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I Am The Church

with 6 comments

 

Many years ago on a July 4th, I was driving to To Chicago to pick up my son, Martyn. During my trip, i was listening to the Bob and Betty Show on WBBM.  Betty began to read an article that captured my attention. It began something like this…

 

I am America.

You use to call me:

George Washington

Abraham Lincoln

Nathan Hale

Patrick Henry

But now you call me…

That’s when I turned the radio off and began to scribble some notes while driving. I wrote…

 

 

I Am The Church

Matthew 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

 

I am a Divine experience, built upon a Divine revelation

I am built upon the Rock.  That Rock is Jesus.

I was born in obscurity, in an upper room.

I have lived in palaces and poverty

I am no stranger to the poor.  I was raised on the wrong side of the tracks.

 

Some have called me:

Saul of Tarsus

Simon Peter

Cornelius

Philip

Stephen

Timothy

Lois

Eunice

Lydia

 

Of late, you have called me:

Andrew Urshan

G.T. Haywood

Robert Tobin

Verbal Bean

Carl Ballestero

Robert C. Cavaness

Paul Jordan

William R. Starr

Jimmy Davis

Bill Dross

Morris E. Golder

Nathaniel Urshan

Kenneth Haney

 

I am the church

I was chosen from a life called:

Foolish

Weak

Base

Despised

Nothing

 

That I should not glory in His presence!

 I am College Students and High School Dropouts,

Factory workers and Housewives,

Store owners and clock punchers,

I am all ages and all sizes,

I am teens with braces and Grandma’s with canes

I am Sunday School kids whose parents are still asleep.

 

I’ve lived on welfare, stood in soup lines,

I used to be addicted to drugs, push dope, and belong to a gang.

I was a streetwalker, alcoholic, liar and thief.

But now I am washed, Now I am sanctified, Now I am justified, by the blood of Jesus.

 

I am the church

I have lived in the guttermost, but have been raised to the uttermost.

I have been lifted from the deep miry clay.  My feet set upon a solid rock, He has established my goings.

Angels attend me daily. I am guided by Divine Direction.

Heaven protects my every move.

I am an army, I have never lost a battle. I am predestinated to win.

I am victorious.

 

I have been given authority in His Name, over:

Every evil spirit

Every disease known to man

I have the power of the Name of Jesus at my command.

I speak unto mountains and they are cast aside, In His name

I walk by faith and live in the Spirit.

 

I am the church

Throughout history, I have been:

Crucified

Stoned

Beaten

Mistreated

Banished

Persecuted and Ostracized, I still prevail.

 

I’ve been Lied on,

Talked about

Laughed at

Mocked

Scorned,

But Death still can’t stop me.

I shall not be defeated.

 

By Divine Help,

There’s no mountain I haven’t climbed,

No river I haven’t crossed

No valley too deep.

There’s no problem too big!

I have been made to survive and flourish.

 

I am the church

I have been hindered but never stopped.

Knocked down, but never defeated.

Cast down, but never destroyed.

Dictators can’t stop me

Kings can’t stop me

Presidents can’t

Generals with cruel armies can’t

Even Communism can’t.

The Iron curtain, Bamboo Curtain, The Berlin wall couldn’t stop me.

 

Even the gates of hell shall not prevail against me.

God is with me

He is on my side.

 

Why do I not live in fear?  I have been given precious promises:

 

Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;

Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.

A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.

There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.

For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.

 

Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.

The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear Him and delivereth them.

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be

afraid?

 

I am predestinated. 

I am the church.

I have lived in prisons, in castles, in cities, and in desert places,

I have lived in villages and barrios, in every continent and in every nation under heaven.

I am more colors than the rainbow.

I speak the languages of many tongues.

Tongues of men and of angels.

I entertain no prejudices

I am one body

 

I am the church

I am commissioned to the Great Commission

I live for the Word.

I shout Amen,

I run the aisles

I dance in the spirit

I love praise and worship

I speak with tongues and prophesy.

I clap my hands and sing.

I raise my hands in prayer and worship.

I leap for joy.

 

I exist to give Him praise.

Psa. 150:1  Praise ye the LORD. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power.

2  Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness.

3  Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp.

4  Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs.

5  Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.

6  Let everything that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.

 

I will bless the LORD at all times

His praise shall continually be in my mouth.

O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together.

 

I am the church

Holiness is my trademark

Worship is my hallmark.

Prayer is my secret.

 

I am a tired missionary

An exhausted parent of small children,

I am a tear-stained altar worker,

A tired visitation team

A Sunday School teacher with children that won’t be quiet

A Home Bible Study teacher, burning the midnight oil

I am a weary all-night prayer meeting

I am an evangelist with a hoarse throat.

I am an exhausted musician in a lengthy altar service,

I am a King’s son wearing clothes from Goodwill,

I know what it’s like to shout my hair down,

I know what it’s like to get Holy laughter,

I know what it’s like to shout during the preaching,

I know what it’s like to travail in the spirit,

I know what it’s like to make intercession.

I know what the Pentecostal croup is

I know what it’s like to see someone go home drunk in the Holy Ghost,

I know what it’s like to be lost in the Spirit,

I know where the prayer room is,

 

I am the church

I’ve seen lives changed

Families restored

Marriages put back together

Gays and Lesbians delivered

Bodies healed

Minds restored

Drug Addicts delivered

Smokers set free

Alcoholics dried out

Hard hearts softened

Bitterness erased

Anger dissipate

Mistakes forgiven and wrongs righted.

Unity restored

All by the Hand of God

Some, in moment’s time

I am the sole possessor of Truth

I possess the secret of eternal life and of peace with God

 

I am the church

I am preaching that changes and that touches the heart

I am an experience that changes the lives

I am testimonies that ring that Jerusalem ring

I am singing, that stirs the soul,

I am prayers that reach heaven’s throne,

 

I am the church 

I am faces without make-up

I am long dresses and uncut hair.

I am modesty on a pedestal,

I am virtue and purity on parade with heads held high.

I am holiness without an apology

I am dedicated to separation from the world.

I refused to be influenced by immoral thinking

I shun immodest apparel

I hate every false way

I deplore the works of the flesh

Carnal thinking is not for me

I keep myself unspotted from the world.

I proudly represent the King of Glory

He is Holy, therefore, I must be holy

My adornment is spiritual and precious, rather than worldly and cheap.

My men look like real men

My women are my glory

I am not a slave to fashion, but rather a servant of Jesus Christ.

I am clothed rather in garments of Salvation.

 

Immodesty does not become me,

Impurity has no place in my world,

I live a separated life.

I don’t look like Satan’s children, talk like them, neither do I act like them.

I do not feel comfortable in their environment.

I hate all the works of the flesh

I am not comfortable in Satan’s realm

The world is not my home

I walk ONLY on the OLD paths.

 

I am the church

My worship, my music, and singing have been copied, mimicked, and duplicated.

But like the magicians, who cast down their rods before Moses, they still didn’t have the message.  Moses had the only message of deliverance.

I alone have the message of deliverance for a lost and dying world.

I alone have the keys to eternal life.

I alone have the message that sets men free

I alone have the truth

I alone have the revelation of who Jesus is

I alone am the bride of Christ

I alone know the truth of being born again of water and spirit

I alone baptize in the only name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved

I alone have a world to reach

 

I am described as:

Glorious

Not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing.

Holy and without blemish.

As terrible as an army with banners

The salt of the world

The light of the world

A Great House

The general assembly

Mount Sion

The city of the Living God

The church of the firstborn

An heir of righteousness

A chosen generation

A royal priesthood

The Family of God

The Habitation of God

The Temple of God

The Bride of Christ

 

I AM NOT:

A social center

A board run entity or a clever tax shelter

I am not Political or politically correct

Or Socially acceptable

This Secular world was not created with me in mind.

I don’t fit into their societies or programs, their sports or their entertainment.

 

I AM A REDEMPTION CENTER

A Hospital for the hurting

An oasis for the weary

A home for everyone.

Give me your weary, your homeless, your outcast, your oppressed, your needy and your distressed.

 

I am the church

I am called to show forth the praises of Him who hath called my out of darkness in to this glorious light

I am the sole possessor of the name of Jesus in redemption.

I alone have taken His name.

I am His bride.  I love His Name.

 

Revival is my heartbeat,

Calvary is my song,

The blood of Jesus is my hope,

The name of Jesus is my love,

Deliverance is my message,

The coming of Jesus is my prayer

 

I live only to:

Worship Him

Witness to others

Love one another

Praise His Holy Name

Pray unto Him

Help my brother

Obey His Word and His will

 

I am sanctified

Blood washed

Blood bought

Spirit-filled

Water baptized in Jesus name

Tongue talking

Endued with power from on high

My name is written in the Lambs book of life

I am the reason for Bethlehem,

I am the reason for Calvary

I am Pentecost in action

 

I am the church

I grow with tears

I become stronger when I decrease

I am love with a sword in its hand

I am a soldier with compassion

A rich man with no money,

Royalty with no recognition

I am an heir with no earthly home.

I am a burden in shoe leather

I am joyful when there is repentance

I celebrate the death and Home-going of my own,

Knowing that to absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.

But I grieve for all others.

 

I have prayed teeming thousands out of sick beds,

Seen countless others raised up from their deathbeds,

Watched blinded eyes opend, and seen the lame walk.

 

Yet I still reach out to help others who have never heard of Jesus.

While hope and time remain, I am dedicated to helping others find Christ.

I live in the Supernatural, I walk in the Spirit, and I enjoy the benefits of eternity right here on earth.

 

I am the church

I love the unlovable,

I reach out to the rejected and outcasts of society while giving hope to the discouraged and depressed.

I am a refuge in troublesome times.

I am a comfort from despair and a shelter in life’s storms.

I give hope to the hopeless and help o the helpless.

I minister to the needs of both the body and soul

 

I am blessed most when I am being a blessing.

I bear my brother’s burdens

I am an encourager to all

I am an edifier and a giver of strength

I point all men to Calvary

I lead the hungry to Heaven’s banqueting table

I take no glory for myself

 

I am recognized by the fruit that I manifest.

Love,

Joy,

Peace,

Long-suffering,

Gentleness,

Goodness,

Faith,

Meekness,

Temperance: against such, there is no law.

 

I am the church

I am betrothed to the King of Kings,

To The Lord God Almighty

The Alpha and Omega

The Beginning and The End

The First and The Last

The Prince of Peace

The Rose of Sharon

The Chief Cornerstone

The Captain of Salvation

The Desire of All nations

The Great High Priest

The Good Shepherd

Emmanuel

The Lamb of God

The Lord of Glory

The Most High God

 

He who is called: 

Wonderful,

Counselor,

The mighty God,

The everlasting Father,

The Prince of Peace, This is my beloved.

He is altogether lovely.

I get excited about the Name of Jesus.

His Name is above every other.

I am the apple of His eye.

I am my beloved’s and He is mine.

 

I love the sound of His voice.  His words to me are life and strength.

I delight in them. I am excited when He speaks to me.

I long for His touch.

I live to be in His presence.

I have no other joy. For all that thrills my soul is Jesus, He is more than life to me, and the fairest of 10,000 in His blessed face I see.

 

My days are limited, my time is short.

I am redeeming the time.

I am going to be caught away very soon.

The Lord Jesus is coming to take me to a place He has prepared for me.

 

I must work while I still have the time.

My light is lit

There is oil in my lamp

It is trimmed and burning

I am watching and praying

I am looking for His soon return

I am on fire with Pentecostal fire

The vision is great

The harvest is great

My garments are without spot or wrinkle

I am ready for the 1st resurrection

 

I am the church

My job is never done, nor my task finished till all have come to the knowledge of the truth.

My focus must not be upon myself but upon others.

I cannot rest while one lost sheep is astray.

I am called to rescue the perishing

I am charged the responsibility of lost souls

 

Heaven is watching

Hell is watching

The world is watching

I must not falter

I must not fail

I must not weaken or tire

I shall not fail

I shall be triumphant over all

 

I will pray on

I will sing on

I will preach on

I will go on

I will keep on keeping on

I will reach out to all that need Him

I am determined to know nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

The challenge before me is great, but He is greater.

I shall be victorious over all, because of Him

I am triumphant because of Him.

 

I am Called

I am Chosen

I will be Faithful

 

I am the church

Are you in the Church Triumphant?

Are you in the Saviour’s Bride?

Come and be baptized into the body,

And forevermore abide

 

 

I’m talking about the church

In the book of Revelation

It’s built on the Rock

Got a firm foundation

It’s been through the storm

It’s been through the fire

And one of these days,

This church is gonna move up higher

 

It’s the church, triumphant, Oh Lord,

And it’s built by the hand of the Lord.

 

Are you in the Church today?

If not, then GET in it.

If you are IN it, then STAY in it

 

Come to the altar

Be a part of God’s Church

Written by Martyn Ballestero

July 4, 2018 at 10:48 pm

The Sound Man Was Blind!

with 2 comments

 

The Sound Man Was Blind!

It was Youth Rally Night in the little Tennessee country church. I sat in the audience, only two or three of the people even knew me. The small building was very full. The weather very bad. The guests had all braved the storm. They opened the service with prayer. They prayed for the storm to pass on by. “We beta hope de Ward heas our pwayer!” That was what the tongue-tied service leader said, trying to encourage faith in the congregation.

Something was terribly wrong with the microphone. They tapped it, they shook it, and then examined the cord. Nothing worked. All heads turned toward the small sound booth. The sound man was not looking down; he was looking up while he adjusted the board. What? Then it became apparent. He was blind. The sound man was blind and he was the one adjusting the board! Someone had changed the microphone settings and he was trying to restore them by feel. He got it back pretty close to normal too. Unbelievable.

He also ran the computer music software for the overhead projector. The slides on the screen did not always match the words being sung. But, no one seemed to care.

The organ player was taking pictures of the congregation with one hand while playing with the other. She extended her arm full length toward the audience as she took the photos.

They sang! They worshiped! They Shouted. The visiting ministers were all asked to testify. The teenage guest preacher for the Youth Rally was really nervous and it showed. He had never “preached out” before. He preached with anointing and then conviction fell. Young people moved to the altar area to pray. While she played for the altar call song, the organ player took flash photos with her left hand, of the folks coming down the aisle.

No, it wasn’t “perfect church”, like some of the big churches might have, but the congregation went home rejoicing and happy knowing they had been in the presence of the Lord.

This is Home Missions

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

June 10, 2018 at 12:45 am

Don’t Bother Praying? Yes, You Heard Me Right… Don’t Bother Praying!

with 2 comments

 

 

Don’t Bother Praying? Yes, You Heard Me Right…

Don’t Bother Praying!

 

The Holy Scriptures screams the need for us all to pray. The Apostle Paul even said for us to pray without ceasing. Every pastor encourages his listeners to pray. I certainly agree with the admonition.

 

  • Yes, we know that God is a prayer-answering God!
  • He specializes in responding to our needs.
  • He specializes in healing our bodies and saving our souls.
  • He will hear a sinner’s prayer of repentance.
  • He answers all prayers for deliverance, forgiveness, and salvation.
  • He encourages us to just to ask, and He says, it shall be given.

 

But, There Are Times, When The Lord Tells Us It Won’t Do Any Good To Pray!

(Yes, You’ve Read That Last Sentence Right!)

 

1.) God Will Not Choose To Ignore Your Sinning, And Bless You Anyway…

Don’t Bother Praying!

Isa 59:1 Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:

Isa 59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

Those who think they can continually gratify their fleshly lusts and ignore God’s Word when they pray are only fooling themselves.  God is not in the mood to listen to them. Be warned.

 

2.) If You Still Want To Hang On To Your Sin…

Don’t Bother Praying!

Psa. 66:18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:

(NLT) – Psa. 66:18 18 If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.

(ESV) – Psa. 66:18 If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.

 

3.) If You Refuse To Receive Instruction From God’s Word…

(Saying you’re not convicted, e.g.)

Don’t Bother Praying!

Proverbs 28:9 He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.

 

4.) When You Ask For What You’ve No Right To Ask For.

Don’t Bother Praying!

James 4:3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

 (The Message) – James 4:3 And why not? Because you know you’d be asking for what you have no right to. You’re spoiled children, each wanting your own way.

 

5.) If You’re Guilty Of Destroying God’s Men And His Saints With The Sword Of Your Tongue, And With Your Railing…

Don’t Bother Praying!

Isa 1:15 And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.

 

6.) When You Mistreat Your Wife…

Don’t Bother Praying!

1 Peter 3:7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

(NCV) 1 Peter 3:7 …do this so that nothing will stop your prayers.

(The Message) 1 Peter 3:7 …so your prayers don’t run aground.

Every husband must show his wife honor and respect her at all times. If he doesn’t, there is no need for him to bother God by trying to pray. God already has said He chooses not to listen to that man when he prays. No matter who he is.

A man who abandons his wife and family needs to remember that the only prayer God will entertain from him is one of true and complete repentance. He also owes the same repentance to his wife and family.

Sir: Don’t Make God Place A ‘Do Not Answer” Stamp On Your Prayer Request.

 

7.) If Your Refuse To Forgive

Don’t Bother Praying!

Mat 6:15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

 

  • God hears the prayer of the humble.
  • God hears the prayer of the repentant.
  • God hears the prayer of the submissive.
  • God hears the prayer of the obedient.
  • God hears the prayer of those hungry for Him.

 

May We All Pray Prayers That God Will Hear!

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

June 8, 2018 at 8:08 pm

It’s Come As You Are, Not Stay As You Are!

with 3 comments

It’s Come As You Are, Not Stay As You Are!

 

Come As You Are? Yes.

Stay As You Are? No.

 

Most churches have promoted an open-door policy to every new visitor. They want everyone to feel welcome to attend. Although the Bible doesn’t actually say, “Come as you are,” churches reach for everyone. Apostolic Pentecostal Churches are no different. (But, it might be amazing to see what some actually are willing to wear to God’s House using the ‘come as you are’ umbrella as an excuse!)

 

That, however is not the real problem. Some folks not only come to church as they are, they have chosen to stay as they are. They are not willing to change. They ignore how the saints dress, worship and live. They have chosen not to change or to submit.

 

Living for God is all about change. Completely change. Change is necessary. Change is required. Change is the will of God for everyone. With salvation comes change. With deliverance comes change. Unchanged people have no hope of deliverance, no hope of being a testimony, no hope of being used of God, and no hope of heaven.

 

How Do We Become A “New Creature In Christ Jesus” If We Don’t Change?

2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

 

How Do We Become “Transformed” If We Don’t Change?

Romans 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

 

How Do We Become “Born Again” If We Don’t Change?

John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God

 

How Do We Become “Holy” If We Don’t Change?

1 Peter 1:16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

 

How Can We Come Out From Among Them And Be Separate, If We Don’t Change?

2 Corinthians 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

 

How Can We Have Christ In Us And He Never Changes Us?

Romans 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

 Colossians 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

 

Do You Mean To Tell Me That When We Repent We Really Don’t Have To Change Anything?

Do You Mean To Tell Me That When We Get Baptized In Jesus Name, We Don’t Change?

Do You Mean To Tell Me That We Can Be Filled With The Holy Ghost And Never Be Changed?

 

When Jacob Prepared To Go To Bethel, He Changed.

Genesis 35:1 And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother.

Genesis 35:2 Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments:

Genesis 35:3 And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went.

Genesis 35:4 And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem.

 

 When normal people come into the presence of the God, they quickly remember their sins. At that point, they must choose to keep them or confess and forsake them.

God might be merciful and forgiving, yet His word tells every confessor to forsake their sins.

If the God you serve lets you do whatever you want, and live like you want, then your god is you. You became your own god!

 

Proverbs 28:13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.

 

 If We Want God’s Mercy, We Must Not Only Confess Our Sins But Forsake Them!

Mercy comes to those who confess and forsake. That is the change God looks for. Forsaking your old life is what living for God is all about.

1 Corinthians 6:9 Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

1 Corinthians 6:10 Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

1 Corinthians 6:11 And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

  •  (And Such Were Some Of You!) That Is Change!

 

Repentance Must Bring Change. If It Doesn’t Bring Change It Wasn’t Real Repentance!

In The Old Testament, God Chose Not To Bless Israel Until They Changed.

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.

  • Change Puts Us In The Direct Path Of God’s Blessings.

 

Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?

Romans 6:2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

 

Let’s Get Real Plain…

If you see a sinner man and a Holy Ghost-filled man standing together talking, you should be able to tell which one is which.

If you see a sinner woman and a Holy Ghost-filled woman standing together talking, you should be able to see the difference.

When we obey Acts 2:38, (by repenting of our sins, getting baptized in Jesus name, and being filled with the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues.) We are no longer the same. We are changed on the inside. What is changed on the inside quickly shows on the outside!

  • We don’t do the things we used to do
  • We don’t talk like we used to talk
  • We don’t go where we use to go
  • We don’t have the kind of friends we used to have
  • We don’t dress like we used to dress
  • We don’t drink what we used to drink

 

Why?

Because Now We’re A New Creature In Christ Jesus.

 

How Do We Lay Sin Aside And Not Change?

1 Peter 2:1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,

1 Peter 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

  • (Growth is change, too)

Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

  • Removing things from our life that will keep us from being saved, is change.

If we say we are saved, yet remain unchanged… We are not honest with our soul, with God, or with the truth.

 

Our Heart Must Change

Ezekiel 36:26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

Ephesians 4:22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation (our old lifestyle) the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

Ephesians 4:23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;

 

Our Speech Must Change

Ephesians 4:25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.

Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

Ephesians 4:31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

 

Our Outward Appearance Must Change

1 Peter 1:16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

 

Change Requires Modesty For Men And Woman

1 Timothy2:9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;

1 Timothy 2:10 But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.

Deuteronomy 22:5 The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.

 

Hair Care Changes

1 Corinthians 11:14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?

1 Corinthians 11:15 But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering.

 

Our Priorities Must Change

Matthew 6:33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

 

Even Our Furniture Must Change

Psalms 101:3 I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.

 

The Things We Love Must Change

1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

 

We Say We’re A Christian, (Christ-like) And Yet…

  • We’ve Never Changed On The Inside Or The Outside?
  • We Neither Look Like Nor Act Like An Apostolic Saint?

 

Who Are We Fooling? Only Ourselves.

James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.

If we balk at Biblical correction and refuse to allow God’s Word to change our life… then we have shown to everyone that we are not a true child of God. We are of illegitimate birth in the Kingdom of God.

Hebrews 12:6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

Hebrews 12:7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?

Hebrews 12:8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

Hebrews 12:9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?

Hebrews 12:10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.

 

What’s Missing In Our Lives That Would Keep Us From Allowing God To Change Us?

No Conviction of Sin?

No Fear of God?

No Respect?

No Obedience to His Word?

No Love for His House?

 

Are we just being Rebellious?

Are we just Clueless?

Are we not able to see that we don’t measure up to God’s Standards?

Are we just Insincere?

 

How can we come to church for months and even years… claiming to be Spirit-filled, and never change?

 

Ask Yourself…

If we had a beard and applied for a job at a company that had a ‘no beards’ policy, would we be willing to change?

If we worked for a fancy restaurant that had a no tattoo ‘visible’ policy for its employees, would we be willing to cover ours?

If we got hired by a good paying company but we had to work nights, would we change our sleeping habits?

If our job gave us a promotion, but we had to relocate, would we be willing to change towns?

If the doctor ordered us to change our diet because of cancer, would we?

If our heart doctor wanted us to change our lifestyle to live longer, would we?

If our homeowner’s association didn’t approve of our lawn display, would we take it down?

What if God reminded us in the Judgment of all the changes in our life that we made for man and for money, yet we chose not to make any changes for Him. What will our answer be then?

 

We Must Allow God To:

Change us like He changes Night into Day, Winter into Spring.

Change us like He changes a Caterpillar into a Butterfly.

 

“Thanks, Dad! I got it for myself!”

with 4 comments

 

The Apostolic Tabernacle, located 905 S. Pike Street in Shelbyville, Indiana, was celebrating its anniversary. Bro. Carl Ballestero had just finished teaching the afternoon Bible Study. The service ended in prayer, and then the crowd was dismissed. Bro. Cavaness promised to feed his guests a BBQ feast and the crowd showed their excitement to go eat. Well, all except one teenager.

The dark-haired young man looked for a side room or a place to hide until the church emptied. He hoped that no one would miss him or come looking for him. He didn’t want to be seen by anyone right now. He couldn’t find a classroom.

Without anyone noticing, he slipped through a door that led him to the baptismal tank area. There, he bent over so as to remain unseen and moved to the side of the tank and laid down on the bare floor, flat on his back. He closed his eyes and waited. It seemed like forever before the sounds of conversations to died out and then he heard the front door close. He listened for any sounds of footsteps, but all was quiet. That’s when it started.

The boy began to cry, when I say cry, I don’t mean that there was a tear or two. I mean he began to sob. He wanted the same experience with God that his parents had. He felt shallow, empty, and unfulfilled. He wanted more of God. The sobs turned into groans and heartfelt travail. Time wasn’t important, food wasn’t important, getting something from God at that moment was all that mattered now.

Most of the afternoon the young prayed. His eyes were almost swollen shut. Some hours later, as folks gathered in for the evening service, he slipped out of the baptistery and into the Men’s room to comb his hair and wash his face. No one seemed to notice his earlier absence. His parents never mentioned it.

The young man became a pastor and many years later he invited Bro. Roger Evens to preach for him. One day, Bro. Evens said, “Do you remember the day at Shelbyville that you prayed behind the baptistery and didn’t go eat with everyone else?

The young pastor’s mouth dropped open. “How do you know about that?” he asked.

“I was there,” Bro. Evens said. “I came back into the church with your dad looking for you and making sure you had a way to go eat. That’s when we heard you crying out to God. I told you dad to go pray with you because I couldn’t go eat knowing you were crying like that.”

“Your dad said, ‘No, I can’t go pray for him.”

“Why not?” I said.

“Like a baby chick getting out of its shell, it has to do that by its self! If he doesn’t get this for himself he will never amount to a hill of beans.”

“With tears in your dad’s eyes and in mine, we walked out of the church that day.”

 

 

Fifty-five years later, all I can say now is, “Thanks, Dad! I got it for myself!”

Written by Martyn Ballestero

March 19, 2018 at 1:55 pm

“I Used To Go To Sunday School There!”

with 6 comments

 

“I Used To Go To Sunday School There!”

It was cold! The outside temperature in South Bend, Indiana showed three degrees above zero. The snow was falling in big gentle flakes. There was already about eight inches of new and un-plowed snow on the street.

It was after two o’clock in the morning as I walked to my van from Bro. Victor Simon’s house. His wife, Sis. Helen Simon had called after midnight and said that her husband was in severe pain with a kidney stone. He wanted me to come and pray for him, and so I did.

The Simons were not just members of the church; they were pillars of the church as well. In their senior years, they were still very active. It pained us all to watch Bro. Simon suffer from this horrible condition.

I unlocked my custom-sized van as I came out of their house and stepped up onto the running board kicking the snow off of my shoes before getting in. The wiper blades removed the snow enough for me to see, as the engine started. I was only ten blocks or so from home, so the heater wouldn’t be of much help tonight.

There were no tire tracks in the new snow, so no one had been down this road in a long while. I pulled up to the first intersection, which was only about a half block away to make a left turn. That’s when I saw a hood-covered man walking under the street light with his head down.

It was miserably cold out. Not windy, just cold. I felt bad though, for anyone having to walk in deep snow. Besides, it was two in the morning and did I mention that it was cold outside?

I swung my van close to the curb, rolled my window down and asked him if he’d like a ride. He nodded and got in.

As I put the van in motion, I asked him where he needed to go, and he said, “just keep driving.”

His response and word choices just sounded wrong. I could tell that things were going to go bad very quickly. I smiled and said nothing. One block later he announced in gruff tones, “I’ve got a knife!”

The knife he brandished threateningly at me had a blade about eight inches long. It looked like a hunting knife at first.

After my initial glance at the knife, I looked back through the front windshield. And, as if nothing had just happened, I started talking.

“I’ve just come from the house of an old man who is a member of the church that I pastor. He’s in a lot of pain with kidney stones right now. He wanted me to pray for him because he believes God will heal him. That’s why I’m out here this time of night.” (By now, He had been in the van for about two blocks.)

“What church do you pastor?” The hood-covered figures asked.

“I pastor Christ Temple Apostolic Church on the corner of Elwood Avenue and Elmer Street.”

He paused a brief moment in thought and then said, “Pull over right here!”

I pulled the van to the curb. His hand was on the door handle as he half turned his hooded face toward me.

He began to speak in an apologetic tone. “When I was a little boy, I used to attend Sunday School there. That’s a good church, and those are some good people. Keep up the good work.”

With that, the mystery man got out of the van and closed the door. He was unwilling to talk anymore. Condemned by his own attempt to do wrong, and no doubt realizing how far from Sunday School truths he had fallen, he slipped into the night.

I drove on through the un-plowed snow, thanking God for his mercy, and for every Sunday School Teacher in our Church!

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

March 11, 2018 at 6:56 am

So, When Do The Servers Eat?

with 3 comments

So, When Do The Servers Eat?

 

 

 

 

 Imagine Being In A Restaurant.

In the restaurant, we eat and enjoy our wonderful meal. We love being pampered and catered to. We are made to completely enjoy the experience… because of the servers. But, when do they ever get to eat? They just stay busy serving.

 

 Imagine Being In Church.

  • In church, we enjoy the worship,
  • We enjoy the song service,
  • We enjoy the talented musicians,

 

  • We enjoy the multimedia,
  • We enjoy the songs and scriptures up on the big screen,
  • And, we enjoy the clear crisp sound of every amplified voice.

 

  • We are made to completely enjoy the experience… because of the servers.
  • But when do they get to eat?
  • They are so busy serving us that they don’t stop to eat when everyone else eats.

 

 When Do The Musicians Get To Sing?

  • How long do they have to go without worship?
  • How long can their spiritual man survive without food?

 

 How About The People In The Sound Booth?

  • Do those involved in multimedia ever get a chance to get blessed?
  • Are they restricted from raising their hands?
  • Are they so techie and committed to media and sound excellence, that there is no room for worship?
  • Is it improper for them to say, ‘Amen” while in the sound booth?

 

 What About The Preachers On The Platform?

 

 When Do The Servers In God’s House Get To Eat What Everyone Else Gets To Eat?

  • How long can you go without a blessing?
  • How long?
  • Has anyone noticed that worship from many of our musicians, multimedia/sound techs, and most of the platform is almost non-existent?

 

Haven’t they heard that worship is everyone’s business?

  • Worship is everyone’s duty!
  • Worship is everyone’s privilege!
  • No one is exempt!

 

It would almost appear, that those who have chosen to be in the sound booth and stay there without any response to worship, prayer, or to the preaching… are not showing any signs of a spiritual life.

One might think they have more knowledge of technical stuff in their heads than they have knowledge of God in their hearts.

How can you play an instrument unto the Lord, and you feel anything?

How can you as a minister request the saints to really worship the Lord, and yet you don’t set the example?

 

If David the King, could take off his golden crown and dance before the ark, why can’t we all take off the golden crown that represents our little office, and dance like David?

  • Am I being harsh, or unfair? No doubt. (I won’t even defend myself.)
  • I am a preacher. When do I get to partake and enjoy a worship service? (I’ve got to eat too!)
  • I am a musician. When do I get to lay my guitar down? When do I get to shout? (I’ve got to eat too!)

 

I am somewhat of a nerd. I’ve installed sound equipment and set up computers in a number of churches and ran their multimedia for them. When do I get to come out of the sound booth and praise the Lord? (I’ve got to eat too!)

  • Never let your office or job put you in a position to stop rejoicing in the Lord.
  • Never think worship and responding to His presence is beneath you.
  • Never stop responding to preaching, no matter where you are seated in the church.

 

Is it just the carnal people who volunteer run the multimedia? Or do worshippers still exist back there too?

Is it the mindset of musicians to stay so focused on showcasing their talent that… that’s all it is? Or do worshippers still exist up there too?

Is it the attitude of ministry that they are so deep into the Word, that any demonstration is beneath them? Or do worshippers still exist there too?

 

I have no answers.

I only have one question.

 

When Do The Servers Eat?

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

February 28, 2018 at 1:10 pm