Archive for September, 2011

Dangerous Decision-Making

Posted on September 30, 2011 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

Life is filled with decisions. Everyday we are processing information and sub- conscientiously deciding how to respond. Many people live in the present, spontaneously reacting to whatever is happening around them. Others tend to see the present as always leading to the future, aware that decisions in the present are a part of planning for what comes next.

We should understand that God is concerned for every aspect of our life, no matter how trivial. In fact, it is rebellion to leave Him out of our decision-making and to presume to make independent choices. If this is true personally, it is even more critical in positions of leadership.

This warning is explicit in Isaiah 30:1-2–”Woe to the rebellious children, declares …

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Our Beloved Alma Mater

Posted on September 26, 2011 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

We are home from a wonderful weekend with Broadmoor Baptist Church in Shreveport, leading a spiritual warfare seminar Friday and Saturday, consultation with missions leadership and preaching on Sunday. We are excited about lunch this week with Dr. Jasper and Dottie McPhail, missionary heroes who opened Southern Baptist work in India and are now retired in Clinton. Thursday through Saturday I will be attending the annual mission leadership network conference in Phoenix and looking forward to preaching next Sunday at our home church, Morrison Heights, for their Global Impact Celebration services at 9:00, 10:45 and 6:00.

One of the delights in returning to Mississippi for retirement has been to renew relationships with Mississippi College, our alma mater. I

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Conditions for Godʼs Guidance

Posted on September 23, 2011 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

There is never a day one does not need the assurance of Godʼs divine guidance. It may be in major life decisions or in subtle and trivial issues that fill oneʼs day, but any Christian ought to be aware of how vulnerable we are to failure and mistakes in judgment when left to our own wisdom.

In my younger days of ministry there were critical decisions to be made: where to go to school, what to major in, whether or not to respond to a church call to serve on staff. I felt the decision to go to the mission field had already been confirmed, but when and where were continuing dilemmas. Having children expanded the decisions to be made …

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The Gospel and Missions

Posted on September 21, 2011 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

This subject would appear to be a no-brainer, eliciting a yawning, “Duuuh, whatʼs the point?” Everyone knows missions is about proclaiming the gospel. Or do they? It is amazing the discussions I have had over the years with leaders of mission agencies, denominational executives and church pastors about what is missions.

I fought the battle in Southern Baptist circles for years on the need to give specialized emphasis to missions. The retort was that this was unnecessary since everything we do is missions. In reality if it is everything, then it is nothing. If it is everyoneʼs responsibility, then it is no oneʼs responsibility.

The issue has been complicated in recent years by the emerging of the term “missional.” What …

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Antiquing and Missions in Texas

Posted on September 19, 2011 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

It is always good to get home, however delightful and inspiring travel excursions. After almost two weeks in Texas we faced busy days of yard work, laundry, processing mail and preparing for pending engagements. I will be speaking in chapel at Mississippi College on Tuesday, a missions banquet on the Gulf Coast Thursday night and then traveling to Shreveport for a weekend spiritual warfare seminar at Broadmoor Baptist Church.

After visiting friends and places of former ministry in North Texas, it was a joy to be with Dr. Danny Forshee and the wonderful congregation at Great Hills Baptist Church in Austin for a mission banquet and 9/11 challenge. We concluded the trip with a fantastic World Mandate conference in Waco …

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Motives Matter

Posted on September 16, 2011 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

Most Christians are quite conscientious about how they are to live. We have been nurtured to know right and wrong. We know we are to live righteous lives, love others, be faithful to gather for worship and even to tithe. We may not be as successful in efforts to fulfill those aspirations as we would like, but it is not because we don’t know how we are to live. Unfortunately living the Christian life is seen as dependent on our own work and discipline rather than something empowered and led by the Holy Spirit. The result is frequent failure, guilt and futile resolve to do better.

We may find it in our ability to do a pretty good job of …

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A 9/11 Message

Posted on September 14, 2011 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

It was a privilege to preach at Great Hills Baptist Church in Austin last Sunday in a special service commemorating the events of September 11, 2001. Many have seen 9/11 as an unprecedented tragedy perpetrated against our country and the American people. This resulted in a massive loss of life and changed our society, creating fear of an elusive global terrorist enemy. But that conspiracy of al-Qaeda pales in comparison to the conspiracy and injustice that nailed Jesus Christ to the cross.

The aftermath of that event brought persecution and suffering to His followers. They were arrested, beaten, threatened and ordered by authorities not to teach and preach in the name of Jesus. Acts 4 is the account of Peter …

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Texas Nostalgia

Posted on September 12, 2011 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

We lived in Texas almost long enough to consider it home, almost long enough to become diehard Cowboy fans, and almost long enough to develop that bragadocious attitude of bigger and better than anywhere else. But not quite! We can now retrace our Texas sojourn from the security of our Mississippi identity–the place of our roots and where we belong.

It all began with the obligatory seminary education enroute to the mission field. Having chosen Southwestern in Fort Worth, we quickly adopted the land of open prairie, cowboy boots, pearl-buttoned plaid shirts, and Tex-Mex food. It took only one semester living as  a single student in the men’s dormitory to return hom to claim my bride and share this pilgrimage …

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Like a Watered Garden

Posted on September 9, 2011 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

Do you remember the prayer of Jabez? Several years ago Bruce Wilkinson wrote a book that brought prominence to this obscure person in the genealogy of Judah. The little volume on his prayer in 1 Chronicles 4:10 sold millions of copies. Jabez was noted as being more honorable than his brethren and his four-part prayer was answered: “Oh that you would bless me and enlarge my border, and that your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm.”

About the same time God brought to my attention a prayer of blessing in Isaiah 58:11. I claimed this verse as an explicit expression of what I desired and believed God wanted to do in my life–”And …

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What? No Prayer at the Memorial?

Posted on September 7, 2011 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

I was shocked and incredulous, as were others, when Mayor Bloomberg announced there would be no prayers or religious representation at the tenth anniversary memorial of 9/11 being planned in New York City. After all, if this is a memorial to those who lost their lives, including many heroic policemen and firefighters, it is hard to imagine the spiritual link between life and death being ignored.

There was a short-lived resurgence of public interest in the worship of God and spiritual things in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks ten years ago. There was something about our vulnerability that drove us to a higher power. We recognized the insecurity of man-made institutions and the hallowed sanctuary of our own soil. …

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