Trustworthy help for international needs
By Dr. Mark Randall
As I read about desperate situations in the world, it is overwhelming to know how to reach out in Jesus’ name.
The refugee crisis in Afghanistan and the earthquake disaster in Haiti are just two examples.
When my family went with our church to visit Children’s Hope in Jacmel, Haiti, about five years ago, I thought I had already seen the worst in starvation and economic desperation after growing up in Zimbabwe.
It was shocking to see how in the Western Hemisphere there could be such a need.
As we conducted medical clinics and gave out medicines, the inability to help Haiti was overwhelming.
There are many good organizations sending help internationally, but Send Relief (compassion ministry of SBC’s North American Mission Board and International Mission Board) is the one I recommend.
Send Relief’s mission
It not only sends food, but also tries to provide good drinking water by drilling wells and gives chickens, rabbits and goats so the people can continue to raise food to provide for their families.
Those who work with Send Relief know the needs of the people and how to meet them.
I appreciate trustworthy organizations after my first crazy experience in distributing food. This came when I was a high school senior in Sanyati, Zimbabwe.
There was a drought in Zimbabwe that was especially severe in the northwest region called Tongaland, named after the tribe living there. The Tonga tribe had been living on the banks of the Zambezi and were used to fishing before the former Rhodesian government had forced them to relocate to a barren area of the country.
A grant from the Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board) had bought several hundred bags of mealie meal and beans for those starving in Tongaland.
[Another missionary kid] and I made the first attempt for food distribution in December 1980, using the hospital Land Rover and a 2-ton truck. The attempt was cut short by the rainy season and flooding.
About a month later we tried again. We got up early and Jeff drove the hospital ambulance with a translator up front, while I rode in the back seat. It was an experience driving this battered ambulance over the dirt roads.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Dr. Mark Randall is a physician in Winfield who grew up overseas and has served in many countries since. He is a graduate of Samford University and UAB School of Medicine. Read the full account of his food distribution effort as a teenager in Zimbabwe at marklrandall.com/blog-posts.
A call to extraordinary prayer
We need each other now more than ever before, and we need God’s power like never before in life and in ministry.
The current challenges across America and the world are extraordinary. Together, we need to respond with a commitment to extraordinary prayer and cooperation.
What is your ordinary pattern of prayer? How much time a day? How many days a week do you pray?
Whatever is normal for you needs to become extraordinary.
If you pray five minutes a day, then pray for 10 minutes a day.
If you pray an hour a day, then pray a few minutes more. If your church prays two minutes in a worship service, then take it to five minutes.
Extraordinary prayer is praying beyond what is your ordinary practice. This could be in minutes, hours or days.
Extraordinary prayer is the greatest need as we live in and navigate through these extraordinary times.
While an avalanche of trouble is occurring, we operate through this trouble by committing to and practicing extraordinary prayer.
I believe God can do more in a moment than you can do in a lifetime. Do you believe this?
I believe God can do great things anywhere at any time with anyone. This includes you. Do you believe this?
I believe there is no great movement of God that has ever occurred that does not begin with extraordinary prayer of God’s people. Do you believe this?
I plead with all of us today, we need extraordinary prayer and cooperation more than ever before.
Let’s believe God together.
President and CEO
SBC Executive Committee
Letters to the editor
I always enjoy reading Rashional Thoughts and the one from Sept. 2 was especially encouraging and uplifting, in light of all that is going on in our nation and world.
Thank you for reminding us of this basic principle, that God knows what’s going on. He wants to use us during the difficult days even more than during the restful days. I have been praying that we will see what He wants us to learn during this time. And that we will be reminded that our time on earth is short.
We should spend that time telling others about His great love and how they can receive His marvelous gift of salvation. May we be found faithful.
Thumbs up on the Sept. 2 Rashional Thoughts. I needed that bit of encouragement. You are right in that so many things are not good right now, but as mature Christians we’ve got to keep the faith and run the race to be the Light for so many.
There’s not a single person in our church, not a single person in this entire community that hasn’t been significantly impacted by this storm (Hurricane Ida). Our church gets to be this bridge between the hurting folks who are in our community and the help that comes through Jesus Christ.
Pastor Tim Moffett
Woodland Park Baptist Church
After seeing more devastation in Louisiana from another hurricane, I’m so thankful for the state disaster relief teams that have come in quickly to provide tens of thousands of meals for people in need. …
This recovery will be a long process for the people of Louisiana. But the opportunities to show the love of Christ and share the gospel will be great when we serve others who are in the middle of this great time of need.
President, Send Relief
I am deeply moved by the spirit of cooperation that exists among our Southern Baptist family. State conventions, associations, the North American Mission Board and Send Relief all lead us to bring relief and the love of Jesus to stricken areas and hurting people.
Complaining, gossip and a self-focus are marks of spiritual immaturity.
Associate dean for theological studies, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
Authentic servant leadership is the best leadership model for any organization. Unfortunately, not everyone has it within them to be a servant leader. This is where genuine Christian character intersects with effective leadership. If it’s about you, it’s not leadership.
Pastor Chris Richards
Immanuel Baptist Church in Havre and Chief Cornerstone Community Church in Box Elder, on the Rocky Boy Indian Reservation, both in Montana
The bravery we think we feel with our thumbs isn’t actually bravery at all. It’s the opposite. These tiny little screens often shrink our empathy and courtesy to the size of our phones. And that’s actually not who we are. We are actually a lot kinder than these screens and our thumbs trick us into being.
Here’s a little tip. I do it almost every day as I want to respond to people online. I type out what I want to say, then I open up my camera and record myself saying it. If I can’t send them the video of me saying it, I can’t send the comment in the thread either.
Be kind today. Everybody is hurting in some way.
One of the primary tasks of the Church is Christian education. One of the primary avenues through which this takes place falls under the responsibility of those gifted with teaching (Rom. 12:7).
For the purpose of helping us better understand biblical truths and revelations, God bestows the gift of teaching. This refers to one who has been endowed with insight and skills in setting forth the details and facts of God’s word.
In our superficial society, the need for one who clearly explains the meaning of God’s word can all too easily be overlooked or ignored.
We need proclamation, exhortation and invitation for sure. But we also must have explanation through the gift of teaching.
Morris Murray Jr.
From the Twitterverse
Though I am (weekly) tempted to do so, one of the worst things I can do in preparing sermons is to start the process by cracking open a commentary. They have a place. But only after I have sat with a text. Meditated/prayed upon it. Asked questions of it. Identified its structure.
‘We need to recover this idea that you can be both courageous and civil. You can stand strong in what you believe but also not dehumanize the people you disagree with.’ —@dandarling
Besides the Holy Spirit, the greatest teacher in my life is our son, Titus. He doesn’t walk but has taught me to be a better follower of Jesus! He doesn’t talk but has taught me to be a better communicator of hope! He doesn’t sit up but has taught me how to stand in faith!
99% of the fruit of our gospel ministry remains hidden from us by God, for if we were fully aware of the effect of our Kingdom work, we’d be too prideful to be used by God.
Pastor, preach the Word, point ’em to Jesus, and prompt ’em to respond. That’s all you really need to do, but not in your power — it’s His word, and they respond to Him. Just be faithful, and know that He is working for more than you realize. Even if you only hear crickets.
Christlikeness is visible in character, not merely words.
“One requirement to be used as a leader in a movement of revival: They must have the Spirit of God upon them.” —Jonathan Edwards
When someone has 20/20 vision, it means they have good eyesight. They see things with clarity. We need that kind of vision as followers of Christ because the Bible says that “where there is no vision, the people perish” (Prov. 29:18 KJV).
Theological institutions do a good job of teaching believers about God. They fall short in teaching believers how to be with God.
Take heart! The most painful lessons in life are also generally the most fruitful and long-lasting.
It always seems impossible until you pray.