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What Type Of Spiritual Leader Are You?

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Guest Blog By Ramona Yandris

Ramona Yandris

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Sister, Ramona Yandris is married to Bishop Nathan Yandris. They have served for many years at Faith Tabernacle Apostolic Church, Tracy, CA. She has served a lifetime as a gifted Speaker, Musician, Singer, and Music Director. May her words be a blessing to you!

 

 

What Type Of Spiritual Leader Are You?

This is in no way meant to reference any one person… this is just the musings and thoughts while studying God’s Word.

Great Spiritual Leadership has always caused a great and notable outcome!  It is getting harder to find Spiritual leaders that rise up in this day and age and lead with no guile. (Hear me out before you judge) But when they do… The Miraculous happens!  In this day, when pulpit ministry looks so glamorous….when crowds follow speakers to every conference to “hear” a sermon… then we raise up a “glorified speaker!”

If that same speaker… builds a church… rolls up his sleeves… also puts his shoulder to the wheel, outreaches his own community, tends to his own flock tirelessly, prays for the sick, gives to the poor, lifts a hand to the down and out, builds faith and instills Gods Word in his congregation and actually “Leads” then he raises up ministers and workers in the “Harvest” under him who also will replicate his work!

 

We learn so much from each leader…

  • Some are called to evangelize…
  • Some are called to be Apostles…
  • Some are called to Pastor…
  • Some are called as Prophets…
  • Some are called to teach…

Then there are secondary leaders, those who are called to “help.” Someone who feels supporting the ministry they were called into as essential in upholding the arms of God’s man!  They defend Him. They take the load off of him. They love him for what he is and are loyal to the cause, seeking nothing in return!  This is a rare gem in ministry to find such a secondary leader as most only want advancement and the ultimate spotlight. Although most are called to advance further, it is refreshing and a blessing to see someone understand and walk in this secondary leadership role hand in hand with God’s appointed leader.

Sadly, in this day we rely on a vote for a man (most times it is necessary) and have gotten away from a man who was so in tune with the Holy Ghost that he could say with power and knowledge,  “God has called me to ???,” and then wade through many adversities until a monument for Christ is built to Glorify God and win the lost! My proverbial hat is off to church builders who work it from the ground up. They literally give everything to the Kingdom of God.  The next man stepping in reaps the rewards with no labor… seems not fair… right?

I began to think what story certain leaders in the Bible left us with that revealed traits like character, strength, honor, dishonor, compassion, True Agape love, dishonest, Loyal/disloyal, offended, cruel, harsh, gentle, Anointed, prayerful, righteous, lovers of God more than lovers of self, and steadfast. I ask myself, “How do so many with these obvious human flaws get used by God?”  See, we humans think “YOU” (we don’t include ourselves in that exclusion)  have to be perfect before we can be “used.” There are so many places God can use us all!  We just have to first know and always remind ourselves that “Kingdom First” should be our motto.

If someone sings better than you, don’t attack them and use jealous tactics to get the part you crave.  Be a team member in ministry!

Be the first to give up your seat at the piano/organ/bass/guitar/drums/bongos/tambourine/etc.  if someone else can more skillfully bring others to worship. Yes, there is a place for us all but none of us own our positions. We should all ultimately be on the “Kingdom Team” and want God Glorified!

 

He literally can use ANYBODY!  It just takes a WILLING and Anointed VESSEL!

So, in each church leadership, you might recognize some of the following traits in these biblical examples. See where you fit in or where you recognize the reference.

Let us also not be so quick to point our finger at the reference of others. There are always at least a few fingers pointing back at us. That is humbling!

Here goes…

 

The Elijah Leader!!!!

1 Kings 18:22 Then said Elijah unto the people, I, even I only, remain a prophet of the LORD; but Baal’s prophets are four hundred and fifty men.

Some are like Elijah. They operate in hopelessness. They think they are doing it all alone. They whine and gripe that they do it alone. They simply do not know how to delegate and use others. Sometimes God has to remind them that He has many more doing the same thing!  We are not in this alone! We need and use each other to advance not our Kingdom but rather God’s Kingdom!

 

The Jezebel (wannabe) Leader

Jezebel. This spirit wants to control everything and everyone!  It can be male or female.

Every spirit of control in the church that does not line up with the pulpit, the man of God and God’s Word is OUT OF ORDER!  You are an accident waiting to happen!  You cannot muzzle the Ox (referring to the pastor), nor can you insert your control over the man of God and the departments of the church!  God will see to it that you and your household will come to ruin.  You simply have the wrong spirit and outlook on God’s man and His Work!  If you don’t love the man of God (your pastor), then how can you say you love God? Don’t worry though pastor… God’s got this. You just keep right on working for the Kingdom.  The Jezebels will fall by the wayside and the church will roll right on!

 

The Jonah Leader!

Jonah leaders run from responsibilities. Oh, how easy this temptation is for humanity.  Like the saying, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going!”  In this day of ease, most don’t stick it out.  They crash and burn at the first sight of trouble! Their blinders have been removed and they get overwhelmed at the very thought of the “work set before them!” They forgot that God promised that His Grace was sufficient for EVERY need!  He gives us sometimes (as the song used to say).

“Just enough to take me through one more mile.

Just enough to dry my eyes a little while

When I get home…

I won’t need it.

But as I travel, this weary land

He always gives me

Just enough Grace to stand!”

If God calls you into a difficult ministry or position!  Stay the course.  Don’t quit or defect EVERY-TIME  you think someone is talking about you, or you have adversity.

If God calls you TO it,

He will bring you THROUGH it!

Stay the course and quit being a QUITTER!

 

The Moses Leader!!!!

Moses let anger lead.  So many events happen in our lives as ministry that brings us to anger. Yet, the scripture says “Let he who rules WELL be worthy of DOUBLE Honor!”  The decisions a pastor makes has to be from a clear head.  We may have our own personal opinions about someone but remember the person you are angry at is STILL a child of God and your outburst of anger can not only cause defeat in your flock but can also keep you from where God actually intended for you to attain to in your own promised land!  If people disappoint us and walk away, let them go.  Let them go!  Let them go!  Not everybody fits our unique circle or within the personality of a church.  Don’t assault them with unkind and angry words.  We bless them and pray God’s best for their life.  It doesn’t mean you have to have contact. In fact, it’s best to not. What’s the point? It keeps your anger and bitterness at Bay. So, allow people to go and flourish elsewhere.  God always sends a replacement usually sooner than later who will be faithful.

 

The Saul Leader!

Saul tried to destroy other anointed leaders. This is one of the most commonly used tactics among ministry today.  If someone is offended at you for ANY reason, the petty flesh tries to tear down a person’s reputation. If they can destroy you among the brethren then you just might quit coming around.  If you will quit coming around then they can remain “King of the Roost!”  This type of man (or woman) is definitely not Kingdom minded and seeks only to elevate themselves! They also promote their flock to honor only them and have “preacher worship” mentality. A premiere flock (and a tribute to the former pastor) is one who stays and is loyal to the Kingdom in spite of XYZ!  Love and honor your pastor (this is Biblical), but don’t have preacher worship!  Have God worship!  He shares His Glory with NO ONE!

 

The Judas Leader!!!

Judas… untrustworthy! Reveals secrets to wound another to gain power. Will sell you out for advancement or validation! This takes the life out of so many of us. It is a trick of the enemy to cause offense! Yet in the end, the person you are really hurting is yourself!  God will fight the Battle of those wronged!  He keeps excellent records and you will be judged by your words and your deeds!  Keep your tongue in check!  If you are a friend to the ministry, be confidential!  You are there to support not tear down! If you are a minister and friends with another minister and you have information that tears down the other person… don’t go sell those secrets to the highest bidder. Shut your mouth and pray for your friend!  Go to them and in the spirit of love and unity reason with them regarding the error of their ways. Only then have you done what the Scriptures say to do!

Just for the record, the scripture says to “Mark them that cause division among you AND avoid them”. Nowhere does it say if a brother/sister is in error or taken in a fault to mark them and avoid them!  Yet, sadly that is what we do and we wonder why the person finally goes to another group… well it just may not be because they WANT an easier way… it just might mean they were treated so unjustly and unscriptural that in their mind, they had no way out.  Let’s love people back into our fold… My goodness!  Aren’t we tired of the “exit?”  It’s not all standard reasons folks…a lot of it is simply offense gone wrong!

 

The Enoch Leader!

Enoch… had a prayer life unrivaled!

The ministry friends that I have had in this day and age that greatly affected my life are the ministers that had an obvious powerful prayer life.  One in particular who was my pastor for a short season was Bro. Verbal Bean… Do you want a demonstration of the Holy Ghost like he had?  Get a prayer life like he had!  I can name so many men and women of God that has become an icon, not because of their gifting but rather because of their anointing resulting from their prayer life!  If you want to be caught up in the Heavens like Enoch, then DAILY walk with God!  Don’t leave it to “after service” prayer, but find your own space, your own room, no matter how “Big” you become. Keep that prayer life consistent. You don’t need to “tell” anyone “while I was in prayer today.” Your actions and unction will tell on you!

 

The Esau Leader!

Esau will sell out cheaply for an easier way. You don’t prepare for the task ahead?  You don’t value what you have been given?  You take it for granted? Your decisions are based on fleshly desires?  Then yes, we have another Esau in our hands.  One who will abandon what God meant for him because he wanted to quickly satisfy his flesh!  These people will sell out to the first person that will advance them… make their life easier and not make them accountable.  This simply speaks for itself!  No more words needed here!

 

The John the Revelator Leader!

John The Revelator works even though abandoned and wounded. Tortured for Christ sake and sent to die alone. This man of God decided I will leave a mark in this world for the sake of the Kingdom. God trusted him that He gave him visions and placed him in a solitary place where his mind and writings were solely devoted to what God gave him. “They” meant it for evil, but God meant it for GOOD!

The struggles and the trials you go through as ministry may not be to destroy you but rather to save the lost coming up behind you. God has a purpose and a plan.  If you truly mean for Him to use you, don’t get upset when things go bad.  When you can’t see the way, when you can’t figure out the why,  just trust Him! We may not understand it until we reach the other side.  When you are sold out, you are there to the bitter end.

We better toughen up!  As the “Day” approaches we are all going to be that much more offended, hurt, rejected, wounded, talked about, mistreated, persecuted. Instead of giving up… Take up YOUR CROSS, take up a pen… write encouraging words to yourself and to others!  Be strong and faint not!

 

The Peter Leader!

Peter let fear rule his actions

Yes, he was so afraid of Jesus going to the cross that he cut a man’s ear off… (yet he was bold enough to do that). He was so afraid of being found out that he was a disciple that he cursed and lied to prove he was “not of His!” He was so afraid that he never showed up at the cross!

When you are so sensitive that when things do not go your way or turn out like you would like them to, when the dream you had is shattered and fear grips you… affecting your words… your actions… your loyalty… (all of this was nothing more than a lack of faith) yet through all this foolishness… Jesus had great faith in Peter!  So many times, Jesus had to emphasise a point to Peter. ”Peter, do you love me?”  I often wondered why this line of questioning until you look at the overall high/low passion of Peter.  Jesus knew he operated out of passion.  Anger/Fear falls under that category.  Yet, emotional people can sometimes be the worst friends and worst leaders!  They always feel someone is talking about them. They are fatalistic in their words and kill hope and faith every time you converse with them. They are Spiritually Bi-polar!  You are exhausted when you leave their presence.  But Jesus knew one thing… if He could “channel” the passion Peter had in the right way, then there would be no stopping him.

  • Knowing that Peter denied Him.
  • Knowing that Peter disassociated himself from Him.
  • Knowing that Peter was angry.
  • Knowing that Peter was offended.
  • Knowing that the Disciples were offended at Peter.

Yet, when Jesus arose from the tomb he left a “young man, clothed in white” with a special message to the Disciples AND to PETER!  See at this point Peter had angered and offended himself (in his own mind) right out of the ministry. Yet Jesus, knowing Peters temperament left an angel to speak to him….to make this reference so the Disciples would accept him back….made special mention to the emotional future powerhouse in Mark16:7….”Go tell the disciples AND PETER that He (Jesus) goeth before you into Galilee”

That was a potential fatal flaw in Peter.  Anger and Fear can destroy a ministry… a marriage… a job… if you are in any ministry you MUST keep your emotions in check!  Peter was so overwhelmed at Jesus’s tolerance and forgiveness that he was humbled and became a Holy Ghost powerhouse for the Kingdom.

 

The John the Beloved Leader!

John stayed at the cross even though he could have been arrested.  Real leaders walk with you through the fire if you will allow them to! Before Jesus bowed His head and died He looked at His mother and said of John “Woman Behold your son!”  Take a look at someone who is sold out and will stay with you even though the odds are stacked against you!

He was one of the first to reach the tomb after Jesus arose.

John 19:26-27

John 20:1-10

Follows Jesus even though the other disciples questioned his involvement…

John 21:20-23

He was one of the 7 fishermen that fished all night when it looked hopeless… yet his persistence paid off when Jesus showed up!

John 21:1-25

Even though the other disciples cut him out of written involvement… he still kept ministering!

No wonder he was the “Beloved” of Jesus!  He exemplified more fruit of the Spirit than all of them put together!  He was completely “Christlike!

Maybe jealously caused him to be shut out!

So, whatever Style of Leadership you are given to,  make sure it lines up with advancing the Kingdom of God!  Don’t allow the flesh to rule spiritual things!

Please above all rule in love.  Don’t Lord over God’s heritage, nor be a Pharisee!  Be humble in spirit and in deed and let God be Glorified in all that we do!  If you have no ability to bind people together in love and in unity, you may merely have a desire, not a calling.

 

This is the Will of God!

 

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

March 9, 2019 at 1:14 pm

The Church That Wouldn’t Grow

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A re-post from The Home Missions Chronicles.

A true story of a real place and real people.

 

The Church That Wouldn’t Grow

The modest little building stood on the corner with a small sign announcing Sunday and Wednesday service times. It had been a church now for almost 30 years. The pastor and his wife had started it themselves. They were glad to have a revival because revivals were rare for them. They couldn’t afford to have an evangelist, and they couldn’t afford not to. For some reason, members didn’t last very long at their church.

They survived on a very modest income from her job. He became disabled years ago. She played and sung beautifully. The four people in the audience joined in. He apologized for the low number. He tried to describe in detail the last family or two that had left. Jobs. That had to be the reason, he was sure.

The church would grow to twenty or so and then the people would move off or quit. Now it was down to it’s smallest size in a long time. (When you are preaching to four people, it is hard to keep from getting downright personal.) They just could never get it past twenty and it stay there very long. What was the problem? What was the fix? The reason the church did not grow was amazing to him. The pastor and his wife were the sweetest of people and folks in the city seemed to love them. Why wouldn’t it grow?

The evangelist had pulled his trailer there, paying his own expense and knowing the lack of funds available to the pastor, he had informed him that he would not take an offering but rather would like to be a blessing. No visitors came. No outreach was noticeable. The only person without the Holy Ghost never prayed during the 2-week revival. There was no jubilant worship. No hand clapping or shouting. No conviction in the service. Not one ‘Amen’ was said. The only songs were sad, sweet hymns sung by the pastor’s wife as she played the keyboard. No one else joined in to worship.

The pastor wasn’t young anymore. He felt he had tried everything. Why wouldn’t it grow? Was it the people? Was it him? Was it the location? The economy? What was it? Was God done with him here? Where would he go if he left? The city was beautiful. Jobs seemed plentiful enough, but the church never grew.

 

Why couldn’t they have revival?

Was it that God was not adding daily to the church?

Was it the lack of pastoral and leadership skills?

Was it that the new people never got grounded in the doctrine?

Or, was it a the kind of city that the pastor needed to shake the dust off of his feet and move on? He really didn’t know. He couldn’t figure it out. The pastor died not knowing.

Sadly, the church is still really not a church today. A couple sweet old ladies pray together now, but that is about all they have.

 

This Too Is Home Missions!

_______________________________

P.S.

If your church is alive, vibrant, and a revival church… be grateful.  Be a witness. Be a worshipper. Be faithful. You are very blessed! (Remember, Church is what you make it!)

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

July 28, 2018 at 7:17 am

The Sound Man Was Blind!

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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!

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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

The Kiss Of Death

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The Kiss Of Death

“Remember Elizabeth? She just got a hearing implant to see if that would cure her deafness,” my wife said. We were eating lunch in Georgia, at a National Country Club.

“They call that, The Kiss Of Death, in the deaf community,” offered the court certified Interpreter for the deaf who was seated at the table with us.

The Kiss Of Death?” I was in shock! “Why would they call being able to hear, The Kiss Of Death?

“Hearing would ruin their life, as they know it. Many deaf people are very happy in their own world,” she said. “It’s a very tight-knit society.  Lip reading is a coveted gift. Most deaf people don’t want to be healed. They are happy being deaf.”

She related an incident about signing to a client. The client signed back to her that she could read lips and only wanted to be spoken to, not signed to by a hearing person. Although the court had certified the Interpreter, she was still an outsider to the deaf.

The Interpreter began to describe some of her client’s anti-hearing sentiments. She served several expectant mothers who were deaf. These moms-to-be wanted their babies to be deaf as well.

As a hearing person, I’ve had very limited communication with the deaf. If they can read my lips, that’s wonderful. I cannot read theirs. We can only write notes back and forth to each other. I cannot imagine anyone not wanting to hear.

I also have no way of knowing how accurate the Interpreter’s opinion was. She was only relating her life experiences.

Although my interaction with the natural deaf is somewhat limited, I am however, very familiar with the attitudes of the spiritually deaf.

The spiritually deaf that I know, don’t want to be healed. They resist getting a spiritual implant to hear the Word of the Lord. To them, that would be The Kiss Of Death!

Forty-two times the Bible uses the phrase, “He that hath an ear to hear.” Evidently, not everyone can hear what the Spirit saith. Their Pastor/Interpreter is an intrusion into their world.

They too do not wish to be healed and want all of their children to be deaf as well. The preached Word of God is something that the spiritually deaf person cannot hear. They can’t hear sermons about:

  • Doctrine
  • Tithes
  • Holiness
  • Separation from the world

It is really futile to try to communicate with those that are deaf to God’s Word. The interference of hearing people into their life is resented.

Jesus healed the deaf. We read about it in the Gospels. He is still able to heal the spiritually deaf today who want to be healed.

My father had been the pastor at a church for three years. A brother came up to him after the Saturday night service and complimented his sermon. Dad thanked him. Sunday morning the same man gave him another compliment.

Sunday night, the same brother came up to Dad and with tears in his eyes said, “Bro. Ballestero, I thank you for that message! That was the best I’ve ever heard! You saved me tonight!”

My father invited the man into his office. When they sat down, my father began his inquiry.

“Brother, for the last three years you’ve fought me tooth and toenail. You have resisted me at every turn. Not one time have you said a nice thing to me since I’ve been here. You have never complimented any of my messages before. Now, for three sermons in a row, you’ve bragged on me. What’s your game?”

The brother broke down and cried. He apologized to my Father. He said, “I am so sorry I’ve been like that to you Pastor. The reason I’ve complimented your preaching, is because I just got my ears open!”

All a Pastor can pray for is that his hearers will get their ears opened! He knows that for those who are content not to hear preaching, it is truly, The Kiss of Death!

 

The Last Thing You Lose Is Your Hearing

Bro. Henry Baskins fell like he’d been shot. The sound of his head hitting the floor was enough to make those nearby sick and alarmed. His fellow workers called 911 and anxiously watched for the ambulance.

Within minutes, my phone rang and informed me that one of the most precious men in the Kingdom of God was in a coma and being taken from the ER to ICU. My heart sank. Bro. Baskins was near retirement age. No one had an answer why he had passed out on the job. He’d had no previous health concerns.

Henry Baskins

He was a church favorite. Even though he drove over 20 miles each way to church, he was always an hour or so early. He had been an usher as long as I could remember. His pockets always contained a bag of candy for the children. That made him a very popular man after church.

Sis. Baskins lived a pampered life. He waited on her hand and foot, did the grocery shopping, chauffeured her anywhere she wanted to go. What if he died? What would happen to her? She’d never even driven a car!

After calling the Prayer Chain in our church, I rushed to the Osteopathic Hospital. As I headed for ICU, I noticed family and saints were gathering too. There was a waiting room next to the ICU door.

No one, not even family was allowed to go in and see him yet. I told the folks in the waiting room to pray for Bro. Baskins. They prayed Pentecostal style.

I pushed the call button and announced myself. The nurse buzzed me in. She escorted me to Bro. Baskins’ room. My heart sank when I saw him. There were more tubes connected to him than I’d ever seen. There were tubes down his throat, up his nose, in his chest, his arms, his hands and his leg. It seemed like there were 10 monitors going. The pumping sounds of the machine doing the breathing for him were hard to ignore. He looked hopeless.

Even though he was unconscious, I announced myself to him. I said, “Bro. Baskins, this is Bro. Ballestero and I am here to pray for you.

My prayer was probably only a minute or so. I felt guilty being the only one allowed back in his room. I really didn’t want to leave even though my prayer was over.

My Dad had always said that the last thing we lose is our hearing, naturally and spiritually. I remembered that and began to talk.

I said, “Bro. Baskins, no one knows what happened at work today. Those close to you said you just fell over and hit your head. You have been in a coma ever since. The ambulance brought you to the Osteopathic Hospital.

“The doctors are trying to find out what the cause of the problem is. They don’t know. No one but me is allowed back here right now. So, don’t worry about your family not coming in, because the nurses are being very protective of you right now.

“Your wife is in the next room. All of her needs are being taken care of. Your children are here. The saints have filled up the ICU waiting room and I have the Prayer Chain praying for you.

“When they start letting family come in here, it will only be once every 4 hours and then, just for a few minutes. Now don’t worry about anything. You just focus on getting well, we’ll keep praying. I love you!”

Every time I went to see him, I prayed, and then I chattered. I told him of the news in the church. I talked about his family. Reassured him of his wife’s comfort. Every day for about 3 weeks I visited his room.

One Friday, he woke up. They checked him over and checked him out. When I heard the news that he was home and walking around. I rejoiced! This was awesome news.

Sunday morning when I stepped into the auditorium, there was Bro. Baskins standing at his usual ushering post. He hugged my neck and tears came into his eyes.

“Bro. Ballestero, when you came into my room and prayed for me and talked to me, I heard every word you said. Thank you, Thank you!” He said.

He could still hear! Unbelievable! Even when he was in such bad shape!

Dad’s words again echoed through my memory. “The last thing you lose is your hearing, naturally and spiritually.”

Can you still hear?

If You Can Hear, It’s Not The Kiss Of Death,  It’s The Kiss Of Life…  Spiritual Life!

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

March 22, 2018 at 7:33 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

Pastor Lester Has A Problem With Pastor Ballestero

with 7 comments

 

Pastor Lester Has A Problem With Pastor Ballestero

 

“Pastor Ballestero?” The female voice on the phone asked.

“This is he,” I responded as I settled into the Lazy Boy recliner.

“I’m calling on behalf of Pastor Lester. He would love for you to come to our new FM Radio Station tomorrow night.

“He would like for you to evaluate our new Christian Radio Station’s transmitter. Could you come at 7 pm tomorrow night?

“He will give you a personal tour of our new facilities, and I think he will try to encourage you to come on board as one of our regular broadcasters.”

I laughed. “Tell him that I’ll do my best to be there, thanks.”

 

That I was into Amateur (Ham) Radio, was no secret. I had even worked as an Electronics Wholesaler but I knew next to nothing about Commercial Broadcasting equipment. Why would I get invited to ‘evaluate’ the new 50,000-watt FM radio station? I couldn’t legally.

What was the catch? Was that just a ploy to get me to move our church radio broadcast to their new FM station? Probably.

 

At 7 pm sharp, I walked up to the front office and announced myself to the receptionist.

“Pastor Lester is expecting you,” she said as she welcomed me and shook my hand.

I heard my name announced over the intercom and almost immediately I was shaking hands with Pastor Lester.

 

We walked down the hall towards the transmitter room and he placed his arm around my neck like we were old friends. Actually, we’d never met. I only knew of him because I’d heard him on the radio from time to time over the last several years. He pastored the large Charismatic church in our town.

 

“I just got back last week from Africa.” He began. “I saw over 100,000 get the Holy Spirit in one service in my Crusade!”

“That is amazing!” I blurted out! How do you get 100,000 people to get the Holy Ghost in one service?”

“Aw, that’s easy… I just stretched my hands toward the crowd, and said in Jesus Name, receive the Holy Ghost!”

“And they did?”

 

“They sure did. Not only that, but we had over 50,000 confirmed miracles the same day.”

I replied, “How did you get 50,000 people healed in one day?”

“Why, I just stretched my hands toward the people and prayed… be healed in Jesus Name!”

“And they were healed?”

“Yes, they were. But I also cast out over 1,000 demons the same day as well.”

 

I stopped walking. “How did you cast out 1,000 demons in one day?”

“I just pointed my hands toward those who were bound and said, in Jesus name, come out of them!”

“And they came out?”

“Yes, they did.” He said.

 

I looked puzzled at him, then I said, “I’m starting to see a pattern here. I notice that when you prayed for the Holy Ghost to be poured out, or when you prayed for healing, or even when you prayed for demons to be cast out, you said ‘In Jesus Name’ every time. Why is that?”

“Why, Bro. Ballestero, Pastor Lester said in his most condescending tone of voice, the Bible says that ‘Whatsoever we do in word or deed, do all in the Name of Jesus’.”

 

He smiled.

I smiled.

I put my arm around his shoulder, positioning his head so we could lock eyes.

“Then why don’t you get baptized in Jesus Name?” I asked.

 

Pastor Lester took his arm off from around my neck, shook his head, and walked back to his office without a goodbye.

Hmm, I never did get to see that new 50,000-watt transmitter!

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

February 21, 2018 at 10:50 pm