:::: MENU ::::
Posts tagged with: Help

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


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?


HYDRATE — Winning from the inside 30 (Matthew 6:22-23) Light


22 “Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. 23 But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is! Matthew 6:22-23 (NLT)

Whoever said…”the eyes are the window to the soul” must have stole it from Jesus. Have you ever looked at somebody and noticed immediately that there was something shady about them? Or, think of it in the opposite….have you ever looked at somebody and noticed immediately that there was something very inspiring about them? I think we can instinctually recognize all kinds of things by looking at the eyes of the people we encounter. I think we can see pain, joy, love, inspiration, hate, and many other traits by just looking into the eyes of the people around us. The next time you are in a group of people, just sit back and do a little people watching….specifically looking at their eyes. Be careful with it…don’t stare too hard or too long! 🙂

Being a lead pastor for as long as I have now, and being privileged to interact with thousands of people, I have learned that you can tell a lot about a person, and what they might be experiencing, by reading their eyes. The phrase, “actions speak louder than words,” rings true and if you watch people’s eyes, you can predict with strong accuracy whether or not they are doing well or not. I have learned that you can actually tell how a person is doing by looking into their spouse’s eyes…this is especially true of wives. I can tell a lot about a husband by watching the eyes of his wife. The next time you are speaking with a married couple, watch the eyes and countenance of the wife. You will be able to guess pretty accurately whether or not the husband is a good husband. Do her eyes tell you she’s alive, encouraged, and full of joy? Do her eyes tell you she’s been verbally beat down and discouraged? Do her eyes show that she is embarrassed to be around him as his eyes wander to the young blonde who just walked by? If you pay attention, its pretty easy to read people. You can tell a lot about how parents really are by looking at thier kids eyes when they are with their parents. Do the kids eyes read fear, joy, courage, security or something else? In fact, anytime somebody is present with the person who is in authority over them, you will be able to tell what kind of boss/authority the person is by reading the eyes of the one who is under that person’s authority. I have personally discovered that when I am with someone who knows I’m a pastor, and they can’t look me in the eyes, time has proven that they probably have some kind of sin in their life they are engaging in. There are a thousand different scenarios here. What I am saying is that if we practice, we can get very good at reading how a person is doing by simply watching their eyes.

The danger in doing a lot of eye reading is that we might get really good at determining how other people are doing but miss the most important person we should be reading…ourselves.

Take a look in the mirror…read your eyes. Tired? Abused? Joyful? Peaceful? Angry? Resentful? Hopful? Prideful, arrogant, etc, etc…? What are your eyes telling you about you?

If you think about the simplicity of this teaching of Jesus’s, then you and I will recognize that we follow our eyes. If our eyes engage in pornography then we will be filled with lust for sex. If our eyes are engaged on all the toys our neighbor owns then our hearts will be filled with jealousy and greed. If our eyes are continually engaged in our work, then our hearts and minds will be absent from our home life. If our eyes are engaged in the Word of God, then our hearts and minds will be filled with the things of God.

The point is that our eyes are continually focused on the things we are committed to. What we are continually focused on with our eyes, is what we are committed to, and is what we become. I am actually excited for you that your eyes are currently reading this post about eyes, because it says that you actually are desiring to learn and be challenged about Holy things of God. You will become what you are committed to. What are you committed to? If you have a hard time determining what you are committed to…take a look at your calendar and your checkbook. It doesn’t lie. Eyes don’t lie either.

The most dangerous eyes to have are the eyes of pride. Do you know what that looks like? I have found that prideful people don’t know what it looks like. I think Jesus refers to prideful eyes when He says in Matthew 6:23, “And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep that darkness is!”

There is nothing like being around somebody who is obviously wrong about something, but they insist they are right. It could be a little thing like arguing about directions while driving, or it could be a person who is confidently “right” about Jesus being a fake. It could be someone or a group of someone’s who think they are right about moving the company/church forward, but all the while they are wrong and all the signs point to their wrong-ness, but they demand to be right anyway, all the while leading the company/church into destruction.

Most of the time, I have no problem admitting when I’m wrong. I am a very opinionated person and I have a lot of conviction when I make statements and decisions. I have made quite a few statements, and made decisions, thinking I was right, but actually I was wrong. When this happens, I personally do not have a problem admitting it. A majority of people can’t stand the person who can’t admit they were wrong, and even worse, they continue to live in their wrong-ness, even when everything around them is proving they are wrong. This kind of person is dangerous. This kind of person is not like Jesus at all. I think this is the kind of person that Jesus is referring to in the passage we are looking at today. This person thinks their darkness is actually light.

I think there are two dramatic situations that are eternally dangerous when it comes to someone thinking they are right, but they are actually wrong. I think of a person who says there is no God with great confidence. The other kind of person I am thinking of, is the so called Christian, who refuses to be fruitful for the Lord Jesus Christ because they only want what they want in what they think is “their” church.

Jesus says, about the person who thinks they are living in the light, but their “light” is actually darkness, that their light is actually a deep darkness. Can you think of a better satanic trick? If the devil can get you to think with pride that you are right and everybody else is wrong…he wins your soul into hell for eternity…all the while you were thinking you were right/holy. That is a deep-deep darkness that you actually thought was light. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 11:14 that the devil disguises himself as an angel of light. There is no greater satanic trickery…than to get someone to think they are right, when they are actually hell bound. Ouch. I have encountered people like this in church settings. These people will even use a bible verse…out of context…to “prove” their point. But they are actually wrong. The Bible in several places describes Hell as a place where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. Can you imagine, if you lived your life thinking you were right about there being no God, but when you died and found yourself standing in the presence of Jesus Christ as a non-believer, and you ended up in hell?…there will be WEEPING. Can you imagine being a church goer most of your life, stubbornly demanding that your church be designed for exactly what you want, at the cost of new people giving their lives for Christ, thus producing no fruit, and you end up eternally separated from Jesus because you were fruitless as you pursued your personal preferences in church?….GNASHING of teeth! Gnashing of teeth is someone yelling with deep regret at what happened… “I should not have been selfish.” ….Eternally.

That is a nasty, mean spirited darkness…but they thought it was light…they thought they were right.

You know how to prevent your light from actually being darkness? Humility. I’m going to risk sounding un-humble in what I’m about to write…

If you really don’t know something…then shut-up… and listen to the person who knows.
If you are trying to be something that you simply are not…stop it!
If you are in a position of influence that you have NO business being in…quit now! (But you argue…quitting is for losers! I say, really? You’re not a loser if you quit picking your nose. You’re not a loser if you quit wetting the bed. You’re not a loser if you quit trying to be someone that you are not!)
If you are wrong…quit being stupid in your wrong-ness and admit you are wrong and watch how people will actually be inspired by your new found light.

Jesus is the light! Focus your eyes on Him. Do what He tells you! Only pursue what He wants of you and not your own wants.
Make sure your light is actually light and not darkness.

Speaking of eyes…2 Chronicles 16:9 The EYES of the LORD search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.

Speaking of eyes…do you remember the lyrics to this old hymn?

Turn your EYES upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the LIGHT of His glory and grace.