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Chapter 27. The Redheaded Church

April 14, 2010

The Redheaded Church

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. We sat together close to the back.

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 that 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.

This Too Is Home Missions!

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44 Comments leave one →
  1. April 14, 2010 8:54 am

    Bro. Ballestero,

    I would like to use this on my church blog, with your permission.

    Blessings,
    Tim Merritt

  2. April 14, 2010 9:01 am

    Wonderful Blog. I am so glad I took the time to read it today. I always enjoy your writing. Glad to see you being so consistent and disciplined in it. God Bless!

    Scott Phillips

  3. Daniel Quinones permalink
    April 14, 2010 9:38 am

    Brother Ballestero,

    I am always blessed by your words and wisdom. We, the UPCI and other Apostolic Organizations, are so blessed to have you preaching this saving message. God Bless you and your family!

    With much love,
    Daniel Quinones

  4. April 14, 2010 9:44 am

    AWESOME! What a powerful, moving account!

  5. robin fields permalink
    April 14, 2010 9:55 am

    awesome awe some im speechless thanku Jesus

  6. Jane Mills permalink
    April 14, 2010 10:12 am

    WOW! The Lord never stops amazing me at the lengths he goes to to reach hungry hearts! What a testimony!!!! So glad I took time to stop and read this posting! Praise the Lord!

  7. Joshua Franklin permalink
    April 14, 2010 10:12 am

    That is an awesome story! He did say that in the last days He would pour out His Spirit upon all flesh! What a mighty God we serve!

  8. Colin Scott permalink
    April 14, 2010 10:34 am

    Very inspirational and I’m glad I took the time to read it!
    I’m also thankful for the Holy Ghost and all God has done in my life!

    God Bless You and your Family!

  9. April 14, 2010 10:46 am

    Tears in my eyes. Praise on my lips. Wonder in my heart. What a God!

  10. Cherry Price permalink
    April 14, 2010 11:01 am

    Very, very inspirational. We live and work in a C of C controlled town. You can’t hardly throw a stone (figuratively speaking) without hitting one of their churches. Thank God for the hope that this family found. Pray that we can penetrate our town and win some of these honest hearted people to God.

  11. Stephanie McMurray permalink
    April 14, 2010 11:03 am

    Loved this! Always love it when I hear about people being baptized in the precious Name of Jesus and receiving the Holy Ghost! Also, I very much like the phrase “A man with an experience is never at the mercies of a man with an argument.” This is one I will pass along to my husband, as he is the only one in his immediate family that is not trinity. Thanks very much and God bless!

  12. April 14, 2010 11:07 am

    Thank you for sharing. The annointing took a hold of me as I read this blog. God bless.

  13. Betty whistler permalink
    April 14, 2010 11:34 am

    This really hit close to home for me as my mother just passed away – she has been a member of church of christ as long as i can remember- i was raised church of christ -on jan 21 two thousand and seven i was bapitized in jesus name — i remember talking to my mother in the nursing home around 4 months ago about me changing to an aspotolic jesus name church , and i was very shocked that she took my hand and said that is ok- considering on how i was raised

  14. April 14, 2010 1:41 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this awesome testimony. I’m so glad that I disciplined myself to sit down and read it. God had another plan other than to use a Pentecostal Pastor at that service. This man was one of their kind so it probably was easier for them to listen to him. Something like “out of the mouth of babes”. What an awesome God.

  15. April 14, 2010 2:26 pm

    What a wonderful testimony of God’s saving grace, it is still available today.

  16. Colleen Zivney permalink
    April 14, 2010 4:17 pm

    Wow! That is truly amazing.

  17. Susan permalink
    April 14, 2010 4:26 pm

    Feel like I’m at McDonalds….I’m Loving it!!!! Being stuck at an airport works wonders for you!

  18. April 14, 2010 6:15 pm

    Not sure if you watch your stats… but I have been today. You have had almost 700 unique visitors today. That is awesome for a devotional blog. You have blessed a bunch of folks today. I used your story tonight in my Bible lesson.

  19. rossana ellement permalink
    April 14, 2010 6:33 pm

    hi thanks for sharing this testimony,i am so touched!!!- i was crying while reading this,really the God whom i serve,is soo amazing and awesome!!!!Praise you Jesus!!!

  20. Carlene permalink
    April 14, 2010 8:38 pm

    What an incredible story. Ahhh, the saving grace of Jesus Christ. That was just amazing!!!

  21. Brian Sargeant permalink
    April 15, 2010 3:50 am

    Thank you so much for this story! This is wonderful! I try to pray everyday to be used of God in a special way that day. This is so inspiring! Thanks again!

  22. April 15, 2010 9:23 am

    Another great testimony of God’s amazing grace! I appreciate your writing and this blog more than you’ll ever know. It’s becoming my favorite place in cyberspace. Thank you…

  23. Kai Gilbreath permalink
    April 15, 2010 9:39 am

    Brother is it Ok for me to email this to other people. It is outstanding! Kai~

  24. Bobby Ikerd permalink
    April 15, 2010 10:34 am

    Tremendous blog. It has made my heart to leap at the sure mercies of God. Thanx

  25. CARLA KANNARD permalink
    April 15, 2010 10:49 am

    OH GLORY TO GOD, HOW AWESOME IS THAT…I WOULD LOVE TO REPOST THIS ON FACEBOOK IT THAT IS ALRIGHT WITH YOU BRO.? KEEP ON KEEPING ON FOR JESUS…AMEN

  26. Kevin McElroy permalink
    April 15, 2010 12:31 pm

    Powerful. I would have to read while in the waiting room of a doctor’s office. Big lump in my throat and tears in my eyers. Thanks for posting.

  27. Scott Hall permalink
    April 15, 2010 4:25 pm

    The power of a personal testimony & a fresh experience with God makes all the difference in the world! What a great story and happy ending for this woman! Thank you for sharing it, I will do the same!

  28. April 15, 2010 7:49 pm

    AWESOME !!!

  29. Joel Pace permalink
    April 15, 2010 8:20 pm

    Awesome, this really blessed me also. Oh what an experience, testimony and preaching of the gospel will do. The gospel is still the power of God unto salvation.

  30. Marjorie Kinnee permalink
    April 21, 2010 9:31 am

    Joining your blog followers today. Felt great joy at the reading of Chapter 27 – and plan to go back and read all the other chapters too!
    Be very blessed in this endeavor! May it be fruitful in more ways than you’ve ever imagined!

  31. April 23, 2010 5:30 pm

    Great ! What a testimony! As a 4th generation Apostolic / Pentecostal I pray Lord make it fresh to me again as it was to this young man! Greatly blessed by your blogs.

  32. Josh King permalink
    April 27, 2010 9:23 am

    Wow! This story really touched me!

  33. Heather Bollinger permalink
    April 27, 2010 9:58 am

    Wow, thank God for the Holy Ghost.

  34. April 30, 2010 11:25 am

    Beautiful just reading this has Gotten me stirred up … Wooo!! Glory to Most High … Who He alone is worthy of All Praise for His Mercy Endureth Forever and Ever… Thank God for the Truth!!

  35. James Trimm permalink
    May 1, 2010 8:18 pm

    Powerful! Thanks for sharing!

  36. simone permalink
    May 3, 2010 6:39 pm

    Awesome!!! I love this!!!!

  37. colette permalink
    May 24, 2010 12:41 am

    Wow.. Praises be to our God! So inspiring!

  38. Evangelist David Boyd permalink
    July 2, 2010 11:24 am

    AWESOME!!!!

    Made me cry….

  39. Roxy permalink
    September 22, 2010 9:20 am

    God is sooo wonderful!! Praise God!!

  40. Sis Ann permalink
    February 21, 2014 9:55 am

    PRAISE THE LORD JESUS!
    Will be sharing this testimony to my friends. .I pray that it could help them understand the Truth.
    (I’m also glad to see a sister’s name in the comment list.)
    This testimony might be old but the message still lives<3
    May GOD bless you more, Bro. Ballestero.

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