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Posts tagged with: Holy Spirit

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.


The Greatest Injustice in the world…

ReturnHopeLogoThe greatest injustice of all, would be having a world full of well fed men, women, and children with no disease, fresh water to drink, a rich supply of clean clothes, every orphan and widow provided for, yet all of these cared for people, still facing a reality in Hell because we didn’t give them Jesus Christ as Lord of their lives.

That is the ultimate injustice.  That would be the greatest trick of the devil.  To have all this good work take place, but none of it matter eternally for those who were cared for.

ReturnHope wants to do something about this “greatest injustice.”  However, this injustice can only be conquered by using a specific strategy that will impact not only women and children eternally…but men too.

It seems to me that there is a lot of ministry taking place around the world.  Good ministry work.  It seems most of this good ministry work is focused on the care of the women and children.  I haven’t met anybody who is okay with watching women and children suffering.  But if we want to solve the problems of the world…it is going to have to be through the changing of the lives of men all around the world too.  Let’s admit it.  Men cause war.  Men have testosterone.  Men are the muscle of the world.  World problems are caused on a majority basis…by men.  Change the men…change the world!  Change the men…and women and children will be blessed too.

Injustices can only be fully conquered when the man is impacted along with the entire family for Jesus Christ as Lord.

ReturnHope wants to take on the impossible task of being used by God to change the hearts and minds of the men of our world and turn those hearts and mind towards the Lord Jesus.  In this endeavor, think of how blessed the women and children of the world would be too!

In the American Church…there is a comparable man problem that relates to my point.   If your Church reaches the mom of the family, the mom and kids will become the church, but the man of the family, more than likely, will stay home and not become the church and miss out on the growth opportunities that being the church creates. If the kids are reached, then mom will likely join the church too, but dad will end up staying home.  What this creates is a frustrated mom and child(ren) because the heavy influence of unchurched dad outweighs the influence of the church on the mom and kids. (One hour of Church added with another 2 hours of small group influence for the mom and kids cannot compete with the other 168 hours of the week controlled by unchurched dad’s influence.) So, a church that aims to reach the man for Christ, can be confident that mom and the kids are highly likely to come too.  It’s a whole family philosophy of how to design a strategy of the church…and the same should be for a world mission’s strategy!

The last 15 years of my life I have been privileged to travel to places like Peru South America, Uganda Africa, Jerusalem Israel and other amazing places.  In these locations,  I’ve encountered injustices that are ruling that culture. The same cause is evident in all these locations.  The cause is… men aren’t leading or being impacted by the good news of Jesus Christ.  Men are not being partnered with, or challenged to become responsible to their God given purpose to work, provide and steward the family that He gave them.  Men seem to have been given up on, and I think, that is a perpetuator of injustices.

So much good work is being done around the world towards the injustices of lack of clean water, nakedness, lack of shelter, disease, orphan and widow-hood.  A majority of this good work is being focused on the women and children.  Now, understandably, it is a very good thing to help the women and children.  ReturnHope International is going to do a lot of ministry for women and children everywhere…But…I beg of all people involved in the family of ReturnHope to be focused on being used by God to change the lives of the men of the villages around the world too.   As we do all our work, I beg of the ReturnHope family to always be thinking about how our work is being perceived by the man of the family, or the men of the village we are impacting.   If we are not careful we can easily create welfare situations where women and children become dependent on the American difference maker.  Please Lord, don’t allow ReturnHope difference makers to mistakenly fill the position of the man of the family in the foreign culture!  We want the native man to step up into his God designed role for him to be the provider and care taker of the family that God asked him to steward.  As we do our work for women and children, let’s never stop thinking about the man and how our work might be affecting his heart, mind and self esteem.  Let’s involve the man by walking alongside him as we do good work together for women and children!

We must go after the grown men too.

This is an impossible task.  This is a task where we must begin by only praying and planning and then moving forward with what will be trial by fire.  Chuck Swindoll said that when there is an impossible task that needs to be tackled, He will find an impossible person…crush them…and then use them to take on the impossible task.  I’ve been told by quite a few that, “I’m impossible!” 🙂  The last 3 years, God has been crushing me and allowing me to be crushed by others. (I wrote about this on this blog site if you’d like to read it…click the following links…its two part and its called “The Crushing part 1” and then “The Crushing part 2”)  I believe God has allowed this crushing to bring me to the point of right here..right now.  He is asking me to take on the leadership of ReturnHope and team with you to use our talents to begin this impossible ministry.  I imagine that when this life is over…our efforts will have been fully worth it…whether we failed or succeeded.  Let’s spend the rest of our lives in this pursuit and then we’ll do high fives together about it all in eternity together…red, yellow, black, brown and white….male and female!!

Please start praying with me about our first encounter with a group of village men in Uganda.  These men will be sitting in a big circle most of the day in a distant village.  In the middle of the circle will be a large bowl of home made alcohol.  Each man in the circle will have a long straw that reaches from the bowl to his mouth.  SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAThis drinking begins in the morning and goes all day.  At night…well…this is when evil reigns.  These men in their drunken state rape their wives and abuse their daughters, beat their kids and fuel injustices towards total hopelessness….does this cause you to hate them?  If so, then I ask you to pray for them and change your heart towards them.  The men in this picture are only doing what they have been taught by their fathers, who were taught by their fathers…  Pray that ReturnHope will break this vicious cycle by also reaching the men sitting in these circles.  What is exciting for me is to explain to you what you cannot see in this picture.  All around this picture are groups of other men who are not drinking and being responsible, groups of women singing and playing with their children and/or cooking lunch or dinner. Children are playing soccer or climbing in the trees and they all want to know you, and spend time with you.  On every trip ReturnHope goes on, you will be able to choose which group you want to get involved with and interact with.  It is truly an amazing adventure and trip that will change your life.

So…

ReturnHope has a man on the ground in Uganda right now who is scouting out our very first village.  We will enter this village by providing a fresh water well (Money is already raised for this well!) and beginning a relationship with the village leaders…the men, and also the women and children! The date isn’t set yet, but we are getting ready to go!  I personally am going to be working on the men of the village.  ReturnHope will need people who want to do good in the villages for the other people all around the village too.  My gut tells me that this first trip might be more spontaneous that most of you are prepared for, but that is just a hard reality of the first trip ReturnHope takes.  Once the first trip is complete, we will be able to plan ahead a bit more!

In the mean time I am asking you to pray specifically for the men we will encounter in this first village.  Please pray frequently, so that when we arrive and meet these men, they will have been prayed for by hundreds of you…Hopefully thousands of you.  Please pray that the Holy Spirit will help us pick God’s first circle of men that He wants us to influence.  Pray that these men’s hearts will be prepared for our encounter. Pray for a man in the village who is a pastor who ReturnHope will equip with material and training to be even more impactful in his ministry work for the Lord.  Pray that as we encounter these men, they will give their lives to Jesus and accept the challenge to work alongside us to conquer the injustices they face in their own villages and country!  We as Americans cannot do the work ourselves, we must walk alongside the foreigner and team with them.  We must be learners alongside them as we teach each other.

This will not be a one time encounter.  When we enter a village, we enter into a life long covenant and relationship with the people of the village.  We will return on occasion to continue with these villagers as our brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ who someday will live lives that are not controlled by injustices.  The relationships that we build with these men, women, and children will last an eternity.  We will all impact one another in a mighty way.  It really is a beautiful picture of returning hope to one another.   I believe it is what God intended for the Body of Christ to be…aka…The Church.

Every time you eat…I’m asking that you would pause and pray for this endeavor.  When you read your Bibles, pray again.  When you meet for your Bible study, ask the group to pray specifically for our success in impacting this first village of men, women and children that we encounter.

Again, we (you & me — ReturnHope) are beginning in Uganda Africa.  As soon as we pick our first village…I will inform you of its name and location and when we are planning on leading a group over!  Our trips will consist of impacting Men, Women and Children.  I will give updates all along the way.  I pray that you will share this post with the people in your life who are looking for a purpose to get involved in that lasts eternally!

Will you pray everyday about all of this?  Will you go with us over there?

It has begun.

Let’s ReturnHope to places that are imprisoned by hopelessness…and then ask them to pay it forward by returning hope to others too!

What a cool and challenging adventure!