This Fourth of July, as we celebrate and reflect upon the positives in our American heritage, and as many of us seek solutions for restoring those troubled areas in our current culture, there are a few things that come to mind that can encourage us to hold on to the valuable lessons that were passed down to us by our country’s forefathers.
The first lesson(s) are found in the above video (you’ll have to watch it to find out what they are).
I have been so blessed these past twenty plus years to work with children of all ages and from different nations, here at The Inn. I have worked with children in one way or another since I stopped being a child myself! I want to share with you over the course of the next weeks some tips that I believe will help as you work with children. So, here you go. Three tips for today! These are not in any particular order, nor are they by any means exclusive.
3 TIPS FOR SPEAKING TO CHILDREN
1.BE AS VISUAL AS YOU CAN BE:
Don’t just stand there and talk! Use as many visual illustrations as you can. Children love visual aids and will remember much better what you are talking about if you use them.
The following is a few short excerpts from C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity. In them he addresses the subject of Faith and how to apply it to our lives. Much inspiration and encouragement as you read!
“I must talk in this chapter about what the Christians call Faith. Roughly speaking, the word Faith seems to be used by Christians in two senses or on two levels, and I will take them in turn. In the first sense it means simply Belief — accepting or regarding as true the doctrines of Christianity. That is fairly simple. But what does puzzle people—at least it used to puzzle me—is the fact that Christians regard faith in this sense as a virtue…. Obviously, I used to say, a sane man accepts or rejects any statement, not because he wants to or does not want to, but because the evidence seems to him good or bad….
It is a joy and privilege to have such a diverse staff here at CTCI, not only in terms of their individual talents and abilities, but also in the different cultural perspectives that each brings to our work and family environment.
Here is a devotional thought from our beloved Ambiorix Caldéron (native from the Dominican Republic) on his perspective on what it means to be a good shepherd. (See below for an English translation):
Esta mañana mientras caminaba en la cerca, me di cuenta que los obejos me seguian dondequiera que yo caminaba. Me hizo pensar en Jesús cuando dijo, “…el pastor llama a cada obeja por su nombre y las obejas reconocen su voz…y cuando ya han salido todas camina delante de ellas y las obejas lo siguen porque reconocen su voz.
¿Y tú, quiere ser un pastor que te sigan las obejas, y que te conozcan? Tu ejemplo determinará si las obejas te sigan.
-Ambiorix Caldéron (CTCI Staff)
This morning as I was walking in the field, I realized that the sheep were following me wherever I went. It made me think of Jesus when he said that the Shepherd calls every sheep by name and the sheep recognize His voice. When they have all come out, He walks before them, and the sheep follow him because they recognize His voice.”
What about you? Do you want to be a shepherd whom the sheep know and follow? Your example will determine if the sheep will follow you.
These are words from a judge given in 1959. This is exactly what we are teaching young people when they walk through the doors here at The Inn. Call us old fashioned? We take it as a compliment.
Words For Teenagers
“Northland college principle John Tapene has offered the following words from a judge who regularly deals with youth.
“Always we hear the cry from teenagers,
‘what can we do, where can we go?”
“My answer is this: Go home, mow the lawn, wash the windows, learn to cook, build a raft, get a job, visit the sick, study your lessons and after you’ve finished, read a book. Your town does not owe you recreation facilities and your parents do not owe you fun.
“The world does not owe you a living, you owe the world something. You owe it your time, energy, and talent so that no one will be at war, in sickness and lonely again. In other words grow up, stop being a cry baby, get out of your dream world and develop a backbone not a wishbone. Start behaving like a responsible person. You are important and you are needed. It’s too late to sit around and wait for somebody to do something someday. Someday is now and that somebody is you!”
“This hill, though high, I covet to ascend;
The difficulty will not me offend.
For I perceive the way to life lies here.
Come, pluck up, heart; let’s neither faint nor fear.
Better, though difficult, the right way to go,
Than wrong, though easy, where the end is woe.” – John Bunyan
Recently, my son swore the following oath to uphold the constitution of the United States as he enlisted in the Marine Corps: I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to the regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.
I have noticed over the years that thankful people are a delight to be around. Their conversations are liberally sprinkled with gratefulness, it just oozes out of them! It is good manners to say “thank you”, somehow we have the “please” down fine. There are many people in my life I need to say thank you to, those from my past those in the present and there will be those I am sure in my future, both family and dear friends. Most of all though I want to say thank you to the One who has given everything for me, Jesus. May there always be found a word of thankfulness on the tip of my tongue ready to burst forth. Join me in making this Thanksgiving Proclamation…
A THANKSGIVING PROCLAMATION..
Let me come before Your presence with thanksgiving, let me shout joyfully to You with psalms. I will give thanks to You Lord with all my heart; I will tell of all Your wonders and magnify You with thanksgiving. I give thanks to You Lord, for you are good; for Your lovingkindness is everlasting. I will sing to You, overflowing with many thanksgivings. I will give thanks to You Lord according to Your righteousness and sing praise to Your name, Lord Most High. I will give thanks to You forever. To all generations I will tell of Your praise. I will give thanks to You, for You have answered me, and You have become my salvation. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, my soul knows it very well. Being righteous I will surely give thanks to Your name. Thanks be to You God for Your indescribable gift! Thanks be to You God, who always leads me in triumph in Christ, and manifests through me the sweet aroma of the knowledge of You in every place. I will be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let my requests be made known to You God. Let me continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to You God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to Your name.
Psalm 95:2, 9:1, 69:2, 118:, 147:7, 2 Corinthians 9:12, Ps 7:17, 30:12, 79:13,139:14,140:13, 2 Corinthians 9:15,1 Corinthians 15:57, Philippians 4:6, Hebrews 13:15 NAS
Fathers Day fun from INNvision family program 2013!
I am forever grateful for the men that have fathered me over the years, most importantly my own dad. There is no degree that will ever compete with the training that can be imparted by a father, no apprenticeship that will ever replace the things you teach.
May the Lord grant you the Grace to call out to the younger men and woman as Paul the Apostle once did… “Follow Me”.
Godly training for family.
Biblical view on manhood.
Train your own children to raise godly families.
INNvision Family Training
One of the big lessons that we strive to instill in people as they come to CTCI is the value of sound financial living. It goes almost without saying that falling into monetary pitfalls is an all-too-common occurrence. And the most troubling thing is that there is so much potential for financial stability and growth in this area, given the right tools. The problem, though, is that we often don’t know where to find those tools, or even what to do with them once we acquire them. This is especially true with the young people we encounter.
Ahhh! What’s better than some good ‘ol, de-stress time spent weeding in the garden? Ok, maybe a few things, but I’ll admit, sometimes that’s just what I need. The quiet, the breeze, the cool of the morning (or evening), the rhythmic task of dig-pull-throw-dig-pull-throw. It’s a task that doesn’t ask too much of my thoughts, so it gives me the away-from-everybody, introvert’s opportunity to sort out my thoughts.
“Life is relationships. If you’re having a good life it’s because you have good relationships. If you’re having a tough life, it’s because you have problematic relationships.” – Jay Fesperman
Jay’s quote is such a truism. Relationships are so vital and central to life that it is a wonder we can be so negligent at times of our relationships – our relationship to God and our relationship to others. It is when we become careless in our relationships that our lives can become tough.
Being a ministry that focuses so intently on relationships, we at CTCI are always excited to hear about and share touching stories of love, healing, and transformation in people’s lives. Here’s a little story that talks about just that, from some people we appreciate at Desiring God. Hope you enjoy!
The most meaningful testimonies I receive are when people tell me that it was a vision of the sovereignty and goodness of God that got them through the most difficult times of their life.
Here is one of those testimonies. I tremble with the glad responsibility of introducing you to Ian & Larissa Murphy in this video. Tremble, because it is their story and so personal. So delicate. So easily abused. So unfinished. Glad, because Christ is exalted over all things.
with Josh Etter
How should the Church speak about gender divide? Should we value male and female design? Is family – “family” – without genders?
It is an absolute privilege to work with a ministry that fights for and values family. In fact, all of the training we do focuses a person on understanding their role and purpose within their family. For the Christian there are two very real families; your biological family and your church family. Both of which are filled with diversity, roles, authority, responsibilities…. the list naturally goes on as God established unique characteristics within family. The difference between male and female or the difference between parents and children – are beautiful! In Gods Kingdom, “roles”, do not define your value; what they do is display Gods design.
Unfortunately we live at a time where gender is being questioned… rather attacked; and I would suggest the attack is directed at God. It is important that the Church continues to value gender and declare the hand of God in our design.
Here is a short article from DesiringGod that can help all of us approach gender talks from Gods view. Enjoy!
Riding in the wake of the cultural speedboat of the destigmatization of same-sex intercourse is the mainstreaming of “gender non-conformists.” Witness the June 9 issue of Time. Laverne Cox, born a boy, is on the front page, in his chosen female identity.
Psalms 23, a passage this city boy has read 1,000 times, now takes on a new reality for me: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want…..” Out of all the gods on the face of the earth, Jesus is the only true God fit for the job of being a shepherd. A few of us at The Inn have realized that taking care of lambs is not like playing catch with your dog. Rather, being a shepherd requires an intentional and large investment of time and effort.
When you are a part of a Ministry that spans the years and is still in existence and flourishing, it becomes very clear that prayer has been a major part of that. We have a Prayer Room on the third floor dedicated for that purpose. Recently we had a day of prayer, and all the staff and everyone here took an hour to pray for our very busy upcoming Summer. This caused me to wonder just how many prayers have been prayed in this place over the years? Far too many too count, I am sure. The amazing truth is, God hears our prayers and is faithful always to answer. If only we had a record of those prayers, I believe we would be leaping up and down and shouting our praises as we saw the amazing and miraculous answers our God has given!
It is so important that we realize that Our God Is Able, that there is nothing he cannot do. He is the God of the impossible and He will far exceed our highest expectations. Join me in taking a little time in these next three days to study this amazing truth from the Word!
Three Day Word Study – OUR GOD IS ABLE…
by Tim Bryant, Board Member, DLC ‘77, TTR ‘87
“Tim, the whole family is on the stairs waiting for you!” Jay Fesperman exclaimed over the phone as I stood in a hot phone booth in downtown Franklin. “The van has broken down”, I said, feeling like my faith should be strong enough to lay hands on it so that it should recover, “I don’t know what’s wrong with it or when we can get back to the Inn.”
I don’t wear a cape. I don’t have a bat cave. I don’t even fly an invisible jet. I’m just me. The only super I’m ever associated with is super-smelly or, on good days, super-average. It turns out that I can’t fly, I’m not made out of rubber, and I can’t communicate with fish. I thought about getting a big red “S” tattooed on my chest, but the thought of having to nip and tuck that thing to keep it from morphing into some type of geriatric calligraphy isn’t exciting. While I’m rarely accused of being normal, my version of abnormal will not cause a movie about my super-powers to come out this summer. On top of all that, nobody likes the idea of seeing me in spandex.
A while ago my five-year-old daughter Daniela said to me, “I want to be a doctor when I grow up so I can help people who get hurt. But I’d also like to be a policewoman so I can make people obey the rules. I want to be a singer and a dancer, too. I’d like to be a teacher…” After thinking through her ever-growing list, Daniela concluded, “Or I could be a mom and do it all.” What an insightful little girl!
In 2009, Wanderlust Productions, Darren Wilson, released a DVD entitled Furious Love. As I watched it, over and over and over again, I was impacted that people were traveling all over the world “for the one”. Yes, I knew this – but the reality of that thread throughout the DVD affected me strongly. For some reason, this had faces and stories connected to it, and it became personal! My life-path had even crossed some of the people in the story.
I love the way that C.S. Lewis can take some of the most challenge concepts that we face in life and formulate such succinct responses to them. Here’s a little excerpt from his writings that addresses issues arising from atheistic belief and why belief in God is definitely reasonable. Hope you enjoy!
“Supposing there was no intelligence behind the universe, no creative mind. In that case, nobody designed my brain for the purpose of thinking.
Gifted apologist Ravi Zacharias is known for his ability to tackle some of the toughest issues we face in our current cultures. As he does so well and so often, here he unpacks an impactful message on Man’s proper position before God in a very compact statement. Enjoy!
David Livingstone, a pioneer in African mission’s said, “Fear God and work hard.” This admonition spoken two centuries ago, is an apt description of what has been going on at The Inn this year. In the first quarter of 2014, we have managed more activity than we engaged in during the entire year of 2012! Regardless of the political climate or the state of the economy, God’s Kingdom is always expanding, always bringing hope and healing in Christ to those who will receive Him.
3 hairs on the floor. 5 pin-sized specks of toothpaste on the mirror. 2 pieces of dead grass that are nearly invisible against the brown carpeting in the room. Slight smudge marks on the bottom of a door. Dust build-up in a minuscule crack that only a cockroach would ever notice (or else why would there be any dust?).
Recently the weather has been a little strange here in Franklin. As is normal for North Carolina weather this time of year, it was in the 80’s one day and down in the 40’s the next. But the strange (yet fascinating) part was the storms that just kept popping up seemingly out of nowhere. It would be bright and sunny one moment, and the next you look out the window and there would be a torrential downpour. It felt like hurricane weather.
At the point when we think we are done, there may be something more. The fishermen from the boats had gone down from them and were washing their nets. Clean up was underway. It was over. They were done with fishing, all over but the putting away of the nets.
I cannot recall the number of times I have watched this short video. It has become, and probably will remain, one of my favorites over the years. The Christian will always wrestle with the balance between faith and works, I believe it to be a necessary wrestle in order to continue growing in both of them. The Christian life is to be a life of obedience, but it is an obedience that comes forth from faith.
Take ten minutes and enjoy this clip. May our doing always be from a place of faith. There is no greater power in this life for long-lasting, pure, natural Christian labor than the love of God.
May it serve you as it has me over the years!!
I stop in at garden stores like some people shop at garage sales. I know I am likely to find something I can’t live without, and between the hanging baskets, bedding plants, herbs, annuals and perennials, it is hard to choose just a few necessities. The Inn is an inviting place to dig and hoe, and many of us can’t keep our hands out of the dirt. We have more gardeners than ever this year, so the grounds are getting lots of care.
Special thanks to Mike Wilson for sharing this video with us. And a VERY special thanks to MOMS every where for their strength, perseverance, and love through many sleepless nights. You inspire us!
In The Beginning … of The Inn
(from my perspective … Tracy Fesperman Collins)
Some time, in the early 1970’s, Jay and Sally Fesperman looked at and bought the Wayah Valley Inn. And, yes, as the story goes, they were looking for a one-room cabin. They needed a place to allow themselves to get away from life and all that was going on in the day-to-day world. Jay was very much involved with business, traveling and entertaining clients. From the first heart episode that Jay had (early 1960’s), Sally was very purposeful in seeing that they lived a healthy lifestyle! When the original doctor asked about exercise, Jay’s answer was “I run to catch planes!” That is when a new pattern of exercise and relaxation began – golf! They never rode in golf carts; they always walked the course. So, in 1970, when they felt the need to have a place to get away and relax, they began looking in Franklin, North Carolina. They loved the mountains, the slower pace and the golf courses!
And the name ??? I have lots of childhood memories! One of the most comforting things I remember was the fact that every morning, at 5 AM, my parents (Jay and Sally) were having their Quiet Time
I love prepositions, those little words that show the relationship between the words in a sentence. Some kids memorize the whole list of them, and others roll their eyes at the old explanation from teachers that you are not allowed to put one at the end of a sentence. They jump out at me in the Scriptures, and this morning I was reminded again of Christ’s love for us by three prepositions. We are in Christ. The preposition in demonstrates our relationship to Him. We walk in newness of life (Romans 6:4). Christ is in us, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27). I have put off the old man (Ephesians 4:22) that I may put on the new self, created by God in true righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:24). I locate myself by being in Christ, I change who I am by taking off the old self, and I become something new by putting on the new self.
These prepositions are a declaration of where I am in time and space. Prepositions don’t get a lot of attention in writing class. They aren’t the grand adjectives that describe the beauty or power of a thought, but in many ways they put together the pieces of what is being communicated. And so it is with our lives. The difference in my life is best described by what locates me – a preposition! Because I am in I am free. Because I have taken off I am not cursed. And because of putting on I am new. So why can’t these glorious little words dangle at the end of a sentence? Maybe because showing location and being the location are two different things. I can’t just say I am in. The power of my thought isn’t finished until I complete the sentence. I am in Christ. I am right where I belong, just like a preposition.
A few weeks ago I celebrated my twenty-first birthday. One of my closest and dearest friends drove four hours just to spend the day with me. I had the day off, and I received some awesome handmade birthday cards from a few members of my Inn family. All around it was a spectacular day.
The previous Saturday I was on the phone with one of my sisters who told me she was sending a birthday package in the mail for me. Trust me when I say I got excited! Knowing I had a letter coming would have been enough to make me giddy and impatient for it to arrive, but a package…ohh my, I couldn’t wait! Then after many more birthday phone calls from my parents and the rest of my siblings I found out some of them were sending me cards and packages as well! By my excitement you would have thought, “Poor child, she’s never gotten mail before.” (Let’s be honest, apart from advertisements, bills and government notifications mail is pretty fun and exciting!) Since those conversations I faithfully checked my mailbox daily (ok, multiple times a day, but who’s counting?) for cards and packages. I almost wish they hadn’t told me. I get so excited, to the point of impatience. Terrible, I know.
Apples, oranges, mangos, peaches, papayas and sirloins. God is good.
So many colors, flavors, textures and smells. I often think with my stomach. While this not always a good thing, today it is causing me to be grateful for the little blessings that are in this world. How creative and diverse is this world? How many species are yet to be discovered? Or just consider people. How many shapes and sizes are there? How many breeds of chickens or sheep or dogs?
What does this say about the creator? I think it is just a reflection of His nature. In the trinity there is both unity and diversity. I’m so glad that not all Christians have to hold the exact same beliefs that I hold. We don’t have to look alike or dress alike or talk alike. We don’t all speak the same language or share the same idea of hospitality. What is offensive to some is a compliment to others.
Diversity is beautiful exactly because it reflects Him. We are unified by some common, core beliefs. I’m glad we have differences. This world would be terrifying if we all looked and acted alike (think zombie apocalypse). To me, the variety speaks of the Father and His love for us, how He loves beautiful things. How He didn’t have to give us things to choose from, but He did. He is good.
Yesterday, I was reminded of Thomas Paine’s quote that publicized the travail of a nation yet to be born…“These are the times that try men’s souls.” Many in our nation feel the trying of our very beings concerning the survival of our individual and national souls. There is a reason for this: the trying of our souls, as a nation, has been so very great because the selling of our American souls is taking place day by day. The trying of a soul is good. It challenges us to choose between truths and lies. The selling of a soul is quite the opposite. It closes the eyes to truth and sinks human lives into apathetic, tragic and heartbreaking deceit.
How have we sold our souls as a nation? I’ll give just a few of my beliefs that I never imagined would be questioned during my lifetime:
We were in the car driving home from preschool when my four-year old, David, asked me if it is ok to say “Holy cow!” or not.
“Do you know where that saying comes from?” I asked.
“Well, do you remember when Moses went up Mount Sinai and God gave him the Ten Commandments?”
“Do you remember that Aaron made a golden calf and the people worshipped it?”
“Oh, yes, yes, yes! That’s idolatry and idolatry is very, very bad. BUT, The Dollar Tree is very, very good, right Mommy?”
In our ultra politically-correct societies, it’s becoming more and more the tendency to shy away from calling others – or ourselves – critical names. Anti-bullying campaigns abound, and a “don’t-judge-me” mentality is pervasive, especially in younger generations. But I have to say, one of the most freeing experiences in my own life is when I realized just how much of an idiot I really am.
Let me clarify by saying
Of all things I am most grateful for teaching me to see Jesus in the Old Testament. This week (April 14th-22nd) is Passover week, the first of the yearly holidays commemorating the story of the Exodus, where God freed Israel from the slavery of Egypt. Passover is one of seven holidays appointed to remind Israel of the work of God. These holidays are His-story, God’s means to reveal Himself to His people. First to the Jews, but also to all that would believe.
I am the Lord…
During every Passover celebration four cups of wine (or juice) are used throughout the seder meal to symbolize four distinct promises made by God to Moses and the people of Israel (Exodus 6:6-7). These four promises are true today for all that believe in Christ. They are promises that Christians should know and claim, temporary promises to Israel, eternity promises for Christians!
#1 The Cup of Sanctification
“I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians” -Exodus 6:6
The Exodus of Israel begins with their slavery. Israel had grown mighty in numbers, so mighty that the King of the Egypt feared them (Exodus 1:8). It was within this time of slavery that God revealed Himself to Israel.
Spring is one of my top four favorite seasons. It is the time when life pokes its head out after the darkness of winter. It is also the time for pruning. We have a few plants here that require pruning – roses, apples, pears, peaches, grapes, and cherries. Though each species requires a slightly different technique, the principles are the same for all of them. Pruning is the process of removing inefficient parts from the plant, so that adequate air, sunlight, and nutrients reach the blossoms and fruit. In grapes that means removing lots of old growth. When you are done, you have produced a heap of “dead branches” and an ugly little vine. However, that vine is like a primed pump, waiting for the right moment to burst with life. It is refined, efficient and strong. It is prepared to produce fruit even in the heat of summer – especially, in the heat.
I wonder if I am willing to let the Lord of the vineyard trim away at me. Am I willing to allow Him to reduce the efforts and energies of my past into a heap of “dead branches”? Am I willing to appear ugly and cut back in the eyes of others? Am I willing for Him to shape and form me however He pleases?
The good thing about pruning is that one month later, the vine is growing explosively and preparing to bloom. An unpruned plant is an unhealthy plant. Maybe that’s why Hebrews 12:6 tells us that God chastens those He loves. Oh, that heap of dead branches! It can be used to start more grape vines. Nothing is wasted. It all has a purpose. The Kingdom of God is funny like that.
GOD IS ABLE PROCLAMATION
He is ABLE to save us forever who draw near to God through him, since He always lives to make intercession for us…
“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”
― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
There are times when we are weak and do not feel strong, maybe because of sickness or trying circumstances, or busy times. There is good news for us however, for when we are weak He is strong and His strength is available to us every moment. It is so good to know it is not up to us and our ‘little bit’ of strength, but up to Him and His more than sufficient strength. Join me in proclaiming these verses today and may you be blessed with His joy, may you serve with the strength He gives and may you be strengthened with all power! Amen!
A STRENGTH PROCLAMATION
I LOVE YOU, O LORD MY STRENGTH…
YOU ARE MY STRENGTH AND SONG…