The Ballestero Blog

"That's what I'm talking about!"

Archive for the ‘Old-Time Pentecost’ Category

“That’s ‘possum gumbo, brother.”

with 7 comments

Almost fifty people sat in the little wooden church house in Lunita, Louisiana. They had come to a Youth Revival to hear nineteen-year-old Marty Ballestero from South Bend, Indiana. Pastor Kirkland had announced revival services for the next nine nights.

There was only one musical instrument in the church, a piano. The pastor’s sixteen-year-old daughter played the best she could. She was backslidden, but they needed some music, and that’s all they had. No one else could play the piano.

The year was 1963, the month was November, and I was out in the sticks. There was not a traffic light or a stop sign to be found for miles. There was not much to be seen here, but piney woods. While praying in those woods I got 59 chigger bites in one hour. I spent the rest of my prayer meetings indoors. It is easier to scratch indoors.

The song service was started with the ‘choir’ coming up on the platform to sing. The ‘choir’ consisted of whoever wanted to come up. Only a few remained seated in the audience. No one shouted during the revival, nor seemed to be overly blessed by the singing or the preaching. But everyone was friendly and said nice things to their guest.

The crowd was made up of hard-working but poor, salt-of-the-earth kind of folks. During prayer requests, names like, ‘Sis. Turtle’, and ‘One-Legged Willie’ got mentioned. No one seemed to be amused by the unusual nicknames.

The offering pan was passed every night and the change clanging on the bottom was very noticeable.

I stayed in the side wing on the left side of the church, right next to the auditorium. My room had a bed and nothing more. An outhouse was not far from my side of the church. A white building now stands in its place. The wing has been more than doubled in size and everything is enlarged and bricked now.

The woods came right up beside the church house back then. The trees came so close it was almost possible to squirrel hunt sitting on the platform.

Bro. Kirkland, the pastor, lived in a mobile home with his wife, his daughter, and son. The trailer was parked to the right of the church. It sat in the tree line as well. He drove a casket delivery truck for Batesville Casket Company. I rode with him a few times during the day for fellowship.

At night after church, I would be invited to eat at their house.

I had never had much of an opportunity to eat Cajun cooking before. I had spent too many years out west and up north. One night, Sister Kirkland said, “I hope you like gumbo, brother,” as I entered her house.

“Oh yes ma’am,” I said. I didn’t know if I did or didn’t, but when you are only eating one meal a day, you don’t get too picky, because it’s 24 hours until they invite you over again.

I watched how my hosts ate their gumbo. It was served with a whole egg in it on one side and a generous helping of warm potato salad over on the other side. The rue was dark. I was hungry and ate mine up. The taste was a little different, but then I’d never had gumbo before, so I didn’t know what to expect.

“That’s ‘possum gumbo, brother.” The pastor’s fourteen-year-old son said. Did you like it?”

I didn’t want to say I liked it because the inward shock of being told I’d just eaten ‘possum was one thing, but to knowingly lie was another.

“It tasted pretty good whatever it was.”  (I don’t think I would have knowingly wished to eat ‘possum, but I did.)

I had been gone from home a little over a month and had been preaching a few nights here and there. This was my first revival since going full-time.

Since the sixteen-year-old piano player was backslidden, I chose not to have any music for altar service the entire revival. I had to give altar calls without music. I wanted her to pray through and knew she couldn’t play and pray at the same time. She did pray through on the last weekend.

I didn’t know, till after service one night, that President Kennedy had been assassinated two days before. There was no radio in my room or newspaper in Lunita to keep me informed.

Sixteen young people prayed through during those nine nights. Many of them were backsliders.

The last night, Bro. Kirkland announced that an offering had been taken every night for the last nine nights and that a total of $4.65 had come in for the evangelist. He said that he would like to have the church vote to give him permission to take $.35 out of the Ladies Auxiliary Fund to raise the total up to $5.00.

All those that were in favor of the evangelistic offering being increased stood to their feet. It was the first election I had ever won.

After church, I said my goodbyes and went down the road a few miles to Deweyville, Texas, on the Texas/Louisiana state line that night. I spent $3.50 in a phone booth for a 3-minute call to my dad, telling him about my first offering. I then bought 5 gallons of gas at the Billups service station for $1.00, for my ’55 Ford and drove across the street to Nick’s Restaurant. There I ordered a $.35 Cheeseburger and spent my last $.15 on a large Dr. Pepper.

 

I left Deweyville broke and happy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

November 28, 2017 at 9:18 am

The Get Run Over Church

with 5 comments

 

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

with 10 comments

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

Visiting A Pentecostal Cracker Barrel

with 10 comments

Visiting A Pentecostal Cracker Barrel

 

I constantly travel, and stopping at a Cracker Barrel is always a good choice for me. I know the menu by heart and can count on getting good food without taking any chances on some unknown greasy spoon.

That being said, I always seem to find myself looking at the artifacts on the walls, and those suspended from the ceiling. They are now, just old relics. They’re just yesterday’s memories on display. As a senior citizen, I find myself looking at what used to be a common everyday commodity or possession for most of my generation and my parents too. Now, they are unneeded, unwanted and only found in museum-type settings as something we now smile about in amusement. We have moved on from those days would be repulsed to go back to that era. Even though we dreamily brag about the good old days, we have no desire to go back in time.

Cracker Barrel isn’t the only place where yesterday is a memory. Some Pentecostal Churches might fit that description as well. Quite often our guests can pick up on the fact that there is even a church inside of a church. Inserted in the midst of a progressive and more liberal-minded membership, is often a smaller group of the old saints who refuse to change.

The old ones, don’t wear the skinny jeans or the short tight skirts. Their hairstyle hasn’t changed much in the last 60 years. But they sure know how to live for God and have church. Those old fogeys might not do well on computers or a smart phone. Texting may also be something they’ve never done.

 

But, What They Have Done, Is:

  • Attend all night prayer meetings.
  • Stayed in prayer beside a sickbed until something miraculous happened.
  • Been carried home from church, too drunk in the Holy Ghost to walk.
  • Never owned a TV.

 

  • Never cut her long hair or worn anything in public that looked like man’s apparel.
  • Sang out of the old songbook, and still shouted.
  • Came early for pre-service prayer.
  • Stayed late after church, and fellowshipped.

 

  • Never questioned or crossed their man of God.
  • Said “Amen” during the preaching.
  • Faithfully paid their tithes.
  • Did everything they could think of to bless their pastor and his family.

 

  • Loved holiness and never questioned standards.
  • Never posted their favorite movies or TV shows on social media.
  • Had no desire to look like, dress like or act like the world.
  • Their old Bible was heavily marked from daily reading.

 

  • They were used in travail and intercessory prayer for others.
  • Their testimonies had that “New Jerusalem” ring to it.
  • There was a tenderness in their praise and worship.
  • There was strong faith in their hearts that God could do anything.

 

  • They had no hospital insurance.
  • They had no food stamps nor received unemployment.
  • They actually prayed, “Give us this day our daily bread.”
  • They didn’t try to fit-in to the worldly crowd.
  • Their godly style of dress made them stand out from the world.

 

And, those are just a few identifying things about them!

 

The new generation has church their way. The older saints watch them sing songs that don’t touch the soul, produce joy or bring comfort. The only way to even know all the words to the song is to look up on the screen. The 24 repeats of the seven-word chorus often make them wince.

Their eyes see the younger people rejoice or lift their hands and cry. Some older folks think about the words of the song and somehow don’t always feel the same response or heart reaction. They might even ask themselves, “How come I don’t feel what they’re feeling?” All older saints know that the Scriptures commanded us to sing a new song. Yet it never commanded anyone to quit singing the old ones.

 

Ezra 3:11 And they sang together by course in praising and giving thanks unto the LORD; because he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever toward Israel. And all the people shouted with a great shout, when they praised the LORD, because the foundation of the house of the LORD was laid. 

Ezra 3:12 But many of the priests and Levites and chief of the fathers, who were ancient men, that had seen the first house, when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes, wept with a loud voice; and many shouted aloud for joy:

Ezra 3:13 So that the people could not discern the noise of the shout of joy from the noise of the weeping of the people: for the people shouted with a loud shout, and the noise was heard afar off.

 

Everyone rejoiced that there was a Temple! The young men rejoiced loudly, but the old men cried loudly because they remembered what the first temple was like. They realized this wasn’t exactly like it used to be and that day seemed forever gone. If the truth were known, it is.

When holiness is scoffed at and called names. When godly dressed young ladies are still called grandma by church folk. When virginity is mocked, and modesty disrespected by the fashion-conscious crowd. It would seem that some churches have become a Pentecostal Cracker Barrel.

 

Many Of Our Churches Now Have A Heritage Sunday:

 

  • Why?
  • What’s that for?
  • Do they truly want to go back to the old-fashioned Pentecostal ways?
  • Are they all serious about changing about renouncing their make-up, jewelry and immodest clothing?

 

  • Are they actually seeking out the old paths?
  • Is that when the old preachers get invited to preach in his old-school style so they can all look at how it used to be preached?
  • Are we interested in maintaining this Apostolic Message like was handed to us?

 

So, when old visiting saints come into our sanctuaries, do they feel like they are in some sort of religious Cracker Barrel where the food tastes good but the service only reminds them what Pentecost used to be?

 

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 10, 2017 at 8:53 pm

We Will Adjust To Your Lifestyle

with 9 comments

We Will Adjust To Your Lifestyle

 

The dietary nurse stood beside my Memphis hospital bed with a clipboard in her hand. I was confident that I already knew the speech she was about to give me. I’d heard it almost seven years earlier, the first time I had gotten blood clots.

“Is this the Anti-Vitamin K speech?” I asked her, expecting that I would not be able to eat anything green as long I was on the Coumadin blood thinner again. Nothing green had entered my mouth in over a year during my first bout with blood clots.

“Oh No!” she responded with enthusiasm.

“We don’t do it that way any more. We now adjust the medicine to fit your lifestyle. We’ve had too many complaints from our patients. They didn’t want to change, so we changed. They didn’t want to change how they ate. That’s why we changed our approach to the treatment of blood clots. We now tell the patient to keep eating like they always have and we will adjust the medicine to suit them.” She said this with a big smile, feeling certain I would share her enthusiasm.

“Really?” I said with my eyebrows raised in surprise.

“Yes,” she said. “For example, if you eat two helpings of turnip greens this week, then just eat two helpings of turnip greens next week too. Keep on living like you always have and we will adjust the meds to adapt to your lifestyle.”

I looked at her not believing my ears. I remembered the many monthly trips I had made to medical labs around the country to let them draw my blood for a PT-INR test. The results were faxed to my doctor so he could check up on my dietary compliance.

She smiled and assured me that I now could have all the salads, green beans, and broccoli I wanted. This news was unreal. The doctor would adjust the medicine to accommodate me. I wasn’t going to be required to change. The doctor and the medication would have to change, but not me. I could live like I always had.

My mind went back to the incident Bro. Wayne Huntley experienced with his heart some years ago. When he returned for his check up one year later, the doctor congratulated him and said, “Most of the patients like you do not make it to their first year check up because they refuse to change their diet. You’ve changed how you live, that’s why you are still here.”

 

Gentle Reader? The reason you got sick in the first place was because of how you were living, and now you say you want to be healed but aren’t willing to change? Oh my!

 

What was I missing? Doctors once required their patients to change and adjust their lifestyle, but not any more? Some tell me it’s progressive thinking. But then again, that is the spirit and mindset of the end times, especially for the church.

Evidently, not many want to change their lifestyle to live for Jesus. Over a hundred years ago church folk sang songs like:

 

Leaving All to Follow Jesus

Ida M. Budd, 1898

 

Leaving all to follow Jesus,

Turning from the world away,

Stepping out upon the promise,

All I have is His today.

 

Refrain:

Leaving all to follow Jesus,

Turning from the world away,

Stepping out upon His promise,

All I have is His today.

 

Some folks don’t want to give up much anymore to live for God. There are women who say they are Pentecostal but still wear their flashy jewelry and make up. They certainly want to wear their tight pants. Even if God did say it was an abomination, it doesn’t bother them. They will not change. They want the preacher to adjust his doctrine and standards to suit their lifestyle while they keep on wearing their skinny short skirts and other immodest apparel. Holiness is distasteful to them.

What do the preachers do about it? Not much as a rule. A surprising number of Pentecostal pastors are presenting the Gospel of Christ in much the same way as my dietary nurse. Pastors who are people pleasers are not God pleasers. The Scripture calls them ‘hirelings’. They are pastors who are not real shepherds. They are employees of the people, nothing more. The wishes of people govern their form of the Gospel, (Which is not a Gospel.) They are truly Laodicean.

Rev 3:14 And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

Rev 3:15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.

Rev 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

Rev 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

Rev 3:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

 

To understand the meaning of the word ‘Laodicean,’ and why it is used in this passage, examine the Greek root words from which it is derived: Laos (Strong’s #2992, meaning ‘people’) and Dike (Strong’s #1349), meaning ‘principle, decision’. Laodiceans trusted in their own ability to rule themselves, judging and deciding matters while disregarding Christ and His rule in the Church. The people wanted to rule the church. They didn’t want a pastor who was a God-called pastor to lead them. But, that is really nothing new. The same problem existed in the Old Testament.

Isa 30:10 Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits:

 

Oh yes! Some like their modern churches with their hireling pastors because no inward or outward change is required. (Just put your money in the basket.)

 

On The Other Hand, The Bible Is Full Of Examples Of Men Changing:

Luke 9:23 And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.

 

Rom 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.

 

2Cor 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,

 

The Rich Young Ruler didn’t want to change.

Ruth was willing to change.

 

No one in God’s Kingdom will ever be healed of sin until they are willing to change. Even before the Holy Ghost was given, Jesus continually reminded those He healed to go their way and sin no more. He told them to change.

 

Obedience Always Brings Change.

Arguments Come From The Disobedient Attempting To Defend Themself.

 

The reason you argue about Holiness is because you don’t want to change your way of living. You want to find a church that will preach a message that comfortably conforms to how you want to live, and you will.

Don’t tell me you are not convicted by what is written in the Bible. Don’t even say you’ve prayed about it and don’t feel it’s necessary to obey. If it’s in the Bible, believe it and obey it!

Men change, fellowships and organizations change. Denominations change. God’s Word NEVER changes. The very fact that your hireling pastor won’t preach and enforce God’s Word should be enough to keep you up at night. How can you stay in a church with a compromising pastor and a worldly congregation who like it like that?

In the Old Testament, Israel never argued about God’s Holiness requirements. They just obeyed. On the Day of Pentecost no one argued about the need of Jesus Name baptism or the need of the Holy Ghost. They just repented, got baptized in Jesus Name and were filled with the Holy Ghost.

 

Paul changed every day. (1Co 15:31… I die daily.)

 

The High School Driving Instructor taught my class, in 1960, that the average driver makes approximately sixty corrections or adjustments per minute while driving. What if they didn’t make any changes or adjustments?

When a couple marries they must make adjustments and changes, those who refuse will likely divorce.

If someone wanted to play on the football team, they must be willing to change their life to reach that goal. If they don’t change, they won’t make the team. Yet, in living for God, with Heaven in view, we foolishly refuse to change. Why?

 

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

May 25, 2016 at 11:28 pm

Yours or His?

with 10 comments

“They Don’t Make ‘Em Like They Used Too!”

My Daddy would say that to me with a big grin on his face when as a boy, I was unable to open a jar lid that was too tight for me or when I tried to lift something too heavy and couldn’t. We would both chuckle.

Maybe Grandpa said that to my Daddy when he was a boy too. I said it to my sons and maybe they’ve said to their sons as well.

I was blessed to have lived and enjoyed church worship in simpler and more basic times. The worship in church was directly affected, no doubt, by the tough times we all experienced.

Many songs and choruses were written about heaven and sung by those who lived during the depression and hard times. But what strikes my heart today is the lack of certain types of songs being written and sung in our churches today.

 

Old saints can remember songs like:

 

“Is Your All on the Altar?”

By Elisha A. Hoffman – 1900

  1. You have longed for sweet peace,
    And for faith to increase,
    And have earnestly, fervently prayed;
    But you cannot have rest,
    Or be perfectly blest,
    Until all on the altar is laid.

    • Refrain:
      Is your all on the altar of sacrifice laid?
      Your heart does the Spirit control?
      You can only be blest,
      And have peace and sweet rest,
      As you yield Him your body and soul.
  2. Would you walk with the Lord,
    In the light of His word,
    And have peace and contentment alway?
    You must do His sweet will,
    To be free from all ill,
    On the altar your all you must lay.
  3. Oh, we never can know
    What the Lord will bestow
    Of the blessings for which we have prayed,
    Till our body and soul
    He doth fully control,
    And our all on the altar is laid.
  4. Who can tell all the love
    He will send from above,
    And how happy our hearts will be made;
    Of the fellowship sweet
    We shall share at His feet,
    When our all on the altar is laid.

 

 

Remember this one too?

 

“I Surrender All”

By Judson W. Van DeVenter – 1896

 

  1. All to Jesus I surrender;
    All to Him I freely give;
    I will ever love and trust Him,
    In His presence daily live.

    • Refrain:
      I surrender all,
      I surrender all;
      All to Thee, my blessed Savior,
      I surrender all.
  2. All to Jesus I surrender;
    Humbly at His feet I bow,
    Worldly pleasures all forsaken;
    Take me, Jesus, take me now.
  3. All to Jesus I surrender;
    Make me, Savior, wholly Thine;
    Let me feel the Holy Spirit,
    Truly know that Thou art mine.
  4. All to Jesus I surrender;
    Lord, I give myself to Thee;
    Fill me with Thy love and power;
    Let Thy blessing fall on me.
  5. All to Jesus I surrender;
    Now I feel the sacred flame.
    Oh, the joy of full salvation!
    Glory, glory, to His Name!

 

Both of these precious old songs were written many years before my parents were even born.

  • Why is there a shortage and scarcity of heart searching and consecration type songs?
  • Why does it seem like everyone has stopped writing and singing songs of surrender and submission?
  • It simply bothers me.

Yes, we are to sing a new song. I agree. I will sing and worship along with you. But at the same time, I ask, why throw all the consecration songs like those of yesterday away? Is there no longer a need? Have we arrived? Is there not a cause or a concern? Am I alone on this?

I looked online and found this site that shows about 49 songs of heart examination (most of which I’ve never heard sung.) What is very noticeable and glaring to me is the fact that almost every song was written more than a hundred years ago.

http://library.timelesstruths.org/music/_/Examination/?sortby=subject

 

Then it seems like every gospel song writer up and quit. Is there no longer a need for consecration in our singing or in surrendering to His Will? About a good as most of us get to hear lately is something like:

 

“Yes, Lord, Yes”

I’ll say yes, Lord, yes
To your will and to your way
I’ll say yes, Lord, yes
I will trust you and obey
When your Spirit speaks to me
With my whole heart I’ll agree
And my answer will be yes, Lord, yes

 

But truly we don’t have much to show in the last one hundred years that expresses to God our heart’s surrender. I know that to a younger generation that I am an old man blowing off steam. I will not even defend myself on that point.

I just happen to like and appreciate what those old songs did to my heart and how that in singing them they shaped my thinking and my mindset. I want my grandchildren to have the same experience in God.

They Really Don’t Make Them Like They Use To.

Come on songwriters and singers. Write us some songs that make us want to consecrate. Songs that make our hearts cry. Songs that are what God wants to hear not just what we like to shout to.

 

Today while looking through some old papers, I found a tattered sheet of old paper with a poem written in my Father’s handwriting. Tears came to my eyes as I read the words and felt the meaning and the understanding of why my Father felt that this poem was important enough to him to hand copy it.

Written on the backside were some notes to a sermon he preached called Aids To Navigation. I researched online and found the title of this poem written by Joseph Addison Richards. As for me, I need not say anymore.

 FullSizeRender

Yours or His?

I owned a little boat a while ago
And sailed a Morning Sea without a fear,
And whither any breeze might fairly blow
I’d steer the little craft afar or near

Mine was the boat, and mine the air,
And mine the sea; not mine, a care.

My boat became my place of nightly toil.
I sailed at sunset to the fishing ground.
At morn the boat was freighted with the spoil
that my all-conquering work and skill had found.

Mine was the boat, and mine the net,
And mine the sill, and power to get.

One day there passed along the silent shore,
While I my net was casting in the sea,
A man, who spoke as never man before;
I followed Him–new life begun in me.

Mine was the boat, but His the voice,
And His the call; yet mine, the choice.

Ah, ’twas a fearful night out on the lake,
And all my skill availed not a the helm,
Till Him asleep I waken, crying “Take,
take Thou command, lest waters overwhelm!”

His was the boat, and His the Sea,
And His the Peace o’er all and me.

Once from His boat He taught the curious throng,
then bade me let down nets out in the sea;
I murmured, but obeyed, nor was it long
Before the catch amazed and humbled me.

His was the boat, and His the skill,
And His the catch–and His, my will.

Joseph Addison Richards

 

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

August 5, 2015 at 5:35 pm

Boycott Trashy Gumbo

with 5 comments

“If There’s Anything I Can’t Stand, It’s Trashy Gumbo!”

I love pretty much everything about the South. I’m neither a Southerner nor a Cajun Chef, but I do have taste buds that seldom lie. Before I married at the age of twenty-one, I’d already lived in twenty-two houses and attended twenty-six schools. So, I’ve gotten to see all of America growing up. It feels like I’ve lived everywhere, but most of my life has been spent in Indiana, so that feels most like home. It certainly is a non-gumbo state.

Since the beginning of my ministry, I have preached mainly in the South. Everyone there considers me a Yankee, even though I am a Westerner by birth. That being said, since I know I how to say, ya’ll and you guys, I somehow must be bi-lingual.

For the benefit of my non-southern friends, the folks down in Cajun Country are very particular about their Gumbo. They don’t freely call someone’s chicken and sausage soup, a Gumbo. Family recipes are treasured and protected. The Seafood Restaurants that serve great Gumbo will always have full parking lots.

I’ve eaten Gumbo with light rue, dark rue, and very dark rue. There are some Gumbos so thin that one could almost read a newspaper at the bottom of the bowl. I even eat my Gumbo with a scoop of hot potato salad and a boiled egg in it. My family really loves good Gumbo. Our cupboard always has some Tony’s, Cajun hot sauce and Creole seasoning in it too.

I have often been treated to what in my mind is the World’s finest Gumbo. But I didn’t start out eating good Gumbo. I preached a revival in rural Louisiana in the early sixties and the poor pastor and his wife made me my first taste of what they said was Gumbo. I ate it, not knowing if it was good or bad.

My teaching at home was to eat what was set before me, so I did. They told me after the dishes were done that it was ‘possum gumbo. My stomach had a board meeting that night to decide whether to keep the possum down or let it go free. It stayed, much to my disappointment.

Catching Southerners in candid moments when they are talking about someone else’s cooking is always memorable. I recently heard a dear southern friend confide to me, “If there’s anything I can’t stand, it’s trashy gumbo.” They really meant it too.

I’ve eaten ‘good Yankee Gumbo’ and good ‘Cajun Gumbo’ and I love it when I can get it. I’ve eaten stuff passed off as Gumbo and felt the need to pray for strength to get it all down. If gumbo tastes trashy, I may not even get through the first bowl.

Trashy Gumbo? Well, yes! You see, all the cooks have at their disposal the right ingredients, but the way bad cooks put it all together leaves a horrible distaste in the mouth of those who know the difference between good gumbo and trashy.

  • No table guest in the South is prepared to suck his or her gumbo up through a straw because it got watered down so much in the kitchen.
  • There’s some cooks make Gumbo so hot that no one can eat it without getting heartburn.
  • Others use meat so sparingly you wonder why they even bothered.
  • Then there’s some Gumbo that make’s me wonder if my old possum had any kin folks that made it over into my Gumbo again.

When It Comes To Doctrine And The Important Things Of God, Apostolic Preachers Have The Right Ingredients.

 

If There’s Anything I Can’t Stand, It’s Trashy Gumbo.

 

Brother Ballestero, Are You Talking Gumbo Or Church?

I’m Talking Mainly About Church.

Some folks may feel like they are actually being fed when they hear a watered down message, or one with no meat, no doctrine or substance. Then there are some that love it so hot that everyone gets burnt.

But, I still love it when the preacher gets up to preach and pulls out the old Apostolic Family Recipe and feeds the flock as though it was the Lord Himself who prepared the meal. It ‘s always nourishing and tastes just right!

My advice for today is:

Boycott Trashy Gumbo!

 

Boycott2

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

July 14, 2015 at 5:16 pm