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Posts Tagged ‘Backsliders

A Rule Of Thumb For Backsliders

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A Rule Of Thumb For Backsliders

There always seems to be someone who has a rule of thumb on a given subject. According to Wikipedia, “A rule of thumb is a principle with broad application that is not intended to be strictly accurate or reliable for every situation.”

I too have a rule of thumb, which is based on my observation of backsliders for the last 50 or more years.

No one wishes to see any child of God stumble on his or her spiritual journey, or get sidetracked by the temptations of sin. But it happens.

Neither can we feel good when an injury or bitterness removes a brother or a sister from our midst. But we see that happen from time to time too.

After they have left the church and are no longer faithful to God in their attendance or in their heart, what then are their chances for recovery? Only God truly knows.

Since we are dealing with many variables, about all we can do is pray for them and love them.


My Rule Of Thumb For Backsliders?

It’s nothing deep really. It’s so simple because to me it feels very obvious.

Those I Haven’t Seen Make A Recovery:

1. My experience has been that backsliders who leave the church, get bitter, and call their pastor and saints, hypocrites and other names and continue to talk about them in a negative manner.

2. The ones who have problems with standards and holiness and then leave the church saying their pastor is a legalist and does not preach Grace and Love. (If they still wish to go to ‘church’ just find one that doesn’t believe much and go there, while they justify themselves.)

3. Backsliders who say God only looks on the inside of a person and not on the outside.

Those I Have Seen Make A Recovery

1. The backslider who says, I know I am not living right, I don’t even claim to be. But, if I ever get back in church, I know where to go. I’ll go right back to my old home church.

2. The ones who still remain respectful of the church, the pastor and the saints.

3. The backsliders who may have been caught up in the wrong things and don’t attend regular, but they send their tithes in every week.

When It Comes To Recovery, Attitude Is Not Just Something, It’s Everything!


Case In Point

Here are a few comments out of 159 negative ones sent to my blog in the last few days by people who informed me they used to go to an Apostolic Pentecostal Church. These are only excerpts and are posted without names.

I do not allow negative comments on my blog posts as a rule, because I do not use my site for a debate forum. (If someone wants to host a debate forum, let them pay for one, like I do.)

As a rule, when I write anything about dress or standards, there always seem to be some backsliders who say the ugliest things to me.

  • “Do you speak to destroy? Would you be the one that God calls a Viper in the synagogue?”
  • “Perhaps we should all wear burkas?”
  • “You are f****** crazy”
  • “YOU ARE F****** B****** CRAZY!”
  • “You need to start focusing more on Jesus Christ and less on the creation.”
  • “I Never read one time where He disapproved of ANYTHING anyone was wearing.”
  • “I was raised UPC and I can honestly say I am so thankful that God brought me out of that religion.”
  • “You are so consumed by what you look like on the outside you forget to simply love like Christ loves.”
  • “Someone sent me the link to this blog post. I am sorry I read it and will never read this blog again.”
  • “Get over yourself.”
  • “I saw your profile about how much you miss your wife. Why don’t you bring your wife on your evangelistic tours and to your conferences? Then you may not be so bothered about other women’s knees.”
  • “Modesty is a personal issue. Speak of this woman-to woman, among women at conference, special events, etc. But, not from the pulpit. It’s not the place.”
  • “Bro. B. I’m afraid God has already sent a delusion to you. How very sad your post is. So thankful I left this “org” and truly am experiencing God’s Grace.”
  • “You’re coming across as loathesome and all I can think of to say to you is, “LORD HAVE MERCY ON YOUR SOUL!”
  • “Your influence has changed. I no longer view your opinion as godly or full of grace. It is narrow and full of man’s tradition, more like the Pharisees of Jesus’ day. You have lost your edge. A backslider in your opinion, but in mine and the Lord Jesus’, I’m so happy to be saved by His grace and love.”
  • “I am a UPC pastor’s kid, was a UPC pastor for years. The sad thing is the opposing views that were expressed will be used to substantiate your twisted defination of holiness. What about the fruit of the spirit? Isn’t that a sign of indwelling Spirit? My parents were founders of UPC. I would go up to them and tell them I was UPC, and because I have facial hair, would get the same reaction. We are not backsliders, we are liberated from man made rules that have nothing to do with holiness! Thank God I am free!!”
  • “I am a “backslider”, however, I do not critisize the church, the pastor was a huge inspiration in my life, and I still love most of the people I left behind.”
  • “Only God can judge! You are more guilty than the backslider!”
  • “I pray the HOly GHost convicts you of your self rightous. Spirit.”



Maybe now, some may see why I feel like I do on this subject. Yet, every preacher must continually do his best to reach for every backslider and leave the rest up to God and to them.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

April 18, 2013 at 10:52 am

Posted in Backsliders

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The People We Hurt, While God’s Trying To Help Us.

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The People We Hurt, While God’s Trying To Help Us.

Many people have run from the will of God. Most of their story endings are not pretty. The running from God is bad enough, but it doesn’t end there. The naïve mindset that thinks, “I’m not hurting anyone but myself,” is dangerous.

Failure to submit to God’s will shows a character defect, which requires immediate attention from the Lord. Remember, the Biblical subjects of Worship, Holiness, Tithe, and Ministry are wrapped up in submission.

Worship is all about submission.

  • God, you’re everything, I’m nothing.
  • You’re Holy, I’m unholy!
  • You’re great and I’m nothing!

Tithing is all about submission.

  • The first tenth of my increase belongs to You.
  • I put you first in my life.

Holiness is all about submission.

  • I dress this way, to please you Lord.
  • I act this way, to please you Lord.
  • I think this way, to please you Lord.
  • I present my body, holy and acceptable unto You, which is my reasonable service.

Ministry is all about submission

  • Paul started most of his Epistles with, “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ.”
  • Peter, James and John did the same.
  • Ministry is all about being a servant.
  • Servants must be submissive.

Jonah, God’s servant, ran from his Master’s will. He didn’t want to go where Jehovah wanted him to go. He didn’t want to do what he was asked to do. He wasn’t willing to submit.

Most backsliders provide dangerous company. Who wants to be around a backslider while God is trying to work on them? The backslider, or someone running from God, would never knowingly put anyone in harm’s way. It just happens.

While Jonah ran, God sent a custom-made storm to get his attention. God knows how to build you a prayer room! He knows how to let a set of circumstances come together that will bring you to your knees!

In what was probably a state of depression, Jonah slept aboard ship during the storm. Other passengers were throwing their possessions overboard, but Jonah slept on. He was oblivious to the peril he was causing for others.

When someone finally awakened him, he recognized that he was the cause of everyone’s problem. He didn’t know that, until someone woke him up. Realizing that he was the cause of the storm, he requested that the sailors throw him overboard. They did. He would rather die than submit. Jonah’s actions not only threatened his own life, but the life of everyone around him.

Jonah didn’t want to hurt anyone one. He just wasn’t willing to submit. God stopped Jonah’s little charade in one storm. Jonah had to go through an intense attitude adjustment.

Backsliders, and others that run from God, are a danger to their friends and even to their own families. Too many innocent spouses and children have suffered because of the Jonah in their home. Every church family knows Jonah stories. Most of which are tragic enough to frighten every hearer.

Someone needs to awaken these modern-day Jonahs! Awaken them to the heartache and danger they unwittingly bring to those around them Awaken them to the hurt they cause, even to those they love. Lead them back into the will of God. One of the hardest thing in life to do, is to run from God!

Proverbs 13:15 …the way of transgressors is hard.

Jonah? It’s time to quit running from God!

Written by Martyn Ballestero

December 22, 2011 at 10:23 am

The Case Of the Chubby Calf

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The Case Of the Chubby Calf

The farmer looked at the big newborn calf in the stall by its mother. It looked so cute and perfect. The word butterball didn’t come to mind, but it was filled out pretty good already.

It wasn’t the only calf on his small farm. But of this latest and bunch of calves, this one was the biggest. This little calf didn’t have to compete for attention. Neither did it lack for food.

The farmer had plenty of grain and good pasture to feed all his animals. He wasn’t rich, but he lived comfortable enough. Actually, he had some help around the place to make it run smooth. All he had to do was just supervise while the others did all of the work.

But now, that baby calf was something! Anyone could see that! The farmer always checked his stock before retiring at night and also, he looked in on them the first thing in the morning. He noticed it was growing like a weed and putting on the weight.

He took time to check on the calf’s progress each morning and give him an occasional pat. He liked what he saw. The little guy was eating well. His appetite was good and there was plenty of feed. After all, he was the only calf, but he was going to be a big calf.

In a just matter of months the calf really started filling out good. He grew quite big for his age. He got so fat, the farmer often smiled at the chubby little guy’s antics in the field.

As calves, go he didn’t have a care in the world. He ate and frolicked and then ate some more. He was chubbier than any of the other calves.

The farmer knew that a calf that chubby would bring a good price at the market. Buyers would snatch him up fast. The round little calf was the farm’s pride and joy. Neighbors that passed by often commented on the little guy’s weight and size.

The farmer was waiting for just the right time to take him to market. The hired hands around the place all knew that any day now, the farmer was going to ask them to take the chubby little calf to the Sale Barn. It was just a matter of time and they waited for the call.

Then the call came. One morning the farmer animatedly called several of his men to come to him. They quickly responded. Knowing what he wanted before he asked.

“I want you to go get that big chubby calf, and kill it,” he said.

“Kill it?”

“Kill it!”

They field hands looked glanced quickly at each other. This was totally unexpected. A prize calf like that would bring good money. Their boss was a good businessman, and they didn’t need the fresh meat. Why kill it?

Then the farmer explained, with the biggest grin on his face they had ever seen!

Luke 15:23 … bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:

Luke 15:24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

So likewise, the Heavenly Father always freely gives His best for you, His children.

He never withholds His choicest bounty from you.

You mean more to Him than anything else He has.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

September 24, 2011 at 12:07 am

Posted in Backsliders

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Hey Backslider…

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Hey Backslider…

You’re not that far from home! You know, like the Prodigal Son story in the Bible? Remember when he hit bottom, lost everything, got hungry and wanted to eat pig food? Well the good news is, he came to himself. Just like you. Remember…

You’re Not That Far From Home When: When you start getting hungry.

You’re Not That Far From Home When: When your pride gets out of the way.

You’re Not That Far From Home When: When your thoughts turn towards home.

You’re Not That Far From Home When: When you come to yourself.

You’re Not That Far From Home When: When you get up.

You’re Not That Far From Home When: When you start coming home.

You’re Not That Far From Home When: When the Father is watching for you.

You’re Not That Far From Home When: When the Father runs to meet you.

You’re Not That Far From Home When: When you humble yourself.

You’re Not That Far From Home When: When you say you’re sorry.

You’re Not That Far From Home When: When you wrap your arms around each other.

See, I told you that you’re not that far from home. Oh, and did you know your Father’s been looking for you too? Your place is sitting empty at the table. We all can’t wait to see you!

Come On Home!

Written by Martyn Ballestero

September 23, 2011 at 1:18 am

Posted in Backsliders

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He Threw His Miracle Away

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He Threw His Miracle Away

The Texas Evangelist forgot to bring his Bible to the Revival. He’d been at our church for two weeks already.  Every night, he’d have someone read his scripture for him. Some nights, he would have someone read a scripture of his or her choice and then he would preach a masterful message from that verse. His ability was unbelievable.

His singing was amazing. The people loved him. I sat on the front row and watched as he played my old Gibson J-45 box guitar. (We all knew he was a good singer because he had even ‘cut’ a record.)

He also had an incredible ministry of faith and a likeable personality. The church had not seen someone used in the ‘gifts’ like him before. Every night their faith was built up a little higher. Some of the saints testified of healings and blessings that had come their way during the revival.

After singing a few songs, one night, The Evangelist felt led to pray for the sick. The line formed and it was not short. Almost everyone could think of something they’d like prayer for, so they stood in line.

After 20 minutes or more, he raised his hands to stop the music and the praying. He got the microphone and said, ’How many here have never seen a miracle?”

Six men raised their hands. He said to them, “I want you to come up here by me. You are going to see a miracle tonight.”

He then bent over and asked the man he was getting ready to pray for, what his name was. When he found out, he continued talking in the microphone.

“Brother Marshall told me that he is a welder by trade. He said that several years ago, he was involved in a work related accident. A hot rivet fell out of a beam into his ear and it burnt out and destroyed his eardrum. The Doctors say it’s irreparable.

“Now, if God does not heal Brother Marshall completely tonight and restore his eardrum and his hearing, I will close my Bible and never preach another sermon.”

The saints and Pastor marveled at his faith and bold statements. Some cast furtive glances toward the Pastor in hopes of seeing his reaction. There was none.

“I want you six brethren to gather around Bro. Marshall.”

One at a time he had them place their hands on the man’s head, covering his ears. Finally all six pairs of hands covered Bro. Marshall’s ears.

The Evangelist prayed a prayer that didn’t seem to last 20 seconds.

With the hands still covering the ears, the Evangelist walked behind Bro. Marshall and stood about six feet away. He then turned his back to him and said in conversational tones, “Can you hear me now?”

“Yes,” was the reply.

He walked another 10 feet away and repeated the question and got the same answer.

The people rejoiced and faith was high.

The next day, Bro. Marshall went to see his Doctor. That night he came back to church with the Doctor’s report. The Doctor could find no evidence of an injury or scaring. He had a perfectly functioning eardrum.

There wasn’t any preaching that night as the saints rejoiced and many came forward to be prayed for. All of us were saddened when the Evangelist had to go to his next revival.

Less than a year later Brother Marshall had some problems that caused him to start missing church. After a month or so of hit and miss, he let it be known that he wasn’t going back to church anymore.

Almost immediately, he lost his hearing and never got it back. A hearing aid was of no help. He lived many more years and died in that condition.

He threw his miracle away!

(This sad story is true. The name has been changed.)

Written by Martyn Ballestero

August 29, 2011 at 12:06 am

Posted in Backsliders, Faith

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‘Murder’s Nobodies’

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‘Murder’s Nobodies’

The Detective Lieutenant from Homicide stood at the podium in front of the eight photos pinned on the board.  The pictures were of unnamed young women that had been brutally murdered.

The handful of Detectives seated in the room hung onto every word as he pointed at the Jane Doe photos of each young woman. The hard-nosed, no-nonsense persona of the old Lieutenant was mostly a front. He appeared to be a little rough around the edges. It went with the territory. Everyone in the room however, understood that his heart was soft. He motives were good. And besides all of that, he really cared about people.

Today, his personal mission was to bring attention to each case before them. That was clearly evident. All eight manila files in front of him had sat in the ‘Open-Unsolved’ Department’s file cabinet for too many years. He couldn’t sleep well at night any more because of them. They were his cases. This was his department. These were cases they all should be concerned about. Not just him. His mind raced ahead as he spoke to his team.

  • All the girls were listed as Jane Does.
  • No one had reported them missing.
  • Maybe they were runaways.
  • Maybe they weren’t.
  • No one seemed to miss them and several had been dead for more than five years.
  • Maybe they’d left in rebellion.
  • Maybe the family was glad they were gone.
  • They’d somehow slipped through the cracks.
  • No splash was made on the news.
  • There was no front-page write-up in the paper.
  • Why?

“These young women,” the Detective said, “are ‘Murder’s Nobodies.’ They are the victims that don’t count in the minds of those that knew them. No one knows they’re dead. No one has asked about them. No one cared enough to file a missing persons report. No one loved them. No one came looking. No one called.

“Every one of them was somebody’s daughter. Every one of them counted. They don’t deserve to lie in an unmarked grave. They don’t deserve to be forgotten. They all were horrible murdered. They suffered great pain and no one cries for them.”

The old Detective stopped in his speech and looked at the young men and women in front of him. He wanted his words to strike a note in every heart. He wanted everyone in his department to get a hold of what he was saying. He wanted them to get the Big Picture. He wanted them to care enough to do something.

“They’re ‘Murder’s Nobodies’. They weren’t famous enough to be missed. They weren’t rich enough to make the news. They weren’t pretty enough to be asked about. They were just nobodies. They lived an invisible existence in their society. Unseen, unheard of and now, forgotten. I don’t care how long it takes. I’m not willing to let these cases stay in the Open-Unsolved files. We’ve got work to do.”

The group all nodded their heads as one. Their eyes followed the Lieutenant’s eyes and looked again at the pictures on the wall. They saw them as victims who didn’t deserve to have everything taken from them. They saw them as victims who didn’t deserve to die. They saw them as victims who were called ‘Murder’s Nobodies.’ Every community has some. Every church has some as well.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

March 23, 2011 at 12:53 am

The Generation Of The ‘Saved’ Backslider

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The Generation Of The ‘Saved’ Backslider

Saved backsliders? Yes, although it sounds like an oxymoron, it is a sad commonplace in Pentecostal ranks today. Old fashioned type backsliders that say, “I’m not in church, keep praying for me” are getting harder and harder to find.

Remember the day when you knew someone was backslidden and they knew it too?

Their lifestyle gave them away. Their own actions brought condemnation upon themselves.

  • They smoked and tried to hide it when they saw the pastor coming because they knew they were wrong.
  • They drank alcohol and knew it was wrong.
  • They went to nightclubs and hoped no one would see them because they knew they were wrong.
  • If they went to the movies they looked around first to make sure no one saw them because they knew they were doing wrong.
  • Women cut their hair and felt guilt when members of the church saw them because they knew they had done wrong.
  • Women put on make up and jewelry to look like the world and  knew they were wrong.
  • Women put on slacks and felt ill at ease because they knew they were wrong.
  • They went swimming in public places exposing their bodies and knew it wasn’t right.
  • They got tattoos and tried to hide them from the church folks because they knew they were wrong.
  • They had affairs and their conscience never stopped preaching to them because they knew they were living wrong.
  • If they came to church for a visit, they shook with conviction because they knew they were wrong.
  • They ran to the altar of repentance and begged forgiveness because they knew they had been wrong.

What happened to all of those people? Where have they gone? Has anyone seen them?

There’s a different spirit that backsliders possess today than they did a generation or so ago.

Today they politely listen to you invite them to church. Then they tell you where they are ‘going’ now. They are very happy ‘there’ and they feel good about their choice.

They post pictures of themselves on Facebook and My Space that are almost shocking.

  • Semi nude pictures
  • Tattoos
  • Drunken parties
  • Immodesty
  • Women with cut hair
  • Men with long hair
  • Pictures of their sinner girlfriend or boyfriend.

You get the picture. They have drastically changed and yet feel they are the same spiritual creature on the inside.

When a ‘saint’ posts a comment about a need, the ‘saved backslider’ will jump right in and comment about trusting the Lord. They will tell you they will keep you in their prayers.

They brag about their prayer life, their newfound ‘liberties’ and their love for the Lord.

When they see an Apostolic lady in the mall, they will walk up and say, “Ah, you’re Pentecostal aren’t you? I could tell. I’m Pentecostal too.”

You may look at them perplexed because they look nothing like the Pentecostals you know.

They identify with you, but it is impossible to identify with them. They are not the same. They’ve changed.

Maybe you’ve noticed critical comments online about standards, or pastors, or especially if someone speaks about self-righteousness in the church. They jump all over that and vent their feelings against authority without any reservation.

  • They don’t want to go to an ‘Apostolic Church’.
  • They are saved just like they are.
  • They don’t need an ‘Apostolic Church’ to be saved.
  • They feel acceptance and love now.
  • They want the old saints to be flexible in their thinking and accept them as they are.
  • They laugh and they mock their former life of holiness living.
  • They’re arrogant.
  • They’re defensive of their lifestyle.
  • They’re unashamed.
  • They feel superior.
  • They’re unrepentant.
  • They’re comfortable.

What chance does a backslider have of getting right with God?

I am not an authority nor do I have the final say. But I do have fifty years in the ministry that let me see two basic patterns that backsliders generally fall into.

Category One

The backslider that says, “I’m not right. I’m living in sin, but when I do get right with God, I know where to go. I’m going back to my home church.”

  • There’s hope for this person.

Category Two

The backslider that criticizes the church, the pastor, and calls them all hypocrites and is glad to be ‘free’.

  • There’s almost zero hope of them ever making it back to God.

The word ‘delusion is one of the scariest words in the Bible. When they fail to receive a love for the Truth, God said He would hand-pick a strong delusion custom-made just for them.

He’ll give them something they will believe. A delusion. When they believe a delusion, then damnation awaits. All because they wouldn’t receive a love of the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

2Th. 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

2Th. 2:11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

2Th. 2:12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Backslider! What category are you in?

There’s hope for you if you want to come back to Calvary.

The Father is waiting.

He loves you.

Come back home.

We love you.

We all are praying for you.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

March 7, 2011 at 11:20 am

Posted in Backsliders

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