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Lorin

Lorin
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Grew up in farm and ranch life about 70 miles west of Fort Worth, Texas near the small community of Perrin. Did undergraduate degree at Wayland Baptist University in Plainview, Texas (BA, 1964) and masters (MDiv, 1968) / doctorate (ThD, 1975) at Southwestern Baptist Seminary in Ft. Worth. Taught Koine Greek and New Testament at SWBTS 1974-1997. Then taught at Gardner-Webb University in Boiling Springs, NC (1998-2008). Pastored the IBC Baptist Church in Cologne Germany (2008-2010) before retiring and moving to Santa Ana, Costa Rica, where Claire and I now live.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

2017 Anticipations

2017 Anticipations

 At the end of December we face a new year. Never in my 75 years have I indulged in making resolutions for the coming year. Instead, an ongoing commitment to faithfully serve the Lord moment by moment has been my sole objective. Clearly now I am nearing the end of my earthly journey, and I am excited about the possibility of it happening during the 75th year of my earthly existence. I have felt for several decades that 75 years would bring to completion of the Lord's work through the ministry He gave me in the 1950s. 
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As I look at what is happening and about to happen in the land of my birth, profound apprehension looms heavily before me. The insane election of an anti-Christ figure to lead the government of the US bodes nothing but exploding corruption, unbridled materialistic greed, and a narcissistic godlessness settling over the US like a poisonous smog. Perhaps the saddest part is the brain washed professing Christians who have become enslaved to this insanity, much like conservative Christianity was swept up into Nazism in the Germany of the 1920s and 30s by similar deceptive propaganda. 

The prospect of a trip to Heaven before enduring much of this chaos cheers my heart greatly. And even if that trip is delayed awhile, another alternative move is beginning come into place. And that is to Lake Chapala, Mexico. Before moving to Costa Rica in 2010, we were seriously considering a move to this expat center of over 100,000 US retirees. The standard of living there is higher than in the US but for about a third of the cost. Perhaps now, that will come to pass. It all depends on the Lord's leading in what He has in store for us.  
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But wherever the Lord takes us in 2017, one thing is certain: we will remain unrelentingly true to our commitment to Christ. That means continual work on the BIC commentary series and expansion of cranfordville.com. And it also means passionate activism for biblical based values of righteousness, justice, and respect of all people.
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So Claire and I step into 2017 with much uncertainty in the world around us and for what may happen during the year. But this is not the basis of our confidence for the future. The Lord alone will guide us and take us in His paths of service and ministry until our heavenly home going!
 

Friday, December 23, 2016

Christmas 2016 means that we have lived in San Angelo, Texas for one year, after moving from Santa Ana, Costa Rica. For the most part the year has been enjoyable. 
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The Baptist Retirement Community has provided us a delightful duplex apartment that we have thoroughly enjoyed. The staff have been very helpful to assist us in the transition into retirement living. A multitude of activities and services are available here. We have made many new friends, as well as renewed friendships from earlier times. 
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But even more enjoyable for us has been our church, the Southland Baptist Church, in San Angelo. Although a larger congregation, we have found an atmosphere of friendliness, compassion, limitless missionary commitment, and just a warm spiritual presence of God. The senior pastor, Dr. Taylor Sandlin, is a superb preacher and pastor. As well, the rest of the staff are extraordinarily talented and committed. Our Sunday School class matches the church in these qualities and we thoroughly enjoy our teacher, Joanne Rice, and the excellent leadership she provides to the group of around 50 class members. 
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Our health, and particularly mine, has been the dark side of our experience during the past year. Claire continues to wrestle with asthma and allergy issues after being largely free of them since we moved from Texas to North Carolina in December of 1997. And other age based challenges have surfaced as well during 2016. Yet, in spite of all these, she has developed a real ministry here as the center librarian and photographer. Additionally, a pastoral ministry of sorts has emerged to several of the elderly widows, some of whom do not have family close by. She visits these ladies weekly to offer help and encouragement. 
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For me, the health issues have exploded to such a point that not just the limited sleep at night is my fate but spending the better part of virtually every day in bed has also become mandatory. Walking is becoming increasingly limited to very short distances. Thus the majority of my time is spent confined to the apartment with a few occasional treks to eat out and help Claire get groceries, plus church on Sundays. At the root cause behind my problems stands the poisonous American medicines that I have been prescribed. The different doctors kept piling on new medicines until mid summer when it reached a high of 18 separate medicines that I was supposed to take daily. At this point I balked completely at continuing this and after convincing my general doctor and the endocrinologist of the impossibility of continuing this we began eliminating different medicines. We are now down to 8 and have a couple or so more yet to go over the next few months. With the elimination of each medicine, slight improvement in my health as surfaced. 
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Of course, the really black cloud over this year has been the insane stupidity of the American voting public in falling for the lies and deception of Donald Trump. While the rest of the world has watched in utter shock at how gullible the Americans are, the reincarnation of the Nazi Germany of the 1920s and 30s has been set in motion in the US. Claire and I have taken a passionate stand against this evil that completely denies every value that Christ stands for. Interestingly we have discovered here a goodly number of like minded individuals here in the sea of red that Texas reflects. Thus rays of light and hope do manage to penetrate the dark, dreary clouds of fascism settling in over the US.
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The main bright spot for me, with all of the physical limitations I'm facing during these days, is the continuing ministry of cranfordville.com. Work has continued on writing the extensive commentary on the New Testament through the Biblical Insights Commentary. A 373 page commentary on Second Corinthians was completed as volume 11 in the BIC series and this provided a finalized template for the remaining volumes in the series. The next project is already underway with an extensive commentary on Romans in preparation. Simultaneously this means progress on THE APOSTLE PAUL: SERVANT OF CHRIST project, now over 1,500 pages in length. A couple of devotional articles will be published by a major US religious publisher in 2017 that were written this year. The activism through several social media outlets has really expanded with close to a thousand people globally connected up with me for interaction. Thus Gospel ministry continues for me in spite of all the physical limitations. For that I am profoundly grateful to God.
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Thus Christmas 2016 somewhat mirrors the world that Jesus was born into at the beginning of the Christian era.  Politically it was an overwhelmingly depressing time for Jewish peasants whose sincere faith found divine favor. Into the deep darkness of that moment came the incarnate God as an infant born to poverty stricken Jewish peasants. Angels and despised, fringe living shepherds, however, celebrated His birth with indescribable joy and hope for the future. And even foreigners from the East searched out the young Jesus afterwards to honor him as the promised Messiah. The 'in crowd' missed it completely. But many on the edge of society 'got it' totally. So those in our day pushed to the fringes of modern society have a source of hope and encouragement. Just as for Jesus and his family who faced many, many challenges in the coming years after Jesus' birth, so do we in our day. But we will face them in the same faith surrender of Mary and Joseph. 
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Thus to our many friends around the world we say, 
     "Frohe Weihnachten und genießen Sie eine herrliche Weihnachtszeit."
     "Feliz Navidad y puede disfrutar de unas maravillosas vacaciones."
     "Joyeux Noël et vous pouvez profiter d'une merveilleuse saison des fêtes."
     "Merry Christmas and may you enjoy a marvelous holiday season."

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