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Pastor Lester Has A Problem With Pastor Ballestero

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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

The Heartache Church

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The Heartache Church

Pastor Miller hung the phone up and slumped into the chair. This was unbelievable! It was sickening. He sensed the pending devastation.

The voice mail on his cell phone announced that the 3rd couple in two months wanted to move their membership across town to the big church.

Only a handful of families were left here now. Would the nightmare ever stop? It was like a hemorrhage that was unending. The families that had left weren’t content to just go, they pulled on the remaining ones with reports of how wonderful things were at the new church. Their family and friends wavered in their loyalties. Who knew where it would stop. His church wasn’t growing. It was shrinking and he couldn’t stop the process.

No letter of transfer was ever asked for, and the other pastor had never called when someone moved in. He didn’t want to accuse the pastor across town of trying to proselyte, but the members there didn’t hesitate to do it for him.

The big church had quite a few people with money. They could afford to hire a full-time music director. They had also imported a youth pastor that was given full reign and a handsome expense account to attract and entertain young people. He did his job well, evidently. He personally encouraged all the young people in town to be a part of his youth group.

The bigger church had concerts, dramas, guitar-driven worship, newer songs, fog machines, strobe lights, multimedia presentations, Power-Points and many well-known guest speakers. A Starbucks type coffee shop was just down the hall from the entrance. The aroma always drew a crowd. Their church always had something going on there.

It was impossible for pastor Miller’s small church to compete with the big boys. He had neither the resources nor the staff. He worked a secular job just to keep the wolf away from the door.

He had nearly broken his health trying to dig a church out of nothing. He had been ethical to a fault. He had never taken anyone from another church.

He personally had won most of the people in his church. He had taught almost everyone there a Home Bible Study. He had prayed them through. He had baptized them. So, this is the thanks he gets? How does he stop the migration? He didn’t want to feel jealous or harbor bad thoughts, but it still didn’t feel good. His wife was devastated. Now, there was little chance the church would be self-supporting anytime soon.

He knew the Pentecostals in town considered him “old school”.  He still had testimony service. His church even sang out of the songbook. They sang many choruses that were sung by previous generations.

A piano and a box guitar provided the music. They used to have a drummer, but he had moved across town to the big church.

Bro. Miller had never been invited to preach a special meeting in his life. He knew he never would be asked.

Two special needs adults in his church always caused distractions to visitors. One often spoke out loud at the wrong time and had to be treated like a child.

The $41.43 in the Sunday night offering last week didn’t pay much on the utilities or church payment. His people were poor. He had to help most of them survive. He had paid utilities for many of his people, helped a few times with their house payments. He’d even co-signed for a car, once or twice.

The girls in the big church called the young girls in his church ‘grandmas’. Their modest apparel was scorned as unnecessary. At the big church, not much was said about standards evidently. (That was an unkind thought he knew, but he was not impressed by what he’d seen of them in the mall.)

There was no one for pastor Miller to complain to, confide in, or cry with. He privately wished that the Prophet Nathan would go across town and preach the story of the ‘one ewe lamb’ again. It seemed fitting.

When he heard reports about ‘revival’ and church growth across town, he knew where some of the growth had come from.

Life didn’t seem fair. He made up his mind that he would paste a smile on his face, keep doing his best to have good church, preach like there was a house full, not talk about those who left and encourage the rest. His job, he knew, was to pray blessings on the big church and their pastor.

Pastor Miller knew that not all big churches were like the one across town from him. God would sort it all out somehow and Heaven’s Bookkeepers never made any mistakes. He was trying to help build God’s Kingdom, not his own. For him, this had been a long heartache. But, he would not allow there to be a war in God’s Kingdom.

This Too Is Home Missions!

A re-post from

The Home Missions Chronicles Blog
by Martyn Ballestero

Written by Martyn Ballestero

January 8, 2018 at 4:32 pm

The Skid Row Church

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The Skid Row Church

A flashing red neon sign interrupted the dark.  The Salvation Army Rescue Mission across the street was hard not to notice. The homeless drifted up and down the sidewalk looking for a hand-out. The window of the new storefront church had a hand-scrawled welcome sign inviting one and all to come in.

As the door opens, the smell of fresh paint announces the recent renovations. Battleship Gray paint was on the walls, the old wooden floor and on the home-made benches. Everything in the church was painted gray except the pulpit and the piano.

The piano had been pushed up against the wall on the main floor. Sitting close to the six-inch-high platform. It was positioned to the left of the pulpit. The pastor’s wife played sweetly. It was like she was anointed. She sat facing the wall, but when she looks into the antique mirror fastened on the old upright, she can see her husband, the pastor and watch for his direction. Oh, how they sing! They sang with all their heart. The presence of the Lord was easily felt.

There were no songbooks or microphones. A tambourine and the rhythm of hands clapping complemented the evening worship service. The pastor’s small children sat respectful and quiet. They knew not to play during church.

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There are five children in the pastor’s family. The oldest was barely in his teens. They live in a migrant farm workers camp. The one room, clapboard shanty has been their home for a year. The shack they live in has no running water, no electricity, but it does have a wooden cook stove. The restroom facilities are about 200 feet away. One double bed, a built-in bunk bed, and pallets on the floor provided sleeping arraignments for them. Their little “house” looked just like the 75 or so others in the worker’s camp. Unpainted, no lawn, no porch, just shelter.

The whole family had picked apples in the local orchards when they had first arrived. It was harvest time. The ladders that the fruit pickers used, leaned tediously against the tree limbs. Canvas bags were strapped around the laborer’s necks that held the apples and became very heavy very fast. It was not easy work. It was piece rate labor.

Everyone one else living at “Schwarter’s Station was Hispanic. Their light skin stood out. The pastor finally got a day job at Libby’s Cannery and his wife worked nights at Del Monty’s Cannery to help make ends meet. Their 14-year-old son learned to help cook for the family on the old wood cook stove.

An older retired couple had lived in town for several years and had not gone to church anywhere because there was not a Jesus Name church in the area. They had grown cold spiritually. Now, they had rejoiced over the prospect of having a church in town. They were more than glad to help the new pastor start a church.

They found pails of old gray paint in the barn and felt, that though it might not look pretty, at least it would make the place look clean. There also was enough lumber in the shed to make a small platform and eight benches.

Counting the old drunk on the front row that only came inside because of the weather, there were ten people present and five of them were children. The drunk awoke during the altar call and left. The faithful few gathered around the front. They were disappointed that one got away. There was always the next time, if Jesus tarried.

 

The small group had no support from anyone, just a burden for souls.

This was Home Missions 1958.

(The Skid Row Church was in Yakima, Washington, and is still thriving today.)

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

December 15, 2017 at 9:20 am

It’s Time To Say Thank You.

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It’s Time To Say Thank You.

The old gentleman was a little unsteady on his feet. He had every right to be. He was no longer young. He was in his early 90’s and with the help of his faithful cane; he came over and asked permission to sit by me. I was in Atlanta, seated near gate 16. I welcomed the company during my long layover. I glanced again at him and this time saw that his cap said World War II Veteran.

Thank you for serving our country.” I said smiling at him. The old guy favored his arthritis as he eased into the seat.

“You’re so very welcome,” he said as he found a place to rest his cane. “It was the greatest honor of my life. Some of my buddies didn’t make it back.” He said as he shook his white hair.

I saw his tired looking eyes get a little wet, and then he held me spellbound for the next 40 minutes with stories of his life during the war. His mind was sharp. His voice strong and animated. I was mesmerized.

As he talked, the wrinkles in his weathered face seem to enhance his looks. He had a distinguished air about him as he named events and recalled names. Although I forgot to ask his name I will never forget his stories, his love for America.

Over the years, some members of my own immediate family have proudly served in the armed forces of the United States of America.

  • My brother-in-law, Eric Marxer – Marines.
  • My father, Carl Ballestero – Army.
  • My father-in-law, William Starr – Army Air Force.
  • My step father-in-law, Howard Davis – Navy.

Each of them has my deepest respect and appreciation for putting their life on the line… for me. I owe my freedom to them and others who served with them. I cannot take that lightly; I thank them from the bottom of my heart.

I’ve had thanked hundreds of uniformed men and women. Every veteran that wears a cap or jacket announcing his past service gets my thanks as well.

After the airplane landed at my final destination this week, the flight attendant announced the fact that a young uniformed soldier was on board. The entire crew, as well as the passengers, applauded their thanks to him, as well we should have.

I have seen many others thank our servicemen and women over the years. I too am thankful for those that serve.

What about those soldiers in the greatest war of all? You know, those that help fight the battle for the souls of men and women? What about those other warriors, like the Missionaries, and even our own Pastor? How come they seldom receive our thanks?

When’s the last time you ever saw someone walk up to a Missionary and say, “Thank you for serving the Lord”, or “Thank you for giving your life to the work of God”?

When is the last time you walked up to your Pastor and said something like, “Thank you for your service to God” or “Thank you for giving your life and your time to the ministry”?

Aren’t we to give honor to whom honor is due?

There are unsung heroes among us who have faithfully labored for years in the service of the King. Maybe they’ve never seemed to be well-known outside of their immediate area. Or maybe they’ve never preached a conference.

They might not even have famous relatives. They’ve sure never gotten a hand clap or maybe even much of a thank you. They have just silently preformed their duties. They have been faithful and heaven could not have required anymore.

Most have spent their life doing without. One thing shouldn’t have to do without is our thanks and appreciation.

Of all people, those who are fighting for the souls of men and women in this wicked generation, they need our thanks and our prayers.

Now, go say something nice to one of them.

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

April 8, 2011 at 2:04 am

Are The Heroes Here Yet?

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Are The Heroes Here Yet?

Pastor Brandon Hartzell is my son-in-law. He’s just the best one a father-in–law could ever have. I love him.

He was not raised in a pastor’s home, yet he deeply loves and respects the ministry. He treats me with more honor than I deserve.

He’s often had his picture taken with great men he’s revered. In his office there are pictures on the wall or on his desk of men like Bro. J.T. Pugh, Bro. Wayne Huntley and others who have made positive influences in his life.

Bro. Hartzell deeply loves the ministry and the godly men he has met. He also has a great gift of remembering what they taught him.

Pastor Brandon Hartzell & Ainsley

He also tries to instill into his children and his congregation in Cary, North Carolina that it is a privilege to have these great men of God visit their church and minister to them.

Pastor Hartzell openly tells his people that these men have given their lives to the Gospel and are modern day heroes of the Faith.

He recently announced to his church that the next Sunday, a Missionary would be in visiting in service with them.

Ainsley, his four-year-old daughter, wanted to ride to Sunday School with her Daddy that morning. Upon arriving early at the church, she walked into the auditorium and looked around for the Missionary. She didn’t see anyone she didn’t already know. Little Ainsley looked up at her daddy and said, “Daddy, are the Heroes here yet?”

(Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all Pentecostal kids felt that our Missionaries were Heroes? Maybe they would, if we taught them.)

Written by Martyn Ballestero

November 16, 2010 at 7:21 pm

The Key To The Master’s Orders

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I read this in my devotional today, and wanted to share this with you. May our burden for lost souls never diminish.

MJB

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My  Utmost For His Highest

October 16.

THE KEY TO THE MASTER’S ORDERS

“Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth labourers into His harvest” (Matt. 9:38).

The key to the missionary problem is in the hand of God, and that key is prayer not work, that is, not work as the word is popularly understood today because that may mean the evasion of concentration on God.

The key to the missionary problem is not the key of common sense, nor the medical key, nor the key of civilization or education or even evangelization. The key is prayer. “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest.” Naturally, prayer is not practical, it is absurd; we have to realize that prayer is stupid from the ordinary common-sense point of view.

There are no nations in Jesus Christ’s outlook, but the world. How many of us pray without respect of persons, and with respect to only one Person, Jesus Christ? He owns the harvest that is produced by distress and conviction of sin, and this is the harvest we have to pray that labourers may be thrust out to reap.

We are taken up with active work while people all round are ripe to harvest, and we do not reap one of them, but waste our Lord’s time in over-energized activities. Suppose the crisis comes in your father’s life, in your brother’s life, are you there as a labourer to reap the harvest for Jesus Christ? “Oh, but I have a special work to do!”

No Christian has a special work to do. A Christian is called to be Jesus Christ’s own, one who is not above his Master, one who does not dictate to Jesus Christ what he intends to do. Our Lord calls to no special work: He calls to Himself. “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest,” and He will engineer circumstances and thrust you out.

My Utmost for His Highest.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 16, 2010 at 12:58 pm

Posted in Ministry, Missions, Prayer

The “Somewhere” Church

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In an email today I discover an article by a beloved Missionary friend of mine, Brother Brad Lambeth. He has spent his life laboring untiringly in Brazil and has done an amazing work for God. I was moved by his email and pray you are too.

MJB

The “Somewhere” Church
I just received the attached picture of a new Apostolic church… somewhere.  You see, somehow the text was deleted from the picture and I don´t know where this church is at!

The picture mesmerized my imagination!  Where is this church located? What Brazilian state? What is the name of the town?  Who is the pastor?  How many saints attend there?
Look at the picture.  What do you see?  Are you seeing what I see?


I see a lonely building… standing for Jesus somewhere in this vast Brazil.  Notice the empty background. Does that mean the building is in the country side? Probably so, especially when considering the fence on the right side. The sticks show to be discarded sugarcane stalks. Poor… very poor.
Can you “smell” the cheap paint? Yet, the thin coat of fresh paint shows so much love… and maybe a lot of sacrifice!

Notice that there are no electric wires feeding the building.  Does that mean that their lights were cut off because they did not have the money to pay the token light bill, thus having services in the dark? Or, who knows, because of the poverty, they are having (only) afternoon services?  Better yet, perhaps, the pastor chose to install the light box… BY FAITH, waiting for electrical power to reach their village!
The doors are open. The building is empty.  Does that mean they just started outreach and are awaiting the first convert… or does that mean the pastor (WHO IS HE?!?) sent the picture asking for HELP!
Look inside… can you see the homemade pulpit? While small (and seemingly frail), it speaks of Pentecostal authority!  Within a few hours (perhaps RIGHT NOW)… there will be an Apostolic preacher behind it, preaching with PASSION!

What about the mismatching chair on the left hand side, an afterthought? Or surge of faith that says “I am believing God can fill more than the white chairs… let´s go for the stars!”?

WHO IS THIS MAN OF GOD?  I don´t know his name… I wish I did!  Meanwhile, I am compelled to pray for this church “Somewhere”.  Can you join me?  You see, I can´t even ask you for an offering on his behalf… I DON´T KNOW WHO HE IS!  But we can pray!  Is your faith big enough to pray for someone you never have met… and don´t even know his name… do you have sufficient  faith to pray VICTORY on his behalf?

If you have enough faith, please pray… there is a church SOMEWHERE that needs your prayers!

http://www.jblambeth.com/

Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 1, 2010 at 11:37 am