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She Put Her Gum In The Offering Plate!

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She Put Her Gum In The Offering Plate!

Agnes was mad, she was really mad! She had long ago gotten past being upset. She was irritated by what was happening in her world. Her world was out of control. This was not the life she had planned for herself.

Her family was by far the richest in her hometown of Bolivar, Missouri. They owned the entire town. Well, at least most of it was theirs. Her maiden name of Burke was a name that was well-respected in Bolivar. It got respect because it carried most of the money.

Everything had been wonderful in her world up till now. Her husband Bill was not rich nor did he come from a moneyed family like hers, but he wasn’t afraid of hard work and was a good provider. They loved each other. They had recently moved to the Riverside, California area.

When Agnes found out that Bill had somehow wandered into one of those Pentecostal Holy Roller churches, she was mortified. They were good Baptist people from a long line of Baptists. This should not be happening.

When Bill came home from the little Pentecostal church, he was acting differently. He said he’d gotten the Holy Ghost and had talked in tongues.

Agnes was not happy and went through the roof. She argued. She ranted. She raved. This was unbelievable and totally unacceptable! She had to find a way to get Bill back on track and away from all of them low-class Holy Rollers.

She finally decided to go to the little church with Bill and see if she could fix the mess Bill had just gotten them into.

The ladies looked horrible to her with their long hair, long dresses, and long sleeves. The women had their hair all done up. They looked old-fashioned and out of date. Agnes knew she would never fit into a church like this one. All of the women in the church dressed that way. Agnes refused to comply. She was determined to show her disdain for their manner of dress. She was determined to never be part of something so ridiculous.

She seldom missed a service, however. Her attendance was not because she was interested. She wasn’t. She despised everything about this new religion of Bills. Somehow, she had to get him away from this craziness.

To express her disdain for the ‘holiness’ dress code of the holy rollers, she wore things she knew they would disapprove of. She wore sleeveless dresses to church. She wore slacks. She even wore mini-skirts just to get a reaction from them.

She hated everything about these holy rollers. She criticized Bill’s involvement. She made his life a hell, at home.

At church, Agnes purposely didn’t smile much. She just sat there and chewed her gum. She always did. She knew that chewing gum in a church was considered disrespectful, but what did she care. When the offering was being received, Agnes would take her gum out and press it into the dollar bills in the plate.

She was pleased to watch the church secretary try to separate the gum from the paper dollars. It was one of the few things she enjoyed about going to this church.

Her husband Bill had laid on the floor, she found out, when he was praying to receive the ‘Holy Ghost,’ or whatever it was called. He evidently thrashed around quite a bit and rolled back and forth so much that the Pastor, Carl Ballestero, actually sat on him to hold him still so he could receive the Holy Ghost. How stupid, she thought. For six months now, Agnes had constantly shown her disdain and disrespect for the Pentecostals.

One night, a visitor came. The visitor was an old woman who had been in the original Azusa Street Mission. The presence of the Lord fell and people began to worship, but not Agnes. The old lady came to where Agnes was standing and even though she refused to pray, the old sister began to minister to her. In a few moments, she laid her hands on Agnes and prayed. God immediately filled her with the Holy Ghost.

She soon dropped to her knees, and then fell on the floor talking in tongues. She rolled. She rolled down the aisle. She rolled up under the piano and lay there for two hours, talking in tongues. She couldn’t stop.

Bill took his wife home drunk in the Holy Ghost that night. She went to sleep still talking in tongues. At 3 am, Agnes got out of bed and went next door to her neighbors, and beat on the door.

The neighbor lady said, ‘Agnes, what are you doing beating on my door at 3 am? Is something wrong? Do you need something?” All Agnes could do was speak in tongues. She gave up and went back to her house. She spoke in tongues for three days straight.

In time, God called Bill to preach the Gospel. A transformed Agnes and her husband, Bill (Wild Bill) Yandris, went to Merced, California and built a beautiful church to the glory of God. The Apostolic Tabernacle.

Bro. & Sis. Bill Yandris

The very godly Sister Agnes Yandris and her beloved Bill, have now both gone home to their glorious reward. Their children are carrying on this glorious message!

Written by Martyn Ballestero

January 11, 2018 at 11:22 am

The Heartache Church

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The Heartache Church

Pastor Miller hung the phone up and slumped into the chair. This was unbelievable! It was sickening. He sensed the pending devastation.

The voice mail on his cell phone announced that the 3rd couple in two months wanted to move their membership across town to the big church.

Only a handful of families were left here now. Would the nightmare ever stop? It was like a hemorrhage that was unending. The families that had left weren’t content to just go, they pulled on the remaining ones with reports of how wonderful things were at the new church. Their family and friends wavered in their loyalties. Who knew where it would stop. His church wasn’t growing. It was shrinking and he couldn’t stop the process.

No letter of transfer was ever asked for, and the other pastor had never called when someone moved in. He didn’t want to accuse the pastor across town of trying to proselyte, but the members there didn’t hesitate to do it for him.

The big church had quite a few people with money. They could afford to hire a full-time music director. They had also imported a youth pastor that was given full reign and a handsome expense account to attract and entertain young people. He did his job well, evidently. He personally encouraged all the young people in town to be a part of his youth group.

The bigger church had concerts, dramas, guitar-driven worship, newer songs, fog machines, strobe lights, multimedia presentations, Power-Points and many well-known guest speakers. A Starbucks type coffee shop was just down the hall from the entrance. The aroma always drew a crowd. Their church always had something going on there.

It was impossible for pastor Miller’s small church to compete with the big boys. He had neither the resources nor the staff. He worked a secular job just to keep the wolf away from the door.

He had nearly broken his health trying to dig a church out of nothing. He had been ethical to a fault. He had never taken anyone from another church.

He personally had won most of the people in his church. He had taught almost everyone there a Home Bible Study. He had prayed them through. He had baptized them. So, this is the thanks he gets? How does he stop the migration? He didn’t want to feel jealous or harbor bad thoughts, but it still didn’t feel good. His wife was devastated. Now, there was little chance the church would be self-supporting anytime soon.

He knew the Pentecostals in town considered him “old school”.  He still had testimony service. His church even sang out of the songbook. They sang many choruses that were sung by previous generations.

A piano and a box guitar provided the music. They used to have a drummer, but he had moved across town to the big church.

Bro. Miller had never been invited to preach a special meeting in his life. He knew he never would be asked.

Two special needs adults in his church always caused distractions to visitors. One often spoke out loud at the wrong time and had to be treated like a child.

The $41.43 in the Sunday night offering last week didn’t pay much on the utilities or church payment. His people were poor. He had to help most of them survive. He had paid utilities for many of his people, helped a few times with their house payments. He’d even co-signed for a car, once or twice.

The girls in the big church called the young girls in his church ‘grandmas’. Their modest apparel was scorned as unnecessary. At the big church, not much was said about standards evidently. (That was an unkind thought he knew, but he was not impressed by what he’d seen of them in the mall.)

There was no one for pastor Miller to complain to, confide in, or cry with. He privately wished that the Prophet Nathan would go across town and preach the story of the ‘one ewe lamb’ again. It seemed fitting.

When he heard reports about ‘revival’ and church growth across town, he knew where some of the growth had come from.

Life didn’t seem fair. He made up his mind that he would paste a smile on his face, keep doing his best to have good church, preach like there was a house full, not talk about those who left and encourage the rest. His job, he knew, was to pray blessings on the big church and their pastor.

Pastor Miller knew that not all big churches were like the one across town from him. God would sort it all out somehow and Heaven’s Bookkeepers never made any mistakes. He was trying to help build God’s Kingdom, not his own. For him, this had been a long heartache. But, he would not allow there to be a war in God’s Kingdom.

This Too Is Home Missions!

A re-post from

The Home Missions Chronicles Blog
by Martyn Ballestero

Written by Martyn Ballestero

January 8, 2018 at 4:32 pm

The Skid Row Church

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The Skid Row Church

A flashing red neon sign interrupted the dark.  The Salvation Army Rescue Mission across the street was hard not to notice. The homeless drifted up and down the sidewalk looking for a hand-out. The window of the new storefront church had a hand-scrawled welcome sign inviting one and all to come in.

As the door opens, the smell of fresh paint announces the recent renovations. Battleship Gray paint was on the walls, the old wooden floor and on the home-made benches. Everything in the church was painted gray except the pulpit and the piano.

The piano had been pushed up against the wall on the main floor. Sitting close to the six-inch-high platform. It was positioned to the left of the pulpit. The pastor’s wife played sweetly. It was like she was anointed. She sat facing the wall, but when she looks into the antique mirror fastened on the old upright, she can see her husband, the pastor and watch for his direction. Oh, how they sing! They sang with all their heart. The presence of the Lord was easily felt.

There were no songbooks or microphones. A tambourine and the rhythm of hands clapping complemented the evening worship service. The pastor’s small children sat respectful and quiet. They knew not to play during church.

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There are five children in the pastor’s family. The oldest was barely in his teens. They live in a migrant farm workers camp. The one room, clapboard shanty has been their home for a year. The shack they live in has no running water, no electricity, but it does have a wooden cook stove. The restroom facilities are about 200 feet away. One double bed, a built-in bunk bed, and pallets on the floor provided sleeping arraignments for them. Their little “house” looked just like the 75 or so others in the worker’s camp. Unpainted, no lawn, no porch, just shelter.

The whole family had picked apples in the local orchards when they had first arrived. It was harvest time. The ladders that the fruit pickers used, leaned tediously against the tree limbs. Canvas bags were strapped around the laborer’s necks that held the apples and became very heavy very fast. It was not easy work. It was piece rate labor.

Everyone one else living at “Schwarter’s Station was Hispanic. Their light skin stood out. The pastor finally got a day job at Libby’s Cannery and his wife worked nights at Del Monty’s Cannery to help make ends meet. Their 14-year-old son learned to help cook for the family on the old wood cook stove.

An older retired couple had lived in town for several years and had not gone to church anywhere because there was not a Jesus Name church in the area. They had grown cold spiritually. Now, they had rejoiced over the prospect of having a church in town. They were more than glad to help the new pastor start a church.

They found pails of old gray paint in the barn and felt, that though it might not look pretty, at least it would make the place look clean. There also was enough lumber in the shed to make a small platform and eight benches.

Counting the old drunk on the front row that only came inside because of the weather, there were ten people present and five of them were children. The drunk awoke during the altar call and left. The faithful few gathered around the front. They were disappointed that one got away. There was always the next time, if Jesus tarried.

 

The small group had no support from anyone, just a burden for souls.

This was Home Missions 1958.

(The Skid Row Church was in Yakima, Washington, and is still thriving today.)

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

December 15, 2017 at 9:20 am

The Downspout In A Bucket Church

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The Downspout In A Bucket Church

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But the pastor and small flock were faithful.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This Too Is Home Missions.

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

December 9, 2017 at 8:33 am

It’s Just A Hole In The Wall

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It’s Just A Hole In The Wall

 

My wife and I love those little mom and pop restaurants. The food served there is often a once in a lifetime find. They just don’t make it anywhere else quite like they do at the hole in the wall places. No, don’t get me wrong. We certainly enjoy the food from major chains and big eateries too, but we don’t avoid a place because it is small.

Once for lunch she guided me across town to her new find. It was hidden on a side street, and was so small that it seemed like a gamble to eat there. It was a little Mexican cafe with about four tables. She beamed as she guided me into the room. She really loves little ‘greasy spoons’ places. So do I. There were no English words on the menu, no readable signs on the wall for gringos to cipher. Even the waitress didn’t speak English. We had to point to the pictures on the menu. But… the food was good.

Within twenty-five miles of my house is a small breakfast and lunch restaurant that is also a hole in the wall. The specialty for me is the cinnamon buns that are served hot and named, “Grilled and Drizzled”. As the younger generation might say, they’re to die for.

The menus are placed under the glass at each table setting. The portions are huge; the service is with a smile. They’ve had the same cook for over forty years. It just happens to be voted the “number two” breakfast place in the whole state. And, it’s a hole in the wall.

On a recommendation, I took my wife on a date to a run-down old brick building in a bad part of town. It kind of looked like a deserted warehouse. It actually was an Italian place that was only open of Friday and Saturday nights, because the family is busy making the pasta on the other days of the week.

The local college kids eat there still dressed in their school clothes, but it is not uncommon to see a limo or two pull up from a hundred miles away bringing the mink stole crowd.

Upon entering the door, one has to turn right and go down a flight of stairs to the basement. It is decorated in old world style. For sure, it’s a hole in the wall, but once you eat there, I promise you, you will go back.

In East Texas there is a little Mexican restaurant with no visible waitress. You walk up to the cash register and place your order. The menu is written on the sidewall in what may be chalk or an erasable maker.

The building is old, nothing is fancy, and the soft drinks are dispensed from an old glass cooler with a see through door. The wooden counter top has been serving its purpose for more years than the person taking the order has been alive.

With great apologies, my host explained that he seldom brings anyone here, only his close friends, because it’s just a hole in the wall.

It only takes a bite or two before this little joint becomes your favorite hole in the wall Mexican restaurant ever. You tell your host that every time you come to this town, you want to come back here to this little hole in the wall.

 

Home

“Be it ever so humble, no place like home.” Almost every one of us has a photo or memory of a family home that by today’s standards seems substandard. I do, maybe you do too.

When older folks start talking about their home growing up, they often get a smile of remembrance on their face, and a dreamy look in their eyes. They will try to out do each other bragging about how poor they were, but still to them, it is a place cherished above all things in their memory. They were born and raised in something akin to a hole in the wall… and proud of it.

 

Churches

Why is it OK for a cafe to be a hole in the wall, but not a church? There is no telling and no limit what can blossom from your little hole in the wall church building. Between you and the Lord, you can work towards making your little hole in the wall the place everyone wants to find.

As the son whose parents started six home missions churches, I feel a special connection with small churches, and their pastors. My wife and I started a church. My oldest son started a church, my number three son started a church, and my daughter and her husband did as well.

As a visiting minister it is so common to hear terms like… “Well, we are just a small church, and we don’t have very many.” Or, “where two or three are gathered together…” I know most of the lines. I’ve even used them my self.

After looking backwards over my seventy years of going to church, some of the most wonderful moments of living for God were found in some little church not far from the echoing sounds of the train track. Maybe it’s a storefront, or a small building displaying an amateurish hand painted church sign… maybe it’s a converted garage or even a single-wide mobile home. It is just a hole in the wall.

In the day when mega churches are super impressive, I cannot discount what I have seen, what I have heard, what I have felt in those little hole in the wall places.

Some have no musical instruments, no pews, no microphones, and no overhead projectors. But they have love, fellowship, unity, good prayer and worship, to top it all off, the preacher preaches like there is 400 there and not just the actual four in his audience.

I have absolutely nothing unkind to say or think about medium, large or mega sized churches. God bless them all. I just don’t want the people of God to be embarrassed because of their small building. God most certainly can bless in a hole in the wall.

Every church was a home missions church once, a hole in the wall. The Lord is not restricted or limited by the size of the building. Ask any foreign missionary, ask any home missionary.

I would be the last to tell you keep your church small, only a fool would think that way. What I desire is for you to enjoy and treasure the days of small things. Don’t despise them. It’s even God’s design.

To me the hole in the wall churches are almost sacred. Yes, you heard me right. Remember Azusa Street? I thought you might. The pictures look like it’s just a hole in the wall.

Oh yes, did I mention that it was in a hole in the wall building where I got the Holy Ghost?

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

November 26, 2014 at 10:08 am

Posted in Church Planting

Tagged with

The Worst Part Of Being Wrong

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The Worst Part Of Being Wrong

The worst part of being wrong is thinking you are right.

  • It is very easy to believe a lie and be confident that you are walking in truth when in fact you are not.
  • Just because you go to church doesn’t mean you are saved.
  • Just because you live a moral and good life doesn’t mean you are saved.
  • Some will never know or ever admit they are wrong.
  • They may not ever be convinced until The Judgment Day.
  • But by then, it will be too late.

 

It Is Even Possible To Pray About Your Life Choices And Feel That God Agrees With You.

  • Just because you feel good about your choice after praying, makes you believe God approves and agrees with you.
  • Be careful and don’t make a mistake here. The will of God is not always comfortable for you.
  • Balaam felt he was right too. But he died with the enemy.
  • Saul felt he was right as well, but God had to knock him to his knees on the road to Damascus before He could turn him around and open his eyes to the truth.

 

Every Way Of A Man Is Right In His Own Eyes

Proverbs 21:2 Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the Lord pondereth the hearts.

  • First is the rationalization of your decision. You rationalize your choice and point out the negative in those you walk away from.
  • Then comes justification. You justify your every action.
  • Then comes defensiveness. You defend your every way.
  • Then comes arrogance. You cut off those that don’t agree with you.
  • You refuse help and Godly counsel.
  • You feel good about everything and no one can convince you otherwise.
  • Just because it’s right in your eyes, doesn’t mean it’s right in God’s eyes.
  • The worst part of being wrong is thinking you are right.

 

Proverbs 14:14 The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself.

  • A backslider’s heart is flooded with his agenda, his dreams and his desires.
  • There is no room left for God in his heart.
  • For the backslider, it is all about him, and not about God.
  • The worst part of being wrong is thinking you are right.

 

Some Evidently Have To Learn Hard Way.

  • It is sad to watch those who appear to be determined to learn the hard way.
  • They’re right in their own mind. The pastor, and their family are all wrong.
  • They are the ones who are right.
  • Even when they go against Biblical instructions and warnings, they feel good about their choices.
  • The worst part of being wrong is thinking you are right.

 

Watching Friends And Loved Ones Self Destruct

  • They seem to be happy with their life away from truth and the safety of God’s House.
  • The devil has blinded their eyes.
  • Your heart aches as you watch them destruct and turn their back righteousness.
  • Is like being a thousand miles away from home and hearing that the water pipes have just burst in your basement. You feel helpless to fix the problem. You may make a few emergency calls, but that’s about all you can do.
  • The worst part of being wrong is thinking you are right.

If Our Gospel Be Hid…

2 Corinthians 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

2 Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

  • If truth is hid, it is hid to them that are lost.
  • Who is hiding the gospel or the truth from the lost? Satan.
  • The reason they can’t see the truth about themselves is because the devil has blinded their eyes and they refuse to admit it or see it.
  • As a result, they have easily believed a lie.
  • They’ve deceived themselves.
  • The worst part of being wrong is thinking you are right.

 

Acknowledging The Truth About Yourself

2 Timothy 2:25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;

  • This is not just talking about doctrinal issues.
  • This includes praying that the sinner will see the truth about themselves, their errors, their sins and their ways.
  • Paul used the word peradventure. That means, he had no guarantee the wayward would ever admit their wrong doing or that God would forgive them, but that in meekness, Timothy should keep reaching for them.
  • The worst part of being wrong is thinking you are right.

 

There Is A Way That Seemeth Right

Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.

  • What seems right to you may also destroy you.
  • There may not be a problem you can see now, but at the end, eternal death awaits.
  • The Pharisee praying in the temple thought he was the one that was approved by God. How wrong he was even though he felt right.
  • The worst part of being wrong is thinking you are right.

 

Many Churchgoers Are Lost Because Of False Doctrine And Yet Feel Saved.

Matthew 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.

Matthew 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?

Matthew 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

  • They even ministered in the name of the Lord and still were lost.
  • They were believers
  • They no doubt were Spirit filled.
  • They cast out devils,
  • The saw signs and wonders,
  • They prophesied and it came to pass,
  • They used the name of Jesus in their ministry,
  • Yet they were still lost in eternity.
  • The worst part of being wrong is thinking you are right.

 

Compromisers

  • Say they are glad they have been delivered from bondage.
  • They say they never felt better.
  • They feel sorry for those ignorant folks still in bondage to standards and doctrine.
  • Like a dog going back to it’s vomit and a pig to its wallow, they’ve returned to the world and feel good about their soul.
  • The worst part of being wrong is thinking you are right.

 

Fools Blame God For Their Circumstances And Refuse To Repent

Revelation 16:11 And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.

The worst part of being wrong is thinking you are right.

 

The Prodigal Came To Himself

A parent’s and a pastor’s prayer is that those they love who are doing wrong will come to themselves like the prodigal son did.

 

How To Keep From Making Bad Life Choices And Mistakes

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

Proverbs 3:6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Proverbs 3:7 Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil.

  • Your understanding and high IQ is not enough to keep you safe. Admit that to yourself.
  • Call on the Lord for direction in every choice.
  • Include your pastor in your major decisions.
  • Kings even did that in the Bible. They asked the Prophet to enquire of the Lord for them.
  • In ALL your ways (decisions and choices) ACKNOWLEDGE Him. Include God in your everyday life and He will direct you path.
  • When God directs your path and you walk in it, only then will you begin living a mistake free life.

 

Remember, The Worst Part Of Being Wrong Is Thinking You Are Right.

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

July 8, 2014 at 10:21 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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