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Are you a real rebel?

“22 But we want to hear what you believe, for the only thing we know about this movement is that it is denounced everywhere.”    — Acts 28:22

When the above passage was spoken…Christianity had just begun and already it was spoken against “everywhere”. Jesus Wanted Pic
It’s kind of exciting. To walk the line of accepting personal responsibility, and to live the teachings and commands of Jesus, is simply rebellious in comparison to how the current culture lives. It is truly hated by so many.
Be a true rebel and live as Jesus commands…what is typically known as rebellion today is done by so many that it has become the norm…average…and average is invisible.
Live like Jesus and be a standout…aka…outstanding!

 

 

Measure Time…

1.  How are your “fruit of the spirit” going as referenced in Galatians 5:22?

Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.

2.  Is there anybody you need to forgive?

3.  Is there anybody you need to apologize to?

4.  Get a Bible reading plan and make the commitment to read it everyday, and always ask when reading it…A. God what are you saying to me?  B. God, what do you want me to do about it?

Let me know if I can help you along the way.

Trent Renner


A New Renner Life Change is about to Release!!

2011 will forever be an unforgettable year for the Renner family.  Parkway Christian Church had just gone through a merge with Christ’s Church of the Valley and for the first time, the two churches became one Church with 2 locations.

My intent here is not to aggravate old scars, but the merge didn’t go so well.  Its doing fine now. Life moves on.  After 8 months into the merge, it became clear that I had to do something drastic.  It didn’t make sense then, but knowing what I know now…almost 5 years later…it was very necessary for layers of reasons.  (Someday I will write about the necessary reasons…it’ll make a great book, but I think it will have to wait for 20 years or so before it’s written.  Many details and reasons are still unfolding…If I had to write it now, I’d title it, “The God of Founders, Hoarders, and Shepherds”. (Please purchase this book in 2036-ish 🙂 LOL

So back to the date…On August 12, 2011…I was challenged by Bill Hybels, the keynote speaker at the Willow Creek Leadership Summit, to write whatever I wanted on a broken shard of clay pot I had chosen from a pile in the auditorium.  The pics below will show the shard, including the infamous date and what I wrote.  As I wrote it, I cried.  I meant what I wrote, and God held me to it.  The pics below show both sides of the clay pot shard…

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“WHATEVER YOU WANT. I WILL NOT BACK OFF.  I WILL NOT HOLD ANYTHING BACK FROM YOU.”

Knowing what I know now…those are very dangerous words in the hands of a God who is more interested in our character than He is our comfort.  I warn you to be careful about what pledges you lay down at the feet of the one who created the Sun, Moon, and Stars.

And so it began.  A move to Florida.  Another move within Florida.  A move back to AZ.  A move within AZ…twice.  Someday I will share the intriguing details of encountering founders, hoarders and shepherds, but for now…the story is just about at its climax and the dramatic ending is about to unfold!

This blog isn’t intended to retell the current motion picture that is about to conclude, but is more like a rough draft of the opening scene of the sequel!

Its about to happen.  I don’t know the timeline…but the Lord does.

So much has happened in the past nearly 5 years, and so many people got stuck in asking why it all happened.  Too many people drown in the question of, “why?”  I’ve taught for 25 years, that asking WHY is the wrong question.  Asking WHAT NOW is the right question.   I’m shocked at how some think that my not being in a leadership position within a church for a couple years is very odd.  Its not odd if you look to the Word of God for similar examples.  The following are four.  There are others too.

King David…after being anointed King of Israel, didn’t positionally lead until about 15 years later.

Joshua… When he was 17,  was sold into slavery by his own brothers, and it wasn’t until 13 years later that he finally got his “stride” back.

The Apostle Paul, according to what he wrote in 1 Thessalonians 2:18, was blocked by Satan from being able to continue the work of Jesus for a time.

Jesus… had a pretty good position from Heaven, and then was commanded by His father to leave His comfort zone to take a 33 year detour that left Him for dead.  The story ended well, but we only know that from 20/20 hindsight.

So…the Renner Family 5 year saga…has purpose that is still unfolding.  I’m just writing now to ask you, my friend, to pray for me and my family.

A new beginning is about to happen.  The sequel to this current movie!   I’m so convinced of this that I just purchased a brand new leather journal. (See Pic Below)  It has gold edged pages…it’s new…it’s fresh…it’s excitement yet to be written.   The sequel is about to begin!

Renner Journals

I still have my old journal, the one I’ve been using to write this current feature film…  It’s falling apart and loaded with incredible story, timelines, learnings, founders, hoarders, shepherds, lions-tigers-and-bears…Oh My!  I will continue to write in the old one until it becomes clear the current movie has ended.

I can’t wait to break open the new Journal and begin writing on the crisp pages that thirst for pencil and ink.

The trailer of the new sequel is this.

I am going to be a Lead Pastor again. The where is being wrestled with right now.  If it can’t be in a current Church that is prepared to let go of control and move forward to do whatever is necessary to reach people far from God, then I’ll plant another brand new, fresh, and flexible one. This trailer teases of  a story with incredible life change, spiritual influence, church growth, and… if God wills, a movie about the next 20 years of the Renner Family’s life.  The main characters don’t change.  They are a wonderful trio…The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  We Renner’s just have supporting roles in this movie, and with that we hope to win some rewards that make the Oscars seem so temporal.

Stay tuned…


2034….next Christmas Full Moon

Christmas is a wrap. Did you notice we had a cool full moon for Christmas? WEB-VERSION-Christmas-Day-Full-Moon-PNG 

A full moon on Christmas won’t happen again for 19 more years…2034.  19 years!  

We might not be DOing the same things 19 years from now, we might not HAVE the same things 19 years from now…the only thing we can control is WHO we are 19 years from now.  

Who we are is more important that what we do or what we have. 

Will you aim to be devoted fully to the Lord until the next Christmas full moon?  We can’t control anything but our hearts and minds (and that’s a challenge in and of itself), so, in the next 19 years, let’s not get too caught up in business results and stressed goals…may the next 19 years be fruitful spiritually in our walk with The Creator of the full moon.  May we be STEADY people of God. The rest of things in life will happen, whether we want them to or not. I dare you to be crazy committed to Jesus until the next Christmas full moon.  Do that and then we’ll look back as rich-rich people and recalibrate for another long run.  Lord willing…I’ll be 64 then…how old will you be?  Here comes 2016…let’s get started!

Action steps

Read the Word of God daily.

Get a Bible reading plan and stick to it.

When daily reading…remember that the Bible is a Library, not just a book.  When reading in your library always ask these two questions, and then obey what you find out.  1.  God, what are you trying to say to me?  2. God, what do you want me to do about it?  

Ready…Set…Go! 🙂


Trent Renner’s 2015 Africa Trip. Post 4 of 4… What a day Monday!!

Oh, what a great day. ( I will post pics when I return home…the Wifi is painfully slow here.) 

I awoke to one of the most beautiful mornings I’ve ever had.  The weather was slightly overcast with no rain, but a cool 65 degrees.  Uganda is on the Equator and everything is so very green.  Palm trees pressed against mango and papaya trees.  Lush hedges, green grass.  You just really need to see it for yourself.  Sam was running late this morning so I simply grabbed a chair and took it just outside the small cafe/kitchen of the hotel…took my coffee with me and just soaked it all in.  It was a moment of refreshing and gratefulness. 

Sam arrived about 40 minutes later and we went inside and had some breakfast.  The way to explain the breakfast would be to simply call it a breakfast burrito.  Africa has their version of flatbread…but its thinner than flatbread.  Maybe it could be Africa’s version of a tortilla…but it thicker than a tortilla…its called chapati.  They have the most wonderful egg omelets….they cook them very thin.  Then they take the omelet and lay it on the chapati and roll it like an awesome breakfast burrito.  Africa is known for tea so there is plenty of it to drink.  It was nearly a perfect morning.  The only thing missing was you! 

When breakfast was finished we gathered up our daily items of water bottles and bags, mosquito repellent. (BTW…there are hardly any mosquitos this trip…it’s the rainy season and there seem to be very few.), a few snacks and we were off to the 15 minute drive to Sam’s School called, “Wings of Grace.” 

The children at the school were ready.  When I got out of the car you could hear the shrills of excitement and you could see the children waving their welcomes!  Today was a day of presentations and celebrations.  Dancing, singing, laughing, playing.  Pure Joy!  I was treated like a guest of honor.  So many children introducing themselves in front of the whole school.  Singing with great passion, loudness, rhythm, and spectacular African dancing.  These children know how to dance.  It is obvious that they feel the music when they dance!  You must come witness it with me. 

The presentation went on for an hour or two. The teachers of the school acted out a play that made all my smile muscles ache.  The children were given gifts from some left over Samaritan’s purse Christmas boxes and this really created a buzz of joy.  When the celebration was over, I was hugged and thanked for helping them have better lives.  It is quite an emotional experience.  The people of Bugiri Uganda are so grateful and they express it with purity back to God and anybody who has blessed their lives.

I climbed back into the car and it was time to go and visit some fresh water wells that we have been able to provide.  These visits are exciting to me.  It requires that we travel deeper into the African bush.  We get out of town and head into the equator of the earth.  It is beautiful.  So much untouched natural creation.  You see it like God created it and it is breathtaking.  And then you arrive to meet God’s favorite of all creation…his people.  Many of these people, out in the African bush, have not seen white people.  I scared many children! LOL.  It is quite an experience to be the only white person for miles and miles.  Even if they have seen a white person, it is rare and fascinating to them.  It is a strange experience.  These people of God’s creation are beautiful and expressive…and in great desperation of the very things we in America take for granted.  Clean water.  There is much food in Uganda.  My trip this time brought me right into the middle of mango season.  They  are EVERYWHERE.  The ground is littered with mangos.  It is a time of joy for the kids.  As we drive down the roads…more like cattle trails instead of roads…you can see little village mud huts and outside are children climbing the mango trees or a group of them standing under a mango tree with a long stick trying to knock off the fresh mango fruit about to fall.  When you greet the children this time of year and shake their hands…they are very sticky from the sugar of mangos.  Its not gross…its funny.  Nothing a little wash of the hands from the new fresh water borehole won’t take care of! 

The boreholes…aka…fresh water wells that are hand pumped…provide the cleanest freshest water you’ve seen.  We visited one in a village called Sanika that was drilled in the shade of some huge trees…some of them mango trees.  It seemed the water came out ice cold and as clear as I’ve ever seen it.  Prior to receiving this borehole the people would have to walk about 2 miles, one direction, to carry water back from a diseased water hole.  This water hole is at the low point of the area, so all the rainwater running off the land and picking up animal feces and dead animal carcass disease with it.  Then the people have no choice but to drink it.  It is their only option.  Until you came into the picture.  Thank you for teaming with me and Return Hope.  We are providing fresh water wells to people who have never had fresh water in their lives. 

When the well begins to pump…and the people begin to drink the fresh water.  I am convinced you can witness them getting healthier already.  Fresh water wells changes the life of someone immediately.  Their kidneys and liver begin to function properly because they are loaded down with water born diseased and bacteria.  Skin diseases go away.  Nobody should have to drink dirty water in the 21 century.  Thank you.

We are in process of actually drilling 7 fresh water holes as you are reading this.  Each borehole can easily serve 10,000 people.  That is a lot of changed lives.  That is a lot of thankfulness.  You can imagine my day as we traveled and visited these fresh water wells.  The people knew we were coming and they were excited.  The came bearing gifts of nuts, mangos, chickens.  We had to accept their gifts.  Our trunk of the car was full.  We simply take the gifts back to the school children in town.  It is a win/win for everybody.  We were in some very poor villages or we would have probably had several goats given to us as well. 

One of the wells we drilled recently…had a problem and dried up.  We don’t know why.  But, we promise the people that Return Hope will never leave something that goes wrong undone.  You and I both know that things can go wrong.  So…it was exciting for me to show up and tell the people who’s well had gone dry that the drilling rigs would be following behind the new water surveyors and that a new well would be drilled within the next 14 days.  It feels good to prove our integrity.  I’m almost grateful for the well drying up, because it gave me a chance to prove I’m a man of my word.  The people were so grateful.  Imagine how concerned they must have felt after having fresh water for 6 months and then seeing the well literally go dry.  I imagine the people felt deep desperation thinking they would have to return to the diseased water source.   Again…it didn’t take long for us to solve the problem.  We found out the drilling company we were using…didn’t actually survey that specific water well location.  The locals told us they never brought out a surveyor like they usually do, or what is professionally called a geophysical surveyor equipment that identifies where great underwater sources are.  So…we fired that company and interviewed  a new one and we are convinced this one will not try to cheat us.  Time tells all things!  We are able to fix any problems with the wells without any extra costs to the donor who gave the money for the well to be drilled.  God is good….he provides, if you trust Him!

Return Hope charges 7000.00 US dollars for a fresh water borehole.  You can’t beat that price…and I promise you we do it with the best materials for drilling and pumping.  The water wells and the land are given as a gift to the community.  Nobody but God owns that water well and the people respect it and desperately need it.  I’ll post pictures when I return. 

That is what we did the rest of the day.  It began to get dark and the rain clouds were looking pretty dark and were approaching.  As the sun was setting I got to ride in the car back out of the African bush and into town.  Again…Uganda isn’t nicknamed “The Pearl of Africa” for no reason.  You must see it with your own eyes. 

I’m considering a short trip in October.  I think I can get us all back here for about 5 days on the ground for a very good price.  Do you think you could scramble raising some funds and join me?  October is one of the cheapest times to fly to Africa.  That is the biggest expense.  I don’t bring people to Africa to make money.  I do all I can to break even on the costs.  I promise you we will do a quick mission trip at the cheapest price I can get you.  You must come with me.  You’ll never be the same. 

I’m preparing to leave Africa today.  I have a 3 hour drive back into the city of 5 million.  Kampala Africa.  My plane doesn’t leave until 11:30 pm.  I think I have just finally adjusted to the 10 hour time change…but with only 3 days on the ground…it’s time to be thrown off my time clock again.  It can be a pretty brutal flight.  I won’t lie to you.  But it’s worth it. 

I love you and I’m grateful you have read along this journey with me.  Thank you for investing in Return Hope, financially.  If you are not doing so, would you please consider it? 

Jesus did so much for each of us.  We must return the love in anyway we can.  I can’t think of a better place or a better people, or a better need than those of Uganda. 

If you have questions please just contact me. 

trent@returnhope.com

The emails come directly to me.  I will personally answer them quickly. 

See you back on USA soil soon. 

Travel with me to Africa soil soon!

Trent


Trent Renner’s Uganda Africa Trip 2015…Post 2 (Saturday)

It’s a long read, but I pray the content is worth your time!…

I awakened to a beautiful morning in Africa’s rainy season.  I could hear the rain. I could hear a rooster crowing, and I could hear a resident across the street blaring old church hymn music.  I asked Sam what she was doing playing that music so loud on a Saturday morning, and he told me that she was preparing for Sunday.  The people here have a strong faith, and its foundation is built on the American TV preacher.  They believe in a prosperity message.  If you give you will be blessed financially…yet poverty is ruling their lives.  I think the Ugandan people would benefit in knowing more of the relational and  practical side of biblical understanding and not so much the style of understanding the Television preacher’s teach.   

I got up, organized my room, packed my bags, and headed down two flights of stairs to breakfast.  Eggs and sausage.  It was a small breakfast, but it was good.  I brought my coffee with me from Starbucks.  The micro ground kind you can simply add to hot water.  You would think that the Coffee in Uganda would be great, but it is not.  They serve instant coffee.  Somebody in Uganda could start a coffee business and be very successful.  Maybe Return Hope will get that started someday, with a local farmer.   

We got in the car and our driver took Sam and I to Bugiri, Uganda.  My second home.  We immediately stopped at the Return Hope Headquarters and office house.  Sam lives in this facility too.  I got to meet the team that Sam has put together.  The paid staff are 5 in number.  3 men and two women.  (I will show you a pic when I return home.)  They are a good team and they are very proud of the work they do.  I am more proud of them.  Return Hope International simply wouldn’t exist without them.  The house we rent for our headquarters is beautiful.  It is one of the nicest homes in Bugiri and it costs Return Hope 160 dollars a month to rent.  Outside the house is parked the Return Hope Dump Truck.  This truck is the main work horse in our school construction project going on.  Once we are done using the truck for construction, we will begin to daily rent it out and it will become an income source for the school.  Remember, RHI’s goal is get the people of Bugiri to be self sufficient not more reliant on Donors.  Generating income is our highest goal, other than getting people to honor the Lord. 

After some time at the house talking with the staff, we left and ventured to the School that Return Hope is building a new facility for.   The school was founded by our director, Oketch Sam.  Sam, 5 years ago, sold his personal property and bought a small parcel of land and began to teach the children who were too poor to go to school anywhere else. He named the school “Wings of Grace.” 3 years later, Sam and I crossed each other’s paths and God has us working together in a direction that is changing thousands of lives for Jesus.  I am so grateful to work with Sam.  He is strong and highly organized leader.  I am so impressed with him!

Last year, Return Hope flew Sam to America to speak at Christ’s Church of Fountain Hills.  Pastor Don Lawrence and CCFH committed to give a year end offering for us to build a new school facility.  That offering is what has set into motion a school facility that has all the government officials of Uganda paying visits to check it out.  You see, Sam started his school by first renting a small building right next to a busy road.  2 years into that facility the government officials told him his building was too close to the road and they feared a car veering off the road would endanger the lives of the school children.  Sam was forced to move onto his parcel of land he bought.  However, it was just land.  There were no facilities at all.  So, Sam asked me if we had some money to help him get started.  Return Hope at the time was just starting and we had very little money.  What we had, we sent.  Sam was able to buy tree poles for support walls and then used mud to fill in the gaps of the walls and bought sheets of corrugated tin to use as roof material.  Every time it rained, the kids would have to rebuild and repair the mud walls for them to be able to have any kind of a facility.  The mud would dry and crack and snakes would live in the cracks of the walls.  But the students progressed and were grateful for a chance to earn a good education.  One year later…

Enter Christ Church of Fountain Hills!  Their year-end offering allowed us to dream big about a school facility that could change this whole town of Bugiri.  By this time Return Hope was also having some success in getting others to invest in the Jesus work we are doing.  The building that Christ’s Church of Fountain Hills invested in, began.  The year end offering was committed to build the foundation and first floor of a building that will soon be 6 stories tall.  It will be seen from up to 2 or 3 miles away.  It will be able to enroll approximately 1000 children.  Children who have never been able to access education before…Christian Education!  As I arrived on the property, and toured the, almost completed foundation, and first floor, I was in awe.  When this building is finished it is going to be a monument to the impossible work that Jesus can make possible.  Sam was laughed at by many local officials when he arrived at the city government building and told them what he was going to build.  They told him that men like himself can’t build buildings like this. They told him he is too poor and not an important enough man.  The first engineer that Sam tried to hire, to draw the blueprints, laughed at Sam and walked off and told him that he would only embarrass himself trying to build such a great facility.  Sam hired a different guy.  This engineer’s name is Paul.  He is very smart and took great pride showing me the blueprints and touring the construction work in progress.  Nobody is laughing anymore!

I am inspired by this building.  I never dreamed Return Hope would accomplish something so impactful, so quickly.  This building has caught so much attention that Ugandan Government officials are coming by to witness it.  It is being built with the best quality materials we can find in Uganda.  In fact, we couldn’t find the quality of cement in Uganda we needed, that is worthy of putting Jesus’s name on the building, so we purchased it from Kenya. 

I am so grateful for Christ’s Church of Fountain Hills because their foundation work is exactly that.  Most of their money went to lay the foundation and first floor of a building that has the strength to carry 5 floors above it!  The foundation had to be dug down deep, with giant footers.  The soil we dug through to lay this foundation, was not soil, but rock that had to be pick axed through.  This building is meant to stand for decades if not a century!  That is what Jesus and the Children of Uganda deserve.  In this small town, this new School with 6 total potential stories, will be considered a High Rise or skyscraper!  It is a monument to Jesus making possible, the impossible.

I imagine a future Ugandan President coming out of this school someday.  How about a future Olympic Athlete?  Teachers, preachers, world businessmen and women will come from this school.  All of them fully devoted followers of Jesus. Conversions to Christ are taking place already.  There are some local muslim children that attend our Christian School.  The future it bright!  The Ugandan government officials made us change the septic tank location of the masterplan of this facility.  They said they were not able to tell us why, but what they could tell us is that the city is planning on growing right in the area of the school and they wanted the septic tank…which is huge, (I’ll post a pic later) to tie into the future planned city sewer system.  They said our school is going to be close to a major road that will be built through the area.  The government officials told us it looks like we are building a University, not a children’s school!  I love that!  That is the kind of work that we must build to adequately represent the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

We, together are changing thousands of lives, and we are doing it under the name of Jesus as Lord!  I am inspired by the work that is happening.  This facility will be used for more than school children.  It will be a social center for people at night.  It will be a business training center.  Women can learn tailoring and other business skills.  Sam pastors a church that meets on location and it is growing.  I personally want to fund a future zip line that is attached to the top of this giant building.  This facility is intended to be a social outreach center for the entire town!

After this day, I am emboldened.  I am inspired and I will not be shy in asking for your investment in this work.  If you know me, you know the integrity that is going into this work.  I refuse to allow our work to get caught up in high overhead costs, bureaucracy, and power plays.    This is about Jesus The Christ!  This mission and movement is lead by Ugandan natives, like Sam.  I want us Americans to simply be the financial catalyst and the servants that helps set these great Ugandan people free from the trap of poverty and walks with them into self sufficiency.

I spent the rest of day at the school property just watching the wonderful people of Uganda use the property as a place of safe, loving community.  Children playing with a worn out soccer ball.  Children and women lined up to take clean water home to their family from the school’s new fresh water well that Return Hope drilled.  Older men sitting in chairs under a mango tree playing a game together.  It was a sight…that might be a little like Heaven. 

I am so grateful for you.  I am so grateful for what God is doing through us. 

When the first floor is finished and it will be soon, there are 5 floors that we must invest in together.  The quality of work we are doing in not cheap, like most of the buildings that are built by outsiders.  Each floor will cost around 30,000 US dollars, but each floor holds and loves around 250 students and teachers!  Would you consider teaming with anyone you can rally to invest in the finishing of this life changing facility.   I am bringing blue prints home with me.  I will post the square footage and pictures to help you comprehend how important this facility is and how reasonable the costs are…specially for the work of the Lord and for the very people Jesus commanded us to serve. 

I went back to the hotel in Bugiri, too tired to eat dinner.  I stepped into the humble little room of the hotel. No carpet, Mosquito net bed. One small room in which the little bed takes up nearly all the space.  A little bathroom where the toilet sits nearly under the shower nozzle.  A tiny sink in the corner.  I’m not comfortable, but I’m content.  The humid air is so still, I begged Sam to get me the oscillating fan he has in the office so I could have some air movement.  He went and got me the fan.  I love that man of God. 

I put my head to the pillow at about 8pm.  It was a good day.  God is good. I miss my family deeply, but the work must go on.  Jesus commands it. 

Stay tuned for Sunday.  I will be attending the Church that Sam leads in our School.  I’m sure they will ask me to speak, but I’d like to listen to a Ugandan preacher for once.  Maybe they will simply let me attend. 

I’ll let you know tomorrow.  My stay is so short this trip…I’m only on the ground for 3 days.  I can’t believe its almost time to go home and get back to doing what I must do.  Raising financial investments in this great Jesus work.  Would you invest? Are you storing up treasure in Heaven? Are you sacrificing for the least of these? It’s an investment that lasts for eternity!  It’s an investment that will cause you to meet people in Heaven who look very different from you, but you will be greeted and thanked with the biggest smile you’ve ever seen.  The Ugandan people are the most friendly people I have ever met.  They need our help to break them from extreme poverty.  We are progressing.  I pray for your investment in this work. 

Maybe someday you’ll come with me to this magical place and marvelous people.


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