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Archive for the ‘Prayer’ Category

“Thanks, Dad! I got it for myself!”

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The Apostolic Tabernacle, located 905 S. Pike Street in Shelbyville, Indiana, was celebrating its anniversary. Bro. Carl Ballestero had just finished teaching the afternoon Bible Study. The service ended in prayer, and then the crowd was dismissed. Bro. Cavaness promised to feed his guests a BBQ feast and the crowd showed their excitement to go eat. Well, all except one teenager.

The dark-haired young man looked for a side room or a place to hide until the church emptied. He hoped that no one would miss him or come looking for him. He didn’t want to be seen by anyone right now. He couldn’t find a classroom.

Without anyone noticing, he slipped through a door that led him to the baptismal tank area. There, he bent over so as to remain unseen and moved to the side of the tank and laid down on the bare floor, flat on his back. He closed his eyes and waited. It seemed like forever before the sounds of conversations to died out and then he heard the front door close. He listened for any sounds of footsteps, but all was quiet. That’s when it started.

The boy began to cry, when I say cry, I don’t mean that there was a tear or two. I mean he began to sob. He wanted the same experience with God that his parents had. He felt shallow, empty, and unfulfilled. He wanted more of God. The sobs turned into groans and heartfelt travail. Time wasn’t important, food wasn’t important, getting something from God at that moment was all that mattered now.

Most of the afternoon the young prayed. His eyes were almost swollen shut. Some hours later, as folks gathered in for the evening service, he slipped out of the baptistery and into the Men’s room to comb his hair and wash his face. No one seemed to notice his earlier absence. His parents never mentioned it.

The young man became a pastor and many years later he invited Bro. Roger Evens to preach for him. One day, Bro. Evens said, “Do you remember the day at Shelbyville that you prayed behind the baptistery and didn’t go eat with everyone else?

The young pastor’s mouth dropped open. “How do you know about that?” he asked.

“I was there,” Bro. Evens said. “I came back into the church with your dad looking for you and making sure you had a way to go eat. That’s when we heard you crying out to God. I told you dad to go pray with you because I couldn’t go eat knowing you were crying like that.”

“Your dad said, ‘No, I can’t go pray for him.”

“Why not?” I said.

“Like a baby chick getting out of its shell, it has to do that by its self! If he doesn’t get this for himself he will never amount to a hill of beans.”

“With tears in your dad’s eyes and in mine, we walked out of the church that day.”

 

 

Fifty-five years later, all I can say now is, “Thanks, Dad! I got it for myself!”

Written by Martyn Ballestero

March 19, 2018 at 1:55 pm

So, When Do The Servers Eat?

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So, When Do The Servers Eat?

 

 

 

 

 Imagine Being In A Restaurant.

In the restaurant, we eat and enjoy our wonderful meal. We love being pampered and catered to. We are made to completely enjoy the experience… because of the servers. But, when do they ever get to eat? They just stay busy serving.

 

 Imagine Being In Church.

  • In church, we enjoy the worship,
  • We enjoy the song service,
  • We enjoy the talented musicians,

 

  • We enjoy the multimedia,
  • We enjoy the songs and scriptures up on the big screen,
  • And, we enjoy the clear crisp sound of every amplified voice.

 

  • We are made to completely enjoy the experience… because of the servers.
  • But when do they get to eat?
  • They are so busy serving us that they don’t stop to eat when everyone else eats.

 

 When Do The Musicians Get To Sing?

  • How long do they have to go without worship?
  • How long can their spiritual man survive without food?

 

 How About The People In The Sound Booth?

  • Do those involved in multimedia ever get a chance to get blessed?
  • Are they restricted from raising their hands?
  • Are they so techie and committed to media and sound excellence, that there is no room for worship?
  • Is it improper for them to say, ‘Amen” while in the sound booth?

 

 What About The Preachers On The Platform?

 

 When Do The Servers In God’s House Get To Eat What Everyone Else Gets To Eat?

  • How long can you go without a blessing?
  • How long?
  • Has anyone noticed that worship from many of our musicians, multimedia/sound techs, and most of the platform is almost non-existent?

 

Haven’t they heard that worship is everyone’s business?

  • Worship is everyone’s duty!
  • Worship is everyone’s privilege!
  • No one is exempt!

 

It would almost appear, that those who have chosen to be in the sound booth and stay there without any response to worship, prayer, or to the preaching… are not showing any signs of a spiritual life.

One might think they have more knowledge of technical stuff in their heads than they have knowledge of God in their hearts.

How can you play an instrument unto the Lord, and you feel anything?

How can you as a minister request the saints to really worship the Lord, and yet you don’t set the example?

 

If David the King, could take off his golden crown and dance before the ark, why can’t we all take off the golden crown that represents our little office, and dance like David?

  • Am I being harsh, or unfair? No doubt. (I won’t even defend myself.)
  • I am a preacher. When do I get to partake and enjoy a worship service? (I’ve got to eat too!)
  • I am a musician. When do I get to lay my guitar down? When do I get to shout? (I’ve got to eat too!)

 

I am somewhat of a nerd. I’ve installed sound equipment and set up computers in a number of churches and ran their multimedia for them. When do I get to come out of the sound booth and praise the Lord? (I’ve got to eat too!)

  • Never let your office or job put you in a position to stop rejoicing in the Lord.
  • Never think worship and responding to His presence is beneath you.
  • Never stop responding to preaching, no matter where you are seated in the church.

 

Is it just the carnal people who volunteer run the multimedia? Or do worshippers still exist back there too?

Is it the mindset of musicians to stay so focused on showcasing their talent that… that’s all it is? Or do worshippers still exist up there too?

Is it the attitude of ministry that they are so deep into the Word, that any demonstration is beneath them? Or do worshippers still exist there too?

 

I have no answers.

I only have one question.

 

When Do The Servers Eat?

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

February 28, 2018 at 1:10 pm

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

She’s A Woman In Love!

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She’s A Woman In Love!

 

Everyone can tell she’s in love, because of how she acts around him.

They also can tell she’s in love by how she acts when she’s by herself.

Even strangers can look at her, when she’s with him, and see that she’s in love.

 

Her every thought is consumed with thinking about him and them.

She is affectionate with her words to him.

She is affectionate with him.

 

She constantly does little things for him so he will know she was thinking about him.

She always makes herself available to be with him.

She constantly stays in touch and quickly responds when he communicates with her.

 

She never ignores him.

She never stops telling him that she loves him.

She brings him gifts.

 

She looks lovingly at every picture she has of him.

She reads and rereads his every letter to her, looking for some possible hidden sweetness.

She dresses to please him and imagines his reaction of approval to her outfit.

 

She smiles all the time.

She’s never been happier.

She is happier than anyone has ever seen her.

 

She is always willing to go wherever he suggests.

She can’t wait for his call.

She knows her response will always be yes.

 

She feels secure in his love and trusts his every word.

She believes he will always do the right thing for her and protect her.

She sings love songs just for him.

 

She is quick to cry and say she’s sorry when she feels she has done something to displease him.

She writes love poems to him.

She feels her heart melt when he comes close to her.

 

She looks at no one else.

She thinks of no one else.

She talks of no one else.

 

She knows her heart is fixed on him and refuses to let anything change that.

She lets him plan her life.

She loves going to his house.

 

She chooses to love his family too.

She tells all her friends about him.

She brags on him to everyone who will listen.

 

She is not ashamed of him.

She is proud to be called his.

She can’t wait until they get married.

 

She dreams and plans for that day.

She counts the days.

She’s a woman in love!

 

 

If This Is A Picture Of A Woman In Love, Then Read On…

Because the Acts 2:38 church is the bride of Christ…  then isn’t this how His bride-to-be should act?

Shouldn’t His Bride Act Like A Woman In Love?

 

 

 Everyone can tell she’s in love, because of how she acts around Him.

They also can tell she’s in love by how she acts when she’s by herself.

Even strangers can look at her, when she’s with Him, and see that she’s in love.

 

Her every thought is consumed with thinking about Him and them.

She is affectionate with her words to Him.

She is affectionate with Him.

 

She constantly does little things for Him so He will know she was thinking about Him.

She always makes herself available to be with Him.

She constantly stays in touch and quickly responds when He communicates with her.

 

She never ignores Him.

She never stops telling Him that she loves Him.

She brings Him gifts.

 

She looks lovingly at every picture she has of Him.

She reads and rereads His every letter to her, looking for some possible hidden sweetness.

She dresses to please Him and imagines His reaction of approval to her outfit.

 

She smiles all the time.

She’s never been happier.

She is happier than anyone has ever seen her.

 

She is always willing to go wherever He suggests.

She can’t wait for His call.

She knows her response will always be yes.

 

She feels secure in His love and trusts His every word.

She believes He will always do the right thing for her and protect her.

She sings love songs just for Him.

 

She is quick to cry and say she’s sorry when she feels she has done something to displease Him.

She writes love poems to Him.

She feels her heart melt when He comes close to her.

 

She looks at no one else.

She thinks of no one else.

She talks of no one else.

 

She knows her heart is fixed on Him and refuses to let anything change that.

She lets Him plan her life.

She loves going to His House.

 

She chooses to love His family too.

She tells all her friends about Him.

She brags on Him to everyone who will listen.

 

She is not ashamed of Him.

She is proud to be called His.

She can’t wait until they get married.

 

She dreams and plans for that day.

She counts the days.

She’s a woman in love!

 

As a Holy Ghost filled, Pentecostal Apostolic, can the world see that you are really in love with Jesus?

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

February 10, 2018 at 9:18 pm

The Cracker Barrel New Year’s Sermon

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The Cracker Barrel New Year’s Sermon

 

 

Near the Savannah, Georgia exit 102 on I-95, sits a Cracker Barrel next to our motel. The chalk-written New Year’s message is plain for all to see. It says:

 

“Cheers to New Beginnings and Old Traditions”

 

May this New Year be a time for all of us to start afresh. Regardless of past failures or yesterday’s disappointments.

We need to leave our paradigm of failure-thinking and begin again. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve had to begin again. What you have been through was neither your final chapter nor your epitaph.

 

Proverbs 24:16 For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again:

 

It’s not abnormal for good people to make mistakes and have to start over or begin again. Even Paul said he died daily. He started over every day.

 

 New Beginnings:

 

 Has your Bible reading been almost nonexistent lately?

Begin again.

 

How about your prayer life? Been busy? Hard to get to pre-service prayer for some reason or another?

Begin again.

 

Got out of the habit of responding during the worship service?

Begin again.

 

Has there been an absence of you saying amen to the preaching lately?

Begin again.

 

You haven’t taught a Home Bible Study in a long time?

Begin again.

 

How long since you made it to midweek service?

Begin again.

 

How about your tithes? If you’ve quit giving tithes and offerings…

Begin again.

 

Have you resigned or quit participating in your church?

Begin again.

 

Have you stopped kissing your spouse good morning, good night, and good-bye?

Begin again.

 

Been awhile since you said, “I love you” to your spouse?

Begin again.

 

Been awhile since you said I love you to your parents?

Begin again.

 

Been awhile since you said, “I am proud of you,” and “I love you,” to your children?

 Begin again.

 

Have you stopped saying, “I love you” to your in-laws?

Begin again.

 

 

Begin again In God. Recover yourself.

 

2 Tim. 2:25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;

2 Tim. 2:26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

 

 

Traditions

 

Traditions make homes and churches special. When our large family gets together, there are always certain meals everyone can count on.  You just know that there will be gumbo one day and enchiladas and tacos on another. And the morning we all have to leave, there’s s special breakfast restaurant we go to. It’s our custom. It’s just how it is in our family.

Churches have customs and traditions too. It’s a huge disappointment to go back to your ‘home’ church and find out how different it is or that they have changed.

 

Hold fast to the old Apostolic Pentecostal Traditions.

When backsliders and those who have had to move away, come back to visit… Let them that see your church is still holding on to the old-time ways!

 

And, as Cracker Barrel would say if it was preaching this sermon,

“Cheers to New Beginnings and Old Traditions!”

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

December 30, 2017 at 7:57 pm

Your Performance Interview With God Is Coming!

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Your Performance Interview With God Is Coming

What if God called you on the carpet? What if He asked you some personal questions about your conduct… spiritual and otherwise?

Employees of many companies are given performance interviews on a scheduled basis. Some of the questions asked by the interviewer are similar to some of those I once found at www.jobinterviewquestions.org.

Performance Interview Questions

  • Tell me about your last position and what you did.
  • Tell me about the last time you made a mistake and how you corrected it.
  • If you don’t leave your current job, what will happen there? How far can you advance?
  • Of all the work you have done, where have you been most successful?
  • I see you were unemployed for a period of time. Tell me about it.
  • Give me an example of when you’ve demonstrated your customer service skills.
  • How do you define continuous improvement? What is the last new procedure you integrated into your job?
  • What makes you stand out among your peers?
  • What have you done to reduce your department’s operational costs or to save time?
  • What would your current supervisors say makes you most valuable to them?
  • If I asked your boss to evaluate your performance, what would he or she say?
  • Have you held positions similar to this one? If so, tell me about them.
  • What is the most important thing you learned at a previous job?
  • What did/do you enjoy most/least about your last/present job?
  • If there were two things you could have changed about that job, what would they be?
  • How did your job change while you held it?
  • What qualifications do you have that make you successful in this field?
  • What have you learned from previous jobs?
  • Describe a typical day at work.
  • How have your previous positions prepared you for this one?
  • What parts of your job do you consider most important?
  • What job tasks do you feel most successful doing?
  • What special skills or knowledge have you gained to help in this job?
  • Describe an important project you worked on.
  • You have a lot of experience. Why would you want this job?
  • What do you consider your greatest strength?
  • What is your most significant professional accomplishment?
  • What was the last job-related book you read?
  • What was your favorite job? Why?

As 2017 comes to a close, so does another year of living for the Lord. If He were to ask us about our performance in His Kingdom this year, how would we do? Could we answer His questions easily? Would our heads have to drop after the Lord asked us a direct question? Here is a list of possible questions He might ask:

The Lord’s 2017 Performance Interview Questions

  • What if He asked about the Spirit and Attitude we manifested this year?
  • What if the Lord asked us about our obedience or our Submission?
  • If the question of Soul-Winning came up, how would we score?
  • If questions about our involvement in Worship were asked, what would the answer be?
  • What would happen if the Lord asked us about our Prayer Life in 2017?
  • Would the answer be favorable to you if there were questions about paying your Tithes
  • and giving in Offerings?
  • Faithfulness in church attendance is sure to be asked. How would you do on that one?
  • Surely, a question about any unwillingness to Forgive will be asked.
  • Would He ask about the display of the Lusts of our Flesh?
  • Would Jealousy or Envy be mentioned?
  • A lack of Brotherly Love, or not Preferring One Another, will not sit well with Him.
  • What if the Lord asked us about our lack of Sacrifice in service, or in giving?
  • Would any questions about our involvement in Gossip put us in a bad light?
  • What if the subject of Tale Bearing came up?
  • If we were asked about Criticizing our Pastor, what would the answer be?
  • Surely the Lord will act questions about our showing any signs of Loving Pleasure More
  • Than The Things Of God.
  • What is He asked us about our Love of the World?
  • Do you think He might ask us why we had a problem with Holiness?
  • Would there be any questions about Loving Our Neighbor?
  • What if He asked us if we Love Him with All Of Our Heart, Our Soul, And Our Might, And
  • Our Strength?

I pray that you do well in your Interview with the Lord. (He already knows the answers, before He asks.)

If you’ll pardon me, for a while… I think I’ll have a talk with Him right now. I need to before He talks to me later!

There is coming a Day when we shall all stand before Him, as we are judged. That Interview will be both an Entrance Interview for some, and an Exit Interview for others!

Revelation 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

Revelation 20:13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

(May your Performance Interview of 2017 end with Joy, and not with Grief!)

Join me in pledging to do better and do more for Him in 2018! May we all hear Him say in that day, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.”

Why Pastor Robert Cavaness Sr. Wouldn’t Come To The Phone.

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Why Pastor Robert Cavaness Sr. Wouldn’t Come To The Phone.

 

 

If Robert C. Cavaness was anything, he was a Christian Gentleman. He always seemed to be thoughtful of others and would often go out of his way to help someone. Even if it meant emptying his own pockets. He was a man who never ignored, or slighted anyone.

Friendship was something he never took lightly. If he ever called you his friend, you knew you were blessed for life because of his friendship. When he was needed, he came, never even expecting to be reimbursed. He was big-hearted and generous to a fault.

My father, Carl J. Ballestero, was blessed to be a close friend of dear Brother Cavaness. They stayed in each other’s homes, preached in each other’s churches, preached conferences together, traveled across the country together, and even went on missions’ trips together. They regularly talked on the phone, as well.

Brother Cavaness was a praying man whose personal devotions with God became a subject that caused great awe and respect among all those who knew him. I personally have walked into his living room at five am and seen him sitting in a chair with his open Bible in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other. That’s how he started his day.

If you were ever honored to be in service with him in Shelbyville, Indiana and you got there early enough for pre-service prayer, then you’ve heard him pray. Once you’ve heard him pray, you never forgot it either. The man could talk to God.

Then came that fateful night. The night when Pastor Robert Cavaness Sr. wouldn’t come to the phone. It was a Sunday night and about twenty minutes before service time. The phone rang in his office. Bro. Cavaness had asked one of the men to sit at his desk and take calls while he went into the sanctuary to pray before church.

 

“This is the Apostolic Tabernacle.” The baritone voice said as it greeted the caller.

“Praise the Lord, Is Bro. Cavaness there?” the caller inquired.

 

“Yes, he is, but he can’t be bothered right now.”

“Well, I need to talk to him and I need to talk to him now, if at all possible. It’s very urgent!”

 

“I’m very sorry, but it is not possible to disturb him right now.”

“This is Brother Ballestero, tell him it’s me, and that I need to speak to him now. He will come to the phone if he knows it’s me calling. Tell him I said it’s important.”

 

“I am very sorry Brother Ballestero, but he will not be able to speak to you now.

“Why not?” he asked.

 

He will not speak to anyone right now.”

“Why not?” he asked again.

 

“Pastor told me to tell all the callers that he cannot come to the phone right now, but for me to write down the names and the numbers of each caller. He said the reason he couldn’t talk to anyone on the phone now is that he is currently talking to the most important person in the whole world. He’s praying.  And, he gave me specific orders to never disturb him while he was praying. He refuses to be interrupted when he’s talking to God. He said he would return all his calls after service.”

 

“I see.” Said the stunned and deflated voice of the caller.

“Thank you for calling, Brother Ballestero. Bro. Cavaness will be happy to return your call as soon as he can. I’ll tell him you called.”

 

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 19, 2017 at 8:22 am