Christian Training Center InternationalPosts

Can achievements give us false security?

Can achievements give us false security?

I have to be careful to not fall into the trap that anything I have is the result of something I have done. It is a dangerous way to think and Jesus challenges me to change my mind about that. Thinking and acting that way causes me to miss God’s goal for my life. I am getting clear on that.

If wealth makes a person proud, then he understands neither himself nor his wealth. “But you shall remember the Master your God; for it is He that gives you power to get wealth” (Deut. 8:18). We are not owners; we are stewards. If we have wealth, it is by the goodness of God and not because of any special merits on our part. The possessing of material wealth ought to humble a person and cause him to glorify God, not himself.

It is possible to be “rich in the world [age]” (1 Tim. 6:17) and be poor in the next. It is also possible to be poor in this world and rich in the next. Jesus talked about both. But a believer can be rich in this world and also rich in the next if he uses what he has to honor God. In fact, a person who is poor in this world can use even his limited means to glorify God and discover great reward in the next world.

Trust God, not wealth. The rich farmer in our Master’s parable thought that his wealth meant security, when really it was an evidence of insecurity. He was not really trusting God. Riches are uncertain, not only in their value (which changes constantly), but also in their durability. Thieves can steal wealth, investments can drop in value, and the ravages of time can ruin houses and cars. If God gives us wealth, we should trust Him, the Giver, and not the gifts.

Enjoy what God gives you. Yes, the word enjoy is in the Bible! In fact, one of the recurring themes in Ecclesiastes is, “Enjoy the blessings of life now, because life will end one day”. This is not sinful “hedonism,” living for the pleasures of life. It is simply enjoying all that God gives us for His glory.

  • 1 Timothy 6:17 — 17 Instruct those who are rich in this present world not to be conceited or to fix their hope on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly supplies us with all things to enjoy.
  • Luke 12:16–20 — 16 And He told them a parable, saying, “The land of a rich man was very productive. 17 “And he began reasoning to himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no place to store my crops?’ 18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 ‘And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years to come; take your ease, eat, drink and be merry.” ’ 20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is required of you; and now who will own what you have prepared?
  • 2 Kings 19:11–13 — 11 ‘Behold, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all the lands, destroying them completely. So will you be spared? 12 ‘Did the gods of those nations which my fathers destroyed deliver them, even Gozan and Haran and Rezeph and the sons of Eden who were in Telassar? 13 ‘Where is the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, the king of the city of Sepharvaim, and of Hena and Ivvah?’ ”
  • 2 Kings 19:21–28 — 21 “This is the word that the Master has spoken against him: ‘She has despised you and mocked you, The virgin daughter of Zion; She has shaken her head behind you, The daughter of Jerusalem! 22 ‘Whom have you reproached and blasphemed? And against whom have you raised your voice, And haughtily lifted up your eyes? Against the Holy One of Israel! 23 ‘Through your messengers you have reproached the Master, And you have said, “With my many chariots I came up to the heights of the mountains, To the remotest parts of Lebanon; And I cut down its tall cedars and its choice cypresses. And I entered its farthest lodging place, its thickest forest. 24 “I dug wells and drank foreign waters, And with the sole of my feet I dried up All the rivers of Egypt.” 25 ‘Have you not heard? Long ago I did it; From ancient times I planned it. Now I have brought it to pass, That you should turn fortified cities into ruinous heaps. 26 ‘Therefore their inhabitants were short of strength, They were dismayed and put to shame; They were as the vegetation of the field and as the green herb, As grass on the housetops is scorched before it is grown up. 27 ‘But I know your sitting down, And your going out and your coming in, And your raging against Me. 28 ‘Because of your raging against Me, And because your arrogance has come up to My ears, Therefore I will put My hook in your nose, And My bridle in your lips, And I will turn you back by the way which you came.
  • Jeremiah 48:7 — 7 “For because of your trust in your own achievements and treasures, Even you yourself will be captured; And Chemosh will go off into exile Together with his priests and his princes.
  • Revelation 18:7–8 — 7 “To the degree that she glorified herself and lived sensuously, to the same degree give her torment and mourning; for she says in her heart, ‘I sit as a queen and I am not a widow, and will never see mourning.’ 8 “For this reason in one day her plagues will come, pestilence and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire; for the Master God who judges her is strong.

Source: Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, p. 238). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.


History of the Christian Training Center

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.

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.

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

What does Jesus think about wealth and money?


Jesus looks me hard in the eye. Jesus is clear. Jesus isn’t going to pull any punches with me.

Jesus loves me. Jesus cares about me deeply. Jesus has my best interest at heart.

That is the way our Master Jesus goes about teaching me, His slave and disciple.

Are we receiving comfort through our wealth?

Jesus lays out the principles of the Kingdom of God. This excerpt is from what is known as the Sermon on the Plain. It is similar but slightly different than the Sermon on the Mount. In this sermon, he also has a series of “woe to you” statements.

Then Jesus looked up at his disciples and said: “Happy are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Happy are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled. Happy are you who weep now, for you will laugh.”

But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full. Woe to you who are full now, for you will be hungry. Woe to you who are laughing now, for you will mourn and weep.” Source: Luke 6:20-21, 24

What does Jesus think about money, wealth, poverty, riches and what God wants for us?

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There is a lot of confusion among followers of Jesus about money, wealth, poverty, riches and what God wants for us. This isn’t intended to be an indictment about prosperity ministries but it is intended to offer caution both from King Solomon and most importantly, Jesus.

Prefer my life-disciplines over chasing after money,
    and God-knowledge over a lucrative career.
For Wisdom is better than all the trappings of wealth;
nothing you could wish for holds a candle to her.” ~King Solomon

Source: Proverbs 8:10-11 (The Message)

What is most important? King Solomon makes it clear that wisdom is more important than money. This from a man who was one of the wealthiest of his time. King Solomon suggest spending our time focused on wisdom and not so much on money, careers and wealth.

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 does Jesus say? Beware!

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This is very common. I don’t think of it that way naturally but it is when you start looking below the covers. The first thing the Apostle Paul suggests is that there are some religious leaders in it for the money. 

My reaction is … Really? Yes, really. Paul warns us in Romans 16:18 

“For such people are not serving our Master the Messiah, but their own appetites. By smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of naive people.” 

I know I am naive. I like to believe the best about people.

Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in the Messiah we speak before God with sincerity, as those sent from God.” | 2 Corinthians 2:17  (NIV) 

For more, see here.

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

What should we do when someone asks us for money?

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Jesus is very clear and straightforward about giving to the poor. I don’t know why it stumps so many “Christians”, the government and homeless nonprofits, but it does.

I get lots of pushback from disciples of Jesus on giving money directly to the poor. They might spend it on booze or drugs we are told.

What do you do if walking down the street or driving your car and someone asks you for money? Do you give? If not, why not?

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

Can material goods turn our hearts away from God?


Material goods can turn our hearts away from God. The pursuit of possessions and wealth and a preoccupation with physical things is futile and dissatisfying. Materialism is defined as “the preoccupation with material things rather than intellectual or spiritual things.”

If we are preoccupied with material things, it is definitely wrong. That is not to say we cannot have material things, but the obsession with acquiring and caring for “stuff” is a dangerous thing for us as slaves of Jesus.

How should we treat the poor?

In both the Old and New Testaments, we see God’s desire for His children to show compassion to the poor and needy. Jesus said that the poor would always be with us (Matthew 26:11; Mark 14:7).

I need to care for the poor. There is no other conclusion I can come to. This isn’t something I can delegate.

Everything Jesus had to say about the homeless, wealth, prosperity, poverty, riches, the poor, the needy and giving

Jesus had a lot to say about the homeless, wealth, prosperity, poverty, riches, the poor, the needy and giving. Here is a compilation of everything I have found. It is worth reading this to get a sense of what Jesus thinks and what he requires of us.

There is a lot of confusion among the followers of Jesus about much of this. When you read it all, you will get a sense of the mind of Jesus.

My suggestion is to read through this more than once. You may want to read it once a week for a while.

What Jesus tells us needs to be thoroughly absorbed. This is foundational to the radical world Jesus wants us to be a part of.

One question to seriously ask is “Did Jesus really mean all of this?”

The second question that follows is “Knowing what I now know, what should I do?”

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Is what “we have” in terms of riches of any value to God?

Godliness with ContentmentPanic over money is greed’s cousin.

Am I content with what I have? Do I have enough to eat and clothes? Is there a good roof over my head?

When I panic over something I have lost, I have stared greed in the face. Panic shows that I am not content with what I have.

God’s goal for us is clear. His desire for us is godliness. That is what matters for eternity. What “we have” in terms of riches is of no value to God.

Godliness is the mission. All else pales in comparison. What will I leave this world with? Not money. Only my love of God matters.

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 1 Timothy 6:6-10

May I love God and be content.

May I understand the value of godliness.

7 Signs Your Budget Needs a Fresh Start –

One of the big lessons that we strive to instill in people as they come to CTCI is the value of sound financial living. It goes almost without saying that falling into monetary pitfalls is an all-too-common occurrence. And the most troubling thing is that there is so much potential for financial stability and growth in this area, given the right tools. The problem, though, is that we often don’t know where to find those tools, or even what to do with them once we acquire them. This is especially true with the young people we encounter.