Showing posts from January, 2018

Where are the answers?

My family kept them on the top shelf in the dining room.   It was also an office, at times a nursery, and where the piano was. I don’t know where we got them from, but I remember them seeing them as a child sitting up on the top shelf, all neatly arranged.   Sometimes I would get them down just to flip through and see what I could learn.   The encyclopedias were source of knowledge, wisdom, and entertainment for an introverted kid like me.   I don’t know if they were a particularly good set, but they were ours.   My siblings and I used them for homework sometimes, or just as heavy books to press leaves in.   If there was a question that we didn’t know the answer to, we could find it in there.   It’s helpful to know where the answers are.   As a child we believe our parents have most of the answers.   As we grow up we learn they don’t, and so we begin to look elsewhere.   Somewhere along the way my family traded our encyclopedias for a computer.   More likely we traded them for an

Captain of the Team: M. Theron Rankin

I recently had the chance to read a short little story about the life of M. Theron Rankin.  He served as a missionary to China for many years before becoming president of the International Mission Board from 1945-53, before dying of leukemia at a young age. This sketch of his life was written by his brother, and contains a few details and anecdotes about his life and ministry.  Although  it's very brief it was greatly encouraging to me. While serving in China in the late 1930's he lived under the threat of war with Japan and the rising threat of communist China.  When Japan was threatening to invade China, he was ordered home by the Foreign Mission Board three times before he finally replied "It may be that some of us will have to die for Christ in this generation. My place is in China." Rankin paid the price for that, and spent several weeks pinned under enemy fire in the mountains before being captured by Japan and spending more than a year in an internment camp

How a small town pastor can have a larger impact

“3740”   That’s what a student told me when I asked for his number. My wife and I had been married for only two months, and we had left the large metroplex where I had always lived so I could be youth pastor in this town of less than 600.   I was stumped by his answer, because I didn’t think that was enough numbers.   My new wife, who did grow up in a small town, gently informed me that meant everyone in the town had the same first three numbers to their phone.   That sounded like the craziest thing in the world to me, that there was so few people that you didn’t even need to say the first part of your phone number.   It was then I realize just how small this town was, but also how connected it all was.   Growing up in a large metropolitan city, we were only sort of friendly with our neighbors.   I went to school in one part of town where my dad was a principal and went to church in another part of the city.   There were plenty of people that we knew through the school and through