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Trajectory – Shift Happens

One decision, one person, one integrity problem, one accident, one encounter…and your entire life trajectory can be altered for eternity. We are all just one decision from having our entire life trajectory being altered for eternity. I have never in my life imagined living in Orlando Florida. I planted a church in Phoenix Arizona and dreamed to be the Lead Pastor of that Church for 40 years and then retire and pass the baton to one of my sons and ask to have the Church broom so I could be the Church Janitor and best cheerleader the new pastor could dream of. To be perfectly honest I hate the phrase, ‘If you want to make God laugh just tell Him your plans.” I hate it, but I get it.

I am completely dumbfounded, flabbergasted, blown away, that I now live in Orlando Florida. My family’s trajectory change has moments of thrill and moments of chill…yah…the bad kind of chill. One decision… has me living 2,180 miles from anything I have ever known and facing giants and obstacles that make my skin crawl, my heart ache, my blood pressure to rise, and my heart to beat faster for the thrill of the challenge. One decision led to this. One decision that I know I was supposed to make. How do I know that I was supposed to make it? Because God told me to. It was so clear that, if I had to make the decision again, knowing what I know now, I would have to make the same decision because God was that clear. Steve Jobs said that we can never connect the dots looking forward, only looking back. Others say we all have 20/20 hindsight.

So the average comfy Christian would reply to my paragraph above, “Its okay, Trent…God must have wanted you to live in Orlando Florida and have you doing what you are doing now…or… what happened wouldn’t have happened, its all God’s plan…so let go and let God.” Isn’t that convenient. I’m not a Calvanist and I think that answer is a copout. Its wrong to place all the blame or responsibility on God. Its easy to blame God for the disasters/trajectory changes going on in your life. When you blame God nobody else has to accept responsibility. The phrase, “God’s Got This” is true but that is different than saying God caused this. Want an example?

Adam and Eve. Did God plan and intend for them to break His rules of not eating of the specific trees in the Garden of Eden? Did God tell Himself before He created Adam and Eve….”Hey I’m going to create this thing called people and I am going to love them because I made them in my image to be like me…but in my plan I’ve got this little fun twist I want to play around with…I’m going to cause them to screw it all up. I am going to watch them become ashamed of each other and then I plan on watching them kill each other and then I’m going to kill my own Son to pay the price for their screw ups and how fun it will be…because I”m gonna blow them all away by raising my son from the dead after I kill Him! God leans to His right and asks His Son…”Sound Cool, Jesus?” “You up for this great plan, Son?” Jesus says, “that’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard, Dad.” God replies, “Oh, Jesus…don’t be a bad sport. You can do it! Think of the adventure!” So God proceeds with his “will” and for thousands of years orchestrates rapes, gangster murder, divorce and hate, suicide bombers, as He leans back into His memory foam love-sac and from His game room in His gated community called Heaven, xbox 360 controller in hand, intensely playing through His favorite game called Life. Press X for Jump, Y to knife, UP arrow to receive prayer, DOWN arrow for eternal punishment…

Too cynical for you? Yah…me too…I’m in a sassy mood. Its been a rough week. It all makes we want to scream from my roof top that Life was never intended to be this way. If you can read through my cynicism there’s actually a good lesson here.

Trajectory Shift. Your’s might shift tomorrow. Everything you’ve been doing for the past 13/20/60 years could be completely annihilated before your very eyes…tomorrow. If it happens you’ll be put in a trajectory change that will make you question everything you thought you knew about life, the people around you and leave you screaming, Why?!” Ask yourself… Do you trust that person you are about to make the deal with? Do you trust your spouse? Do you trust your dad? Do you trust that taxi driver as you jump in the back seat. Do you trust the engineer who just built the bridge. Do you trust the man who put the bolt in the truss hanging over your head in that giant football stadium? Do you trust the driver on the other side of the dotted yellow line? Do you trust the councelor who is meeting behind closed doors with your child? Do you trust the guy working under you as he sees the rungs of the ladder above you? Do you trust the spiritual mentor you’ve had in your life for the past 20 plus years? Do you trust your preacher and how he handles the church finances? Do you trust the man dressed up in a SWAT uniform carrying a gun across the parking lot of the movie theater? Trust and Trajectory shifts…they go hand in hand.

Its tough to walk the fine line of trusting someone, something, and at the same time making sure everybody signs the dotted line of security.

In God We Trust…everybody else pays cash and signs the agreement.
I’ve learned in the past year about trust and security and trajectory shift. God is the only one we can fully trust without thinking much about it, without worry, without stress. He always has our best interest in mind, even if it doesn’t feel good. Everybody else…you will have to choose to trust, it will require some security backup like contracts and waivers. Even then its a finicky trust. Its a trust that if all parties aren’t seeking the best interest of each other it will end up in a trajectory shift in your life that will take your breath away and you will be bothered by it the rest of your life. Shift Happens!

I chose to trust. 20/20 hindsight proves that it was a blind and naive trust. I didn’t have anybody sign the agreement that I wrote up. I didn’t get perfect clarity before I committed. I feel like a dummy. I trusted. I quietly pulled back the paperwork, folded it in half and slid it in my back pocket. Oh…I’d like that 20 seconds of time back. I believed in the idealistic dream that everybody has everybody else’s benefit in mind. You see…it takes two to make a plan work right. It takes all parties listening to God and behaving like God to make God’s plan work. Even one entity thinking only for themselves and the deal is bust. Trajectory Shift starting in 10…9…8…

I do not blame anyone, but myself. I don’t blame the other party. I most definitely do not blame God. I’m just heart broken over all the shift! Its a load of shift. I’m sick to my stomach…frequently…about it all. What does a man do now? I know the answer to that question!

You get up, shake the dust off your clothes and put your feet on the ground and start over. What else can you do? It doesn’t work to keep laying in the dirt bloodied and pathetic. It doesn’t work to listen to the voice of the critic. It doesn’t work to listen to the voice of one who is celebrating as you suffer the shift. You get up! Tomorrow arrives consistently everyday. Time keeps ticking whether I want it to stop or not. I must choose to fully grasp the shift and make the most of it. Shifts make for new beginnings, new places, new plans. Pain and trajectory shifts are twins. Pain doesn’t mean its bad, its just reality. Trajectory shifts means somebody didn’t get what they hoped for. That causes agony, but new beginnings too. My trajectory shift has landed me in another part of the country and feels like another part of the world. My trajectory shift has me realizing that everybody is the same whether you live in Arizona or in Florida…Uganda or Peru…Jerusalem or Paris.

I am truly understanding for the first time in my life what the Bible means by all Creation groans for the return of the King, Jesus Christ. I used to think only weak people groaned for the return of Jesus. I’ve realized its just the opposite. People who really haven’t faced a crushing trajectory shift in their life, who sit under the umbrella of false security and false contentment are the soft ones who don’t understand why people groan for the return of Jesus. If you aren’t groaning for the return of Jesus you have the “blessed” position of comfort and a life truly unaltered. You’ve gotten your way for too long. To this type of person, it is alarming to think of Jesus returning, for life is too good to have it all end now. Death terrifies this type of person because life is too good. What a crazy, wild, out of control world we live in…its quite thrilling if you think about it. I guess its all how you view life.

I am astonished at the patience and love that Jesus carried with Him every minute of the short time He lived here as one of us. He encountered such selfish people. On rare occasions we can see when He encountered a person that “inspired” Him. It was usually a person who had faced incredible hardship and trajectory shifts in their life. It takes my breath away when I think about how much restraint, that God the Father must have, to NOT send His Son back down here to settle the score once and for all and end the nonsense, the selfishness, the clamoring for power and privilege and position. Fighting for who answers to who. Scheming to get what they want when they want it. I want to scream…Jesus…please stop the madness! God’s patience is maddening to me and at the same time a beautiful gift to me. And you!

Its enough to make a pastor throw in the towel of ministry to go work at Home Depot. But…

No chance.
I’ll never quit.
Yes…I said it…Never.

I have been crushed. The crushing has made me smarter, harder, more aware. I’m not sure if all of those things are good or not? I assume it depends on how I use those knew weapons from this day forward.

Time tells all things. Trajectory shift changes all things.
For now…the trajectory has shifted. Shift happens. I can handle it. It just makes me weary. I must rest…for tomorrow is guaranteed to begin. The sun will rise. The Son will return. In the mean time….
I’ll try not to screw it up. If I do…that’ll change the trajectory again. Trajectory change wouldn’t be so bad if it was just me that it affected. The trajectory shift I experienced a year ago…because of one decision,…affected more than 20,000 people. Their trajectory was altered, even though multitudes of them will never know. I wish it would have just affected me. I faced an incredibly scary decision just a few nights ago that I had to make. I made it and my trajectory has shifted again. This trajectory shift has affected nearly 1000 people. In the next few days and weeks all involved with experience more trajectory shift because of the choices of a few.

I wonder if there is a viewing room in Heaven where we can someday go to see what should have been or what could have been if all parties would have just acted like Jesus. I don’t think an actual room exists, though, because the Bible says there will be no tears. Sitting in the viewing room of what should have been, would make any viewer watching their “should have been life” flash before their eyes, cry. If there was such a room, it would have a no vacancy sign on because it would be full of those who insisted that their life stay the same. It will be full of people who clawed and fought for only what they want. The video playing in that room will terrify those who refused to change, stretch, grow, give and risk. If you haven’t faced tremendous trajectory shift in your life, it will only be a matter of time. I think there are two kinds of people in the world. Those coming out of a crushing trajectory shift and those who are getting ready to enter a crushing trajectory shift.

As hard as the trajectory shift is…the shift is actually a gift from God. This wasn’t all in God’s plan. I will never know what God had planned in the plan before this trajectory shift. I will be thought provoked for the rest of my life wondering what could have been if everybody would have stayed in God’s will.
The things that happened has caused God to have to change His plan. It has caused God to pick up the ashes
What does a man do in this situation?

It makes him simply say…What now Lord? Here I am use me.

Trust God that He didn’t cause this trajectory change. Man did.
Trust God at His word that He’ll make beauty from ashes. He will.

The Shift is a Gift!

May your past be the sound of your feet upon the ground.
Carry on.

Trent


25 Comments

  • Reply Lena |

    Oh, Trent, I get this, I SO get this…I have been thru many shifts, and they seem to be coming faster and more frequently. One almost killed me, both physically and spiritually. What that brokenness led to though, has been a steady, calm, quiet trust in God. In the past few weeks, I’ve had more shift happen and I am able to (most of the time) keep my focus on God and quietly trust that He knows, He cares and He is working it all out. Isaiah 61:3 is real. I don’t have my beauty from ashes yet, not in a way that I can see, but I do have beauty in my life. The fact that I can see that, at all, is a miracle, because I’ve been in the place where I could not see it. Scary. Dark. Place. I will not allow myself to go back there. I’m so grateful our paths crossed. I’m grateful that you will never quit. I’m sorry that your shift took you so far away. I’m thankful God is working in and on us. I love you and your family, and you are in my prayers. Be blessed and (continue to) be a blessing.

  • Reply Pedro Cruz |

    Thank you.

    In the book “7 habits of highly effective people” the trajectory shift that you talk abut creates a paradigm shift, a moment in one’s life where clarity overtakes you, clarity that frees you from self-deception.

    Thank you. I know writing this was hard. Thank you for your veracity and straightforwardness. I, and many like me, really needed this tonight.

    Joshua 24:15
    And for me and my house, we will serve the Lord

  • Reply Sabrina Fischer |

    You have such an amazing gift, Trent. I’m glad you will never quit.

  • Reply Karen Ault |

    Thank you for sharing from your heart.

    I believe that God starts off with his orginial plan and man can choose to walk in it or not and sometimes other people can throw us off our God given course… but God always picks up those pieces and puts them together for a greater plan B, or plan C. Outside of the initial blow…the hardest part is waiting while God is rearranging the pieces.

    I am glad that you won’t quit. You are a gifted teacher/preacher! Praying for clarity and direction for you and your family!

  • Reply Sherry |

    Shift happens has become something I say weekly because of you. I’m praying for you and your family. As I found out this week life definately changes in a second when my mother had a stroke. But through all that the Lord was there.

    I have had many many people caused tragectory changes in my life some of them life threatening. But yet here I stand/ sit typing to you. Hang in there my friend.

    Romans 8:28 has never let me down I know it won’t you.

    Blessings,

  • Reply The Jenkins |

    Pastor Trent we can definitely relate to moving a family for a job, then it not working out. The control it takes not to allow anger to take root is great. I have personally been through similar frustrations. So, you want to know were you could go from here… my family would like to know when and where you will be preaching this sun. Coming? I’m sure there is a house big enough that we can pile In. We believe in the mission that God has placed in your heart.
    Lets continue with that mission.
    Clyde&Shelley

  • Reply Greg Merritt |

    Trent I really hope that you and the family find a place that people really understand what you are teaching them about salvation.
    My friend I am proud to have been a parkway member and to have the next level challenges that you threw out from your direct in your face no silly fluff preaching style.
    I know that myself and my family plus many more still miss you out here but realize that we all have to grow and go from what you brought us and challenged us with.
    I know I am not as focused on my walk with Christ as I was before while at Parkway just need to find that place that ignited the fire I had before I know it is God who can do it but I fall short of asking him to help me to grow now. Or maybe I have become complacent with life whatever it is I don’t know. I am sure their is a God Smack waiting to wake me up soon.

    The churches (most) seemed to be focused on the walls being the church not just a meeting place and we need to be the church where ever we are at all day long

    Wow I bounced all over with my comment I miss the best Pastor I have had leading me and my family closer to god.

    I will pray for clarity and focus and Gods hand to lead you on your next adventure wherever it my be we miss you

    Take care
    Greg

    (Yep my grammar sucks and thoughts are random but you gotta love me for me)

  • Reply Suzanne |

    Pastor,
    Florida is a long way from Arizona, but prayers from here are still reaching you and your family. I so get it with what you are saying and going through. Been there, done that, didn’t get the t-shirt because I pressed forward. Not dwelling in the valley, but growing and moving on. When you return to Arizona, let us know so we can begin to build a new church.
    Blessings

  • Reply Liz |

    Trent,
    It is so nice to finally hear your heart. It seems you were silent for so long. So many unanswered questions and a silence from you that has hurt quite a few people, including myself. It is humbling for me – as one who was hurt – to hear from you on this level. I was one of the 20,000 who’s family’s life was shifted, as you said. I don’t say this to make you feel bad, I just appreciate that you are willing to share in your “shift.” I share in your longing in the Lord’s return more than you can imagine. I remember one time in a Loop 101 class when I asked you about your thoughts on it, and you kind of answered in a way that you described above – that it was only the soft and weak who desired His return . I felt like less of a Christian for wanting “out.” But I have surely come to realize everything you said in your blog above is true. When life happens, and it will happen to everyone, you will see how desperately we all need our Savior and that this world has nothing for us. We are truly just passing through on our way home. Doesn’t mean we give up, but we definitely need to be looking up. I continue to pray for you and your family Trent! Romans 8:28 brother πŸ™‚

    • Reply Trent |

      Stay tuned my friend. I have a big meeting on Thursday the 9th and will be determining what the Renner Family’s next steps are.

    • Reply Trent Renner |

      “Trent who?” is right…I’m just a nobody trying to tell you that you are a somebody that I’d do anything I could to promote your progress and purpose. Trent

  • Reply Heather |

    Hi Trent

    Thank you for writing about your trajectory. My family was a member of Parkway and we have gone through so much “Shift” this year that I am ready to get off of the ride because I am about to puke. But we stay on and we carry on. When I go through so much “Shift” I reread my favorite bible verse 2 Timothy 1:7 ” For the Lord has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.”

    Then I dust myself off and get back up. Tomorrow comes and new challenges await. We can do it because of my Trust in God.

    I hope your meeting went well on the 9th. Did Shift happen again?

  • Reply Crystal |

    Hi Trent,

    We’ve never met, though we both were near this Sunday in Orlando at the Coalition. I just wanted to tell you that there are so many people who love you here. I know you will do well no matter where you go, but I’ve heard so many wonderful things about you from people that I respect and admire. I looked you up today as suggested by one such person and I can see what they mean, combined with all the wonderful things they had to say about you.

    I just wanted you to know that these people and the stories I hear about you, make me want to be a part of a church again, even possibly a Christian again (I know that sounds backwards). I go occasionally on Fridays to hang out with this group because I love how they love and I want to love like they do. But I haven’t set foot in a “church building” on Sunday because of the lack of Jesusness I faced. Perhaps my faith is weak, but I walked away from Christianity, only stepping near it when I congregate with these particular folks.

    Anyway, my main reason for writing this is to say that these recent circumstances, though awful and painful and I’m so sorry you’ve had to deal with them, has raised hope in me for some reason. I had lost it long ago when I had my own issues with “the church.” Right now I see hope because I see people truly CARE about changing the church into LOVE! When I tried to do this before, naively, and on my own, I faced authoritative giants who ignored me, pushed me aside, and ultimately asked me to find a new church because I was young, and asked a lot of questions, and was passionate in moving forward and getting involved. I was weak and fell away. But now, I’m interested again. I love people. And I saw 99% of Christians as unloving. So I left, prematurely perhaps, but I left. Through the orchestration of God perhaps, I have found my way back in relationship with people I wasn’t in relationship before who LOVE God and LOVE like Him! THAT is a church I’d go to. That could draw me back into believing in Jesus. I feel a fire again, and I felt I should share that with you in hopes to encourage you. My faith is not your responsibility, but something about all this is stirring me up again, and it’s a wonderful feeling.

    ~From a young, super talkative, ex-Christian (but still seeking), who loves and wants to love ALL people more every day, however that may be.

    • Reply Trent Renner |

      Wow…Crystal. I am touched. Thank you for your kind words and I love to watch somebody wrestle with God. I do plenty of my own wresting with Him too. I am going to plant a new church and as much as I would love to start it right here Oviedo and/or Winter Springs, God is making it clear that the actual location I’m supposed to plant is a bit further south in Lake Nona. It would be a worthwhile drive. I would be honored to have you be a part of the pioneering team to start a Church that is everything you dreamed a church should be. I would love to hear your opinion about your willingness to drive down to Lake Nona to be a part of a great church community of believers. Love to hear your thoughts.
      Trent

  • Reply Bonnie |

    Hi Trent~

    I feel lost- you taken away- you were such a blessing to us. But knowing God works in Mysterious ways..Myself and many others (dedicated ones) feel that the Lord sent YOU here for a reason. It was a Spiritual Awakening when you were here. Lake Nona sounds far coming from Oviedo..but as always, God’s will be done. Please keep us posted on where you will be!

    Miss you and love you, Sister in Christ,

    Bonnie (and others)

  • Reply The Jenkins |

    Best wishes with Lake Nona. I would have loved being apart of this transition.

    If you need anyone in regards to moving, etc. call us 352-658-3270

    Clyde&Shelley

  • Reply Amy |

    Trent, Thank you so much for sharing your heart. We just learned today that you are no longer at Metro and I must tell you that our hearts are heavy. We started attending there just a few short weeks before you arrived and you totally energized us and made us feel optomistic about finally finding a place where we could learn, worship, and serve again. Since we returned from my husband’s 10 month work assignment in San Diego, where we attended Shadow Mountain Church (Dr. David Jeremiah is the Pastor), we have been searching for a church home. We have visited many but it wasn’t until we heard you that we felt that we had once again found sound Bible based teaching. You not only have God-given gifts but you are also willing to use them for His Glory. I know shift happens. I know that life goes on. I also know that we are all in the process of learning but it helps so much to have a competent pastor/teacher. Please let us know when and where you will be. We are very interested in helping you in your new endeavor. We would welcome the opportunity to meet with you to get to know you better and share with you how we might be able to help. In the meantime, please know that we will be praying for you and your family as God reveals His Plans for your new trajectory!

    In His Love and ours,
    Amy & Keith Schultz

    • Reply Trent Renner |

      Hey Amy and Keith. Thanks for your kind words. Interesting…just a week ago, someone gave me a book written by David Jeremiah. I have yet to read it but I’m sure it’ll be a good read. I am having to guard my attitude and hurt from Metro. Hurt turns into anger and I don’t want that. I’ve never seen such explosive growth and such a powerful presence of God in 7 weeks while at Metro. I must move on. I will be starting a new church in the Lake Nona area soon. I would love to have some people who would like to Pioneer with me in this venture. Stay tuned.

  • Reply Larry |

    Trent,

    I don’t know what is going on at Metro….we had only attended a couple times. But, I will tell you that you brought a depth of God that is unique in the Orlando area. You truly brought God’s word and an essence of who God is.

    It is unfortunate that the church leadership chose a direction that led to your “shift”. I will tell you that it calls into question the trust that we, the congregation, can place in the leadership of the church.

    I would love to follow you to any location in the Orlando area. If you stay in the area, please drop me a line. God has great things in store for you!

  • Reply Max |

    Trent,

    I have thought through this in very thing in my mind many times…..mad, frustrated, bewildered, scared, the whole gammet. Thank you for these words! We miss you!

So, what do you think ?