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Posts tagged with: Holy Spirit

Have you wondered this…”Why am I not as strong of a Christian as I could be?”

I think one reason that Facebook is so popular is because it creates DIALOGUE…communication that goes two ways…I post, you listen, you post, I listen! You are sitting in silence with facebook-friends and dialoging. It’s great!  There’s much to learn from this that can relate to the health of our Christian walk.

If you are struggling at being a fully devoted follower of Jesus. MAYBE one of the problems you have towards Christ is that your relationship with Jesus is too MONOLOGUE = one directional. He’s my Savior. I cry out to Him. I Sing worship songs about Him. I go to Church. I pray to Him. I study the Word, I go to Youth Group. I read books. I have a great preacher. I attend small group. I do christian work. I tune in to Christian radio. These are all Monologue…One directional LOUD & BUSY efforts. If there is dialogue it is usually dialoging with people, not God. It tends to still be all about you doing life with people. This is good…but other people are not God.

When God gave us 1 mouth and 2 ears…was He trying to make a point?

potato mouth

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When was the last time you just stopped and listened to the Lord in silence for a long period of time? When was the last time you let Him speak to you? Not music, preaching, books, group discussions, etc. When was the last time Only GOD spoke to you?

He usually speaks through a quiet whisper.  Read 1 Kings 19:12

You’ll have to get very quiet and be still if you want to hear Him.  Read Psalm 46:10

When was the last time you allowed God’s voice to enter your loud and busy world/Head/Heart?

Don’t forget…

“Jesus OFTEN withdrew to a QUIET place to spend time with His Father.” Luke 5:16

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” James 4:8

You will not find the time to do this. You can only make the time to listen to God.

“Be still and know that I am God.”  Psalm 46:10


World Revision (Post 3 of 3)

For those of you who have been following the post about the World Vision controversy…finally…here is post 3 of 3.  If you haven’t read posts 1 and 2, I would encourage you to do so first by clicking their links right here.

WORLD VISION CONTROVERSY BLOG POST 1 of 3

WORLD REVISION BLOG POST 2 of 3

Continuing with Post 3 of 3…

I have been trying to figure out how to blog on this without it being an entire book.  So…I spoke at a Church called “Just Church” in Surprise AZ recently.  My message is my blog post 3 of 3.  I wish the message was video, but it’s only audio.  As you are listening…I have 3 “stations” on stage.  Hot…Lukewarm…Cold.  You’ll hear me go back and forth to each location as I walk us through what the Bible means when it says there are different kinds of sins.

To be clear…

The Bible does NOT say that “no sin is greater than any other sin.”  In fact…the Bible is clear…there are, for sure, 2 different levels of sin.  My message spells this fact out.

To help you envision what is happening on the stage…the only visual I had on stage was a Jewish Prayer Shawl called a Tallit.  See Pic at right, so as you listen to the message you can imagine what it looks like when I am wearing the Tallit as I stand on the “Hot” station of the stage.  Tallit Pic

The Lukewarm station is in the middle of the stage and the Cold Station is the far right of the stage.  (To be clear…the Tallit can only be worn when I’m standing in the Hot Station on stage.  To have the Tallit on my head is to represent Jesus living in me.  It is impossible to have Jesus living in me while I am practicing sin (Lukewarm) or when I haven’t accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior yet. (Cold))

If you have questions after listening to the message, please just ask.  This message has a lot of controversy potential in it…but it was spoken in love…and it is Biblical Truth.

Too many people are calling themselves Christian and at the same time are living in direct disobedience to how the Bible says they are to live.  This kind of life is living Lukewarm.  Please listen to the message for clarity on this.

Here you go…Just click the link below and listen…The first words you’ll hear me speak are “Disgusting huh?”  I say that because the Church just showed a video clip of somebody throwing up…to prepare for the message called SPEW!  LOL … Please listen by clicking the link below…

JUST CHURCH “Spew” message spoken on June 1st, 2014

I love ya…and I’d do anything for you to help you follow Jesus more fervently.

Trent

 


Mile Marker Moments…

If you pause and think  about critical moments in your life, there will always be three elements that can be Mile_Marker_747remembered.

By critical moments… I mean the kind of moments that tend to alter the direction of your life.  They leave a brand, a scar, or a wound that struggles to heal.  Or, these critical moments could be ones that were permanently positive. Positive like a tattoo you chose that will never go away. Positive critical moments like the memory of your children being born, or your wedding day, or the day that Jesus became your Lord and Savior.

Make no mistake about it, when I am referring to Mile Marker Moments, you will not have to wonder if the memory you have is a Mile Marker one or not.  You just know.  Mile Markers are huge and this is why they come to mind on a regular basis.  They altered the direction of your life.

Mile Markers are never forgotten.

The point is…these are critical moments.  These critical moments are significant enough that even years after the Mile Marker Moment has happened, we can be going about our day and have something small happen that causes the Memory of the Mile Marker Moment to flood back to our minds, and bring on waves of emotions that causes us to remember it, as if it happened yesterday.

My point is that I believe the best kind of learning is what I call reflective learning.  Reflecting back over your Mile Marker Moment Memories and learning from them.

The best way to learn from these huge mile marker moments in our lives is to reflect on the three elements that are always a part of the critical Mile Marker moment.

In each of your Mile Marker Moments there is/was…

1.  A Key Person.

2.  A Key Place.

3. A Key Moment.

Think about the Mile Marker that is branded or tattooed on your life. Who was the key person? Where was the key place?  What was the key moment?

Now Reflect.

Be still. Think about the elements.  What happened?  If faced with the Moment again, how might I do things differently.  Could I have prevented it, made it better, or ?

There are two kinds of Mile Marker Moments.

1. Joyful Mile Markers.

2. Hurtful Mile Markers.

When you reflect on the Joyful Mile Marker Moments, they  will give you great joy!  They can pull you out of a depression.  Use this positive reflection time to communicate with the Key Person, whom you created that Mile Marker Moment with, and thank them and tell them you are grateful for them.  Tell them that you love them…for if they created such a joyful Mile Marker in your life…you really will love them.

The Chosen Positive Mile Marker Moments are easy to deal with.  They bring you joy.  Reflect on them.  Learn from them.  Repeat them as often as you can.

The Mile Marker Moments that you did NOT choose and have left you hurt and angry.  These are the tough ones to reflect on.  When you do reflect upon these…you are going to discover whether or not you have healed from them.  If the pain of the event comes rushing back in and you find yourself angry, then the reality is, you have not healed from that Mile Marker Moment yet.

You may have forgiven the Key person, The Key Place, and the Key Moment, in this Mile marker at one point in your past,  but the healing is still in process and you may have to re-forgive as you reflect and deal with the emotion of the Mile Marker once again.  The pain resurfacing, is an alert to your heart and soul, warning you to work through the process of forgiveness again.  And again, if necessary.

The point is to be able to reflect on the Mile Marker Moment and the Key Person, Key Place and Key Moment, without any pain.  The goal is to be able to reflect without bitterness and hurt.  The goal is to have that Mile Marker Moment lead you into greater wisdom, experience, and preparedness for the future Key People, Key Places and Key Moments you will undoubtedly encounter again.

As you reflect on these Mile Marker Moments,  and if you find yourself feeling angry and swirling into your dark place, that dark place you went to soon after the negative Mile Marker Moment happened…You know that dark place I”m talking about.  If you find yourself headed there and not wanting to forgive again…then…

I want to remind you, like I have to remind myself.  God is our rock.  God tells us who we are.  God owns vengeance, not me…not you.

Don’t let Mile Markers define you, use them to refine you.

As you reflect on your Mile Marker Moments and if you possibly find yourself swimming in un-forgiveness again.  I want to challenge you to get humble and remember the times in your life where you sinned and hurt other people…thus becoming someone’s Key Person in their hurtful Mile Marker Moment.

Ask yourself, “Did Jesus die for my sin, so that I could be forgiven for it?  The Answer is always, “Yes.”  Once you acknowledge that Jesus died so you could be forgiven of the sins you committed, then ask yourself, “Did Jesus die, so the sins of the  hurtful Key Person in my Mile Marker Moment, could be forgiven too?  The Answer is always, “Yes.”

Jesus died for my sins that hurt others and the sins of those who hurt me.

I must forgive too.

Mile Marker Moment Memories are going to flash before you on a regular basis.  Use the memory of it all to reflect in a way that continually pushes you to grow, improve, and shine. The alternative just isn’t worth it.

As you reflect on your Mile Markers, may you ever increase your ability to be better, not bitter. 

Mile Marker Moments…even the horrifically painful ones…can make you better.

It’s a choice.

We have a lot of miles ahead of us.  As we continue our journey, I pray that we will slowly and steadily improve in our ability to be better prepared for the new Mile Markers that we will soon encounter and never forget.

Love ya.  If I can assist you through life in a way that helps you get closer to Jesus, just ask and I’ll do my best.

Trent


Your next Big Conference…

The next time you are at your next learning conference/meeting remember this.

The danger with listening to the successful guy/lady on stage at your next BIG CONFERENCE, or in your next big meeting, is that they are speaking about their experience in retrospect.  ‘After the fact’ can be spoken about with great 20/20 hindsight.  ‘After the fact’ removes the fear/pain they experienced and makes it all sound like child’s play that can fit on 9 powerpoint slides.  These 9 slides have a tendency to give you a prescription of success if you simply mix the same potion.  christian conference

Don’t forget that the successful story you are being presented is THEIR STORY.  Their unique gifts.  Their unique circumstances. Their unique spouse/teammate/family.  Their unique town.  Their unique use by God.

Your gifts and talents are unique and exceptional to you.

Be a learner as you listen to the  speaker and acknowledge that he/she does not have the formula to YOUR success.

God does.

Listen to Him.

Do what He says.

If there is ever a guarantee of success…doing what the Holy Spirit tells you is the best shot you got.

 


Do you have “American-Christian Elephantitis?”

Those of you who know me, know that my wife and I have started a Christian 501c3 organization called, “ReturnHope International.” 

Anyway….I say that to say…

Some of ReturnHope’s work is being done in Africa.  I have a deep love for the people of Africa.  Specifically the people of Uganda.  When I was in Uganda recently, I spoke with a couple locals who were asking me about what American’s think of Ugandans…or Africans, in General.

One of the Ugandan people got more specific with me.  This person told me they received a letter from an American describing how two Christians were fighting in America over work that needed to be done in Africa.  The letter was warning the Africans to stay out of the conflict to avoid getting hurt.

They told me that the writer of the letter used an African Proverb to try to make a point to them.   “What African Proverb was used,” I asked.  They responded by quoting the proverb…

“WHEN TWO ELEPHANTS ARE FIGHTING, IT IS THE GRASS THAT GETS TRAMPLED.”

Elephants-Fighting

The African told me that the letter was warning them about how they are the only ones who would get trampled by these fighting Americans and they needed to make sure they stayed out of the way of the Elephants that were fighting.  Then the African asked me a question, with obvious hurt and frustration on his face…

“Do American’s think themselves as elephants, and Africans as grass?”

I very sincerely replied, “I can only speak for myself…I cannot begin to tell you what the writer of that letter thinks, but I am deeply sorry if you have been hurt by this person’s letter.  It does seem the writer believes themselves to be an Elephant….and you Africans as the grass, that gets hurt when they fight.”   I then told them that most American’s do not think this way.

I also said,  “since we are talking about proverbs, have you heard the proverb… “One bad apple can ruin the whole barrel.” Then I said, “let me just say that very few Americans would actually think in such an arrogant and ungodly way…please do not let this one American, who wrote the letter, ruin it for the rest of us Americans.”

I also asked the recipient of the letter, to give the writer of the letter, the benefit of the doubt by hoping the writer just displayed their own ignorance by trying to use an African proverb in an attempt to sound smarter than they actually are.

What I thought was just a friendly conversation between some people getting to know each other, was actually…I believe…the voice of God warning me and other American Christians about how we treat the very people we serve…”in the name of Jesus.”

If you are a Christian who is also American…and you do good work for the less fortunate, locally and/or in foreign places…I have some questions for you.

1.  Do you think you are actually taking God to the foreigner?  If you do…you are ignorant of the real God and ignorant of how active and alive He is all around the world…and how patient God is with your ignorance.   God is at work everywhere…and we as followers of Jesus must choose to obey His commands to serve the less fortunate….but…God is already there and working…we aren’t so special that we are actually taking God to them.

2.  Do you think you are an Elephant and the less fortunate are just Grass?  The American writer of the letter that used this African proverb, is all the evidence the Africans needed to think all American’s are arrogant.  The damage has been done and it will take many-many Americans going to Africa with humble attitudes and humble servants hearts to prove, through our actions, that 99.9% of Americans do not think that Africans are grass under our American elephant feet.  Good Grief!  I am so frustrated by this letter that was written and caused serious mental damage.

Only God is THE Elephant…the rest of us are but grass!

3.  With the work you do in 3rd world countries or to the less fortunate in the USA…are you actually serving the recipient to a point where they are growing into self sufficiency(Being ‘grass’ with them)…or are you causing them to become dependent upon your giving?   Think long and hard on this one…How many years have well intentioned Christians been in Africa trying to do good, yet African self sufficiency is no closer to a reality?  Think of it this way… If you disappeared from the foreign fields you have been doing good in…would the people of that foreign field be able to succeed without you and your gifts / aid?  Is the good you are doing for the least of these, leading them into working towards self sufficiency, or toward dependency on you?

In Conclusion…

Never forget what Jesus said as He was talking about His 2nd return…

“The Grass shall be the Elephant and the Elephant shall be the grass.”

Or…more biblically correct…

The last shall be first!  The first shall be last! (Its all about motive/attitude) Hey letter writer…Do you still think you are an elephant and the Africans are just grass?

One last sentence in my rant towards the bully elephant’…

Jesus…is THE Elephant.  When He came to earth and incarnated Himself from an Elephant to just a piece of grass…He washed our feet.  He let us abuse Him.  He served us.  He let us kill Him.  “For even the Son of Man came not to be an elephant but to be grass, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Please read Mark 10:45 for the exact version. 

The Bull Elephant served the grass that in return mowed Him down.

Oh writer of this letter to the Africans…  For God’s sake…for Africa’s sake…for your very own eternal destination’s sake…Do NOT think any longer that you are an Elephant and that Africans are but grass…you owe the Africans an apology.  You owe it to Americans to redeem our reputation. 

To all servants of the most High God…may the recipients of our service see our love and humility and may we demonstrate our equality amongst them.

If you still think you are an Elephant…you have your animals confused…you are mistaking an elephant for a donkey.

“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”  2 Chronicles 7:14

For the Record…..

 I, Trent A. Renner, am a piece of grass.