Archive for January, 2013

Changes in Missions – Part 2

Posted on January 30, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

Arriving in Surabaya today brings a flood of memories of our time in this city more than 30 years ago. After nine years in an isolated East Java outpost we were deployed to this metropolitan area that is now booming with four million people. We are grateful for what God was able to do through us but continue to carry regrets that we were not able to make a greater impact on this largest Muslim country in the world.

The prevailing strategy when we went to the field was to seek pockets of response and pour yourself into people who were receptive to the gospel. This had been engrained in my thinking during seminary mission classes and in on-the-field orientation. …

Read the rest of this entry »

. . . But God!

Posted on January 25, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us…” Ephesians 2:4

During my student pastorate in a small rural community in North Texas I can remember being indignant over a farmer who regularly plowed his fields on Sunday mornings. He never came to church and seemed to delight in this blatant expression of his lack of respect for the Lord’s Day. But I soon realized that we should not expect non-Christians to conform to our religious convictions and way of life.

We should all be distraught over the growing acceptance of sinful practices and carnal lifestyles in our society. We would like to dictate laws that enforce morality, but that would result only …

Read the rest of this entry »

Changes in Missions – Part 1

Posted on January 23, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

It was 42 years ago next month that I boarded a ship with my family to sail to Indonesia to embark upon a missionary career that would last 40 years. Lest it sound like a luxurious and exotic beginning, the confinement on an ocean liner for three weeks with sickly toddlers 10-months and 2-years old and sea-sickness induced by the winter waves of the Pacific was memorable but not fun.

Now new missionaries are whisked to their assignment around the world in a matter of hours. During our first term we never made a phone call to family back in the states as an international connection from a developing country was difficult if not impossible. Now contemporary missionaries communicate with …

Read the rest of this entry »

Heading to the Tropics

Posted on January 21, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

We shared in our last post of how we were surviving the cold days of winter and actually enjoying the leisure of getting things done in doors. However, with the recent snowfall (pictured in our backyard) it is time to head for the tropics. The snow was beautiful, and lasted only a few hours, but we are looking forward to returning this week to Indonesia and visiting places where we lived more than 30 years ago.

The primary purpose of our trip is to accompany our daughter’s family back to where she lived as a child. Though we have made numerous trips over the years, Lori has not been back since we left during her high school years. She was …

Read the rest of this entry »

Those With No Hope

Posted on January 19, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

“But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as other who have no hope.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13

Having attended three funerals in the last two weeks, I invariably think of this verse as I reflect on the joy and celebration of these occasions. It seems counter-intuitive that a funeral would be a time of joy instead of grief, but that is a proper perspective for those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ and served Him faithfully.

All of these, my former pastor and two emeritus missionaries, were advanced in age and had a long tenure of Christian service. Most of their peers and colleagues had already graduated …

Read the rest of this entry »

Following the Narrow Way

Posted on January 11, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

“For the gate is small, and the way is narrow that leads to life, and few are those who find it.” Matthew 7:14

We should not be surprised that many are indifferent to the gospel and unresponsive to our witness. We would like to think that the world would be evangelized if we would be more diligent and faithful in sharing the good news of salvation in Jesus Christ, but that is not necessarily true.

When we went overseas as missionaries I thought the pages of Acts would unfold and multitudes would be saved every day once we arrived on the shores of Indonesia. I assumed they were aware of their lostness and despairing in their search for God. Once …

Read the rest of this entry »

New Year, Same World

Posted on January 8, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if changing the pages on our calendar represented a change in our world and society? The transition from one year to another is represented by a old man with a long beard, indicating the passing year was really a booger, leaving him aged and decrepit. The new year portrayed, as a baby in diapers, would have us to believe that we are starting all over again with wide-open options for renewal.

Certainly a new year, just like every new day, is a opportunity for us to make changes, determine to put away old habits, make improvements and strive to be a better person. But that takes more than changing the digits on the calendar. The reality …

Read the rest of this entry »

Enjoying the Winter Season

Posted on January 7, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

I have always equivocated on what is my favorite season of the year. It’s usually a toss-up between spring and autumn depending on which season I’m in. The budding trees and flowering shrubs responding to warming temperatures after a gray, dismal winter stimulates a renewal of life. But the colorful leaves of fall and nippy air after months of stifling heat is invigorating. I would sometimes choose summer as my favorite time of the year until temperatures soar to intolerable levels, but never would I say winter had any merits of enjoyment.

However, I am finding winter has something going for it! Mississippi seldom gets much snow, but we discovered in Virginia that the beauty of a snowfall is short-lived …

Read the rest of this entry »

New Creation in Christ

Posted on January 4, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

“Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

I never ceased to be amazed at dramatic testimonies of changed lives. It strengthens my faith whenever I hear of someone who is radically changed by the grace of God. It reaffirms that there is no depth of degradation and sin, no carnal lifestyle or reprobate character that cannot be redeemed when one turns their faith to Jesus Christ.

While I rejoice in significant conversions of others, it sometimes makes me feel that something is lacking in my own experience. I was saved at a young age and had been nurtured in a church-going family. …

Read the rest of this entry »

More News