Archive for September, 2012

A Deeper Knowledge of God

Posted on September 28, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him.” Ephesians 1:17

I have found an immense blessing delving into the prayers of Paul. I have always had the conviction that God actually leads our prayers because He wants us to be involved in what He is seeking to do in our own lives and in the world. As He inspired Paul to pray for for the believers at Ephesus, these prayers–included and preserved in divinely-inspired Scripture–reveal what God desires for us as well. He desires that we grow in the knowledge of Him.

We know God because we have personally received Him …

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Travel to the Windy City

Posted on September 24, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

The annual North American Mission Leaders conference and meeting of the Evangelical Missiological Society is always a valuable occasion of networking with more than 300 leaders from a wide variety of institutions and mission agencies. This year’s conference being held in Chicago last week gave us the opportunity for a unique travel experience.

We often rode the train in Indonesia and other places overseas and decided the overnight Amtrak “City of New Orleans” from Jackson to Chicago would be a relaxing and nostalgic journey. The private compartment was cozy and comfortable, the elegant dinner delightful and enjoying an after-breakfast coffee in the observation car was pleasurable, but efforts to sleep made for a miserable night.

Turning the AC to the …

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Grace and Peace to You

Posted on September 21, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:2

I have always been incredibly blessed by reading the prayers of the Apostle Paul. In most of his epistles he digresses in what seems to be a spontaneous pouring out of his heart in prayer to God on behalf of the recipients of his letter. Confident these prayers were inspired by God, as is all of Scripture, they were captured as a divine legacy revealing God’s purpose and desire for all believers.

Over the next few weeks I will be sharing insights and reflections from these prayers but begin with one consistent with all of Paul’s writings. Whether to a congregation or an individual …

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Zeal for Church Planting

Posted on September 19, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

The passion for church planting in America continues to gain momentum, apparently driven by a zeal to re-create the church to be culturally relevant. I have participated in two local training events focused on church planting, attended by a cadre of young church planters as well as representatives of established churches who are giving renewed priority to starting new work.

Church planting has always been the watermark of overseas missions. Missionaries go to proclaim the gospel to a lost world and rejoice when people come to faith in Christ and are baptized. Unless they are gathered into a congregation or fellowship, however, there is little hope of growth, discipleship and spiritual maturity. A local indigenous church becomes a nucleus of …

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The Ultimate Reunion

Posted on September 18, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

Every five years the International Mission Board hosts a “Celebration of Emeriti” at Ridgecrest Baptist Assembly in North Carolina. The conference used to coincide with Foreign Mission Weeks at Ridgecrest and Glorieta, but since those weeks have been discontinued, this massive periodic gathering provides an opportunity for missionaries from the past to fellowship and stay connected with more recent developments of the IMB.

With more than 1,000 emeritus missionaries reminiscing and celebrating seeing God work in previous years, it was a reunion like no other. Colleagues who labored on pioneer fields and laid the foundation for the current harvest being seen around the world were overjoyed to see each other. Some were in their 90s and went to the field …

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Travel and Family

Posted on September 13, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

I received a unique gift from my son, Russell, earlier this year for my 70th birthday. It was a promissory note to underwrite a skydiving experience. Knowing my proclivity for adventure and new experiences, he encouraged me by reminding me that former president George H. Bush skydived on his 80th birthday. I tried to be gracious and appreciative but was confident I would not be cashing in on this promised gift.

Asked if he had ever done this himself, Russell acknowledged, “Not yet,” but that he fully intended to. He gave up waiting for his reluctant dad and committed an act of ultimate foolishness, jumping out of a safe, mechanically sound airplane at 13,000 feet. Never mind the fact of …

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The Hurricane That Wasn’t

Posted on September 3, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

People around here in the South get fanatical about local football and live for hunting season, but nothing creates excitement like an approaching storm. Our town was touched by a fairly destructive tornado last year, and we are close enough to the Gulf Coast to feel the lingering effects of hurricane force winds. So as storm trackers plotted the course of Isaac last week, all of Mississippi was thrown into a frenzy.

Every conversation for days focused on the “what if” scenarios; old-timers talked about their Katrina experiences and the devastation of Camille years ago. Kroger was a madhouse with shoppers stocking up, and cars were congested at the gas pumps, wanting to have a full tank in case evacuation …

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