Archive for May, 2012

Riding Rural Roads

Posted on May 28, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

I am often reminded by friends who are NOT down home in Mississippi that our beautiful southern state has the distinction of being the most religious of the 50 states as well as having the highest rate of obesity. So, why would one whose life has been devoted to missions retire in the the most evangelized, well-churched area of the nation–and perhaps in the whole world? Besides the fact it is home, it is a great base for mission trips and mobilizing churches.

With regard to the second distinction, it did not acquire such a enigmatic status with my move to the state, and I am working out diligently to reduce any alleged contribution to the problem. However, there is …

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A Life Worth Imitating

Posted on May 25, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

“Be imitators of me, as I also am of Christ.” 1 Cor. 11:1

The Apostle Paul offers what appears to be a rather arrogant exhortation to his readers when he advised them to imitate him and, if they did so, they would be imitators of Christ. We tend to be more aware of our own flaws and failings rather than presuming to have attained a level of obedience and holiness worth emulating by others. But are we conscious of what kind of model and example we are to others.

The level of our devotion and nature of our Christian walk is more by imitation than learning. We see someone living a godly life who exhibits patience, shows compassion, is unflappable …

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Supporting National Workers

Posted on May 23, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

A significant trend has emerged in recent years to support “native” missionaries, working as evangelists and church planters. The rationale is that local indigenous workers are far more effective than Western missionaries and serve for only a fraction of the cost required to send and support workers from America. There have even been some large organizations emerge to raise funding for these national workers; most prominent among them are Christian Aid, Partners International and Gospel for Asia.

We would not want to disparage any program or strategy that is getting the gospel to a lost world, and have nothing but admiration for the multitude of dedicated, God-called national workers faithfully serving our Lord in remote places around the world. Many …

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Learning and Mentoring

Posted on May 21, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

Among the advice we continue to receive in transitioning to “retirement” is to stay active physically and mentally. We have also been encouraged to continue to be lifelong learners. We had a uniquely stimulating training experience last week attending a Mentoring Workshop at the facilities of World Venture in Denver, Colorado. Led by an international team of consultants for personal and leadership development with Operation Mobilization, participants were led through several days of insightful presentations and simulated exercises.

Why would we be attending such training at this stage of life? Certainly, we consider ourselves to have been involved in mentoring and being mentored most of our lives. I still relish all I learned about church planting in Indonesia on the …

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Grieve, but Not Without Hope

Posted on May 18, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve, as do those without hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13).

Attending the funeral last week of Fran Buckley reminded me, in the unavoidable emotions I experienced, of the unique Christian perspective on death. Fran, with her husband, R.T., served for more than 30 years as missionaries in Bangladesh. It was our privilege to work with these dedicated missionary colleagues and personal friends from Mississippi.

Earlier this spring Bobbye and I participated in the funerals of both Win and Laverne Applewhite, fellow missionaries from Indonesia who mentored and encouraged us when we arrived as novices. We joined Matt Bristol in grieving the passing …

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Program or Passion

Posted on May 17, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

One of the reasons churches are not doing more  to reach a lost world is that missions is just another program. Without passion for the mission of God, there will be little motivation to do what it takes to take the gospel to unreached people groups or even to the unsaved in our own community.

I have always been amazed at the marketing and promotion needed to convince church members to attend an event or enroll in basic programs needed for their spiritual growth and the health of the church. Why do people have to be influenced and persuaded to do what should be normative for a follower of Jesus Christ? Such passivity probably reflects the low level of commitment …

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Opportunities for Influence

Posted on May 14, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

In an eight-day period over the last two weeks we had gratifying opportunities for speaking and influence. The highlight was the privilege of being commencement speaker for the two of the Mississippi College spring graduation ceremonies. Since returning to Clinton we have been delighted to connect with our alma mater and participate in a number of programs, including teaching a missions class in the School of Christian Studies this semester.

Pictured in academic regalia with college president, Dr. Lee Royce, I reminded the graduates of the challenges they face in a changing and complex world. In spite of attaining academic credentials, the key to success would be whether or not they seized the opportunity in a Christian educational environment to …

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Praying God’s Providence

Posted on May 11, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

When the New Testament church was born, and the followers of Christ set out to proclaim the good news of the Kingdom of God, it was not a welcoming environment. In fact, they encountered hostility, rejection and government restrictions, similar to what many modern day missionaries are experiencing. The reaction of established religious authorities was especially harsh. The apostles were threatened, arrested, beaten and were soon to be martyred; they were ordered not to preach and teach publicly in the name of Jesus.

Acts 4 tells of the arrest of Peter and John. When they were released they went and reported their harassment to the gathering of local believers who responded by praying. It is worthy to note the nature …

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If Not Us, Who?

Posted on May 9, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

I continue to be amazed at the passive indifference of so many churches to the mission of God. We pour budgets, time and energy into all kinds of programs and ministries for our own born-again fellowships and virtually ignore a lost world. All we have to do is turn on our television to see a world that needs Jesus. The inane, godless programming we call entertainment and newscasts filled with crime, perversion, suffering and war should compel us to confront a lost world with the life-transforming hope of the gospel.

We know that society can’t legislate morality. We know government handouts and programs aren’t the answer. But how can we expect the world to be any different until it knows …

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Rewards of Yard Work

Posted on May 7, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

I get raised eyebrows when I tell people that my hobby is yard work. Pulling weeds, mowing grass and pruning shrubs are one of the most resented necessities of home ownership for most people. Having grown up on the plot of ground where we now live, I can recall how I detested hoeing the garden and weeding my mother’s flower beds; but something was engrained in my psyche that found reward in physical labor and dirt under my fingernails. I’ve not gotten into hunting, fishing and golfing but find joy in my yard.

Maybe it has something to do with the diversion from study, writing, sermon preparation, travel and speaking; perhaps it relates to feeling connected with nature and the …

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