Christian Training Center InternationalPosts

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

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.

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 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.

Does it takes supernatural courage to love the way God loves?

God's standard for love

God’s standard for love

This is tough stuff. It doesn’t feel right. Our natural reactions, in relationships, can get us in trouble. Jesus has a different standard for us. Unless Jesus has invaded our life, relationships can be pretty difficult at times.

Real love in relationships can require supernatural courage. It can only happen after Jesus has changed us. Jesus demanded that the “Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth” world of natural and religious rules be completely changed.

God is love and that is not how He does things. It isn’t how He wants us to do things either. God’s goal for our lives is to love.

And so, it takes supernatural courage to love the way God loves. But that is the way He wants us to love. That is what relationships in “His world” look like. This is an example of how to be a servant in relationships. The other alternative is to be a follower of how our “friends” do things.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’ But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”

Matthew 5:38-42

May we love the way God wants us to.

May our relationships be based on how He loves not the way that serves us and not others.

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.

Do we make our words true by embellishing them with religious lace?

Religious Jargon

Religious Jargon

Jesus challenges us to make sure our words are clear and genuine. They should reflect all of His love.

Embellishing what we say with religiosity is useless in communicating the good news of Jesus. Being religious isn’t being genuine in God.

Sounding religious doesn’t make us religious.

God’s goal for us is to be clear in what we say. Religious jargon is not God’s way.

And don’t say anything you don’t mean. This counsel is embedded deep in our traditions. You only make things worse when you lay down a smoke screen of pious talk, saying, ‘I’ll pray for you,’ and never doing it, or saying, ‘God be with you,’ and not meaning it.

You don’t make your words true by embellishing them with religious lace. In making your speech sound more religious, it becomes less true. Just say ‘yes’ and ‘no.’ When you manipulate words to get your own way, you go wrong.

Matthew 5:33 – The Message Bible

We’ve probably all said “It’s Greek to me”. Language is important and translating words properly is important. Unfortunately some Greek word translations have lost meaning both to disciples of Jesus and those who don’t follow Him yet. Examples are “the Gospel”, sin, Christ, Lord, and more.

Here are some common Greek words, how they have historically been translated and my suggestions, based on the Greek. This is all supported by the major Greek lexicons.

  • Christ — Χριστός Christos — Meaning: Anointed One; the Messiah, the Christ. Translation: The Messiah
  • Church — ἐκκλησία ekklésia — Meaning: an assembly, congregation, church; the Church, the whole body of believers. Properly, people called out from the world and to God. Translation: called out assembly of disciples.
  • Glory — δόξα doxa — Meaning: glory, honor, renown;  an especially divine quality, the unspoken manifestation of God, splendor, stunning, beauty, brilliance, amazing. Translation: stunning brilliance and beauty.
  • Gospel — εὐαγγέλιον euaggelion — Meaning:  the good news of the coming of the Messiah, sometimes the human transmitter (an apostle). Translation: Good News
  • Lord — κύριος kuriŏs — Meaning: lord, master, owner; the Lord. Translation: Master
  • Repent — μετανοέω mĕtanŏĕō — Meaning: I repent, change my thinking, change the inner man. Translation: radically change my thinking
  • Servant — δοῦλος dŏulŏs — Meaning: someone who belongs to another; a slave, without any ownership rights of their own. Translation: slave
  • Servant — διάκονος diakŏnŏs — Meaning: a waiter, servant; then of any one who performs any service. Translation: servant
  • Sin — ἁμαρτάνω hamartanó — Meaning: I miss the mark, hence (a) I make a mistake, (b) I sin. Translation: miss God’s goal

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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.

Am I pretending to be righteous just because I am acting legally?

The Law

The Law

Jesus challenges us to look at whether meeting the “letter of the law” means we are living right in God. God’s right way of living has nothing to do with “not doing” things but has everything to do with loving Him and others every day.

Following the letter of the law is really a not so subtle form of selfishness. We justify not doing things by the fact that “we go to church” or “we tithe” or “we pray”.

We can avoid loving the homeless because of our other religious activities. I take comfort in following the rules and regulations. Is my rule keeping really going to help me?

Jesus exposes that approach as a sham. Jesus is clear. I can have no doubt about it at all.

God’s goal for us is to stop pretending with our religious behavior and live in a right relationship with him. It is all about our relationship with God and with everyone else we know and meet. It is all about love.

May I be right in Him doing His right things everyday.

Remember the Scripture that says, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him do it legally, giving her divorce papers and her legal rights’? Too many of you are using that as a cover for selfishness and whim, pretending to be righteous just because you are ‘legal.’ Please, no more pretending. If you divorce your wife, you’re responsible for making her an adulteress (unless she has already made herself that by sexual promiscuity). And if you marry such a divorced adulteress, you’re automatically an adulterer yourself. You can’t use legal cover to mask a moral failure. 

Matthew 5:31 The Message (MSG)



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

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.

God is God. His word is always true. We can count on it.

TrivializeGod means what He says.

What God says is important. What He says is not to be trivialized in any way.

When we trivialize what God says, we trivialize ourselves, not Him. His word will always be true. It can be no other way.

Jesus demands that we understand that. It is important.

God is God. His word is always true. We can count on it.

“Trivialize even the smallest item in God’s Word and you will only have trivialized yourself.” ~~Jesus Matthew 5:19-20 (The Message Bible)

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

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

“Exploit or abuse your family and end up with a fistful of air; common sense tells you it’s a stupid way to live.” ~King Solomon

There is right and there is wrong. We all know the difference. I must remember to stand up for the abused and keep up the good fight for justice.

“Exploit or abuse your family and end up with a fistful of air [inherit the wind]; common sense tells you it’s a stupid way to live.” ~King Solomon (Proverbs 11:29)

And now consider this from Jesus.

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire.” ~Jesus | Matthew 5:21-22