Christian Training Center InternationalPosts

How do we tap into the mystery of faith?

How do we tap into the mystery of faith?

The mystery of faith is a term that occurs in 1 Timothy 3:9.

Deacons likewise must be men of dignity, not double-tongued, or addicted to much wine or fond of sordid gain, but holding to the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.

Whenever I hear the word “mystery”, my curiosity kicks in. I want to know.

Depending on the English translation, the Greek phrase τὸ μυστήριον τῆς πίστεως is translated “the mystery of faith,” “the mystery of the faith,” or “the deep truths of the faith.”

What is faith? Where does it come from?

Where does faith come from? Faith is not something we conjure up on our own, nor is it something we are born with. Faith is not a result of diligence in study or pursuit of the spiritual. Faith doesn’t come from “good theology”. The religious elites can’t give it to us.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. | Ephesians 2:8-9

Is It Biblical to Have an Evidential Faith?

Luke Nix provides some great insight about faith and evidence. Luke holds a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and works as a Desktop Support Manager for a local precious metal exchange company in Oklahoma.

Is biblical faith blind or reasonable? This is one of the most hotly debated questions between believers and unbelievers. While most who say that faith is blind are unbelievers, I have also heard many Christians claim this as well. The claim is that faith and reason are at odds with one another and that the more evidence or reason that you have to believe something, the less faith that you need.

Read the article here: Is It Biblical to Have an Evidential Faith?

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Heroes Internship

There is power in prayer. We see it every day. Let us join with you in tapping into the Power of God. Click here to make a request.

Be a part of an internship that won’t just challenge you – it will change you! Learn more here.

Our Internship Program calls forth young adults ages 18-26 who have a passion to serve Christ and a desire to be trained practically for life, leadership, and future ministry through intense, life-on-life discipleship. During these fast-paced weeks, interns will discover more about who they are and what it means to be a fully committed follower of Jesus.

 “The extra mile challenge was one of the craziest things I have ever done! Sleeping in a cave 2 miles into the earth was something I will never forget. The course was tough but really lead me closer to the Lord and built some maturity into my life.”

2016 Internship Participant

Interns live on the premises and help staff the summer’s programs, conferences, and events. Daily duties can include anything from helping the staff take care of the grounds, gardens, and facilities to preparing meals and helping put together activities for youth and teens.  In between times of service, interns will also get to enjoy activities designed to build character through spiritual, mental, emotional and physical challenges. The relationships and rewards of the summer internship last for a lifetime.

Room, board, and the Extra Mile Challenge are all included free of cost – so all you have to do is get here and be ready to give your all!

Learn more here.

What is courage? Do we have confidence in God?

Nothing is impossible with God. Do we have confidence in Him? Do we know, deep in our inner being, that He loves us and won’t leave us behind?

God’s goal for us is the have faith in Him and to have courage. We can, because we know that God loves us.

Fear can be crippling. Fear comes from the lack of supernatural courage. God’s goal for us is to have courage. It is a gift from Him.

When there is a crisis in our lives, and they do come, our confidence must be in Him.

Our courage is with Him. He can, with a word, reverse the crisis.

He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” ~Jesus Matthew 8:26

May we trust Him and have His courage.

Courgae
Courage

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What We Believe

There is power in prayer. We see it every day. Let us join with you in tapping into the Power of God. Click here to make a request.

Our programs are like an immersion into a new language – the language of living in Jesus.  The goal is fluency in the language of relationships.  Programs share a sequential vision, building an understanding of relationships and family culture.  The foundation is an encounter with Jesus.  This encounter is the means for both insight and vision.  Encountering Jesus leads a radical change in living and relationships. Learn more here.

We are an inter-denominational ministry, and our desire is for transformation: a genuine change of heart and lifestyle that flows out of an intimate relationship with Jesus.

We believe:

  • Jesus is Lord. We exalt the One True God who made us and gave us the Lord Jesus Christ as our salvation. Our goal is to be a people with a heart for obedience to Christ in all things. His work made it possible for us to live – eternally and now – as children of God. Jesus made it possible for us to be rightly related to the Father and to one another. His desire is for us to succeed. We believe a right relationship with Him is the first and most important step.
  • The Bible is True. God’s Word is alive and active (Hebrews 4:12-13), which we take into our minds and spirits and live out through the flesh. When Jesus asked what the greatest commandment was, He said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31). The basis for everything we teach is “Life is Relationships.”
  • Presence and Power of the Holy Spirit. We desire to walk in and by the Spirit. The Holy Spirit (available to all believers) empowers Christians for living witness and dedicated service.

Learn more here.

What is faith? Is God is the object of our Faith?

There is much to be said about faith.

So … we start with God. God is the object of our faith. We start with belief in Jesus. Our faith gets tested some days. God is patient with us, waiting for us to work out our faith.

My faith needs to grow. Like the man who came to Jesus looking for a miracle, I say “I do believe; help my unbelief.” (Mark 9:24)

I want radical faith in my life. May it rain down on you and me. May we bath in it to the stunning beauty of our Master Jesus. Now that is a good word!

Does Baptism Save You?

Here is a well thought out article by Jeremiah Johnson at Grace to You. 

Faith and repentance are not easy. Submission contradicts the natural disposition of the human heart. And the transforming and sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit is often uncomfortable and difficult.

Salvation would be so much more inviting and enticing to our human understanding if it didn’t require humility, repentance, and the transformation of your entire being. Why can’t it simply be the product of a one-time activity?

For those looking to bypass the difficulty and discomfort of salvation, 1 Peter 3:21 seemingly provides a shortcut in the form of this simple declaration: “Baptism now saves you.” This and a select few other verses are often used to promote “baptismal regeneration”–the view that teaches that one is saved (regenerated) though water baptism.

However, not all proponents of baptismal regeneration see baptism as a shortcut to salvation or a quick fix to the problem of sin. Many view it as a necessary element—in addition to repentance and faith—that completes the work of salvation. And as a proof text, they point to Peter’s words in Acts 2:38, “Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit’” (emphasis added).

Read the article here: https://www.gty.org/library/blog/B160815

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Our Mission & Vision

Our programs are like an immersion into a new language – the language of living in Jesus.  The goal is fluency in the language of relationships.  Programs share a sequential vision, building an understanding of relationships and family culture.  The foundation is an encounter with Jesus.  This encounter is the means for both insight and vision.  Encountering Jesus leads a radical change in living and relationships

Our Vision is to see generations of leaders victoriously modeling Christ in their families and communities.

Our Mission is training believers to live a victorious life through biblical Truth, experiential discipleship, and family relationships. 

Values

Life is:

1) Relationships

2) Personal Holiness

3) Biblical

4) Authentic

5) Relevant

Learn more here.

What is boldness? Is our faith being tested?

Bold Faith

Jesus wants to perform a miracle in our lives. There are many competing voices telling us it won’t happen.

Who will we listen to?

Who will we trust?

What is healing? How does Jesus bring it about?

Jesus is wired with the power of God. God’s energy flows through Jesus continuously. So much so, when a sick woman touches His robe, the energy flows out. Her faith in Jesus brought about her healing. She believed Jesus could and would do it. All she need to do was touch his robe.

What happens? She is healed instantly.

Jesus senses this has happened. He knows it is an act of faith.

We have the same Holy Spirit in us. Are we in tune with His power, His energy?

We can be. God is in a good mood.

He wants to heal us. He wants us to believe.

May it be so.

Now a woman suffering from bleeding for twelve years had endured much under many doctors. She had spent everything she had and was not helped at all. On the contrary, she became worse. Having heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his clothing. For she said, “If I just touch his clothes, I’ll be made well.” Instantly her flow of blood ceased, and she sensed in her body that she was healed of her affliction.

At once Jesus realized in himself that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and said, “Who touched my clothes?”

His disciples said to him, “You see the crowd pressing against you, and yet you say, ‘Who touched me?’”

But he was looking around to see who had done this. The woman, with fear and trembling, knowing what had happened to her, came and fell down before him, and told him the whole truth. “Daughter,” he said to her, “your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be healed from your affliction.”

Mark 5:25-34 (CSB)
Woman touches Jesus robe
Woman touches Jesus robe

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History of the Christian Training Center

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

Global Influence

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

 Our Prayer

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

Learn more here.

Will we have courage and believe our Master Jesus the Messiah?

Faith takes courage and has risk

Faith takes courage and has risk

With faith comes a risk.

“What if ….”, we think. What if God doesn’t answer.What if we look silly.

We can have a whole bunch of “What ifs” rattling through our thoughts.

We need extraordinary courage to believe God will intercede.

God is faithful. When we step out in faith, take a risk, show extraordinary courage, He responds.

God is God, good and great.

What an amazing God we serve. All we need to do is believe Him. He will heal us and make us whole.

Will we have courage and believe our Master Jesus the Messiah?

“Daughter, you took a risk of faith, and now you’re healed and whole.” ~Jesus

Matthew 9:20-22

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Check out our upcoming ministry programs for young adults and families. Please click here.

Our programs are like an immersion into a new language – the language of living in Jesus.  The goal is fluency in the language of relationships.  Programs share a sequential vision, building an understanding of relationships and family culture.  The foundation is an encounter with Jesus.  This encounter is the means for both insight and vision.  Encountering Jesus leads a radical change in living and relationships.

Heroes Semester is a 10-week residential, “family style” living experience like no other! | — Sept 2 – Nov 9, 2019 | Participants ages 18-26 come with one purpose – to go deeper with the Lord. ow.ly/Nhag30oRYRK

Strengthening & Restoring Family Relationships — Train to Reign Program — Oct 20 – Nov 2 | Family is the most vital relationship and the one under the most pressure and attack. Come strengthen your family in a strong relationship with God. http://ow.ly/l5SU30oS5pQ

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

At the crack of dawn …

ResurrectionAfter Jesus was crucified, he was hastily buried as the clock was ticking moving toward the Jewish Sabbath. No work could be done.

So they had to wait. And wait. And wait.

It must have seemed like an eternity that long Saturday. On Sunday they were up and at it at the crack of dawn. When they got to the tomb, they couldn’t find Jesus body. And they were puzzled. I know I would have been as well. Probably more than puzzled.

But they moved on from being puzzled into belief. The angels explained it all to them.

They ask a stunning question. “Why are you looking for the Living One in a cemetery?” Why indeed!

Are we looking for Jesus, the Living One? If so, we will find Him.

Jesus wasn’t there but raised up from the dead. And they remembered Jesus’ words.

Belief. Faith. Joy.

At the crack of dawn on Sunday, the women came to the tomb carrying the burial spices they had prepared. They found the entrance stone rolled back from the tomb, so they walked in. But once inside, they couldn’t find the body of the Master Jesus.They were puzzled, wondering what to make of this. Then, out of nowhere it seemed, two men, light cascading over them, stood there. The women were awestruck and bowed down in worship. The men said, “Why are you looking for the Living One in a cemetery? He is not here, but raised up. Remember how he told you when you were still back in Galilee that he had to be handed over to sinners, be killed on a cross, and in three days rise up?” Then they remembered Jesus’ words.

via Luke 24 The Message Bible

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Check out our upcoming ministry programs for young adults and families. Please click here.

Our programs are like an immersion into a new language – the language of living in Jesus.  The goal is fluency in the language of relationships.  Programs share a sequential vision, building an understanding of relationships and family culture.  The foundation is an encounter with Jesus.  This encounter is the means for both insight and vision.  Encountering Jesus leads a radical change in living and relationships.

Heroes Semester is a 10-week residential, “family style” living experience like no other! | — Sept 2 – Nov 9, 2019 | Participants ages 18-26 come with one purpose – to go deeper with the Lord. ow.ly/Nhag30oRYRK

Strengthening & Restoring Family Relationships — Train to Reign Program — Oct 20 – Nov 2 | Family is the most vital relationship and the one under the most pressure and attack. Come strengthen your family in a strong relationship with God. http://ow.ly/l5SU30oS5pQ

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

Will we stand firm when Jesus challenges us?

Jesus Challenges Us

Jesus Challenges Us

You come to Jesus. Your son is sick and is going to die. You ask Jesus to come and heal him.

Jesus puts you off. That’s right, Jesus doesn’t just hop to it to do what you want.

In fact, Jesus challenges your motives. This is your opportunity to slink off or stand firm.

Jesus challenges us. Do we believe in him or will we give up?

Now he was back in Cana of Galilee, the place where he made the water into wine. Meanwhile in Capernaum, there was a certain official from the king’s court whose son was sick. When he heard that Jesus had come from Judea to Galilee, he went and asked that he come down and heal his son, who was on the brink of death. Jesus put him off: “Unless you people are dazzled by a miracle, you refuse to believe.”

But the court official wouldn’t be put off. “Come down! It’s life or death for my son.”

Jesus simply replied, “Go home. Your son lives.”

The man believed the bare word Jesus spoke and headed home. On his way back, his servants intercepted him and announced, “Your son lives!”

He asked them what time he began to get better. They said, “The fever broke yesterday afternoon at one o’clock.” The father knew that that was the very moment Jesus had said, “Your son lives.”

That clinched it. Not only he but his entire household believed. This was now the second sign Jesus gave after having come from Judea into Galilee.

John 4:46-54 (The Message)



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

Check out our upcoming ministry programs for young adults and families. Please click here.

Our programs are like an immersion into a new language – the language of living in Jesus.  The goal is fluency in the language of relationships.  Programs share a sequential vision, building an understanding of relationships and family culture.  The foundation is an encounter with Jesus.  This encounter is the means for both insight and vision.  Encountering Jesus leads a radical change in living and relationships.

Heroes Semester is a 10-week residential, “family style” living experience like no other! | — Sept 2 – Nov 9, 2019 | Participants ages 18-26 come with one purpose – to go deeper with the Lord. ow.ly/Nhag30oRYRK

Strengthening & Restoring Family Relationships — Train to Reign Program — Oct 20 – Nov 2 | Family is the most vital relationship and the one under the most pressure and attack. Come strengthen your family in a strong relationship with God. http://ow.ly/l5SU30oS5pQ

Why don’t our faithless solutions allow God to shine through?

Jesus feeds 5,000

Jesus feeds 5,000

Jesus challenges us. It had been a long day. It was beginning to get late.

His disciples came to him and said to Jesus, “Dismiss the crowd so they can go to the farms or villages around here and get a room for the night and a bite to eat. We’re out in the middle of nowhere.”

You feed them, he challenged them.

They came to him with a problem and a simple solution. They knew they couldn’t feed them because there were close to 5,000 men and there was no food. No one was prepared to be there so long with Jesus.

They also should have known that God can provide food when there is none. They had been around Jesus long enough to know this. Our faithless solutions don’t allow God to shine through.

And so … Jesus challenges us to seek God first, don’t depend on our own solutions even when we have one and let Him shine through.

God has a goal for us. It is to trust Him and not ourselves.

“You feed them,” Jesus said. (Luke 9:13)



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

 

Check out our upcoming ministry programs for young adults and families. Please click here.

The Ancient Enemies of Israel Have Entered Our Land

Image result for enemies of israelites

Thank you for joining us as we seek to better understand some of the things going on in our lives and nation today. This is an in-depth study written by Susan Pons. As you read, please ask the Holy Spirit to give you ears to truly hear and understand this important message.

“Behold, I will send you Eli′jah the prophet before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes. And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the land with a curse.” (Malachi 4:5-6 RSV)

This is the perfect Scripture to begin with in order for each of us to perhaps face the happening that a curse has been released across our land and the reasons for its release.As a culture, the hearts of the fathers are not being turned toward their children.This makes it almost impossible for the hearts of the children to be turned to their fathers. Malachi declares the consequence of the sinful divide between fathers and children… ‘lest I come and smite the land with a curse’. Amazing as it is, this is the final warning of the Old Testament.

When a curse comes upon a nation, it covers the nation except for those people who recognize its debilitating force.

What happens when enemies enter our land?

Exodus 34:10 (The Message) says“And God said, As of right now, I’m making a covenant with you: In full sight of your people I will work wonders that have never been created in all the Earth, in any nation. Then all the people with whom you’re living will see how tremendous God’s work is, the work I’ll do for you. Take careful note of all I command you today. I’m clearing your way by driving out Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. Stay vigilant. Don’t let down your guard lest you make covenant with the people who live in the land that you are entering and they trip you up”.

Who were these enemies that had entered the land of Israel? Let’s define them and compare them to our America in today’s world.

  1. Hittites – literally translated means, sons of terror”; and as we know the word terror refers to an extreme manifestation of fear. The Hittite spirit will bring intimidation and fear and discouragement. In Numbers 21:1-4, King Arad heard that Israel was coming. He fought against Israel and took captives. Israel made a vow to God and asked for His help. God accepted the vow, and Israel with God’s help, won the battle… but the Hittite spirit did its damage.

“And the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way” (Num 21:4 KJV).

The Hittite spirit had done its job causing Israel to become fearful.

In America today, it may do us well to recognize the Hittite spirit operating in our nation to bring fear to those who disagree with their agenda that goes against the peace and safety of our nation and citizens. School, church, and synagogue shootings; violent shows over our television and movie screens; violent video games; in Chicago 75% of Black homes are fatherless…thus the Hittite spirit is free to operate.

2.  Ammorite – the word for Ammonite in Hebrew comes from another Hebrew word, amor,which means to utter, to say (gossip, slander, and evil speaking). This implies that people with Ammonite spirits are people who want their name uttered or mentioned. Ammonites are haughty fame-seekers; seekers of human glory and greatness. Practically all dictators in history are Ammorites. These are people like Saddam Hussein, Fidel Castro, Adolph Hitler, and Joseph Stalin, who like to dominate and control others. Ammorites are again mentioned as people who followed false gods. Cherish was the name of a god they worshipped whose whose name means “destroyer”. The aim of the Ammonite spirit is to stir up discord and division in our mind as it beats us down in spirit.It is aimed at the Christian faith that preaches liberty to the human soul.

Perhaps we can place much of the media into the tribe of the Ammorites.

3. Canaanite – the name Canaanite means trafficker. This is the exact same description given to Satan in Ezekiel 28:13-18. This spirit is behind addictions and sexual impurity. This is why in the Scriptures, Sodom and Gomorrah were said to be Canaanite cities (Genesis 10:19). Jezebel was the daughter of Ethbaal king of Sidon, which means she was Phoenician, who were Canaanites. The Canaanite spirit uses wealth and material gain to bring God’s people into compromise and backsliding.

Sexual trafficking, labor trafficking, and drug trafficking, are all start examples of the Canaanite spirit that has invaded our land.

4. Philistine – The name Philistine means strangers, emigrants, foreigners, forces foreign to the Spirit of God.

A person who is guided by a Philistine agenda is usually disdainful of intellectual or artistic values. Philistine also means a people who are contentedly commonplace in ideas and tastes. They are called Allophyli, (foreigners in the Septuagint). They are spoken of as uncircumcised in the Books of Samuel. Philistines are a people who are lacking in, or hostile, or smugly indifferent to cultural values such as art work, theatre, manners, respect, homes in God’s order, etc. Christian and Godly cultural values are taught and learned in the home. Uncleanness can enter our homes in what we view, read, and the way we speak to each other.

The giant Philistine spirit operating in our nation today is tolerance of the Muslim faith but persecution of the Christian faith.

5. Hivite – Hivite means dwellers in the land.The first time they play an active roll in the Bible is when Shechem the Hivite raped Dinah. The Hivite spirit’s goal is to lure us using illusions, delusions, and sensual pleasures that place the mind and imaginations into a snare.

The word Hivite can mean tent dweller, living a lifestyle that is lived out in the confines of the systems of the world and in conflict with the Kingdom of God. The Hives speak of our conflict with the world and its lifestyles. The prodigal son operated under the Hivite spirit.

Movies, television, the internet, pornography, and sexual abuse (especially with children) are ensconced with the Hivite spirit.

6. Jebusites – Jebusite means thresher. From this we can infer that Jebusite spirits, being threshers, are spirits that tread or stomp on others. People whose hearts are infected by Jebusite spirits tend to be people who do not hesitate to put down and humiliate others. By stomping on people, Jebusites make a concerted effort to prevent them from growing taller. They like to make people feel small, and deliberately put them down anytime they see them trying to establish spiritual authority.

Here again, arrogant politicians, media, Hollywood, and government systems are rampant with the Jebusite spirit.

In our homes we need to make certain that we are not bullies and our children are not growing up to become bullies. We need to learn how to confront this arrogant spirit.

7. Perizzite – Perizzite means unwalled town, city, or village. Ezekiel 38:10-11 says, “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: On that day thoughts will come into your mind and you will devise an evil scheme. You [the evil army] will say, ‘I will invade a land of unwalled villages; I will attack a peaceful and unsuspecting people – all of them living without walls and without gates and bars’.”

A nation without borders loses its identity. A home without boundaries is a home without an identity. Illegal immigrants and foreign enemies easily enter into our unwalled cities and towns. Many cause violence, harm, and aid in the cultural collapse of America. This is the Perizzite spirit invading our unwalled nation, cities, and our citizens.

This Perizzite spirit can operate in our homes that have become unwalled…homes without fathers…homes that do not give their marriages or children a holy identity to carry with them throughout life.

“Joshua marched up from Gilgal with his entire army, including the best fighting men. The Lord said to Joshua, “Do not be afraid of them; I have given them into your hand. Not one of them will be able to withstand you”. The Lord threw them into confusion before Israel, so Joshua and the Israelites defeated them completely at Gibeon” (Joshua 10:7-8).

Perhaps each of us should embrace the challenge that we are included in the fight for our nation. Some examples of ways we can make a difference are calling our representatives, writing letters, posting facts and articles, teaching our children truths about the history of our country, sending funds to those organizations that stand for true American values, or writing editorials to our local newspapers, etc…

“Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you!”(Ephesians 5:14).

There are so many ways that we can truly get involved in the way our nation is run. Even a small effort (which may seem insignificant) will be blessed by our Father who is always looking for righteous people that honor Him. These people are a blessing to Him.

Here at CTCI, we pray for our nation and government daily, weekly and sometimes more often. It’s that important! We believe Godly character is taught and begins in the family. We offer “Train to Reign” programs throughout the year to guide and teach (and many times restore) families, experientially, to know how to honor God and fulfill their God-given role in the family – with love. Everything we teach is based on God’s Truth found in His Holy Word.

If you would like information about our Train to Reign program, or other programs and events we offer throughout the year, please click  here, or fill out the form below and we will get back to you promptly. We thank you for your interest in this ministry for our Lord Jesus.

 

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

A Place of Encounter

Welcome from all of us at CTCI. We trust you’ll enjoy this short yet extremely profound devotion from day three of Mike Bickle’s Growing in Prayer Devotional book. 

“Prayer should not be regarded as a duty which must be performed, but rather as a privilege to be enjoyed, a rare delight that is always revealing some new beauty.”       -E. M. Bounds

“First and foremost, prayer is about encountering God and growing in relationship with Him. In prayer we position ourselves to receive fresh insight into His heart as new desires are formed in our hearts, enabling us to commune deeply with Him. Prayer positions us to be energized to love – to love God and people. Yes, it is biblical to pray to get answers and to see God’s power. But prayer is first of all an opportunity to commune with God.

The call to prayer is a call to participate in the love that has forever burned in God’s heart. From eternity past, the Father has loved the Son with all His heart, and the Son has loved the Father with the same intensity. This love is the foundational reality of the kingdom of God. It is this very reality that we participate in as we grow in prayer, and it is what prayer is mostly about – that is, participating in the family dynamics of the Godhead.

God created the human race to share His love. Why? Simply because “God is Love” (1 John 4:16).

God’s heart burns with love, and He calls us to experience it – to enter into what I refer to as “the fellowship of the burning heart.” Salvation is an invitation to this fellowship.

WHAT CAN I DO?

As you pray today, actively position yourself to receive the love of God, and ask the Holy Spirit to draw you into the fellowship of the burning heart.

FOR REFLECTION

“And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him” (1 John 4:16).

Lord, I will seek daily prayer encounters with You, not only to strengthen our relationship but to partake of the abiding love that is only found when I am in Your presence.”

Prayer is a huge part of our walk with Lord. If you have a prayer request and you would like us to join you in prayer, please fill out the contact form below and we will pray for and with you.

If you would like to donate to CTCI please click here.

Check our upcoming ministry programs for young adults and families. Please click here.

Is it reasonable to ask Jesus what I must do to do the works of God in my life?

Believe in God

Believe in God

‘What must we do to do the works God requires?’ A question from the disciples.

I look at the question the disciples of Jesus asked and it seems pretty reasonable to me.

But Jesus blew them (and me) away with the answer.

They were asking an “old plan” question. The “old plan” has a whole bunch of what must I do stuff. They were thinking we needed “to do” something.

What could they put on their to do list that they could easily check off?

Jesus gave them some “new plan” answers. This was in fact good news.

Here it is. BELIEVE in Jesus!! That is the new plan. Work equals believing. God’s goal is that we believe in Jesus.

“Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.’

Then they asked him, ‘What must we do to do the works God requires?’ Jesus answered, ‘The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.’ | John 6:27-29

The Ancient Enemies of Israel Have Entered Our Land — Who are the Canaanites?

Welcome, and thank you for joining us today as we share the third part of our series.  We are looking at the ancient enemies of Israel, who they are and what they represent, and how these spirits are still relevant today in our nation and world. This is extremely valuable information to raise our awareness of the battles we fight daily. We know these battles are not of flesh and blood, but of spirits and principalities.

Part 3 – Who are the Canaanites? ~~ by Susan Pons

What happens when enemies enter our land? Exodus 34:10 says “As of right now, I’m making a covenant with you: In full sight of your people I will work wonders that have never been created in all the earth, in any nation. Take careful note of all I command you today. I’m clearing your way by driving out Amorites, Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. Stay vigilant. Don’t let down your guard lest you make covenant with the people who live in the land that you are entering and they trip you up”.

Who were these enemies that had entered the land of Israel? Let’s define them and compare them to our America in today’s world. Today we will talk about the Canaanites.

Canaanite – The name Canaanite means trafficker. This is the exact same description given to satan in Ezekiel 28:13-18. This spirit is behind addictions and sexual impurity. This is why in the Scriptures, Sodom and Gomorrah were said to be Canaanite cities as told in Genesis 10:19. Jezebel was the daughter of Ethical king of Sidon, which means she was Phoenician, who were Canaanites. The Canaanite spirit uses wealth and material gain to bring God’s people into compromise and backsliding. Sexual trafficking, labor trafficking, and drug trafficking are start examples of the Canaanite spirit that has invaded our land.

Father God, we repent on behalf of our nation for all of these trafficking offenses that are so evil in Your eyes. When we look from a heavenly perspective it’s so hard to believe what our nation has become. We know that Your promises are real, and if we repent and turn away from these things You will heal our land. We pray for Your help and Your healing, holy, and righteous Spirit to increase in our nation. We pray in Jesus’ name, amen.

Here at Christian Training Center International, we put much time and effort into making sure we are all updated and at least aware of current news and happenings in both the spiritual and also the physical realm in this world. The spiritual battle on earth is not new nor has much changed in the enemy’s tactics. It is so important for us all to be involved in prayer to Almighty God for our government and nation and other current world events.

If you would like more information about our ministry, please go to our website at www.lifeisrelationships.com, or fill out this contact form below and we will get back with you promptly.

 

 

 

If you would like to donate to CTCI please click here.

Growing Up to Hear God | Jay Fesperman (3/3)

Good morning from all of us at the Christian Training Center International! This is another beautiful day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!

We all want to hear God more and more! Here are a few things to consider when we struggle to hear our Lord. We should often consider if we are in the right heart and mind, and if we are not let’s take the time to get right! Please join us as we read the 3rd of Jay Fesperman’s series on Hearing God. May you be blessed by the insight!

Will you join us at the Christian Training Center this summer? Heroes Week — Ages 14 – 18 — July 15-20, 2019

Welcome, here is a little taste of what you can experience here at the Christian Training Center this summer during our Heroes Week program. Ages 14 – 18 — July 15-20, 2019

 

If you are interested in becoming a hero and would like more information about how you or someone you know can attend this summer, visit our website by clicking here or fill out the contact form below and we will get back with you promptly.

Learn More and Register

 

 

If you would like to donate to and/or pay for a young person to attend this summer here at CTCI, please click here.

Growing Up to Hear God | Jay Fesperman (2/3)

Good morning from all of us at the Christian Training Center International! This is another day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!

Please join us today as we see how important exercise is! Exercising our faith that is! If we want to master anything, then we have to practice that thing many many times. It is the same truth with our faith. In this part 2 of Jay Fesperman’s series, we will learn the importance of training and consistency in building our faith strong.

That verse – Ephesians 2: 8 – goes on to say of faith, “It is a gift of God.” Now, just as the parental “gift” of milk to the baby is gradually replaced with solid food, so the basic gift of FAITH becomes “solid food”. But your FAITH, that solid food, being for the mature, requires constant use, and, as we use it, “We are trained by it.” (Hebrews 5: 14).

So God lays back so that we can be exercised by the use of our GIFTS in order to “distinguish good from evil” – making correct decisions for ourself. And, as we constantly exercise the GIFT of FAITH, we find that we have come to trust God! Almost as much as He trusts us!

Growing Up to Hear God | Jay Fesperman (1/3)

Good morning from all of us at CTCI! This is another beautiful day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it! Please join us today, and the next two Wednesday’s, as we study a teaching from our founder here at CTCI, Jay Fesperman.

Have you ever been discouraged by what seems to be the disappearance of God from your horizon, the inability to hear His voice? I believe one of the most wide-spread problems that young Christians face is that they seem to lose touch with the Lord. That intimate fellowship with Him fades away, and “I just cannot hear the voice of God for my life anymore.” As they move along the path of maturity, many young Christian men and women come into times when confusion creeps in, and it becomes really difficult to know what choice to make or who to listen to.

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?

The Life I Live

“To life by faith is to trust and obey – if you trust AND obey that’s a living relationship. There is intimacy. There is growth. There is vitality.”

On November 5th our dear friend, Herman Weits, came and shared with us about the life of his ministry.

Herman and his wife, Ross, lead Bali Christian Retreat Center which is a ministry of Words of Hope International and he came to spend some time with us while on a visit back to the states.

WATCH the full video HERE.

 

2 Peter: Freedom

“When the Holy Spirit changes our earthly nature into a divinely inspired one then we are free from this world of its corruption and its lust.”

In this message, Larry Pons continues to our walk through 2 Peter and shares how we have been given freedom through faith and the Holy Spirit.

WATCH the full video HERE.

 

2 Peter: Glory & Excellence

“He has called us by His own glory and excellence so we are called therefore into His glory and into His excellence.”

In this message, Larry Pons speaks about Peter’s teachings and how the knowledge of God and our faith in Him is where all spiritual strength is conveyed to us.

WATCH the full video HERE.

 

2 Peter: Faith

“Faith makes no distinction to whether you’re a slave or an apostle. Every true believer is by faith justified in the sight of God and forgiven of all his sins.”
In this message, Larry Pons continues to walk through 2 Peter and challenges our thinking on what we actually have faith in Jesus for.

WATCH the Full Video HERE.

2 Peter: The Value of Faith

“The meritorious obedience of Jesus is what gives faith its value and preciousness.”
In this message, Larry Pons begins a series on 2 Peter and speaks on the value and gift of faith.

WATCH the Full Video HERE.

Growing Up to Hear God | Jay Fesperman (3/3)

Those of us who have been or are parents remember how, when they were small, our kids wore their feelings “on their sleeves” so to speak. Now, as they grew older, their thoughts and attitudes became more subtle, more hidden, stuffed down inside. But if we were doing a thorough job, we knew them well enough to read their attitudes fairly well. Because, when the kids tried to camouflage their true reactions, they were put in judgement by the rules and regulations we had laid upon them. God says in His Word, “. . .My Word judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4: 12).

Growing Up to Hear God | Jay Fesperman (2/3)

That verse – Ephesians 2: 8 – goes on to say of faith, “It is a gift of God.” Now, just as the parental “gift” of milk to the baby is gradually replaced with solid food, so the basic gift of FAITH becomes “solid food”. But your FAITH, that solid food, being for the mature, requires constant use, and, as we use it, “We are trained by it.” (Hebrews 5: 14).

So God lays back so that we can be exercised by the use of our GIFTS in order to “distinguish good from evil” – making correct decisions for ourself. And, as we constantly exercise the GIFT of FAITH, we find that we have come to trust God! Almost as much as He trusts us!

Growing Up to Hear God | Jay Fesperman (1/3)

Have you ever been discouraged by what seems to be the disappearance of God from your horizon, the inability to hear His voice? I believe one of the most wide-spread problems that young Christians face is that they seem to lose touch with the Lord. That intimate fellowship with Him fades away, and “I just cannot hear the voice of God for my life anymore.” As they move along the path of maturity, many young Christian men and women come into times when confusion creeps in, and it becomes really difficult to know what choice to make or who to listen to.

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?

Mere Christianity

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….