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Archive for the ‘Visiting Other Churches’ Category

The Sound Man Was Blind!

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The Sound Man Was Blind!

It was Youth Rally Night in the little Tennessee country church. I sat in the audience, only two or three of the people even knew me. The small building was very full. The weather very bad. The guests had all braved the storm. They opened the service with prayer. They prayed for the storm to pass on by. “We beta hope de Ward heas our pwayer!” That was what the tongue-tied service leader said, trying to encourage faith in the congregation.

Something was terribly wrong with the microphone. They tapped it, they shook it, and then examined the cord. Nothing worked. All heads turned toward the small sound booth. The sound man was not looking down; he was looking up while he adjusted the board. What? Then it became apparent. He was blind. The sound man was blind and he was the one adjusting the board! Someone had changed the microphone settings and he was trying to restore them by feel. He got it back pretty close to normal too. Unbelievable.

He also ran the computer music software for the overhead projector. The slides on the screen did not always match the words being sung. But, no one seemed to care.

The organ player was taking pictures of the congregation with one hand while playing with the other. She extended her arm full length toward the audience as she took the photos.

They sang! They worshiped! They Shouted. The visiting ministers were all asked to testify. The teenage guest preacher for the Youth Rally was really nervous and it showed. He had never “preached out” before. He preached with anointing and then conviction fell. Young people moved to the altar area to pray. While she played for the altar call song, the organ player took flash photos with her left hand, of the folks coming down the aisle.

No, it wasn’t “perfect church”, like some of the big churches might have, but the congregation went home rejoicing and happy knowing they had been in the presence of the Lord.

This is Home Missions


Written by Martyn Ballestero

June 10, 2018 at 12:45 am

The Suicide Drink

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The Suicide Drink

I’m a senior citizen now, but I well remember some adventuresome moments of my youth. It was great fun, to make ‘suicide drinks’ from the soda fountain dispensers.

(It was also decades before anyone had ever heard the name, Jimmy Jones. It wasn’t that kind of suicide drink.)

To the uninformed, a ‘suicide drink’ consisted of a mixture of whatever was available at the fountain. Orange, Coke, Dr. Pepper, Sprite, Diet Coke or whatever.

We never quite knew what it was going to taste like and didn’t care, but we liked to show our bravery. Besides, the look of ‘ugh’ on people’s faces always made us laugh.

I don’t do ‘suicide drinks’ anymore. I actually don’t remember when I quit. But I was still very young. I just know that now as an old man, I like to stick with just one flavor. I’ll die happy if I never have a sip of another ‘suicide’.

There is no distinctive flavor to a ‘suicide drink.’ It is nothing but a mixture, a conglomeration.

Did you ever look at someone wearing multiple watches and wonder how they could tell the correct time? If they only had one watch, they could, no doubt, come a lot closer to knowing the real-time. Why would someone ever wear a wad of watches? Why?

I have recently observed several pastors and ministers answer doctrinal questions on Facebook from members of other Pentecostal churches.

Some of these men are encouraging precious saints to discard their holiness standards. They make light of our Apostolic lifestyle.

I am not sure how many are actually influenced by them, but these well-known voices spread their poison for all to read.

Since our local Pastor is the only one that is going to give an account for us in the Judgment, why not listen to him? Why are some so determined to get advice on Biblical subjects from every preacher they can? That is nothing short of spiritually hazardous! It is also very unethical on both parts. Any preacher worth his salt would refer them back to their Pastor. And any saint worth their salt would never ask another preacher a doctrinal question.

If we receive multiple doctrinal opinions from multiple ministers, there is no telling what we will believe in the end. It’s just another ‘suicide drink’ in my opinion.

If you have a Biblical question, don’t ask around on the Internet. Go ask the man who God gave you for a Pastor. After all, he’s the one that loves you, prays for you, counsels you, sits up with you in the hospital and truly cares for you. Sheep don’t expect guidance from multiple shepherds. Neither should we.

Oh, and as for finding the right time? Your cell phone is pretty accurate, but then you already knew that too.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

September 9, 2011 at 12:35 am

Larry, The Confused Lamb

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Larry, The Confused Lamb

Larry the lamb enjoyed the flock. What a wonderful day it was. The sun was shining, the birds were singing. The grass was green and lush.  The brook was clear and flowed slowly.  He happily pranced and played with the other lambs. Life in the flock was great.

He explored the meadow where they were and even listened to the older sheep tell stories. They told about the times that wolves had come close to the flock and their shepherd had protected them. He’d never seen a wolf but he’d heard them howl. It was scary. Mama told him not to worry because the Shepherd heard the wolf too and everything would be OK.

The older sheep bragged on their Shepherd. They all said that he was the best one in the world. They were all safe because of him. He had taken good care of them for many years.

Larry loved his Shepherd too. Shepherd Smith had always taken the flock to safe and comfortable places. There was always plenty to eat and drink in this flock. Shepherd Smith had seen to that.

One day Larry and his friend Simon were standing by the edge of the flock. They looked way across the meadow and saw another flock of sheep in the distance. They noticed that there were lots of lambs in that sheep fold. There were more lambs there than there were in their flock. Some cute ewe lambs were over there too.

One evening Larry and Simon decided they wanted to go visit the other flock. They were afraid to ask for permission because they’d heard that their Shepherd was reluctant to let his lambs go visit other flocks. Shepherd Smith had said he was required by his master to watch carefully over all the lambs and sheep. He didn’t want to be overbearing, but he had to be careful for their sakes.

When Shepherd Smith was looking the other way, Larry and Simon scampered to the other side of the meadow.  They were warmly welcomed. Shepherd Johnson stood and announced to the whole flock that they were visiting and wanted the flock to make them feel at home.

All the lambs in Shepherd Johnson’s flock were very friendly. Larry and Simon had so much fun. They laughed and romped with the other lambs. This was a wonderful day. This was a great Lamb Group.

Later, Shepherd Johnson came over and bragged on them personally and told them that they were welcome and very needed in his flock. He didn’t try to send them back to their own flock. But he did offer Larry a job as Lamb Leader in his flock.

During the visit, Shepherd Johnson led his flock into places Larry and Simon had never been before. The curfew for bedding down here was different from Shepherd Smith’s too.

Shepherd Johnson wasn’t quite as restrictive as their Shepherd was either. He let his lambs wander a little bit closer to the edge of the meadow. Larry and Simon got closer to the Big Woods than they’d ever been before. There were more liberties here than they had ever experienced.

These lambs got to go see things the lambs in their flock had never seen. Oh this was exciting.

Simon said, “Larry, I like Shepherd Johnson, and I like Shepherd Smith. I just wish that our flock was as big as Shepherd Johnson’s and that our Lamb Group was as much fun as theirs too.”

“Me too,” was all Larry could say as they began to scamper back toward the home flock. The sun was starting to go down and Larry knew that Shepherd Smith would be concerned and miss them.

In the next several days, Simon and Larry went visiting the neighboring flock. From time to time they would invite other lambs from their flock to go with them.

One day while visiting Shepherd Johnson’s flock, they heard some of the lambs talking about another flock in the big meadow that was led by a Shepherd named Jones. Larry and Simon caught each other’s eye. Maybe they should go check out Shepherd Jones flock too. They did.

Shepherd Jones was very nice. Larry and Simon liked the flock very much. All the sheep and lambs were kind and made them feel welcome. They were all well fed in this flock.

Shepherd Jones noticed Larry and Simon. He came over and introduced himself. He asked the lambs if their Shepherd knew that they were here?

Larry said that he didn’t ask but he didn’t think there was a problem with them visiting other flocks.

‘I’m going to have to let your Shepherd know that you were visiting over here.” Said Shepherd Jones.

“You are?”

“Yes. It’s what I always do when lambs from another flock wander over into mine.” Some Shepherds don’t always return the favor though.

“You’ve got a wonderful Shepherd, Larry. Don’t ever go visiting other flocks unless your Shepherd approves.”

“Thank you, I won’t” said Larry as he and Simon left to go back home.

They had enjoyed their visit. Shepherd Jones seemed like a wise and careful Shepherd. He didn’t let his lambs wander close to the Big Woods like Shepherd Johnson did. He seemed cautious and protective. He guided them all in places of safety.

Larry talked with Simon on the way home. He said, “Simon, I’ve noticed that all flocks are different. The Shepherds all have different rules and lead the lambs in different directions. I’m starting to get confused about which flock is the best. About which Shepherd is the best. I’m really confused.

The next day, Shepherd Smith asked to talk with Larry and Simon.

He said, “I’ve heard from some of the sheep that you’ve been visiting other flocks in the meadow and I’m becoming concerned about you. I’m concerned about what happens to you when you allow different Shepherds to lead you. It confuses you very quickly.”

Larry and Simon nodded their heads in agreement.

“The Shepherds in our meadow are good men, I’m sure, but you are only to have one Shepherd in your life to guide you. It’s his voice and his voice alone that you are to obey. Especially when you are a young lamb, it’s important that you stay close to your Shepherd.

“Before you were ever born, I told this flock, that for their own safety, I don’t want you all to make a habit of visiting other flocks. You may not understand why right now, but when you get older you will understand.

“It’s kind of like a Mother Ewe having a little lamb and after it’s born letting other Mama Ewes that wanted too, help raise it. That would be very confusing to the lamb. Each mother is different, so she parents differently.

“Or it would be like you taking a framed blank canvas around to everyone that calls themselves an artist and let them paint on it whatever they want. When they got done it would be all messed up. It wouldn’t be beautiful at all. That’s what would happen to you. Each Shepherd, with his teaching, paints on the canvass of your heart. If the painting is done by a group of different artists, it can wind up looking jumbled and confusing.

“There may be times when I announce that our flock is going to go over to another flock and visit. In the future, just wait for me to make an announcement about that.  When I do , then it’s OK to go.

“If I don’t announce it when the other flocks are having something special, then it’s probably a good thing for you not to go. I may have a good reason that I can’t tell you.”

Larry said, “Thank you for talking to me Shepherd Smith. I love you and I love my flock. I don’t like being confused.

“I think you should know that Shepherd Johnson offered me a job as Lamb Leader in his flock.  My father said that other Shepherds shouldn’t do that.  He said that it wasn’t right and he should have talked to you first and then if you felt good about it, you would have come to me and told me what to do.”

“Your father is right Larry. He is one of the finest sheep in our flock.

“In the future,” said Larry “I won’t even go visit other flocks unless you tell us we are all to go. I don’t want to ever get confused like that again.” Said Larry.

“Me either,” said Simon.

“Thank you,” said Shepherd Smith. “If you’ll do that, you’ll never be confused again!”

Written by Martyn Ballestero

June 8, 2010 at 2:05 am