The Ballestero Blog

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Archive for November 2011

The Veterans Of That Other War

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The Veterans Of That Other War

I am proud to be an American. My body still gets that special chill at the singing of the Star Spangled Banner. I stand when it is played. I also place my hand over my heart. I have no problem with the Pledge of Allegiance and saying “under God”.

I highly honor all who have served our great country. I owe you a great debt. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Howard Davis - Navy

Eric Marxer - Marines

My father-in-law, Bishop Howard H. Davis served in the Navy in WWII. My brother-in-law, Eric Marxer served in the Marines. I am proud of them and their service. I continue to enjoy freedoms because of them and others like them. I thank them especially today.

When I see a military person in the mall, airport or restaurant, I always thank them for serving our country. I even thank policemen for serving and protect our community. Their responses are always heartfelt.

If then, I take the time to thank the men and women, who serve my community and my country, why stop there? Why not thank those today who have given their years serving the Lord.

I thank every minister of the Gospel. But, I also wish to thank the faithful saints of God for remaining faithful in your service to the Lord. You have faithfully served Him through trials, sickness, compromise, rejection, rumors, and turmoil at church, on the job and at home. You have served Him when you’ve had to stand all by yourself. You have lived the life.

You have served without being honored or recognized. You have been faithful and fought the good fight of faith. Someday you will hear, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.”

Today, I salute you and thank you for your service to the Lord.


Written by Martyn Ballestero

November 11, 2011 at 11:24 am

Posted in Christian Living

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“Go Preach ‘Em Happy”

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“Go Preach Em Happy”

by Pastor Roy Barnhill

Pastor Roy Barnhill

I introduce to you Rev. Virgil Cox.  Some may not know him, so allow this short biography.

Virgil Cox was raised in St. Louis by his parents Virgil (Deacon) and Christine Cox. As a family, they attended White Way Tabernacle, pastored by Walter Guinn.

Virgil Jr. was 16 years old in 1945.  The “merger” of two oneness organizations was in progress and Virgil was a teenage witness to this historical moment that was being held at White Way. In those days, ministers did not stay in three or four star hotels but rather, were invited to stay in the saint’s homes. Several highly esteemed elders stayed in the Cox home.

During the “merger” and young Virgil was privileged to meet many of them who had come to this historical conference, which convened in St. Louis.

Virgil Cox pastored in Vichy, Missouri and later in Jefferson City, Missouri.  From Jefferson City he was asked to come to Bogalusa, LA where he pastored until his retirement. His son, Kevin Cox, is now District Superintendent of LA.

Through the years, I kept contact with Bro. Cox and would call him on a regular basis just to hear him tell again how things use to be in the “good ole days” and how times have changed.

We never talked about church growth principles, as such, but the advice he gave me before each call was ended, has been some of the best advice on growing people and growing a church. His closing words would always be, “Roy, Go Preach ‘Em Happy”.

After hearing this advice for several months, my curiosity got the best of me and I asked, “Bro. Cox, what do you mean, “Go Preach ‘Em Happy”?

What I heard next should be achieved in People Principles 101.  Bro. Cox shared with me how people are beat up and beat down by life’s hardships and hurts, so when they come to your church on Sunday, they need to hear a message of hope.

Their week may have included a loss of a job, a foreclosure notice, a rebellious teenager that is dealing them much heartache or a companion that has walked out.

Bro. Cox continued, Preach encouragement. Preach hope. Preach they can make it. Preach that Jesus loves them.  Preach that prayer changes things.  Go Preach ‘Em Happy.

Life’s greatest discovery is, if you will love people, they will love you in return. People gravitate to someone who will tell them there is hope in this life and in the life to come. Step One in growing a church is…

Go Preach ‘Em Happy!

Written by Martyn Ballestero

November 9, 2011 at 12:49 pm

Posted in Comfort, Ministry, Pastors

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The Liberal Church Locator

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Note: If the link is broken, please consult with your Pastor for direction.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

November 9, 2011 at 11:57 am

Posted in Old-Time Pentecost

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Why I Don’t Own A Revised Standard Version Of The Bible.

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Why I Don’t Own A Revised Standard Version Of The Bible.

First Of All, It Is A “New” Bible, Not A Translation. Over 6,000 changes are found in the RSV.

It is a modernistic interpretation. Liberals who reject the fundamental doctrines of the Word of God produced it. A modernist is one who:

  • Denies the virgin birth of Jesus Christ.
  • Denies the Deity of Jesus Christ.
  • Denies that the blood of Jesus saves from sin.

It Makes Drastic Changes That Are Unacceptable. Here Are Just A Few.

KJV Genesis 6:3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.

RSV Genesis 6:3 Then the LORD said, “My spirit shall not abide in man for ever, for he is flesh, but his days shall be a hundred and twenty years.”

  • The meaning is completely changed.

KJV Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

RSV Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, a young woman shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

  • There is a major difference between virgin and young woman.

KJV Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remissionof sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

RSV Acts 2:38 And Peter said to them, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

  • Remission is more than forgiveness. It is the complete removal of the cause of the offence.

KJV Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

RSV Hebrews 12:2 looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

KJV Luke 24:6 He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee,

RSV Luke 24:6 Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee,

  • What happened to “He is not here, but is risen:”?

KJV Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

KJV Mark 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

KJV Mark 16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

KJV Mark 16:18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

RSV Mark 16:9-20 is left out of their Bible.

KJV John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

RSV John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.

KJV John 1:18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

RSV John 1:18 No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known.

  • They do not like the word “begotten”.


KJV Colossians 1:14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

RSV Colossians 1:14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

  • The blood is missing again.

Any Bible that denies the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, His Deity, and Redemption through His shed Blood, has no place of my book shelf.

Work Referenced:

Wolff, MJ (1953) “The New Bible” – The Pentecostal Herald November 1953, page 4, 13

Written by Martyn Ballestero

November 8, 2011 at 12:50 pm

The Old Oregon Trail, And The Apostle John

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The Old Oregon Trail, And The Apostle John

No, the Apostle John never travelled the Oregon Trail. Yet, there is a common thread here and a simple truth worth sharing, found in their stories.

Ezra Meeker

Ezra Meeker

In the early 1920’s Ezra Meeker, the world-famous wagon train master, walked into my grandfather’s Oregon City Art Studio. My mother’s father, Turner Hubble Gleason, had been commissioned to paint the portrait of one of the most prominent citizens of the state of Oregon. A copy of his portrait remains in our family to this day.

By now, Mr. Meeker was a very old man. His beard was full and long and his hair white. His steps were still steady. His life had been filled with more adventure than most men could ever dream about. He had seen his life’s dreams come true.

“Before his death in 1928, just a few days shy of his 98th birthday, Ezra Meeker had not only walked the Oregon Trail several times, he’d ridden along it in an automobile and aboard a train, and flown over it in an airplane: he’d come a long way, and for many his story symbolized the opportunities that had been available on the frontier.” –

He had met with Indians. He had become friends with Indian Chiefs and had even driven his ox team to Washington to meet with President Teddy Roosevelt and several congressmen. The President had even walked out of the White House to see Ezra Meeker’s ox team and to talk of his future plans for him.

As the last Wagon Master to lead a train over the Oregon Trail, Mr. Meeker had been called on to verify the trail for the building of a new federal highway.

Unscrupulous men for years had side-tracked the unsuspecting traveler on the trail with their bogus signs. Signs with arrows proclaiming such things as “Custer’s Last Stand.”

In reality, the side trails took the weary and naïve off the true trail. To their dismay, they found that this was just a trading post or curio shop.

There was much confusion for the unsuspecting traveller. Something had to be done to straighten out the true Oregon Trail.

The President commissioned Ezra Meeker to guide surveyors, engineers and project managers to show them the original trail… The Old Oregon Trail.

Regardless of what the current signs said, Meeker ignored them and fully trusted his memory of the trail. He had spent a lifetime climbing every mountain and crossing every river. He knew the trail. That’s why they had chosen him.

Oregon Trail pioneer Ezra Meeker erected this boulder near Pacific Springs on Wyoming's South Pass in 1906.

Meeker, would say things like:

  • “We crossed the river right here.
  • “We went up the mountain on this side.
  • “Over there is where we made camp.
  • “Right here is the trail, ignore what that sign over there says.”

He then would remark the trail with his own signs that said. “Old Oregon Trail”

Because of Ezra Meeker’s life experience with the trail, the United States government trusted only him to lay the trail out right.

When the final stake was driven, they began construction of the famous east-west highway. Today, they call it, U.S. Highway 30. It remains as true as possible to the original trail.



The Apostle John

Mr. John Phillips in his commentary on the Gospel of John, starts his preface with something similar to this…

Matthew, Mark, and Luke were all dead. Peter, the Prince of Apostles had died too.  John was the first, and now the last Apostle. He alone of all the Apostles remained alive.

He was approximately 90 years old. Banished on the Island of Patmos, he began to write to his children in the Lord. He wrote as if he was the last defender of the New Testament doctrine.

Already the church was beginning to drift. They were deviating from the old paths in doctrine and in separation from the world, among other things. Grievous wolves had entered the flock.

His Epistles were the last known attempt to set the record straight. He had traveled the Trail of Truth from the very start. He wasn’t about to let anyone pervert this glorious message.

He drove down verbal markers and stakes, fearlessly proclaiming the message. It was the message that Jesus had given to the Disciples. The only message the Apostles ever preached.

John was prepared to die. But before dying, he was making sure that generations to come would know the Truth. As he made each point and drove it home, he would say: “This is…” He left no room for error.

 “This Is Our Message”

  • He Began His Gospel and Epistles Saying, This Is The Most Important Revelation.
  • That There Is Only One God. His name Is Jesus!

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 1:2 The same was in the beginning with God.

He then went on to proclaim in his epistles to the churches, the true Message.

1.) “This is the Promise.”

1John 2:25 And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.

2.) “This is the Message.”

1John 3:11 For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.

3.) “This is His Commandment.”

1John 3:23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.

4.) “This is the spirit of the Antichrist.”

1John 4:3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

5.) “This is the Love of God.”

1John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

6.) “This is the Victory.”

1John 5:4 For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

7.) “This is He.”

1John 5:6 This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.

8.) “This is the Witness of God.”

1John 5:9 If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son.

9.) “This is the Record.”

1John 5:11 And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

8.) “This is the Confidence.”

1John 5:14 And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:

9.) “This is the True God.”

1John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.

10.) “This is Love.”

2John 6 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.

11.) “This is a Deceiver and an Antichrist.”

2John 7 For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.


If you ever plan to drive to the state of Oregon and arrive there safely, one of the men you can thank is Ezra Meeker. He did everything he could to make sure that generations to come would follow the “Old Oregon Trail.”

If you ever plan to go to heaven and see Him who is God manifested in the flesh, one of the men you can thank, is the Apostle John. He did everything he could to keep the New Testament Church following “The Apostolic Message.”

Obey Acts 2:38

Written by Martyn Ballestero

November 7, 2011 at 3:22 pm

Everyone Counts Or No One Counts

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Everyone Counts Or No One Counts

1. That was what the Homicide Detective told himself as he looked at the pictures of the dead street-walker. Some people were glad she was off the streets. Cops had busted her many times over the years for solicitation. Her rap sheet was about as long as her arm.

He certainly did not approve of her lifestyle. But just because she had lived on the streets didn’t mean she didn’t deserve justice. He would do his best to find her killer.

The ‘perp’ was still out there. He looked at the cold case file again. He reread the files that recorded all the initial investigating efforts on her case, hoping to find a clue.

No one else in the department seemed to care about finding her killer now. It had been eight years, but that didn’t matter. He wasn’t going to give up. “Everyone counts or no one counts.” That was his motto.


2. The Sunday School Bus Captain from The First Pentecostal Church and her team pulled up into The Richland Heights’ parking lot. The church name was prominently displayed on the side of the bus.

Some of the older church members had given her disapproving stares last Sunday because she had brought a big load of children from these projects.

One Sunday School Teacher had resigned because she resented the ‘low income’ people coming to their fancy new church. After all, this was a congregation whose members had a lot of money. Some argued that influential people may not come now, because of these undesirables. Besides, the children were wild and out of control. “Another good reason not to bring them here,” someone had said.

The pastor accepted the Teacher’s resignation. He told her, the Bus Captain, and the whole congregation, “Everyone counts or no one counts.” The Bus Captain agreed. That was why she was back, trying to fill up her bus again this week.


3. Jesus hung on the Cross and looked at the throng gathered there. These were the ones He was dying for. Some were mocking and taunting Him. He knew their hearts. The actually hated Him and wished Him dead.

Standing there too, were some of His followers.  His Disciples, and His Mother stood close by. They mourned. Some had tears running down their cheeks.

Others just stood there uncaring. They watched Him without any reaction.

His faithful believers and those who rejected Him surrounded him now. The sinner and the righteous believer stood there together, shoulder to shoulder.

He was dying in their place. He was their substitute. He was suffering this punishment of all sinners. Most didn’t even appreciate what He was doing for them. But He was not willing that any of them should perish. Salvation was for everyone.

He Knew, “Everyone Counts Or No One Counts.”

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.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

November 4, 2011 at 1:42 am

Posted in Love, Personal Evangelism, Salvation

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Old Time Pentecost, by Pastor Kenneth Bow

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Pastor Kenneth Bow

Received in an email today from Brother Kenneth Bow. He is Pastor of The First Pentecostal Church of Puget Sound, Lake Tapps, WA.

Used by permission



“Old Time Pentecost”

This is a big subject and not easily defined.

I will begin with the people. We were poor. Cars were used, jobs were menial. No one, literally had an education.

Our music was a piano, organ, accordion, and guitar. It was a big day when we got the first set of drums in the church. Lots of tambourines. Lots of hand clapping.

Simple buildings and store fronts. No carpet, wooden benches.

People did not pray out of obligation, they prayed out of desperation. We had no savings, no insurance, nothing but God and each other. When we were sick we touched God or we suffered.

Revival had no competition. We had no TV, no vacation (no money to go), no hobbies. Church was our life. We had nothing else but church. We knew no different.

We had few clothes, and wore our best to church. We expected to stay for church a long time. We had no where else to go and no money to spend if we went anywhere.

Our meals were at home. We had prayer at home, and family devotions. When a neighbor came by we all came in the front room and talked.

After school we worked our garden and took care of our cows and chickens. We raised most of our food and lived very simple lives.

God had NO competition!

When we went to church it was just straight forward straight to the throne. Shouting over I’ll fly away and Jesus hold my hand. It was singing loud and long and praying in the altar sometimes till midnight.

The messages were so simple and uncomplicated, exactly what the crowd needed, many of which did not have even a high school education. We worked in the fields in the hot sun for minimum wages. Our tithes were 6-7 dollars a week.

There was no air conditioning, no sophistication, no real comfort for our bodies, so we sought solace for our weary souls.

We sang of a land far away beyond the river and dreamed of a land where we’ll never grow old. Heaven was a place we longed to see, and we sang of it, dreamed of it, lived for it, and nothing else.

Life was simple, God was real, and life was hard. We asked God for everything, even the food we ate that day and the rent that was due with no way to pay.

To me it was hard, but in many ways it was better than today where we do not need God. We have plenty, we have fine things, we have goods laid up for many years…..but we do not have God like we once did!

Written by Martyn Ballestero

November 1, 2011 at 11:29 am

Posted in Old-Time Pentecost

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