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Archive for the ‘Witness’ Category

He Was Ashamed Of His Stuttering, But He Gave Him A Tract Anyway!

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He Was Ashamed Of His Stuttering, But He Gave Him A Tract Anyway!

 

(To The Embarrassed Man, Who Stuttered… Thank You!)

 No one knows your name.

 

You came out of nowhere. You stopped when you saw the car teetering on the edge of the cliff with the front tires dangling out into space.

A young man sat behind the wheel with his foot on the brake desperately trying to keep the vehicle from moving forward. Only a wrecker could pull the car back onto the road. His friends had gone to get one.

Uncertainty showed in your body language. You knew you couldn’t do anything for the car, but yet you came closer. You walked with your head down and only glanced up to make sure you were walking in the right direction.

When you arrived at the driver’s window, you dug into your pocket and pulled out what looked like an old and well-worn Gospel Tract.

You were nervous and stuttered badly as you handed the tract to the Catholic boy behind the wheel.

It seemed like it took you forever to say, ‘I want you to read this.”

The young man thanked you and watched as you shuffled out of his life. But he never forgot you.

He wondered why the tract you had given was old and not new. Was it your personal favorite or was it the last one you had?

 

What You Didn’t Know!

You didn’t know that the young man had been raised Catholic.

You didn’t know that he had been a gang leader in Los Angeles and a fugitive from justice as well.

You didn’t know that he wanted to turn his life around.

You didn’t know that he would read your old tract slowly taking in every word.

You didn’t know that when the tract talked about the coming of the Lord and asked the question, “Are you ready?” that the young man realized he wasn’t ready.

You didn’t know that you were the first person to ever make him think about his soul being lost and that he needed the Lord.

You didn’t know that he prayed, “God if there is more for me from You, then I want it. If it is real, I want it.”

 

What You Never Knew!

The power of a single tract.

The young man soon visited an Assemblies Of God Church in Fresno, California.

Rev. Charles Price preached him to the altar that night and he received the Holy Ghost speaking in tongues.

 

What You Couldn’t Have Known!

The past caught up with him and he went to San Quentin Prison.

He regularly attended a Bible Study group.

His cellmate was a backslider from a Trinitarian church and he once had the Holy Ghost.

The cellmate would watch the others in the Bible Study group but never join in.

One day the cellmate received a tract from his wife about Acts 2:38. She had just been baptized in Jesus Name and wanted him to be as well.

The backslidden cellmate didn’t want the tract, so he gave it him.

 

What You May Never Know!

The young man you gave the tract to, read this 2nd tract and received a revelation of the Oneness of God and the importance of Jesus Name baptism, and was thrilled with the new knowledge.

He preached his first sermon in the prison yard. “Though Thy Sins Be As Scarlet, They Shall Be White As Snow!”

After being released, he went into the Army and searched for two years for someone to baptize him.

He found that place in Christ Church, Oregon City, Oregon. The Pastor, Andrew Baker baptized him in Jesus Name.

His family disowned him for leaving the Catholic Church.

He married the most lovely and godly young woman you could ever hope to find. They had five children who also were baptized in Jesus Name and filled with the Holy Ghost.

He pastored nine churches, six of which he started.

He evangelized everywhere for twenty-five years and pastored twenty-five years as well.

His sermons were life changing and unforgettable.

All who have his tapes and CD’s still treasure them.

You would have cried and rejoiced listening to him preach under the anointing.

You would have cried listening to him and his wife sing.

His son became a preacher.

Of his four daughters, one died in her teens, the others are involved in ministry.

Two of his son’s in law are preachers.

He has eleven grandchildren who all have received the Holy Ghost and have all been involved in ministry of some kind.

Five became pastors.

Of his twenty-one  great-grandchildren, those who are old enough have been baptized in Jesus Name and filled with the Holy Ghost.

The oldest ones are presently preparing themselves for the work of the Lord.

 

What I Want You To Know!

He never forgot your willingness to witness, in spite of your stuttering and embarrassment.

You were the first one to ever witness to him, even though you simply handed him an old tract.

He’s not here today to say thank you.

He died on September 11, 1994. His wife, Content died on January 13, 2012.

So I would like to thank you for him!

 

You see, I’m his son.

His name was Carl Joseph Ballestero.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

June 2, 2018 at 7:54 pm

At What Level Do You Wish To Play?

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At What Level Do You Wish To Play?

In the 1980’s electronic chess games became the rage in certain cerebral circles. One particular model would ask its user, as soon as the power button was switched on, “At what level do you wish to play?”

Everyone knew it was just a game. The unit was a cheap handheld device that anyone could play. The user could play in the beginner mode, or even play at the expert level. No one would criticize the level he or she played. It was just a game, and it was only played for fun.

But The Question It Asked Is Still Valid In Real Life Today. At What Level Do You Wish To Play (Or Participate)?

‘Live Like You Were Dying’ is the title of a popular song made somewhat famous a few years ago. The message from just the title of the song is enough to make one think about prioritizing their life.

Like the electronic chess game, some things are just for entertainment, and some things are mainly used to pass the time. Then there are other things that have life and death importance attached. Our souls get intertwined in the process. You have to know which ones are which.

 

Your Friendships

Your God-fearing friends tell the world the level at which you wish to play.

Your worldly friendships probably display the level you really wish to play. If that is the level you wish to play, so be it.

Friends are more than just pals. Your friends matter to God.

  • They Influence you.
  • They generate peer pressure that will change you.
  • They can take you away from God.
  • They can bring you closer to God.
  • Chose your friends carefully. You will soon become what they are.
  • What do your friendships today say about the level you have chosen to play?
  • In Your Friendships, At What Level Do You Wish To Play?

 

Your Marriage

The way you cherish your spouse and give yourself to your marriage tells your family, friends and the whole wide world the level you have chosen to play.

  1. God becomes deeply interested and involved in your relationship with your spouse.
  2. His Word even directs you how to love and express your love to each other.
  • Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
  • Ephesians 5:28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
  1. He pays attention to your mistreatment and neglect.
  • 1 Corinthians 7:3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.
  • 1 Corinthians 7:5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.
  1. Those who have trouble at home soon have trouble in church. The Lord knows that, you should too.

In Your Marriage, At What Level Do You Wish To Play?

 

At Church

Your Response And Involvement:

  • In the Worship service says volumes about the level you wish to play.
  • In the Prayer room shows the level you are playing.
  • In the Altar service shows the level you are playing.
  • In Outreach shows the level you are playing.
  • In Giving To Missions shows the level you are playing.
  • In Giving Your Tithes shows the level you are playing.
  • In the way you argue about Standards shows the level you are playing.
  • In Obeying God’s Word shows the level you are playing.

Your Reaction to the Preaching even when it corrects you makes clear the level you wish to play.

Saying Amen to the Word tells God, the devil, the Pastor and the Church family the level you wish to play.

Pictures and Posts on Social media sites tell everyone the level at which you are probably really playing.

Old timers used the phrase, Playing Church. Never let that be said about you.

Living For God Is Not A Game.

At Church, What Level Do You Wish To Play?

 

 

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

November 28, 2014 at 9:53 pm

God Hates Selfies

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God Hates Selfies

Love Thy Neighbor As Thy Selfie

Love Thy Neighbor As Thy Selfie?

Every Social media seems to be loaded with pictures that users take of themselves. (When someone uses their camera or cellphone to take their own picture, that photo is called a ‘selfie’.) Some seem to be consumed with the daily posting of these pictures.

To the average viewer looking at the different poses everyday, it does seem to be a bit much over the top at times.

In 2013, the word “selfie” made it into the official Oxford dictionary. In fact, it was the “word of the year”.

But, getting back to the title of this post. Does God really hate selfies? He sure does. Humor me just a moment and see what I’m talking about.

He Doesn’t Like Your Selfies Unless He’s In It Too. He Doesn’t Want To Be A Photo Bomb In Your Selfie. He Wants To Be The Main Focus Of The Whole Picture.

As a very young man, I was leading the worship service one evening in our local church in South Bend. After service, my father, the pastor, said he wanted to talk to me a moment. That didn’t seem like it was going to be a good thing for me, from the sound of his voice.

Dad: “Son, have you noticed that God never seems to bless that chorus you sang tonight?”

Me: “What chorus dad?”

Dad: “Working for a mansion, a robe and a crown… that will be glory for me.”

Me: “No sir, I never noticed that.”

Dad: “Well… if you are going to lead the worship in this church you need to pay attention to what songs God blesses and which ones He doesn’t bless.”

Me: gulp,  “Yes sir… I’m very sorry.”

Dad: “The reason He doesn’t bless that song here is because it is all about us. It’s about self. It’s not about Him. If you want the blessings of God on a song service, sing about Him. Sing about His mercy, sing about His grace, sing about His love, sing about His power, sing about His blood, sing about His Word, and sing about His Name. Sing about Him and He will always bless it.”

Me: “Yes sir. Thank you Daddy. Thank you very much!”

2 Timothy 3:2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, 

In a generation dedicated to the pleasuring of its flesh, selfies just seem to be normal. But in His World, our self must decrease so that He might increase. He must be the Lord of all. He delights in our promotion of His Kingdom.

Never Forget That God Is A Jealous God.

Only when we humble and abase ourselves do we find the secret of exaltation.

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.

The Gospel compels us to focus on Him and others, not on ourselves. It challenges us to get past our own little world and minister to others.

It asks us to go into the darkness around us and be the light of the world so that the glorious light of the Gospel can shine abroad unto the lost.

So, focus your heart’s camera on Him right now, take the best picture you can and then go show it to someone who has never seen anyone like Him before.

Remember… He ONLY likes ‘selfies’ when He is included in the picture.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

April 7, 2014 at 10:52 am

To The Embarrassed Man, Who Stuttered… Thank You!

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To The Embarrassed Man, Who Stuttered… Thank You!

 No one knows your name.

You came out of nowhere. You stopped when you saw the car teetering on the edge of the cliff with the front tires dangling out into space.

A young man sat behind the wheel with his foot on the brake desperately trying to keep the vehicle from moving forward. Only a wrecker could pull the car back onto the road. His friends had gone to get one.

Uncertainty showed in your body language. You knew you couldn’t do anything for the car, but yet you came closer. You walked with your head down and only glanced up to make sure you were walking in the right direction.

When you arrived at the driver’s window, you dug into your pocket and pulled out what looked like an old and well-worn Gospel Tract.

You were nervous and stuttered badly as you handed the tract to the Catholic boy behind the wheel.

It seemed like it took you forever to say, ‘I want you to read this.”

The young man thanked you and watched as you shuffled out of his life. But he never forgot you.

He wondered why the tract you had given was old and not new. Was it your personal favorite or was it the last one you had?

What You Didn’t Know!

You didn’t know that the young man had been raised Catholic.

You didn’t know that he had been a gang leader in Los Angeles and a fugitive from justice as well.

You didn’t know that he wanted to turn his life around.

You didn’t know that he would read your old tract slowly taking in every word.

You didn’t know that when the tract talked about the coming of the Lord and asked the question, “Are you ready?” that the young man realized he wasn’t ready.

You didn’t know that you were the first person to ever make him think about his soul being lost and that he needed the Lord.

You didn’t know that he prayed, “God if there is more for me from You, then I want it. If it is real, I want it.”

What You Never Knew!

The power of a single tract.

The young man soon visited an Assemblies Of God Church in Fresno, California.

Rev. Charles Price preached him to the altar that night and he received the Holy Ghost speaking in tongues.

What You Couldn’t Have Known!

The past caught up with him and he went to San Quentin Prison.

He regularly attended a Bible Study group.

His cellmate was a backslider from a Trinitarian church and he once had the Holy Ghost.

The cellmate would watch the others in the Bible Study group but never join in.

One day the cellmate received a tract from his wife about Acts 2:38. She had just been baptized in Jesus Name and wanted him to be as well.

The backslidden cellmate didn’t want the tract, so he gave it him.

What You May Never Know!

The young man you gave the tract to, read this 2nd tract and received a revelation of the Oneness of God and the importance of Jesus Name baptism, and was thrilled with the new knowledge.

He preached his first sermon in the prison yard. “Though Thy Sins Be As Scarlet, They Shall Be White As Snow!”

After being released, he went into the Army and searched for two years for someone to baptize him.

He found that place in Christ Church, Oregon City, Oregon. The Pastor, Andrew Baker baptized him in Jesus Name.

His family disowned him for leaving the Catholic Church.

He married the most lovely and godly young woman you could ever hope to find. They had five children who also were baptized in Jesus Name and filled with the Holy Ghost.

He pastored nine churches, six of which he started.

He evangelized everywhere for twenty-five years and pastored twenty-five years as well.

His sermons were life changing and unforgettable.

All who have his tapes and CD’s still treasure them.

You would have cried and rejoiced listening to him preach under the anointing.

You would have cried listening to him and his wife sing.

His son became a preacher.

Of his four daughters, one died in her teens, the others are involved in ministry.

Two of his son’s in law are preachers.

He has eleven grandchildren who all have received the Holy Ghost and have all been involved in ministry of some kind.

Five became pastors.

Of his nineteen great grand children, those who are old enough have been baptized in Jesus Name and filled with the Holy Ghost.

The oldest ones are presently preparing themselves for the world of the Lord.

What I Want You To Know!

He never forgot your willingness to witness, in spite of your stuttering and embarrassment.

You were the first one to ever witness to him, even though you simply handed him an old tract.

He’s not here today to say thank you.

He died on September 11, 1994. His wife, Content died on January 13, 2012.

So I would like to thank you for him!

You see, I’m his son.

His name was Carl Joseph Ballestero.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

September 26, 2013 at 11:01 am

Posted in Witness

Tagged with

Andrew Loves Telemarketers

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Andrew Loves Telemarketers

 

Most of us dread it when the calling number is unrecognized by the caller ID. Many have been known to let the call go to voicemail just to see what the caller wanted. Not Andrew!

AndyphoneAndrew is my youngest of five. He responds to the dreaded telemarketers in a manner that makes the rest of his family smile. Even so, it may be a stretch to say he actually loves them. Maybe I could have used a better choice of words.

The Telemarketers have learned to give him a wide berth. Take this last call for instance…

Telemarketer: “Hello Mr. Ballestero, I am Jerry with the Widget Company International. Do you have a few minutes to hear about our awesome products?”

Andrew: “Sure, If you have a few minutes to hear about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!”

Telemarketer: I’m sorry, we are not allowed to discuss the subject of religion.”

The Telemarketer hangs up!

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

March 3, 2013 at 5:06 pm

“Get Off The Road You Old Coot!”

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“Get Off The Road You Old Coot!”

In the mid sixties, my mild-mannered father, the late Rev. Carl J. Ballestero, was preaching in Fort Worth, Texas for Rev. C.W. Shew, a well-known and colorful pastor.

66sidedarkbigBrother Shew preferred his guest ministers to chauffeur him, in his own car. His car of choice for many years was a black Chrysler Imperial.

One evening on the way to service, my father was driving on a two-lane country back road behind a slow moving car driven by an older gentleman. The driver’s slowness irritated Brother Shew.

Every mile on the road was marked by an intersection with a traffic light. At one of the stop lights, the lanes changed from two lanes to four.

At the light, they pulled up along side of the slow-moving car. Brother Shew looked at the old man and rolled his window down.

“Get off the road, you old coot!” He hollered, and then rolled his window back up in time for the light to change.

At the next traffic light, the old man again pulled up beside their car. This time, my father rolled Brother Shew’s window down and said to him, “Now, Brother Shew, invite that man to Sunday School!”

All Brother Shew could say was, “Aw, Doc!”

 

Does Your Conduct Sabotage Your Witness?

Written by Martyn Ballestero

December 10, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Posted in Arrogance, Christian Living, Witness

Tagged with

Are You Going To Be Hanging Around Here For A While?

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Are You Going To Be Hanging Around Here For A While?

The women in town hated her. She was a threat to them all. Not a few men had been smitten by her beauty and surrendered to her charms. She had the undivided attention of more men in her life than good girls would ever dare dream about. They called her bad names and no one defended her. She didn’t even attempt to defend herself. She was what she was.

The fact that just such a notorious woman lived nearby, often gave mothers teaching opportunities to instruct their daughters of the dangers of living ‘that’ woman’s lifestyle.

Wives monitored their husband’s glances when she walked by. Her actions bore watching, because she was good at attracting men.

In her behalf, she didn’t just laze around all day and let others do the work. Not at all! She wasn’t afraid to pull her share of the workload.

She had her chores pretty well-timed. There was only a dirt floor in the house and no electricity. She had to make candles so the house would have light at night.

There also, was no running water, or even a pump. On the outskirts of the small village, there was a well. Every afternoon, she walked there to draw water for drinking and household needs. Without the water, she couldn’t drink, cook, wash dishes or bathe. This was no easy chore. She had to carry the water for several hundred yards.

Today was no different from the thousand other trips she had made, except for one thing. There was some stranger sitting on the rim of the well. He wasn’t good looking, but he wasn’t scary either. She wasn’t afraid of strange men, so she drew closer.

When she got close, he spoke to her, and asked if she would help him get a drink of water, since he had nothing to use to draw water from the well. The absurdity of his request was more than she could handle and still be polite.

“You’re a Jew,” she said. “You want me, a Samaritan, to help you, get a drink?” You’ve got to be kidding me, was her next thought.

“If you’d have known who I was,” He replied, “you would have asked Me to give you a drink. Because, if you drink the Water that I give, you’ll never be thirsty again!

Well now, this caught her by surprise. “Sir, give me some of this water you’re talking about, so that I don’t ever get thirsty again. I am so tired carrying water ever day.”

“Go get your husband, and then come back,” he said.

“But, I don’t have a husband,” was her meek reply.

“You told me the truth. You’ve had five husbands, and the man you’re living with now, is not your husband.”

Those words told her life story. How could this man possibly know this about her?

“You must be a prophet!” Were the first words that came out of her mouth. Then she shifted the focus of the conversation.

“Our fathers worshipped in this mountain, and you people say we have to go to Jerusalem to worship.”

He said, “Woman, the time is going to come, when men won’t be limited to worshiping in this mountain or in Jerusalem. The hour is coming when true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth. God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.”

She said, “I know the Messiah is coming and when He comes, He will tell us everything we need to know.”

He said, “I tell you, that I am He!”

About that time, the Disciple of Jesus came up to them and just looked on unsmilingly and without comment to her. The woman put down her empty water pot and hurried to tell everyone that would listen, just what had happened to her.

She was the least likely in the whole village to inform anyone on spiritual matters, but she just had to tell them all.

Her testimony was short and to the point. “Come see a man who has told me everything I’ve ever done!”

In a short time, the whole village followed her out to the well to see this prophet, this Jesus, the Messiah.

The townspeople heard Him and begged Him to stay several days. Many of them believed.

Some Key Points:

She was a person with a past,

  • Yet she was key to a spiritual awakening in the whole town.
  • If the Lord could change her life, maybe He could change theirs too.

She didn’t carry her water pot back into town.

  • She left it.
  • She witnessed without baggage.
  • The water pot one of the most import things in her daily life.
  • Things that were once important in her life, now took second place to Him.

She wasn’t quiet about her experience.

  • She told more people than just her boyfriend.
  • She told everyone she saw.
  • Her experience was so powerful she just had to tell anyone that would listen.

 

She influenced a whole town for Jesus.

  • Even those that didn’t believe in her before, could tell something had happened to her.

How powerful is your experience with the Lord? Are you still clutching your clay water pots of life?

Imagine what could happen in our churches if we would all put His work first, and leave our water pots behind.

  • What excuses are we hanging on to that keeps us from being a witness for Him?
  • Could we too bring out whole towns to meet Him?
  • We may never know, till we try!
  • We may never know, till we put our water pot down!

Excuse Me…

Are You Going To Be Hanging Around Here For A While?

If you are, then would you mind watching my water pot for me?

I’ve got to go see some folks!

Thanks!

Ref: John 4:6-30

Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 17, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Posted in Witness

Tagged with ,