Archive for June, 2012

Assurance of Life’s Provisions

Posted on June 29, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

“There is no want to those who fear the Lord” (Psalm 34:9).

We understand there are big issues that shape the direction of our life. As Christians we should serve God, faithfully worship with the people of God and live to make a difference for eternity. Hopefully, we have nailed down the foundational values that enable us to live moral lives and contribute positively to our community.

But that is not where we live from day-to-day. Life is typically dominated by concern for meeting the needs of our family. In an evil and fallen world, we live with a gnawing anxiety about the possibility of being involved in a traffic accident, diagnosed with cancer or other debilitating disease or becoming …

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SBC–Illusion of Unity

Posted on June 28, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

There was a great deal of rhetoric appealing for unity preceding and at the recent Southern Baptist Convention. Meanwhile, not so subtle suspicions were being expressed and barbs being cast in articles, blogs and verbal communication toward those perceived of tilting toward reform theology.

A vast diversity among those who identify themselves as Southern Baptist is a reality. David Dockery, in his book “Southern Baptist Consensus and Renewal,” identified no less than 14 distinct segments that were fragmenting the SBC. It is no longer a simple schism between conservatives and moderates, the divide is broadening among younger, innovative leaders and those perceived as older traditionalists. There is little in common between those opting for contemporary forms and legacy styles of …

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SBC New Orleans

Posted on June 25, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

Jambalaya, crawfish étouffée, shrimp po-boys and beignets! Great time in New Orleans at the Southern Baptist Convention. Oh yeah, there was a lot of preaching and politicking, too, but the eating and fellowship was what it was all about. It was nice to get there with a leisurely 3-hour drive down I-55 instead of being subjected to the hassle of flying to a far-away site.

The annual gathering of Southern Baptists is actually an enjoyable experience without the numerous speaking engagements and obligatory appearances and endless peripheral meetings that characterized the convention all those years of my tenure as IMB president. I met Tom Elliff, my successor rushing from the platform to a luncheon meeting prior to having to make …

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Finding Purpose and Meaning in Life

Posted on June 22, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

“Teach me your way, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth. Unite my heart to fear your name. I will praise you, O Lord my God, with all my heart, and I will glorify your name forevermore” (Psalm 86:11-12).

Continuing our focus on the fear of God, the Bible reveals that this is the key for knowing Godʼs will and finding purpose in life. Wanting to know Godʼs will is common to every dedicated Christian. Young people understand that God has a plan and purpose for their life. Each day we are faced with decisions about what to do and how God wants us to live. There are major decisions that come along in life that result in job …

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Variety is the Spice of Life

Posted on June 18, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

Family and friends often comment on how busy we seem to be. Colleagues who preceded us into a retirement lifestyle alerted us to the reality of being busier than ever. That’s true, but we have found the difference is we are busy with what we choose to do rather than what we have to do. That makes a big difference in busyness not being stressful but enjoyable.

We have been able to fill our time with social relationships, work and ministry, and balance travel and speaking with delightful interludes at home. We have time to take morning walks together, watch the sunrise with a cup of coffee from our front porch swing and relax in the evening twilight in our …

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Marketplace Missionaries

Posted on June 14, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

Recent research reveals that over the last decade an average of three countries a year close their doors to Christian missionaries. That is based on an unfortunate perception that missionaries are interested only in proselytizing their people, corrupting their youth and disrupting their cultural traditions through enticements to people to change their religion. They don’t understand that even Christians know there is no benefit in someone simply changing their religious affiliation.

However, without a missionary witness people are deprived of needed humanitarian ministries and ultimately of the opportunity to hear the good news of how one can know God through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. This challenge of impacting closed countries has been met through creative access platforms. With …

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Bobbyeʼs Mission to Moldova

Posted on June 11, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

For the second year in row it was my privilege to participate with Embrace–the womenʼs ministry of the North Carolina Baptist Convention–in their partnership with Moldova, a small country in Eastern Europe between Romania and the Ukraine. Last year we spoke at conferences for pastorsʼ wives, but this year the trip focused on ministry alongside our Moldovan partners in orphanages, prisons and among needy families.

Whenever visiting a new country I pray, “Lord, donʼt let me exit this place as I entered; change me as I seek to embrace your heart and love for these people.” As always, we find ourselves being blessed and receiving more than we give. We arrived with an expectancy that we would see God at …

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No Fear of God

Posted on June 10, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

“In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes” Judges 21:25

Most Christians have a sincere desire to live a godly life and follow Godʼs will, but consistently fail because their efforts are based on a legalistic approach of trying to do what is right and avoid what is wrong. We must realize that a holy life and victorious living doesn’t come from mere obedience but a faith-walk of trusting Christ–”not I, but Christ.” But we often overlook a simple, singular key for success in the Christian life. Scripture is prolific in its admonition to fear God.

Proverbs 9:10 tells us, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, …

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Help That Hurts

Posted on June 6, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

The blog last week on supporting national workers was not meant to be condescending toward those who are serving our Lord in Third World countries at great sacrifice and even suffering for the cause of the gospel. Neither western missionaries nor native evangelists have a corner on effectiveness that comes from the anointing of God’s Spirit. While we have a responsibility to support those who are called from our churches in the U.S., we should recognize that the blessing of our affluence carries with it the responsibility to channel resources to those penetrating lostness with the good news of Christ.

A caution is always in order when sending money in lieu of going. It is important to be sure workers …

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Summertime Reading

Posted on June 5, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

When the suitcases are unpacked between trips and the temperature is soaring, it is a delightful time to settle into a cool, comfortable corner with a glass of iced tea and get lost in a book. One of Bobbye’s favorite places is a rocker on the back porch sit-out, while I prefer the big-windowed garden room, feeling gratification looking out on the results of my sweltering early-morning toil in the yard.

We read books–not as many as we would like, but the stack of preferential selections seems never to diminish. In recent years I had a goal to read 12 books a year–three on management and leadership, three on missions, three on devotional and spiritual topics and three for entertainment. …

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