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Posts in Bible Theology

What does salvation cost? How much do we have to pay?

Under the New Covenant (or New Agreement), we are given the opportunity to receive salvation as a free gift. No cost to us. It is a gift.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8–9).

That is some very, very stunning news. God is good, all the time. He has an agreement with me. It is all His doing but I’ve got it in writing. It is signed, sealed and delivered by the blood of King Jesus on the cross. It is a blood covenant.

My responsibility is to exercise faith in the Messiah, the One who fulfilled the Law on our behalf and brought an end to the Law’s sacrifices through His own sacrificial death.

The superior blessings of the new covenant — God’s grace, mercy and complete forgiveness

Through the life-giving Holy Spirit who lives in all believers , I share in the inheritance of the Messiah and enjoy a permanent, unbroken relationship with God. God has shown me grace, mercy and complete forgiveness.

Now that is some VERY good news.

  • Romans 8:9-11 — However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of the Messiah, he does not belong to Him. If the Messiah is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised the Messiah Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you
  • Hebrews 12:24  — And to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.
  • Hebrews 8:12  — “For I will be merciful to their iniquities, And I will remember their sins no more.
  • Hebrews 9:15  —  For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.
  • Jeremiah 31:34  — “They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
  • Romans 11:27  — “This is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.
  • Hebrews 10:17  — “And their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.

What is a covenant? 

A covenant (διαθήκη diathēkē) is an agreement or contract between two parties. In the scriptures, it is between God and His people or certain specific individuals. The fulfilment of God’s purposes of salvation expressed in the covenants (διαθήκη diathēkē) of the scriptures, mediated by Jesus the Messiah and sealed in his blood.

It is a covenant of grace, the benefits of which include forgiveness, a renewed relationship with God and, through the Holy Spirit, an inward transformation that enables obedience to its demands and so ensures that it will not again be broken.

Jesus the Messiah, the new covenant sealed in Jesus blood — Blood was an important element in sealing the Sinaitic covenant.

And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.”

Luke 22:20

The New Covenant (or New Agreement) is the promise that God makes with humanity that He will forgive sin and restore fellowship with those whose hearts are turned toward Him. Jesus the Messiah is the mediator of the New Agreement, and His death on the cross is the basis of the promise (Luke 22:20). The New Agreement was predicted while the Old Agreement was still in effect — the prophets Moses, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel all allude to the New Agreement.

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There is power in prayer. At the Christian Training Center International, we see it every day. Let us join with you in tapping into the Power of God. Click here to make a request.

Leadership the Jesus: A Faith at work series — Looking how to focus your faith at work? | This series of leadership programs focuses on leadership skills that drive the purpose and passion for work as laid out by Jesus and based on sound scripture. We might see faith and work as estranged. It can be frustrating. But, in truth, faith and work should share a crucial aim: to see the unseen at work through the power of the Holy Spirit. Nothing new has been made without faith in God. Nothing unseen has been seen without work. When the force of what we do hits why we do it, we wither, or we flourish. Learn more here.

Check out our upcoming ministry programs for young adults and families. Please click here.

Our programs are like an immersion into a new language – the language of living in Jesus.  The goal is fluency in the language of relationships. The foundation is an encounter with Jesus that leads to a radical change in living and relationships.

Heroes Semester is a 10-week residential, “family style” living experience like no other! | Participants ages 18-26 come with one purpose – to go deeper with the Lord. Learn more about our programs here.

Strengthening & Restoring Family Relationships — Train to Reign Program | Family is the most vital relationship and the one under the most pressure and attack. Come strengthen your family in a strong relationship with God. Learn more here.

If you would like to donate to the Christian Training Center, please click here.

Why is Jesus full of compassion and mercy?

Mercy - 02
God’s mercy

Nothing moves me to forgive like the stunning knowledge that I have myself been forgiven. Nothing proves more clearly that I have been forgiven than my own readiness to forgive.

To forgive and to be forgiven, to show mercy and to receive mercy: these belong indissolubly together, as Jesus illustrated in his parable of the unmerciful servant.

Interpreted in the context of the beatitudes, it is ‘the meek’ who are also ‘the merciful’. For to be meek is to acknowledge to others that I am a sinner; to be merciful is to have compassion on others, for they are sinners too.

Is immaturity the cause of backsliding?

Mature
Mature

I started out strong. I imagine you did too. And then …

Something happened. Or several things. We went off to college to new found freedom. A parent dies and we feel lost. Our marriage didn’t turn out like we thought it would.

It could be the worries and distractions of the world and the deceitfulness the superficial pleasures and delight of riches choke the word of Jesus out of us. And it yields no fruit. We stop growing.

What Is the Sin Virus? 

Erica Wilson, Program Director at the Christian Training Center, shares about the virus that is sin, which has affected the world since the beginning. There is the cure for the sin virus that is Jesus the Messiah!

We have already been cured from it, because Jesus died on the cross and took all our sin from us so that we might have everlasting life.

No virus — Stock Photo © studioarz #48118373

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There is power in prayer. At the Christian Training Center International, we see it every day. Let us join with you in tapping into the Power of God. Click here to make a request.

Leadership the Jesus Way: A Faith at work series — Looking how to focus your faith at work? | This series of leadership programs focuses on leadership skills that drive the purpose and passion for work as laid out by Jesus and based on sound scripture. We might see faith and work as estranged. It can be frustrating. But, in truth, faith and work should share a crucial aim: to see the unseen at work through the power of the Holy Spirit. Nothing new has been made without faith in God. Nothing unseen has been seen without work. When the force of what we do hits why we do it, we wither, or we flourish. Learn more here.

Check out our upcoming ministry programs for young adults and families. Please click here.

Our programs are like an immersion into a new language – the language of living in Jesus.  The goal is fluency in the language of relationships. The foundation is an encounter with Jesus that leads to a radical change in living and relationships.

Heroes Semester is a 10-week residential, “family style” living experience like no other! | Participants ages 18-26 come with one purpose – to go deeper with the Lord. Learn more about our programs here.

Strengthening & Restoring Family Relationships — Train to Reign Program | Family is the most vital relationship and the one under the most pressure and attack. Come strengthen your family in a strong relationship with God. Learn more here.

If you would like to donate to the Christian Training Center, please click here.

What should we do about those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which we learned?

Deception

They are smooth. They are slick. They flatter me.

What’s the problem? I need to be discerning. There are those who want to deceive me. They want to lead me astray.

We have a lot to learn here. There is a rabbit hole. We seem to keep jumping down it, expecting a different outcome. It isn’t working.

Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them. For such men are slaves, not of our Master the Messiah but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting. For the report of your obedience has reached to all; therefore I am rejoicing over you, but I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. | Romans 16:17-20

What is the good news? Jesus leads me, through the Holy Spirit, into His Truth. Jesus is the Truth. I can take refuge in Him.

Jesus is clear that I can tell a tree by its fruit. “So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit.” (Matthew 7:17)

How do I know there is a problem? One clue is the fruit of dissension. Dissension here (from the Greek) means divisions which wrongly separate people into pointless (groundless) factions.

Uh Oh! I see a whole lot of this going on. I get sucked into it many days. Ye Gads!

What am I to do about it?

Paul is clear. Turn away from them. They have set a trap for me to hinder me in my growth in the Messiah. I need to be wise. I need to focus on the good.

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Our Mission & Vision

There is power in prayer. We see it every day. Let us join with you in tapping into the Power of God. Click here to make a request.

Our programs are like an immersion into a new language – the language of living in Jesus.  The goal is fluency in the language of relationships.  Programs share a sequential vision, building an understanding of relationships and family culture.  The foundation is an encounter with Jesus.  This encounter is the means for both insight and vision.  Encountering Jesus leads a radical change in living and relationships

Our Vision is to see generations of leaders victoriously modeling Jesus in their families and communities.

Our Mission is training believers to live a victorious life through biblical Truth, experiential discipleship, and family relationships. 

Values

Life is:

1) Relationships

2) Personal Holiness

3) Biblical

4) Authentic

5) Relevant

Learn more here.

If you would like to donate to the Christian Training Center, please click here.

Are you on the train to heaven? Will you take it all the way to its destination?

What should we learn from the story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16?

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is heaven.jpg

Let’s think about the account told by Jesus of a very rich man who lived a life of extreme luxury. It is found in Luke 16.

Laid outside the gate of this rich man’s house was an extremely poor man named Lazarus who simply hoped “to eat what fell from the rich man’s table” (v. 21). The rich man was completely indifferent to the plight of Lazarus, showing him no love, sympathy, or compassion whatsoever.

They both died. Lazarus went to heaven, and the rich man went to hell. Appealing to “Father Abraham” in heaven, the rich man requested that Lazarus be sent to cool his tongue with a drop of water to lessen his “agony in this fire.” The rich man also asked Abraham to send Lazarus back to earth to warn his brothers to repent so that they would never join him in hell.

Is there a conflict between grace and the law?

Grace - 02
Grace

The purpose of the Law was, basically, to bring us to the Messiah. It is essential to start here. Once I understand the purpose of the law, I can move on.

What would I move on to? How about grace? That would be a good start.

With the result that the Law has become our tutor and our disciplinarian to guide us to the Messiah, so that we may be justified, that is, declared free of the guilt of missing God’s goal (aka sin) and its penalty, and placed in right standing with God by faith. (Galatians 3:24).

How will we see God? What does it take?

Man after Gods heart
A man after God’s heart

Jesus is clear. His apostle John is clear. My heart testifies to me what I ought to do. There is no lack of clarity what Jesus commands regarding love and compassion. It is written on my heart by God.

The Bible mentions the human heart almost 300 times. In essence, this is what it says: the heart is that spiritual part of us where our emotions and desires dwell.

How do we gain insight, wisdom or knowledge?

Image result for spiritual insight

Insight is the spiritual quality that enables me to appreciate God’s mind and will. I will know about matters of behavior, truth and providence, especially where right perception is not obvious.

Insight is akin to wisdom and understanding. It is the “why” of the heart of God.

It is given by God and is to be sought by believers.

Gaining insight into the Bible is important because the scripture is God’s Word. When I open the Bible, I read God’s message. What could be more important than insight into what the Creator of the universe has to say?

Am I afraid?

In the Bible, courage is also called “good cheer” as in Mark 6:50 when Jesus gave the command to the disciples who saw Him walking on the water of the Sea of Galilee and coming toward them.

Am I afraid? Yes, many days I am. The good news is that Jesus gives me courage. I have the power of the Holy Spirit in my life.

What does ‘woe’ mean and why does Jesus use it so much?

Woe
Woe

When we see the word WOE in the scripture, particularly when Jesus uses it, we know we better pay attention. Jesus has lots to say, all prefaced with WOE! Jesus is speaking to the leaders of the day. Jesus is speaking to the elites.

I am going to pay attention. Jesus is talking to me. I must learn.

This is critical in my life. I don’t want to be a hypocrite.

Whenever we see the word “woe” in the New Testament, then it is always a translation of the Greek word “ouai“. This Greek word “ouai” is used 47 times in the New Testament: 41 times in 33 verses it is translated as “woe“, and six times in three verses it is translated as “alas“.

Why has God has chosen the foolish things of the world?

God's Wisdom
God’s Wisdom

So here we go. Let’s check off the list.

  • I am not wise.
  • I am not mighty.
  • I am not noble.
  • I am weak.
  • I am base and despised.

These items, it seems, are a good thing in God’s world.

My only boast is in the Master Jesus. I am here to shame the wise and smart people of the world by my very presence.

What does it mean to listen to God’s word and his spokesmen?

What does Jesus want from us? Jesus wants us to listen. Jesus wants us to be a good and faithful servant.

My mission is to do what Master Jesus wants me to do, today and every day. Listening involves doing. Loving my neighbor involves action.

To hear God’s voice I must belong to God. Jesus said, “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27).

What should we learn from the stunning resurrection of Lazarus?

jesus-friend-request
Jesus Friend Request

Here I see the care and compassion of my Master. It appeared somewhat callous to begin with.

Lazarus is sick. Jesus intentionally delays going to see him. The disciples don’t understand at all what is going on.

Jesus knows what is going to happen. Jesus knows the power of God will raise Lazarus from the dead. Fasten your seat belts, it is all going down in an amazing way.

After 4 days in the grave, Jesus is going to raise Lazarus from the dead. This will shock everyone. Many are going to believe Jesus because of this amazing show of the power of God.

Is our faith on cruise control?

Image result for test yourself

I shouldn’t let my faith go on cruise control. The Apostle Paul urges disciples of Jesus to examine themselves. I need to be critical of how I am doing in my walk with Jesus. I need others to help me.

Is it possible to start strong and end weak?

Is it just about the beginning?

What if I run out of energy and can’t finish the race?

Do I think that going to church once a week and occasionally reading the bible is enough?

Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus the Messiah is in you — unless indeed you fail the test?

2 Corinthians 13:5

Is self-denial a requirement of following Jesus the Messiah?

Self Denial

There is much to be said about self denial and the scripture repeats this theme over and over.

Jesus is clear.

The Apostles and their letters are clear.

God is clear.

The Holy Spirit is clear.

Do I get it?

Self-Denial — Is it a requirement of following Jesus the Messiah?

What happens when you refuse to know God?

This sad. It breaks God’s heart.

There are a lot of people who simply refuse to know God. Despite all the love and patience, they just refuse. They hear the good news of Jesus. They refuse to believe. God speaks to them … they don’t listen.

It is possible to live a life of ever increasing depravity. There is a spiral. Refusing to know God leads a spiral where rejection of God’s goals for us are the rule. It is a state of confusion. It is a fog. It is darkness. Wandering around not seeing clearly or at all.

When life and light is rejected, the alternative is death and darkness. Many are living there. We all see it every day.

It seems to start slowly but that is the destination. It is a journey over time. Slow and insidious.

They are empty of God. They are empty of love. They are godless and loveless.

God calls us all to speak the truth and present the opportunity of life in Jesus.

What is at stake? Eternity!

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There is power in prayer. We see it every day. Let us join with you in tapping into the Power of God. Click here to make a request.

The lessons taught at CTCI are not designed to be learned just in the classroom. They are not simply taught in a week or a month program. Rather, they come through the furnace of daily living and are hammered into useful form on the anvil of unrelenting daily life and common struggles. The hammer must fall repetitively over and over before the shape takes form. This type of experiential learning is formative.

Learning is driven by an insatiable curiosity in God’s ways. The value of hard work and the merits of creative problem-solving are by-products of “fleshing out” Biblical principles and watching them come to life through God’s creative power. Families are transformed and young people are reformed.

When given the right conditions of sunlight and good soil, an acorn grows into a mighty oak. When the same acorn is crowded out by larger trees and the elements for health are lacking, the tree grows crooked and deformed.

When a family arrives tattered and worn, we provide the sunshine and nourishment of God’s word in daily life experiences – and the transformation is nothing short of remarkable.

When a young person arrives soiled in the mud and mire of worldly ways, we provide the nutrients which build character and integrity for future leaders – and the reformation is nothing short of miraculous.

This is what we do: Transformation and Reformation. Learn more here.

If you would like to donate to the Christian Training Center, please click here.

How far must we go in following Jesus?

Image result for child with jesus

How far must we go in following Jesus? I need to do whatever it takes. Nothing is more important than the child-like faith in Jesus. Nothing. Not a thing.

Isn’t what Jesus is saying extreme? No, Jesus means it. Nothing can get in the way of honestly following Jesus. We may have to sacrifice a lot to be the servant of Jesus. Jesus challenges us to get rid of anything that gets in the way. This is one of the great themes of Jesus and his manifesto. God is God. Period.

What is the consequence of not taking Jesus seriously? This isn’t pleasant, but Jesus is clear. My lack of sacrifice will lead me to the fire of Hell. I don’t think Jesus is using a metaphor here. Jesus is clear and Jesus is serious. Am I?

Why this level of hate of Jesus by the religious leaders?

Image result for religious leaders

Jesus was constantly getting under the skin of the religious leaders and scholars. At the conclusion of the story Jesus tells, they wanted to stone him.

Why this level of hate of Jesus by the religious leaders? Jesus saw what was in their heart, pointed it out clearly, and wouldn’t back down. They were constantly being embarrassed and the people loved Jesus.

How should we approach suffering?

Image result for embrace suffering

Calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for?

Source: Mark 8:34-37 (The Message)

God has a goal in mind for me. God’s goal includes suffering. God’s goal includes victory. It isn’t either/or. It is yes/and.

What is the outcome if we act on what Jesus commanded?

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What is God’s goal for me? My job is to be a servant of God. That is it. There is nothing else to it. Jesus made that clear in his example of how he lived his life. Jesus was only here to do what God had in mind. Here is the problem. I like to be served and not be a servant. I love a great meal and the wonderful service of an amazing restaurant. So … I’ve got a problem, don’t I.

Why should we stand up straight and take the truth from Jesus?

Image result for perfect love

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never yet been enslaved to anyone; how is it that You say, ‘You will become free’?”

Source: John 8:31-33 NASB

There is a special arrogance that believes I am not enslaved … to anyone. It is special because it is flat out wrong. It is a lie and it comes from the evil one.

Who’s way should I seek?

Image result for god's way

Who’s way should I seek? King David knows it is God’s way and not his way. Jesus challenges me to put Jesus in charge.

God has made Jesus the ruler of God’s country (aka Kingdom). My goal is to do what Jesus wants me to. Some days I just don’t want to. Some days that isn’t my priority.

God is gracious and kind to me. Jesus has sent the Power of the Holy Spirit to help me. Now that is some good news.

What is wrong with my way? God is God. God is the only one who knows the plan from start to finish. God is Great. Nothing is impossible with God. Out of nothing God created the universe. I am in no position to questions God’s plan.

Why watch out for yeast?

Image result for jesus unleavened bread Matthew 16

It is only one slight difference in an ingredient in breads. A tortilla or cracker is remarkable different from San Francisco sour dough bread. The difference is yeast.

Jesus is challenging me to understand that this is a spiritual issue, not a physical issue.

I am to keep a sharp eye for the yeast of Religious Leaders and elites. It doesn’t take much yeast for it to cause bread to rise. The result is remarkably different. So it was with the doctrines of the Religious Leaders. They are insinuating, artful, plausible. They conceal the real tendency of their doctrines; they instill them secretly into the mind, until they pervaded all my faculties like leaven.

Who messed up?

Who missed God’s goal (aka sinned)? Somebody did something to cause this and it will help me if i can blame them.

That can be the assumption. I am wounded. I am hurt. I suffer. I want to blame someone. Surely someone messed up.

Who, we ask?

God has something He wants to do. But Jesus doesn’t allow this kind of thinking about who caused something or who’s fault it is. He brought healing and salvation into our fallen world. He loves us. He is good. He doesn’t do evil.

Why should we never fear?

Madison Ortiz reminds all, with different passages of Scripture, that we should never fear or be dismayed with anything of this world because the Messiah has and will always be with us!

2 Timothy 1:7 Christian Standard Bible (CSB) | For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.

Why is spring is the Season of Hope?

Erica Wilson shares about Spring, the season of hope.

Romans 1:20 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

For his invisible attributes, that is, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen since the creation of the world, being understood through what he has made. As a result, people are without excuse.

http://www.ctcilife.org

Does God connect all the dots for His plan?

Image result for connect the dots jesus
Jesus connects the dots

God is God. God can do anything he wants. The religious leaders were trying to figure out how to do Jesus in. The Chief Priest that year, Caiaphas, brought them up short.

God had a plan. Caiaphas didn’t want to say what he said. Caiaphas didn’t know he was going to say that.

God chose him and used him to help complete his plan. Jesus would die.

That was God’s plan. The religious leaders would now carry it out because of what God had Caiaphas say. It all fit together.

What are the consequences of being careless?

Jesus is clear what love looks like. My words need to reflect His love in me. This is a core part of the Jesus Manifesto (aka the Sermon on the Mount).

Jesus knows that being careless in what we say to others can have consequences we don’t want to see. It isn’t pretty. It is way too easy to be careless. The words just jump out. Yikes!

Is there a miracle with your name on it?

Image result for long enough god

King David knows he can speak honestly with God. King David is clear about his despair. He feels like God has turned his back on the King and all David can see is the back of God’s head. I can speak honestly with God. There are times I’m in despair. God knows it. Why should I try to hid it? Best to “fess up”.

King David embodies Thanks-Living. Even in his despair, the King throws himself into God’s arms. The King celebrates being rescued by God, even though he hasn’t been rescued yet. I am challenged to live a life of “Thanks-Living”. Am I seeing what God is doing today or focused on what he isn’t doing?

Jesus challenges me to thank God and see what God is doing, not what He is not. God has answered my prayers. God has healed me. God has delivered me from the evil one. God is in a good mood and I know it.

Long enough, God—
    you’ve ignored me long enough.
I’ve looked at the back of your head
    long enough. Long enough
I’ve carried this ton of trouble,
    lived with a stomach full of pain.
Long enough my arrogant enemies
    have looked down their noses at me.

Take a good look at me, God, my God;
    I want to look life in the eye,
So no enemy can get the best of me
    or laugh when I fall on my face.

I’ve thrown myself headlong into your arms—
    I’m celebrating your rescue.
I’m singing at the top of my lungs,
    I’m so full of answered prayers.

Source: Psalm 13

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About the Christian Training Center

There is power in prayer. We see it every day. Let us join with you in tapping into the Power of God. Click here to make a request.

The Christian Training Center International was founded in the early 1970’s as The Inn of the Last Resort. It is now known throughout the world for its outreach to families, Christian leaders, and young people. Our focus is to enable individuals – especially young men and women – to face and overcome the mounting issues and pressures in their daily lives. Learn more here.

Our programs are like an immersion into a new language – the language of living in Jesus.  The goal is fluency in the language of relationships. The foundation is an encounter with Jesus that leads to a radical change in living and relationships. Learn more here.

If you would like to donate to the Christian Training Center, please click here.

Are we being too heavenly minded?

How many times have I thought, this is all about heaven? A lot I am thinking. I am reminded of how my dad would point out about someone that “they were so heavenly minded they were no earthly good”. The only day I have is today. I may not see tomorrow.

God is God. Today is the day I have a chance to demonstrate Jesus is in control. As Jesus said “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Jesus challenges me think about the here and now. This is not pie in the sky by and by. Jesus is in control now. His death, resurrection, ascension and deliver of the Holy Spirit in power has established the Kingdom. His teaching us how to pray confirmed that “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” It is all about what God wants right now. 

The Country of God (aka the Kingdom) is a reality now. Jesus said ““The kingdom of God doesn’t come by counting the days on the calendar. Nor when someone says, ‘Look here!’ or, ‘There it is!’ And why? Because God’s kingdom is already among you.” (Luke 17)

Then he drove it home by saying, “This isn’t pie in the sky by and by. Some of you who are standing here are going to see it happen, see the kingdom of God arrive in full force.”

Source: Mark 9:1

Image result for pie in the sky

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There is power in prayer. At the Christian Training Center International, we see it every day. Let us join with you in tapping into the Power of God. Click here to make a request.

Leadership the Jesus: A Faith at work series — Looking how to focus your faith at work? | This series of leadership programs focuses on leadership skills that drive the purpose and passion for work as laid out by Jesus and based on sound scripture. We might see faith and work as estranged. It can be frustrating. But, in truth, faith and work should share a crucial aim: to see the unseen at work through the power of the Holy Spirit. Nothing new has been made without faith in God. Nothing unseen has been seen without work. When the force of what we do hits why we do it, we wither, or we flourish. Learn more here.

Check out our upcoming ministry programs for young adults and families. Please click here.

Our programs are like an immersion into a new language – the language of living in Jesus.  The goal is fluency in the language of relationships. The foundation is an encounter with Jesus that leads to a radical change in living and relationships.

Heroes Semester is a 10-week residential, “family style” living experience like no other! | Participants ages 18-26 come with one purpose – to go deeper with the Lord. Learn more about our programs here.

Strengthening & Restoring Family Relationships — Train to Reign Program | Family is the most vital relationship and the one under the most pressure and attack. Come strengthen your family in a strong relationship with God. Learn more here.

If you would like to donate to the Christian Training Center, please click here.

Has the Kingdom of God already come?

Jesus is King

When will God’s country (aka the kingdom) come? That was and is the big question. The Messiah (the Anointed One) would usher it in.

It has already happened, Jesus declared. Jesus is the Son of God and the Messiah. Jesus came to us over 2,000 years ago. He established God’s country. I am a citizen of God’s country right now. Nothing to look forward to from that point of view.

Who gets to ask questions of Jesus?

Jesus asks a question

Jesus is clear. Jesus doesn’t have to answer my questions. That is shocking to me. I deserve to have my questions answered. How dare Jesus not answer them.

Even more clear is that Jesus knows who is in charge and is confident that He is about doing the work of God. That rattles us all, I think.

Jesus gets to ask the questions of me. I must answer them. I don’t get to be the know it all lecturing Jesus. If I think I am a “religious leader” I am off to a bad start.

Why do we resent God’s discipline?

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God has a goal for us. Primarily God wants us to grow up and not be a child our whole life. Growing up requires discipline from a father.

God is in a good mood and disciplines us for a reason. It is out of true love.

So, what is the goal of discipline?

“All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. (Hebrews 12:11)”

Why can’t we focus on what Jesus wants us to do?

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Jesus heals demon possessed boy

Jesus is teaching us. He has given us the power of his Holy Spirit. What a gift. What a God we serve.

I don’t always succeed as a I learn how Jesus works. I forget to focus on what God wants me to do at that moment. I proceed thinking that what worked in the past is what will work now. That isn’t the way of Jesus.

Is anything impossible with God?

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Jesus knows that nothing is impossible with God. It is in his heart, he believes it, he thinks about it all the time and he acts on it. God is great.

Jesus challenges me to know God’s greatness. I need to get it in my core. I don’t get to take a pass on this part of God’s country (aka Kingdom). God is great. When Jesus challenges me to produce a miracle, how do I react? Am I up to the challenges of Jesus?

In God’s country, there is always more than enough and food is left over. God is in a good mood and provides more than I need. I can count on Jesus.

When Jesus got the news, he slipped away by boat to an out-of-the-way place by himself. But unsuccessfully—someone saw him and the word got around. Soon a lot of people from the nearby villages walked around the lake to where he was. When he saw them coming, he was overcome with pity and healed their sick.

Toward evening the disciples approached him. “We’re out in the country and it’s getting late. Dismiss the people so they can go to the villages and get some supper.”

But Jesus said, “There is no need to dismiss them. You give them supper.”

“All we have are five loaves of bread and two fish,” they said.

Jesus said, “Bring them here.” Then he had the people sit on the grass. He took the five loaves and two fish, lifted his face to heaven in prayer, blessed, broke, and gave the bread to the disciples. The disciples then gave the food to the congregation. They all ate their fill. They gathered twelve baskets of leftovers. About five thousand were fed.

Source: Matthew 14:13-21

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Susan Pons Book – “And There Was Evening and There Was Morning…”

There is power in prayer. We see it every day. Let us join with you in tapping into the Power of God. Click here to make a request.

Have you read Susan Corbett Pons book “And There was Evening and There was Morning”? It will make you laugh, and it will make you cry. Check out Susan’s book here.

Susan Pons grew up in Valdese, North Carolina. Prior to her marriage, she performed professionally on stage and dinner theaters. The mother of four and grandmother of six, she and her husband, Larry, direct Christian Training Center, International, a ministry dedicated to the restoration of families. She has loved her life.

Check out Susan’s book here.

Our programs are like an immersion into a new language – the language of living in Jesus.  The goal is fluency in the language of relationships.  Programs share a sequential vision, building an understanding of relationships and family culture.  The foundation is an encounter with Jesus.  This encounter is the means for both insight and vision.  Encountering Jesus leads a radical change in living and relationships.

Learn more about our programs here.

If you would like to donate to the Christian Training Center, please click here.

Jesus wants to be a guest at your house.

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Jesus and God the Father are in a good mood. They want to be a guest in my house. They want to be with me. They want to show me the way to love. They have given me power, by the Holy Spirit, to be delivered from my prison.

Zacchaeus became free that day. Jesus freed him. Zacchaeus became free from the opinion of others who are indignant and grumpy about what Jesus chooses to do. Zacchaeus became free from the shame of his past. Zacchaeus became free to tell the story of what Jesus had done in his life.

Is Jesus in the drivers seat?

There is a realization I need to come to daily and it is a tough one.

I am not in control. I am not in the drivers seat and I really like the control that comes by driving. Having acted on letting Jesus be in control yesterday and not today isn’t very helpful. Every day I have to know it and live it.

God is God. God has given over control of everything to Jesus. I am to be a faithful servant, finding out what Jesus wants me to do and then doing it.

God has a goal for me. I may not know what God’s goal for me is for a year from now. That is a problem because I love to plan. I can know for today, for right now. If nothing else, I can talk with God (aka pray) and thank him for the long list of things he is doing for me, my family and my country.

I can find out how Jesus wants me to love my boss. We are in a meeting and he is droning on about the same old same old. What does love look like in that meeting?

There is a long list of people I will interact with today. Jesus is in the drivers seat. What should I do to support his message of love? While it became a little overused in some circles, it still is all about “What would Jesus do?”

“You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am.” ~Jesus Source: Mark 8:34-37 (The Message)

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Our Mission & Vision

There is power in prayer. We see it every day. Let us join with you in tapping into the Power of God. Click here to make a request.

Our programs are like an immersion into a new language – the language of living in Jesus.  The goal is fluency in the language of relationships.  Programs share a sequential vision, building an understanding of relationships and family culture.  The foundation is an encounter with Jesus.  This encounter is the means for both insight and vision.  Encountering Jesus leads a radical change in living and relationships

Our Vision is to see generations of leaders victoriously modeling Jesus in their families and communities.

Our Mission is training believers to live a victorious life through biblical Truth, experiential discipleship, and family relationships. 

Values

Life is:

1) Relationships

2) Personal Holiness

3) Biblical

4) Authentic

5) Relevant

Learn more here.

If you would like to donate to the Christian Training Center, please click here.

Was Jesus on a mission?

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Glorify Jesus

Jesus was on a mission. It would be a painful and horrible death. Jesus knew what would happen. Jesus was going to see it through all the way to the end. God had given Jesus a goal.

Jesus was joyful for what God was going to do through him. Jesus asked to go through the pain and suffering for our salvation. Jesus was intent.

Did God stay silent? Not at all. God spoke.

God is God and God has the final word. God has glorified Jesus through his obedient act of sacrifice. God raised him from the dead and Jesus, living eternally, now sits at God’s right hand.

“Right now I am storm-tossed. What am I going to say? ‘Father, get me out of this’? No, this is why I came in the first place. I’ll say, ‘Father, put your glory on display.’”

A voice came out of the sky: “I have glorified it, and I’ll glorify it again.” Source: John 12:27-28

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There is power in prayer. We see it every day. Let us join with you in tapping into the Power of God. Click here to make a request.

Check out our upcoming ministry programs for young adults and families. Please click here.

Our programs are like an immersion into a new language – the language of living in Jesus.  The goal is fluency in the language of relationships. The foundation is an encounter with Jesus that leads to a radical change in living and relationships.

Heroes Semester is a 10-week residential, “family style” living experience like no other! | Participants ages 18-26 come with one purpose – to go deeper with the Lord. Learn more about our programs here.

Strengthening & Restoring Family Relationships — Train to Reign Program | Family is the most vital relationship and the one under the most pressure and attack. Come strengthen your family in a strong relationship with God. Learn more here.

Leadership the Jesus: A Faith at work series — Looking how to focus your faith at work? | This series of leadership programs focuses on leadership skills that drive the purpose and passion for work as laid out by Jesus and based on sound scripture. We might see faith and work as estranged. It can be frustrating. But, in truth, faith and work should share a crucial aim: to see the unseen at work through the power of the Holy Spirit. Nothing new has been made without faith in God. Nothing unseen has been seen without work. When the force of what we do hits why we do it, we wither, or we flourish. Learn more here.

If you would like to donate to the Christian Training Center, please click here.

Are we ready to be servants?

The last will be first | Leadership the Jesus Way

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Jesus, the perfect servant

Jesus is clear about what is important. It is not about being a leader. It is not about who sits in authority at the right hand of Jesus. It is not even about being a servant leader. Jesus never talks about that.

Jesus calls on us to be servants. That is it. There is nothing else. That is our daily job. We live it out at work and at home.

Jesus only came to serve us and sacrifice for us. It is God that put Jesus in charge of God’s country (aka Kingdom). Jesus simply did what his Father wanted him to do.

How do we tune our ears to Wisdom?

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Wisdom – Proverbs 2:1

There is an amazing world out there filled with Wisdom. It is the wonderful world of Jesus. Jesus provides us with great Wisdom. Jesus provides us a life of understanding. God is in a stunning mood.

Will I see what God is doing today?

Should we “just suck it up”?

Self Control

When I was a young man, we used the phrase “just suck it up”. We used it a lot. We didn’t like whiners and complainers. If things were tough or people were giving you a hard time, you had what we politely know of as self-control.

“But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also.” | Matthew 5:39–40 (NASB)

Where will Jesus lead us?

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Jesus on Leadership

Jesus is clear about what it takes to follow him (i.e. be a Christian). There is no ambiguity here at all. I have to do it.

I have to change my mind (aka repent) about who is in charge. Jesus is in charge. A follower of Jesus commits to letting Jesus lead. God is God. I am not. This is the “main thing about the main thing”. Everything starts here.

So where is Jesus going to lead me? Jesus leads me to the cross. Suffering is ahead of me. I have to sacrifice what I think God would do to let Jesus be in control. This is not easy stuff for me. I don’t want to suffer. I really don’t.

“Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead.” ~Jesus

Source: Mark 8:34-37 (The Message)

Leadership the Jesus: A Faith at work series — Looking how to focus your faith at work? | This series of leadership programs focuses on leadership skills that drive the purpose and passion for work as laid out by Jesus and based on sound scripture. We might see faith and work as estranged. It can be frustrating. But, in truth, faith and work should share a crucial aim: to see the unseen at work through the power of the Holy Spirit. Nothing new has been made without faith in God. Nothing unseen has been seen without work. When the force of what we do hits why we do it, we wither, or we flourish. Learn more here.

What does Jesus require of us?

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I am compelled, by Jesus our Master, to drop everything that takes me away from talking and writing about the good news of life of salvation. We share this in common. We live it together.

Who gets invited to dinner with God?

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King David asks God a great question. David talks with God all the time and he asks God a lot of questions. Do I want to have dinner with God? Is that my desire today? What will it take to get invited? All great questions.

David gets an answer from God. It is great to ask the question. Am I open to the answer? Do I hear what God has to say to me? I hear but many times I miss the goal that God has in mind for me.

Jesus simplified it for me. Love! That is it. Love God and love everyone else I know. the goal is clear. The good news is that God is in a great mood. When I miss the goal, Jesus picks me up, sets me straight on what happened and sends me on my way. God’s gift is to make me whole.

Will I live the radical life Jesus called me to live?

Radical Sayings of Jesus

I am resolved to do something out of the ordinary. I commit to living a super-ordinary life in Jesus. I will live the radical life Jesus called me to live.

It was Henry David Thoreau who wrote, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” I don’t admire Thoreau as a theologian, but I think he largely got it right in this quote describing the normal human condition and maybe the condition of lots of Christians.

I believe that most of us, including myself, get bogged down in the routines of life. I have nothing against routines, except when they become my master. Much can be said about the righteousness of living a careful, responsible life before God. But, this is not at issue for me in this resolution.

My fear is that the life Jesus lived and died to give us (“I came that they may have life and have it to the full.” John 10:10) can get lost in the devotion to safety, health and routine. I’m not advocating going out today to partake in some “extreme” thrill sport. I’m simply encouraging myself to do something outside of my normal routine, to experience life outside the lines I’ve drawn, to provide myself with the opportunity to “sing my song” and be bold in Jesus. Jesus challenges me leave ordinary behind and live a super-ordinary life in Him.

Today is the day. Now is the time.

God is ready to do amazing things. His Holy Spirit is in me and that is the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead. I can live an extra-ordinary life in Him.

How? Maybe it’s as simple as, at the prompting of God, taking the long way home from the store or work to gain a new perspective on the world right around me that otherwise goes unnoticed. Maybe Jesus wants to perform a miracle in someones life I don’t normally see. Maybe He wants me to be the Good Samaritan.

God’s goal for me will be reveled by Him to me TODAY.

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There is power in prayer. We see it every day. Let us join with you in tapping into the Power of God. Click here to make a request.

Check out our upcoming ministry programs for young adults and families. Please click here.

Our programs are like an immersion into a new language – the language of living in Jesus.  The goal is fluency in the language of relationships. The foundation is an encounter with Jesus that leads to a radical change in living and relationships.

Heroes Semester is a 10-week residential, “family style” living experience like no other! | Participants ages 18-26 come with one purpose – to go deeper with the Lord. Learn more about our programs here.

Strengthening & Restoring Family Relationships — Train to Reign Program | Family is the most vital relationship and the one under the most pressure and attack. Come strengthen your family in a strong relationship with God. Learn more here.

Leadership the Jesus: A Faith at work series — Looking how to focus your faith at work? | This series of leadership programs focuses on leadership skills that drive the purpose and passion for work as laid out by Jesus and based on sound scripture. We might see faith and work as estranged. It can be frustrating. But, in truth, faith and work should share a crucial aim: to see the unseen at work through the power of the Holy Spirit. Nothing new has been made without faith in God. Nothing unseen has been seen without work. When the force of what we do hits why we do it, we wither, or we flourish. Learn more here.

If you would like to donate to the Christian Training Center, please click here.