Archive for August, 2012

Socializing and Ministry

Posted on August 27, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

We have been sharing travel experiences from Central Asia and candid photos of grandkids for the last three weeks. As we move on to a full calendar of socializing and ministry opportunities at home, I want to share one final picture of our daughter and family who have been serving among unreached peoples in one of the most remote and unevangelized areas of the world since their appointment in 1998. We appreciate your joining us in praying for them and their colleagues who are sharing the good news in places it has never been heard. The barriers remain formidable and the austere lifestyle is harsh, but God is blessing.

Last week was the scheduled time to return to Richmond for …

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Blessing Without Responsibility

Posted on August 24, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

“God be gracious to us and bless us, and cause His face to shine upon us–that Thy way may be known on the earth, Thy salvation among all nations.” (Psalm 67:1-2)

This initial verse of Psalm 67 expresses a familiar refrain. I have often heard it pronounced as a benediction at the close of a worship service. Having heard a stirring sermon to challenge congregants to faithful service, sang hymns of praise and said our prayers, we are dismissed with these words invoking God’s blessings–”God be gracious to us and bless us, and cause Your face to shine upon us.” We say “Amen” and go home.

This was a prayer often uttered by the Nation of Israel as they …

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Intolerance of Tolerance

Posted on August 22, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

One of the most unique aspects of our American way of life is the freedom to be different. A person is not constrained to conform to a particular political ideology as in many totalitarian countries around the world. One does not have to adhere to proscribed religious doctrine as it is imposed in most Muslim societies. Many people throughout the world cannot speak their mind freely without risking the consequences of sedition in expressing views contrary to official policy.

Our first amendment rights to freedom of religion and freedom of speech are simply the core of values that are foundational to being an American and upon which our nation was established. The very nature of democracy acknowledges diversity, and while …

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Adjusting Back Home

Posted on August 21, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

We used to readily adjust to the jet lag induced by international travel. Before the trip we would stay up all night in order to sleep timed to our destination clocks and fast for two days to force our digestive system to adapt. Maybe its our age, being out of practice, or simply the 37 hours of travel home from our Asian departure city. Airport hassle, transit stops and a 15-hour flight from Dubai to Atlanta contributed to the exhaustion and erratic sleep patterns once we arrived home.

I have found one might as well go to bed when jet lag attacks at mid-day rather than fighting it in a stupor, though awakening at 2:00 am does make for quality …

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Seeking Elusive Rest

Posted on August 17, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

“O that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.” Psalm 55:6

The Psalmist captures an attitude that seems so prevalent in our hectic pace of life. The demands of family, work and over-committed schedules put us in bondage to lives with little margin. We wilt under the burden of responsibilities and wish we could just get away from it all.

We think, “If I didn’t have to face another 40-hour week of the same old routine and work that never gets done,” or “If I could just get up one morning without being confronted by fussy kids, a messy house, meals to fix and shopping to do.” Even church seems to contribute to …

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Life in Another World

Posted on August 15, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

The glare of the sun reflected relentlessly off the barren rocky mountains that surrounded this remote Central Asian city. Fed by the fast-flowing runoff of melting snow from the previous winter, the narrow valley appeared lush with a band of green as trees and gardens sought to claim the diminishing source of moisture that eluded the summer heat. A new world of bearded men and burqa-clad women clamoring throughout the congested marketplace confronted us as we finally arrived to visit our daughter and her family who have lived in this part of the world for 12 years.

The little eight-seater plane that flies to this part of the country twice a week brought us from the capital city to our …

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Being the Person God Desires

Posted on August 10, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

“And he will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season. And its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.” Psalm 1:3

Every Christian has a pretty good idea in his mind what their life should be like. It is usually an ideal that is seen as unattainable in terms of holiness and Christlike character. We get serious from time to time about trying to be such a person, but invariably our efforts are short-lived. Typically we embrace failure and see the Christian life as a constant struggle and the victory elusive.

However, the guidelines for success and prospering in our spiritual walk are rather simple. The …

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Aversion to Piety

Posted on August 8, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

One of the unfortunate characteristics of church life seems to be an aversion to piety. We value conformity in the practices of worship and the Christian life, and, in fact, this may be a more prominent factor in the choice of which church we attend than doctrinal distinctives.

Piety, understood as holiness, is a deep spirituality that is manifested in an intimate walk with God. It may find expressions in a hunger for the word of God in one who cannot get enough Bible study and delights in the constant discovery of God’s truth. While others of us strive to fill public prayer with familiar words of trite thankfulness and supplication, the pious person verbalizes prayer in phrases that reflect …

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Other Side of the World

Posted on August 6, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

When we left for the mission field 42 years ago, we went by ship. It took us three weeks to get from America to Indonesia–time to leave the familiar behind and anticipate adjustments to a new culture. The jet age has radically diminished global distances so that in a matter of hours one can be on the other side of the world.

Our trip to Central Asia brought back memories of a lifestyle jetting from continent to continent, but this time the destination was grandkids in a foreign land. It was a joyous experience to get off the plane to be welcome by our burqa-clad daughter who had flown to the capital city to accompany us on the last stage …

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