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Posts tagged with: passion


“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.”
Matthew 5:13

According to the Salt Institute, there are approximately 14,000 different uses for the mineral called SALT.

14,000 different uses for salt! Really?

So when I started going to Sunday School back in the mid 1980’s as a Jr. Higher, and was asked what it means when people say that Christian are to be the salt of the earth, and I answered, “we are to bring purity into every thing we do,” was I wrong? No. That is a right answer. But it is also what I call the typical “Sunday School Answer.” A Sunday School answer is the kind of answer that Christian’s like because its simple, concise and it doesn’t take a lot of thought. Again…not wrong, but not a “full” and insightful or inspiring answer. Its a little “bland” for the kind of answer that God deserves for the creativity that he invented in salt. So…what is a better answer?

I think that if we, as people, can discover 14,000 different uses for salt, then surely we as Christians can have a deeper meaning to what Jesus meant when He said that we are the salt of the earth.

Here’s my attempt at a better answer. Individual pieces of salt all by themselves are pretty much useless. Try it at home. Separate one tiny granule of salt and place it on your tongue. I just did it. It took me a little longer than I thought to actually get one tiny piece onto my tongue. My hands are big and my fingers struggled to get control of one tiny piece. But…I finally got it. Now, you should understand, that I do not have a strong sense of taste or smell in my life. It pretty much allows me to be able to eat anything as long as the texture doesn’t gross me out. So, as I put this individual piece of salt on my tongue, I think I tasted salt, but I couldn’t prove if it was just my imagination telling me it was salty or if I could actually, finitely, maybe, actually taste it. Either way…it was pretty unmemorable as far as experiences go.

Do you see where I’m going with this? Now go back to your salt shaker and do it again, except this time, lick your finger, put it in the salt and then back to your tongue. Big Difference! It actually made me grimace and get one of those faces that we get when we put something really sour in our mouths. It made the glands in the back of my mouth produce some extra saliva. It definitely caught my attention. You? (Don’t tell me that you just sat there reading this without actually doing the “test…if you haven’t…GO DO THE TEST!!”)

One tiny piece of salt, all by itself, is pretty uninspiring. It really doesn’t have much saltiness to it. Jesus says, in the passage I’m referring to above, that if “salt loses its saltiness, its not much good for anything except to be thrown out and TRAMPLED by men.”

Is it just me or is there a lot of trampling going on to the Christian Faith in our American Society? I’ve traveled to South America, Africa, Europe and have been to the Holy Lands. I do not sense the “trampling” as heavy in these places as I do here in our very own, “one nation under God.” So here is my thought. America is the greatest country in the world, and we know that its not perfect. I love the independent nature of an American. We as an American society are becoming more and more independent. God said in the very beginning, right after He created Adam, “its not good that man should live alone.” I could retranslate that sentence God said to, “Its not good for man to be totally independent,” and really not change the message that God intended.

One independent grain of salt is a good thing. Its what God made it to be, but all by itself, isn’t that great, doesn’t have that much impact, is kind of invisible. Agree?

If there are 14,000 uses for salt, then we can do better as Christians when it comes to being the Salt of the earth. I’m not going to have a brainstorming session with you right now about all the uses we as Christians could be in our world to prove that we are salt. What I want you to think about is how alone you might or might not be. Do you have other Salt pieces in your life that you team with, and together you are much “tastier” and noticeable to a world that has become a bit “bland.”

I love the passages of Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 12. There are other Bible passages as well, but these two passages in the Bible talk about most of the SPIRITUAL GIFTS that God gives to Christian when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and have the Holy Spirit move into us. These gifts that we now possess as a Christian are a part of what defines who we are and what we are good at. If you have the spiritual gift of mercy, you are an amazing person to be around when I am hurting. If you have the gift of teaching, you are amazing to be around when I am hungry to learn. If you have gifts of leadership, you are amazing to be around when I need somebody to point me in the right direction. But Hold On! If you are all by yourself…individual…independent…and you have the gift of mercy, but I am in need of the gift of teaching…your mercy will leave me still needing teaching. If you have the gift of teaching and you are all by yourself and I need someone with leadership, then your encounter with me will leave me still in lack of leadership. If I am somebody with the gift of leadership and I encounter you needing someone with great gifts of mercy…then I’m probably going to hurt you as you need more mercy than I am gifted with.

Do you understand what I am saying?

What if…we as a bunch of individual pieces of salt, got together and used our “spiciness” to push each other on to do good in the world. What would we encounter that we WOULDN’T be able to accomplish together? NOTHING! Think about your local church and the total number of people you have together, with all the different gifts you have amongst each other. What can’t you do? You can do anything! Even the average size church in America, which is approximately 85 people, can do anything…together!

We are the Church. We are the Salt of the Earth. We can do anything…as long as we stick together. Please don’t allow yourself to be separated from the “salt shaker.” It takes my breath away when I think about how many people, who fall onto hard times, quit showing up for Church services, and quit serving other people. Think of it this way….What happens to a Zebra when it gets separated from the herd?

The Bible describes the Devil as a roaring lion waiting to devour you. If you separate yourself from your group for any reason…lunch will be served. You are “salty” too! The devil loves a good Christian for breakfast, lunch or dinner…or just a midnight snack.

Stick together! If you don’t have a local church home…keep searching. If you don’t have somebody you can call when you fall on tough times…be one to somebody else and that will solve your independence and separation problem.


Do you know what your Spiritual Gifts are? If you do not, please contact a local pastor of a Christian Church and ask Him to help you. If you can’t find help with this, please ask me to help you. If I can’t personally help you then I will get you connected to a local church pastor that you can trust…wherever you live.

Are you using your spiritual gifts in the local church? Don’t forget that the local church is really just a big salt shaker. You are a granule with millions of other granules spread around the world in a bunch of different “salt shakers.” Be encouraged by that powerful fact! If there are 14,000 different uses for Salt, but you, as salt, do not use your “use,” then the church is really only 13,999 uses. Not bad…but not complete! Jesus wants COMPLETION, when it comes to the huge things He would have us being responsible for.

You are the salt of the earth! What a huge compliment Jesus gives you. Please don’t take it for granted. Make sure you are adding your spice to this world. The world hungers for what you can provide. You are needed.

The world is a better place because you live in it right now.
I hope you believe that. I believe it about you.

Today and from now on…use your strengths and giftedness to add some great spice to other people’s lives. I know that you will agree with me when i say that little things matter to people. So, how can you use your “saltiness” in a way that makes a little impact in the life of someone you now today? Try it. What do you have to lose if you try?

I say it again…the world is a better place because of you.

I hope you will live like you believe that!


“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”
Matthew 5:7

Do you believe the phrase, ‘What goes around comes around?” Its obvious that Jesus believes in it. Read His phrase above again. It may as well say, “What goes around comes around.” Jesus also is the one who preached The Golden Rule; “Do unto to others as you would have them do unto you.”

But here is my fear. Jesus showed Mercy…pretty much…to everybody, and it landed Him on the cross. But before He ended up on the cross, He was rejected, spit upon, beaten, humiliated and ultimately murdered…as an innocent, merciful man. How did all His “mercy” work for Him? Not so well.

So, is Jesus out of His mind when He teaches this stuff? Was this phrase that Jesus taught, in the very first message He preached, just a rookie mistake. The answer is clearly, “No!”

The big question is…if you and I live a life of giving others mercy, who is going to give it back to us? Because the reality is, many people, if you give them mercy, will shove it back in your face in an unmerciful way. So what is Jesus talking about?

If you think about Jesus’ life, He showed mercy to everybody, through the action of dying on the cross, to pay for everybody’s sins. However, prior to Jesus’ merciful action of dying on the cross, Jesus didn’t always show mercy. The people He didn’t show instant mercy to, were the religious-arrogant ones…the bullies. Jesus promoted the progress and purpose of others…unless you were a bully. Jesus publicly humiliated the bully of His day. The Pharisees, the Religious leaders, they were serious power-mongers over others. Jesus had some choice words for these kinds of people. He called them “Sons of Vipers, White-washed tombs, hypocrites.” (The snake/viper was the ultimate derogatory term, it was a cuss word. Adam and Eve were deceived by a “snake.” To be called a “son of a viper”…was to be called a devil.) And He did it publicly. So…hear me out. Jesus tells people that they will be blessed if they show mercy. However, Jesus is NOT telling them that they HAVE TO be merciful. He is simply saying that if you are merciful you will also get some mercy back. He really is saying, “What goes around comes around.” Think about it….Jesus didn’t show mercy to the hypocritical religious leaders…and sure enough…those hypocritical religious leaders were the ones who instigated killing Him. “What goes around, comes around.” He didn’t show public mercy to the religious leaders and they are the ones who put Him on the Cross. “What goes around, comes around.” Another look at this…Jesus did show mercy to Judas, but Judas ultimately didn’t give mercy back to Him. Judas betrayed Jesus in return for all of Jesus’ mercy. I don’t think Jesus was talking about any guarantees of receiving mercy in return for giving mercy, when He said, “Blessed are the merciful for they will be given mercy.” So what the heck did Jesus mean by saying this?

I think Jesus’ statement of “Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy,” is talking about God being the one who will eventually show you mercy. I think you will agree with me, that merciful actions today, do not guarantee merciful actions in return. Its a beautiful thing when it does happen, but its also not the end of your world, if it doesn’t. Isn’t it better to go ahead and show mercy anyway? Jesus doesn’t say you HAVE TO show mercy. Jesus didn’t always show mercy Himself. But isn’t it better to show mercy anyway? Isn’t that the high road? It’s, most definitely, not the easy road.
So it’s fair to say that ultimately, by the time the cross had done its lethal Job, Jesus had shown mercy to everybody. His act of giving His life on the Cross in replacement for the death of each of us, is the ultimate act of MERCY. We call it Grace. Grace and Mercy are close relatives. However, its also fair to say, that in Jesus’ 33 year life span, He didn’t always show mercy to those He encountered.

So when Jesus says, “Blessed are the Merciful for they will be shown Mercy,” I think He’s guaranteeing something in our future. By future, I mean Eternal. Heaven! Remember in this first message that Jesus preached that “Blessed” does not mean happy. Blessed means “Accepted.” So we could read the teaching this way, “Accepted are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” He could have simply said, “The merciful will go to Heaven.” Jesus isn’t saying just because you are merciful today, that you will receive immediate mercy now. It sure didn’t work that way for Himself. Think about this…

If you are a person of Mercy in our world today, you are going to be taken advantage of. You have to agree with me that merciful people are nice people. In our world today, “Nice people tend to finish last.” Nice people are also known as naive people. Nice people are known as pushovers. Nice people get gossiped about for being soft and lacking business savvy.

Do you think Jesus cares when you get grouped in with those stereotypes? You Bet He Does! And when He returns, you will receive the advantage. You will be the leader. You will be first. You will be seen as wise. You will be known as the persevering one. You will be the one who will be known as brilliant, and as having incredible “business savvy.”



So what are you living for? Are you “putting all your eggs in the basket of living your best life right now here on earth, without any focus on your eternal life? Your eternal life will be just as real to you as your current life, except it will be eternal. Which one is more important?

Don’t get me wrong. This life is deeply…deeply important. How you live your life today is a choice of how you want to spend your eternity. Remember this…God does not send anyone to Hell. God only honors your choice of how you lived on earth. If you want to live your life on earth with the characteristics and actions of Hell….Greed…un-forgiveness…being a bully…being a jackass…being selfish…power hungry…etc, then God will simply honor your choice and when you die, He will simply extend your life choices into eternity.

However, if you choose to to live your current life and so choose to live as a person who brings the elements of Heaven to earth, like showing mercy…giving forgiveness…peace…patience…kindness…faithfulness…love…etc, then God, when you die, will extend your life choices into eternity and thus you will live in Heaven forever.

When you think of it that way, who cares how you get treated today simply because you choose “good” behavior! Bring it on! Right?

Today, no matter how you get treated, choose to be the one who brings the elements of Heaven to earth.

Be prepared for today. Think right now about who you are getting ready to encounter in the next 8 hours or so. You know most of the people you are going to encounter. So prepare yourself, right now, for the negative encounters. Choose to show mercy, even if its not given to you. Its only the negative encounters you need to prepare for. If you prepare for them now and make a choice to give mercy even when its not given to you, then your day will be one of power and love and serving.

That sounds a lot like the life of Jesus.
I think its going to be a good day.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.”
Maybe He doesn’t mean you’ll get mercy today.
But I guarantee that He means you’ll get mercy in Eternity.

Show Mercy…sooner or later…it will all “pay off!”

What a great day ahead of you.
Be merciful.

Retweeting Jesus “RT@JesusChrist #3”

It is written, My house will be called a house of prayer. But you are making it a den of thieves! JC 40
Matthew 21:13 (HCSB)

Do you remember the movie “City Slickers?” Jack Palance played the part of “Curly.” Billy Crystal played the part of “Mitch.” Curly was an intimidating man in the movie. Very focused and direct. In the movie there is a scene where Curly and Mitch have to round up a cow that got separated from the herd. While these two men are off on their own, Curly uses the time to challenge Mitch about “The Secret of Life.” Curly, a leathery old cowboy, challenged Mitch to understand that the Secret to Life is to get his ONE THING figured out. Mitch wanted to know what the “One Thing” was because Curly was holding up his pointer finger in the air demonstrating the #1. Mitch sarcastically says, “The One Thing is your finger?” According to Jack Palance playing “Curly.” Jack said…”No, you’ve got to figure out your own one thing…You get your one thing figured out and everything else don’t mean Jack.” Except he didn’t actually say “jack,” if you know what I mean.

Do you think Jesus had his ONE THING figured out?

Jesus’ one thing was complete honor and delight for his one True Father. Over and over in the passages of Scripture we can read how Jesus’ only real “thing” was to honor and delight His Father. Some of those passages read like this.
“I can do nothing outside of my Father, I only do what I see Him doing.” Jesus to the Jews.
“Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.” Jesus to the Devil.
“I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.” Jesus to His Father.

Do you have that kind of priority structure? Your “One Thing?” Your Essentials? Do the people around you know it.

I suppose its safe to say that after the temple scene where He “tweeted” the passage above…everybody knew what Jesus’ one thing was.

After tweeting this passage, Jesus took a whip and began to whip people out of the temple area. He flipped over tables. Scattered the money, the animals and the people. This scene had to have been a scene of total chaos. There would have been yelling, pushing, frantic running and fearfulness. One passage comes to mind from this scene. Psalm 69:9, “Zeal for your house consumes me.”

Jesus’ one thing, is His passion for the honoring of God’s Household.

God’s household is His Kingdom. God doesn’t live in buildings made by the hand of man. God’s House is His creation, His will.

The temple area in Jesus’ time was massive. I’ve personally stood on this specific area in Jerusalem. This area was supposed to be an area of worship. In Jesus time there was even an area called the “Court of Gentiles.” Its of my opinion that this is where this scene took place.

The Court of Gentiles was an area where the Non-Jewish people (Gentiles) could gather and watch what was going on in this Holy place. To the Jewish people, Gentiles were unclean and a Jewish person was not even allowed to touch such a person. However, they created an area of “evangelism” for the Gentiles to stand and watch in hopes that the Gentiles watching might be converted. But in the pursuit of money, this evangelism area had been converted into a market. When the Gentiles arrived expecting to stand and observe the Holy activities of the Jews, maybe even pray to God, what they found instead was a giant Swap Meet. And when Jesus arrives on the scene and sees that an area of evangelism had been converted into racketeering. He created a racket. The fire inside his bones that consumed Him to be so devoted to the will of the Father….let loose! Jesus officially “lost” it! He got angry…yet didn’t sin. Our world of political correctness has forgotten that you can get angry, call people out, speak the truth, demand justice, demand accountability and yet not sin. Our culture would do well to remember and practice this. Our Church Culture too.

So…if Jesus walked into your “house” what would he use a whip to clear out? What would He see that would cause Him to flip over your tables in anger? Jesus knows your unbelievable potential to be such a strong follower of His…what in your life would He be really upset about because you are choosing to settle for it, instead of be all that you can for Him?

When I say “your house” I mean your life. Your body. Your home. Your work place. Your thoughts. Your habits. Your marriage. Your words. Your heart. You!

Your “house” was created to dedicate and Honor and Delight God the Father…have you turned it into a place of thievery, sin or????

What is of God’s that you have made your own?

This tweet of Jesus is focused and serious. It deals with Eternity and Heaven and Hell are in the balance.

Does Passion for “God’s House consume you?
Is it your ONE THING?
What will you do about it today?


What style do you lead with? You are a leader. Everyone leads in some form or another. I don’t want to oversimplify leadership because there is no such thing as simple leadership. So, humor me for a moment and let me cause you to think about two very famous forms of leadership and then you can decide which one you are and whether or not you are okay with your type of leadership. I do believe that you and I can change our leadership. Whether you have the gift of Leadership (Romans 12:8) or not, you can change your leadership style. Do you need to change your leadership style? If you do, will you?

Antoine Sanit-Exuperty was an aviator and an author. He wrote the following statement about leadership that I want to expound on. The simple statement below expresses what I think are the two most popular forms of leadership that I am asking you to meditate on and discern which one you are. Maybe someone else would be more truthful to you than you are to yourself as to which one you are more like.

“If you want to build a ship, don’t recruit the men to gather the wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead teach them to yearn for the vast and open sea!”

There you are. Two very effective forms of leadership. Both, effectively get a ship built.

The first form of leadership gets the ship built just like this image portrays.

This ship is magnificent. Inspirational. This is the kind of ship where men work hard to get it built. This is the kind of ship that men will do all they can to fix the problems and tweak the ship as its built so that it is just perfect. This is a ship that is built in a way that is reproducible, catches attention and people come from all over the world to walk around it and gasp at its incredible-ness. Who wouldn’t want to be recruited by the Leader of this vision so they could gather the materials, be a part of the divided work and complete the orders to build it?

I wouldn’t. I have a problem with this ship. Oh, its breathtaking and inspirational. It is quite an accomplishment. Something to be held in high honor and something to be very proud of. Not too many people get to build a ship like it! Its just not my kind of ship.

You might ask, “Why?”

Because all it is, is a ship, stuck on land. The problem with this ship, is that it is complete. The Leader wanted to build this ship, so he recruited the men to gather the materials, divide the work and gave the orders. Mission Accomplished! Built Ship.

The other form of Leadership… This second form of leadership builds this kind of ship…

This is the kind of ship that is built by the kind of leadership that I long for. Somewhere there was a man that taught a group of people to YEARN for the VAST and OPEN sea. They got together and began to dream about what it would be like to be out in the open sea with the wind blowing and the whales breaching and the waves carrying. These men got tired of dreaming and they discovered amongst them abilities and strengths that could make this yearning become a reality.

This is a boat that probably took a bit longer to build, it may have been a bit of rougher completion process. Mistakes would have to be forgiven, new lessons learned and the product that was brought to fruition was not a ship completed and still on the dock, but a ship completed, full of men who were proud of the accomplishment and an actual ship that is built to accomplish what the dream was all about.

I don’t want to be the leader that just builds the ship. Glorious as that may be.
I want to be a leader that inspires men to build the ship, un-dock the ship, navigate the ship, and then EXPERIENCE the VAST AND OPEN SEA.

Both are very effective styles of leadership with very different results.

What is your Leader…SHIP?

Copyright Trent Renner 2013