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…
(A wonderful testimony from the Crandall family who recently attended our “INNvision” Family training here at CTCI)
A Time of Refreshing
Posted on March 17, 2014 by brianjackic
In mid-February, Brian and I (and the kids) had the opportunity to go to the mountains in North Carolina for a 2 week training program at the Christian Training Center International. It was such a beautiful time of connecting with the Lord and growing as a family! The main focus of our teaching was on what it looks like to be a Godly family and honor each other according to the Lord’s standards found in Scripture. It can be really easy to decide what is best for our family based on our culture, background, media, etc. These 2 weeks were devoted to diving into the Word and discovering God’s original design and plan for family.
We stayed at the INN, which is the main building on the CTCI campus. Similar to our YWAM base,
Young. Captured. Slave to world. Born again. Slave to God. Servant to all.
If your looking for some true history that screams… “Jesus”, take a look at the life of St. Patrick. Be encouraged by him. Thank the Lord for his life. Give up your dream of guzzling green beer for breakfast this week, and go find some rowdy rebels to evangelize in honor of the true St. Patrick.
THE GROUND OF OUR HOPE
“But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.” Galatians 5:18
Whoever looks at his own character and position from a legal point of view will not only despair when he comes to the end of his reckoning, but if he be a wise man he will despair at the beginning. For if we are to be judged on the footing of the law, there shall no flesh living be justified. How blessed to know that we dwell in the domains of grace and not of law!
We are months away from another amazing summer at CTCI. Events have been scheduled, plans to serve locally and abroad are being made – and all there is left to do is process your application!
So… let go of your pillow, forget about conquering the next video game, and come follow the Lord with us.
A little video from last summer to get you ready!
Sometimes as we walk through our days we look back fondly to times that were. If we are not doing that we often are looking forward to what is yet to be. It is good to gather the memories of the past and to anticipate eagerly what is ahead. God’s Word has so much to say about ‘Now’, I put this Proclamation together to help me live ‘Now’, and to appreciate what God has done for me and what He has and is giving me today. Proclaim this, because it is the truth!
May God bless YOU greatly as you walk with Him ‘Now’, may none of us miss the wonder and beauty of the moment we are in!
NOW IS THE DAY OF SALVATION…
NOW I KNOW HIM AND HAVE SEEN HIM…
There are snacking foods and there are packing foods, and every guy knows the difference. Sure some ladies I know satisfy themselves with tiny treats in order to remain jammed into the culturally approved clothing of today, but these snacks will not carry you through the night. The body needs real foods, and the spiritual body needs more than drive by manna!
I like to think I am still a young buck, but the crows feet climbing across my face are beginning to tell me something different. They have become known to me as “Lines of Responsibility”.