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Posts tagged with: trust

Why are there earthquakes and climate/global changes? (A faith perspective)

My soul will never allow me to let science overrule the Word of God.

I think that science and the Word of God can work together beautifully.  However, time has proven, that most choose to honor/worship scientific explanation over God’s explanation.

Why is human nature so against the natural way of God?

If God is the creator of all, then He is the “go to guy” when it comes to trying to understand the why and how of things.  While reading the Bible this morning I was reminded of God’s design of things and it made me want to write about what this post’s theme is.  Here is the simple passage I read…

“Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord,earthquake
    at the presence of the God of Jacob.
He turned the rock into a pool of water;
    yes, a spring of water flowed from solid rock.”

Pslam 114:7-8

When the earth trembles, it’s an earthquake.  The rocking and rolling of the very foundation we rely so stably on.  I have experienced an earthquake while in California.  It is a strange and insecure feeling when the solid floor beneath your feet begins to rock and roll.  Insecurity takes over when the foundation is moving beneath your feet!   When insecurity starts to rule, we naturally start grasping for answers.  Our culture and nature have taken us to rely deeply on science to give us those answers. Science seems to have stolen the throne from the Creator…the Father…the wold party host, the know all.

People love science, because it seems to give secure answers to questions we worry about.   But, science uses human knowledge to understand the mysterious and difficult things that God has created.  I don’t blame anybody for being curious.  I don’t blame people for desiring security even if its the false kind.

I’m a why guy, so I am always thinking through the “layers of why” that ultimately are the cause of anything.  So, I think God smiles at science.  Why?  Because God is the ultimate parent.   Any good parent loves to see his/her children play hide and seek during a party gathering.   I think it gives our Father in Heaven great pleasure to see his children seeking after the things that He has hidden.  I think He hid things to keep us busy during this giant earthly party we all attend.  The childlike nature in me sees this world as a giant hide and seek game.  Even Jesus said He came to “seek”.

It all seems fun…right up to the point where the Father no longer gets the credit for his masterminded plan for the party.  The party gets going to the point where the party attenders no longer desire the party planner to be a part of the party. This kind of party never ends well.

A hide and seek game can get out of control when the planner, who has the answers, is no longer around to share the hints.  It can become a form of a quiet riot, where the party bully shouts…

“you gotta fight for your right to paaarrrrttt-ay!” 🙂

 Without the party planner and host, the party becomes unpredictably dangerous, and the bully tends to take over. Depending on what the bully believes and does, is what sets the tone for the rest of the party and party attenders.  If you don’t agree with the bully, then you are also asked to leave the party, or at the very least, belittled.  Most people love a party, so they don’t question the bully for fear of being asked to leave.

I am in awe of the Creator of the party, for allowing his creation to push Him out.  That is a loving God who honors the choices of His creation.  God is not a bully.  God doesn’t force Himself on anyone at the Party.

If we ask God, the great party planner, to step out of the party … then He steps out… and then we are left to the mercy of the bully.  Bully’s don’t have much mercy.  It can be brutal to live in the shadow and the dominance of the bully.

Who is the bully in this “One Nation under Godlessness”?  The bully is the one who controls the information outlet.  The bully is the one who has the ability to get the most attention in our homes and minds.  You decide who that currently is.  I think it is obvious.  But I won’t be a bully.

So…here’s my deal…

I’ve never been a party fan.  I would prefer to leave the party early.   Once I have honored the party host and arrived to show the host my appreciation, say hello to some good friends, and catch up a little….I then prefer to leave.

In this great earth party I’m talking about, the host isn’t welcome anymore.  If the host isn’t present at the party, then I have no desire to attend the party and listen to the bull of the bully.  I despise the bully.   I’ll call the police on the bully when the party gets out of control.  I’ll throw the bully under the bus and point out where the party has gotten dangerous and is causing damage to the people at the party.  At my worst/best…I will walk into the party again just to get in the face of the bully and call his bluff.  I hate this kind of party and therefore I don’t get drunk on the bull of the bully.

What about you?

Are you drunk from the bully at the host-less party?  Have you drunk the spiked kool-aid to the point where you won’t even pick up the party manual anymore? Are you so drunk from all the bully’s bull that you don’t even remember the party host?  Have you taken your drunkenness to the extent that you have allowed the bully to attach you to the IV where you now just allow the drip-drip-drip of information, not found in the party owner’s manual, to fill your veins and control your mind?  Have you become a host-less party junkie?  Are you a part of the quiet riot?

I write the analogy above to say this…have you, even unknowingly, asked God to step out of the party and bought the bull?  If  you have questions and curiosity, do you first turn to the drip-drip-drip of the science and the bully, or to the Party planner’s manual?

God, the Party Planner, is so kind and good that when He was asked to leave the party, He made sure to leave the Party Manual behind.  The Bible is the manual to all things life.  If God did the hiding and the creating of the mysteries that keep us so curious, then He also gave us the “secrets and hints” book….The clue book that leads us to the thrilling discovery of truth.  The truth to how this party is supposed to be run.

So, back to  my point about earthquakes.  Can you really give me the why behind an earthquake?  Do you rely on the bully and his/her information to give you the why?  The bully of science is loaded with answers that tease you to thinking you have security.  Don’t buy the bull.  I have no security about my next 5 minutes.  So..I trust in the party planner.  My security is in His hands.  All my answers are in His hands.

Why wouldn’t you seek your answers about why an earthquake happens from the creator of the earthquake?  He gave you a manual with answers to your questions.  Or has the bully got you to thinking that the manual is fiction?   “Drip-drip-drip-drip-drip…  … … … … … … … Please…pull out the IV and seek the owners manual.

According to the passage above, the earth trembles because of the presence of the Lord.

The following passages in Scripture are accounts of actual earthquakes and why they happened.  You read and you decide. (Just click the link to read the Bible verses)  Put science away for a few and just soak in the owners manual.   There are 9 earthquakes clearly mentioned in the Bible…it could be more…but I only picked the very obvious earthquakes.  I will only give the references for you to click on or look up in your own Bible and you can choose to read the individual accounts or not.  I will also share a quick paragraph below that summarizes the why of the earthquakes.

Genesis 7:11

Exodus 19:18

Numbers 16:31-33

1 Samuel 14:13-15

1 Kings 19:11

Matthew 27:51-54

Matthew 28:2

Acts 4:31

Acts 16:26

A review of the 9 earthquakes listed above shows that virtually the entire story of the Bible can be summarized by its connection to acts of God.  If you think about the stories above…I’m sure the scientist of the day tried to explain why the earthquakes were happening….they probably blamed it on global warming! 🙂 LOL  But, only a few knew the real reasons as to why.  We are fortunate to have the historical record in the Bible…the Owner’s Manual.  The specific Biblical events emphasized by earthquakes are Noah’s Flood, the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai, authentication of the leadership of Moses, the crucifixion of Jesus in Jerusalem, the resurrection of Jesus, the ministry of the apostles and the church.

Earthquakes have been used by God to highlight some of the most important events of world history.  The three main purposes for biblical earthquakes are judgment, deliverance, and communication. The lesson seems obvious to me—significant things in “nature” happen as an act of God to tell us something important.  God is always speaking and working and demonstrating His power and love.  Are we paying attention anymore?  Have we asked the creator of this giant world/party to shut up and leave the party?

In our fast-paced, man-centered, technology-based society of the twenty-first century, God would have us pause and consider His world party leadership nature.  His purpose…His plan.  Whether you like it or not…whether hundreds of thousands are hurt or killed in these earthquakes…God is still God.  Jesus is still Jesus, and if Jesus is who He says He is…then He is returning whether you like Him or not…believe in Him or not.  He will have the final say.

Are you sure you want to rely on tectonic plates and science as the main reason for earthquakes?

Might God be trying to say some things, while too many are no longer listening?

Are you regularly using the owners manual/Bible to understand how the world, nature, global changes, your personal relationships, and even your very own heart, mind and soul, work? … Or are you going to rely on science and human wisdom?  (I warn you to not rely on human wisdom…The Bible says something about that too…read it here 1 Corinthians 1:18-29

It is possible to use both…but both only work together when they invite the creator of the party to continue to lead the party.

Are you regularly spending time reading the owner’s manual to how this Giant Blue Planet and the little tiny things that live upon it, work?

The creator and His one and only Son want to move into your soul and lead your life and all your understanding.

If you let them in…you will never be the same and you will never view the world the same.

If you have asked God to leave your world…please invite Him back in.

God loves you….so do I.  If I can help you with anything, just ask.  I’ll do my best.

I’d like to end with this Bible passage… Pslams 117 (The shortest chapter in the Bible)…unlike this blog post! 🙂

“Praise the Lord, all you nations.
    Praise him, all you people of the earth.
For his unfailing love for us is powerful;
    the Lord’s faithfulness endures forever.  Praise the Lord!”


Trajectory – Shift Happens

One decision, one person, one integrity problem, one accident, one encounter…and your entire life trajectory can be altered for eternity. We are all just one decision from having our entire life trajectory being altered for eternity. I have never in my life imagined living in Orlando Florida. I planted a church in Phoenix Arizona and dreamed to be the Lead Pastor of that Church for 40 years and then retire and pass the baton to one of my sons and ask to have the Church broom so I could be the Church Janitor and best cheerleader the new pastor could dream of. To be perfectly honest I hate the phrase, ‘If you want to make God laugh just tell Him your plans.” I hate it, but I get it.

I am completely dumbfounded, flabbergasted, blown away, that I now live in Orlando Florida. My family’s trajectory change has moments of thrill and moments of chill…yah…the bad kind of chill. One decision… has me living 2,180 miles from anything I have ever known and facing giants and obstacles that make my skin crawl, my heart ache, my blood pressure to rise, and my heart to beat faster for the thrill of the challenge. One decision led to this. One decision that I know I was supposed to make. How do I know that I was supposed to make it? Because God told me to. It was so clear that, if I had to make the decision again, knowing what I know now, I would have to make the same decision because God was that clear. Steve Jobs said that we can never connect the dots looking forward, only looking back. Others say we all have 20/20 hindsight.

So the average comfy Christian would reply to my paragraph above, “Its okay, Trent…God must have wanted you to live in Orlando Florida and have you doing what you are doing now…or… what happened wouldn’t have happened, its all God’s plan…so let go and let God.” Isn’t that convenient. I’m not a Calvanist and I think that answer is a copout. Its wrong to place all the blame or responsibility on God. Its easy to blame God for the disasters/trajectory changes going on in your life. When you blame God nobody else has to accept responsibility. The phrase, “God’s Got This” is true but that is different than saying God caused this. Want an example?

Adam and Eve. Did God plan and intend for them to break His rules of not eating of the specific trees in the Garden of Eden? Did God tell Himself before He created Adam and Eve….”Hey I’m going to create this thing called people and I am going to love them because I made them in my image to be like me…but in my plan I’ve got this little fun twist I want to play around with…I’m going to cause them to screw it all up. I am going to watch them become ashamed of each other and then I plan on watching them kill each other and then I’m going to kill my own Son to pay the price for their screw ups and how fun it will be…because I”m gonna blow them all away by raising my son from the dead after I kill Him! God leans to His right and asks His Son…”Sound Cool, Jesus?” “You up for this great plan, Son?” Jesus says, “that’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard, Dad.” God replies, “Oh, Jesus…don’t be a bad sport. You can do it! Think of the adventure!” So God proceeds with his “will” and for thousands of years orchestrates rapes, gangster murder, divorce and hate, suicide bombers, as He leans back into His memory foam love-sac and from His game room in His gated community called Heaven, xbox 360 controller in hand, intensely playing through His favorite game called Life. Press X for Jump, Y to knife, UP arrow to receive prayer, DOWN arrow for eternal punishment…

Too cynical for you? Yah…me too…I’m in a sassy mood. Its been a rough week. It all makes we want to scream from my roof top that Life was never intended to be this way. If you can read through my cynicism there’s actually a good lesson here.

Trajectory Shift. Your’s might shift tomorrow. Everything you’ve been doing for the past 13/20/60 years could be completely annihilated before your very eyes…tomorrow. If it happens you’ll be put in a trajectory change that will make you question everything you thought you knew about life, the people around you and leave you screaming, Why?!” Ask yourself… Do you trust that person you are about to make the deal with? Do you trust your spouse? Do you trust your dad? Do you trust that taxi driver as you jump in the back seat. Do you trust the engineer who just built the bridge. Do you trust the man who put the bolt in the truss hanging over your head in that giant football stadium? Do you trust the driver on the other side of the dotted yellow line? Do you trust the councelor who is meeting behind closed doors with your child? Do you trust the guy working under you as he sees the rungs of the ladder above you? Do you trust the spiritual mentor you’ve had in your life for the past 20 plus years? Do you trust your preacher and how he handles the church finances? Do you trust the man dressed up in a SWAT uniform carrying a gun across the parking lot of the movie theater? Trust and Trajectory shifts…they go hand in hand.

Its tough to walk the fine line of trusting someone, something, and at the same time making sure everybody signs the dotted line of security.

In God We Trust…everybody else pays cash and signs the agreement.
I’ve learned in the past year about trust and security and trajectory shift. God is the only one we can fully trust without thinking much about it, without worry, without stress. He always has our best interest in mind, even if it doesn’t feel good. Everybody else…you will have to choose to trust, it will require some security backup like contracts and waivers. Even then its a finicky trust. Its a trust that if all parties aren’t seeking the best interest of each other it will end up in a trajectory shift in your life that will take your breath away and you will be bothered by it the rest of your life. Shift Happens!

I chose to trust. 20/20 hindsight proves that it was a blind and naive trust. I didn’t have anybody sign the agreement that I wrote up. I didn’t get perfect clarity before I committed. I feel like a dummy. I trusted. I quietly pulled back the paperwork, folded it in half and slid it in my back pocket. Oh…I’d like that 20 seconds of time back. I believed in the idealistic dream that everybody has everybody else’s benefit in mind. You see…it takes two to make a plan work right. It takes all parties listening to God and behaving like God to make God’s plan work. Even one entity thinking only for themselves and the deal is bust. Trajectory Shift starting in 10…9…8…

I do not blame anyone, but myself. I don’t blame the other party. I most definitely do not blame God. I’m just heart broken over all the shift! Its a load of shift. I’m sick to my stomach…frequently…about it all. What does a man do now? I know the answer to that question!

You get up, shake the dust off your clothes and put your feet on the ground and start over. What else can you do? It doesn’t work to keep laying in the dirt bloodied and pathetic. It doesn’t work to listen to the voice of the critic. It doesn’t work to listen to the voice of one who is celebrating as you suffer the shift. You get up! Tomorrow arrives consistently everyday. Time keeps ticking whether I want it to stop or not. I must choose to fully grasp the shift and make the most of it. Shifts make for new beginnings, new places, new plans. Pain and trajectory shifts are twins. Pain doesn’t mean its bad, its just reality. Trajectory shifts means somebody didn’t get what they hoped for. That causes agony, but new beginnings too. My trajectory shift has landed me in another part of the country and feels like another part of the world. My trajectory shift has me realizing that everybody is the same whether you live in Arizona or in Florida…Uganda or Peru…Jerusalem or Paris.

I am truly understanding for the first time in my life what the Bible means by all Creation groans for the return of the King, Jesus Christ. I used to think only weak people groaned for the return of Jesus. I’ve realized its just the opposite. People who really haven’t faced a crushing trajectory shift in their life, who sit under the umbrella of false security and false contentment are the soft ones who don’t understand why people groan for the return of Jesus. If you aren’t groaning for the return of Jesus you have the “blessed” position of comfort and a life truly unaltered. You’ve gotten your way for too long. To this type of person, it is alarming to think of Jesus returning, for life is too good to have it all end now. Death terrifies this type of person because life is too good. What a crazy, wild, out of control world we live in…its quite thrilling if you think about it. I guess its all how you view life.

I am astonished at the patience and love that Jesus carried with Him every minute of the short time He lived here as one of us. He encountered such selfish people. On rare occasions we can see when He encountered a person that “inspired” Him. It was usually a person who had faced incredible hardship and trajectory shifts in their life. It takes my breath away when I think about how much restraint, that God the Father must have, to NOT send His Son back down here to settle the score once and for all and end the nonsense, the selfishness, the clamoring for power and privilege and position. Fighting for who answers to who. Scheming to get what they want when they want it. I want to scream…Jesus…please stop the madness! God’s patience is maddening to me and at the same time a beautiful gift to me. And you!

Its enough to make a pastor throw in the towel of ministry to go work at Home Depot. But…

No chance.
I’ll never quit.
Yes…I said it…Never.

I have been crushed. The crushing has made me smarter, harder, more aware. I’m not sure if all of those things are good or not? I assume it depends on how I use those knew weapons from this day forward.

Time tells all things. Trajectory shift changes all things.
For now…the trajectory has shifted. Shift happens. I can handle it. It just makes me weary. I must rest…for tomorrow is guaranteed to begin. The sun will rise. The Son will return. In the mean time….
I’ll try not to screw it up. If I do…that’ll change the trajectory again. Trajectory change wouldn’t be so bad if it was just me that it affected. The trajectory shift I experienced a year ago…because of one decision,…affected more than 20,000 people. Their trajectory was altered, even though multitudes of them will never know. I wish it would have just affected me. I faced an incredibly scary decision just a few nights ago that I had to make. I made it and my trajectory has shifted again. This trajectory shift has affected nearly 1000 people. In the next few days and weeks all involved with experience more trajectory shift because of the choices of a few.

I wonder if there is a viewing room in Heaven where we can someday go to see what should have been or what could have been if all parties would have just acted like Jesus. I don’t think an actual room exists, though, because the Bible says there will be no tears. Sitting in the viewing room of what should have been, would make any viewer watching their “should have been life” flash before their eyes, cry. If there was such a room, it would have a no vacancy sign on because it would be full of those who insisted that their life stay the same. It will be full of people who clawed and fought for only what they want. The video playing in that room will terrify those who refused to change, stretch, grow, give and risk. If you haven’t faced tremendous trajectory shift in your life, it will only be a matter of time. I think there are two kinds of people in the world. Those coming out of a crushing trajectory shift and those who are getting ready to enter a crushing trajectory shift.

As hard as the trajectory shift is…the shift is actually a gift from God. This wasn’t all in God’s plan. I will never know what God had planned in the plan before this trajectory shift. I will be thought provoked for the rest of my life wondering what could have been if everybody would have stayed in God’s will.
The things that happened has caused God to have to change His plan. It has caused God to pick up the ashes
What does a man do in this situation?

It makes him simply say…What now Lord? Here I am use me.

Trust God that He didn’t cause this trajectory change. Man did.
Trust God at His word that He’ll make beauty from ashes. He will.

The Shift is a Gift!

May your past be the sound of your feet upon the ground.
Carry on.

Trent


Retweeting Jesus “RT@JesusChrist #14”

Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands! –JC
Luke 23:46

The very next sentence that Luke records in the Bible is, “And with those words He breathed His last.” (Would you pause for a few seconds and quietly thank Jesus for what He suffered through so that we, His followers, would be forgiven and free?)

Jesus’ last words on the cross were a Tweet of Trust. Of Letting go. Of ultimate submission. He could have controlled. But He chose to trust His Father in Heaven with the control.

The way Jesus “behaved” on the cross must have made quite an impression on the Roman Guards. Luke records that one of the guards said something right after Jesus breathed His last. Its recorded in Luke 23:47, “When the Roman Officer overseeing the execution saw what had happened, he worshiped God and said, “Surely this man was innocent.”

Can you imagine the burden and sorrow this Roman Officer carried home with him? I imagine it haunted him the rest of his life. I wonder if this Roman Officer was aware of what happened 3 days and 3 nights later. If he did know that Jesus rose from the dead, was it good news for him, or did it only make him feel worse about how he had to oversee and approve of in the killing of Jesus?

I hope to meet this Roman officer someday. It says that he worshiped God, so I am hoping he became a true follower of Jesus after Jesus rose from the dead. I’d like to ask this Roman officer some questions about that horrible day at the cross. I’d love to hear his full version of the story.

So Jesus says…”Father, I entrust my spirit into your hands.”

The human side of Jesus at the tweeting of this sentence must have been a bit nervous. Of course Jesus knew He was going to raise from the dead in 3 days and 3 nights. I still think the human side of Jesus had to of struggled in this final moment. He spent 33 years walking the land, encountering people and representing the Father in Heaven perfectly. We know that the Father never let Jesus down…but the “what-ifs” might have tempted Jesus to have bouts of nervousness while hanging on the cross. I wonder if those 33 years flew by or if it was one long day after another. He sure was mistreated a lot. But I also believe that Jesus laughed a lot. I mean…most of His time was spent with 12 other guys. You know how guys are when they camp together, walk together, spend a lot of time with each other. The fun side of Jesus had to of played some pranks on the guys. When a group of guys get together, somebody is trying to scare someone, sooner or later. Have you ever wondered if Jesus’ miracle of walking on water wasn’t to top a previous attempt by one of the Apostles’ at one of their “Gotcha!” moments? I don’t know. It sure seems like Christians have settled into believing that Jesus didn’t have any fun. We all know He faced many hardships and sorrows. The book of Isaiah says this in a couple prophecies about the Messiah. We know that Jesus faced unbelievable mistreatment at the hands of His own created people. But I still hold onto the hope that Jesus laughed…a lot. Surely, after Jesus caused the Blind man to see, while walking away from this miraculous moment and talking with the Apostles about it, surely Jesus said….”Hey guys…did you see the look on the faces of the religious leaders when I healed that blind man?” Or when He raised Lazarus from the dead. Lazarus had been dead for four days. Lazarus’ sister warned Jesus that it was too late and not to open the tomb for the smell would be unbearable. I wonder if Jesus, after raising Lazarus from the dead whispered in Martha’s ear, “I told you so,” and then laughed a laugh of love and joy…while giving her the perfect hug. Think about it…you have to be a pretty “fun guy,” to be accused by the religious leaders of being a “drunkard and a glutton.” We know Jesus wasn’t a sinner of any kind…but He must have had some fun to be blamed for being a drunk.

Well…as I wrap up this “Retweeting Jesus” series, I am wondering if you and I can trust like Jesus did. “Father…I ENTRUST my spirit into your hands.”

Its crazy what we ENTRUST in. How much trust do you put in that Red Light really causing everybody to stop and not go through the intersection? How much trust to do you place in that dotted line as you drive on that two lane highway? How much trust did I place in the parachute when I sky dived? How much trust do we place in the hands of pilots and airplanes as we fly through the air at 30,000 feet? How much trust do we place in the hands of construction workers and architects as we drive over their bridges, live under their beams? How much trust do we place in the hands of physicians as they “put us to sleep,” and then use a scalpel and cut us open and literally replace organs of our bodies? We really are a trusting people. It doesn’t seem like it, but if you really think about all that we trust…we are a trusting people.

But do we really “Entrust” God…enough to…

forgive?
tithe?
help a stranger?
let go of controlling your spouse?
commit to a church every weekend?
apologize for harm we caused?
not judge others?
resist temptation and peer pressure?
not manipulate the situation?
not abuse or manipulate our power of position?
not belittle others to boost our own self-esteem?
let go and let God?

On that cross…Jesus died and His Spirit left the earthly physical body it was borrowing and went into the control of God.

Its a safe and perfect place to land. You can be confident leaving your full trust In the hands of a loving God. He really is a God of love. If you don’t believe that right now, then I challenge you to read the other Tweets I have posted in this series. You can’t read them and walk away thinking God isn’t totally love!

If you are struggling letting go of anything in your life and you are trying to control whatever it is that you can’t let go of…is it working for you?

Its hard work to control.
Its stressful.
It takes a lot of focus.
Its tiring.
It will wear you out.

There is a lot of freedom that comes with being so fulfilled and whole in Jesus Christ that you don’t have to control anything.
That’s the good life. It fees you to serve, and give and love.

What are you controlling?
What would happen if you chose to let it go and trust God with the results?

Q: How do you do let “it” go and trust God with the results?
A: You put all your focus and energy in behaving like Jesus Christ and leave the results in the hands of God.

The early church was great at this. In Acts chapter 2 it says that the “Christians” gathered everyday and they DEVOTED themselves to the Apostles teaching, to fellowship, sharing in meals and to prayer.

Think about those “actions.” Can those actions be actions blamed for being CONTROLLING?
Have you ever heard anybody say, “You are so controlling…all you do is pray!”
Have you ever heard anybody say, “You are so controlling…please stop reading the Bible and learning!”
Have you ever heard anybody say, “You are so controlling…all you are is a good friend to others.”
Have you ever heard anybody say, “You are so controlling…please stop sharing your meals with others.”

Those statements are almost too ridiculous to type them out. Those are actions of trust and faithfulness and have nothing to do with control.

Are you thinking about what you might be controlling right now?
What if you asked somebody who really knows you well? Would they say you are trying to control something in your life?

Let’s keep going for clarity on this issue.

If you are just focused on getting a certain end result…then you are probably trying to control it.
If you are just focused on responsibility and doing what is right and focusing on holy behavior…then you are probably not being controlling.

Maybe a good way to look at it is through what we call, Cause and Effect.

You can’t control causes.
You can control effects.

What are some causes in your life that you simply serve? (trust)
What are some effects/outcomes that you are trying to force to happen? (control)

You are going to have to think on this one.

Here’s what I know for sure. You are made in the image of God and Jesus Christ.

Jesus ENTRUSTED everything into the hands of God the Father.
You are to be like Jesus because you were made in His image.
What must you let go of when it comes to the final results and just trust God by being faithful and let God take care of the results?

Can you and will you pray the following prayer right now and then back it up with action?

“Father in Heaven…I entrust everything in my life into your hands. Help me have the strength to behave like Jesus and leave my life results in your control. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.”

If you really want to get specific and let go of control.
Then ask a trusted person in your life to listen to you pray the above prayer out loud in front of them. And instead of praying using the word “everything,” replace the word everything with a specific thing you are controlling. Be specific…in the presence of a trusted witness.

Now that would take a lot of trust and would force you to let go of control. That is true accountability.

I know how good this would be for you and your whole life. It would be so good for you I would like to force you to do it.

But that would be controlling.

I want to ENTRUST!
How about you?


Retweeting Jesus “RT@JesusChrist #12”

“I am Thirsty.” — JC
John 19:28

Again, Jesus could have never physically tweeted this message out on His own. His hands were nailed down. If Jesus had the new iPhone 4S He could have used the text to speech feature or just had Siri take care of the Tweet on His behalf. I’m going to guess Jesus would have used technology to His advantage if He had had it back in His day. I don’t want to have too much fun with this thought because it is such a serious moment in Jesus life.

When Jesus sends this message out…I think He literally dies in the next 1 to 2 minutes after saying one more thing. His last statement/tweet will be covered in tomorrow’s blog post.

So what did He mean with this message. “I am thirsty.” The simplest idea is just what it is. He was just stating a fact. He was dehydrated. He had been through a living Hell in the last 18 hours. Sheer humiliation, degradation and torture. A simple drink might have given Him just a bit of comfort. But I don’t think this is what Jesus meant by saying “I am thirsty.” Jesus is all knowing…He knew He was a minute or 2 away from death and that a literal drink of water would have been worthless.

Another idea is that Jesus was so focused on the Holy Scriptures of the Old Testament that He was fulfilling another prophecy to help others down the road be able validate Him as Messiah by how many prophecies about the Messiah Jesus actually fulfilled. By the way, there are more than 300 prophecies that were written about a coming Messiah thousands of years before Jesus ever walked the earth. Jesus fulfilled everyone of them. One of those prophecies is found in Psalm 69:21 “for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.” So when Jesus says, “I am Thirsty,” you can read the rest of the story, the soldiers actually offered him a drink that had vinegar in it. So, this could be a reason why Jesus sent out the message of “I am thirsty.” Just a little way to prove He is the Messiah, the Son of God, the Lord of Lords and King of Kings.
But I think I have a better idea.

Remember the story of the Samaritan Woman at the well? If you do not, you can read the whole story in John Chapter 4 of the Bible. There is a critical thing Jesus says to this Samaritan woman on that hot day. I’ll put some of the story right here, but to read the whole story just read John 4.

JOHN 4:7-15 is as follows…(I removed some sections that aren’t pertinent to my point to save space)
7 When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?”13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”

This story reveals a lot about Jesus. He had such a confidence about Him, but was never arrogant. He was very direct, but never offended secure people. The woman at the well must have been secure, she sure pushed back on Jesus. It seems like this back and forth banter between the two had a bit of intensity to it. (I would have loved to have been there to witness this conversation.)

Anyway…Jesus basically is saying to the woman. “I am living water.” Accept what I want to give you and you will never THIRST again. Jesus was saying…as other passages in the Bible say…that He is the ultimate way to fulfillment. What is true fulfillment? To be close to God the Father.

Think about it…if you are really close with God the Father. He is in your presence every moment of every day. What do you lack? Nothing. For in the closeness of God, you recognize that nothing else satisfies. God is the ultimate fulfillment. Be tight with God and you will “thirst” for nothing.

So Jesus is hanging on the cross. This is his 6th of 8 tweets that He sends FROM THE CROSS. Tweet #11 that we covered yesterday said, “My God, My God, why have you ABANDONED me?”

So in real time…as Jesus tweets, “I am Thirsty,” it was only moments after He cried out the question of why God abandoned Him.

For the very first time in Jesus’ existence (Jesus has always existed, He was NOT created…Jesus has been with God in eternity for ever.) So…for the very first time EVER…Jesus finds Himself away from His Father…utterly alone. Jesus says to the woman at the well, if you are close to the Father, you will never thirst again!”

So…all alone…on the Cross…carrying the sins of everyone including yours and mine…seconds from Death…difficult to breath…the only way He could truly communicate what He was experiencing was to say, “I am Thirsty.” (If you don’t understand why Jesus was all alone because God HAD to abandon Him, go back to “RT@JesusChrist #11…I explain it there.)

Another passage in the Scripture comes to mind as I think about a lack of God and thirst being the same thing. Psalm 41:1-2 says this, “As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. I thirst for God, the living God.”

Are you Thirsty?

Is it fair for me to say that when you have times of coveting (wanting what others have) you are thirsting for something deeper than stuff? When you find yourself wanting a bunch of things, consumed by materialism, keeping up with the Jones’, greed, etc…is it possible you have drifted from God and are “thirsty?” When you find yourself grasping and fighting for attention, love, positional power…I think its because you have drifted from God and you acting out of being “thirsty.” The solution is in Jesus Christ and drawing close to Him, remembering what He did for you, remembering that the Lord is the one who defines you and fulfills you. Not things of this world. Don’t confuse your thirst.

What have you found yourself day dreaming about lately? Day dreaming about something is not necessarily wrong. But what if you start placing your hopes and happiness based off of things you want. (If I only had “_________________” THEN I would be happy.)

If you have been thinking that lately about things other than God…You may as well be saying, “I am thirsty.”

So what is the answer?
Do you need to get close to God again or for the first time?
Do you need to commit to a local Christian church where you are taught the Word of God and challenged to be Holy?
Do you need to start reading God’s Word on a daily basis? (God’s Word is The Holy Bible…only.)
Is there a habit/sin that is keeping God from drawing close to you because your sin is keeping you away from Him? (Read 1 John 1:9)
Can you think of anything right now that you need to change to be more like Jesus Christ?

Make a commitment today to change it. Tell somebody you trust that you are going to change. Choose to be Holy. Nobody else will make this change for you.
If you need to, I hope you will make the change. If you do not make the change…You might spend the rest of your life…

THIRSTY.
How may I help you?


“What should I do God?”

What’s your dream? Don’t hold me to this, but I think the very last scene in the movie “Pretty Woman,” there is a homeless man crossing the street moderately shouting out as he passes by, “What’s your dream!?”

Have you really answered that question for yourself?

What’s your dream?

Makes me wonder, right now, what’s going on inside your brain as I cause you to think about your dream/goals/vision/plan? Are you the type A person right now just thinking to yourself… “Ya…Ya…I’ve got my dreams…come on Renner…get to the point.” Or are you someone who has been bashed by life’s circumstances just enough that you have become cynical and you don’t believe your dreams are possible for you anymore and you’ve given up on “childish” dreams?

I saw this picture the other day on a friend’s website. Its a street corner in Anthem AZ. "The Ultimate Crossroads."
I’m giving a testimonial for just 10 minutes at a Church Service in Anthem this weekend and when I’m up there I want to find this street corner and take a family picture in front of this sign. This sign on that street corner is truly a crossroads that everyone of us face, sometimes daily, in our lives.

How do you decide which way to go? I’ve just closed down an era of my life of being a Sr. Pastor for more than 14 years straight. I’ve been a preacher, preaching nearly every weekend for 20 years now. But now what? I’m staring the next 20 years of my life in the face and its blurry. I can’t get a good look into what its going to look like. And here’s the deal. I think God likes it that way. Does that make Him cruel? No. Maybe I’m too playful…I like to think its a form of the game called “Blindfold.” You’ve played it, right? Where one person puts on the blindfold and has to trust the directions of the teammate and hope not to be led into a wall or hit their Shin bone on a coffee table or fall off a cliff. If God is our guide and He chooses to “blindfold” us…aren’t we still in great hands that we can trust?

I have found that I am more of a control freak than I thought. And I’m actually deeply laid back. If I’m not liking my future being out of focus, then I’m pretty convinced you, maybe not as laid back as me, really don’t like it when your future is out of focus.

So…here’s what I know God says about all this. First look at this passage in Proverbs 16:9 “We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.” (NLT) The NASB version says, “The mind of man prepares the way, but the Lord determines his steps.”

That verse makes me squirm a bit. It makes me think of another game. Tug-O-War…but…Tug-O-War against God. And He’s bigger than me. I love Tug-O-War, but only when I win!

So when we’re at the crossroads of Vision and Opportunity Way…what shall we do? Is this Tug-O-War time? Or…Blindfold time?

I think the answer is found in one Story of the Bible. Its in the Book of Exodus. The key part of the story is in Exodus 14:15. Its up to this point that the Israelites have been led out of Egypt and have found themselves at a dead end. The name of the place is Baal-Zephon, which is literally translated, “God’s Cul-de-sac.” Sounds like a crossroads. A crossroads for so many can be a dead end because the choice to go left or right is too overwhelming so they freeze up and quit. Dead End. Many will fall to their knees and spend hours on end praying about which way they should go and they get frustrated when God doesn’t seem to answer. So…they pray more and nothing ever moves forward. Just lots of prayer. Prayer is good, but prayer only is tragic. Faith is Action. Forward movement. So in the passage I refer to above…God says, “Why are your praying right now.” (Not exact translation, but same thing…agree?)

I think God is saying…”You know me…I’ve earned your trust…I’ve shown you how to live…get off your knees this time and let’s practice praying without words…pray with your actions…I got your back.”

Isn’t it fair for me to say that at this point in the story of Moses…that Moses had already been told how to live and what to do by God? The answer is yes. (God gave Moses clarity at the Burning Bush.)

At this point, Moses found himself in a scary moment and he froze in his tracks and he did only what he knew to do. Pray and cry out to God. And…God told him to “knock it off and get going..just do what I told you to do when I met with you at the burning bush.” (TRVB…Trent Renner Version Bible LOL)

So Moses got up…shook the dust off his robe and held his staff high and put one foot in the Red Sea and experienced an unprecedented miracle.

So…here’s my challenge to you. What do you continually pray about but there seems to be no answer? Maybe God is saying…just move. Maybe God is saying to you…”Pick Opportunity or pick Vision. They both end up in a good place.”

Is it possible that God is not concerned as much as you think about what House you live in, who you marry, what job you do, what car you drive, etc?

And with some things people pray about…give me a break.
Do you really have to pray about leaving your spouse?
Do you really have to pray about cheating on your taxes?
Do you really have to pray about beating that guy up?

God has told us how to live in the Scriptures. We have a perfect road map(Bible) that God laid out in detail about how to arrive at one of two final destinations. Heaven…Hell.

The crossroads and fork in the roads and Cul-De-Sacs, and Dead-Ends are all part of the incredible journey to our final destinations.

What we should be praying about is our behavior, our heart, our thoughts, our purity, our integrity and character, our influence, etc.

When we get those issues worked out and we have our lives spiritually going the way God would have them going…THEN…when we arrive at the corner of Vision and Opportunity…does it really matter to God which way we turn and move forward as a person who is blindfolded and being led by the greatest leader of all time past, present and future?

So which will it be for you this time?
Vision or Opportunity?
Those are great choices!

Pick and then step forward in Trust.
It really will be okay…even if it doesn’t turn out like you think it would.

Trent