We are still working on getting the word out about the Brand with 10 Grand video contest. Recently, some of our crew created a silly video as a submission in the contest, vying for $10,000 in promotional products for the ministry. Our video was selected as one of ten finalists, and this means we need your help! (You may really think so when you see our acting.) The winner will be determined, in part, by how many votes they receive from the public for their entry. Right now, you can support CTCI without spending a dime by voting for our video. Please take a minute to click here and then vote for our video (“Christian Training Center International”) at the bottom of the page. All you have to do is click “vote” next to our video to be counted. You can vote one time per day through October 23rd. Please share the video on Facebook and encourage everyone you know to vote for us. We had a great time with this project. And, we have managed to keep things running here, even while we were fooling around and dreaming of what we would do if we had $10,000 in products to advertise all of the great things God does for people through CTCI.
When I was in high school, one night after dinner, my father said to me “are you aware that you used the word ” ___ ” 72 times during this meal?” YIKES, WOW and NO! I had no idea that I had said THAT word so frequently! Today, I could not even tell you exactly what THAT word was, however, I think it might have been “so …”. I had a tendency to drop it out there, say it and then, let it slide off into nothingness! I had no great revelation or brilliant statement to follow up with … just “so …”. Can’t you just hear the edgy tone!
A lifelong marriage goes through many seasons.
The romantic honeymoon phase kicks off the journey, but soon enough, the couple often enters into the hectic young-children-and-little-sleep stage. Before they know it, those toddlers are teens … and then the high schoolers go off to college.
Pretty soon, that once fresh-faced husband and wife are coming home to an empty nest.
With all of these changes and challenges how can we keep our marriages healthy and happy?
There is a shed in my back yard. I built it about 3 years ago to house my riding mower and garden tools. It was a kit from Lowes with a shingled roof, two windows and double doors that swing out wide. I remember being amazed when I picked it up on the loading dock at Lowes. Some engineer had worked the entire 12 x 8 foot shed down to where it would fit in a 4 x 8 foot box about a foot deep. Of course, all that “engineering” left some weak spots in the design and I had to modify some things to make it more structurally sound, but, overall it turned out nicely.
The brakes!!! I really should have remembered the brakes. I had bundled ten month old Gabriel quickly into his stroller, eager to get outside and begin our grand adventure! I started to push the stroller along the driveway. It was hard going, either Gabriel had put on considerable weight of I was suffering a bout of weakness. Suddenly I realized I had not released the brakes. I reached down and did so, and then we were off.
You may be familiar with the Disney children’s movie based on the classic novel ” The Jungle Book”. Written by Kipling in 1894, the whimsical songs and care-free characters made this story one of my childhood favorites. I was surprised when I heard someone singing a song from it the other day on a campout with a group summer INNterns.
As we were walking though underbrush, carrying on our backs just enough for the three-day trek, I heard the familiar lyrics “look for the bear necessities, the simple bear necessities”. A thought came to mind: Could there be a relevant message behind this song? What are the real necessities of life?
God’s Word is full of very powerful verses regarding healing and story after story of wonderful healings taking place. Here is a Proclamation concerning healing that we can make for ourselves and for those we are praying for who need to be healed. Jesus Our Healer, we give all the glory to You!
Heal us, O LORD, and we will be healed; save us and we will be saved, For YOU are our praise…JESUS YOU bore our sins in YOUR body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by YOUR wounds we are healed…Send forth YOUR WORD LORD and heal us…YOU LORD will remove from us all sickness and every kind of disease… We shall serve YOU, LORD OUR GOD, and YOU will bless our bread and our water; and YOU will remove sickness from our midst… healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness… Freeing us from our sickness… YOU YOURSELF took our infirmities and carried away our diseases…YOU restore us to health.
Jeremiah 17:14, 1 Peter 2:24, Psalm 107:20, Deuteronomy 7;15, Exodus 23;25, Matthew 4;23, Luke13;12, Matthew 8;17, Psalm 41:3
“Don’t matter how much money you got, there’s only two kinds of people: there’s saved people and there’s lost people.”
– Bob Dylan
I have no idea when or why Bob Dylan made this comment. I can only guess that he is referring to Christian salvation. “Salvation” can point in radically different directions depending on who is speaking:
“Courage is a kind of salvation” – Plato
“Work hard to gain your own salvation” -Buddah
“Come with me if you want to live” – Terminator
because of this, we must make it our aim to know and speak the Gospel with great clarity. It is quite possible to confuse or even mislead a person from drawing near to God when sharing stories of our own salvation. I know in my own life I have muddy the work of the cross with my own self-help / social work version of the Gospel. I am forever grateful to God for sending others to clean up my mess when I scatter strange seed in the field. So lets get back to the basics, enjoy the Gospel, and forever be grateful for the work of the Cross and the salvation of Christ!
Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.
While reading 1 Kings this morning, I was faced yet again with the fact that whenever I think I have the Lord “figured out,” that what I’m thinking is what He’s thinking, He blows my mind… a fresh revelation of what Isaiah 55:9 proclaims:
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.
Here it is, part three of ‘Tips For Working With Children’. I am sure you can add more to this list. I believe that if we follow these tips, we will be effective in our teaching and communication with children, and we can be a part of seeing Biblical truths established in them.
On the last weekend in June, The Inn held the 5th Annual His Land Our Land Conference. This is always a powerful time as we hear from Lance Lambert and Dave Kubal and learn how we can effectively direct our prayers of intercession on behalf of our nation and the nation of Israel.
With each year comes a strong word for us as well, His Church. I will share briefly here the admonishment and encouragement from Lance that so powerfully touched us the final night of the conference.
Pray without Ceasing,
In everything give thanks, for this is Gods will for you in Christ Jesus.”
– 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
One of the greatest gifts God has ever given me was His Word. I was 19 when the Lord grabbed me and threw me over His shoulders. I was young, but far too familiar with sin and its effects. It was the first time I had heard Gods word. I could barely understand it, but it was like so many of the foundations I had poured with my dad before building a new house; strong, big, and fresh.
For as long as I can remember I have been a fan of VeggieTales. I loved everything from the creative characters, the stories, the humor, and of course – what no one can pass up – Silly Songs with Larry. Every now and then I still am reminded of simple lessons I learned as a child through these videos…or I just go watch them. What can I say, sometimes I just need to hear it from a child-like perspective again.
I hope you enjoy this short clip from one of my favorite VeggieTales movies. No matter your age, let yourself be reminded and refreshed as one Madame Blueberry goes from trying to find satisfaction anywhere she can buy it to learning from a child that it really comes through a thankful heart towards God.
Seventeen INNterns from five countries for nine weeks.
Worshipping – Serving – Witnessing Jesus!
HOW WAS YOUR SUMMER?
“It has opened my eyes to what my life WAS and what it COULD BE if I let the Lord have all control and push myself beyond what I would usually want. It has displaced my shallow desires with the desires to pursue and serve God.”
“CTCI has changed my life completely. The Internship was an amazing way to find my identity in Christ – I’ve learned so much about God here!”
“It has meant a lot in my Christian life, on how we need to be enthusiastic about what God has in store for us, and to have
I love the way that God calls us to a higher standard in life – HIS standard. He doesn’t want mediocrity for us, but the absolute best. This is such a high calling, and one that can definitely be achieved (through Him). The result of living in this calling is displayed in the way we talk, the way we dress, the way we relate to others, and in the approach we have on life. And even deeper than the external side of things, He challenges us in the motivations behind why we think, feel, say, or do anything. It’s a calling to be completely dedicated to Him.
We live in a world where men are portrayed as being out-of-touch, old fashioned, intolerant and sometimes just plain stupid. On television Fathers are mocked and are to be pitied most of all. It seems that no one is more out-of-touch! While it’s true that we have brought some of this on ourselves by our own actions, … I want to remind you that we are created in His image and He has a totally different perspective on what it looks like AND means to be a man.
Our largest group ever of teenaged Heroes just left, proclaiming themselves radically-righteously-redeemed-cross-carrying-shining soldiers of the Lord! Most of them chose to be baptized, dedicating and rededicating themselves to living in Christ. During their time here they sacrificed common comforts to exercise new physical strengths and spiritual freedoms. They touched the presence of the Lord, and they loved Him. Some of them did not know they were loved and not alone, free from fear and sin, and helped by God’s strength. God drew them here from one coast to the other; kids from California to New Jersey left with the love and truth to change their own lives and the lives of those they touch. None of us will ever be the same. God is with this generation, and they respond to Him. He is forming His own army, and we are able, by His grace, to participate with Him in this work. We are grateful, humbled, and encouraged.
The following essay is found in the book Hold the Starch: Brief Thoughts About God, Me, and You by Bunyan J. Towery (who is actually Dr. Jeff Morton, Pastor of Discipleship at Hillside Baptist Church in Dickinson, ND). Entitled “Hold the Starch”, this collection of essays is not “stiff” or pretentious, but the author communicates simple yet deep nuggets from every day life in an easy to understand way. I like to keep this book by my bedside for a little nighttime encouragement and something to ponder. I read this essay a little while back, and it’s truth has just stuck with me. (Besides, I too hate snakes!) Overcoming the power of sin through Jesus Christ is one of the wonderful promises of the Gospel of life! Hope you enjoy!
He’s tall, dark and handsome. Witty. Intellectual. Smart. Well-read. Spontaneous. Motivated. Masculine. Good hair, good dresser. Musically talented. Organized. Creative. Responsible. Strong handshake.
He also hates cats, but loves chocolate and talking about feelings. He spends most Saturdays volunteering at the homeless shelter or rescuing stray kittens. He’s working toward his MBA.
Welcome back to ‘Tips For Speaking To Children’! This is part two of a three part series. One more part is yet to come. I believe these tips will help anyone who has children of their own or has an opportunity to work with or speak with children in any capacity.
STUDY THE SCRIPTURES:
It is important to help develop in children a reverence and respect for God’s Word. you can do this by how you handle the Bible. Don’t throw it around or put it on the floor, hold it reverently letting the children see what a very special book it is to you! Even if you know the verse by heart, still open the bible to that verse and read it from there. This helps to communicate to the children how very special and important God’s Word is to you.
It is essential that you study Scripture, so you know the importance of what you are sharing. Make sure your Scripture is in context. To share a simple truth with children you need to have a really good grasp of what it means yourself. Do word studies; find other related verses; look at the original Greek / Hebrew meanings. Condense what you have learned into bite size children’s portions. you may not get to share everything you have learned, but forming the basis of what you do share, will be all that you have studied. It is very hard to share a truth simply, when you are not convinced of it yourself.
We are to give children nuggets from God’s Word. Once you have had a chicken nugget you develop a flavor for chicken! Wanting eventually the whole chicken and not just the nuggets. No one would think of giving a small child a whole chicken to eat, they are just not ready for that yet! But you can give them some nuggets! That is what we are to do, Then they will become hungry for the whole of God’s Word later. You are going to find the nuggets by knowing the whole chicken!
BE AS CREATIVE AS YOU CAN BE:
Usually no idea is too wild!!! The more unusual the better! The unusual and unlikely, grips the hearts, minds and imaginations of children, they usually remember such things. Jesus did and does the miraculous and unusual, these things stick with us as they did with the disciples. Be very visual in all you do with children!
Ask questions of the children, that will help determine just how much of what you have shared they have understood.
How can we do what it says in this verse?
What might stop us from doing that?
What do you think this means for you today?
Feedback and questions help to give children a framework for taking what they have learned and applying it in their lives’. These are good questions to be asking ourselves too, as we study God’s Word.
Many blessings to you as you have the blessed opportunity to work with children,
The spiritual coach who first demonstrated how to grow in faith, spiritual maturity, and intimacy with God was Jesus Christ. I recently read Learn from the Best Jesus Life Coach, which examines how the Lord coached individuals to find focus, balance, productivity, and fulfillment. Each day here at the Inn, I see Him help people find these realities and the courage to overcome obstacles in their way.
Like climbing a ladder, balance is a perspective that opens the door to new realities. New realities make outrageous demands possible and new possibilities leave regret behind. Some of us find balance through living with the “Inn family” and being bathed in loving words from Jesus, but balance always means dancing and dining as he did.
Laurie Beth Jones, author of the book, highlights keys to productivity that we prove daily here. First, never wear borrowed armor. Wear the one that fits. I recently purchased a backpack that was custom fitted to my frame. The hip belt was constructed of material that could be heated in a machine to assume the exact form to fit my build. When I wear the pack, I can add 30 pounds to my back without injuring myself. The Lord custom fits armor for us, so that we can fulfill our callings.
Next, learn positive confrontation; it cuts to the heart of a matter in minutes. Let the Lord multiply your bread, and take you into deeper water. Fulfillment is finding new stories in your old story, learning to be a voice and not an echo, and experiencing divine connection. It is seeing with new eyes and recognizing the joy Jesus has for you.
As July continues to unfold with interns, families and staff, we take great pride and thankfulness to live in our America -“One nation under God.” One of our great privileges is to instill in all those who come our way is the truth of “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord.” (Psalms 33:12).
In the same way that nature goes through seasons, so do we in our lives and in our relationships with the Lord. Recently a close friend and I were talking about how we both feel like we’re in a “silent” season in our lives. It seems like no matter what we do – pressing into the Lord every day, trying to keep our attitudes in check, talking to mentors, etc, etc – we just can’t hear Him speak. It was amazing how the more we talked we kept identifying with what the other one was saying. We talked about what we thought He might be trying to teach us. Do we learn things from our daily devotions and teachings that we hear? Of course. But as great and wonderful as all of that is (and it really is) we both kept finding ourselves over and over again in the place of crying out. I know I did. “Lord! There has got to be more than this, I just know it! I miss Your voice. Where is it? Why can’t I hear it? What do I do? What are You saying? I need You! Please don’t be silent!” Sometimes I found myself crying out while driving and hitting the steering wheel, sometimes while crying myself to sleep, sometimes quietly in my spirit while someone else was sharing what the Lord had directly and intimately spoken to them.
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…