:::: MENU ::::
Posts tagged with: pride

Motives Matter

Our motives matter to God.

He’s sees right through our disguises.

For instance, as a Christian it would be very easy to disguise my selfishness and fear as a desire to be in a small, intimate Church. We could hide behind the Bible verse that says “God is love” and excuse our desire for a small church as all about love and knowing everyone, just like God knows everyone.

And, it would be easy to disguise my competitive spirit, greed, & pride, as evangelism and church growth.  It would be easy to have the ends justify the means.  We could say, look how big my church is, God must be so proud of how many people attend my church.  We could excuse our sin by disguising it as evangelism.

Motive pic

It doesn’t matter what people believe our motives to be, only what God already knows our motives are.

I’m a “Why Guy”.  When was the last time you really did a self-aware check?  When was the last time you got in a closet with God and spoke to him about your motives?

Why do you do what you do? God knows, but do you?

We cannot be fake with God.  Someday we will all stand before Him…

intellectually naked    —    emotionally exposed    —    physically insufficient.

Don’t fear it….be ready for it.

Remember that nothing can separate you from the love of God.

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow–not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.”  Romans 8:38

And Jesus said,

“If you love me, obey my commandments.”  John 14:15

Do not forget that Hell is full of people whom God loves.  God didn’t send them to Hell, he only honored their choice to not obey Him. He honored their motives.  Our motives matter to God.  Are your motives about humbly serving, loving, and obeying Jesus?

Let’s triple check our motives.  If you are ashamed of what you find, then never forget that…

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

If Jesus is who He says He is…then He is returning someday…with passion…to settle the score once and for all.

Don’t screw around with Him and your eternity simply because of the shallowness of the temporary.

Motives matter.

Know your motives.

God will not control your motives.

He left that up to your own stewardship and care.

God will honor your choices that are born out of your motives.

Your motives will lead to your choices, and your choices will be extended by God into eternity.

Heaven and Hell are in the balance.  Eternity is at stake.  For your eternity’s sake, check your motives.


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…



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.

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?


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…

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!