Archive for April, 2012

Celebrating Family

Posted on April 30, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

A week ago our schedule was punctuated by several nostalgic events that reminded us of how blessed we are by family and friends, the legacy of our missionary experiences and the joy of new relationships and ministry. Most prominent was gathering with Bobbye’s family to celebrate the 50th anniversary of her sister and brother-in-law, Bettye and Richard Douglas.

Bettye and Dick have faithfully encouraged and supported us and our family over the years, helping our children adjust to furlough challenges, sending care packages to the field and taking responsibility for aging parents when we were away. They are known by everyone throughout Lincoln County for their servant heart, meeting whatever need arises in their church, repairing homes of the elderly, …

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Aware of Jesus’ Presence

Posted on April 27, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

“Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized Him.” (Luke 24:31)

On Easter Sunday the focus of our Bible study group was on the account of the two men on the road to Emmaus. These, identified as Cleopas and his companion, were disciples of Jesus. Though not included among the twelve, they had been with Jesus, followed Him, seen His miracles, heard His teachings and believed in Him as the promised Messiah. Yet they did not recognize Him when Jesus came along and joined them on the road and in the conversation about the events in Jerusalem.

The Scripture indicates a passive action; they were prevented from recognizing Him, implying God had a purpose in obscuring Jesus’ identity. We also …

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NAMB Deserves Support

Posted on April 26, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

It is the season of the year when Southern Baptist churches collect the Annie Armstrong Offering for support of the North American Mission Board. Some include their designated gift to the work of NAMB as a part of a Global Missions campaign at other times of the year or from a proportion of year-round missions giving, but most appeal to members for special gifts as an “Easter Offering” in March and April.

Reaching into unchurched areas of the U.S. and Canada, beyond what individual local churches could do, NAMB is seeking to penetrate the increasing lostness of our own country by planting a witness where Christ is not known. With a special emphasis on major urban areas and cross-cultural church …

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Traveling Hwy 49 South

Posted on April 23, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

Teaching at William Carey University this spring has entailed commuting the 95 miles to Hattiesburg on Highway 49 South each week. This prominent highway that runs diagonally across Mississippi from Memphis to the Gulf Coast, is the primary thoroughfare for getting from Jackson to points southeast. I well remember the trek years ago when my family would visit relatives in that part of the state or take an occasional vacation to Gulfport and Biloxi. Hattiesburg, a little more than halfway to the coast, is the location of the University of Southern Mississippi and the largest metropolis south of Jackson.

The highway is punctuated with familiar towns and dated landmarks as well as a ubiquitous chain of flea markets and produce …

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William Carey University

Posted on April 17, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

It has been a delightful experience to re-connect with William Carey University and friends in South Mississippi through teaching a missions course on Tuesday nights this spring. Founded in 1906 as Mississippi Women’s College, it became co-educational in 1954 as did Blue Mountain, Mississippi Baptist’s other women’s college in North Mississippi. Women’s College kept its initials in adopting the name William Carey as well as intentionally reflecting its strong commitment to missions.

Although a liberal arts university with diverse programs, WCU has always had a reputation for ministerial training and missions involvement. Over the years it has attracted large numbers of missionary kids and international students. It is one of the few Baptist Colleges that offers a broad curriculum in …

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The Blessings of Easter

Posted on April 9, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

What a week! The blessings of celebrating our Lord’s death and resurrection just kept building in emotional worship experiences through the weekend. Maybe its a matter of slowing down and refraining from personal travel and speaking to fully participate in passion week programs, but it also has something to do with the focused way our church, Morrison Heights, gives emphasis to this appropriate seasonal emphasis.

Led by worship pastor, Rob Thomas, and powerful biblical messages by our pastor, Greg Belser, the emphasis began with stirring Easter musical presentations on Wednesday. I don’t think I have ever experienced such emotions as stimulated by our Maundy service on Thursday. A combination of music, drama, and the Lord’s Supper made the congregation …

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What Do We Leave Behind?

Posted on April 6, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

It has been encouraging to see more and more churches become involved in missions. The trend of short-term volunteer teams going overseas has escalated in the last 30 years with tens of thousands from our churches taking vacation time, raising funds and cashing in savings to go on a mission trip. Obviously, this mobilized resource is supplementing the witness of over-extended missionaries, encouraging national churches and making a difference in the lives of those who go.

However, what is left behind when the project is over? What difference does a mission partnership make to the kingdom? Do we feel good and come home with personal gratification because we have sacrificed to make the trip and done something good? Or is …

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Spring Routine

Posted on April 2, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

Although I am often perceived as a compulsively organized person, my life has never been one characterized by a “normal routine.” With all the travel, meetings, administration, writing, speaking, public relations events, church and family, it would be impossible to describe a typical day or week at any point over the last 40 years. I have been multi-tasking all my life and taking on responsibilities to the extent that the last bit of margin is squeezed out of the work schedule. I am a slave to calendar commitments and the “to-do” list.

However, a commitment to teach in several forums this semester has required me to stay at home. Set class schedules each week eliminate the usual flexibility to do …

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