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Having Done in Room 1501 (wk 15) Winning is Everything

I just wrapped up week 15 at Joy Christian High School as a first year teacher.  I teach the Bible Class to Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors.  Sophomores are going through New Testament Survey and the others are going through World Religions.   It’s still pretty amazing to me that I get all those students in Room 1501 every week and we get to learn The Bible and it’s impact on life.  I pray it plants seeds that God continues to grow for the rest of their lives.

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It is a true honor to witness the students of JCHS entering into that blue door each day.  A majority of them wear their emotions on their sleeves.  It is pretty evident what kind of day each student is having just by reading their body language when they enter.  I can tell that the semester is getting ready to end, because many of the students are weary of school.  They are in need of an extended break.  There is nothing wrong with that.  Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner.

Week 15 at JCHS, taught me its most valuable life lessons, outside of the classroom.  This week the JCHS Volleyball and Football teams had their season ending State Playoff games.  Both teams had a phenomenal season as they demonstrated their athletic gifts God gave them.  But, each team, even with their overall successful season, ended the season heartbroken because they didn’t progress and have an ending result of ‘State-Champs.’   In their minds they didn’t win.  In reality they didn’t win.  As the Room 1501 Bible Teacher, I found myself heart broken for them.  This week’s experience reminded me of something that our American culture seems to be embarrassed of.

Admitting that WINNING IS EVERYTHING. 

Stop and think about it for just a moment.  If you disagree with that statement…then…when did you stop believing that winning is everything?

Harry “Red” Sanders, head coach of the of UCLA Bruins from 1949-1957 is the one who get’s the credit for that phrase.  Vince Lombardi is known for using that phrase as he led the Green Bay Packers to be a winning dynasty that still inspires people today.

Harry Sanders’s exact quote is, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” Lombardi gives Sanders the credit for being the originator of the phrase in his book, “The Lombardi Rules.”

So, do you believe that winning is everything?

I think there is Biblical evidence that winning is everything.  However, before we jump into the Bible let’s first start with the Dictionary.com.

WIN …  verb (used without object), won, winning.

1.  to finish first in a race, contest, or the like.  

2.  to succeed by striving or effort.  

3.  to gain the victory; overcome an adversary.

It is of my opinion that the current American culture…is meandering through life without any stimulating vision. Somewhere along these past 10-15 years, the American people have catered to some strange people who live on the fringes of society. Somehow these types have gotten into the leadership of too many things.  Am I the only one who thinks we have given influence of the American Culture, to the kind of people who were not present when the “Common Sense Train” stopped to give out its gifts?  I think these types have been influencing some very important USA things, and have been brilliant in their influence, to the point that the average, common sense gifted American, has become the frog in the kettle that is about to be cooked.

Have these types somehow slow-cooked you into thinking that winning is for greedy, mean-spirited, and self-ambitious people?

I say it again, Winning is everything.

Bible time… 

The Apostle Paul, the writer who wrote more than half of the New Testament under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, wrote this…

Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!”

1 Corinthians 9:24

“So run to win.”  The Bible says that!  If you think with me, I think you will agree that there are 7 areas of life.  All things life, fall into one of these 7 categories.  1. Spiritual  2. Social  3. Psychological  4. Parental  5. Physical  6. Financial  7. Marital.

In the 7 areas of life, can you think of one that would be okay to NOT win in?  Do you want to lose in your marriage?  Do you want to lose in your physical life?  Do you want to lose in the Spiritual world?

I repeat, Winning is everything!

Part of the problem we might have with our current attitude towards winning is the simple fact that somewhere along the way we have been slow cooked into believing that winning is only about some position.  No doubt…part of a win is actually a 1st place position.  Surely you have heard the phrase “2nd place just means you are the first loser.”  But I want to say, that if the attainment of your first place position was done with any form of integrity problem, then you may have won a 1st place position, but you did not win a first place function.  (Please understand the difference between Functional and Positional winning.)

There are many things in life that carry attributes of what is called Functional and Positional differences.  As an example, I’ll demonstrate what I mean by using one of my favorite topics, Spiritual Leadership.  There are many people who hold the position of leadership in their Church, but it’s just a position.  Somewhere in that church there is a person or a group of people who truly FUNCTION as the leadership. In Church world this is not healthy.  In Church world, the average Church(an average church in the USA runs about 90 total  in attendance) is struggling to produce any kind of fruit, because the Church might have a Pastor/Minister/Preacher that has a Position/title of leader, but in all reality, there is a group of about 5 -10 people/families that function as leaders and if you the positional leader do not do what they say…well…there will be heck to pay. Positional vs Functional Leadership.  There is a distinct difference.

In life, it seems like all the power is in the Positional leadership…but eventually functional leadership will WIN out.  FUNCTIONAL leadership trumps POSITIONAL leadership…sooner or later!  It may take Jesus’s return and the initiating of eternity to set that point as fact…but it is fact, none the less.

This is why Jesus says, “The Last shall be first and the first shall be last.”  According to Jesus, true winners may not hold the less important POSITION of leadership, but FUNCTION behind the scenes as a real functioning leader.

Position does not always define a win.  A true win is accomplished when Position and Function bond as one.  If you cheat to win, you don’t win…no matter the position you finished in.  If you have positional power and you have to “show”your power to get what you think is a win…then you didn’t win at all.  (In teaching world…there are teachers who think they win when they “nail” a student, but that teacher won the little skirmish at the loss of the entire battle.  They lost the student’s respect…that’s not a win.)  Positional leadership “sticks out its chest.”  Functional leadership doesn’t need facades. Functional leadership is invisible power.

I think, part of the reason as to why America has developed a misunderstanding about winning, is simply because we have become a dumbed down society that is too busy to think deeply anymore.  We do not think deeply about what a TRUE WIN really is because we don’t have the time to really study and learn deeply about things, due to our fast pursuit of what we think is a win.  We have become a society of “the ends justifies the means.”  Too many just want some end goal result and they will bypass almost anything to get to that first place position.

I have heard and experienced horror stories of churches, corporations, schools, and governments that will do anything to get a “win.”

 

Why?

Because…winning is everything.

It’s time we quit lying to ourselves about winning.  Winning is everything. It really matters to every one of us.  Winning matters so much that people will do anything to win.

But here is the deal…

If you win a first place POSITION by ignoring first place FUNCTION…then you are a loser…not a winner.  If I have to cheat/lie or in any other way keep secret what I had to do to get the “win”…then in all reality I lose.   If in no other arena…then when I look in the mirror.  If I lost my integrity to get a win…my mirror will let me know.  Below are just a few comparisons between Functional and Positional Leadership.  Understanding the difference will help you truly win. The material below is written from a Biblical World-view perspective.

Positional vs Functional Leadership.jpgBottom Line … Winning is everything.  I can’t think of anything that I want to lose in.  I suppose what is difficult to determine is what is truly a win.  All the money in the world, all the fame, all the influence, all the positions of power, all the _____________????

Have you heard the following phrase?  “He who dies with the most toys, wins.”  I want to scream, “FALSE!”  The true phrase is…

“He who dies with the most toys, still dies.”  

You can erase the underlined word above and put in any earthly word in its place and it is still true.

I don’t want to lose in anything.  I want to win.

Especially in the Spiritual realm.  To lose spiritually is to go to Hell eternally.

To wrap up this blog post about what I have learned from Room 1501 on this 15th week at Joy Christian High School, I simply want to add what Jesus said about winning and losing.

“If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.”    Luke 9:23-24 

Jesus didn’t come to be served…even though He deserved it.  He came to serve others.  Jesus didn’t come to win in this world…He came to die…a.k.a…”lose,” so that He could live eternally in the presence of His Heavenly Father.  He “lost” so that you could win.  Now…we are going to have to copy Him.  What is it that you must “lose” in this life so that you may gain eternal life?  What positional powers are you indulging in right now that you need to transform into Functional powers.  What is it that you must die to, so that you can win? What must you lose…to truly win in what matters?

WIN!

The athletes that filed through Room 1501 this week helped me think about what true winning and losing really is.  And no matter how you look at it…Winning is everything.

Don’t let anybody tell you any differently.

 

 


Success Poem by Trent Renner

Road to success

I’d like to address a thing called success. 

It’s believed to be the attainment of money.

This definition perplexes me

I find it sadly funny.

*

I once listened to a man say, “Money changes the world.”

When I heard the phrase, I almost hurled.

Let’s ask Ghandi, or Jesus, or Mother Teresa,

if that belief needs to be a bit unfurled.

*

Success and money don’t go hand in hand,

In this day and age that belief is…well…bland.

Will you follow this path too many have traveled?

If you do, you too will have your life unraveled.

*

No… Success is quite simple, its definition is revealed

in the man and the woman with body kneeled.

Praying to the Lord Jesus for His will to be done.

And living in unity for only the Almighty one.

*

Stepping through life with a holy focus and zeal.

Not getting caught up in this world’s appeal.

Sacrificing for others, serving the one above.

Success is only attained through Faith, Hope and Love.

*

If today you have grasped this true definition.

Then I pray you live out your godly mission.

Jesus is the one you must live to impress.

This only and only this is truly success.

—Trent Renner, 2014


Having Done in Room 1501 (Week 14) Rat Race…

This week in Room 1501 and the rest of “my world”…I’m convinced I had the busiest week of my life.

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  Below is a list of things that took place in a short 5 day period.

Obviously I had 6 Bible classes of school each day with Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors…7:15AM to 3:15PM.

The Mission Organization I founded and lead called “Return Hope International,” began drilling 3 fresh water wells in Africa.  Uganda Africa is 10 hours ahead of Arizona Time, so you can imagine the crazy times I was corresponding to move on with the details of it all.

My two High School Football boys started their year end football state playoffs. We won our first round and are moving on!

I’m the Assistant Coach of the Joy Christian High Varsity Basketball Team.  Practice began Monday and was everyday from 7-9PM.

I prepared and led our All  Staff Devotion at 7AM on Wednesday Morning, then Joy High’s state playoff girls volleyball team devotions on Thursday at 3pm.(They made it to the 3rd round of state before their season ended…that’s pretty incredible.)  And…I led the football team in a quick devotion on Friday at 2:45pm before their game. (It is such an honor to do Bible Devotions anywhere anytime. I’m humbled by the opps)

I had a Wedding to officiate this week, which meant a Rehearsal on Wednesday Night and then the actual Wedding on Friday night.  I was able to get done with the Wedding just in time to get to Joy’s 1st round of State Playoff Football game by 7PM!  Did I say we WON?!

I’m Grateful.  But full! (I’m probably no busier than the rest of you reading this.)

The past two days…I’ve been trying to do NOTHING!

If your life is as crazy as mine…then maybe the 10 things I had to be aware of this past week, might help you too.  

1.  When you know what you are about to do is going to have great results, then Don’t wait for approval, or permission…go for it.  Deliver! Worst case scenario…if it doesn’t go well…then ask forgiveness and move on.  At least an attempt took place.  Usually when you are waiting for approval…the opportunity to react/respond/act or move, expires…and you miss the opportunity to act all together.

2.  It’s okay to commit mistakes. When things are moving so fast and hectic, there isn’t always a lot of time to stop and think.  Sometimes the temptation is to jump out of the race and stop moving and doing.  But I say, Don’t quit. Get it done.  Go for it!  

3.  Run…Run some more.  Fast…steady…focus on the good work that needs to be done.  Focus on the most important.  You are going to have to prioritize when you have a crazy busy schedule.  Prioritize the most important stuff first…not the urgent.  Many times you’ll end up chasing all the urgent and then suck at the important stuff that needed to be done well.  There is nothing worse than being really good at stuff that doesn’t matter…I fear some live their entire lives doing what I typed in that previous sentence.

4.  If something must be done…Then doing it even a little mediocre is better than not doing it at all.  (Sometimes you just have to live by the “GOOD-ENOUGH” principle.  (Ignore this point if you are building bridges, doing surgery on me, or dismantling a bomb.) CAN YOU THINK OF SOME OTHER THINGS WE CANNOT DO IN A MEDIOCRE MANNER?  Share them with me on my Facebook page where I posted this…or in the comments section of this blog post…it’ll be fun.

5.  If something does go wrong…Own it!  Accept responsibility.  I’m determined in my knowledge of the fact that ANY BOSS hates to fire people.  They just want somebody to accept responsibility, correct the problem, and keep the mission/vision/goal/idea/dream… moving forward.  If bosses hate to fire people, then take advantage of it, by being a risk taker for good.  If you succeed…thank the people who may have contributed to the success.  Give them the credit and trust God to take care of the credit you think you deserve.  Accept Responsibility when things go bad, give credit to others when things go good!                                                

6.  The people in your circle of influence…especially in teaching world, because that circle is youth…will take the inch you give them + an extra foot.  i.e.  If you allow students to enter the classroom one minute late for a week.  They will enter 2 minutes late next week.  3 the next.  If you allow students to sit on the floor while teaching, thinking it will help them pay attention because it’s different…they won’t pay attention even more.  (Veteran teachers are thinking I’m such a ROOKIE right now…It’s because I am!!) Not everybody in your circle of influence has your best interest in mind.  If you leave your classroom unlocked AND leave your Ray-Ban sunglasses laying around…they will get stolen.  Yes…even in a Christian School.  It’s okay…God’ll pay em back later! 🙂  (Just kidding…but not really!)

7.  Winning is everything.  Who are we kidding if we think otherwise.  What’s more important, though, is knowing what a WIN is.

8.  The only way your party/team/wedding/organization/school/church/business/game/etc…can truly move forward and win is by having EVERYBODY on the “team”, supporting each other’s decisions and keeping that united forward movement.  Even one, that is not fully united, can keep any forward potential stuck in the mud.  The previous can only happen with exceptional communication, frankness, and keeping the mission more important than your personal preferences.

9.  It’s very difficult to be friends with the people you lead.  It is possible…but extremely difficult.

10.  The cross of Jesus and the Empty Tomb of Jesus are the only things in this physical life that won’t let you down or fail you…BUT…don’t rely on them.  Rely on the ONE who conquered them both!  He is the real deal.  Only the things we do for Him will last. You better be quick…He moves fast.  If you try to follow Him you will run a rat race, all your life.  You will have to understand what a true win is.  You will have to sacrifice.  You will have to put your personal preferences to death.  It will be the greatest race you’ve ever run.  I pray the following two verses will inspire you to run on…

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. And now the prize awaits me—the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on the day of his return. And the prize is not just for me but for all who eagerly look forward to his appearing”.   –2 Timothy 4:7-8

24 “Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26 So I run with purpose in every step.”  — 1 Corinthians 4:7-8

It’s a rat race like none other and you get to run in it.  Me too!

On your marks!

Get Set!

Go…into all the World!


Having Done in Room 1501 (Wk 13) Fuel to finish strong?

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13 weeks ago, I sat in a classroom at Grand Canyon University with all the teachers and administration from Joy Christian School to be trained and prepared for the coming school year.  13 weeks!  Crazy how fast that time has gone by.

In the training from 13 weeks ago, I remember Joy’s Executive director challenging us to keep our eyes on Jesus and to be really bad at looking back.  Great advice.

We are now approaching the halfway mark of the school year.  We only have 6 full weeks of school before Christmas Break.

I’m new at Joy Christian this year.  Rumor has it that Joy School has had some drama in the past…what org hasn’t and doesn’t?  LOL!  I haven’t seen any of that drama this year.  Forward movement is a wonderful thing.  We all have problems and obstacles that will try to throw us off course.

This week-13 in Room 1501, I have had to lead students who are dealing with education fatigue.  I have heard a lot of talk about being worn out, and ready for a break.  These are obstacles and distractions, that if not confronted, can grow into full blown drama.  I don’t know who said it, but the following phrase is true.  “Tough times never last, tough people do!”

NO ONE LIKES DRAMA….don’t let drama get you all nasty!  Toughen up and last!

So…Christmas is almost here.  That means 2015 is right around the corner.

What is distracting you?

What are some obstacles/problems/people that you want to control and change?

I’ll bet these things are causing you great frustration.  The problem is…the only way you can change them…is if they are about you.

Everything else…Is God’s job to change.

Get your eyes back on your job and your purpose.  Leave everything else to God.  Get rest.  Drink more water.  Eat a little better. Read God’s word.  Choose to find the good and praise it.

When you want to critique…instead…find something positive to say.  Find it!

What is your alternative?  Crankiness? Grouchiness? Fruitlessness?  Complaining to others?  Those things suck.  When you get caught up in them, it causes you to suck too!

You don’t want any of that.  Others don’t want you like that either.

This past week in Room 1501 I am just trying to do my job to inspire the students to love the Lord, learn the Bible and be drawn closer to their creator.  I want to lead by example of how great Joy School is and how bright its future is.  When I keep my eyes on that…Life is good.

Everything else is someone else’s job…mostly God’s.

I just want to lead by example.  You do to.  If you are a teacher.  The semester is almost over.  Finish Strong.  If you aren’t a teacher…Christmas is coming…Year End too.  Finish Strong!   By the way…we’re all teachers…whether vocational or not!

In the process…I’m leading Return Hope International and striving to make a strong spiritual and economical impact in Uganda Africa.  I could say everything above fits exactly for it too.  So this is proof to me that whether I’m in Room 1501 for Joy School or in my office at home administratively leading Return Hope International…its all the same.

We are facing year end….which means new beginnings are coming!

I leave you with 1 Corinthians 10:13,

13 The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.”

You got this!  Finish strong.

🙂

Trent

 


Having Done In Room 1501 Wk 9 (Need a Substitute?)

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Sometimes you just have to be out of town.  This week, I had the privilege of being invited to speak at my University Alma Mater; Manhattan Christian College (MCC) in Manhattan KS…The Little Apple 🙂   They have a chapel service every Thursday and it was great to be able to speak at it.  My oldest Child, Madison attends there too, and it was great to see her.  It had been 2 months since I saw her last. We had fun together.  Winter came early to the midwest.  It was 40 degrees when I woke up the first morning I was there.  It was a great break from the heat.  I’m ready for a PHX Winter!

Joy Christian High School has a graduate that is attending MCC (Riley Corbin) and I made sure to capture a picture of him leading worship so I could send it to his mom…who is also on the Joy staff!  So, in reality…Joy Christian High School led the chapel service on Thursday at MCC.  Riley did a great job…I hope I did a great job following him with my message.  I think I did…but I’m biased.

So…knowing I was headed to Manhattan Kansas on Wednesday night…I had to submit a request for a Substitute Teacher.  The substitute teacher request process at Joy High is pretty thorough.  I let them know 2 weeks in advance, filled out the short paper work, and submitted it.  It was approved!

My wife has just started subbing at JCS.  So…I requested her to fill in for me.

I’m writing this a few days late…I know how the sub did.  🙂

She did great.

Having a substitute teacher, in my place, is a little nerve racking.  It made me feel vulnerable.  I wondered if the students would behave.  I wondered if I would look disorganized.  Now, some might say that I should not have worried because it was my wife stepping in for me. Trust me…that made it worse.  My wife would be honest with me.  I think a total stranger subbing for me would be a little less threatening…they substitute teach for me, and then they leave.  My wife subbing for me…well…it’s called “pillow talk” and I was worried about what she might say.  A stranger that subs for me might simply do what I requested, and go home.  But, if it’s my wife…well…she’ll let me know areas that I could improve, or areas that are out of control…and also…areas she thinks are great!

As I type this…she has already subbed for me and we had fun talking about the different students, their personalities, and the impact that we get to have every day being apart of their lives.  I think having my wife sub for me, helped us have something more to talk about.  I’m not sure it taught us anything we didn’t already know about each other.  We have been married for 23 years.  But, it put us on the same page of discussion in this case.  All too often I think I go to work and do my thing and come home and talk about it with my wife.  My wife would do her thing and come home and talk about it with me.  It is good.  But what is great is when we both have been able to enter Room 1501 at different times and yet encounter the same people and experiences…and now when we talk about it…we know the names, place, and environment, because we have both experienced it.

She is subbing for someone else tomorrow.  So, I’m excited that we will be on the campus at the same time.

I’ll try to keep it professional!  🙂

Have a good week.  Week 9 in Room 1501 was short for me this week.  But excellent.