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The Cracker Barrel New Year’s Sermon

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The Cracker Barrel New Year’s Sermon

 

 

Near the Savannah, Georgia exit 102 on I-95, sits a Cracker Barrel next to our motel. The chalk-written New Year’s message is plain for all to see. It says:

 

“Cheers to New Beginnings and Old Traditions”

 

May this New Year be a time for all of us to start afresh. Regardless of past failures or yesterday’s disappointments.

We need to leave our paradigm of failure-thinking and begin again. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve had to begin again. What you have been through was neither your final chapter nor your epitaph.

 

Proverbs 24:16 For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again:

 

It’s not abnormal for good people to make mistakes and have to start over or begin again. Even Paul said he died daily. He started over every day.

 

 New Beginnings:

 

 Has your Bible reading been almost nonexistent lately?

Begin again.

 

How about your prayer life? Been busy? Hard to get to pre-service prayer for some reason or another?

Begin again.

 

Got out of the habit of responding during the worship service?

Begin again.

 

Has there been an absence of you saying amen to the preaching lately?

Begin again.

 

You haven’t taught a Home Bible Study in a long time?

Begin again.

 

How long since you made it to midweek service?

Begin again.

 

How about your tithes? If you’ve quit giving tithes and offerings…

Begin again.

 

Have you resigned or quit participating in your church?

Begin again.

 

Have you stopped kissing your spouse good morning, good night, and good-bye?

Begin again.

 

Been awhile since you said, “I love you” to your spouse?

Begin again.

 

Been awhile since you said I love you to your parents?

Begin again.

 

Been awhile since you said, “I am proud of you,” and “I love you,” to your children?

 Begin again.

 

Have you stopped saying, “I love you” to your in-laws?

Begin again.

 

 

Begin again In God. Recover yourself.

 

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

2 Tim. 2:26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

 

 

Traditions

 

Traditions make homes and churches special. When our large family gets together, there are always certain meals everyone can count on.  You just know that there will be gumbo one day and enchiladas and tacos on another. And the morning we all have to leave, there’s s special breakfast restaurant we go to. It’s our custom. It’s just how it is in our family.

Churches have customs and traditions too. It’s a huge disappointment to go back to your ‘home’ church and find out how different it is or that they have changed.

 

Hold fast to the old Apostolic Pentecostal Traditions.

When backsliders and those who have had to move away, come back to visit… Let them that see your church is still holding on to the old-time ways!

 

And, as Cracker Barrel would say if it was preaching this sermon,

“Cheers to New Beginnings and Old Traditions!”

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

December 30, 2017 at 7:57 pm

How Blessed Do You Want To Be?

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How Blessed Do You Want To Be?

There Can Be No Continued Blessings In Our Lives Without Giving God What Belongs To Him, First!

 

It’s What We Should Do!

Matthew 23:23 …for ye pay tithethese ought ye to have done

No matter how much you:

  • Fast
  • Pray
  • Worship
  • Are involved in the church
  • You still must pay tithes; there is no substitute.

 

Non-Tithe Paying Christians Rob God!

Malachi 3:8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.

  • Why would a Christian even entertain the thought of NOT giving God the tithe?
  • It’s His. The tithe Is the Lord’s!

 

All Non-Tithe Payers Are Cursed!

Malachi 3:9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.

If you don’t give God the tithe, He’ll see to it that you don’t get to keep it either.

  • The dentist may get it.
  • The auto mechanic might get the money
  • The doctor or hospital may even be the one that gets it.
  • The list is long…

Here is a Bible precedent for what happens when God doesn’t receive His portion.

God said to Israel through Jeremiah, to let the land rest every seventh year. Israel ignored God’s request for 490 years. God took his portion. For seventy years He allowed Israel to live in captivity. They paid a huge price.

2 Chronicles 36:19 And they burnt the house of God, and brake down the wall of Jerusalem, and burnt all the palaces thereof with fire, and destroyed all the goodly vessels thereof.

2 Chronicles 36:20 And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia:

2 Chronicles 36:21 To fulfil the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years.

 

Those That Bring God Their Tithe Are Blessed Abundantly!

Malachi 3:10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

 

The Tithe Is The Lord’s, Not Ours!

Matthew 22:21 They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.

  • God will stretch the remaining 90% farther than you could have with 100%.

 

Paying Tithe Did Not Begin Under The Law!

Abraham

Genesis 14:20 And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.

Jacob

Genesis 28:22 And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.

 

Give God Tithe Of All

Leviticus 27:30 And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the LORD’S: it is holy unto the LORD.

Deuteronomy 14:22 Thou shalt truly tithe all the increase of thy seed, that the field bringeth forth year by year.

2 Chronicles 31:6 And concerning the children of Israel and Judah, that dwelt in the cities of Judah, they also brought in the tithe of oxen and sheep, and the tithe of holy things which were consecrated unto the LORD their God, and laid them by heaps.

Accurately paying tithe may seem a bit more simple when there is a check stub in your hand from you boss.

  • Farmers need to be careful and keep accurate records.
  • Businessmen need to be careful and keep accurate records.
  • Other Self-Employed do too.
  • Just because there is a Tax loophole, doesn’t mean there is a tithe loophole.
  • Just because there is a Tax break, doesn’t mean there is a tithe break.
  • I personally benefit by paying tithes on my gross, and suggest you do too.

 

Unpaid Tithe Results In A 20% Penalty.

Leviticus 27:31 And if a man will at all redeem ought of his tithes, he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof.

  • This cannot be ignored.
  • Tithe should be the first-fruit of our income.
  • Giving God what is His first, always saves money!

 

God’s Continued Blessings To The Tithe Payer

Malachi 3:11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the LORD of hosts.

 

How Blessed Do You Wish To Be?

2 Corinthians 9:6 But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.

2 Corinthians 9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

Mark 4:24 And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given.

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

September 28, 2012 at 12:39 pm

Posted in Giving, Tithes, Uncategorized

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15 Things To Do In Church Before You Die

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15 Things To Do In Church Before You Die

1. Pray

  • Pray till you get the absolute Victory.
  • Intercede for a lost or wayward soul.
  • Let God use you in the Spirit of Travail
  • Pray till the Fire falls.
  • Pray someone through to the Holy Ghost.
  • Pray before church.
  • Pray around the altar after church

2. Sing

  • Don’t make the Song Leader beg you to sing.
  • Don’t let the Praise Singers do your singing.
  • Sing till you cry.
  • Sing till you shout.

3. Shout

  • Dance in the Spirit
  • Leap for Joy
  • Lead. Be the first one to shout.
  • Run the aisles

4. Believe God

  • Believe God for a Healing.
  • Trust Him to supply your needs.
  • Believe Him for a Miracle and see it come to pass.

5. Get ‘Lost in the Spirit’

  • Be taken home drunk in the Holy Ghost

6. Witness

  • Teach a Home Bible Study
  • Win a soul

7. Say Amen

  • Say Amen from your heart. Be willing to Obey.
  • Stand to you feet and say Amen
  • Say Amen from even if you’re the only one.
  • Say Amen even when the Scripture or the Preaching touches a sore spot.

8. Give

  • Give your last Dollar, if God impresses you to.
  • Become faithful in your tithe and offerings
  • Give without expecting anything in return.

9. Read

  • Read the Bible through.
  • Have a daily Scripture reading.
  • Get a Revelation of One God.

10. Testify

  • Don’t give some narrative about “he said, and I thought to myself.”
  • Just brag on Jesus!

11. Fast

  • Fast to crucify your flesh.

12. Love Your Brother and Sister

  • Prefer them. Put them first
  • Let all jealousy die

13. Refuse To Listen to a Rumor

  • Tell the talebearer, “I really don’t want to hear this.”
  • Refuse to pass a rumor on.

14. Forgive

  • Put all your yesterdays behind you.
  • Empty yourself of all Bitterness.
  • Be merciful.

15. Get the Pastor’s Heartbeat.

  • Try to feel what he feels.
  • Work with him for Revival.
  • Feel the Spirit of Unity

Now, Let’s Have Some ‘Church’ Around Here!

Poor Old Joe

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Poor Old Joe

Joseph was well respected among the followers of Jesus. Everyone seemed to honor and respect him, if not love him.

Because Joseph was such a common name, it was not unusual for a man to have additional identifying names. Even nicknames. Joseph had three names. Joseph, Barsabas and Justus.

He was present that day in the upper room with the 120, and there he received the Holy Ghost along with the others. Before the Spirit was poured out however, there was business to attend to among the disciples.

Judas had committed suicide. There was a vacancy among the twelve that needed to be filled. Peter spoke to them all and asked the 120 to submit two names they thought worthy of the office of ‘Apostle’. Someone had to be chosen to be one of the twelve Disciples.

Two names were brought to the ‘floor’. The first one they nominated was Joseph.  Matthias was the second name mentioned.

  • Acts 1:23 And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.
  • Acts 1:24 And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen,
  • Acts 1:25 That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.
  • Acts 1:26 And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

It appears that Joseph’s life and reputation were impeccable. Just by the meaning of the names given to him in later life it is fairly easy to see why many respected Joseph. Nicknames were commonly given to describe their personal attributes.

  • Barsabas: “Barsabbas” is Aramaic for “son of the sabbath,” perhaps because he was born on the sabbath. (Bible Background Commentary)
  • Justus: “Just”, a name given to him because of his integrity.

Apostle Matthias

Poor Old Joe. He didn’t get chosen. Matthias did. After this selection by the casting of lots, we never read another word about the good man Matthias. It’s like Scripture ignores the rest of his life.

It appears however, that Joseph the un-chosen, is mentioned again. Barnes Notes and other commentaries suggest that he was the man mentioned in Acts 4. They feel he’s the one that sold his property and laid the money down at the feet of the Apostles.

What did Joseph do when he didn’t get chosen?

  • Did he get his feelings hurt?
  • Did he leave the fellowship circle?
  • Did he quit church?
  • Did he sit cross-ways with the Apostles?
  • Did he become critical of Matthias?
  • Did he go start something of his own when he didn’t get voted in?

The answer is ‘No’. Not at all!

If this is indeed the same man, then he not only continued to be a follower, but he chose to be of service too. Insomuch so that he was willing to give his all… literally, to the work of God.

Don’t feel sorry for Old Brother Joe. His reward is securely laid up in Heaven.

  • Mark 10:29 And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s,
  • Mark 10:30 But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life.

Oh, one more thing. Acts four says that he laid the money at the Apostles feet. He laid at their feet in an act of obedience and willful submission. That could have been him up there, if the lots had chosen him. But his name Justus, (Integrity) still stood him in good stead. He submitted to the Headship of the body of Christ.

Give us more Brother Joes.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 13, 2010 at 3:09 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