Archive for March, 2012

Obedient or Not?

Posted on March 30, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

Jesus had a remarkable way of teaching and getting His point across. Sometimes it was  “in your face” confrontation, especially when it came to His intolerance of the pious, hypocritical religious leaders. He seldom gravitated to vague theological homilies though His listeners had difficulty grasping His references to His relationship with the Father. His remarkable way of telling stories and practical illustrations made applications with which the people could readily identify.

Often He told the story, but left His listeners to figure out the point He was making. Such is a brief account of two brothers in Matthew 21:28-31. “But what do you think? A man had two sons. He went to the first and said, ‘My son, go, work …

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Unplanned Encounters

Posted on March 26, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

We have always had a tendency to fill our schedule with planned commitments which tend to diminish flexibility and eliminate the margin needed for spontaneous activities. This is especially true in teaching four college classes each week and the preparation needed for each one. However, the last couple of weeks have been enhanced by several unexpected events and visits.

Recently when we arrived for checking in at the Jackson airport to fly to Richmond we discovered a large Acteens group of girls from First Baptist Church Jackson leaving for a spring mission trip to Paris. Knowing some of the leaders, we were given the spontaneous opportunity to encourage the girls, assure their parents and pray for the group, most of …

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Mission and Missions

Posted on March 22, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

The meaning of “missions,” as with many other topics is contingent on how one chooses to define it. Most Christians would acknowledge being an advocate and supporter of missions. The Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20 is as well known as any verse of Scripture next to John 3:16. But it is interesting how this activity of the church is perceived and practiced.

The issue has been confused even further by the recent emergence of the popular term “missional.” What does it mean to be missional? Obviously it means different things to different people. To most it seems to categorize those things a church may do outside its own programs which serve and minister to its own members. We would readily …

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Celebrating the Big “7-0”

Posted on March 19, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

The biblically allotted three score and ten years was finally attained last weekend, and I am now living in the bonus! The inevitable accumulation of years have been edging toward this decadal milestone. An age once considered ancient, I find that 70 is a liberating time of enjoying life more than ever with freedom to do what I choose (with more than a little advice and influence from an ever-present, loving spouse). God continues to bless us with health, energy and vision and is providing unlimited opportunities to fulfill our mission calling.

Most of the Rankin clan gathered to celebrate my big birthday with my twin sister, Jean. We have come a long way since this photo taken when we …

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We are God’s Instruments

Posted on March 16, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

“I have seen the affliction of My people and…am aware of their sufferings. So I have come down to deliver them….Therefore, come now, and I will send you to Pharaoh so that you may bring my people out of Egypt” (Exodus 3:7-10)

It is impossible to watch newscasts and read daily events without being impressed that we live in a world of suffering and oppression. Rioting and massive killing by the government in Syria and by insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq, human trafficking in India and victims of natural disasters that seem to occur with increasing frequency alert us to constant human tragedy. We continue to hear of Muslims and Christians slaughtering each other in Nigeria, AIDS continuing to decimate …

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Return to Richmond

Posted on March 13, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

Spring break from teaching assignments this week provided a window of opportunity to schedule the quarterly time of training with new missionaries at FPO (field personnel orientation). It was encouraging to see 120 preparing for their field assignments, the largest contingent since appointments began to be restricted a few years ago.

Returning to Richmond is always a delightful time of visiting familiar places and recalling memories of the 17 years we lived there. Early spring features dogwoods and redbuds throughout the neighborhoods and cherry trees in full bloom along the median of Monument Avenue where we lived. But the greatest joy is reunion with staff and friends that continue to be so much a part of our lives.

That opportunity …

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Great Commission Baptists

Posted on March 9, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

I was not surprised when the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, upon recommendation of a special task force, decided not to change the name of the denomination. This is an issue that emerges from time to time in the interest of re-branding and removing a provincial connotation to our identity. What was intriguing about the decision was permission for churches and entities to use an alternate “descriptor” of Great Commission Baptists.

That innovative twist was no surprise after three years of advocacy for a Great Commission resurgence to give higher priority to missions and evangelism in our denomination. While recognizing that “Southern Baptists” no longer defines a regional convention, it does represent churches who hold to sound biblical …

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Having Fun Along the Way

Posted on March 5, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

Many have commented on how busy we continue to be and question references to our current lifestyle as retirement. We are enjoying the journey and find idleness no attraction. Teaching college students this semester at Mississippi College and William Carey University is less demanding and more fulfilling than I had anticipated; teaching “Impact Your World” courses for pastors in South Mississippi and at our church on Wednesday nights are opportunities to simply communicate what has always been the passion of our lives.

Weekend engagements included preaching at Harrisburg Baptist Church in Tupelo last week. We set the cruise control and enjoyed a leisure 3-hour drive up the Natchez Trace Parkway through farmland and woods, delighting in the redbuds and dogwoods …

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