Mississippi Wisdom

The sun shined brightly, but the wind was brisk, and the temperatures crisp … as they often are in the month of January in rural Mississippi. My wife and I had left southern California two weeks earlier, stopped over in Denver to pick up our meager belongings, and then drove to our new home in the Deep South. The year was 1978.

Recently graduated from seminary, commissioned by our church to serve the “rural poor,” we arrived wide-eyed and hopeful of being used by God in some strategic way. We eagerly (naively?) embraced our new roles, wanting to experience everything possible within the shortest amount of time … not wanting to miss anything that might help us “make a difference” in our new community.

So we toured a pre-school, housed in a small church, located in a poor community, stuck between railroad tracks and the flood-prone Sellers Creek. It was there that God surprised me as I stumbled upon a bit of wisdom.

Three brief bullet points, hand-printed on faded construction paper, tacked to a crumbling bulletin board, hung on the wall in a narrow hallway:

  • Speak to basic human need.

  • Use terms that people understand.
  • Focus sharply on Jesus Christ.

I never learned who wrote them or fixed them to the wall. But they have shaped my philosophy of life and ministry ever since.

This blog … StrongStakes … is about disciple-building … “equipping & mobilizing men to follow Jesus” … this trio of Mississippi wisdom summarizes how this best occurs.

No additional explanations are necessary.

Peace & Joy!

~ tr

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