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The Get Run Over Church

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The Get Run Over Church

 

“Worship is everybody’s business,” my father said with fervor into the microphone! The song service had been going for twenty minutes or so and the church was getting close to breaking through into another level in the Spirit.

The same old six and seven who always worshipped with all of their hearts, still were. The rest just seemed content tonight to let them do the worshipping for them. This was not their lucky night. Dad wasn’t going to let them off that easy.

Don Zhiss

Big Don Zhiss was enjoying his liberty and began walking around with joy and praising God with great animation. He rolled on the floor. He ran the aisles. He kept running even though no one was following. His gray hair didn’t slow him down.

The song leader was doing a great job, but sometimes, the best of churches can get in a rut. Even good people need to break out of them once in a while.

There was a good spirit of worship in the house that night. The service was not dead. But like a cook tasting the food on the stove and saying, “I think it needs a little more salt.” That’s what my Dad was doing.

He said, “Alright, I want all of you men to get out in the aisles and worship. Men should be the leaders in worship in the church. Come on men. Get out of your comfort zones. Lift your hands in the air. You may not do what I do, but everybody ought to do something for Jesus!”

Like the good obedient people they were, the men gathered self-consciously into the aisles. Even the timid and quiet ones came too. The music was still playing and hands were still clapping.

Several pairs of eyes watched as Bro. Ted moved into the aisles. He had never ventured there in recent memory. He wasn’t a tall or big man. His timid and quiet nature made him seem smaller. He loved to pray, sing and clap his hands, but no one had ever seen him get demonstrative in praise before. They couldn’t wait to see what he would do.

It was quite an accomplishment for him. He stood by the 3rd row in the center aisle facing the pulpit. He raised his hands, closed his eyes and worshipped freely for several minutes. This was something! Bro. Ted was getting close to a breakthrough.

The saints were making real progress. Many were shouting and enjoying the presence of the Lord. People were speaking in tongues all over the house.

Big Don Zhiss began to feel what he called the ‘anointment.’ He felt that the Lord was impressing him to run the aisles, but in a new dimension. He just knew the Lord was telling him to run the aisles with his eyes closed.

Not being slow to respond, Bro. Don charged down the center aisle, full steam ahead. His nearly 300 pounds of mass caused smaller men to step aside, but not Bro. Ted.

Bro. Ted was clueless. His back was to Bro. Don and besides that, his eyes were closed too. All of the worshippers who believed in the ‘watch and pray’ concept, could sense impending doom.

Don hit Ted’s small frame like he was a leaf in the wind. Don barely stumbled. Ted was totally flattened out, face down.

Ted never opened his eyes. He slowly stood back up as concerned saints held their breath. Finally, he stood erect again. By this time, Don had made another lap and came charging down the aisle again.

Once more he waylaid Bro. Ted, and reduced him to a rag doll on the rug. Don didn’t seem to notice the damage he’d done.

Still, Ted tried to continue on without opening his eyes. He was so close to getting something from the Lord. He was finally able to rise up in a kneeling position with his hands still raised when Don came around the 3rd time.

Bro. Don made the corner and laid him out once more. By this time, Bro. Ted had all the worship he could enjoy. He crawled on his hands and knees back down his row and seemed to be content to praise the Lord in the safety of his own seat.

Bro. Zhiss kept running!

 

(Bro. Ted was never seen in the aisles again.)

Written by Martyn Ballestero

November 4, 2017 at 1:30 am

The Head Polishing Church

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The Head Polishing Church

Don Zhiss rocked his 290 lb. frame back and forth between the church’s theatre seats. He occasionally would stop and pat his right foot on the hardwood floor impatiently waiting to be called on. In his own words, he was ‘cited’ about getting to testify.  He might be in his late 60’s, but them old ladies were just taking way too much time testifying and there was no fire in what they were saying. He couldn’t wait. Come on already!

Don was Jewish. He was a 100% literal son of Abraham. At Studebaker’s plant one day, a fellow employee named Lee Silvers had told him that the Jews had killed Jesus. Don was so upset. He wanted to talk about that some more. Lee brought him to a basement church named Christ Temple on the corner of Elwood Avenue and Elmer Street in South Bend, Indiana.

The preacher preached Don to the altar that night. He repented and received the Holy Ghost. Don also received the revelation of Jesus name baptism and was promptly baptized. When he understood that the Jesus in the New Testament was the Jehovah of the Old wrapped up in flesh, he became unstoppable.  He never stopped shouting when someone talked about the Mighty God in Christ.

Into his senior years, Don would lead victory marches around the church and run the aisles. He rolled on the floor sometimes while he testified. If the service was tight, Don had a way of knocking the kinks out of it. He was a worshipper that would have made King David stop and take notice.

He was also highly uncoordinated and unpredictable. When running behind him, the men all knew that at anytime Don might stop and turn around and run the other direction, bringing much confusion and injury to the runners.

This night, Don was fired up. He wanted to testify about Jesus Name. A first time visitor, named Casey, sat in front of Don.

Finally, he got called on. He raised his voice and flailed his arms pacing back and forth. He shook the row of seats in front of him with both hands. The people clapped and shouted amen to encourage to him.

The half a teaspoon or so of saliva, that Don was known to carry in his mouth, began to spray has he exuberantly raved about Jesus name and the Holy Ghost.

Bald headed Casey sat unmoving and frozen while this giant of a man ranted behind him. When Don noticed he had just sprayed saliva all over the visitor’s head, he never missed a beat. While waving one arm high in the air and without so much as looking at what he was doing, Don pulled a used handkerchief out of his pocket with the other hand and began to rub the visitor’s head.

He wiped the spit off of Casey’s head while his eyes stayed glued on the mortified pastor. He didn’t stop with a simple wipe but kept on unconsciously polishing the now shiny dome while waving the other hand and bragging on Jesus.

Oh, by the way, Casey got the Holy Ghost that night.

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

November 2, 2017 at 7:16 pm

Murphy’s Law For Pentecostals

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Murphy’s Law For Pentecostals

 

A Revival will always cause a Flu epidemic in the church.

The Sister with the biggest hairdo will sit down right in front of you.

The people, who needed the sermon the most, will be absent.

The visitor’s baby will be good and not fussy all service, until the preacher is ready to give the altar call.

People, who normally won’t come to church, will always show up at the picnic.

If you sit in the front of a new church, you will be called to the nursery because your toddler threw up.

Your cell phone will only ring during one of the quiet moments of the service.

Saying, “Let us pray,” is the signal for some to go to the restroom.

Disruptive and rowdy children will always sit in front of the visitors.

Parents with noisy and disruptive children will appear to be deaf.

People are always available for work that is finished.

If you experience restroom emergency, both stalls will be in use.

When you bring a guest, and the offering plate is passed, you’ll not have any cash.

The passing freight train will always blow it’s whistle louder than the person with the Mic..

Someone will always attempt to shake your hand as they exit the church restroom. Their hand will still be damp.

When you need your privacy the most, some church member will recognize you by looking at your shoes under the restroom stall door, and try to start a conversation with you.

The lady that gets asked to come to the platform and sing will always have to put her shoes on first.

Shouters will get their wildest only when first time visitors are present.

The song that is sung for altar call will have nothing in common with the sermon.

When the pastor says, “In closing,” there is still time for you to read the entire 119th Psalm.

Every child over three, can worship or shout like any one of the saints, upon request.

The noise made by opening the candy wrapper will sound louder in church than anywhere else.

Church members that cheer and yell for their favorite ball team will be among the quietest during the worship service.

The night the pastor would like to impress the visiting minister with his congregation size, will also be the night the crowd is the smallest.

The first that come to the altar to pray after a sobering message will be the ones that probably needed it the least. The ones that should have come first won’t come at all.

The loudest voice in the choir will belong the one who cannot carry a tune.

The older a church member gets, the louder the public address system sounds.

The battery in the cordless microphone will go out during the best part of the sermon.

The only restaurants open after a long service are the ones no one wants to go to.

The preacher that’s the longest-winded in your church will preach on the night you can barely stay awake.

The bat flying in the church auditorium will come closest to the person who is the most afraid of bats, and who also has the loudest voice.

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

January 7, 2012 at 12:06 am

Posted in Humor

Tagged with

The Devil Made Me Say It

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The Devil Made Me Say It

Years ago an old friend and I talked as we rode in my van. In time, the conversation included some unkind remarks that a mutual acquaintance had said concerning me.

“Why, he’s awful nice to my face,” I said, trying to defend the critic in my mind.

“I know he is, but I just wanted you to know what he has said about you to me and to a half a dozen other guys.”

For the life of me, I couldn’t see what would make this mutual acquaintance say unkind things about me. I was caught off guard.

Searching my memory, I could find nothing that would justify such unkindness. We weren’t close friends, but we had never been enemies. Why would he be two-faced like that?

When we arrived, I entered the building and immediately was informed that the mutual acquaintance was there in the hallway ‘holding court’.

“He’s talking about you right now,” someone informed me.

As I turned the corner in the hall, there he stood with about eight others. The conversation stopped and all eyes looked on me. Guilt was on their faces. I walked into the group and shook hands all the way around. I saved shaking the mutual acquaintance’s hand for last.

“How you doing, ‘John’? I asked.

“So, you do remember my face, don’t you?” He said with a smirk.

“John,” I replied, “I never forget a face, and I’ll always remember both of yours.”

I smiled innocently and then continued on down the hall.

(The devil made me say it. “Get behind me devil!”)

Written by Martyn Ballestero

January 7, 2011 at 2:14 pm

Posted in Gossip, Humor

Every Church Has One

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Every Church Has One

Robert and Kathy Dansbys were pastoring a home missions church in Canada. Fellowship was rare and hearing someone else preach was even rarer. They were out of Bro. I. H. Terry’s church in Bakersfield, California.

Family members and friends often sent preaching tapes of Bro. Terry and Bakersfield’s guest speakers to the Dansbys.

One day Bro. Dansby received a phone call from home telling him about an awesome evangelist named Bro. Larry Booker. His preaching was phenomenal, the home church loved him and they sent a bunch of his preaching tapes up to Canada.

Pastor Robert Dansby

The Dansbys absolutely loved the preaching of Bro. Booker. They asked for more tapes. More tapes were sent. They too fell in love with the ministry of this great man of God. They had never met him, or even seen a picture of him, but they loved him. They were saddened when the revival ended.

A few years later, Bro. Dansby resigned his church in Canada and moved back to the United States.

At the next Camp Meeting in Santa Maria, California, the Dansbys went. They enjoyed the fellowship of the preachers and the ministry of the Word. It was good to be around old friends.

While seated in the Bible Class one afternoon in the old tent, they noticed a very tall man come in and make his way down the aisle. He sat across the aisle from them, and a row or two ahead. He slouched his 6’ 8” frame way down into the seat.

This ‘stranger’ really seemed to enjoy the Bible Study and said amen often and loud. At times, during the message the whole congregation got blessed and they all said amen and clapped. Some even stood.

The tall guy, would wave his hands erratically from time to time, and with closed eyes nearly scream the words, “God! God! God! God!” Then he would talk in tongues and shake all over.

Sis. Kathy Dansby turned and looked at the man. She’d never seen anyone act like that in church. She turned her attention back to the preacher.

Again, at a high note in the sermon, the crowd responded and the man across the aisle went into his own worship mode again. He shook. He waved his long arms. He talked in tongues. He screamed, “God! God! God! God!”

Sis. Kathy Dansby

Sis. Dansby made a bit of a face and shook her head and looked at her husband. “Every church has one,” she said with a knowing smirk.

Bro. Dansby couldn’t hold back the laughter. “Do you know who that is? He inquired.

“No.” She said.

“That’s Bro. Larry Booker. I met him just before the service.”

“Noooooo!!!” Was about all Sis. Dansby could say in disbelief.

Even years later, Bro. Dansby didn’t feel comfortable telling Bro. Booker what his wife had said about him. So he didn’t. Well, he didn’t for quite a few years.

Pastor Larry Booker

Eleven years later, to be exact, Bro. Booker invited Bro. Dansby to preach for him in Rialto, California. During that visit, Bro. Dansby got up enough nerve to tell Bro. Booker the story.

Bro. Booker’s great sense of humor surfaced as he roared in laughter. The next service night while introducing Bro. Dansby to preach, Bro. Booker retold the story.

“Yes,” Bro. Booker said, “Every church has one. This church just happens to have one for a pastor!”

†††

(Special thanks to my friend, Bro. Robert Dansby for permission to write this story.)

Written by Martyn Ballestero

September 21, 2010 at 1:59 am

Posted in Humor

She Laughed Her Way Through Her Trial!

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She Laughed Her Way Through Her Trial!

Southern California in 1958 seemed like another world to me. I should have been used to traveling and changing towns. This place had a different “feel” about it. But I knew I would adjust. At 14, I had already gone to 21 schools. My Dad, Carl Ballestero, had been an Evangelist or Pastor all my life. Moving almost seemed normal to us.

Daddy had just resigned the little storefront church he had started in Yakima, WA. He had gotten a letter from a pastor he knew requesting he come and take his church as he was going to the mission field.

Our family of seven was crammed into the two door 1948 Pontiac. A small tarp covered utility trailer holding everything we possessed in the world was hitched to the bumper. We looked like Gypsies, I’m sure.

When we arrived at the Pastor’s home to present ourselves, a shocked look came into his eyes and he said, “Oh Brother Ballestero, I am so sorry, I’ve changed my mind and I decided to stay. I meant to write you and tell you not to come.”

My Father smiled and thanked him as he turned back to the car trying not to let dismay or discouragement show on his face to his family. We drove down the road a ways and turned a corner and stopped the car. Daddy and Mother had to decide what we were going to do next.

We had nowhere to go. Daddy only had $85 cash left. My four little sisters seemed too young to understand the crisis. There was not enough gas to go another 100 miles.

Daddy bought a newspaper and he and Mom read the “houses for rent” section of the classifieds. There was a converted duplex in National City that might work. The price was $80 a month. The last line said “no children.” We went to look anyway.

Daddy said that he knew the Pastor in National City, a Brother Leaman Reynolds. I’d never heard of him. Mom said maybe we could attend his church while Daddy Evangelized for a while.

When we arrived at the rental house, the landlady was waiting. When she saw us 5 kids, she promptly told Daddy that children were not allowed.

“Do you need me to drown them for you?” was his response.

She looked us over carefully and smiled and then agreed to let us rent the house. Now, we had $5.00 left. We drove to town and Dad talked the Utility Company into turning on the water and electricity for $5.00.

The car and trailer got unloaded quickly. There were no beds, so pallets were made on the floor. I went behind the Safeway Grocery Store and found 4 wooden orange crates by the trash bin. We took a closet door off and laid it on the orange crates to make a dinning room table of sorts. We didn’t have any chairs. The good news was, the crates made the table a comfortable height for those sitting on the floor.

The first morning, I was awakened by feminine shrieks. The previous renters had lived in the house with 16 dogs. (We’d found out later.)

My little sister’s arms, legs and torsos had flea bites everywhere. All of us were bitten. The fleas were still visible and so thick that mom got her vacuumkoo.com cleaner and took the hose and vacuumed the fleas off of our bodies.

When that chore was finished, we turned our eyes to Mom. She said to Dad, “Carl, we don’t even have a quarter to buy flea powder. But God said in Malachi, that if we would pay our tithes, He would rebuke the devourer for our sakes. Now honey, we’ve paid our tithes, so let’s get down here on the floor and ask God to rebuke these little devourers for our sake.”

And pray we did. Or, at least pray Mom and Dad did. Most of us kids just scratched with our eyes closed. I think we scratched more than we prayed. Mom has always been one of those Holy Ghost women that can go from “0” to “100” in 3 seconds. It didn’t take Mom long in pray before we heard her shift gears and move on out to the “Glory World” in God.

I don’t remember what she said, but what I do remember is that, when that 15-minute prayer meeting was over, the miracle had already happened. From that moment till we moved out over a year later, there were no more fleas found in that house!

Mother had brought a large bag of Pinto Beans down from Washington. A 50 lb. sack, if I remember correctly. The beans provided or only source of food for about a month. There was no salt, pepper, or ham hock to season with. We all drank tap water and felt happy for that. Beans three times a day. The current generation, with their luxuries from the WaterSoftenerGuide, we had none of that and it made us strong mentally.

When we gathered at the makeshift dinner table for supper. We folded our legs and sat on the floor. Mom announced the menu every evening and came around one by one and asked the same questions of us all.

“Tonight Darlings, we have:

  • Fried Chicken?
  • Roast Beef?
  • Swiss Steak?

Which would you like?”

“Oh, I’d like some chicken,” I said.

“Great choice! Do you want white meat or dark meat?” was her next question.

When I said I wanted white meat, Mom put a spoonful of beans on my plate.

“Do you want:

  • Baked potato?
  • Fried potatoes?
  • Mashed potatoes?

When we answered, Mom would put another dollop of beans on our plate. If we chose mashed potatoes, she would put a few more on that pile saying it was gravy.

Then she asked, do you want:

  • Corn on the cob?
  • California blend?
  • Fresh snapped green beans?

Another pile was added regardless of our choice.

The salad menu often included:

  • Garden salad (Dressings required additional beans)
  • Caesar salad
  • Cottage cheese and pears

Mom smiled and we laughed together as she served our supper. It was funny to us to say we wanted one thing and then be served another.

There always was a saucer beside our plates. The saucer served as a dessert plate.

Every night, we got to choose between things like.

  • Chocolate cake
  • Banana Pudding
  • Strawberry Shortcake

When she finished serving us there were often 4 or 5 piles of beans on our plates, not counting our dessert.

Mama made us smile at mealtime as she used her imagination to lighten the reality of life.

One afternoon after a month or so, a grocery store delivery truck backed up to our door. The driver looked at his delivery receipt and asked if this was the Ballestero residence. When we said it was, he opened the back door of the bobtail truck and there were sacks and sacks and more sacks of groceries.

Mother told him there must be some mistake, because we hadn’t ordered any groceries.

He looked at the delivery order again. And then said, “It says here the groceries have paid for by someone named: Anonymous. Over two hundred dollars worth paid in full. And they are to be delivered to the home of Carl Ballestero.

We cried with joy as the sacks of food covered the table, the counter, and the floor. We didn’t even know what to eat first. But what we did first was thank the Lord.

As a result of my Mom’s attitude during hard times, I was a full-time evangelist for over two years before I knew what a trial was. Mom had made our journey through hard times seem so fun and enjoyable, I didn’t know it was a trial. I thought everybody lived like that! She showed us that, “attitude was not something, attitude was everything.”

Thanks Mom! You’re the Best!

Written by Martyn Ballestero

March 15, 2010 at 9:07 am

My Sermon Outline For Sunday Morning

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My Sermon Outline For Sunday Morning

Introduction:

Text:

Title:

Natural Illustration:

Spiritual Application:

I.

II.

(Try to awaken those that nodded off)

III.

(Cry here)

Conclusion:

Invitation:

__________________

(This is all I’ve got so far)

Written by Martyn Ballestero

January 20, 2010 at 9:15 am

Posted in Humor