that he wasn’t winning anyone from work to the Lord. In prayer he’d told God that if he had to work and couldn’t teach Bible Studies like he’d like too, then help him to be a witness at work. He had been working there for several years now. Something needed to change. The church was not growing. It was, in fact, quite small. Things were at a stalemate!

Now, every day before work, he would stop by the church and pray. He would pray that God would help him win some of the men from work. When he got off work he again stopped by the church and prayed for a long time about the fact that if he HAD to work, that God would let his job be a place where his light could shine.

He fasted. He would fast for as many days as he could. When his strength ran out he would eat a meal or two and then go back on a fast. He was desperate to see something happen. He did this for almost two months.

At 1am one night the phone rang. “Is this Pastor Don Kelly?” a hesitant voice asked. When he received the affirmative reply he identified himself a fellow employee from work.

“We have an emergency in our family and need some help right now. My married son Roger was shopping at Wal-Mart a few minutes ago. While he was alone in the aisle, he says that he heard a voice as plain as day telling him “You need to get right with God.”

“ He said he look up and down the aisle and didn’t see anyone.  He looked around the corners even checked the adjacent aisles but he saw no one. He quickly moved to another part of the store and again heard the same voice telling him he needed to get right with God. My son left his cart and ran out of the store. He called me saying, ‘Dad, I’m hearing voices. I think I am losing my mind.’

“I said son, meet me at the Hospital. They have a great Psych Ward there, and the Doctors can check you out and give you some medication. My son said, ‘Dad, maybe I don’t need medication, maybe I just need a preacher. I don’t even know any preachers. You never took me to church when I was a kid.’ I told him I knew a preacher that worked with me named Don Kelly and that he was a man of God and I would call him right now. Is there anyway you could meet with me and my son, now?”

The pastor looked at the clock, and assured the caller he could. He invited them to meet him at the church as soon as possible. They arrived before 2am. The Father, his son and both of their wives came. Bro. Kelly listened to the son’s story. Tears were in the son’s eyes. When he finished, Bro. Kelly taught them a Home Bible Study. The boy cried all the way though it.

When the Bible Study was finished, they prayed and repented. The son wanted to be baptized. He came up out of the water speaking in tongues. The wife asked to be baptized, as did the mother. The father said, “You’re not getting baptized without baptizing me.”

The next Sunday morning all four sat in service on the 2nd row. The Holy Ghost fell! In 3 weeks there were 18 people from work (counting family members) filled with the Holy Ghost. His life had been more of a witness than he’d ever realized. Revival had come.

REVIVAL COMES WHEREVER IT’S WANTED!

Written by Martyn Ballestero

September 12, 2011 at 12:12 am

Posted in Witness

Tagged with

When Pentecost Was Off The Charts.

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When Pentecost Was Off The Charts.

Remember when Pentecostal teaching was off the charts? Today, Bible Teachers have become a rare commodity.

My Father told me, “If you have a choice between being a ‘feeder” or an “exhorter” be a “feeder” and you’ll build a church.”

An exhorter will lift our spirits high for the moment, but a feeder will give you something to last a lifetime.

Pentecost has such a rich and full heritage. Today we are blessed with technology and electronics. A generation ago, there were no overhead projectors like we use today.

No one ever heard of a computer much less a  PowerPoint. Chalk boards and Charts were common. Old time traveling Bible teachers often carried their charts with them. In numerous churches one could often see a wire running from wall to wall on the platform. Those wires were put in place to hang charts.

Most of the men either hand painted their own charts or had someone else do it for them. Each was an original and unique.

I got to hear Brother A.W. Buie, Bro. Clyde Haney, Bro. Curts, my Father, Bro. Carl Ballestero and others teach from charts. While I am glad for the modern-day advancements, part of me misses the old school.

Made by Bro. A.W. Buie Sr.
Bro. Clyde Haney
Bro. Frank Curts

Brother Curts was the author of the widely distributed book “The Tabernacle In The Wilderness”. This book described the foundation of the Tabernacle that God directed the Children of Israel to build as they journeyed though the wilderness on the way to their new home in Palestine. This book clearly showed the similarities between the Tabernacles and Jesus’ plan of salvation.
Brother Curts also became district superintendent for the state of Ohio as well as serving on the executive board of the International United Pentecostal Church with headquarters in St Louis Missouri.
In those early days of our church there were 13 members in the congregation that were full of enthusiasm but they had very little solid knowledge of the Bible. Then Brother Curts came and became their pastor he began to instill in the congregation a solid Bible teaching and knowledge. With this solid Bible knowledge, the church began to grow and reach out for other people who were seeking a way to reach God. By the time the church moved to 4828 Vine Street some members were going out to other communities to teach what thus says the word of God.
Through the teaching of His ministers, God was shaping and remodeling his people as quickly as we were remodeling buildings using Bible knowledge in accordance with 2 Timothy 2:15. Times change the appearance and purpose of many structures just as it changes people but the church held fast to its ideals and doctrines as described throughout the New Testament. The Message we preach today is still the same basic doctrine that the pioneers of our local church assembly preached under the direction of Brother Curts. This message is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ and the soon coming of Jesus again to catch his bride “The Church” away to meet him in the air so shall we for ever be with him. This message is described in 1 Thes. 4:14-18. Upon this Bible belief the church in Cincinnati was born and remains firm today in its beliefs.”

(Copied from their website. To read more, click on the link.)
http://www.firstap.org/history.shtml

Bro. Carl Ballestero

These were the days when Pentecostal teaching was off the charts. Literally. Would I like to go back and visit some old-time Bible classes taught from a chart? In a heart beat!

Written by Martyn Ballestero

September 11, 2011 at 12:35 am

The Suicide Drink

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The Suicide Drink

I’m a senior citizen now, but I well remember some adventuresome moments of my youth. It was great fun, to make ‘suicide drinks’ from the soda fountain dispensers.

(It was also decades before anyone had ever heard the name, Jimmy Jones. It wasn’t that kind of suicide drink.)

To the uninformed, a ‘suicide drink’ consisted of a mixture of whatever was available at the fountain. Orange, Coke, Dr. Pepper, Sprite, Diet Coke or whatever.

We never quite knew what it was going to taste like and didn’t care, but we liked to show our bravery. Besides, the look of ‘ugh’ on people’s faces always made us laugh.

I don’t do ‘suicide drinks’ anymore. I actually don’t remember when I quit. But I was still very young. I just know that now as an old man, I like to stick with just one flavor. I’ll die happy if I never have a sip of another ‘suicide’.

There is no distinctive flavor to a ‘suicide drink.’ It is nothing but a mixture, a conglomeration.

Did you ever look at someone wearing multiple watches and wonder how they could tell the correct time? If they only had one watch, they could, no doubt, come a lot closer to knowing the real-time. Why would someone ever wear a wad of watches? Why?

I have recently observed several pastors and ministers answer doctrinal questions on Facebook from members of other Pentecostal churches.

Some of these men are encouraging precious saints to discard their holiness standards. They make light of our Apostolic lifestyle.

I am not sure how many are actually influenced by them, but these well-known voices spread their poison for all to read.

Since our local Pastor is the only one that is going to give an account for us in the Judgment, why not listen to him? Why are some so determined to get advice on Biblical subjects from every preacher they can? That is nothing short of spiritually hazardous! It is also very unethical on both parts. Any preacher worth his salt would refer them back to their Pastor. And any saint worth their salt would never ask another preacher a doctrinal question.

If we receive multiple doctrinal opinions from multiple ministers, there is no telling what we will believe in the end. It’s just another ‘suicide drink’ in my opinion.

If you have a Biblical question, don’t ask around on the Internet. Go ask the man who God gave you for a Pastor. After all, he’s the one that loves you, prays for you, counsels you, sits up with you in the hospital and truly cares for you. Sheep don’t expect guidance from multiple shepherds. Neither should we.

Oh, and as for finding the right time? Your cell phone is pretty accurate, but then you already knew that too.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

September 9, 2011 at 12:35 am

Joe’s Hot Donuts & Cold Storage

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Joe’s Hot Donuts & Cold Storage

Two of my Grandchildren, Huntley and Christyana Ballestero love to play a name game they made up. They use a name like Joe, and then try to think of two businesses that normally wouldn’t go together. Then they try to imagine what the sign over the business would read like. Their game would sound a little something like this, for example:

Joe’s Mortuary & CB Shop

Joe’s Auto Sales & Tanning Booths

Joe’s Diner & Wig Shop

Joe’s Barber Shop & Cafe

Joe’s Ice Cream Parlor & Bicycle Repair

Joe’s Bowling Alley & Bakery

Joe’s Transmission Repair & Pedicure

Joe’s Hot Donuts & Cold Storage

Joe’s Taxidermy & Petting Zoo

Joe’s Roofing & Marriage Counseling

Joe’s Day Care & Optometry

Joe’s Plumbing & Glass Repair

Joe’s Palm Reading & Pet Detective

Joe’s Service Station & Office Supplies

Joe’s Recording Studio & Crop Dusting

Joe’s Auto Parts & Dating Service

Joe’s Financial Advisory & Bait Shop

Joe’s Burglar Alarms & Hot Dog Stand

Joe’s Furniture Upholstery & Valet Parking Service

Joe’s Slaughter House & Florist

Joe’s Concrete Finishing & Dog Grooming

Joe’s Drywall & Tax Preparation

Joe’s Tires & TV Repair

Joe’s Driver’s Ed & Firecrackers

Joe’s Dentistry & Stump Grinding

Joe’s Bar-BQ & Shoe Repair

Joe’s Chimney Sweeping & Ski Instruction

Joe’s Well Digging & Private Investigations

Joe’s Demolition & Hearing Aids

Joe’s Lawn Care & Diaper Service

Joe’s Gun Repair & Wedding Announcements

Joe’s Photography & Radiator Repair

Joe’s Accounting & Dog Walking Service

Joe’s Tattoo Parlor & Divorce Mediation

Joe’s Auto Detailing & Tuxedo Rentals

Joe’s Laundry & Pest Control

Joe’s Blacksmithing & Banjo Repair

Joe’s Estate Planning & Fish Market

Joe’s Notary & Welding Shop

Joe’s Malt Shop & Fitness Center

Joe’s Carpet Laying & Web Hosting

Joe’s Painting & Paralegal Service

Joe’s Travel Agency & Bail Bonds

Joe’s Motel & Wig Shop

Joe’s Real Estate & Alterations

Joe’s Beauty Shop & Carburetor Repair

Joe’s Deli & Dog Kennel

Joe’s Graphic Design & Fresh Farm Eggs

Joe’s Grocery & Septic Service

Joe’s Pizza & Acupuncture

Joe’s Wedding Chapel & Wrecker Service

All of this may be kid’s stuff. However, a few of us adults may have chuckled in the process. Since our imaginations are working over time, imagine God looking at “Joe” the churchgoer.

The worst “Joe” joke of all would be, “Joe The Spirit Filled Christian” who doesn’t live that way at home.

Luke 6:43 For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

That’s something no one would laugh at. Not even God.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

September 8, 2011 at 12:01 am

Posted in Christian Living, Holy Ghost

Tagged with

Pushed Away

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Pushed Away

Our Boxer Pandy lay in the whelping box with her first litter of puppies. She had all eight of her newborn pups snuggled up to her as she washed them very carefully. The first-born one was also the biggest of the litter by far. What was more striking was the big pup’s coloring. It was a dark chocolate with flashy white markings. Very rare indeed!

L-R, Pandy, My Dad - Carl Ballestero, Shawn

My wife had stayed with Pandy for several hours, before and after the delivery, giving support when needed. It was past 1am when I joined them and was immediately excited about the chocolate colored Boxer pup.

For some reason unknown to either my wife or me, Pandy pushed the big chocolate male puppy away from her. We watched with mild alarm. It was Pandy’s first litter and we knew she didn’t have any mothering skills. She had never been a mother before.

My wife picked the puppy up and placed it back in position to nurse. Pandy allowed it to nurse for a few moments, then pushed it away again. This time the little guy rolled over on his back and we had turn him over on his feet.

After the third time of pushing the puppy away and not letting it nurse, my wife gave me instructions to go to the only 24 hour drug store in our area. I bought a baby bottle with several types of extra nipples and some baby formula.

The nipples were quickly trimmed back to allow for fast consumption of the formula. Every few hours for weeks, day and night, my precious wife would hand-feed the puppy. Pandy still would not allow it to come near her and nurse. We were both disappointed in the mother dog’s lack of nurturing skills.

The puppies were all taken to see the vet to get their check-up and shots. The Vet examined them all and bragged on their health, the markings on their coats and their progress. He saved the big chocolate one for last. He had much praise for it’s markings and coloration too.

After he examined the big pup for a moment or too, he froze. He checked it’s vitals, looked in it’s mouth and then shook his head.

“Mrs. Ballestero, I am afraid I am going to have to put this one down. I can’t allow it to live.”

My wife burst into tears. This was our pick of the litter. This was the one we wanted to keep for our own. This one was special. It was rare. Yet, the Vet wanted to put the little dog down.

My wife had become very emotionally attached to this little guy and the Vet’s explanation sounded so far away.

“He has a cleft palate and will never be able to drink water or eat. That is why Pandy pushed him away. She could tell something was not right about him. That’s why you had to bottle-feed him yourself. She knew something that you didn’t know.

He also has water on the brain. That is why he rolls over easily and you have to keep turning him over. He has no balance. This puppy doesn’t have a chance.

Knowing the doctor was right she gave her permission, but she couldn’t stop her sobbing. Her heart was in love with the little chocolate Boxer puppy. It was a horrible day of grief in our home. We grieved, and our five children did as well.

This then brings be to a most difficult passage in the Holy Scripture. It is one that I am not sure I can properly and fully explain to everyone’s satisfaction.

King Saul was no longer humble and little in his own eyes. He now had become reckless and disobedient concerning the things of the Lord. Even after God had sent the prophet Samuel and advised him, Saul still disobeyed.

Samuel was very worried about King Saul. He worried about him enough to cry for him. As a matter of fact, he wept all night long for Saul.

1 Samuel 15:10-11 Then came the word of the LORD unto Samuel, saying, It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the LORD all night.

Then God stepped in and stopped Samuel from praying anymore. God pushed Saul away like Pandy pushed away her pup.

1 Samuel 16:1 And the LORD said unto Samuel, How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided me a king among his sons.

Our humanity keeps trying to save everyone we can. We do not want to lose them. We love them. We pray for them. We beg them to come back to church and get right with God.

We can only look on the outside. That’s the only part we can see. We may very well like what we see. But God looks on the inside as well as the outside. What if God doesn’t like what He sees on the inside? What if God knows something about them that we don’t know.

As a preacher I feel uncomfortable saying that God gets weary dealing with some people, even though I know it’s sobering and true.

My advice?

Please, Don’t Ever Live The Kind Of Life That Would Cause God To Push You Away.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

September 7, 2011 at 12:12 am

Posted in Rejection

The Language Of Holiness

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 The Language Of Holiness

The Encyclopedia Britannica estimates that about 5,000 languages are spoken in the world.

We sometimes hear the use of terms like

  • The language of Mathematics,
  • The language of Flowers,
  • The language of Medicine,
  • The language of Art,
  • The language of Emotions,
  • Sign Language,
  • Computer Languages,

Throughout the ages God has only had one Language.  It is a language that He and His people always understand. The Language of Holiness.

We Are Identified By Our Speech.

Peter Was Identified By His Speech:

  • Mat 26:73  And after a while came unto him they that stood by, and said to Peter, Surely thou also art one of them; for thy speech bewrayeth thee.

Shibboleth:

  • Judg 12:5 And the Gileadites took the passages of Jordan before the Ephraimites: and it was so that when those Ephraimites which were escaped said, Let me go over; that the men of Gilead said unto him, Art thou an Ephraimite? If he said, Nay;
  • (v.6)  Then said they unto him, Say now Shibboleth: and he said Sibboleth: for he could not frame to pronounce it right. Then they took him, and slew him at the passages of Jordan: and there fell at that time of the Ephraimites forty and two thousand.

Most of us are even able to pinpoint regions of the country someone is from by their speech.

If Holiness Is a Language, What Does It Say?

1.  Holiness Says: “I Know Jesus”.

  • There is no need to learn the Language if there is no one to talk to.  Holiness talks to God, and He is a Holy God.
  • God said “Be ye holy even as I am Holy”
  • If you claim to know Jesus and you have a problem speaking Holiness, I fear you are fooling yourself about KNOWING Jesus.

2.  Holiness Says:  “I Hate The World”

My Generation looked with great suspicion upon those that learned Russian, or even wanted to learn the Russian Language.  Why?  Because Russia was the enemy.

That’s why Pastors and Parents have a hissy fit when folks act like the want to learn to speak the Language of Carnality. Carnality is the enemy of your soul.

When you speak Holiness, you are saying to yourself, to God and to others that you hate the World. We are admonished to “Love not the World.”

Why would you want to speak the Language of Worldliness or Carnality around God?

  • God’s not listening.
  • The Only ones that are listening to the language of Carnality are the Devil and the Worldly.
  • California and other states want to make it a law that English is the primary Language.
  • Lets make it a law that Holiness is the Primary Language.
  • If you Understand the language of Holiness, you are a part of God’s family,
  • If you Don’t Understand the language of Holiness, you are not of His family.
  • Is Holiness a Foreign Language to you? Or is it your Native Tongue?
  • What Does Carnality Say?
  • What does it Sound like to you?
  • Can you Recognize it when you Hear it?
  • What Does Ornamentation Say?
  • Are you trying to learn that Language?
  • How come when Immodesty speaks, There are some in the church that try to Learn that Language.

3.  Holiness Says:  “I Am Not My Own, I Am His”.

  • I am a part of His Culture and I wear what pleases Him.
  • I Speak Holiness, It is the Language of Submission to His Will.  For Obedience is better than Sacrifice
  • Holiness is the Unspoken Language that never stops talking!!

God is the one that Understands this Language.

You can Never speak the Language of Holiness Until you have received the HOLY Ghost. And you cannot receive the HOLY Ghost until you Repent of your sins.

You must repent, be baptized in Jesus Name and be filled with the Holy Ghost, speaking with other tongues as the Spirit gives utterance.

Do You Speak The Language of Holiness, or is it still a foreign language to you?

Is Holiness your first language or when you try to speak it, do you still sound like a foreigner after all being in church for years?

If we really want to communicate with Him, I submit that it is important to speak to Him in His language… the Language of Holiness. That’s the language He understands. You you are the Lord on talking terms?

Written by Martyn Ballestero

September 6, 2011 at 12:04 am

Posted in Holiness

Tagged with

What Were We Thinking Back Then?

with 12 comments

What Were We Thinking Back Then?

Remember when Pentecostal young people would ask their pastor for a letter for Gym Class? They wanted to be excused from wearing shorts and T-shirts?

Then the pastor would write a letter to the school explaining why we as Holy Ghost filled Pentecostals stand against the wearing of immodest apparel. In closing, he would ask for the student to be excused from ‘dressing-out’.

Now, we don’t need letters from our pastor asking to be excused from those gym class requirements anymore. What were we thinking back then?

Remember when Pentecostal young people would not even think of dating someone that wasn’t in church? What were we thinking back then?

Remember the day when Pentecostal young people thought it was wrong to have a tattoo and actually looked down on those that had one? What were we thinking back then?

Remember when Pentecostal people actually tried to win the lost without dressing like those they were trying to win? What were we thinking back then?

Remember when Pentecostal young people actually asked to be excused from dance classes at school? What were we thinking back then?

Remember when going to the movies was a sign of being backslidden if you were Pentecostal? What were we thinking back then?

Remember when Pentecostal women would never think of cutting their hair, much less going to the beauty parlor? What were we thinking back then?

Remember when Pentecostal young people were expected to grow up in church and be virgins when they got married? What were we thinking back then?

Remember when Pentecostals thought homosexuality was wrong? What were we thinking back then?

Remember when pastors across town actually required a letter of transfer for a move in and also made a phone call to the other pastor? What were they thinking back then?

Remember when Pentecostal girls and ladies had to wear dresses that came below the knee, sitting or standing? What were we thinking back then?

Remember when Pentecostals actually wore their best clothes and dressed up for church? What were we thinking back then?

Remember when there were curfews for teenagers and premarital sex was a no-no? What were we thinking back then?

Remember when Pentecostal women actually had to wear dresses and wearing pants was a sin? What were we thinking back then?

Remember when people spent their whole life attending the same church? What were we thinking back then?

Remember when Pentecostals thought it was wrong to go to a public beach and wear a bathing suit? What were we thinking back then?

Remember when Pentecostal preachers used phrases like, “Its still holiness or hell”? What were we thinking back then?

Remember when Pentecostal preachers actually set sinning church members down from the platform and out of the choir? What were we thinking back then?

Remember when you could go to the mall and actually pick out those that were Pentecostal just by the way they dressed? What were we thinking back then?

Remember when there was actually some loud noise in the prayer rooms before church? What were we thinking back then?

Remember when we used to sing them old fuddy-duddy songs out of the book and people cried and shouted and some even prayed though during the singing? What were we thinking back then?

Remember when saints didn’t question every thing their pastor preached? What were we thinking back then?

Remember when Pentecostal young men looked like men? What were we thinking back then?

Remember when if you cut your hair and wore make-up you were considered backslidden? What were we thinking back then?

Remember when people took their jewelry off while they were repenting at the altar? What were we thinking back then?

Remember when Pentecostal churches had ‘standards”? What were we thinking back then?

Remember when Pentecostal women wore less jewelry than women in the world? What were we thinking back then?

Remember when tithing was a Pentecostal requirement? What were we thinking back then?

Remember when Pentecostal women didn’t show cleavage and their clothes weren’t form fitting? What were we thinking back then?

Remember when a Pentecostal revival lasted more than 3 nights? What were we thinking back then?

Remember when a good Pentecostal church service didn’t let out till late and revival services went till midnight sometimes? What were we thinking back then?

Remember when Pentecostal young people asked their pastor’s advice before getting serious about a boyfriend or girlfriend? What were we thinking back then?

Remember when Pentecostal saints would call and let their pastor know that they would have to miss a church service and they wanted him to know and to pray for them? What were we thinking back then?

Remember when the preaching, and not the worship, was the most important part of a Pentecostal church service? What were we thinking back then?

Remember when Pentecostals actually preached against drinking an alcoholic beverage of any kind?  What were we thinking back then?

Remember when Pentecostals actually looked down on professional sports or even participating in organized sports? What were we thinking back then?

Remember when Pentecostals had saints meetings? What were we thinking back then?

Remember when Pentecostal churches had foot washing and communion services?  What were we thinking back then?

Remember when Pentecostal churches had testimony services? What were we thinking back then?

Remember when we used to hearing preaching about Jesus coming again? What were we thinking back then?

Remember when a Pentecostal preacher that preached holiness, was respected? What were we thinking back then?

Remember when Pentecostal preachers didn’t get their sermons on-line? What were we thinking back then?

Remember when Pentecostal folks wouldn’t take a job if it caused them to miss church? What were we thinking back then?

Remember when Pentecostals took vacations and still went to church at least on Sunday? What were we thinking back then?

Remember when Pentecostal backsliders were ashamed and didn’t try to justify themselves? What were they thinking back then?

Remember when we had consecration services? What were we thinking back then?

Remember when Pentecostals thought there were some things that were wrong and didn’t do them? What were we thinking back then?

Remember when Pentecostals actually preached the importance of Acts 2:38. When they use to say everyone needed to repent and be baptized in Jesus Name for the remission of sins and be filled with the Holy Ghost speaking with other tongues? What were we thinking back then?

We were thinking right!

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

September 4, 2011 at 12:19 am

Posted in Church Planting

Tagged with

He Asked Me If I Wanted To Watch Him Choose A City To Go Start A Church.

with 2 comments

I received the Holy Ghost in Bro. Leaman Reynold’s church in National City, CA in September 1958. In his lifetime, he started 9 churches in the United States and also pioneered the work in American Samoa. He was a missionary there for many years.

When I pastored in South Bend, I had him come by and preach for me. One afternoon he called me into the dining room where he was sitting with a map of California spread out on the table. California was where he had started all his other American churches and where he wanted to start another church.

He said, “Brother Marty, many of my friends say the Lord laid a certain town or place on their heart, or that God called them to a city. I think that’s wonderful and I won’t disagree with that. But the Bible does say that we are to go into all the world and preach the Gospel. I like California I’m a California boy at heart and I feel that it’s in God’s will for me to start a church there somewhere.

“Now, he said, the Gospel is God’s Business, and we are not to be slothful or haphazard in business, especially the King’s Business. So for me, I choose a city like I was going into that town to set up a business.”

On the table were packets of demographics from 6 different Chambers of Commerce. A map of California, A UPC directory and his Bible.

He asked me if I would like to watch him choose a city to go start a church. I pulled up a chair.

“If I am going to start a church in California, I need a good base to draw from, so I have found 6 cities in California that, to my knowledge have no Jesus Name Apostolic church of any kind and are over 100,000 in population. I wrote to the Chamber of Commerce in each of these towns requesting the demographics of their cities. Here are the packets. I have not opened them yet. He then bowed his head for a moment, laid his hand on the Bible and prayed a silent prayer.

Picking up the 1st packet he opened it and read. “No, this is a retirement community. The average age is very high. You have to have jobs and youth,” he said.

The 2nd one he disqualified because it mainly had service industry type jobs, and no factories.

The 3rd was a college town whose reputation turned him off.

The 4th was a military town and the population was always fluctuating. No stable base to build on.

The 5th town had a high median income, and average age of 32, 2.2 children per household, and lots of factories and industry.

“Here we go he said, I think this is it…. but let me check the last one.”

He checked the last packet, put it down saying it was a “bedroom community” and picked the 5th one back up. He got out his pen and drew a circle around Hayward, CA.

Sister Reynolds walked into the room and he said, “Here is where we are going to start our new church. We’re going to Hayward, CA.”

They went to Hayward, Started what turned out to be his last church. The congregation grew to a good size in a few years. He died while there.

I never forgot how effective his method was. Nor have I forgotten the command to “GO into ALL the world and preach the Gospel.” And… that it is God’s will to GO everywhere.


Written by Martyn Ballestero

September 3, 2011 at 12:23 am

Posted in Church Planting

Tagged with