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Archive for the ‘Personal Evangelism’ Category

Some Did, Some Didn’t

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Some Did, Some Didn’t

Fall is a beautiful time in Indiana. The farmers have little roadside vegetable stands set up that stay busy with city slicker customers looking for fresh produce.

By this time of year, most crops have already been harvested.  Well, except for maybe soybeans, pumpkins and the field corn.

The average crop of field corn is beautiful when it is harvested. Trucks can be seen hauling the yellow corn to the ethanol plants and to the local Co-op.

For the most part, all the ears of corn look very much alike. But what catches the eye, are the ears of corn that don’t look like the others.  Some cobs are full with golden kernels; others are not. There are ears of corn of varied lengths and descriptions. In every truck load.

What these ears of field corn have in common, is that:

  • They all were planted by the same farmer.
  • They all were purchased at the same feed store.
  • They all were planted in the same field.
  • They all received the same amount of fertilizer.
  • They all received the same amount of sunshine.
  • They all received the same amount of rain.
  • They all received the same amount of wind.
  • They all received the same amount of weeding.
  • They all received the same amount of irrigation.
  • They were all planted the same day.
  • They were all harvested the same day.
  • They didn’t all turn out the same.
  • Why?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Was it difference the farmer’s fault? Was the problem with the seed, or was it the soil? I’ll never know. The harvest shows the disparity of each ear.

 

There is another harvest that comes to mind. That one is a Harvest of Souls.

Apostolic churches are beautiful in spirit and worship. They are lovely in holiness and truth. Their love and fervor for the name of Jesus is without equal.

Yet, not every church member looks and acts the same. Here and there exceptions are found in every congregation.

  • Some don’t pray like the rest.
  • Some don’t worship like the rest
  • Some don’t pay tithe like the rest.
  • Some won’t dress like the rest.
  • Some won’t live like the rest.
  • Some won’t be faithful like the rest.
  • Some won’t witness like the rest.
  • Some don’t love holiness like the rest.
  • Some won’t obey God’s Word like the rest.
  • Why?

 

What made them different from all the others? How come others connected with God, the church and the pastor and they didn’t? I can’t answer that, and you may not be able to either.

  • They all went to the same church.
  • They all sang the same songs.
  • They all prayed at the same time.
  • They all had the same pastor.
  • They all heard the same sermon.
  • They all received the same encouragement.
  • They all received the same correction.
  • They all were given the same love.
  • They all were given the same hope.
  • They all attended the same revivals
  • They all came forward to pray at the end of the service.

Yet some got on fire, and others did not. Some submitted to God, and others did not. Some got a good experience of the Holy Ghost, and others… who knows?

Some lived a life of carefulness. Others did not. Some looked godly. Others did not. Some dressed modestly. Others did not. Some knew God. Others… who knows?

Some women had uncut hair. Others did not. Some men were clean-shaven. Others were not. Some always said ‘Amen”. Others did not. Some had a fiery testimony. Others did not.

Some day, some will hear Him say, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.” Others may not.

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

September 27, 2011 at 1:00 am

Too Drunk Too Fish

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Too Drunk Too Fish

The Weatherman pronounced a beautiful October day. The World Series was underway and the fish were biting according to the Farmers Almanac. Life didn’t get much better than this for Alex.

He parked his old car in front of John’s Bait and Tackle Store. He said ‘Good Morning” to the clerk and looked to see if John had gotten any new crank baits in. Finding nothing new, he sauntered back to the cooler where the Night Crawlers were kept.

He opened the door, selected a carton and then stood there a minute. On the top shelf was beer.  Alex grabbed a six-pack, and headed for the counter. He paid for his purchases and for a bag of ice from the machine outside.

Within 30 minutes, Alex had backed his boat down the ramp, parked his car and was happily rowing to his special spot.

He stopped a minute to turn his portable radio on. He didn’t want to miss anything. The World Series was all tied up at 3 games each. Today was the final game.

The water was calm and the color of the water looked right too. He eased into the little cove where he always caught his limit and silently lowered the anchor.

The poles took a minute to get baited up. He made his casts and watched as the red and white bobbers lazily rose and fell with the water’s movement.

The sun felt warm and comfortable. Alex opened the cooler and pulled out a beer. He nursed his drink as he listened to the game. His team was having a good day. But this was only the bottom of the 3st Inning.

An hour later, a bobber announced that another baby fish was trying to steal his bait. No keepers had taken the bait yet.

His daydreaming turned to thoughts of home. He’d had an argument with his wife last night. She was still mad at him. The kids were out of control again. To make matters worse, they were talking at work about downsizing at the plant. Maybe he’d go ahead and drink another beer.

The sports announcer’s voice rose with excitement. Alex hollered out loud as he heard the news of his team scoring a home run. He finished the beer to celebrate.

The bobber finally went under and Alex landed a keeper. He put another worm on his hook and cast back into the same area.

Alex opened another beer and sat there listening. The other team had taken the lead. That made him drink in frustration.

Other fishing boats could be seen around the lake. Voices announced their excitement over each new catch. Alex knew that he needed to catch enough for supper. His one wasn’t enough. He had to catch several more. He reached for another cold one.

The game ended. Alex was so mad and disappointed that he turned the radio off and opened another beer. He began to guzzle it down and then he opened the last one.

The gentle rock of the boat, the warmth of the sun, and the beer all helped relax Alex. His eyes slowly closed and his chin rested on his chest and he went to sleep. The bobber’s submerging was of no concern to him. Alex was too drunk to fish.

The story of Alex is more than just about a man having a bad day. This story is also about those who may never have tasted alcohol, yet are too drunk to fish.

KJV – Luke 21:34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.

KJV – Rom. 13:13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.

The Message – Luke 21:34-36 But be on your guard. Don’t let the sharp edge of your expectation get dulled by parties and drinking and shopping. Otherwise, that Day is going to take you by complete surprise, spring on you suddenly like a trap, for it’s going to come on everyone, everywhere, at once. So, whatever you do, don’t go to sleep at the switch. Pray constantly that you will have the strength and wits to make it through everything that’s coming and end up on your feet before the Son of Man.

The Message – Rom. 13:11-14 But make sure that you don’t get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God. The night is about over, dawn is about to break. Be up and awake to what God is doing! God is putting the finishing touches on the salvation work he began when we first believed. We can’t afford to waste a minute, must not squander these precious daylight hours in frivolity and indulgence, in sleeping around and dissipation, in bickering and grabbing everything in sight. Get out of bed and get dressed! Don’t loiter and linger, waiting until the very last minute. Dress yourselves in Christ, and be up and about!

Evidently the fear 2,000 years ago was that the saints would become so intoxicated with living and the things of life they wouldn’t do much for God. If there were warnings issued then, there certainly should be even more issued now.

Our job as Holy Ghost filled children of God is not just to enjoy this glorious experience alone. We are to be fishers of men. That’s our calling. Let’s not get sidetracked with life and living.

How are we doing on our witnessing? Are we letting our light shine? Are we catching anything or are we too drunk to fish?

Written by Martyn Ballestero

June 16, 2011 at 10:13 am

Ten Traits Of A Successful Saint

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Ten Traits Of A Successful Saint

They Have Faith

  • They trust God.
  • Heb. 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

They Are Obedience

  • They don’t argue with the Bible or the Pastor. They willingly submit to His Word.
  • Rom. 6:17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.

They Live Righteousness

  • They live right. They are honorable, pay their bills, and their word are their bond. They give the Church a good name.
  • Phil. 1:11 Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.

They Are Humble

  • They are not proud or arrogant. Neither do they display attitudes.
  • 1Pet. 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

They Love One Another

  • They love, forgive, overlook faults, are not harsh or critical. They are kind and helpful.
  • 1John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.

They Surrounded Themselves With Godly Fellowship

  • They are careful about influences in their life. They understand, carnal friends call pull them down and pull them out.
  • 2Tim. 2:22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

They Worship:

  • They don’t have to be begged to praise the Lord.
  • Heb. 2:12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.

They Witness

  • They never forget who they are and why they are here.
  • Matt. 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

They Have Personal Devotions

  • They include the Lord in their daily living.
  • Acts 3:1 Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour.

They Live A Holy Life

  • They live like, and even look like someone who has given their life to the Lord.
  • Rom. 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

July 9, 2010 at 9:45 am

Why My English Teacher Wanted To Be Baptized In Jesus Name!

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Why My English Teacher Wanted To Be Baptized In Jesus Name!

Ms. DeGroote, as she wished to be called, was from France and she taught my senior year English class at South Bend Central High. She was 63 and referred to herself as a spinster. We had more creative names for her. Most of the students dreaded her classes. We were taught diction and enunciation with a heavy French accent. It seemed to make learning to speak proper English an impossibility with her as the instructor. By much effort I received the only A in her class both semesters.

My class was filled with Catholic students. South Bend, Indiana still is a predominately Catholic town. Its claim to fame is the University of Notre Dame. I was the only non-Catholic in the class.

Ms. DeGroote was a stern woman who tolerated no-nonsense in any of her classes. I was highly confined in her restrictive and controlled environment.

During the course, we had many weeks of conjugation and diagramming sentences. Somehow the nerd in me found those subjects easy and interesting. No, that is not normal, but it happened nevertheless.  (I knew I was a nerd and not a geek, because geeks make more money than nerds.)

One day Ms. DeGroote said, “Now students, tomorrow I want you to bring to class a sentence or sentences that you have diagrammed. You may go to the board and diagram your sentence, and I will correct your paper. Or, I will go to the board and diagram your sentence while you correct the paper.

For the life of me, I could not think of a sentence to diagram. Especially since the whole class would see. Then it dawned on me. What better sentence in the world to diagram! I went home, picked up my Bible, and copied Mt. 28:19 down. I proceeded to diagram the verse. This just had to be right.

The next day couldn’t come soon enough. I was ready for class. When 3rd period English finally arrived I knew I would be the second one called on. Everything in the class was by alphabet. Even our seating was arranged that way. I set behind Adams. We were all called by our last names.

When Adams was called on, he went to the chalkboard and almost got his correct. Ms. DeGroote sat at his empty desk and corrected his paper while he was at the board. When he finished, I heard “Ballestero!”

“I would like you to go to the board and diagram my sentence, and I will correct my own paper,” I said to Ms. DeGroote.

She said, “Read me your sentence.”

“It’s a Bible verse, if that’s OK,” I ventured.

She nodded and I read my Scripture.

Matthew 28:19 (KJV) Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

“Go ye therefore (comma)” I said.

Ms. DeGroote prefaced her work with a (you) in front of the word “Go”.

When I read the verse aloud, I paused on the word “name,” while I waited for her to catch up.

“Of the Father,” I said.

“Now, here we have a prepositional phrase modifying the word name. At this point we do not know yet what the name of the person is, but we do know by this prepositional phrase, that whoever this person is, they are a Father,” she said.

She then drew the appropriate lines on her diagram.

“Of the Son,” I continued.

“Now we know, that this person is both a Father and a Son, but we still don’t have a name.”

“Ms. DeGroote,” a girl named Williams called out with her hand in the air. “Aren’t Father and Son names?”

“They’re just descriptive titles. They tell us something about the name, but they don’t tell us His name, they are only titles.” was her answer.

She again drew the second prepositional phrase on the board.

“Of the Holy Ghost.” I continued.

After the 3rd prepositional phrase was in place, my teacher looked carefully at the diagram on the board from end to end. She shook her head. “All we know here is that whoever this person is, they are a Father, a Son, and they are the Holy Ghost! But we still don’t know what the name is.”

“Martyn,” she said looking at me carefully, “What is the name?”

I had been waiting for this moment. I stood, and gently said, “Jesus is the name!”

Ms DeGroote looked at her writing on the board. Then she turned back to me with her arms wide in surrender. With a heavy French accent, my Catholic English teacher said, “I guess I need to be baptized in Jesus name!”

“Yes!” I said as I pulled my upraised clinched fist down from my chin area. The other 30 students in the class clapped. I did a modest jig in the class aisle myself.

Have you been baptized in Jesus name?

Acts 2:38 (KJV) Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Acts 4:12 (KJV) Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

March 12, 2010 at 7:08 am