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Fatherhood | (4/6)

In part 4 of this series entitled “Fatherhood”, Larry Pons concludes his discussion on the benefits of knowing God as “Father” and begins to show how fathers necessarily represent God to their families.

New Every Morning | Jay Fesperman (1/3)

A few weeks ago while worshipping the Lord with a rather large group of pastors and elders, we were singing out of Lamentations, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end; They are new every morning, new every morning. . .” And it struck me, “My, what a paradox! How can they be never ceasing, never coming to an end. . .and yet be new every morning?” And as I prayed in the Spirit for understanding, I sensed very strongly that God was trying to say something to me. This is what I heard:

I Want to be God! | Jay Fesperman (3/3)

If we gave as much time to hearing and reading the Scriptures as we do watching television, we would have a much easier time following the edict of King Jesus. Take this advice for example. . . “My son, keep your father’s commands and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. Bind them upon your heart FOREVER; fasten them around your neck. When you walk they will guide you; when you sleep they will watch over you; when you awake they will speak to you. For these commands are a lamp, this teaching is a light, and the CORRECTIONS OF DISCIPLINE are the way to LIFE.” (Proverbs 6:20).

An Appeal to Heaven

This weekend CTCI had the privilege to partner with David Kubal, President of Intercessors for America (IFA), and international worship leaders Bob and Kathy Fitts to host the Appeal to Heaven: Worship and Intercession Conference. We were blessed to participate in the IFA First Friday prayer conference call where a few of our summer interns were asked to pray for our nation based on seven specific points. In light of this conference, and in light of this Day of Independence, we would like to share those pertinent points, as well as two of the interns’ prayers, and invite you to join us in interceding for our nation.

  1. Prayer for the judicial system and prayer for the appointment of righteous judges. (Is. 1:26)
  2. Prayer for our relationship with Israel. (Gen. 12:3)
  3. Prayer for the acknowledgement of God. (Ex. 20:2)
  4. Prayer for the protection of life. (Ex. 20:13)
  5. Prayer for marriage. (Ex. 20:14)
  6. Prayer for protection of property. (Ex. 20:15)
  7. Prayer that God’s people would turn from their wicked ways. (2 Chr. 7:14)

A prayer for the protection of property:

“(Exodus 20:13, ‘You shall not steal.’) Heavenly Father, right now, I acknowledge Your sovereignty. You are perfect in all of Your ways. You are faithful to forgive and accept those who bow before You in humility and recognize their need for Christ as their Lord and Savior. You are faithful to forgive and accept those who love Christ and obey Him out of love for Him. But I confess to you now that we have not been obeying You, or Your Son, Lord. I have sinned. We have sinned. We have defiled Your land. And I ask that You would please forgive me –  forgive us – so that we may walk away from our sins and sin no more. Please, Lord, protect the property that You have blessed us with. We would not have this land if You had not given it to us. We are one nation under You. We bear Your name. On this property marriages are made, education is taught, names are built, business is dealt, and Your Word is proclaimed. Cleanse Your property. Redeem Your property. Thank You for blessing us with it. Help us to be better stewards of it by Your wisdom and strength. ‘O Lord, hear. O Lord, forgive. O Lord, listen and act! For Your own sake, do not delay, O my God; for Your [nation] and Your people bear Your name’ (Dan. 9: 19).”  (Rebecca Duncan, CTCI Summer Intern)

A prayer for the judicial system:

“Isaiah 1:26, ‘I will restore your leaders as in days of old, your rulers as at the beginning. Afterward you will be called the City of Righteousness, the Faithful City.’ Father God, forgive us for we are responsible for electing corrupt officials in our government. Forgive us for the evil that we’ve allowed to pollute our judicial system. In light of our circumstances, Lord, we pray for our justice system and that Your name be glorified through the next supreme court justices. For the rest of the justices, Lord, I pray that they will open their eyes to see the destruction and impurity in our nation. Father, I pray that they will seek forgiveness and come to know Your Son, our Savior Jesus. God, I pray for lawyers that will prosecute on behalf of Your Word! On behalf of Your heart, God! Father, I pray that Your will be done through our supreme court justices. Lord, I pray for an uprising of justices that believe in Your Word, God. We pray that the laws of this nation will reflect Your plan for government. God, forgive us for boldly living outside of Your plans! Father, have mercy on this nation! On us! Lord, help us to become a City of Righteousness, the Faithful City. Father, bring back justice to our judicial system. In Your name. Amen.” (Zoe Hudgens, CTCI Summer Intern)

 

I Want to be God! | Jay Fesperman (2/3)

One of the major weaknesses in the Church today is the business of compromise. And I am speaking of compromise on a singular or personal basis. In Paul’s second letter to the church at Corinth he covers several of these:

“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers.”

“What fellowship can light have with darkness?”

“What do righteousness and wickedness have in common?”

“What harmony is there between Christ and Belial?”

“What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols?”

Paradoxes

A Paradox: an assertion; a proposition that is seemingly absurd, but in fact is true; a truth that seemingly contradicts itself. In this message, CTCI Director, Larry Pons, shares stories of powerful paradoxes from his life and in scripture.

WATCH the full-length video HERE.

LISTEN to the full audio message HERE.

Fatherhood | (2/6)

In part 2 of this series entitled “Fatherhood”, Larry Pons looks at the relationship between Creation and Fatherhood and the positive role Jesus played in coming to Earth.

I Want to be God! | Jay Fesperman (1/3)

You may think I am kidding with THAT title, but I am not. The big “I” in me wants to call the shots. I want to do what pleases “ME”. And that’s probably true for most of you who read this letter. I have a young friend who for the eight years that I have known him has insisted over and over again that he wants to walk with God and to be a man of God. But he hasn’t yet come to the place where he will let God set the pattern for his life. His big “I” still responds to the soul and flesh, and he has never come to the place where God is the Lord over his life.

Forgiveness (7/7)

Forgiveness (7:7)

In this series, CTCI Director Larry Pons shares humorous, as well as serious, stories and practical steps on forgiveness – how to walk in it and how it impacts our lives positively.

Established Boundaries | Jay Fesperman (3/3)

Paul told both Titus and Timothy not to appoint leaders in the church whose house was not in order. A man who has established clear boundaries for himself will most likely make a good father. A man whose family is not living within the boundaries he has set is very likely to be a poor leader.

The writer of Proverbs says, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old HE WILL NOT DEPART FROM IT.” Peer pressure among teens is powerful. If disciplinary patterns have not been set before children go out to school, they will find it virtually impossible to stand against this pressure. One teenager recently said in a letter, “The inescapable pressure exerted by peers are often too hard to handle. The only answer,” he continued, “is to have a source from which to draw strength. This strength can only come from the home. A weak home produces weak kids, unable to defend themselves.” Setting the boundaries AND supervising the results is what good training methods consist of – at home, in business, IN CHURCH.

Snippets

In this message, Tim Roots gives us a sneak peak into the CTCI summer internship by sharing short versions of a few of the teachings that are typically shared with the interns. Be encouraged and challenged as you hear about identity, following God’s plan, dealing correctly with the messiness of life, and a few more.

 

WATCH the full-length video HERE.

LISTEN to the full audio message HERE.

Forgiveness (6/7)

Forgiveness (6:7)

In this series, CTCI Director Larry Pons shares humorous, as well as serious, stories and practical steps on forgiveness – how to walk in it and how it impacts our lives positively.

Established Boundaries | Jay Fesperman (2/3)

As children of God we are given God-ordained boundaries. The Ten Commandments, the behavioral laws, the way to relate to others in the Body of Christ, or the way to relate to those “of the world” with whom we cross paths. If we didn’t get good training at home under clearly defined boundaries set by our parents, we’re likely to have some difficulty in getting established in the Church, and ultimately, in God’s Kingdom. Some of these difficulties show up in many ways. Let me share with you a few that I have observed.

Forgiveness (5/7)

Forgiveness (5:7)

In this series, CTCI Director Larry Pons shares humorous, as well as serious, stories and practical steps on forgiveness – how to walk in it and how it impacts our lives positively.

Established Boundaries | Jay Fesperman (1/3)

David, a 16 year-old, sells sex to men and women on the streets of New York. He ran away from home at an early age. David tells kids, “Stay at home and be a child for as long as you can. Don’t grow up too quick.”. . .an article on the cover of a well-known women’s magazine: “The High Cost of Growing up TOO FAST.”

An expert in child-rearing, on staff at a famous medical center, says, “We have come to the realization that a parent’s role is to show youngsters discipline. At the point a child gets proactive, the parent should know that the child is looking for a LIMIT – a BOUNDARY. And the parent had better provide that limit. The child will be reassured for having limits set. They need limits clearly spelled out; it’s the only way to learn.”

Father Abraham: Sodom and Gomorrah

In part ten of this series, as Tim Roots takes us through Genesis 19 we see how, little by little, Lot allowed compromise into his life and the affect it had on him and those around him.

WATCH the full-length video HERE.

LISTEN to the full audio message HERE.

 

Forgiveness (4/7)

Full audio here.

In this series, CTCI Director Larry Pons shares humorous, as well as serious, stories and practical steps on forgiveness – how to walk in it and how it impacts our lives positively.

The Substance of Things Hoped For | Jay Fesperman (3/3)

The Lord told Solomon to ask for whatever his heart desired and He would grant it. Solomon asked for wisdom and God gave him great wisdom, but He also gave him all the wealth and riches for which he had not asked. God proved to be faithful to Solomon, and He proved to be faithful to me. Jesus said to His disciples, “Ask anything of the Father in My name, and He will grant it.” So, in the FAITH that is ours “in Christ”, we can ask the Lord God for anything “in the name of Jesus” and then we can expect the Lord to give it. But what is the KEY? It is the FAITH that we have, but we must be sure that we have it “IN CHRIST”. You see, as we have said, everybody has “faith”, because it is built into the system which makes us tick in every way. But to exercise that faith for the things of God, our FAITH must be “in Christ”.

The Substance of Things Hoped For | Jay Fesperman (2/3)

But HEAR THIS! It’s very important. I heard a lot about Jesus Christ, and I read a lot about Jesus Christ before I came to know God. What was there within me that kept me from knowing God in those days when I was hearing so much about God and Jesus? My carnal mind – that is, the mind of my “nature” – was reading and hearing all this. It did not suit or please my “nature”, because my “nature” knew that a major change would take place and that the “natural man” would not have the last word. That element of faith within me was doing nothing but looking out for my safety in the natural, and it totally ignored the spiritual me. My “nature” was on the throne, and it didn’t need or want a God. My “nature” was god, and I was in subjection to it.

The Substance of Things Hoped For | Jay Fesperman (1/3)

On many occasions I have been thrown together with a person whose language was completely foreign to me, and mine to him. Trying to convey a thought to another under these circumstances is most frustrating. The ability to understand one another demands a commonly understood language. My conversation sounds like so much gibberish to someone who only speaks and understands only German or French or the Lunda tongue of southern Africa. And theirs to me. It’s wild babbling!

We talk about hearing the Word of God. What language does God speak? Before you try to answer that, with what kind of mouth does God speak? Do His words have some kind of physical effect on my ear drums and I hear WORDS? Just what IS the Word of God?

Nikki’s CTCI Update: The Best Is Yet To Come!

Come join us for the Christian Training Center International’s upcoming fundraising events. Nikki gives a brief description about what will be taking place at the Christian Training Center International in the near future.

As a Man Thinketh. . .So is He! | Jay Fesperman (3/3)

Finally, Peter says (1 Peter 5:8-9), “Be SELF-CONTROLLED and ALERT. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. RESIST HIM, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”

James asks a question (3:13): “Who is wise and understanding among you?” Then he says, “Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done IN THE HUMILITY that comes form WISDOM.” He goes on: “If you harbor BITTER ENVY and SELFISH AMBITION in your HEARTS, do not BOAST about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, UNSPIRITUAL, of the devil. For where you have ENVY and SELFISH AMBITION, there you find DISORDER and every evil practice.” (James 3:13-16). “AS A MAN THINKETH IN HIS HEART, SO IS HE!!”

Father Abraham: Circumcision

In part eight of this series, Tim Roots walks us through Genesis 17 and the importance of circumcision, not just of the body but also of the heart, in relation to God’s covenant with Abraham.

WATCH the full-length video HERE.

LISTEN to the full audio message HERE.

As a Man Thinketh. . .So is He! | Jay Fesperman (2/3)

Another aspect of this problem is that we are often more than willing to accept some seeming “blessing” as God’s signal that we are ready to go on to new and higher calls. Maybe you say, “Lord, if You provide $5,000, I’ll know we’re ready to move out. That’s just exactly how much it will take to move us.” So, eagerly you begin packing, overlooking the fact that there are some relationship problems that need to be dealt with before you go.

Many times, young Christians, eager to go on with God, will move from objective evaluation into subjective self-evaluation. Paul warns in Romans 12:3, “Do not think of yourselves more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with SOBER JUDGEMENT.” It is always wise to seek counsel from a more experienced man, someone who can give fatherly, authoritative evaluation, especially in the area of self-evaluation.

Testimonies

Be encouraged as you listen to a few from our Sunday fellowship stand and share what the Lord is doing in their lives, in Franklin and across the globe.

WATCH the full-length video HERE.

LISTEN to the full audio message HERE.

As a Man Thinketh. . .So is He! | Jay Fesperman (1/3)

“All a man’s ways SEEM right to him, but the LORD weighs the HEART.” (Proverbs 21:2).

Sometimes our willingness to hear and DO the will of God can be hindered or retarded by our ATTITUDES about people or circumstances. For example, suppose that you know that God has prepared you for a particular assignment to a role in another country, another culture. Along the way, in the months and years of preparation, you had an encounter with another man, perhaps a teacher, who really pressed you in and held your feet to the fire for an entire year. Maybe he even held you back and made you repeat a full year’s study. Finally, however, after what seemed a wasted year, you got the message and came to realize real maturity in that particular field of study.

Natural and Spiritual Sonship | Jay Fesperman (3/3)

As we have already said, “Those who are led by the SPIRIT OF GOD are SONS OF GOD.” Acknowledging this to be the Word of God, we need to be very careful about saying “the Spirit told me” this or that. If the Holy Spirit speaks to us, He does so because we are a “son of God”. So, since sonship is obedience, then that which we hear from the Spirit must be acted upon in complete obedience!

Father Abraham: The God Who Sees

In part seven of this series, Tim Roots walks us through the story of Hagar and Ishmael and shares the importance of knowing that God is the God who sees and hears us, even in the most difficult of circumstances.

WATCH the full-length video HERE.

LISTEN to the full audio message HERE.

Natural and Spiritual Sonship | Jay Fesperman (2/3)

Now, I have said all this to bring us to a very practical place of understanding our roles as SONS in our relationship to our Lord and to one another. You see, we are told (Romans 8:14-15) “Those who are lead by the SPIRIT OF GOD are SONS OF GOD. For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the SPIRIT OF SONSHIP. And by Him we cry, ‘Abba, Father!'” Then verse 16: “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are GOD’S CHILDREN.”

Resurrection and Revival

In this Easter Sunday message, Susan Pons speaks about resurrection and revival in nature, in the life of Christ and in our lives.

WATCH the full-length video HERE.

LISTEN to the full audio message HERE.

Up From the Ground

I love spring. I think it’s fitting that winter’s barrenness is followed by the most colorful season of them all. It is a time of new beginnings, of freshness, a time of awakening. Sitting on our porch is a birdhouse which was built by one of my kids. As I walked by the other day, I glanced in it and saw eggs sitting there waiting to be incubated. Two weeks ago it was snowing and today there are eggs. Springtime is exploding all around us. Although winter will probably try to hold spring down or turn it back, we can be assured that warm weather will prevail.

What does this have to do with Easter? Well, it is no coincidence that way back during the Exodus, slavery was dying and freedom was bursting forth during this time of year. It wasn’t by accident that Jesus conquered sin and death during this time of year. It was God’s plan that a season in the story of mankind would end with the most crucial event in all of history. You see, the same way that germination causes a plant to come up out of the ground, our Lord rose up from the ground on Easter.

What does this season look like to me? It signifies the end of slavery to legalism. It looks like a fresh beginning in my walk with him. It is a time of growth. It is a time of victory. No matter how dark the barrenness of winter has been, new life is waiting for you. Allow the fullness of resurrection to enter your soul.

How can you respond to Him this Easter?

1) Yield yourself to His touch. Slow down and surrender.

2) Hear His voice. Quiet yourself, wait and listen.

3) Walk with Him. Fellowship with Him and walk in His ways.

4) Thank Him. For all He has done. For what He is doing. For what He will do. For His resurrection – and yours.

Experience new life this Easter.