Rankin Connecting

God Bless the Missionaries

Posted on April 25, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

A strange pattern seems to have developed in how we pray. The bulk of our praying is for ourselves and our needs. Corporate prayer is dominated by intercession for those sick and suffering. Perhaps self-centered praying has always been the default content of our supplications, but one seldom hears passionate pleading for the nations and for kingdom issues.

It is encouraging in the midst of thanking God for the rain, invoking His blessings on the worship service and praying for Aunt Tilly in the hospital that someone will ask God to bless the missionaries. It is commendable that one would be aware of those who have left home and family to take the gospel to remote places around the world …

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The Family and Missions

Posted on March 6, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

When we were preparing to leave for the mission field in 1970 our children were 10 months old and two years old. Friends in churches where we served in North Texas and Mississippi often asked us, “You are not taking the kids, are you?” They could not imagine our subjecting these precious children to the health risks and dangers perceived to be inherent in the tropical, Muslim country of Indonesia.

We assured them that we were, indeed, taking the children as the family unit was ordained of God and an intrinsic component of fulfilling His will. We would readily acknowledge that “family” added challenges and encumbrances to life on the mission field with the hassle of travel and living is …

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Changes in Missions – Part 5

Posted on February 20, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

One of the most encouraging changes in missions in recent years is the increased partnership and cooperation among various organizations and Christians devoted to fulfilling the Great Commission. In fact, in the context of current developments it is amazing to reflect on the isolation, independency and even competitiveness among those doing missions in previous years.

As missionaries followed on the heels of western colonialism in the 19th century comity agreements were enacted that defined where different denominations would work. This trend continued in the post-World War II growth of missionary efforts. There was some wisdom in avoiding over-lapping areas of work while some regions were being ignored. It was a practice that was also designed to avoid creating confusion among …

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Changes in Missions – Part 4

Posted on February 14, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

When we came to Indonesia in 1970 our visa was granted by the Department of Religion, giving official status to our role as missionaries. Although our work permit designated that we were in the country to work with Christians, specifically the Baptist churches, we had relative freedom to witness openly. Being the only foreigners in an area of 5 1/2 million people, everyone was curious as to who we were and why we were there–questions that readily gave us an opportunity for witness.

Most were indifferent to our witness and many antagonistic, but we invariably found pockets of response, followed-up that interest and saw several village house churches planted. The situation has radically changed over the last forty years, as …

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Changes in Missions – Part 3

Posted on February 7, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

I can recall world maps distributed by the Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention posted on bulletin boards in churches. Countries were colored red where missionaries were serving, leaving the impression that that country was now being evangelized because there was a missionary presence. There was a display at mission headquarters that highlighted new fields entered each year.

Following World War II there was a vast expansion of new countries and nations colored on the map, but vast areas of the world were still white. Missionaries were restricted to countries that were open to a Christian witness, so that left many others untouched in the communist block of Eastern Europe and those predominantly Muslim. In order to reach …

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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. …

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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 …

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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 …

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Emmanuel: God with Us!

Posted on December 21, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

There was no mistaking the identity of the baby born in Bethlehem that first Christmas. The angel declared to the shepherds,“ Today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11). He was Christ, the long-awaited Messiah promised to Israel centuries ago and predicted by the prophets.

He was a Savior, confirmed by the name “Jesus” as revealed to Joseph–”And you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins” (Matt. 1:21). The Jews thought more in terms of a political savior saving them from Roman oppression, but the subsequent events of the cross brought clarity to His role as …

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Christmas Gifts—Hassle or Blessing?

Posted on December 5, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Rankin

I cannot begin to identify with those diligent, organized people who complete their Christmas shopping before the calendar turns to December. It is not that I resent those who brag about completing their list in after-Thanksgiving sales, or the extremists who get their Christmas shopping done in August; I relish organizing a task and getting it done in advance. But I have never gotten on track with early Christmas shopping. Seldom is a gift bought in the Rankin household prior to a week or two before Christmas.

I donʼt mind shopping when I know what Iʼm looking for and where to find it. But the idea of browsing the mall, looking at all the hyped merchandise to find something appropriate …

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