Christian Training Center InternationalPosts

How do we summarize the radical teachings of Jesus?

Should we “just suck it up”?

Self Control

When I was a young man, we used the phrase “just suck it up”. We used it a lot. We didn’t like whiners and complainers. If things were tough or people were giving you a hard time, you had what we politely know of as self-control.

“But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also.” | Matthew 5:39–40 (NASB)

Why should we pray for our daily bread?

Prayer

Jesus continues the Jesus Manifesto (Matthew 5 – 7) and the model prayer.

I have needs on a daily basis. We all do. Jesus encourages me to acknowledge that in my conversation with God and ask for the days needs to be met.

The Israelites received manna daily in the wilderness. God is good and in a good mood. He is going to take care of me.

It will be day by day. That is God’s way. Jesus helps us understand that.

How does Jesus want us to pray?

Pray

The Jesus Manifesto continues as Jesus teaches me how to pray. It is not about how much I say. It is about the quality of what I pray. Jesus gave us a model that is succinct. It is short, sweet and to the point.

Jesus challenges me not to be someone who babbles on and on and on. God knows what I need. I’m not telling him something that He hasn’t already thought of. God wants to give great gifts because He cares.

What does Jesus mean by ‘Judge not’?

Repent

I am clear on the first part of this in the Jesus Manifesto. I’ve written on it. We’ve all heard sermons on it. If you’re like me, someone may have even quoted it to you to tell you not to judge them when you were being critical of someone.

My first obligation is to “fix” myself. I have to see my own issues with missing God’s goal for my life (aka sin). I have to radically change my way of thinking (aka repent) and do something about it. I need to get right with Jesus.

Okay, then. What about the last sentence?

Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. ~Jesus | Matthew 7:1-5

Should we just mind our own business?

Some people suppose that in the parable of the foreign bodies Jesus was forbidding us to act as moral or spiritual oculists and meddle with other people’s eyes and telling us instead to mind our own business. This is not so.

The fact that censoriousness and hypocrisy are forbidden us does not relieve us of brotherly responsibility towards one another. The opposite is true. Jesus wants us to love and help. Ignoring something isn’t useful. Jesus doesn’t want us to be turtles and pull our heads into our shell.

On the contrary, Jesus was later to teach that if our brother sins against us, our first duty (though usually neglected) is ‘go and tell him his fault between you and him alone’. The same obligation is laid upon us here. To be sure, in certain circumstances we are forbidden to interfere, namely when there is an even bigger foreign body in our own eye which we have not removed.

Jesus commands us to reprove and correct our brother.

Once we have dealt with our own eye trouble, then we shall see clearly to deal with his. A bit of dirt in his eye is, after all, rightly called a ‘foreign’ body. It doesn’t belong there. It is always alien, usually painful and sometimes dangerous. To leave it there, and make no attempt to remove it, would hardly be consistent with brotherly love.

Our duty, then, is not to see the speck in our brother’s eye while at the same time we do not notice the log in our own; still less to say to our brother ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye’ while we have not yet taken the log from our own; but rather this:

  • First to take the log out of our own eye, so that then with the resulting clarity of vision we shall be able to take the speck out of our brother’s eye.
  • It is evident that Jesus is not condemning criticism as such, but rather the criticism of others when we exercise no comparable self-criticism.
  • Nor is Jesus condemning correction as such, but rather the correction of others when we have not first corrected ourselves.

The standard of Jesus for relationships in the discipleship counter-culture is high and healthy. In all our attitudes and behavior towards others we are to play neither the judge (becoming harsh, censorious and condemning), nor the hypocrite (blaming others while excusing ourselves).

We are the brother, caring for others so much that we first blame and correct ourselves and then seek to be constructive in the help we give them.

‘Correct him,’ said Chrysostom, alluding to someone who has sinned, ‘but not as a foe, nor as an adversary exacting a penalty, but as a physician providing medicines.’

Yes, and — even more — as a loving brother anxious to rescue and to restore. We need to be as critical of ourselves as we often are of others, and as generous to others as we always are to ourselves. Then we shall anticipate the Golden Rule to which Jesus brings us in verse 12 and act towards others as we would like them to act towards us.

Can we dig deeper?

Let’s look at our Master’s illustration of this point. Jesus chose the symbol of the eye because this is one of the most sensitive areas of the human body. The picture of a man with a two-by-four stuck in his eye, trying to remove a speck of dust from another man’s eye, is ridiculous indeed! If we do not honestly face up to our own sins, and confess them, we blind ourselves to ourselves; and then we cannot see clearly enough to help others. The Pharisees saw the sins of other people, but they would not look at their own sins.

Jesus used the illustration of the eye to teach us how to have a spiritual outlook on life. We must not pass judgment on others’ motives. We should examine their actions and attitudes, but we cannot judge their motives — for only God can see their hearts. It is possible for a person to do a good work with a bad motive. It is also possible to fail in a task and yet be very sincerely motivated. When we stand before the Messiah at the Judgment Seat, He will examine the secrets of the heart and reward us accordingly.

The image of the eye teaches us another truth: We must exercise love and tenderness when we seek to help others. If you’ve had extensive eye examinations, and had surgery to an imbedded object then you can appreciate the tenderness of the physicians. Like eye doctors, we should minister to people we want to help with tender loving care. We can do more damage than a speck of dirt in the eye if we approach others with impatience and insensitivity.

Two extremes must be avoided in this matter of spiritual self-examination. The first is the deception of a shallow examination. Sometimes we are so sure of ourselves that we fail to examine our hearts honestly and thoroughly. A quick glance into the mirror of the Word will never reveal the true situation (James 1:22–25).

The second extreme is a “perpetual autopsy.” Sometimes we get so wrapped up in self-examination that we become unbalanced. But we should not look only at ourselves, or we will become discouraged and defeated. We should look by faith to Jesus the Messiah and let Him forgive and restore us. Satan is the accuser (Rev. 12:10), and he enjoys it when we accuse and condemn ourselves!

After we have judged ourselves honestly before God, and have removed those things that blind us, then we can help others and properly judge their works. But if we know there are sins in our lives, and we try to help others, we are hypocrites. In fact, it is possible for ministry to be a device to cover up sin! The Pharisees were guilty of this, and Jesus denounced them for it.

What are the other scriptures on this?

  • Mark 4:24 And He was saying to them, “Take care what you listen to. By your standard of measure, it will be measured to you; and more will be given you besides.
  • Luke 6:38 “Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”
  • Romans 2:1 Therefore you have no excuse, every one of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.
  • Luke 6:42 “Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.

It’s Greek to me!

The Greek word for judge is κρίνω krinō, kree´-no; to distinguish, i.e. decide (mentally or judicially); by implication to try, condemn, punish: —  avenge, conclude, condemn, damn, decree, determine, esteem, judge, go to (sue at the) law, ordain, call in question, sentence to, think.

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Did Jesus fulfill the Law and the Prophets?

Complete the law and prophets

Jesus continues His manifesto. I have a lot to learn here. Jesus is being clear, as He always is. This isn’t what I was thinking He would say.

Jesus begins this section by telling the disciples not for one moment to imagine that he had come to abolish the law and the prophets, i.e. the whole Old Testament or any part of it. The way in which Jesus phrases this negative statement suggests that some had indeed been thinking the very thought which he now contradicts.

How do we see Jesus clearly? How do we get the light of life?

Light shines

In the Jesus Manifesto (Matthew 5 – 7), Jesus draws a sharp contrast now between a blind person and a sighted person, and so between the light and darkness in which they respectively live. The eye is the lamp of the body.

I want to be able to see. I don’t want to wander around not being able to see. I want my heart to be right with God. Jesus offers me the way. Jesus boldly declares:

“I am the Light of the world; he who follows Me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is healthy, your whole body will be full of light, but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness! ~Jesus | Matthew 6:22-23

What is our focus? Is it exclusively the will of God?

Jesus continues His Manifesto (aka The Sermon on the Mount). Jesus is getting close to wrapping it up. Jesus doesn’t let up. There are some big deal things left to say. Jesus is going to say them. We need to hear them and obey them. This is crucial as we live out our faith at work. As we profess that Jesus is our master, our co-workers will look to see our actions. Are they aligned with what Jesus commands?

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ | Matthew 7:21-23

Many evangelistic churches make a big deal about the “profession of faith” and it is not to be diminished. That is only the beginning. When all we hear, Sunday after Sunday, is about the profession, we may need to find a new church to spend time in. Perhaps we are not learning as disciples should. 

How important is wealth and money to God?

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The Jesus Manifest continues (Matthew 5-7). This is a critical teaching of Jesus. What should we think about money and wealth? We need to get clear on this. Jesus is! Jesus is very clear on this.

Whom will I serve? It is a stunning question. Jesus now explains that behind the choice between two treasures (where I lay them up) and two visions (where I fix my eyes) there lies the still more basic choice between two masters (whom I am going to serve).

It is a choice between God and wealth, that is between the living Creator himself and any object of our my creation I term ‘money’ (‘mammon’ being the transliteration of an Aramaic word for wealth). For I cannot serve both.

What are we working for? What makes a difference?

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The backdrop to this is the feeding of the five thousand. It is a truly stunning miracle. Jesus was moved not to allow the crowd to go hungry. Jesus took care of their physical needs since they couldn’t afford to take them out for a meal. They were very impressed.

“Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal.” ~Jesus | John 6:26-27

I saw Jesus last night …

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I saw Jesus last night. Of course, it was not the Jesus I was expecting. He was delivering the “Jesus Manifesto” (aka The Sermon on the Mount).

This was stunning. Jesus was smiling most of the time and did not speak in a sterilized monotone. He was serious but he interacted spontaneously with those who were following Him. This is not a sermon delivered from behind a pulpit. This had no stage lighting. There was no microphone. There wasn’t a worship leader with a slick band playing.

How do we sum up the law and the prophets of the Old Testament?

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Jesus is beginning to wrap up his Manifesto (aka the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7). Jesus now lays out for us the summary of all summaries. Jesus says “this is the Law and the Prophets”. Jesus gives it to us at the highest level. This is what is known as the “30,000 foot view”. It is also traditionally known as the “Golden Rule”.

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.” ~ Jesus

 Source: Matthew 7:12-14 (ESV)

How not to pray like a hypocrite.

Prayer

And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” ~Jesus

Source: Matthew 6:5-6 (ESV)

Read more on Hypocrisy – What it is, why it is evil and hated by Jesus here.

Prayer essential in our relationship with God. One of the pillars in the Jesus Manifesto (Matthew 5 – 7) is prayer.  Prayer is not what we think. Jesus lays out what prayer is all about in the Kingdom of God where Jesus is in charge. Jesus draws a distinction between hypocrites who love to pray and those who pray because they love.

How can we be delivered from evil and the evil one?

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Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” ~Jesus 

Source: Matthew 6:13 (ESV)

Jesus taught us to pray. Jesus gave us the template. The prayer is a part of the Jesus Manifesto (Matthew 5-7). This is the core of what I need to say to God. One of the pillars is to ask God to deliver us from evil (or as most translators agree) the evil one.

How does Jesus think we should give?

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Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” ~Jesus 

Source: Matthew 6:2-4 (ESV)

There are a number of challenges here for us to pay attention to in this section of the Jesus Manifesto (Matthew 5-7). Jesus changes how we think and act on giving when we listen to Him directly.

This is a good thing since I have spent most of my career raising money for charitable causes. Yikes!

What is adultery? Is lust the same as adultery?

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Lust

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.

Source: Matthew 5:27-30 (ESV)

The Jesus Manifesto is radical. Jesus changes the way things work in the new covenant (aka contract, agreement or testament). There are 6 references to “You have heard it said” where Jesus takes things to a higher level.

This one is about adultery. No longer can I feel righteous because I haven’t committed the physical act of adultery. I have been lustful which Jesus now says is the same as adultery.

Yikes!

Why should we ask God?

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Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

Source: Matthew 7:7-11 (ESV)

Jesus continues the lessons from His Manifest (Matthew 5-7)

God, my heavenly Father, is more than ready. God is not a grumpy old man who doesn’t care. God is our example of what love is all about. If it is in my best interests, God will do it.

God is in a good mood. God is like our parents. God wants the best for us. I’ve always given my kids what I could. You are the same way. This rings true and we know what it means.

What does gentleness look like?

Jesus is a kind, loving King. Jesus is not angry with me. Jesus wants me to be kind and gentle. His goal for me is for me to love.

“Happy (aka Blessed) are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.” ~Jesus | Source: Matthew 5:5

What sort of gentleness is it, on account of those who have it, are pronounced happy? It seems important to note that in the manifesto ‘the meek’ come between those who mourn over sin and those who hunger and thirst after righteousness. The particular form of meekness which the Messiah requires in his disciples will surely have something to do with this sequence. This meekness denotes a humble and gentle attitude to others which is determined by a true estimate of ourselves. It is comparatively easy to be honest with ourselves before God and acknowledge ourselves to be sinners in his sight. Remember the “Jesus Prayer” — “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.”

What is Godly sorrow all about? Why should I mourn?

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Jesus is ushering in the Kingdom of God. I like to think of Matthew 5 to 7 as his manifesto of what the Kingdom life is all about. This is the second of what is known as the Beatitudes. The Greek word for blessed is μακάριος (transliteration – makarios) It literally means happy or more than happy.

Happy are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.  | Matthew 5:4 (ESV)

Who is the Judge?

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Should I judge others? Jesus is clear in the Jesus Manifesto (Matthew 5-7). I have plenty of my own issues. I should look in the mirror and focus on how I miss God’s goal (aka sin). And, there is plenty to focus on there. The list is quite long.

What is the importance of forgiveness? What does Jesus say about it?

Forgive

Jesus is all about forgiveness. That is the reason God sent him to us. We need forgiveness and the good news is that we have received it.

Jesus calls us to forgive. That is clear.

Forgiveness is also an essential part of the life of believers. Ephesians 4:32 commands,

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in the Messiah God forgave you.

What does it mean to be the light of the world?

Light shines

Jesus makes a declaration about His followers in the Jesus Manifesto (Matthew 5 – 7).

We are the light of the world. I am the light of Jesus to those I know.

Our good works are to be seen and not hid.

That is the Way of Jesus, the anointed King. That is His declaration for us.

You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. ~Jesus | Matthew 5:14-16

Who is in charge of God’s country?

Taking God Seriously

Jesus is now at the core issue as He lays out His manifesto (Matthew 5 – 7). God has a country. It is a kingdom. Jesus is the Messiah and it’s King. Now that is some good news.

Jesus is clear about our mission. It is not to worry about “the things” of life. It is to totally dedicate ourselves to what Jesus, as the King of God’s country, wants us to do.

That is the main thing about the main thing.

What does it mean that Jesus taught with authority?

Jesus wrapped up His Manifesto (Matthew 5 – 7). The teaching is over. What He has said is amazing. The crowds who hear it are astounded.

I am astounded as well. I am overwhelmed.

Jesus teaches with authority. He isn’t like the religious elites who rely on their Ph. D’s for their authority. Jesus has the authority directly from God. Religious elites have pedigrees from seminaries. Quite a contrast.

And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, for he was teaching them as one who had authority, and not as their religious elitist leaders (aka scribes). | Matthew 7:28-29

What should our righteousness look like?

Heartfelt experience with Jesus

Jesus continues His manifesto (found in Matthew 5-7). There is a lot to learn here. Jesus is being clear, as He always is. This isn’t what I was thinking He would say.

Jesus begins this section by telling the disciples not for one moment to imagine that he had come to abolish the law and the prophets, i.e. the whole Old Testament or any part of it. The way in which Jesus phrases this negative statement suggests that some had indeed been thinking the very thought which he now contradicts.

Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.

What does it mean to be the “salt of the earth”?

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The Jesus Manifesto (Matthew 5-7) continues with Jesus laying out for us what we need to be like in this world. We need to be salt. We need to be salt that has not lost its taste.

The affirmation is straightforward: ‘You are the salt of the earth’. This means that, when each community is itself and is true to itself, the world decays like rotten fish or meat, while the community of faith, the bride of Jesus, can hinder its decay.

You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

Matthew 5:13

Why should we forgive others?

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Jesus continues the Manifesto. Jesus is teaching us how to pray. After the model prayer, Jesus emphasizes the importance of forgiveness. It starts with me. I must forgive. I must show mercy.

For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. | Matthew 6:14-15

What are we working for? Money or God?

Bankrupt without love

What am I working for?

Jesus wants to know. Jesus has some commands for me on this.

I must act on what Jesus wants me to do. The Jesus Manifesto continues!

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” | Matthew 6:19-21

What is mercy? How can we show more of it?

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I want mercy in my life. Compassion is a wonderful gift from God. I am challenged by Jesus to replicate it in all of my relationships. I am to be a person of mercy. It will bring me happiness and mercy in my own life. Now that is some very good news.

“Happy (aka Blessed) are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.” | Matthew 5:7

Who should I give to?

It is a challenge. I see the homeless. Do I give them some money? Won’t they just use it to buy drugs or booze? Why don’t they have a job, I think. I feel justified in not giving.

Jesus says ‘Yes’ it is your duty to give. It isn’t my job to judge why they are begging. God’s goal for me is to give. That is all I need to know.

What does Jesus think? This may run afoul of the “official stances” of the homeless social services organizations. They have great reasons for their logic. That isn’t what Jesus challenges us to do. I am going to follow Jesus.

What does it mean to be “poor in spirit”?

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Happy in Jesus

Happy (aka Blessed) are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” ~Jesus

Source: Matthew 5:3 (English Standard Version)

What does it mean to be “poor in spirit”? Poor in spirit means that you feel you have no moral riches and are in need.  You feel you need a ‘spiritual’ life. ‘Poor’ (πτωχός) used in this verse means ‘reduced to being a beggar’. Am I begging for a rich spiritual life?

First I need to recognize I need what I don’t have. To be ‘poor in spirit’ is to acknowledge my spiritual poverty, indeed my spiritual bankruptcy, before God. For I have missed God’s goal (aka sin), under the holy wrath of God, and deserving nothing but the judgment of God.

I have nothing to offer, nothing to plead, nothing with which to buy the favour of heaven.

What does it mean to hunger and thirst for righteousness?

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Jesus continues with His radical Manifesto (Matthew 5-7). We all know what it is like to be hungry or thirsty. We can’t think of anything else until we take care of the hunger or thirst.

It consumes us. Nothing else matters!

What about my spiritual hunger and thirst?

“Happy (aka Blessed) are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” | Matthew 5:6 (ESV)

What are good works? Why does Jesus call us to do them?

Jesus clearly calls us to do good works! The purpose of our good works is to glorify the amazing and beautiful God. If it doesn’t do that, we’ve got the wrong motives and then we have the wrong outcomes.

Now that is a good word. Please receive it.

Goodness and good works are acts designed specifically to help others, which are characteristic of God. We can be good because God is good. And He is in a good mood.

Good works are not a “bad thing”. They won’t save me but that isn’t the point.

Is the Bible is a dangerous book to read, and is the church a dangerous society to join?

Jesus challenges us

Jesus is about to wrap His Manifesto (Matthew 5-7). There is one final parable to lay it all out. There is a contrast in the previous paragraph which was between ‘saying’ and ‘doing’. The contrast now is between ‘hearing’ and ‘doing’.

On the one hand, Jesus says, there is the person who hears these words of mine and does them (24), and on the other the person who hears these words of mine and does not do them (26).

May I be a person who hears and acts. May I be obedient. Jesus is commanding me to love. Will I?

Who would take a light and hide it? Yet, isn’t that what we do some days?

Jesus doesn’t want us to play a game of hide and go seek. Now think about it.

God is light. His goal for us is to be light-bearers. He wants us to tell everyone that He is the Master.

God has Good News. God’s government is here, right now. Jesus is in charge. Jesus is King. Jesus is our Master.

What is happiness? How can we be truly happy?

I am happy. Jesus promises me that I will be.

Happiness is a state of pleasure or joy experienced both by people and by God, but subject to change according to circumstances.

True happiness derives from a secure and settled knowledge of God and a rejoicing in his works and covenant faithfulness. God rejoices over his faithful people.

The word is μακάριος — makarios. It is usually translated as “blessed”. It is generally understood to mean happy in English. I’m going with that.

In the Jesus Manifesto (Matthew 5 – 7), He gives us a whole series of happiness prescriptions. They are powerful. From Matthew 5, Jesus starts the manifesto out with this.

  • “Happy are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
  • “Happy are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
  • “Happy are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.”
  • “Happy are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
  • “Happy are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”
  • “Happy are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
  • “Happy are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
  • “Happy are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
  • “Happy are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Happiness — It is for those who trust in God

  • Psalm 84:12  — O Master of hosts, How happy is the man who trusts in You!
  • Psalm 2:12  — Do homage to the Son, that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, For His wrath may soon be kindled. How happy are all who take refuge in Him!
  • Psalm 34:8  — O taste and see that the Master is good; How happy is the man who takes refuge in Him!
  • Psalm 40:4  — How happy is the man who has made the Master his trust, And has not turned to the proud, nor to those who lapse into falsehood.
  • Psalm 146:5  — How happy is he whose help is the God of Jacob, Whose hope is in the Master his God,
  • Proverbs 16:20  — He who gives attention to the word will find good, And happy is he who trusts in the Master.
  • Jeremiah 17:7  — “Happy is the man who trusts in the Master And whose trust is the Master.”
  • Luke 1:45  — “And happy is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Master.”
  • John 20:29  — Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Happy are they who did not see, and yet believed.
  • Galatians 3:9  — So then those who are of faith are happy with Abraham, the believer.

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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 does Jesus think about retaliation?

Jesus challenges us to not retaliate. It is in our core, when someone hurts us, to strike back.

Some, famously, brag about being a “counter-puncher”. 

That, is not the way of God. 

Jesus has a different way.

Don’t hit back at all. Just take it. Agree with your adversary.

God has a goal in mind for us. Jesus has higher standards for us than what the world expects.

Jesus expects us to be full of the love of God.

Love acts differently. Love is kind and patient. Love does not retaliate.

May I love like God. May I not be defensive and retaliate.

Here’s what I propose: ‘Don’t hit back at all.’ If someone strikes you, stand there and take it.” ~Jesus

Matthew 5:38 The Message (MSG)

Jesus challenges us
Jesus challenges us

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Heroes Semester

CTCI’s Heroes Semester is a 10-week semester program focused on personal and spiritual development for young adults. While immersed in a way of life that emphasizes the Word of God, prayer, relationships, family, servanthood and personal discipline, you will be renewed, trained, and challenged to walk with God in a deeper way.

Learn more here.

CTCI’s Heroes Semester is a 10-week residential, “family style” living experience like no other! Emphasizing the biblical truths of relationships, family, servanthood, and personal discipline, young men and women are challenged to live a faith that reaches beyond the four walls of the church and affects everyday life.

“The Heroes Semester is taking place, and all that I can say is that the Lord is showing me Himself! Christ is mesmerizing me; He’s opening my heart to fall more in love with Him!”

CB -Tennessee (Participant)

Participants ages 18-26 come from all walks of life with one purpose – to go deeper with the Lord and seek Him for their lives and future. Each semester is filled with teaching, activities, and experiences designed to take you on the mountaintops with the Lord as well as train you to live a disciplined life in Christ in the plains and valleys.

Participants spend their days in study sessions, work duties, or on the unpredictable outdoor adventure. The evenings have a natural rhythm of group Bible studies, prayer & intercession, and recreational activities. Everyone pitches in with the usual chores that come with living life together. Electronics take a back seat in daily life, unplugging from usual habits helps to make space for new ones. Each day ends with a note of gratitude and lessons learned.

If you are ready to go deeper in relationships, devotion, and surrender to the Lord, then CTCI’s Heroes Semester could be the most purposeful 10 weeks of your life!

Learn more here.

God’s goal for us to grow up and live the Life of Jesus, doing everything His way.

Victory in JesusJesus challenges us to be the person God wants us to be. Jesus challenges us to grow up. Grow up! Yes, you heard that right.

Grow up!

It is not about us or our unique personalities. God has given us His identity.

Jesus only does what He hears and sees His Father saying and doing.We need to get outside of our “me identity”. It isn’t about who I am. It is all about who I am in God.

Jesus wants the same for us. We have a God created identity. We are a new creation in the death, burial, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. We share that with Him through baptism.

God’s goal for us to live the Life of Jesus, doing everything His way. God’s goal for us is to grow up.

“In a word, what I’m saying is, Grow up. You’re kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you.”

~Jesus (Matthew 5:48 The Message)

Jesus is radical and demands that we live in a radical way.

Unconventional Wisdom

Unconventional Wisdom

In listening to Jesus, much of what He is saying goes against the grain of what I have thought brings happiness. It is the Jesus Manifesto.

Jesus is radical and demands that we live in a radical way. Jesus wants us to change our minds and act differently (aka repent). Jesus will accept nothing less.

God has a goal for us. Jesus takes care to summarize what some of God’s principles are.

Did Jesus finish it? Is it complete?

Complete the law and prophets

Complete the law and prophets Matthew 5:17

Jesus, God’s Son, shows how He completes what was started in the Old Covenant (Testament). Jesus is the completer in chief. He does it all. Nothing is left undone. Every goal accomplished. The mission of God is fulfilled.

Nothing, not a single thing, is left incomplete and undone.

Everything in the Old Covenant pointed to Jesus. He completed everything through His life and death for us. Having missed God’s goal for our life, His glorious resurrection and ascension brings the rule of Kingdom with God to our lives.

As He said on the cross, “It is finished”.

God loves us. He sent His son Jesus for us. Jesus reached the goal that God has in mind for all of us.

Jesus shows us the way.

“Don’t suppose for a minute that I have come to demolish the Scriptures— either God’s Law or the Prophets. I’m not here to demolish but to complete. ” ~Jesus (Matthew 5:17-18 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.

How does God prove His love for us?

Radical Sayings of Jesus

God takes our salvation and relationship with Him seriously. We know that God loves us because He sent His Son to live and die for us. We miss God’s goal for our lives (aka sin) big time. We need Jesus.

Jesus set the standard for us. Check out Matthew 5 – 7  for a glimpse of how high the bar is set. It is traditionally called the Sermon on the Mount. I see it as the Jesus Manifesto for a radical new way of living.

It is only through Jesus and His redemption that we can live a holy and sanctified life.

Billy GrahamBilly Graham gets it right!

“God proved His love on the Cross. When Christ hung, and bled, and died, it was God saying to the world, ‘I love you.’ ” ~Billy Graham

 

 

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.