Rashional Thoughts 2018

Rashional Thoughts — Stepping out in confidence

The weeks leading up to my arrival on the missions field in the early 1990s were filled with the normal activities of packing, researching the area where I was headed and saying goodbye to friends and family.

While it was only a two-year missions position, the decision to go was major for me. I had turned down several tempting job opportunities following graduation from the University of Alabama in May of that year and said yes to serving the English-speaking islands of the Caribbean.

The position definitely matched my training and educational experience in communications, but my exposure to the world outside the Southeast — and missions work in general — was pretty limited.

The internal battle was fierce. Fear of the unknown, moving outside my comfort zone, conceding to uncertain living conditions and a deep feeling of inadequacy in working alongside career missionaries surfaced daily. But each time anxiety threatened to convince me to bail on the plan, the peace that drew me to the decision in the beginning returned and washed over the fears.

Sometimes there isn’t a logical explanation, but when God calls, draws and directs, we know what we need to do. And so I answered and many stood with me. Churches raised money to assist with the needed resources and committed to pray as I served. My pastor, Sammy Taylor, and home church, Mountain View Baptist in Phil Campbell, prepared me for service and made sure I never forgot they were home holding the ropes while I was on the field.

My friends and family supported, prayed and stayed connected through the two years. My mom researched the types of clothes and other items I would need and made sure I had plenty of options. My dad put me to work with him on the farm between college graduation and leaving day — for a therapeutic mental break.

When I left Phil Campbell 25 years ago this month (September 1993) I had no idea what would happen next. God taught me so much about life, others, missions and ministry. He certainly expanded my world and drew me to Him like I had never experienced before. The years since then have brought a whole lot of life — good, bad and everything in between — and through it all God has been faithful, providing the peace, confidence and strength I needed at every point.

As I enter the next season of the journey with the coming new position at The Alabama Baptist, I step with excitement, anticipation and confidence not only because of the clarity of the call and a peace from the Lord but also because of your love, support and willingness to help me grow.


Rashional Extras – Dealing with apathy in everyday life

By Grace Thornton
Excerpt from Back to Campus
Aug. 16 issue of The Alabama Baptist

Before students can get their faith to affect their worldview and their choices, they have to care. That’s a struggle that Jacob Freeman, a Baptist campus minister at the University of Montevallo, said he encounters on a regular basis.

“Probably one of the biggest challenges facing our students is apathy,” he said. “Entertainment is so readily accessible that we can have our attention captured at all moments, day and night. We often find things like cell phones, Netflix and video games fulfilling, at least to the point where it becomes ‘enough’ to get us by.”

It’s so simple to plug in electronics and unplug from real life, Freeman said.

“It’s true that these devices aren’t necessarily evil in and of themselves,” he said. “However, when we allow them to create in us apathetic hearts and lazy hands, and we neglect the call of God to be present and active in reality, they turn into destructive idols.”

Freeman said he sees students putting a lot of effort into things that don’t matter and little effort into the things that matter greatly.

“My advice to students is the classic answer to all questions about faith — commune with God through prayer, Scripture and a local body of believers,” he said. “Ask God to deliver you from idolatry and addiction. Let the word of God mold your desires and capture your attention. Be involved in the real lives of those in your church. These three areas will help guide our hearts, minds and feet onto a productive pathway, one with eternal significance.”

Beth Gardner, Baptist campus minister for the University of South Alabama, added, “When our lives seem out of control, we need to stop and ask ourselves if we are daily submitting our lives to God.”


What to do when you don’t like reading the Bible
By Savannah Sturgeon

Ask yourself, would God call you to a life so busy that you don’t have time to read His word? Do you see Bible reading as a time-consuming task rather than a life-giving habit? Try starting small. Read smaller passages every day or every other day. And as you get in the habit of reading Scripture again, you may be surprised at the influence even the smallest passages can have on your daily life.

Editor’s Note — This is an excerpt from the article of the same title that ran Aug. 4 on relevantmagazine.com. Savannah Sturgeon is the founder of the weekly devotional site called TheGoodFruit.org.


What will you do today to make a lasting impact on someone? It doesn’t need to be a million dollar gift, preaching to thousands or creating a modern day Picasso. It could be a gentle smile, a thoughtful note or a helpful hand. Above all — tell someone Jesus loves them.

Lack of communication is a problem in any organization but sometimes a failure to listen is just as big of a problem. People will hear what they want to hear and not what was said or intended. I guess James knew this when he said we should be quick to listen & slow to speak.

“Make it your goal to seek His blueprint for your life — and then to follow it.” #BillyGraham


Praying in faith is not having enough confidence to convince God to do what you want Him to do. Praying in faith is having enough confidence in God to accept His will even when it isn’t what you asked for.

Rob Paul
Church revitalization consultant