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Posts Tagged ‘Holy Ghost

“I’m Going To Run Away From Home!”

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“I’m Going To Run Away From Home!”

That’s what I told my mom. I looked at her face and she didn’t seem to be overly shaken by the news, which

Me, Daddy (Carl) & Mama (Content) Ballestero

Me, Daddy (Carl) & Mama (Content) Ballestero 1951

was a good thing for me. So I relaxed a bit. I had already handled the hardest part. I’d made my big announcement. She smiled understandingly at me, as she touched my shoulder.

“Would you like me to help you pack your suitcase?” She asked, still smiling pleasantly.

My seven-year old brain didn’t pick up on the fact that she wasn’t overly shaken or alarmed by my desire to go, and was asking to help me pack.

I quickly accepted her assistance, because I had never packed a suitcase before. Mama was good at packing and always making sure I had everything I needed for trips.

I watched as she put my clothes in the little suitcase. There were enough changes to maybe get me through a whole week, which was good.  She made sure my little Bible and toothbrush were also packed in the suitcase. There wasn’t any room left for my brown teddy bear. I felt a major twinge about that. I hadn’t planned on being that alone.

Mama and I took a final look around my room looking for anything else I might need to take with me. Finding nothing, she closed the lid and handed me the small suitcase.

I stood there a little uncertain about how my goodbye should be handled. Our family was a kissy and huggy kind of family.

Should I kiss and hug her good-bye, or should I just say, “Bye” and leave? I was unsure. Before I had time to figure it out, mama made the decision for me.

“Honey, put down your suitcase right there, because I would like to take you on a tour of the house before you go.”

I sat the suitcase down and followed behind mama as she walked down the hall toward her bedroom. She stopped in the doorway as I joined her, and we both looked into her modestly furnished room.

“Since you are never going to get to see this room again, I thought you might want to see for the last time, where your mommy and daddy sleep at night. This is where you came every night to say your bedtime prayers and get your good night kisses.

“It’s also where you came every morning to get hugs and kisses from mommy and daddy. But, since you’re leaving you’ve probably outgrown all that now, so you won’t have to come back here any more, but I wanted you to see it.”

I took a big gulp. I didn’t want to cry now. I hadn’t expected a tour of any kind. I’d just wanted to runaway.

She then took my hand and guided me to my sister’s bedroom.

“This is where Beverly and your little sister Carlene sleep, take a good look, you’ll never get to see your sisters again. (Beverly was almost six and Carlene was two.)

Mama then guided me by my bedroom and I looked at my teddy bear proudly sitting on my bed. I felt a big twinge.

The tour continued into the kitchen. Mama took great pains to explain to me that this was where she fixed my favorite meals. She also pointed out where I used to stand and talk to her, as she cooked.

“Here is where I made your pancakes, and cooked your favorite meals. In here is where I baked you cookies, pies, cakes and your favorite orange crusted biscuits!” She said as she pointed at the oven.

“You probably won’t be having any biscuits, cookies or pancakes where you’re going. You don’t know how to make those, and you don’t even have anything to make them with, if you did. So take a good look around.”

I hadn’t thought about never having biscuits, cookies or pancakes again. There were some things about running away I evidently hadn’t thought out completely. I got very serious.

We then walked into the dining room and stopped at the foot of the table where I always sat.

“Here is your place at the table, son. It’s going to look awful empty without you in it!”

She let that sink in a moment before we moved on. She pointed at the chairs.

“Here is where your daddy always sits, and here is where Beverly sits, and Carlene sits here, and I always sit over there. Take a good look, Honey, because you won’t ever get to see this table, or eat with us any more.”

I began to feel more alone than I had planned. Mama walked toward the living room, and I joined her looking at the couch and easy chairs.

“Over here is your daddy’s chair. That’s where he always sits during family devotions when he reads us a chapter from the Bible or reads from The Bible Story Book.

“Here is where I always sit, and there is where Beverly and Carlene sit, and over there is where you always sit.

Mama placed her arm around me as we stood side by side looking the room over.

“Well honey, I think that about concludes the tour of our home. I know you won’t ever get to see it again, because you won’t be coming back. But I want you to know and I want you to always remember how much you mommy and daddy love you.

Never forget how much your little sisters love you too. We are going to miss you every day. You will always be welcome here, because we will always love you.”

Then without a lengthy delay she continued her goodbyes.

“Oh, one more thing, I know I’ve shown you all through the house for the last time, but why don’t you kneel down with mama where we always pray for our family devotions and tell Jesus goodbye.

“You probably won’t be talking to Him anymore either.”

Tell Jesus goodbye? That thought shocked me childish mind. I hadn’t planned on telling Jesus goodbye. All I thought I wanted to do was runaway from home.

Without waiting for me to give any verbal response, mama knelt down at the old sofa and began to pray as only my mama could pray.

Mama was one of those precious Holy Ghost filled mama’s that prayed them heart-felt and spirit filled prayers. She never prayed very long without everyone around her knowing she had touched something pretty wonderful in the glory world.

She began to pray fervently, crying quickly and speaking in tongues. This was how mama always prayed, but today’s prayer and her crying took on new meaning for me as I knelt there beside her.

I listened to her crying, and I felt sure I had made my mama cry because I was running away. I listened to her pray and speak in tongues and knew she was surely talking to Jesus.

I had only been on my knees less than two or three minutes when I began to cry. I placed my arm around my mama and pulled myself close to her.

“Mama, I am so sorry for wanting to run away. I’m not going to go anywhere. I’m going to stay home with you.

Please forgive me, mama. I love you. I promise, I will never leave you. I won’t even get married, or nothing. I’m just going to stay with you!”

She slipped her arm around me, and hugged me tightly as she gave me a sweet kiss. And then she went back to finish her prayer time with the Lord.

 

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By chance have you been thinking lately about running away from Home?

  • Have you been considering leaving the Father’s House?
  • Have you?

Well, before you go, please, please permit me to take you on a tour of the church you’ve been part of for so long.

I want you look with me again at the place where the plan of salvation was first preached to you. I am pointing at the pulpit.

Remember feeling like you had sinned so bad that God would never forgive you? Can you hear your pastor’s voice once again saying that there was no sin you had ever committed that Jesus wouldn’t forgive you of? Remember him trying to give you hope? He was trying to tell you that God loved you no matter what.

I’m sure you remember him saying that you needed to believe in God’s promise, repent of your sins, be baptized in Jesus name, and then receive the gift of the Holy Ghost speaking in other tongues. Just like they did on the day of Pentecost.

Please look right over here at the altar where you first knelt down and repented of your sins. Remember how you felt when you felt you repented that night?

Now, I want you to come with me over to the baptistery and look into the place where your sins got washed away in Jesus name! Remember how clean you felt and how wonderful that experience was?

Then, when you came up out of the water you lifted your hands and God filled you with the Holy Ghost. You spoke in a language you’d never spoken in before! Take a look at this place again and ask your self if the world has anything that matches that.

Oh, see that aisle right there? Remember all the times you shouted, and danced for joy down those aisles?

Remember the night you came up to the front and stood right there in a healing line and God healed you instantly of cancer? The world can’t offer you that.

Look over there at the third pew where you’ve sat all these years. Remember that Sunday night you stood and testified about God healing you? Remember that?

Come over here to this door, look in here. This is the prayer room you always went to before service each night. You fought a lot of battles and won a lot of victories kneeling right there.

Please walk with me down this hall. Here is the Pastor’s office. He sure loves you. Think of the many times he’s given you counsel, direction and encouragement.

I know you’ll never forget how he would pray with you, and for you, before you left the room. I hope you can remember what that was like, because you won’t have anything like that anymore.

Now, we need to come back out into the auditorium and look it over real slow. Let the faces of each one come to mind as you look at where they sat during service. They loved you. They rejoiced and shouted the night you got saved. Those dear people will pray for you daily, when they realize you are gone. They will never give up on you.

Never forget how much you are loved here. We are going to miss you everyday. Don’t ever forget that the Lord truly loves you and gave His all for you!

Well, that pretty much concludes our little tour.

Aw, before you go, why don’t you kneel with me right here where you always pray, and then you can tell Jesus good-bye too…

 

praying_man_at_altar

 

 

Have Ye Received The Holy Ghost? 1893 Song

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Written by Martyn Ballestero

November 4, 2012 at 2:38 pm

Posted in Holy Ghost

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Tell Him You’re Stupid!

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Tell Him You’re Stupid!

The National City Church, Rev. Leamon Reynolds, Pastor. circa 1959

Betty parked her Austin Healey convertible in the parking lot and walked into the modest sized Pentecostal church in National City, California. She was doing quite well for a single girl in the business world in the late 1950’s.

Betty Picklesimer looked professional in her classy dark suit. She was, after all, an Officer at the local Bank. She knew very little about Pentecost, only what her brother had told her. She had seen wonderful changes in him and wanted to visit his church.

She sat near the back on the right side as she entered the revival service. The church was full. Her brother, Alan Picklesimer was already a member there. He was 21 and the Sunday School teacher for teenage boys. I was 14 and in his class.

My father, Carl Ballestero was the nightly evangelist. Betty came down to the altar when he finished preaching and the invitation was given.

She repented and cried for a long time. When she finished praying, she asked to be baptized. The church rejoiced and shouted when she received the Holy Ghost and began speaking in tongues while still in the water.

The next night, Betty was back in service again. She was praising God and rejoicing in her newfound relationship with the Lord.

During the altar service that night, Betty began praying with new seekers in the altar. My father became curious about what this new convert was saying to them.

Betty began praying with a woman from Tijuana, Mexico. Here she was, a well-dressed professional businesswoman, praying with a very poor and uneducated woman. Dad moved closer so as to overhear her words. Betty shouted words of encouragement into the little lady’s ears.

 “Tell Him you’re stupid! Tell Him you’re ignorant! Tell Him you don’t know nothing!” Betty was yelling in the new seeker’s ear. “That’s what I told Him and He gave me the Holy Ghost!”

The Mexican lady received the Holy Ghost!

Seeker? Are you ready to tell God that you’re stupid? That you’re ignorant? That you don’t know anything? Maybe you should.

The Holy Ghost comes easily to hungry hearts that are willing to humble themselves.

Sister Betty Picklesimer 2007

Written by Martyn Ballestero

October 3, 2011 at 1:05 am

Posted in Holy Ghost

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The Sinners In The Communion Line

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The Sinners In The Communion Line

The place where The Apostolic Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma is now located, was originally a restaurant. It had started out as The Western Sizzler Steak House. It stood on a small hill overlooking Historic Highway 66 on the edge of town. Its four lanes of highway were closely paralleled by another four-lane road scarcely 100 yards apart.

Even with all the heavy traffic under it’s nose the old steakhouse struggled to survive and finally closed. It reopened eventually, as a Mexican restaurant. This new enterprise was not was not able to last very long either, and finally closed. The big sign overlooking the highway sadly announced that fact when the letters were removed. The restaurant then sat empty for a time.

Originally, The Apostolic Church had been closer to town and was temporarily housed in a storefront, They dreamed of the day when they would have a place of their very own.  They gave sacrificially and saved. They had fundraisers. They prayed and they looked.

A couple of years ago the Lord made way for the empty restaurant to be purchased by the church and they worked hard to remodel their new facility.

Many work nights were needed to make the transition. The normal Thursday midweek service was often cancelled or temporarily changed to “work nights” to accommodate the workers schedules.

In January of 2010 Pastor Jeff Dykes called a three-day fast.  He also announced special prayer meetings for Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Communion would be served on Wednesday. This service was just for the church family. The pastor explained the sacredness of Communion and asked that no outside visitors be invited, especially… no sinners.

Unknown to anyone in the church, a stranger named Sam drove by the empty restaurant on his way to work everyday. Sam worked at a hospital a little farther west. He immediately noticed the new church name on the old restaurant sign. Something happened to him then when he drove by the church. It caught his attention and made him look toward it every time he passed by. He felt a peace in his heart when he drove by the church. He felt a peace so great he couldn’t get it off of his mind.

Sam was in pain. His memories hurt him. His heart hurt him. His conscience hurt him. He knew he needed church. He wanted to get right with God. He had been around an Apostolic Church before. Somehow, it had never worked out for him to get right with God. But now he was ready.

He drove back that night, but the service night had been changed due to the many needed work nights. Undeterred, Sam tried several more times to get there when there was church. He felt the need to be in service at this church. He felt a drawing from the Lord.

It happened, that on the night of the announced Wednesday Communion service, that Sam and his girlfriend showed up and sat in the back.

The pastor was caught off guard to see these new faces on a Communion service night. He didn’t feel he could serve Communion to those that not didn’t live for God. Almost apologetically, he explained what was getting ready to happen in the service and said that Communion was a type of the body and blood of Jesus Christ. He said it he only served communion to those that had been baptized in Jesus name and filled with the Holy Ghost.

Sam and his girlfriend never budged. The pastor had tried to warn them off in a nice way, but they had stayed anyway. Less determined sinners might have left. This was going to complicate things.

White cloths covered the trays that contained the Lord’s Supper. They sat on a table in front of the pulpit.

After worship and prayer, the pastor read his scriptural passages and explained that he wanted to serve communion to the church, one family at a time. He invited them to stand in line in family groups.

In so doing, he not only served them all, but personally prayed for each one of them as well.

Sam and his girl friend quietly talked. He wanted to go up and take communion. She invited him to go in front of her, thinking that if he got turned down, she wouldn’t have to wait to be turned down. She’d leave… or something.

Every one else in the building had been served except Sam and his girlfriend. Sam had stood at the back of the line. He didn’t know if anyone noticed or not, but tears were rolling down his cheeks. He was crying very hard.

It was like the floodgates of his heart had opened. The tears streamed and heavily stained his dark shirt. The whole front of his shirt was soaking wet with tears when he stood in front of the preacher to receive Communion. When the Pastor saw Sam crying, he laid his hands on his head.  Sam immediately began to speak in other tongues. What an experience he got!

The church folks all said it was the best Communion service they’d ever had. Oh yes, Sam and his girlfriend both got the Holy Ghost and got baptized. They got married too.

Here is Bro. Sam beating on the old drum during a praise service a year later. He is a good worshipper.

His precious wife is now one of the praise singers.

Oh, yes… Before the night was over, they received Communion too.

To God be the glory.

 

Written by Martyn Ballestero

September 19, 2011 at 12:00 pm

The Pentecostals At The Church Of Christ Funeral

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The Pentecostals At The Church Of Christ Funeral

The funeral chapel was jammed with about 30 Pentecostals and nearly 100 Church of Christ members.  Evidently this funeral was considered important. Six Church of Christ pastors were in attendance and each one spoke. No Pentecostal preacher had been invited to speak; yet several of us came anyway. I sat close to the back with my brother-in-law Pastor Nathan Yandris and my sister Ramona.

The large framed picture sitting on the closed casket was one of a beautiful middle-aged woman named Phyllis. She had a look of professionalism and class about her. Her brown hair was cut shoulder length. It appeared her make up had been professionally applied for the photo, and her jewelry looked very expensive.

The front row contained a grieving husband and beside him, his redheaded son and daughter-in-law. The son appeared to be the only child. No others sat near, leaving the guests to assume the mourners were alone in this crowd.

The Church of Christ preachers spoke one by one, and each said comforting things that I am sure helped. The final speaker did a superb job, actually. One could tell this was not his first funeral.

At the conclusion of his homily, the minister announced, “It is the wishes of the family that those who wish to say a few words about our beloved sister, should have an opportunity to say a public goodbye. He then walked to the front row and sat down.

One at a time, six middle-aged women walked to the podium and spoke sweet words about the loss of their friend. All of them mentioned that they had met Phyllis at either AA or Al-Anon.

They spoke of her friendship, of her church activities, her help with their lives, and her struggle with addictions and theirs.

After the last one sat down, there was a moment of quietness as all waited for someone else to stand. No one did.

Turning around and giving the crowd a swift appraising look, the redheaded son clutched a new Bible as he stepped to the small podium. His 25 years seemed much older. He was poised. He held the Bible in his left hand up close to his heart.

With a voice that never broke, he thanked everyone for coming. He thanked the ministers that spoke and he thanked his mother’s pastor as well.

With a smile to the women who had come to the front to speak, he thanked them as cherished friends.

That is where his story began!

“Almost 6 weeks ago, I first heard that my mom had cancer.  The doctor said that it was terminal and inoperable. I was shattered. Then they said she only had a few days to live. I was an immediate basket case.

“My mom was young, she was beautiful too,” He said, pointing at her picture.

“I went home that night and sat on my front porch. I was drinking a beer and smoking a cigarette, and was crying my heart out, when this man saw me and stopped.” (He pointed at a large black man on the 2nd row.) “He asked me if I was alright? I told him no.

“When he came up to the porch I told him the news about my mom. He spoke comforting words to me and asked if he could pray for me. I said yes and he did. I felt something I had never felt before.

“Then he sat down beside me and taught me what he called a short Home Bible Study. He showed me about Acts 2:38. He said that I needed to repent, and get baptized in Jesus name and that the Lord would give me the Holy Ghost. He said that Jesus would be my comforter.

“I prayed right there on my porch and asked Jesus to forgive me of my sins. I told him I wanted to be baptized the Bible way, so he took me to his church, Apostolic Tabernacle, and the pastor came over and baptized me in Jesus name. When I came up out of the water, I was speaking in tongues. I got the Holy Ghost just like they did in the Bible!” He said, as he raised and then waved his Bible.

The Pentecostals responded with much noise and many of us stood and clapped our hands. The Church of Christ crowd went silent.

“I was thrilled! I had never been so happy in my life! That night I prayed that God would help me to share this with my mom. I knew she had to have this before she died.

“I prayed that God would help me find a way to speak to her. I knew she was wrapped up in her Church. She had been a lifetime member, and had always been involved in one department or another.

“The first thing the next morning, I prayed before I went over to mom’s house. When I got there, I was surprised to see a Bible lying open on the kitchen table.”

“I asked mom what the Bible was there for, and she said that she was close to dying and didn’t feel saved. She said she was looking for more than what she had.

“I said mom, you been a member of the Church of Christ for 45 years.”

She said, “That’s right, but I’m not ready to meet God. I need more!”

(He turned to the Church of Christ pastor and said, “Sorry sir!”)

The redheaded new convert was filled with Holy Ghost enthusiasm as he told his story. His eyes were red rimmed and watering.

I said, “Mom, let me tell you what had happened to me last night. I told her the whole story. About the beer, the Bible study, the baptism and the Holy Ghost.

“Mom started crying and said son, ‘Tell me what he told you.’

I sat down with her and showed her the same scriptures in Acts that my new friend had told me.

“She got down and began to repent like the Bible said to. When she finished, she said that she couldn’t leave the house to go to church. She was too weak and was attached to an oxygen tank.

“Mom said, maybe we could fill her big Jacuzzi tub up and baptize her in that. Dad helped me and I baptized my mom in Jesus name. She came up out of the water speaking in tongues just like I did. I was so happy, I shouted all over the room.”

(All of us Pentecostals are now on our feet, with our hands in the air, worshipping!)

“My dad said, ‘Baptize me too!’ So I did and he got the Holy Ghost too”

“I sure did,” came a strong voiced reply from the front row. The dad had his hand in the air.

The Pentecostal’s worship was so overwhelming that even some of the church of Christ people started crying by now.

They all knew that a man with an experience is never at the mercies of a man with an argument.

The worship of the small group of saints roared in the ears of opposition. For several minutes it went on. It felt unstoppable.

“All of you Church of Christ members need this Holy Ghost, he went on. “It will do for you what AA can’t. It will do for you what Al-Anon can’t. You need to be baptized in Jesus name to be saved. You need the Holy Ghost speaking with other tongues to be saved. If you want to see my mom in heaven, then obey Acts 2:38.

When he walked back to his place, the crowd stood and gave him a standing ovation.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

September 15, 2011 at 9:41 am