Archive for November, 2011

Prepare for Austerity

Posted on November 30, 2011 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

It has been fascinating to read reports of record spending on Black Friday in the midst of a depressed economy. $52 billion was supposedly spent on retail purchases by shoppers during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend followed by record online spending last Monday. The question in my mind is, “Whose money?”

Americans have developed a pattern of spending money they don’t have. We live in a society which feels entitled to the material things of life, and credit cards entice us to get it now and pay later. The problem is that most are unable to pay so the interest on unpaid balances continues to accumulate at 18% and higher. Not realizing if we are unable to pay now we will …

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Celebrating Thanksgiving

Posted on November 28, 2011 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

It has been the rare occasion over the last 50 years when we were able to celebrate Thanksgiving with our extended families. Throughout the years we were overseas we had to alternate holidays with Bobbye’s family and mine during those infrequent holidays during our furloughs. Later, back in the States, we were able to gather with our own adult children for an occasional Thanksgiving or Christmas, but with growing numbers of grandchildren and their being scattered to the ends of the earth that is seldom possible.

Fortunately, we are blessed to be incorporated into Bobbye’s sister’s family gatherings now that we are down home in Mississippi. Bettye and Dick have usually hosted holiday events at their country home in Brookhaven, …

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Will We Give Thanks on Thanksgiving?

Posted on November 23, 2011 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite seasons of the year. Unlike other holidays, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of hassle and activity involved. It is a down time after a busy fall  when school and work accelerate the pace of life. Now most schools are dismissed for the week, but for others it is a long holiday weekend of gathering with family, feasting and enjoying a refreshing chill in the air.

For many it means heading to the woods for hunting while others look forward to attending the big game climaxing the football season, or hitting the malls to launch the Christmas shopping frenzy. Others, like me, will become couch potatoes indulging in the constant diet of televised …

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The IMB Moving On

Posted on November 22, 2011 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

While we are having no second thoughts regarding the decision to retire last year, it is gratifying to stay connected with the staff and work of the International Mission Board and to celebrate the continuing commitment to our global mission task.

It was a privilege to participate in the inauguration of Dr. Tom Elliff as my successor as president of the IMB in Richmond last week. Although he was elected and assumed leadership last March, this official installation was held in conjunction with the November board meeting and semi-annual gathering of overseas affinity group leaders. Held at Grove Avenue Baptist Church, the event was a time of reunion with many friends and members of our home church for 17 years …

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Everyone is Important

Posted on November 18, 2011 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

Growing up in church, I can remember being challenged to memorize Scripture; in fact, one Sunday School teacher would expect each class member to quote a new verse each week. Somewhere along in our adolescence we began to choose verses that were apparently meaningless and even nonsensical. One of my favorites in the KJV was 1 Chronicles 26:18–”At Parbar westward, four at the causeway and two at Parbar.”

Later I became curious as to what this verse actually meant. I discovered that the word “parbar” in Hebrew means “parbar.” That wasn’t very helpful. The conjecture of some commentaries suggest that it was the portico around the temple, and the causeway was the ramp leading up to the colonnade from the …

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Character Does Matter

Posted on November 16, 2011 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

Character, morals, integrity, values–does anyone know what these are anymore? You would think those in high profile public positions would especially be conscientious about life-style decisions and behavior. Can people really separate their private life from their public image and accountability?

It has been beyond disappointing to see allegations of sexual harassment leveled at presidential candidate, Herman Cain, and to find a formerly respected football coach indicted for pedophilia. Equally disturbing is the tendency for many to dismiss such incidents as past mistakes and poor judgment without recognizing they are the fruit of inherently flawed character.

Society has been in a moral slide for a long time. Once any standard of ethics and moral values are rejected–such as the teachings …

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Fall is for Football

Posted on November 14, 2011 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

With the onset of fall and cooler weather I put on my Wrangler Jeans and looked for a pickup game of touch football with Brett Favre, who also recently retired to Mississippi. It was probably just as well we didn’t connect, and I had to resort to being a spectator with my favorite sport in season. Weekend travel and preaching engagements have deprived me of catching games for years, but with retirement I was determined football would have its appropriate priority.

Unfortunately, none of our local teams have done well. The Clinton High Arrows have been a perennial high school powerhouse, but are in a rebuilding year. After watching them getting stomped unmercifully early in the season, I decided there …

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Dealing with Adversity

Posted on November 11, 2011 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

Contrary to the perception of many, Jesus never promised us a bed of roses. In fact, He alerted His disciples to the fact that: “In this world you shall have tribulation” (John 16:33). We readily succumb to the rational thinking of Jobʼs friends and advisors who attributed his suffering and misfortune to sin and punishment for evoking Godʼs displeasure. This was in the context of Hebrew thinking which saw wealth and prosperity as Godʼs blessing and poverty and suffering as Godʼs judgment.

Certainly, we can be assured of Godʼs blessings. He will never leave us nor forsake us. But those blessings are more profound in the context of suffering and trial, not in the absence of them. In fact, our …

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Population: 7,000,000,000!

Posted on November 9, 2011 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

I would be surprised if anyone failed to note the news blurb that the worldʼs population reached seven billion people last month. That announcement probably was received with a passing yawn as insignificant trivia. Once numbers get so large they become meaningless. When we hear of budget deficits in the trillions of dollar, or stars billions of miles away, it is really impossible to comprehend such numbers.

A startling reality that helped me put our global population in perspective is the fact that barely one billion minutes have passed in time since Jesus walked upon the earth– thatʼs 60 minutes every hour, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year for almost 2,000 years! Other comparisons and illustrations simply boggle …

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Fall Days at Home

Posted on November 7, 2011 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

Raking leaves has replaced mowing the grass. Mornings are too cool to enjoy that first cup of coffee watching the sunrise from the porch swing. And a blazing fire in the fireplace adds a delightful ambience as well as coziness in the evenings. It is good to be at home after almost constant travel over the last two months. We are enjoying our brisk morning walks and looking forward to catching up with fall yard work.

One of the delightful surprises in moving back to Mississippi was to find our house only one block from the Clinton Nature Center. This is a 35-acre wooded area close to the middle of town that has been preserved and features over three …

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