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Posts tagged with: Church

What does it take to change your heart and mind?

I received correspondence today, from a man who had his heart and mind changed by the death of a child his wife sponsored through Hope4Kids. I wanted to simply add part of the email I received from him and I pray it will inspire you, warn you, and prepare you to be somebody who uses your time, talent and treasure to promote the purpose of others…especially the work that Jesus Christ has commanded us to do for the least of these.

Here is part of the letter from a very good man who has spent most of his life serving you and me and protecting our freedoms in America through military service.

Between 1998 and 2001 I went to school and also spent my summers working our teen groups, teen camps, and spending time with Bob Jone’s Universities “War of the Special Forces” when they came. I really enjoyed it and sought to expand our local children’s ministry bringing on Awana’s, growing the junior church, and loving every moment. I promised God prior to getting out of the Army, the first time, and going to college, if He helped get me into college, and helped my family transition I would use my education for something!! (One of those God you do this and I will do that type promises) So, given my love for kids–desire to help them achieve their uttermost–my new found education–love of education…I always thought, do 20 years, and teach at a local Christian school…my military retirement would help off-set the low teacher salary and I could be a blessing. It was also during those times I divorced, fell away from God, and spent some time in another land…returning in 2007 and seeking God’s direction in my life. Recently, my wife, was moved by Hope4Kids International and sought to adopt a child…her name is “Topista”; additionally, she went on a trip to Uganda to see her. To be honest…I was okay with all that and not very moved, but very proud, and just did not think it was for me. Upon her return, her excitement was beyond words, and she always talked about Topista, all of Uganda, the orphanage called Smile Africa, etc., however, I still was not moved greatly. Then, we received a phone call, and that call impacted me greatly!! In August 2012 my wife was informed of Topista’s death and then, something hit me, I cried, Topista was human, she had dreams, family, and a silent voice began to speak to me, a urging…to put it into words, this silent voice: “you have made a promise to Me, to use your education for Me, you have been indifferent towards this child, you are like the rest of America, and now…now I want you to see, to learn, and then do something.” This led me to read, study, and understand…to see poverty for what it is, to understand these are people, we can help, and we must do something!! My eyes have truly been opened and I really think we can do something. God has allowed me to get education, two Master degrees (MBA and MPA) and I use them for our Government…but now it is time to use them for God’s kingdom.

I know you are willing to be used by God. You are willing to use your time, talent and treasure for Jesus Christ. I also know how easy it is to get busy and get distracted. Think about this…however many days you have left in your life, is the only amount of time you actually have to feed the hungry, cloth the naked, give water to the thirsty, take care of orphans and widows, and bring the salvation message of Jesus Christ to those who haven’t heart it before or have walked away from Him. THERE WILL BE NONE OF THAT IN HEAVEN. So, if you want to be a part of such significant life work…you have to do it now!

I am asking you to go to Hope4Kids International’s website and sponsor a child, start a fund to raise money to drill a fresh water well, build a medical clinic, provide food for starving kids, sign up for a life changing missions trip, or anything else you can do. Just click any of the lighter colored print below and get started…

Don’t forget…there are people right outside from where you are reading this who need your love and encouragement too. Make sure you reach out to them as well. It’s good to be a Christian, but I find the world needs more good Christians.

Keep one eye on Jesus and the other eye on His kids.
If I can serve you through the ministry of Hope4Kids call me or email me. I’ll do my best. Ask me to come and speak at your Church or plan with you what more you can do to be a strong Christ follower. Don’t wait for something tragic to happen to motivate you, be internally motivated to do something now.

Trent Renner


What to do when you are getting rocked by life…

Sometimes I come across material that is so full of wisdom it just needs to be purposefully plagiarized and adapted to fit the shift that I want it to have. It’s been said that Shift Happens! Shift is good. So…I’m shifting Chuck’s article. I just want to give full credit to Chuck Swindoll for all the positive material in this post.

Any sarcastic material is my own doing. By the way, Chuck Swindoll is my favorite of all communicators…WARNING…Sarcasm follows…{If you do not like Sarcasm…please just jump down to the long line that begins the non-sarcastic content of this article} (Disclaimer…for the Church police who are opportunistically looking for people who they think need some behavioral modification… I know you think I should have said Jesus is my favorite communicator, instead of Chuck Swindoll…so, I want to say… Jesus is my supreme communicator, but not my favorite communicator…most of the stuff Jesus says cuts to my heart and convicts me in a hard way and I don’t always like it, so Jesus is not my favorite communicator, but He is my supreme communicator). Hopefully that disclaimer will prevent any members of the BMPD from WRITING ME a christian “ticket”. LOL (Sorry for the sarcasm folks…just gun shy from all the “BMPD” I have encountered in the past year) BMPD…you wonder?

Behavioral
Modification
Police
Department.

How do you know somebody is on the BMPD? You usually can identify the BMPD from the literal badges they wear on Sundays, when they wear their best for God. (If somebody believes you should wear your best for God…shouldn’t they wear their best 24/7 and not just on Sunday?) Some examples of the badges are posted to the right…I removed any church names to protect the reputations.
There are many forms of the BMPD badge…what the badge literally says is not what’s important, the motive behind the reason for even wearing a badge, is what is alarming…but the most dangerous BMPDs are the ones who are the Private Detectives who don’t wear a physical badge. These types have their badge hidden in their heart.

The Private Detectives of the BMPD, have nick names…sometimes fittingly called “Private-eyes” and some have been nicknamed “tricky-dicks”. These BMPDs are people who look just like a regular Christian, but are just undercover private eyes in the religious world. I think it “stinks” for the BMPD members that BM stands for something else other than behavioral modification. I’m not trying to be gross, I’m being literal about the ‘movement’ part. BMPDs cause great “exits” in their local churches and sadly it’s usually new people exiting and getting flushed “down” eternally…because they got treated like poop by someone with a badge at church. (I wanted to type the real word instead of poop, but I really don’t want a ticket from a BMPD).

Some churches are loaded with a higher number of BMPDs. The picture I have inserted to the right and below is a quadrant image I drew of 4 types of churches in the world. Every Church has some love and some challenge. However…the amount of love or challenge directly affects what kind of church it is. As you can see a BMPD loaded Church is a church that is High Challenge and Low Love. This type of church is equipped with quite a few pharisaical, aka BMPD people who really believe you should follow all the “rules” and if you don’t you will be corrected on the spot and sent home…even as a first time guest at church. A Church like Jesus is a church that is High Challenge and High Love. You can explore and study the quadrant to determine what kind of church you are in. Please don’t be a BMPD. Its a powerful thing, but it won’t land you in Heaven. Well…that’s what Jesus said.

This post is not about the BMPDs…its crazy how I let these types take up precious time of mine…and your reading time. Charles Swindoll didn’t reference these people even once in his blog that I’m adapting…He’s 80 something and much wiser and self-controlled than I am. I hope to be more like him someday. I’m working on it. Before I get on with the incredible message of this article, I must say one more thing about the BMPD. Jesus called them names. Oh, yes. He called them Sons of Vipers, White Washed Tombs, Hypocrites, Blind guides and Fools. He warned the Apostles about them often. One BIG example is Matthew 23:1-36. Jesus was brutal towards the BMPD. Well…enough of that stinky subject. If you persevered through that…the rest is really refreshing!
________________________________________________________________________________________

The big question is this…What do you do when you find yourself surrounded by the BMPD in your work/ministry/friendships/Church, etc?

The rest of this post you are about to read is a MODIFIED version of what Chuck Swindoll wrote. I accept full responsibility for all material above and below. To read his exact blog, just copy and paste the following link into your browser and you will see the differences in how I adapted his information. His post does not include anything about the BMPD. My jabs at them just came out of my gift of immaturity. If you are offended by my comments about you…I mean… about the BMPDs, please obey Jesus about what He says in Matthew 18:15 and I will respond accordingly.

Swindoll’s unchanged article link…
http://www.insight.org/resources/devotionals/the-truth-perspective.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+DailyDevo+%28Chuck+Swindoll%27s+Daily+Devotional%29&utm_content=FaceBook

The passage that inspired Charles to write what he did in his post is Psalm 119:98–100 (NIV) I typed it below.

“98Your commands are always with me and make me wiser than my enemies. 99I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes. 100 I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts.”

So imagine you have recently got a job that has proven to be less than you expected. You prayed for the job, then lo and behold, it opened up. God “spoke!” 🙂 You were grateful. After a few weeks, however, you found that the working conditions…usually caused by people who actually hired you…leave much to be desired. In fact they might even be nightmarish. Furthermore these people might be self titled and self proclaimed christians. Your first and natural response would be disappointment, perhaps even disillusionment and at its worst, Shock and Awe. This would lead to daily irritations and possible arguments. Your life could soon become consumed with negativity, pessimism, and verbal assault. Exit motivation. Enter low enthusiasm and possibly into a dead end. You want to quit, but the world tells us that quitters are losers. (I’m not sure that last statement is a fact…people who finally QUIT picking their nose are not losers…people who QUIT wetting the bed are not losers and…I love the movie line in American Gangster where Denzel Washington is told by a wise old man that “Quitting while you are on top is not the same as quitting!) By on top…I mean…in this instance…before you become the walking mat where BMPDs wipe their feet on you frequently. In my instance, I had a few special circumstances that allowed me to walk from the dead end…but not all have that luxury and can’t quit. So…if you do not quit, because circumstances just won’t allow it…your dead end…puts you into a serious predicament.

I have personally experienced this very situation in the past year. This explains why Chuck Swindoll’s original article resonated with me so much. As I write about my recent experience of a dead end, I don’t write about it with any bitterness and I have forgiven the people and circumstances. I write only from my personal experience in hopes you can glean some earned wisdom from my bad experience that might help you.

So..if you are in a dead end and you “can’t” quit…then instead of getting sarcastic like I tend to do or just quitting like I was, thankfully able to do…

How about trying this…

How much better to apply some basic, biblical principles! Let’s say, instead of wallowing in sorrow or swimming in the cesspool of bad attitudes, you dug deeply into God’s Word, absorbing wisdom, cultivating insight, gaining understanding. You discover from Romans 8:28 that God uses all things for your good, even unpleasant experiences. You also discover from Romans 5:3–5 that God uses difficult times to help us grow mature in faith.

And not only this, but we also choose to thank God in our trials and dead ends, knowing that trials bring about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. We choose to celebrate that “we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength. We confirm through our devotion to God 1 Corinthians 10:13 that says God won’t let us go through more than we can actually handle…with the help of Him and others, of course.

This truth gives you a different perspective. You are the Lord’s personal “project.” Its not a fun project, but a very beneficial one. His plan is to develop you into a mature, stable person. He really does have your very best in mind! Nothing is coincidental in the Christian life; all things (even your miserable job because of miserable people!) are tools in God’s hands, and He is lovingly shaping your character. You learn to accept that your job, with all its limitations and irritations and BMPDs, is a perfect place for God to mature you and make you more like His Son. Rather than resist or look for the first escape, you resolve to greet each day as another opportunity to grow in grace toward others and submission to Him. Wisdom helps you look at your situation from His viewpoint.

Then, those who work around you don’t bother you as much because God’s Word has taught you how to see through their surface problems. Or, they may bother you just as much, but it’s like water off a duck’s back! You now see that their verbal assaults are indicative of a deeper problem of inner unrest in themselves. You see how they continue to hurt, but compassion grows in you because you recognize that they have been hurt…thus “hurt people, hurt people. You also learn that you need not take their abuse personally, for it really isn’t directed at you personally. It’s their release, their panic, their insecurity. Soon, your insight has cushioned you from an ugly, irritating, retaliatory spirit. Instead of arguing with them, you find ways to help your coworkers. You actually pray for them and be like Jesus to them. (Be careful in these relationships…for these very people whom Jesus loved and prayed for and served…killed Him) (To the BMPD…I know Jesus laid His own life down…that’s not my point)

In this new focus, you have now begun to respond to your once-irritating occupation with a positive attitude. Time spent in the Letter of James, for example, has taught you to be very careful about what you say and how you behave before those who don’t know Christ personally. (Q: But, Chuck Swindoll, what if they are Christians and treating you poorly? A:I think Chuck would say, “read 1 Corinthians 5”) Furthermore, in your doing a diligent job regardless of the circumstances, you have gleaned understanding. And to your own great surprise, you have actually begun to enjoy and accept the challenge of your situation because you know it is exactly where the Lord wants you. It is an ideal place for making Christ known through your words and deeds.

Don’t misunderstand. I can’t guarantee that through regular interaction with Scripture you can transform your environment. Some circumstances are beyond help. Believe me, as a pastor, I never rule out the possibility of miraculous, divine intervention, but I have become wise enough to recognize my own limitations of not actually being Jesus…Only Jesus can truly change people. So, I don’t want to create the impression that you can change the world by gaining spiritual understanding. I guarantee, however, that YOU will be transformed. And through your spiritual growth, the Lord may improve your environment a great deal. Regardless, you will be changed. Your attitude will change. Enthusiasm will fill the void created by helplessness and hopelessness.

God’s Word is for you, my friend…I repeat… it’s for you! There is no situation that you cannot face if you are really serious about spending time on a regular basis in the Book of books! And a great place to start is Psalm 119, especially if the grind of low enthusiasm, BMPDs, and dead ends have begun to take their toll.

Tomorrow is a new day and I hope the beginning of new you. You and I choose to behave the way we do. I believe we become what we are becoming right now. I’m encouraged that we are reading this together! I pray that we begin to become what this is all about.
What a challenge!


Hydrate — Winning from the inside 37 (Matthew 7:12) The Golden Rule

Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the
law and the prophets.
Matthew 7:12 NLT

Oh, what an easy thing to say, and seemingly impossible to follow through with. Think about it…there were times when Jesus called people names. A good example of this is when Jesus called the Pharisees “sons of vipers” (Matthew 23:33), “brood of snakes” (Matthew 12:34), and “white-washed tombs” (Matthew 23:27). Another time He used a whip that He handmade and used to whip people out of the temple. He must have been okay with others doing the same to Him or He would not have done these things to others. Strange to think that Jesus was called names and also whipped. This makes me think about what Jesus said to Peter in the Garden of Gethsemane: “Peter…put your sword away… Those who use the sword will die by the sword” (Matthew 26:52).

Do to others what you would like them to do to you.
Now as to whether or not Jesus would say it differently today…I don’t want to open the door of someone thinking that I think Jesus made a mistake here. That’s not my point. I am thinking that maybe Jesus, if He were living in today’s culture, wouldn’t use the Golden Rule, as tweeted above, as much as He might have used what I would call The Platinum Rule. I think the Platinum Rule, if spoken by Jesus, would read, “Do to others what I have done and will do for you.”
Out of the mouth of Jesus, this statement is a game changer. The Platinum Rule seems to squelch all possible neglect and abuse from the speaker of the rule.
The Platinum Rule makes the following comment from Jesus pop! “There is no greater love than this…He who lays down his life for another” (John 15:13). He commands us to give, share, reward, encourage, hold accountable, and even die for each other. These would be things that Jesus did for all of us. These are things that fit the Golden Rule also. Do to others as you would have done to yourself.
If Jesus actually tweeted this to you today: “Do to others what you would like others to do to you,” and you knew it was directly from Jesus, how would you live your life today? Think about the free gifts that Jesus gave you: hope, joy, forgiveness, purpose, etc. Would you give these to others today? And then tomorrow as well? And then…

Spend a few moments and meditate on that.Think about what you should do today in regards to the Golden Rule.
Think about your day and what’s coming. Who do you know that you will encounter today? Make a decision right now to treat them like you would like to be treated. Be prepared. Don’t be caught off guard.
I hope as you live your day that you will dwell on this Golden tweet. Do to others what you would like done to you. If that passage makes you feel guilty about selfish decisions in your past…then ask God and the people you have offended for forgiveness, and move on with your life. Do not let the guilt from your past cripple your present and future. Today and tomorrow are more important than your past.
It’s crazy to think that the Golden Rule sums up the Law and Prophets as the tweet says. The law and prophets include way too many things to actually remember. There are 613 Old Laws from the Old Testament and then all the things the prophets said. Jesus gives us the cliff ’s notes to the Law and Prophets! I like how Jesus thinks. “Do to others what I would like to have done to me.” Jesus had a way about Him in keeping things simple.
So, be like Jesus, and keep it simple. When we start treating others the way we don’t want to be treated…things get complicated.
Focus on this tweet today: Do to others what you would like to have done to you.

It will impact and change how you live each moment. How incredible would it be if you could remember this tweet all day, every minute?
Practice makes permanent.

The above post is from my book Retweeting Jesus, Pages 103-105.
You would like to purchase the entire book, it releases publicly on July 2nd, 2013 at Amazon.com or tatepublishing.com. If you don’t want to wait until July 2nd, I have some books at home and will ship them to you. 14.99 plus 2.92 shipping. Contact me via my email… retweetingjesus@gmail.com


ONE YEAR! Really?

On this exact week, one year ago, the Renner family arrived in Orlando Florida. We sold our home and moved away from everything we were comfortable with to travel the 36 hour drive from Phoenix. We moved because I was hired to be the Lead Pastor of a Church that confirmed to my family that they wanted to change and grow. Well…let me simply say, this year didn’t go like I thought it would go…

This past year my family and I have experienced wonder and awe, inspiration and depression, joy and tragedy like we’ve never experienced in life so far. In Florida, I have encountered some very amazing and incredibly wonderful people and at the same time some people, that…well…I don’t even want to type it. Let’s stay positive.

One year. It has been the hardest year of my life. Yet…here we are, moving forward and facing joys and challenges that remind me I’m still alive and my heart is still beating and confirming that there is a lot of work to do for the Lord.

I’m concerned about my kids.
I’m concerned about my wife.
I’m concerned about our new Church Plant.
I’m concerned about a lot of things…but…

God is bigger than all my concerns.
So what does a man do? The answer is simple. The answer is good. The answer is not easy… I press on. I keep my eyes on the finish line of the faith. I refuse to be one who stands before Jesus trying to explain why I let life’s circumstances get in the way of my calling to reach those who are far from God.

I don’t know what this next year holds…
But I know who holds this next year!

Bring it on. I will stand on 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.”

I wonder what I’ll be blogging about this time next year?
ONE YEAR goes by so fast.
Ready…Set…Go!


The Encounter

Every day we awaken to the fact that a new journey is awaiting to be traveled. It’s an unwritten personal script. A clean slate. If you are human, that clean slate tends to get dirty earlier than any of us are comfortable with. Our collisions with the world, and the people who meander her paths, are never perfect. The soil, soot and slime thrust upon us might be our own doing, or it is the doing of another upon you. Our response to the collision is our victory or our defeat, and most definitely, our choice. Each encounter is an original collision. The collision could leave us thrilled and impassioned and better. Or, the collision could leave us hurt, wanting, and defeated. Very few collisions leave us neutral.

Some collisions will be with people who TEST us. These tests will be graded and it’s always good to get a passing grade. These people-tests can make us better or bitter. A test is not a bad thing. If we choose to pass the test, it will leave us better. A test will only make us better, if we, out of sheer discipline, choose the path of better-ness. The people who test us, are those we will be very careful to journey across again, but we will not avoid them. Other collisions are with people who collide into us like PAINT being applied to a rusty old automobile. It’s tempting to like this collision and think it is good for us, but it doesn’t make us better. This type of collision only gives us the facade of improvement. Too much time with these types of people and we end up beautifully painted rust. At first glance we will be tempted to think that painters actually love us, but reality eventually shows us that their paint wasn’t love at all. Another type of collision we will encounter is a USER. This collision will leave us thirsty, malnourished, buckled and bent. This collision will leave us needing the jaws of life to free us. The repair bill that arrives after this collision is higher than we will expect it to be. The effort to recover the lost confidence from this collision will take your breath away. After a collision with a user, the only benefits we get from it, are calloused knees, as we beg for it to never—ever happen again.

I’m confident that we could brainstorm other types of collisions, and I welcome them in the comments section, but I end this Art of Encounter with this. The best collision to have today is with the POLISHER. The polisher is one whom only brings out the best in us. They will be few and far between, but their encounter gives us the stamina to keep venturing out again and again and again. Taking hit after hit after hit. Who doesn’t love a polisher? They are selfless and they promote other’s progress above their own.

Each encounter is a collision. Each encounter is a teacher.

If you are like me, we thought about specific people we have collided with as each type was read above. Do not dwell too much on them. The most important question to ask ourselves is this…Did anybody reading this… think of my name?