The Ballestero Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘Witnessing

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

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

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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

Too Drunk Too Fish

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Too Drunk Too Fish

The Weatherman pronounced a beautiful October day. The World Series was underway and the fish were biting according to the Farmers Almanac. Life didn’t get much better than this for Alex.

He parked his old car in front of John’s Bait and Tackle Store. He said ‘Good Morning” to the clerk and looked to see if John had gotten any new crank baits in. Finding nothing new, he sauntered back to the cooler where the Night Crawlers were kept.

He opened the door, selected a carton and then stood there a minute. On the top shelf was beer.  Alex grabbed a six-pack, and headed for the counter. He paid for his purchases and for a bag of ice from the machine outside.

Within 30 minutes, Alex had backed his boat down the ramp, parked his car and was happily rowing to his special spot.

He stopped a minute to turn his portable radio on. He didn’t want to miss anything. The World Series was all tied up at 3 games each. Today was the final game.

The water was calm and the color of the water looked right too. He eased into the little cove where he always caught his limit and silently lowered the anchor.

The poles took a minute to get baited up. He made his casts and watched as the red and white bobbers lazily rose and fell with the water’s movement.

The sun felt warm and comfortable. Alex opened the cooler and pulled out a beer. He nursed his drink as he listened to the game. His team was having a good day. But this was only the bottom of the 3st Inning.

An hour later, a bobber announced that another baby fish was trying to steal his bait. No keepers had taken the bait yet.

His daydreaming turned to thoughts of home. He’d had an argument with his wife last night. She was still mad at him. The kids were out of control again. To make matters worse, they were talking at work about downsizing at the plant. Maybe he’d go ahead and drink another beer.

The sports announcer’s voice rose with excitement. Alex hollered out loud as he heard the news of his team scoring a home run. He finished the beer to celebrate.

The bobber finally went under and Alex landed a keeper. He put another worm on his hook and cast back into the same area.

Alex opened another beer and sat there listening. The other team had taken the lead. That made him drink in frustration.

Other fishing boats could be seen around the lake. Voices announced their excitement over each new catch. Alex knew that he needed to catch enough for supper. His one wasn’t enough. He had to catch several more. He reached for another cold one.

The game ended. Alex was so mad and disappointed that he turned the radio off and opened another beer. He began to guzzle it down and then he opened the last one.

The gentle rock of the boat, the warmth of the sun, and the beer all helped relax Alex. His eyes slowly closed and his chin rested on his chest and he went to sleep. The bobber’s submerging was of no concern to him. Alex was too drunk to fish.

The story of Alex is more than just about a man having a bad day. This story is also about those who may never have tasted alcohol, yet are too drunk to fish.

KJV – Luke 21:34 And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.

KJV – Rom. 13:13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.

The Message – Luke 21:34-36 But be on your guard. Don’t let the sharp edge of your expectation get dulled by parties and drinking and shopping. Otherwise, that Day is going to take you by complete surprise, spring on you suddenly like a trap, for it’s going to come on everyone, everywhere, at once. So, whatever you do, don’t go to sleep at the switch. Pray constantly that you will have the strength and wits to make it through everything that’s coming and end up on your feet before the Son of Man.

The Message – Rom. 13:11-14 But make sure that you don’t get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God. The night is about over, dawn is about to break. Be up and awake to what God is doing! God is putting the finishing touches on the salvation work he began when we first believed. We can’t afford to waste a minute, must not squander these precious daylight hours in frivolity and indulgence, in sleeping around and dissipation, in bickering and grabbing everything in sight. Get out of bed and get dressed! Don’t loiter and linger, waiting until the very last minute. Dress yourselves in Christ, and be up and about!

Evidently the fear 2,000 years ago was that the saints would become so intoxicated with living and the things of life they wouldn’t do much for God. If there were warnings issued then, there certainly should be even more issued now.

Our job as Holy Ghost filled children of God is not just to enjoy this glorious experience alone. We are to be fishers of men. That’s our calling. Let’s not get sidetracked with life and living.

How are we doing on our witnessing? Are we letting our light shine? Are we catching anything or are we too drunk to fish?

Written by Martyn Ballestero

June 16, 2011 at 10:13 am