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Posts in Bible Theology

Look out if you are a professional liar. Jesus is not happy!

I don’t like to think about it. I prefer to ignore liars. They didn’t mean it, I think.

Jesus is the Truth! There are professional liars who don’t believe that and lie to us about who Jesus is.

Paul is clear that I can be clear about what is going on. I can know the truth because I know Jesus.

The Spirit makes it clear that as time goes on, some are going to give up on the faith and chase after demonic illusions put forth by professional liars. These liars have lied so well and for so long that they’ve lost their capacity for truth. They will tell you not to get married. They’ll tell you not to eat this or that food — perfectly good food God created to be eaten heartily and with thanksgiving by believers who know better! Everything God created is good, and to be received with thanks. Nothing is to be sneered at and thrown out. God’s Word and our prayers make every item in creation holy. ~Apostle Paul | 1 Timothy 4:1-5 (The Message Bible)

Does Jesus govern the nations? Is He really that big of a deal?

Jesus is King

Consider this as we start. I know I must adjust my thinking but that is what Jesus always challenges me to do. Jesus is now the King of Kings. Jesus is in charge. Jesus is Master. This is current tense.

I command [you] in the sight of God, who gives life to all things, and of the Messiah Jesus, who testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate, that as spotless, [that is] unimpeachable, you keep the command until the epiphany of our Master, Jesus the Messiah, 15 which [epiphany] he [God] will exhibit in his own times—[he being] the blessed and only Potentate [one who is in a position of authority to command others], the King of those who exercise kingship and Master of those who exercise mastership, the only one having immortality, inhabiting unapproachable light, whom no human being has seen or can see, to whom [belong] honor and eternal might. Amen | 1 Timothy 6:13-16 Gundry, R. H. (2010). Commentary on the New Testament: Verse-by-Verse Explanations with a Literal Translation (p. 847). Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers.

Jesus, as we know, proclaimed the kingdom of God. What that means only really makes sense in the context of prophecies like Daniel, but the New Testament details – which usually seem to be simply ignored – show how it applies to the totality of biblical teaching. If I’m honest, for most of my life I’ve regarded God’s Old Testament kingship as an honorary title (the world being in an ungodly chaos), and the kingdom of the Messiah as a future promise. But that’s not what the Bible teaches.

Future consummation of the kingdom there certainly is, but the New Testament is unanimous in saying that Jesus has already been raised to the right hand of God as King. But if God has always been the king and judge of nations, then Jesus should now be judging the current political systems, not merely being a ruler-in-waiting. And indeed, Rev 1:5 asserts that the risen Jesus is not only the faithful witness, and the firstborn of the dead, but the “ruler of the kings of the earth.” This thought might alter our understanding of Jesus.

Once it’s accepted that God is truly the King of kings, and not merely a constitutional monarch, the point of Jesus’s elevation to the right hand of God can be seen to be this: the intention of God, from Genesis 2 on, that man should govern the world with him has been fulfilled, not in Adam, and not in Israel, but in the man Jesus the Messiah as the forerunner of the redeemed at the final resurrection.

True, before the Incarnation the Son shared the Father’s glory and ruled the nations with him, but the “rod of iron” with which Jesus rules (as a couple of NT passages say) is a humanly wielded rod. The business of judging the nations – the government of the history of sinful humanity’s powers, in other words – is the same as it always was. But now, it is the business of a righteous, loving, human king as well as a righteous, loving Trinity.

There is therefore no divide between the “Old Testament God” and the “New Testament God” in their respective theologies of divine government. Certainly we are in a different era since the resurrection, known as the Last Days, when the message of salvation in the Messiah is complete and is offered to all mankind.

  • Revelation 12:5 — 5 And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron; and her child was caught up to God and to His throne.
  • Revelation 19:15 — 15 From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.
  • Isaiah 9:6 — 6 For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
  • Psalm 72:8–11 — 8 May he also rule from sea to sea And from the River to the ends of the earth. 9 Let the nomads of the desert bow before him, And his enemies lick the dust. 10 Let the kings of Tarshish and of the islands bring presents; The kings of Sheba and Seba offer gifts. 11 And let all kings bow down before him, All nations serve him.
  • Psalm 110:2 — 2 The Master will stretch forth Your strong scepter from Zion, saying, “Rule in the midst of Your enemies.”
  • Zechariah 6:13 — 13 “Yes, it is He who will build the temple of the Master, and He who will bear the honor and sit and rule on His throne. Thus, He will be a priest on His throne, and the counsel of peace will be between the two offices.” ’
  • Zechariah 9:10 — 10 I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim And the horse from Jerusalem; And the bow of war will be cut off. And He will speak peace to the nations; And His dominion will be from sea to sea, And from the River to the ends of the earth.
  • Revelation 2:27 — 27 and he shall rule them with a rod of iron, as the vessels of the potter are broken to pieces, as I also have received authority from My Father;
  • Psalm 2:9 — 9 ‘You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.’ ”

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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. Check out our new online version “Marriage and Family the Jesus Way” here..

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

Why all nations hope in the name of Jesus.

Confidence

Most people understand hope as wishful thinking, as in “I hope something will happen.”

I have been guilty of thinking that. It is common but not the truth of God.

This is not what the Bible means by hope. The biblical definition of hope is “confident expectation.”

Hope is up to me to be confident in my King Jesus. I must expect God to come through just like He has promised.

Does nature itself show joy at God’s creation?

There are many reasons to be thankful about the wonderful world around us. God is good and in a good mood.

Beyond being thankful, I must consider being joyful. I should rejoice. I should shout out loud how good God is. Do I tell everyone I know about Him?

  • Psalm 96:11–13 — 11 Let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; Let the sea roar, and all it contains; 12 Let the field exult, and all that is in it. Then all the trees of the forest will sing for joy 13 Before the Master, for He is coming, For He is coming to judge the earth. He will judge the world in righteousness And the peoples in His faithfulness.
  • Job 39:13 — 13 “The ostriches’ wings flap joyously With the pinion and plumage of love,
  • Psalm 65:12–13 — 12 The pastures of the wilderness drip, And the hills gird themselves with rejoicing. 13 The meadows are clothed with flocks And the valleys are covered with grain; They shout for joy, yes, they sing.
  • Psalm 89:12 — 12 The north and the south, You have created them; Tabor and Hermon shout for joy at Your name.
  • Psalm 97:1 — 1 The Master reigns, let the earth rejoice; Let the many islands be glad.
  • Psalm 100:1 — 1 Shout joyfully to the Master, all the earth.
  • Isaiah 35:1–2 — 1 The wilderness and the desert will be glad, And the Arabah will rejoice and blossom; Like the crocus 2 It will blossom profusely And rejoice with rejoicing and shout of joy. The glory of Lebanon will be given to it, The majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They will see the glory of the Master, The majesty of our God.
  • Isaiah 49:13 — 13 Shout for joy, O heavens! And rejoice, O earth! Break forth into joyful shouting, O mountains! For the Master has comforted His people And will have compassion on His afflicted.

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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. Check out our new online version “Marriage and Family the Jesus Way” here..

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

Should we respect authority?

Respect

We honor and respect our governing authorities because they exist by the very will of God. Such respect must be given whether we agree with them or not.

Those in authority are God’s instruments for carrying out the purpose of governing and worthy of the respect God mandates. When we obey the principles of this passage, we give genuine credibility to our faith.

As believers, we are to honor our governing authorities and their rights as such. But we may not give to the government those rights that belong to God alone.

Do we believe we can enter God’s rest?

God’s Promises are real

Obeying King Jesus leads to rest. Jesus promises this.

My job is trust Jesus. My job is to learn.

And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief. | Hebrews 3:18–19

So how do I stop trusting myself? How do I place my full trust in God and His promises? I enter into God’s rest by first understanding my total inability to enter God’s rest on my own. Next, I  enter God’s rest by my total faith in the sacrifice of the Messiah and complete obedience to God and His will.

Should we ask God for healing?

Miracles Happen

God heals. Jesus heals. The word of God teaches us that God is in the healing business.

Sometimes we pray and there is no healing. Sometimes we pray and there is healing. That is God’s business. Both God and Jesus encourage us to pray. We are to call the elders and ask them to pray for us.

Approximately one fifth of the Gospel narrative is devoted to Jesus’ healing ministry. At the start of His ministry, Jesus

“went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people.” (Matthew 4:23).

Why did large crowds of people follow Jesus?

It is stunning. There is the ebb and flow to those who follow Jesus. At any given point, it was 100’s or thousands. Some became disciples, and some did not.

So why were so many so interested? Some were in it for the miracles. Who wouldn’t want to be? It was stunning.

Some were in it because of His teaching. Jesus spoke with the authority of God. Jesus was different.

What is the greatest miracle of Jesus?

Bold Faith

I want to believe. I need to believe. I do believe. Master Jesus, help my unbelief.

Jesus is the King of God’s country. Jesus heals.

During his earthly ministry, Jesus the Messiah touched and transformed countless lives. Like other events in the life of Jesus, his miracles were documented by eyewitnesses. The four Good News books record 37 miracles of Jesus, with Mark’s recording the most.

Is joy the result of the behavior of others?

Think Happy

Now this is some great news. I have people watching over my soul. How cool is that? It is way cool. They have to give an account of their stewardship.

My job is to obey them and submit to them. That can be tough. It isn’t easy at all some days. Who are they to tell me what to do? Seriously?

I know who they are. They are God’s representative speaking on behalf of the Messiah Jesus.

My responsibility is to give them joy in helping me. it is a lousy thing to complain and give leaders grief. It is clearly to my advantage to do a happy dance when given instructions from my teachers. They have my best interests at heart.

Why are some things a mystery with God?

Mystery

Some things are a mystery. I think I have a “right” to know what’s going on.

Jesus shows me the way in that I don’t have to know. I don’t have a right to know.

God is God. God alone knows some things. Even Jesus doesn’t know.

That is the way it is in the country where Jesus is King. Jesus is appointed King by God. God only knows.

Can we magnify God by glorifying him?

Now here is some good news. I can magnify God by glorifying Him So how does that happen? What is the secret?

The Greek term doxazō means “to give glory” or “to make glorious.” The New Testament gives us glimpses of when Jesus the Messiah was glorified. The transfiguration of Jesus brought His glory out into the open (Matt. 17:1–8). The apostle Paul called Jesus the “Master of glory” (1 Cor. 2:8) and wrote that the “glory” of God radiated from His face (2 Cor. 3:18).

Why is God so patient with us?

Sacrifice

God demonstrates his goodness in His love for me. God loves me so much, He gave His only Son to be sacrificed for me.

Now that is good news and that is real love.

What is my job then? I need to radically change how I think and act differently.

The Master does not delay as though He were unable to act and is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is extraordinarily patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to radically change their thinking (aka repentance). ~Peter | 2 Peter 3:9

Does God have a plan for salvation?

God’s new plan

God has a plan for me. Now that is some very good news. I am shouting for joy over that. All things do work out for my good. That is because God is good and has great things in store for me. His plan starts with Jesus and the salvation I have in Him.

Most disciples of Jesus truly desire to understand God’s plan for their lives. Yet there are many questions: how do I discover God’s plan? How can I be sure? Fortunately, the Bible provides many important principles regarding the will of God. God is not trying to hide His will for our lives; He wants His children to know His will and follow it.

The Bible is filled with clear statements regarding God’s plan that apply to all believers. For example, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 teaches:

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in the Messiah Jesus.”

These three activities — being joyful, praying, and giving thanks — are God’s will for all believers, regardless of other circumstances.

Second Timothy 3:16-17 says:

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

We can understand God’s will through His Word. God’s Word is perfect, and we can discover God’s plan for our lives through our study of it.

  • Ephesians 1:11 —Also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works all things after the counsel of His will,
  • Psalm 40:5 —Many, O Master my God, are the wonders which You have done, And Your thoughts toward us; There is none to compare with You. If I would declare and speak of them, They would be too numerous to count.
  • Hebrews 11:40 —Because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect.

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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.

Am I just honoring God with my lips but not my heart?

Hypocrite

I must change my mind (aka repent). My nature, along with all of us, is one that is fallen and I constantly miss God’s goal (aka sin).

I try to cover that up by appearing to be a good person. I am not.

I am a hypocrite.

You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, But their heart is far away from Me.’~Jesus  | Matthew 15:7–8

Master Jesus , the anointed King and Messiah, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner!

There is good news. Jesus came to redeem me from this spiral of hypocrisy. I have the Spirit of God producing fruit in my life.

Hypocrisy — When deeds do not match words. Hypocrisy is an outward pretense masking an inner reality. Jesus condemns hypocrisy, especially in matters of faith. Followers of Jesus should express their commitment to God in their words and their deeds, as well as in their inner motivation. There should always be alignment of the heart, the mind and our actions.

The Greek word is ὑποκριτής (hupŏkritēs, hoop-ok-ree-tace) meaning  an actor under an assumed character (stage-player), i.e. a dissembler and hypocrite.

During Jesus’ earthly ministry, He had many run-ins with the religious elites of the day, the Scribes and Pharisees. These men were well versed in the Scriptures and zealous about following every letter of the Law (Acts 26:5). What would Jesus say today?

Today, the word pharisee has become synonymous with hypocrite. Translate it to the current religious elites. Some current day religious leaders (but not all by any means) are hypocrites. Warning! Beware!

Jesus is clear. Jesus detests hypocrites. Jesus calls us out all the time. My contempt allows me to ignore its reality in my life.

In adhering to the letter of the Law, they actively sought loopholes that allowed them to violate the spirit of the Law.

The religious elites displayed a lack of compassion toward their fellow man and were often overly demonstrative of their so-called spirituality in order to garner praise (Matthew 23:5–7; Luke 18:11).

Jesus denounced their behavior in no uncertain terms, pointing out that “justice, mercy, and faithfulness” are more important than pursuing a perfection based on faulty standards (Matthew 23:23).

Jesus made it clear that the problem was not with the Law but the way in which the Pharisees implemented it (Matthew 23:2-3).

The prophet Isaiah condemned the hypocrisy of his day: “The Master says, ‘These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men’” (Isaiah 29:13).

Centuries later, Jesus quoted this verse, aiming the same condemnation at the religious leaders of His day (Matthew 15:8-9).

John the Baptist refused to give hypocrites a pass, telling them to produce “fruits worthy of changing how we think (aka repentance).” (Luke 3:8).

Jesus took an equally staunch stand against sanctimony.

  • He called hypocrites
    • “wolves in sheep’s clothing” (Matthew 7:15)
    • “whitewashed tombs” (Matthew 23:27)
    • “snakes,” and “brood of vipers” (Matthew 23:33).

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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. Check out our new online version “Marriage and Family the Jesus Way” here..

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

Where does holiness come from for followers of Jesus?

Holiness comes from God and specifically the sacrificial death of Jesus for our having missed God’s goal for our lives. I am holy because Jesus has made me holy.

My job is to purify myself. I set myself aside for God’s holy work.

The holiness of God is the most difficult of all God’s attributes to explain, partly because it is one of His essential attributes that is not shared, inherently, by man. We are created in God’s image, and we can share many of His attributes, to a much lesser extent, of course—love, mercy, faithfulness, etc.

How can the disciples of Jesus live in unity?

God has a goal for all of us who are disciples of Jesus.

Jesus wants us to live in unity.

Jesus wants us to have one heart — one mind!

The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind — just as you, Father, are in me and I in you, so they might be one heart and mind with us. ~Jesus | John 17:21

Can achievements give us false security?

I have to be careful to not fall into the trap that anything I have is the result of something I have done. It is a dangerous way to think and Jesus challenges me to change my mind about that. Thinking and acting that way causes me to miss God’s goal for my life. I am getting clear on that.

If wealth makes a person proud, then he understands neither himself nor his wealth. “But you shall remember the Master your God; for it is He that gives you power to get wealth” (Deut. 8:18). We are not owners; we are stewards. If we have wealth, it is by the goodness of God and not because of any special merits on our part. The possessing of material wealth ought to humble a person and cause him to glorify God, not himself.

It is possible to be “rich in the world [age]” (1 Tim. 6:17) and be poor in the next. It is also possible to be poor in this world and rich in the next. Jesus talked about both. But a believer can be rich in this world and also rich in the next if he uses what he has to honor God. In fact, a person who is poor in this world can use even his limited means to glorify God and discover great reward in the next world.

Trust God, not wealth. The rich farmer in our Master’s parable thought that his wealth meant security, when really it was an evidence of insecurity. He was not really trusting God. Riches are uncertain, not only in their value (which changes constantly), but also in their durability. Thieves can steal wealth, investments can drop in value, and the ravages of time can ruin houses and cars. If God gives us wealth, we should trust Him, the Giver, and not the gifts.

Enjoy what God gives you. Yes, the word enjoy is in the Bible! In fact, one of the recurring themes in Ecclesiastes is, “Enjoy the blessings of life now, because life will end one day”. This is not sinful “hedonism,” living for the pleasures of life. It is simply enjoying all that God gives us for His glory.

  • 1 Timothy 6:17 — 17 Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.
  • Luke 12:16–20 — 16 And He told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man was very productive. 17 “And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’ 18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 ‘And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.” ’ 20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?
  • 2 Kings 19:11–13 — 11 ‘Behold, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all the lands, destroying them completely. So will you be spared? 12 ‘Did the gods of those nations which my fathers destroyed deliver them, even Gozan and Haran and Rezeph and the sons of Eden who were in Telassar? 13 ‘Where is the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, the king of the city of Sepharvaim, and of Hena and Ivvah?’ ”
  • 2 Kings 19:21–28 — 21 “This is the word that the Master has spoken against him: ‘She has despised you and mocked you, The virgin daughter of Zion; She has shaken her head behind you, The daughter of Jerusalem! 22 ‘Whom have you reproached and blasphemed? And against whom have you raised your voice, And haughtily lifted up your eyes? Against the Holy One of Israel! 23 ‘Through your messengers you have reproached the Master, And you have said, “With my many chariots I came up to the heights of the mountains, To the remotest parts of Lebanon; And I cut down its tall cedars and its choice cypresses. And I entered its farthest lodging place, its thickest forest. 24 “I dug wells and drank foreign waters, And with the sole of my feet I dried up All the rivers of Egypt.” 25 ‘Have you not heard? Long ago I did it; From ancient times I planned it. Now I have brought it to pass, That you should turn fortified cities into ruinous heaps. 26 ‘Therefore their inhabitants were short of strength, They were dismayed and put to shame; They were as the vegetation of the field and as the green herb, As grass on the housetops is scorched before it is grown up. 27 ‘But I know your sitting down, And your going out and your coming in, And your raging against Me. 28 ‘Because of your raging against Me, And because your arrogance has come up to My ears, Therefore I will put My hook in your nose, And My bridle in your lips, And I will turn you back by the way which you came.
  • Jeremiah 48:7 — 7 “For because of your trust in your own achievements and treasures, Even you yourself will be captured; And Chemosh will go off into exile Together with his priests and his princes.
  • Revelation 18:7–8 — 7 “To the degree that she glorified herself and lived sensuously, to the same degree give her torment and mourning; for she says in her heart, ‘I sit as a queen and I am not a widow, and will never see mourning.’ 8 “For this reason in one day her plagues will come, pestilence and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire; for the Master God who judges her is strong.

Source: Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 238). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

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History of 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.

In the early 1970’s, Jay and Sally Fesperman had a vision to open a retreat center for businessmen.  It was from this desire that they founded the Inn of Last Resort.  In the simplest of words – “Life is Relationships” – Jay Fesperman defined the heart of the ministry. Since its inception, “The Inn” has been involved in training and giving counsel to numerous families, pastors and lay people. The “Inn of the Last Resort” aptly alludes to the condition of many people who have found their way to this sanctuary in the rural Smoky Mountains. As word of the ministry spread, our name was revised to Christian Training Center International. Learn more here.

Global Influence

In 1980, Larry and Susan Pons joined the Fespermans in the ministry. Before Jay’s passing in 1992, CTCI had grown to be more global in its influence. Expansion of the ministry’s impact began to reach overseas and has subsequently brought scores of fellow Christians here for training and renewal. During its existence, over 70,000 people from more than 60 nations have come through the doors seeking a deeper reality of God in their lives.

 Our Prayer

Our prayer and focus has remained the same for years. First, that Jesus be Lord over all, through all and in all. Secondly that healthy, Godly relationships will always be the driving force of this ministry. This is the heartbeat of the ministry that the Lord has given us, and it is one we trust the Lord will continue to lead us in until He returns. Learn more here.

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

Is joy experienced even in adversity?

Choose Joy

Literally, Peter wrote, “Be constantly rejoicing!” In fact, he mentioned joy in one form or another four times in these two verses (1 Peter 4:12–13)!

“Rejoice … be glad also with exceeding joy … Happy are you!” The world cannot understand how difficult circumstances can produce exceeding joy, because the world has never experienced the grace of God (see 2 Cor. 8:1–5). Peter named several privileges that we share that encourage us to rejoice during the fiery trial.

How do we help those who are weak in faith?

Faith

As a disciple of Jesus, I have accepted Truth, not just as a concept, but as a Person. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

Truth exists.

Jesus is Truth.

Truth is not relative.

Truth, in the person of Jesus, is absolute.

Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions. ~Apostle Paul | Romans 14:1

Toleration should be exercised for the benefit of those whose faith is weak. God is God and God will show us all the way. Note this is about believers, not non-believers.

How toleration of other believers should I be? Even when disputing/dialoguing over prominent doctrines, a disciple of Jesus should exercise restraint and show respect. It is one thing to disagree with a position; it is quite another to disparage a person.

I must hold fast to the Truth while showing compassion to those who question it. Like Jesus, I must be full of both grace and truth (John 1:14). Peter strikes a good balance between having the answer and having humility: “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” (1 Peter 3:15).

  • Romans 14:2–6  — One person has faith that he may eat all things, but he who is weak eats vegetables only. The one who eats is not to regard with contempt the one who does not eat, and the one who does not eat is not to judge the one who eats, for God has accepted him. Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Master is able to make him stand. One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike. Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind. He who observes the day, observes it for the Master, and he who eats, does so for the Master, for he gives thanks to God; and he who eats not, for the Master he does not eat, and gives thanks to God.
  • Romans 14:13–22  — Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way. I know and am convinced in the Master Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. For if because of food your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy with your food him for whom the Messiah died. Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil; for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 For he who in this way serves the Messiah is acceptable to God and approved by men. So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another. Do not tear down the work of God for the sake of food. All things indeed are clean, but they are evil for the man who eats and gives offense. It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine, or to do anything by which your brother stumbles. The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.
  • 1 Corinthians 8:8–13  — But food will not commend us to God; we are neither the worse if we do not eat, nor the better if we do eat. But take care that this liberty of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if someone sees you, who have knowledge, dining in an idol’s temple, will not his conscience, if he is weak, be strengthened to eat things sacrificed to idols? For through your knowledge he who is weak is ruined, the brother for whose sake the Messiah died. And so, by sinning against the brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against the Messiah. Therefore, if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause my brother to stumble.

This acknowledgment of Truth distances the disciple from the so-called “open-mindedness” of the day. The disciple has publicly acknowledged that Jesus rose from the dead (Romans 10:9-10). If he truly believes in the resurrection, how can he be “open-minded” concerning an unbeliever’s assertion that Jesus never rose again? For a disciple to deny the clear teaching of God’s Word would indeed be a betrayal of God.

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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.

35 Questions that Jesus Asks in the Good News According to John

Jesus asks a question

It is stunning how masterfully our Master Jesus, the Messiah, uses questions (read more here) to teach vital spiritual truths.  Jesus never asked a question because he needed to know the answer.  He used questions the way a surgeon uses a scalpel, to delicately cut into a new level of understanding.

Compiled here is a list of questions Jesus asked.  Though it is probably not exhaustive, it is an extensive collection of interrogations still demanding answers of us.

Is God in the revealing business?

God is revealing things. God is in the revealing business. Sometimes it is a little fuzzy at first and then gets clearer over time. Some days it is BOOM! It is clear now.

I get to proclaim those revelations as I grow. Jesus is the Messiah, the anointed King of God’s country. At first it was Jesus is my Lord and Savior. Baptism came and the Lord’s Supper.

What does it take for me to change my mind about Jesus?

Woe

Jesus is upset. Jesus is upset with the elite religious leaders of the day.

Jesus hasn’t gotten over it. I am thinking I need to pay attention to this. It is too easy to think Jesus is saying this “to them”. The word of Jesus is like a sharp sword.

Uh oh! Here it comes! I better listen up and change my mind (aka repent). I better act different. I better give up acting religious. I better get serious about following Him. I better give up my selfish self pitying. I better listen up!

“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles had occurred in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have changed their minds (aka repented) long ago in sackcloth and ashes.” | Matthew 11:21

What does denying Jesus mean?

Jesus is the Truth

The truth is a person. The truth is Jesus. He is the anointed one and Messiah. Jesus is King of God’s country.

There is a whole lot of stuff going on some days that ignores that. I need to be careful because while it sounds interesting and “Christian” it is not.

What is it? It is a lie.

Is it rare to find true faithfulness?

Faithfulness

Jesus challenges me to be faithful. Loyalty and commitment within human relationships is important in the life of God’s people.

It is seen particularly in fidelity within marriage, fulfilling family obligations, honoring vows, dutiful service and trustworthy speech and conduct.

Justice, mercy, and faithfulness are the important qualities God is seeking. Obeying the rules is no substitute.

Are churches “houses of prayer”?

Image result for house of prayer

Jesus went to the temple after His triumphant entry into Jerusalem on palm Sunday.

The ecstacy of that moment to the sacrilege of the place that should be devoted to prayer and worship of the Master of the universe.

It’s God’s house! Think of it; selling stuff in God’s house.

Does the birth of children bring joy?

Joy

What joy there is in bringing children into this world.

Consider this from Jesus:

When a woman is in labor, she has pain because her time has come. But when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the suffering because of the joy that a person has been born into the world. | John 16:21 Christian Standard Bible (CSB)

That is the way it is. There is always pain but we forget the pain. All we experience is the pure joy of a new life.

Can we live at peace with all men?

Reconciliation

Jesus has a goal for me. It is to be a peacemaker.

Peacemaking is a big goal given to us from Jesus. Jesus says “Happy are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9)

Peace means reconciliation, and God is the author of peace and of reconciliation.

If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. ~Apostle Paul | Romans 12:18

Is God’s motive the honor of his name?

God Knows

God is God. God is to be honored and His name is to be revered. This is a shock to many today. Our culture considers it okay to dishonor God. I must honor God. I must be proud of following King Jesus, His Son.

As followers of Jesus, because we honor God, we have an inheritance. God is God. God knows what is going to happen. He has determined what is going to happen (aka predestined). We can be confident it will.

Who does He consult with? Himself. It is His will that is the only thing that counts. It is all about God and I must honor His name.

What Jesus shows to his innocent newcomers.

Simpleton

Jesus sent the 70 out on a mission and they have returned report that God has done amazing things. That is what Jesus knew would happen.

Jesus prays. Jesus is ecstatic. Jesus is doing a happy dance! I can see Jesus. He is smiling. He is very, very happy.

Jesus thanks His Father and Master. The work is a miracle because used nobodies to accomplish His plans. In fact, that pleases God. God likes to use nobodies. God is ignoring the elites. That is just the way it is.

Is Jesus in the amazement business?

Amazement

Jesus is amazing. I am constantly stunned at what He did for me and how He teaches me. Jesus is in the amazement business.

Here are some amazing things.

  • The miracles
  • The teaching
  • His authority
  • Casting out demons
  • Raising the dead
  • His death, resurrection and ascension
  • His gift of the Holy Spirit to us

Are we treating Jesus with contempt?

Contempt

We live in a world that holds and treats Jesus with contempt. Jesus suffered greatly for us. That was why He came.

Jesus came to suffer and pay the penalty for my missing God’s goal so that I don’t have to. He did it with joy, knowing what waited for him on the other side of the grave.

And Jesus said to them, “Elijah does first come and restore all things. And yet how is it written of the Son of Man that He will suffer many things and be treated with contempt?” | ~Jesus | Mark 9:12

Is joy experienced through conversion?

When we accept Jesus as our Master and commit to be a disciple, we are ecstatic. Joy is ours beyond belief. Jesus has paid the price we owe for missing God’s goals. We have been redeemed. Amazing! I am doing a happy dance.

The word atonement means “reconciliation, brought back into fellowship with God.” The term is mentioned also in Romans 5:10. In Romans 1:18–32, Paul explained how men declared war on God and, because of this, deserved to be condemned eternally.

But God did not declare war on man. Instead, He sent His Son as the Peacemaker that men might be reconciled to God. That is good news and brings joy to our souls.

A review of our blessings of justification shows how certain our salvation is in Jesus. Totally apart from Law, and purely by grace, we have a salvation that takes care of the past, the present, and the future.

Jesus died for us; the Messiah lives for us; the Messiah is coming for us!

Hallelujah, what a Savior!

  • Acts 16:33–34 — 33 And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household. 34 And he brought them into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly, having believed in God with his whole household.
  • Acts 8:38–39 — 38 And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Master snatched Philip away; and the eunuch no longer saw him but went on his way rejoicing.
  • Romans 5:11 — 11 And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Master Jesus the Messiah, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.
  • Romans 11:15 – For if their rejection brings reconciliation to the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?
  • 2 Corinthians 5:18 – 20 Everything is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and has given us the ministry of reconciliation. 19 That is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and he has committed the message of reconciliation to us. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us. We plead on Christ’s behalf: “Be reconciled to God.”

Joy is a positive human condition that can be either feeling or action. The Bible uses joy in both senses.

The Greek word in Romans 5:11 is καυχάομαι kauchaŏmai, kŏw-khah´-om-ahee. It means to boast and to vaunt (in a good or a bad sense). Also glory, joy, or rejoice.

Reconciliation

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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. Check out our new online version “Marriage and Family the Jesus Way” here..

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

What qualities should we look for in leaders?

Leader

It is a good thing to want to be a leader in the assembly (church) that is called out of this world. Paul makes that clear to Timothy.

This applies to someone who wants to be an overseer, who has other church leaders reporting to them. The word is episkopos. It is defined as an overseer, supervisor, ruler, especially used with reference to the supervising function exercised by an elder or presbyter of a church or congregation.

Paul has a very comprehensive list. I know I don’t qualify but that is okay.

Is resurrection real for believers?

Eternal Life

Resurrection of my body, after death, will happen. So is the eternal life I have right now as a follower of Jesus. They are not mutually exclusive. I have one now, and the other later. It is “yes / and”.

By His teaching, His miracles, and His own resurrection, Jesus clearly taught the resurrection of the human body. He has declared once for all that death is real, that there is life after death, and that the body will one day be raised by the power of God.

Are we prepared to be humble?

Humility

God has a goal for me. Jesus calls on me to be gentle and meek. I am to be humble. I am to love. I am to have compassion. That is the main thing about the main thing. Love is not haughty.

Jesus challenges me to learn from Him. Jesus is gentle. Jesus is humble. Jesus shows me how to have compassion and love. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” | Matthew 11:29

So I, the prisoner for the Master, appeal to you to live a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called that is, to live a life that exhibits godly character, moral courage, personal integrity, and mature behavior — a life that expresses gratitude to God for your salvation, with all humility forsaking self-righteousness, and meekness maintaining self-control, with patience, bearing with one another in unselfish love. | Ephesians 4:1-2 (Amplified Bible)

We must understand what “meek” means. The Greek word translated “meek” is praeis and refers to mildness, gentleness of spirit, or humility. Other forms of this Greek word are used elsewhere in the New Testament, including James 1:21 and James 3:13. Meekness is humility toward God and toward others.

It is having the right or the power to do something but refraining for the benefit of someone else. Paul urged meekness when he told us “to live a life worthy of the calling [we] have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love” (Ephesians 4:1–2).

Jesus is clear that I will be more than happy if I am meek and gentle. I will in fact inherit the earth according to the “Jesus Manifesto” (Matthew 5 -7; aka the Sermon on the Mount). I think my arrogance is an issue Jesus wants me to deal with. More humility would go a long way in my life.

According to our dictionary, to be meek means you are “showing patience and humility, gentleness … easily imposed upon, submissive”. The meek one doesn’t throw fits or fly off the handle under pressure. A good synonym is “gentle”. A meek person is under control.

Meekness is not weakness: it is power under control. As the writer of Proverbs says, “He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city” (16:32). In contrast, the individual who is not gentle is likened to “a city that is broken into and without walls” (Proverbs 25:28). Gentleness always uses its resources appropriately, unlike the out-of-control emotions that so often are destructive and have no place in your life as a believer.

And don’t equate gentleness with cowardice, lack of conviction, or mere human niceness. It’s a virtue that draws courage, strength, conviction, and a good disposition from God, not from self-centered human resources. Jesus clearly could show His displeasure. Imagine being a merchant in the temple getting whipped and chased out. Imagine being a religious leader and getting called a snake.

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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.

I will make it. God has assured me. There is not doubt about that.

Every good and perfect gift

I must praise God. God is my heavenly Father. God is Father of my Master Jesus. Jesus is the anointed one, the Messiah.

God is the Father of all mercy. God brings healing counsel to me. God comes alongside of me when I go through hard times. It isn’t always clear what is going to happen but before I know it, I can get outside of myself because someone comes along who is also going through hard times so I can be there for them. I can be there for them just like God is there for me.

There are plenty of trials that come from following Jesus the Messiah. They pale in comparison to the good times of the healing comfort of Jesus. I get more than a full measure of that. That deserves a shout out. I’m jumping for joy at the goodness of God.

When I suffer for Jesus, it works out for my healing. It works out for my salvation. I am encouraged and have my boldness increase by how well God treats me. God works things out for my benefit. That spurs me on. I face forward and run the good race. I don’t flinch at all during adversity.

Endurance is the name of the game. I can endure hard times with the amazing power of the Holy Spirit. That makes for great joy in the good times.

I will make it. God has assured me. There is not doubt about that.

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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. Check out our new online version “Marriage and Family the Jesus Way” here..

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

What was Peter’s role in founding the church?

Church Building

Jesus is building His church with people who are called out to be citizens of the country where Jesus is King. The church is about people. I am a member. I have been called out.

The word “church” comes from the Greek word ekklesia which is defined as “an assembly” or “called-out ones.” The root meaning of “church” is not that of a building, but of people.

I repeat. It is not a building.

It is a group of people called out of the world. I need to rethink all of this.

To Peter Jesus said, “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My assembly of people (aka church); and the gates of Hades will not overpower it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.”” (Matthew 16:18)

Jesus appears to be using a play on words. “You are Peter (petros) and on this rock (petra) I will build my church.” Since Peter’s name means rock, and Jesus is going to build His church on a rock – it appears that the Messiah is linking the two together. God used Peter greatly in the foundation of the church.

It was Peter who first proclaimed the good news on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:14-47). Peter was also the first to take the good news to the Gentiles (Acts 10:1-48). In a sense, Peter was the rock “foundation” of the church.

Jesus is responding to Peter’s confession of faith in verse 16: “You are the Messiah, the son of the living God.” Jesus had never explicitly taught Peter and the other disciples the fullness of His identity, and He recognized that God had sovereignly opened Peter’s eyes and revealed to him who Jesus really was.

His confession of Jesus as Messiah poured forth from him, a heartfelt declaration of Peter’s personal faith in Jesus. It is this personal faith in the Messiah which is the hallmark of the true disciple of Jesus. Those who have placed their faith in King Jesus, as Peter did, are the church.

Peter expresses this in 1 Peter 2:4 when he addressed the believers who had been dispersed around the ancient world: “Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus the Messiah and anointed King.”

Many people today understand the church as a building. This is not a biblical understanding of the church. Period. End of story. Please understand this!

Disciples are sent out by Jesus the Messiah: What is their mission? The church is a creation of God (Acts 20:28; 1 Corinthians 3:9, 17; 15:9), founded and owned by Jesus the Messiah.

It is ironic that when you ask people what church they attend, they usually identify a denomination and a building. At best, early on, it was a geographic location.

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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. Check out our new online version “Marriage and Family the Jesus Way” here..

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

Did Jesus demonstrate His friendship with us in his death on the cross?

Jesus Friend of Sinners

I don’t understand completely why Jesus would die for me. That is mighty powerful love. And He did it because He considers me a friend. I don’t deserve it. I have missed God’s goal for my life (aka sinner). Jesus was famous for bring the friend of sinners. For that I am thankful.

Most of us have many acquaintances but very few friends, and even some of our friends may prove unfriendly or even unfaithful. What about Judas? “Yes, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, has lifted up his heel against me” (Ps. 41:9). Even a devoted friend may fail us when we need him most. Peter, James, and John went to sleep in the Garden when they should have been praying; and Peter even denied the Master three times. Our friendship to each other and to the Master is not perfect, but His friendship to us is perfect.

However, we must not interpret this word friend in a limited way, because the Greek word means “a friend at court.” It describes that “inner circle” around a king or emperor. (In John 3:29, it refers to the “best man”, at a wedding.) The “friends of the king” would be close to him and know his secrets, but they would also be subject to him and have to obey his commands. There is thus no conflict between being a friend and being a slave.

It is this kind of a relationship that Jesus described when He called His disciples “friends.” It was certainly a relationship of love, both for Him and for each other. The “friends of the King” could not compete with each other for attention or promotion. They were a part of the “inner circle,” not to promote themselves, but to serve their King. What a rebuke this must have been to the selfish disciples who often argued over who was the greatest!

  • John 15:13 — 13 “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.
  • Romans 5:7–8 — 7 For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, the Messiah died for us.
  • Luke 12:4 — 4 “I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do.
  • John 3:16 — 16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
  • 1 Peter 3:18 — 18 For the Messiah also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit;

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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. Check out our new online version “Marriage and Family the Jesus Way” here..

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

Am I ready to hear the timely reprimand of a friend?

Right words

We need friends but we need wise friends that we can count on to say the right thing at the right time.

I don’t like it when someone reproves and reprimands me. It hurts. Mainly because I always immediately sense the element of truth and rebel against it.

Are they a wise friend? Then I should embrace their delivery of the word of God and welcome it in my life.

What are reasons for God’s people to know joy?

God is good

There is a whole lot of joy in knowing Jesus. God is good and always in a good mood. So how many reasons do we have to do a big shout out for Jesus?

Consider this small sampling. It is stunning in the breadth of its scope.

Our God is a God of hope. God will fill us with joy. We will know peace. That all comes from believing in Jesus. We have power because of the Spirit of God. Now that is a good word!

Is God good and in a good mood? Is it all the time?

God is good all the time

God is good. God alone is good. God only has good things in mind for me. Jesus wants me to know this and get it in my soul. This is core to the Jesus Manifesto (Matthew 7 – 9).

Is it possible that I think God has it out for me? Do I act that way some days? Do see God as harsh?

Do I?

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” | Matthew 7:7-11

Why was Jesus criticized for breaking with tradition and opposed by the religious elites?

Hypocrite

Things are getting dicey. The fact that the religious elites (scribes and Pharisees) united in this attack and came all the way from Jerusalem to speak to Jesus, indicates the seriousness of their purpose. It is likely that this committee represented the leaders of the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem.

Their accusation about “washing hands” had nothing to do with cleanliness. They were referring to the ceremonial washings of the rigidly orthodox Jews. It was bad enough that Jesus and His disciples mingled with outcasts, but they did not even seek to be purified! Of course, in making this accusation, these religious elites were forcing Jesus to deal with the very foundation of their religious faith. If Jesus rejected the sacred traditions of the nation, then He was a heretic!

Does Jesus have the power and authority to cast out demons from people?

Authority of God

Jesus has both the power and authority to cast out demons and unclean spirits from people. It is stunning. It is really good news in that the power of evil is defeated in the work of Jesus.

Since demons are fallen angels, they possess the same level of power and influence as angels. However, Scripture seems to indicate that God has limited their abilities (2 Thessalonians 2:6–7). The Bible indicates that not all afflictions are due to demonic influence (Matthew 10:1; Luke 8:2). The vast majority of demonic influence is spiritual, not physical.

Are human authorities instituted and established by God?

God is clear. I must recognize that authority comes from God. This is a foundational principle. I am challenged by Jesus to give to Caesar what is his and to God what is God’s.

In my core, I naturally don’t want to submit to authority. It is a new word in Jesus to learn this. This is first base in God’s baseball game.

“Give, then, to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” ~Jesus

The Bible speaks very clearly about the relationship between the believer and the government. We are to obey governmental authorities, and the government is to treat us justly and fairly. Even when the government does not live up to its role, we are still to live up to ours. Finally, when the government asks us to do something that is in direct disobedience to God’s Word, we are to disobey the government in faithful confidence of the Master’s power to protect us.

Are you on the edge of God’s kingdom?

Love Him

The religious leaders and elites of the Jewish faith were constantly trying to trap Jesus. One asked “Which is most important of all the commandments?”

Jesus answered that the Master your God is one; so love the Master God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’ And here is the second: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’

There is no other commandment that ranks with these Jesus tells me.

Is joy experienced in a relationship with Jesus the Messiah?

Yes, joy is most certainly is experienced in my relationship with Jesus! I have good news. I want to shout it out.

Look at 1 Peter 1 below. My love for the Messiah is not based on physical sight, because I have not seen Him. It is based on my spiritual relationship with Him and what the Word has taught me about Him.

The Holy Spirit has poured out God’s love into my heart (Rom. 5:5), and I return that love to Him. When you find yourself in some trial, and you hurt, immediately lift your heart to the Messiah in true love and worship.

Have I gone out on a limb and committed to trusting Jesus?

Love of Jesus

Jesus lays it all out here. He wants us to understand how it is between Him and His Father.

This understanding comes when I go out on a limb. I commit myself to love like Jesus commands me to. I trust in Jesus. He is looking out for me. I believe Jesus is the Son of God.

Bingo! Here we go! God loves me directly. No intermediary.

Does legalism represent a fatal misunderstanding of the purpose of OT law?

The Law

I fall into the trap of thinking that if I just follow the rules, I will be seen as good in the eyes of God. That is a big error. My journey with Jesus must start with faith in Him. From there on, I must follow the commands of my Master to love but I must start with faith.

Here is a paradox: the Jews sought for righteousness but did not find it, while the Gentiles, who were not searching for it, found it! The reason? Israel tried to be saved by works and not by faith. They rejected “grace righteousness” and tried to please God with “Law righteousness.”

How do we live at peace with everyone?

The peace of Jesus

Jesus does not exhort me to get angry, as if this is anger were a good motivator or energy for positive action. My job is to live in peace with everyone.

My mission, given to me by Jesus, is to love. That is it. That should be my day. That should be my motivation. Love should be my passionate focus. Love leads to living in peace.

Paul says when you feel angry, don’t act on it! Don’t hold onto anger and don’t let it motivate you because it easily leads to unwholesome talk and other sins. It gives the devil a foothold in your life.