Archive for January, 2012

Waiting for Winter

Posted on January 30, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

We are still waiting for winter in Mississippi. Old-timers assure us that severe cold spells will come, but it is almost February and we have had only two nights in which the temperature has dipped below freezing. Good grief, it was up to 78 last week! I have been waiting for a hard freeze to do some winter planting and prune my crepe myrtles.

The daffodils I set out for spring, expecting them to bloom in early March, are already at full flower. Why did we put a fireplace in our house down South? We’ve turned the air conditioning on just so we could enjoy the ambience of a fire a few evenings. Does anyone want to buy a nice …

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Living and Leading Confidently

Posted on January 27, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

“Is not your fear of God your confidence, and the integrity of your ways your hope?”

In preparation for a couple of events at which I have been invited to speak on leadership, my thinking reverted to this verse in Job 4:6. It became an anchor for me in stormy times and a foundational truth to keep priorities focused. One in leadership is subjected to perceptions of others that often lead to criticism and personal attacks. Decisions can be misunderstood and disagreements are inevitable.

Becoming defensive and counter-attacking is seldom an advisable solution, and it simply engenders further conflict. Ignoring detractors can cover the spectrum from aloofness and arrogance to being perceived as indifferent and insensitive. The greater the responsibility …

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Celebrating 46 Wonderful Years!

Posted on January 23, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

Anniversaries and birthdays are dated markers that reflect a lifetime of events and relationships. It is hard to believe that it was 46 years ago when Bobbye finished college at mid-year, and I returned to Mississippi from seminary to claim her as my bride. Already the love of my life, our shared passion to serve God on the mission field was only one of many attractions that drew me to Bobbye Simmons from Brookhaven, MS. The future of our calling together was launched during our wedding recessional as the BSU choir in the balcony of the church broke out with the chorus of O Zion Haste–”Publish glad tidings, tidings of peace, tidings of Jesus, redemption and release,” something we …

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What Do You Have?

Posted on January 20, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

“But whoever has the world’s goods, and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?”–1 John 3:17

This is a verse I find myself wishing God had never inspired to be included in His Holy Word, because every time I read it, it pierces my heart with conviction. Although it closes with a question, it actually confronts us with four questions. The first, “What do you have?”

We may not feel that we are wealthy or affluent. We may have trouble extending our paycheck to cover expenses to the end of each month. The economic recession may have reduced our investments or resulted in having to adopt …

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Does God Help Tebow?

Posted on January 19, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

Everyone else is speculating on this question so why not jump in before the roller-coaster football season of Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos fades from our memory.

Have the miraculous comeback and overtime wins been orchestrated by God because Tebow is faithful to give Him praise and credit for everything in life? If so, where is God on occasions his quarterback performance has tanked? Is this equivocating Sovereign playing games with His loyal servant, or is He seeking to defy the shallow religionists who would suggest that He has any interest in NFL football?

It is obviously a theological distortion to attribute wealth, affluence, blessing and good fortune to God–a mistake common to Jewish philosophers frequently corrected by Jesus. …

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Back in the Classroom

Posted on January 17, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

No, I am not going back to school though I do have an insatiable thirst for learning and acquiring knowledge. I am amazed at those my age seeking to earn additional degrees later in life. I’m quite confident I could handle it, but I prefer more freedom and flexibility in my reading and learning experiences than the focused discipline required in school.

I have jumped into teaching MIN 305 in the Mississippi College spring semester, a course in the Christian Studies program on Missions and Evangelism. Interestingly, the classroom in Provine Hall is the one where I sat for Bible and Philosophy classes fifty years ago! Pictures of my professors, most of whom are now deceased, line the wall. That …

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Is Jesus Being Lifted Up?

Posted on January 13, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself” (John 12:32)

This proclamation of Jesus in foretelling His death on the cross has always jumped out and grabbed my heart, almost leaving me breathless. I have always been inclined to read the Bible literally, and having been involved in global missions probably have a broader perspective than others on what “all men” implies. When you think of a global population of seven billion people and realize that includes masses of people from Asia, Africa and Latin America, many who still live among unreached people groups, did Jesus really mean all men would be drawn to Him?

John’s gospel goes on to explain in …

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Not Missing the Airlines

Posted on January 11, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

A recent news report acknowledged that more than 100,000 domestic flights had been canceled by U.S airlines this past year. Having been victimized by such cancellations in the past, I rejoiced I was no longer in a lifestyle that subjected me to such abuse. Somewhere along the way air travel had become the bane of my existence. When we first took off on those periodic flights to the orient, flying was an exotic experience for our family. But the glorified uniqueness of air travel rapidly diminished; it now conjures up images of childhood days of riding a crowded uncomfortable school bus or cows being herded on a crowded cattle car at the railway yard.

Traveling around Asia as area director …

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Around the Neighborhood

Posted on January 9, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

Hectic holidays are behind us with programs, socializing, and time with family. Decorations are packed away, and a New Year’s Day tradition is firmly established of hosting Bobbye’s family–sister, three nieces spouses and kids. It has been a delightful week of relaxing, planning, and watching bowl games. Unseasonable temperatures into the 70s have allowed us to get back into morning walks and an exercise routine we resolve to sustain in 2012.

We thought it would be of interest to our far-flung friends and followers to know something about our neighborhood after introducing you to our hometown, local college and prominent landmarks in previous posts. It has been a joy to find ourselves down home in Mississippi after 45 years of …

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New Year–New Beginning?

Posted on January 6, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

Anyone who knows me is aware that I thrive on organization and planning. I’m the compulsive calendar keeper and list maker. I love strategic planning, how to get from point A to point B, driven by goals and objectives. A new day, a new week, a new year has always been a stimulating opportunity for new accomplishments.

Somewhere along the way in seeking to implement an annual agenda it occurred to me that God doesn’t necessarily work within human timeframes. The difference between December 31 and January 1 is really no different than June 30 and July 1 in His stewardship of history. His plans and purposes flow from a larger context. Sometimes His will is for the day at …

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