Archive for October, 2012

Elections and Government

Posted on October 31, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

It is inconceivable to me that so many would be indifferent and negligent about voting. I can understand the perception that one vote will not make a difference or choosing not to participate because of the lack of desirable options. But to fail to exercise responsible citizenship in voting is to ignore the incredible empowerment we have as a free electorate to choose the leaders of our government, when most of the people of the world do not have that privilege. Even many “democratic” countries have a convoluted process in which the results have already been determined.

However, we need to be realistic in understanding that electing the candidate of our choice is not a panacea that is going to …

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Following Fall Foliage

Posted on October 29, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

A two-day gap between engagements in the eastern U.S. allowed us to veer our travels off the boring, fast-paced interstate and take the scenic by-ways through the Appalachian Mountains. The graciousness of ministerial discounts at LifeWay’s Ridgecrest Conference Center enabled us to enjoy an overnight in that beautiful setting near Black Mountain, NC. It was a serendipity to see Henry and Marilyn Blackaby after several years who happened to be there leading a prayer conference.

We were blessed with gorgeous sunny weather introduced each by crisp chilly temperatures in the mornings and again in the late afternoon as the sun setting behind distant mountains cast lengthening shadows over our route. Following the Blue Ridge Parkway out of Asheville the vibrant …

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Anyone Thankful for You?

Posted on October 26, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you.” Colossians 1:3-6

Is anyone thankful for you? We would like to think that there are a few people who are glad that we were born on this earth and are thankful for what our life means to them. Surely our spouse, our children and our parents are thankful for us, though there may be those times of conflicts and strained relationships that would challenge that premise. Occasionally our boss or supervisor may express appreciation for a job well done, or someone at church or in our community say they are thankful for a service rendered.

Is there anyone who, when they come to mind, …

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Adding Church Members

Posted on October 24, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

Most churches are committed to growth and adding members. There are some who are satisfied with their legacy of close-knit relationships and continue a cliquish fellowship in which outsiders never feel welcome. Others have given up on outreach, finding methods of attracting new members elusive. But most realize their purpose is to impact lostness and bring others into the kingdom through intentional ministry and outreach to those living in their community.

However, most efforts for effective impact in the world and growing attendance are meager at best. Churches that are growing are those attracting members by transfer from neighboring congregations. Rather than adding converts from the world, churches are engaged in a competitive game of fruit-basket-turnover. Baptismal statistics continue to …

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Friends, Family & Travel

Posted on October 22, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

Last week was highlighted by a delightful visit from Steve and Marie Goode, long-time friends from our days in Bangkok years ago. They still live in Thailand where they serve as director of Global Mercy Ministries with Youth With A Mission. Bobbye and Marie were in a close-knit women’s prayer group from 1984-88 and the relationship has continued in a network of long-distance intercession and support.

We had just left Indonesia and I had assumed the challenging role of directing Southern Baptist missionaries throughout South and Southeast Asia. Often when the frustrations would reach a peak I would drop in to share my burdens with Steve who was directing Cambodian relief efforts for YWAM. He had the task of assimilating …

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God Working Within Us

Posted on October 19, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

Intercessory prayer is probably our most common category of supplication. Laying our own personal needs and concerns before the Father takes priority, but praying for family and the needs of those who are sick and dealing with problems consumes most of the time we spend in prayer. Paul prayed with joy as he remembered and thanked God for fellow believers and those in various churches who labored with him in the gospel.

“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for

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Football Weekend

Posted on October 17, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

The last thing Bobbye would have ever wanted for her birthday last Saturday was to go to a football game. It is not that she doesn’t care for watching an occasional game on television, but as a birthday gift it would be appreciated about as much as receiving a new vacuum cleaner for a present. However, when she found that her great-niece, Betsy, was in the homecoming court at Ole Miss you would have thought football was the passion of her life.

It was a gorgeous, crisp fall day as we headed up Interstate 55 toward Oxford. Game day traffic picked up as we turned off on highway 7 north of Grenada. Things were fine through Coffeeville, but after passing …

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Knowing God’s Love

Posted on October 12, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

“And to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:19

Recognizing Paul’s prayers reflect God’s will for us, we continue his supplication in Ephesians to be rooted and grounded in love. Last week we focused on the desire to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man. We think of this as the power to live for Christ, the power to witness effectively and even being a worthy instrument of miraculous manifestations.

However, the purpose of this power in the inner man is that our faith would give Christ free reign and control and our life would be firmly established in God’s love. …

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Grandchildren Pride

Posted on October 8, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

We thought we would be with our grandchildren more than we have been–after all, isn’t that what retirement is supposed to be all about? With three of them living on the other side of the world and others entering into teenage years with their own busy schedules and activities, frequent leisure time together has yet to happen. We have to acknowledge that our own continuing travel and ministry has contributed to this dilemma, but we resolve to make giving attention to them a higher priority.

Our trip in July was the first time in more than a year with our Central Asia kids, but we do hope to converge with them in Indonesia early next year, introducing the grandkids to …

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Strengthened with Power

Posted on October 5, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

“For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father…that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man.” Ephesians 3:14, 16

Our previous devotional reflection on the prayers of Paul concluded in Ephesians 1:19 with the prayer that we might know “the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe.” Paul goes on to explain that power in the following verses, but in chapter three he once again prays that we would be strengthen with the power of Jesus Christ.

Paul had learned through personal experience that we need a power beyond our own. As long as we try to live the Christian life …

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