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Brother Van Winkle Takes A Trip To The Pastor’s Office!

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Brother Van Winkle Takes A Trip To The Pastor’s Office!

The old gentleman tottered a little unsteadily on his cane as he entered the Foyer of the First Pentecostal Church. The Sunday Morning Greeters welcomed him with much ado.

No one recognized him, nor had they ever seen him before. His clothes, although clean and pressed, definitely were way out of style.

After shaking his hand, someone handed him a Visitor’s Card to be filled out, and asked him his name.

“I’m Brother Van Winkle,” was the old man’s answer. He looked bewildered.

“And, I’m not a visitor!” he said as he looked at their unfamiliar faces. “I started attending this church when I was thirty. I got baptized here and received the Holy Ghost in 1959 soon after the church was first started. Who are you people?”

The Greeters exchanged confused glances with each other.

“Where’s Pastor Reynolds?” The old man continued, “He can vouch for me!”

There was a long pause. Finally the oldest Greeter said, “Brother Reynolds died in 1988, and we’ve had two more pastors since then.”

“Oh my! Oh my! My nurse told me that I had fallen into a deep sleep or something for a long time. But, I had no idea how long. The last thing I remember was when John F. Kennedy was voted in as President. What year is it now, the old man inquired?”

“Today is October 21, 2012.”

“Somebody help me sit down, this is too much for my heart,” was all he could say.

The old man was almost in a state of shock. They led him to a pew so he could sit down.

 

 

Everyone seemed friendly and attentive. Before church even started, many came by and shook his hand and welcomed him. He looked around carefully to see if he could find a familiar face. He wasn’t sure. He saw nothing he recognized in any of their faces. An Usher eventually took his Visitor’s Card from him, and laid it on the pulpit.

The worship was very lively, and the musicians played with great expertise. There were six young people on the platform singing the choruses. Every singer had his or her own microphone. There weren’t even any cords attached to the microphones either, and yet they worked! That amazed the old man.

The words of each chorus appeared as if by magic on the wall. No one seemed surprised or thought it amazing. Brother Van Winkle could not imagine how it was happening.

The service leader made a point to welcome their new visitor, ‘Brother Van Winkle.’ Everyone clapped their hands and made him feel welcome. But, the whole thing had a hollow feeling, nonetheless. This was his church, yet somehow it was not the same. He realized he really did feel like a visitor.

Brother Van Winkle enjoyed the worship and was also very impressed with the ‘new’ pastor… Pastor Shields. He preached a wonderful and stirring message.

At the end of the altar service, Brother Van Winkle started for the door.  His mind was still awhirl trying to sort out all of his emotions and reconcile them with his memories. As he was entering the Foyer, Pastor Shields intercepted him.

 

 

“The Lord bless you Bro. Van Winkle! I am so glad you came today. One year ago when I became the pastor here, someone told me that you had been a member here many years ago and had fallen into a coma of some sort. So, I came occasionally to visit and pray for you. I am happy to see that you got your miracle!”

“Thank you so much! It feels like I just went to sleep and woke up the next morning. But the reality of it is, I’ve lost over fifty years of my life.”

“If you can spare a moment or two,” the Pastor said, “I would love to have you step into my office and talk to me about some of the differences you can see in the church today, as compared to back then.”

The two men walked a short distance into the Pastor’s Office and Brother Van Winkle was seated in a comfortable chair that he could get out of, without much ado.

“Thank you for that wonderful message this morning, Pastor. I will feast on that one for a long while.”

The Pastor modestly nodded his thanks and smiled. He motioned with his hand as if encouraging the old man to begin.

“Well, the first thing I noticed was that there are no song books in the church anymore. The singers on the platform really did a great job though.

We never had singers up on the platform like that when I got in church. We only had one song leader. Seeing a group up there was new for me.

I looked around at the congregation a bit, and was very surprised to see that many of them were just looking at the words on the wall and not singing at all. It was almost like they were being entertained.

The Pastor made grimace and shook his head as if in agreement.

 

 

“I only knew one song out of the seven that we sang today. They all were very nice songs though, and the people seemed to enjoy them. But in the 1950’s we sang songs about the Blood, the Old Rugged Cross, the Holy Ghost, Baptism in Jesus Name and about Heaven. I guess I’ll get use to the new stuff, but I sure like the old.

“I noticed too, there was no testimony service this morning. You do still have testimonies don’t you?”

Again Pastor Shields made a slight grimace, and this time shook his head sideways.

“I was really hoping there would have been some prayer before the service started today, like there used to be. I really missed not hearing the saints pray out loud. And the Altars! The Altars are missing!

“I know,” the Pastor said with a sad sound in his voice.

 

 

“The facial hair on some of the men in the church, and especially on those that were on the platform, really confused me. I’ll have to say; I never saw that when I was young. Then too, not many of the guys dressed up for church today. Where do they have to go that’s more important than God’s House? Don’t they dress up for God anymore?

“I am an old man. But, I was caught off guard today when I looked at the lady folks. Many of the young women and girls here, evidently aren’t very careful about how they dress in public. I especially can’t believe they would dress for church like that if they’ve got the Holy Ghost. The clothes the ladies wore today were much tighter and much shorter than they used to be here in this church. Why would they do that?

“The old saints were very careful about modesty. Back in the day, Moms and Dads wouldn’t have let their kids leave home looking like that! They wouldn’t have even allowed them to buy those clothes in the first place. Some of those outfits didn’t leave much to the imagination.

“I was shocked when I saw some women and girls wearing slacks and jeans! Some had cut hair too! If they claim to be members, and are not new converts, do they even have the Holy Ghost? Really? They don’t look like the saints use to look around here. The saints of old use to get convicted of things like that.

“Then, because of the jewelry and makeup I saw, here and there, I thought we had a number of visitors today until they recognized me, from the pulpit, as the only visitor. The others, I guess, consider themselves members here too.

The Pastor looked down at his desk, as if too ashamed to look the old man in the eye.

 

 

“Some of the boys’ hair styles looked like they just got out of bed and they didn’t comb their hair for church this morning.

But, I think what got me the most, was overhearing some of the young people laugh and talk about movies and TV shows. That would have never happened back in the old days.

“I am sounding like a tattler, and I sure don’t want to be. I know that science has improved so much since I was here last. I guess what the kids had in their hands during the church service are some kind of telephones they can carry in their pockets now. The ones by me were fascinated with them most of the service. I could see some of them showing each other pictures or something, and laughing.

“None of them had a Bible, either. They just played with their phone. I wondered why their parents didn’t stop them.”

Then, as if the thought suddenly struck him, he asked, “Pastor, I looked around today to see if there were still any of the Williams family in the church. They were some of the pillars in the church when I was young. Are there any left?”

“No, not any more. The old ones, of course, have died off. The girls married guys from other churches. Larry the oldest boy backslid years ago.”

“What about Bobby?”

“Bobby,” the Pastor continued, “moved to Texas about ten months ago because he could get a job there that paid more pay, than he could earn here.”

“What?” Bro. Van Winkle was astounded! He moved away from his church to make more money? Why, I’ve never heard of such! That is unbelievable. He should have known better. He should have stayed right here and put the church first.  God would give him a good job right here where He had planted him. Have you heard anything from him?”

“He stayed in touch with some of his old friends here for a while. The last I heard, he wasn’t going to church anywhere, and him and his wife were getting a divorce.”

“That doesn’t surprise me. God doesn’t lead you away from your church to a place where you will lose out with him. I’ll sure pray for Bobby. He was very young last time I saw him.”

Now, the old man put his head down trying to sort out all the news. These kinds of things made his heart hurt some more. There was a long pause in the conversation.

 

 

Bro. Van Winkle finally lifted his head and with a warm smile on his face, and a kind sound in his voice, he said, “Pastor?”

The Pastor raised his head and smiled back.

“Pastor, I am an old man, and I don’t like change. I am so surprised, and even shocked, by some changes I have seen today. I know that most things change over a lifetime. I know too that some changes are for the good and there is nothing bad about them, but some of these changes scare me to death.

“This is still my church and I am happy to call you my Pastor. You should know however, there are some areas that I don’t ever plan to change!”

“Some of these changes I don’t like either,” said Pastor Shields. “It is easy to get use to gradual changes. I know. Some of these have happened over a lifetime, and then some have happened within the last fifteen years or so.

“Regardless, we are THE Church. We should ACT like God’s Church and we should LOOK like God’s Church. That’s my goal here. I haven’t been Pastor here very long. It takes a while to turn some ships around, but with God’s help, I would like to see this church get back on course.

He came around his desk to shake hands with the old gentleman.

“Thank God I have a few good men like you in this church to stand behind me. I would like to invite you to join me in prayer right now for a God sent revival in our church and in our town!’

He picked up his Bible from his desk and turned the pages until he found what he was looking for. He began to read aloud.

2 Chronicles 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

The two men stood and prayed for God to bless them and to bless their church, then they shook hands in a bond of agreement before walking out the door. Each man fully committed in his heart to be Apostolic in every area, and to seek God’s blessing and approval on the future of The First Pentecostal Church!

 

 

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 20, 2012 at 10:44 pm

10 Responses

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  1. Love it

    kwbow@aol.com

    October 20, 2012 at 11:15 pm

  2. Awesome blog. Love the old paths!!!!

    Dean Ashcraft

    October 21, 2012 at 12:41 am

  3. Thank you, Bro. Ballestero, for this blog post. God bless you!

    Charlotte Mills

    October 21, 2012 at 9:18 am

  4. We need more “Bro. Van Winkles” in our churches to speak up about the old paths. I pray they are not afraid to talk about these things and overrun by new progressive ideas that sap the power from Apostolic churches.

    Good stuff Brother!

    truthcc

    October 21, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    • Great thoughts brother. I do like the new songs, however I still really like the old songs of Pentecost. I don’t mind that the songs are projected on the wall for the congregation either. But I have noticed that less people bring their Bibles to church now. I wonder if that is because they know the scriptures will be up there too? I wish more people would “give a big quack”

      TJ Lowman

      November 13, 2012 at 6:49 am

  5. The moon is symbolic of the church.
    The sun symbolic of Jesus.
    The earth symbolic of the world.

    The light the moon emits in the the darkness is due sole to the light it reflects from the sun. When a solar eclipse happens it’s due to the earth being directly between the sun and the moon.

    So the world is getting in between the church and the One true living God – Jesus. When this world gets in between the direct reflection of God there is no power the church can reflect in the night. There is no light from the sun getting to the earth to start the miraculous photosynthesis process in plants. There is no growth. No true spiritual growth.

    When the church looks like the world or emulates the world they cease to emulate or reflect the source of true power – God. The moon gets its only “power” from the sun. The moon itself possesses no power at all – only that of its ability to reflect the sun onto the earth at night. The church’s main purpose is to reflect the light of God in a dark night. To reflect the power of God in a dark and evil time. Until the dawn comes…

    I know this is an abstract perspective, but I once heard Bro. Joel Urshan say that the very reason why all nature directly reflects the spiritual things of God is because God knew that if man were to ever leave His presence everything in nature would point that man right back to God. Its God’s design.

    This revelation also came in a beautiful conversation that me and my father had concerning the things of God and the church in the last days.

    Thank you for posting this message Bro. Ballestero. It is much needed in the end times for the end time church. The world has never tried to become like the church so the church needs to pray and fast and make sure we are not becoming tainted by this world. We have to reflect the power of God to our world – our friends, our children, our families.

    Even through all the knowledge given to us in these last days (which is a Biblical prophecy being fulfilled) we need to use it to propel God’s purpose to reach this world and not to conform to this world. We can still use technology to win our world but we shouldn’t let the technologies of the world justify us conforming to other evil parts of this world – picking up the fashion standards, filling ourselves with the entertainments of this world (Being entertained in church and not participating), allowing our children to play with devices, phones, video games, while church is going, our children need to be receiving the Holy Ghost at a young age again and not just at children crusades. The church is so powerful because of our relationship with God. We are the bride of Christ. We need to take care of ourselves once again and show this world what the bride of Christ is and the power she possesses. We will decrease that He- God may increase.

    Let it be said the last days that the world has awakened a sleeping giant – the Church!

    Thank you again.
    God bless!!
    UM

    Given upon request.

    October 22, 2012 at 10:36 am

  6. lol the point “There is no light from the sun getting to the earth to start the miraculous photosynthesis process in plants. There is no growth. No true spiritual growth.” Is not really relevant to a solar eclipse not a lunar eclispe. lol I got excited and switched the two .. the above comment was in reference to a Lunar Eclipse… lol but in essence in a Solar Eclipse if the moon is blocking sun from the earth there is no growth. Or if the church is not showing the power of God into the world the church will only get in the way of what God is trying to do. The church has to be the church and let their light shine :).

    Thank you again for allowing me to post on your blog.
    God bless!!!
    UM

    Given upon request.

    October 23, 2012 at 11:53 am

    • ***Is not really relevant to a lunar eclipse but to a solar eclispe*** last correction i promise.
      Stay blessed lol 🙂
      UM

      Given upon request.

      October 23, 2012 at 11:57 am

  7. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud when I read the name of the Pastor. I’m so thankful for my Pastor Shields who still stands for holiness, righteousness, and truth. God Bless from Starks

    JW Linscomb

    October 24, 2012 at 11:00 am


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