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Monthly Archives: March 2014

(Part 1of 3) “World Vision Controversy”


It has hit the Christendom fan.  World Vision, a self declared Christian Ministry, publicly came out with a position saying that as a Christian Organization they have decided to leave the “theology” up to the Church and they are going to hire people who are openly living outside the guidelines of the Bible. They have specifically created a policy saying that it is okay for their Christian Organization to hire people in a Same Sex marriage to be on their leadership team of their Christian organization.  Let’s dialogue about all this…

I first want to say… I hope that these posts will be studied and accepted by all people living in any situation or circumstance as posts of love, directness, and  based from a Bible perspective.  I personally have friends from most walks of life and life-styles and I believe they know me to be a person who is not judgmental, but as very direct and truthful.

We have to have this discussion without someone throwing the stupid “judgmental christian” card…these issues are of utmost importance that have eternal consequences.  Let’s be direct with each other, but loving and seeking truth.  We have to have these discussions.  We have to seek the Truth.

I want to address the issues that World Vision’s decision has uncovered and stirred up.  There are many.  This blog will be split up into many separate blogs.  I know this material will be long…but I am confident that it will be content that is worth your time.  I also want to say that I am doing everything I can to type this in an attitude of love, directness, and minus my personal opinion as much as possible.  I want the Bible to be my foundation for this whole series of blog posts.


The arguments that have been stirred by World Vision should not be just about homosexuality and/or same sex marriage.  Some want to make World Vision’s decision to be about that…but I want to be clear…

This post is about sin of any kind and it’s mixing with Spiritual Leadership of any kind.

FIRST…World Vision said that they want to leave Theology up to the local Church.  Here in lies the problem with World Vision…they have been led to believe that the local Church is a Top Down power structure that has a piece of property and a building, usually with a steeple, that people gather in, typically on Sundays, and that is called…The Church.

This idea is a worldly-developed idea from the Corporate world that has crept into the Church.  This mentality has caused even Pastors and others to believe and teach that there are Para Church Organizations and Missions Organizations and then there is the Church….They teach, “The Church” is the one that you drive to on Sundays to sing, take an offering, listen to a message, go home and do it again next Sunday.

Q: Where in the Bible do we have this kind of teaching and segregation?  A:  It’s not in the Bible.

There are no “Para Church” Organizations in the Bible.  Shame on us for separating/creating them.  There are no 501 c 3 organizations in the Bible. There are no missions organizations in the Bible.  Not for Profits…etc.

The Bible says, that those who are followers of Jesus Christ as Lord, are the Body of our God.  Period. The Body of Jesus IS THE CHURCH and again…He is the head! (READ 1 Corinthians Chapter 12 for details on this)

Jesus is the head and everyone of us make up the other “body” parts of the Church.  We all have different gifts and changing gifts and strengths.  It is shameful that we as the Church have divided our Church body into Church / Para Church / Missions Orgs / Not for Profits / etc.   It has gotten so out of hand that different parts of Jesus’ Body get different accountability standards.  ie…this wrong system has created double standards where Church boards hold mission organizations to standards that they don’t even follow themselves.  They created organizations that measure how these”mission orgs” spend their money.  Charity Navigator is one example that has been created. This system sticks it to the “missions orgs” and what is commonly called “The Church” get’s a free pass.    The Corporate Church board says that “missions orgs” really shouldn’t be spending more than 5% of their budget on Administrative/management costs while they themselves spend upwards to 50% to 60% or more on their administrative costs in what they call their local churches. (I have been a Sr. Pastor in what is commonly called the Church, and I am now as they call it, a missions leader…I know first hand what the standards are from both perspectives.)   WE as the Church today, have taken on a Corporate structure and called it church, and we believe that the para-church organization…doesn’t even have to live according to Jesus’s standards, because it’s Para Church…or Missions…or Not for profit.   Thus…Richard Stearns says, “We are going to leave the theology up to the Church.”  Is he thinking he has a free pass on honoring the Bible, because somewhere along the way, he believes he and World Vision are not the Church?

We are ALL…THE Church!  The Biblical Standards are the same all across the board.  The Church is anybody CONNECTED to the Head…Jesus The Christ…The King.  The Church is anybody declaring Jesus as Lord of their life and live as the King has commanded.

Richard Stearns’s declaration that World Vision is leaving the theology stuff up to the Church…is crazy wrong.   Since when did “The Church” get to say or designate what the standards of Jesus are?   SINCE NEVER!  Jesus sets the standards and had them recorded in the Bible.  The Bible says what the standards of Jesus are and the Church is either in sin or not in sin as they obey/disobey the standards of Jesus recorded in God’s Word…The Holy Bible!  The Church, the public, popular vote, governments, individuals can’t change Jesus’s standards…ever.


There should not be any segregation of the Church into para church, missions orgs, Not for Profit orgs, Religious Orgs, Denominations, etc…NO…WE ARE ALL THE CHURCH, ACCORDING TO THE BIBLE. Please do not let the world’s corporate structure, that has been forced on Christianity, deceive you into thinking they are all different.  It’s all the Church.  It is all Christianity.

The Point?

WE ARE ALL THE CHURCH!  When we all…individually…stand before Jesus someday for Judgment…Mr. Richard Stearns of World Vision…you will not be able to say to Jesus…“Um, Jesus…I left the theology up to the Church…Um, Jesus…some in the “Church” said that it is okay to ignore that commandment of Yours.  Um, Jesus, that Church group over there didn’t follow that command of yours, so I assumed it was okay for me too…”  

Do you get my point?  One on One with Jesus is where you and I will be someday.  You and I cannot blame anyone for our decisions.  It will be You and Jesus at that point…and like it or not…if you say you are a follower of Jesus…YOU ARE THE CHURCH!  The above paragraph is not just written to Richard Stearns…it is the same truth for me and you.  You will be held accountable for the Truths and the Standards that are written in God’s Word…The Bible.  It doesn’t matter what anyone else does or tells you to do…only you will be accountable for the truth and standards that Jesus gave us in The Holy Bible.

Before this first part of this blog post finishes…I do want to add this. There are LEVELS OF JUDGEMENT coming when Jesus returns.

There will be those who are not teachers and leaders of Christianity who get one level of Judgment from Jesus.  And then…

There will be those who are judged with even more strictness….these are the Teachers and Leaders of Christianity.

James 3:1 in The Holy Bible says, “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.”

It’s a very dangerous thing to lead, teach, or be on staff in Christianity…whether that Church be called World Vision, The Salvation Army, The YMCA, ReturnHope International, or your local congregation on the street corner with a steeple.  We will all be held accountable for our spiritual leadership in Christianity…THE CHURCH….Individually.

World Vision is pretty much saying anybody can lead and teach in Christianity and leadership within a Christian organization…no matter their life choices…but have they considered the warnings of James 3:1?

Thus…part 2 post…coming soon…




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.

Update about RHI and the Renner Family.

Quick update from ReturnHope International and the work we are accomplishing together!
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We exist to ReturnHope to the hopeless by helping restore God’s original plan for their lives
For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you HOPE and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11

Hey Friends and Family.   I am excited to share with you an update  about our family and what is going on with our family mission called ReturnHope International. If you find this email to long to read in one setting, then I encourage you to read parts of it over the next few days.  I hope it encourages you and inspires you to live your life for others…especially Christ! (I want to welcome any new email subscribers from The Refinery Christian Church in Goodyear AZ…I enjoyed speaking there just recently!)

Kelli and I are working hard trying to keep containment of our 4 kids.  We can no longer play man to man defense…it is purely zone now!   Our kids, Madison 18, Riley 16, Garrett 14, & Mia 11 are very busy with school, sports and church/mission world.  It is crazy trying to keep up with them all.  Madison is hoping to go to Manhattan Christian College in the coming fall and the other 3 won’t admit how much they are going to miss her when she goes. I am grateful to announce that our youngest, Mia, was just baptized.

Lauren Ingram, a teacher at Joy Christian Middle School, helped me baptize Mia. Cool side story…Lauren’s dad, Kevin Ingram baptized me back in the 80’s!  God’s pretty cool how He knits stories and lives together.  I am confident He is doing the same in your life to.  Look for Him at work in your life!

Kelli and I have founded ReturnHope International as a not for profit 501c3 organization and we are working hard to do this global mission in a way that honors Christ.  I am excited about some Churches that are starting to contact me about speaking/preaching.  I hope to receive many more calls from pastors and people about guest speaking and encouraging their churches, school, or businesses to be faithful to what Jesus has called us all to do.

(I’d love to come speak at any group, school, business or whatever you ask me to speak at about serving the least of these around the world or in your local city.)

The pics below are highlights of some things that have happened with ReturnHope in JUST THE PAST 60 days since we began this new ministry.  We ask for your prayers and consideration of financial support as we are approximately 45% complete towards raising our family financial support for the year.  We are trusting God and praying that He provides through church’s and individual’s generosity  as we step out in faith to serve him.  Thanks for taking the time to see the rest of this post.

Two Fresh Water Wells have been donated already!    $7000 provides the highest quality water well that uses materials that will last for many decades!! No more diseased water for the people living around these wells! Thousands have literally had their lives changed already by the simple gift of clean water! If you would like to read more about this go to our website by clicking here.  FRESH WATER WELLS!
3 year old Natasha…was found in a nearby village with these burns on her body. Boiling water accident. Her family couldn’t afford medical care. ReturnHope took her to the local hospital, and through people like you, we are able to pay the 500-700 dollars of 2 months medical expenses.  If we didn’t intervene, Natasha would have died from infection.  God used you and me to save this girls life!  She is in the hospital now Please pray for her.
More than 20 pastors and ministry students were a part of 6 hours of Biblical Leadership training and each in attendance received study materials like a Bible, Teaching and Commands of Jesus packet, Concordance, other books, bible maps, etc. (Impact the Pastors…Change the World!)  If you would like to read more about this, just click the following link and it will take you to our webpage about this.  EQUIP A PASTOR
The images above are of Wings of Grace Christian School where Oketch Sam is the Leader.  Sam, (Pictured in pic 3) was born in a very poor Ugandan Village but grew up with a determination to make his homeland a better place.  He is being forced to move his school from what you see in Pic 1 which is a rented facility.  With the help of others and the selling of some of his personal belongings Sam has been able to purchase about 2 acres (seen in Pic 3) and build a very temporary facility for his students to attend school in as soon as it finished.  ReturnHope is not okay with the students (some seen in pic 5) sitting outside for school.

So, contributors are giving to our new INVEST IN VILLAGE TRANSFORMATIONprogram, and already we have been able to invest in enough new desks (Old example in Pic 4) that will seat 100 students so they don’t have to sit on the ground or outside for school classes.  This program also has contributed so that the students get one meal, (Breakfast) at school.  Breakfast is porridge (A mix of ground corn cooked in water.) They deserve more nutritious food and as the program grows with contributors, we will get there!

The #1 prayer request from the men of the villages in Uganda is for help in getting their children an education.  This is the heart of our Village Transformation program.  ReturnHope is working with the school to purchase more land and build permanent facilities.  (Cost per square foot is $18)  In the US…that cost is about 140 per sq ft.  The people in the town of Bugiri are grateful for our service and generosity.  We need to purchase more property for the school, build a latrine, build dorms for the boarding students, purchase school supplies and so much for Wings of Grace.  That’s just the school.  In my next email I will talk about conquering the massive sex/money trade that is taking place.  ReturnHope is also connecting with a sewing school to help individuals learn the trade of sewing.  We are networking with a local farmer who is showing great personal production and success in being self sustaining.
We’ve only begun and God is using you and me to accomplish so much.

We are giving a hand, not a hand out!   There is a big difference in those two.  If you would like to give a hand by going on a trip or by investing in this Village Transformation project,  or anything else…just click on the hand and you can give online.  You can check out our webpage by clicking the link at the end of this email. 

There is so much more that we can do to partner with the people of Bugiri Uganda.  There are so many people (Like the Child in this Picture) who are praying out to God for some help in their pursuit of becoming self sustaining.  We can walk with them and arrive at that very point!  What a great adventure.  Jesus said, “That which you do for the least of these, you do unto me.”  This is the work we are doing for Jesus!  I pray you will join us.  ReturnHope would love to have you travel with us to Uganda coming up June 21-July 2.  Click here for full information and to apply online! 

And of course…if you would like to contribute to any of the Kingdom of Heaven work ReturnHope is doing…we would welcome it.  You can click HERE or the Donate button below and you’ll be taken to our online giving if you would like to give via a debit or credit card.  Any checks can be mailed to the address below.  All donations are tax deductible.  God Bless you for reading this, praying and investing.  If you have any questions you can reach me, attrent@returnhope.com  or call me at 623-628-1400.
God Bless. If you would like to explore our website do so by clicking it.www.returnhope.com 

ReturnHope gives permission for anybody to use any pictures in ReturnHope materials as long as they are used for the purposes of Jesus Christ and His Kingdom work. 🙂 

ReturnHope International INC.
20118 N 67th Ave, Suite 300 – Box 450
Glendale, AZ 85308


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Heaven is real, the Bible is true and God loves you more than you’ll ever understand.