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Archive for the ‘Evangelists’ Category

“That’s ‘possum gumbo, brother.”

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Almost fifty people sat in the little wooden church house in Lunita, Louisiana. They had come to a Youth Revival to hear nineteen-year-old Marty Ballestero from South Bend, Indiana. Pastor Kirkland had announced revival services for the next nine nights.

There was only one musical instrument in the church, a piano. The pastor’s sixteen-year-old daughter played the best she could. She was backslidden, but they needed some music, and that’s all they had. No one else could play the piano.

The year was 1963, the month was November, and I was out in the sticks. There was not a traffic light or a stop sign to be found for miles. There was not much to be seen here, but piney woods. While praying in those woods I got 59 chigger bites in one hour. I spent the rest of my prayer meetings indoors. It is easier to scratch indoors.

The song service was started with the ‘choir’ coming up on the platform to sing. The ‘choir’ consisted of whoever wanted to come up. Only a few remained seated in the audience. No one shouted during the revival, nor seemed to be overly blessed by the singing or the preaching. But everyone was friendly and said nice things to their guest.

The crowd was made up of hard-working but poor, salt-of-the-earth kind of folks. During prayer requests, names like, ‘Sis. Turtle’, and ‘One-Legged Willie’ got mentioned. No one seemed to be amused by the unusual nicknames.

The offering pan was passed every night and the change clanging on the bottom was very noticeable.

I stayed in the side wing on the left side of the church, right next to the auditorium. My room had a bed and nothing more. An outhouse was not far from my side of the church. A white building now stands in its place. The wing has been more than doubled in size and everything is enlarged and bricked now.

The woods came right up beside the church house back then. The trees came so close it was almost possible to squirrel hunt sitting on the platform.

Bro. Kirkland, the pastor, lived in a mobile home with his wife, his daughter, and son. The trailer was parked to the right of the church. It sat in the tree line as well. He drove a casket delivery truck for Batesville Casket Company. I rode with him a few times during the day for fellowship.

At night after church, I would be invited to eat at their house.

I had never had much of an opportunity to eat Cajun cooking before. I had spent too many years out west and up north. One night, Sister Kirkland said, “I hope you like gumbo, brother,” as I entered her house.

“Oh yes ma’am,” I said. I didn’t know if I did or didn’t, but when you are only eating one meal a day, you don’t get too picky, because it’s 24 hours until they invite you over again.

I watched how my hosts ate their gumbo. It was served with a whole egg in it on one side and a generous helping of warm potato salad over on the other side. The rue was dark. I was hungry and ate mine up. The taste was a little different, but then I’d never had gumbo before, so I didn’t know what to expect.

“That’s ‘possum gumbo, brother.” The pastor’s fourteen-year-old son said. Did you like it?”

I didn’t want to say I liked it because the inward shock of being told I’d just eaten ‘possum was one thing, but to knowingly lie was another.

“It tasted pretty good whatever it was.”  (I don’t think I would have knowingly wished to eat ‘possum, but I did.)

I had been gone from home a little over a month and had been preaching a few nights here and there. This was my first revival since going full-time.

Since the sixteen-year-old piano player was backslidden, I chose not to have any music for altar service the entire revival. I had to give altar calls without music. I wanted her to pray through and knew she couldn’t play and pray at the same time. She did pray through on the last weekend.

I didn’t know, till after service one night, that President Kennedy had been assassinated two days before. There was no radio in my room or newspaper in Lunita to keep me informed.

Sixteen young people prayed through during those nine nights. Many of them were backsliders.

The last night, Bro. Kirkland announced that an offering had been taken every night for the last nine nights and that a total of $4.65 had come in for the evangelist. He said that he would like to have the church vote to give him permission to take $.35 out of the Ladies Auxiliary Fund to raise the total up to $5.00.

All those that were in favor of the evangelistic offering being increased stood to their feet. It was the first election I had ever won.

After church, I said my goodbyes and went down the road a few miles to Deweyville, Texas, on the Texas/Louisiana state line that night. I spent $3.50 in a phone booth for a 3-minute call to my dad, telling him about my first offering. I then bought 5 gallons of gas at the Billups service station for $1.00, for my ’55 Ford and drove across the street to Nick’s Restaurant. There I ordered a $.35 Cheeseburger and spent my last $.15 on a large Dr. Pepper.

 

I left Deweyville broke and happy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

November 28, 2017 at 9:18 am

The Ballestero Interview

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Earlier the year, I was honored to be with Pastor Shannon Burgess and the Jesus Name Pentecostal Church of Chehalis, Washington. Bro. Gabe Baker, the Youth Pastor, took time from his busy schedule to interview me. He asked many questions about my life and ministry. I am humbled by his interest and efforts. I also thank him from the bottom of my heart for including me in his passion to help other young ministers.

Part 1

Part 2.

Part 3.

_____________________________________

For additional media, follow this link to the Jesus Name Pentecostal Church website.

http://jnpc.org/media-center/video-gallery.html

Written by Martyn Ballestero

September 15, 2012 at 7:28 pm

Do You Know What Drowning Looks Like?

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Do You Know What Drowning Looks Like?

The Monthly Feature from the Medical News TODAY

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/196538.php

If you and your family are planning to spend some of this summer by the sea, by the pool, or perhaps even a river or lake, perhaps you should ask yourself, would you be able to spot someone in trouble in the water, in time to save their life: do you really know what drowning looks like?

Mario Vittone, a writer on maritime safety, tells a story about a former life guard, now a boat captain, who spotted a potentially fatal incident from fifty feet away. The captain jumped off his own boat, and sprinted toward a family swimming between the beach and their anchored boat: he sped past the astonished parents, to save their nine-year old daughter, who had been quietly drowning not ten feet behind her father.

Vittone, whose articles have appeared in many magazines, including Reader’s Digest, said he was not surprised when he heard this story: he knows a thing or two about drowning, having served nineteen years in the US Navy and Coast Guard, and his strongest message is “Drowning Doesn’t Look Like Drowning”.

Furthermore, says the CDC, many parents have watched their child drown without realizing what was happening. They did not know what the captain who saved the little girl in Vittone’s story was trained to notice and her parents were blissfully unaware of: the signs of Instinctive Drowning Response, a term coined by Dr Francesco A. Pia, a water safety expert.

Vittone and Pia wrote about the Instinctive Drowning Response, in the Fall 06 issue of On Scene, the journal of the US Coast Guard Search and Rescue. Pia says it is what people do to avoid suffocating in water: they don’t splash much, they don’t wave, and they don’t yell or call out. Quite different to what many of us might expect.

†††

When reading this today, all the alarms in my soul went off. How many do we know that have drowned spiritually in front of our eyes and we didn’t see the signs of their unspoken struggles?

I’m not talking about those whose overt actions and speech give away their desire for the world. It’s those that we know whose struggle for survival is inward and their pride keeps them from admitting they need help.

Pastors, evangelists, youth leaders, Sunday school teachers, parents and concerned saints have ALL experienced the horror of losing someone dear to them. Some of us were oblivious to the spiritual drowning.

God help us all to be more aware of the needs of our sisters and brothers.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

September 21, 2010 at 11:15 am

The Prophet That Twisted The Scripture

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The Prophet That Twisted The Scripture

The well known ‘prophet’ was instructing the audience before he entered the healing and prophesying part of his service.

“You don’t have to respond the FIRST time God speaks to you. The Scripture says, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses let every word be established.

“So now, the SECOND time, or at least by the THIRD time that God speaks, that’s when you need to respond.”

That’s what he said. I couldn’t believe my ears. Here in front of me is this so-called prophet who evidently never took the time to “study to show himself approved unto God.”

He didn’t want to be known as a Word preacher, because he was used in the gifts! Regardless, he misquoted and misapplied Scripture.

I stared at him in disbelief. Many hundreds of people sat in the audience. They’d come to be prayed for and this guy was telling them they didn’t have to respond when God spoke the FIRST time.

Most of my children and family sat with me in that service on the second row.  Right in front of him, I pulled a notebook out of my pocket and began to write.

“When God created the heavens and the earth, He spoke it into existence. He only said it once and all the elements of the world responded immediately.

“God only told Noah to build the Ark, one time.

“God expects us to respond the FIRST time He speaks.  The requirement for having two or three witnesses is not for doctrine, but for receiving an accusation against a man of God or in bringing criminal charges.”

  • 1Tim. 5:19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.
  • Deut. 19:15 One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.
  • Heb. 10:28 He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:

I passed the note to my children and had them read it while he was preaching. I saw the preachers eyes follow the note and could tell he knew I disagreed with him. He moved away from in front of me because he could tell I was an unbeliever of that doctrine.

I didn’t care. The Bible disagreed with him too.

What alarms me deeply is that of late I have encountered Pentecostal preachers in several states that preach this very doctrine.

It is suicidal to believe and practice this. It is false doctrine. Do not be deceived. Some nationally known preachers that we would call ‘good men’ believe this and are wresting the Scriptures.

Remember!! When God Speaks…  (the FIRST time) … Respond Immediately!

  • He created worlds with one command.
  • He calmed the raging sea with one command.
  • He raised the dead with one command.
  • He healed the sick with one command.
  • He forgave sins with one command.
  • He cleansed the lepers with one command.
  • He opened blinded eyes with one command.

It makes no difference if it’s in regards to Salvation, Healing, Holiness, Righteousness or to Brotherly Love. God shouldn’t have to speak the second time to anyone.

Your own mother would say… “Don’t make me tell you again.”

Written by Martyn Ballestero

September 11, 2010 at 9:03 pm

Preachers, Facebook and Begging For Money

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Preachers, Facebook and Begging For Money

Beware! An old problem has invented a new avenue to intrude uninvited into your world!

Over the years, ethical pastors, missionaries and evangelists have strived to work in harmony to further the Gospel.

When an emergency presented itself and additional finances were needed, the brethren all understood there were limitations and restrictions attached to acquiring the additional funds.

Our old pastors taught the younger ministry that ‘If you have a gift, it will make room for you. Don’t make room for your gift.” The advice is still relevant and appropriate today. I have tried to live by that.

They also taught us that if you claimed to have a ‘Faith Ministry” and went around asking for money, it wasn’t ‘Faith’ at all. You didn’t have a ‘Faith Ministry’, you were just a beggar.

Today through the conduit of Radio and TV, many are scammed. They are hoodwinked into investing and ‘sowing seed’ into bogus ministries.

(The great news is that all of us can have salvation and healing without investing a dime in some false prophet’s coffers.)

We now have the Internet. Along with that came Twitter, Everyone’s Apostolic, Facebook and other social networks.

It seems like lately that most of us have been swamped with notes in our Inboxes from assorted preachers.

  1. Missionaries, that some of us have never even heard of, want you to send them money.
  2. Evangelists are posting on your pages desperately wanting you to give to them.
  3. Preachers starting a church or pastoring a small one somewhere need you to contribute and they don’t mind asking.

Don’t give to them.

  • You heard me right.
  • They are not ethical.
  • If they where ethical, they wouldn’t ask you!

Here is how the whole system works. Let’s start with the Missionary first.

Missionaries.

There are two basic and acceptable avenues for them.

If the Missionary is with an organization, they back him. He travels and gets acquainted with new congregations and revisits his faithful supporters. The pastors of those churches make pledges and mail their monthly checks to his Missions Department. The Missions Department then sends him a regular check. If an emergency arises, he contact his Missions Department and they respond. Sometimes a local pastor friend may hear of the need and respond privately.

If the Missionary is independent, he has no headquarters to help him out. He is at the mercy of the Lord and his friends. If he has an emergency, he may call or write a close pastor friend or two. This friend, may not have enough money himself to meet the crises. He them become a spokesman for the missionary and on his behalf will call some of his pastor friends. These men then will go to their churches, if need be, and raise the offering that way.

How ever it’s done, it’s never done privately between a saint in a church and the missionary.

Missionaries who get on Facebook and plead with saints for money are without scruples or ethics. Don’t give to them. Let your pastor guide your giving.

Pastors

Pastors that likewise plead for money from someone else’s saints, are without ethics or principles. Do not respond to them.

You don’t go next door to your neighbors and ask their working teenager to give you money to pay your bills.

Evangelists

Evangelists are out of line to EVER ask a dime from ANYONE. I have pastored 30 years and I have been preaching out for 50 years. During all those years, I have preached 919 revivals and never called and asked for one. I’ve also preached 335 conferences and 62 camps besides.

If you are a God-called preacher, don’t you think that the same God that called you will provide for you? He does!

No evangelist should ever ask for money on Facebook. Don’t be foolish and give to him, no matter if you like him or not.

His asking is without principle.

No evangelist should ever receive money from saints in the church where he is preaching a revival.

If money somehow makes it to his hand or pocket, he must give that to the local pastor.

If the pastor decides to keep the money or give it back, that is the pastor’s prerogative.

Every preacher must understand that God has a way of balancing every thing out. The same God that fed Elijah with a raven knows where each of us is laboring in the vineyard. Our day will come, where all the wine tours will be for us.

If these preachers are having to call and write around begging for money, maybe they should have stayed in their local church and helped their pastor. Maybe,(God forbid anyone should say it.) they’re not really called.

In spite of our talking till we are blue in the face, grievous wolves run loose among the flock. They will fleece you of your money if you let them. Don’t. Give the Bible way. Bring it into the local storehouse. (Church)

Do you want a blessing! Do you want to help the work of God? Then give bountifully to your local church. Give God your tithe. (You want a real blessing? Tithe on your Gross!) Give extra to your Building Fund, Missions and Sunday School. And while you are in a giving mood, slip some money in your pastor’s hand and bless him.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

August 20, 2010 at 6:22 pm