Raview | Spring 2018
Posted by Ravi Zacharias, on March 20, 2018
Topic: News Magazine
WHEN THE YEAR begins it brings a strange feeling of wondering what happened after Thanksgiving. How did the days vanish into the distant past? The truth is that it seems this way when we have just enjoyed a breather or have had some fun times. But when life is dreary, time stands still. So I suppose there is a bright side to this befuddlement. It means we enjoyed these days just past. I shall leave it at that.
There is another angle to this perspective. When I was young, the seventh decade of life was seen as the curtain call. The play was done. Yet, I must confess that even though I never expected to be fighting some of the battles that I am, I never expected to be seeing the best years of ministry either. In January, I was sitting in a coffee shop in Bangkok, getting ready to fly to Jordan. It was only the second week of the month, and the music being played was Christmas music…in Thailand?
I realize that it could be a cultural thing but I also know that because of the incredible vision of the DeMoss Foundation some years ago, one of the toughest countries in the world, Thailand, made a historic response to the gospel. There is a long way to go still, but a lot has happened. This is true of many other countries in the world.
I have recently returned from Jordan and Egypt. The latter, particularly, garnered large turnouts, in the thousands, and we have been much in prayer. In this letter, I want to particularly focus on parts of the world that are seeing a surprising move of God in the midst of uncertain times. I ended last year in Chennai. The excitement in the meeting was palpable.
To see a setting packed to capacity with 5000-plus in attendance was a thrill. Listening to the audience sing was great. The same awaited me in Jordan. They love to sing with gusto. Isn’t it fascinating that with all the threats and challenges around them people still sing from their hearts of faith and hope? We will be in many such settings in the months ahead.
After the Middle East I was at the University of Florida followed by First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Florida. Then on to several other locations, each having their own thrust.
The message I would like to leave with you is twofold. For several decades, I have labored towards this end, to build a team that will take us into the future. We have that team. As you look at our website, ask yourself, “What kind of speaking is needed for our time?” It is truth with relevance in arenas that are resistant. That is exactly how our team approaches each meeting. Michael Ramsden, Amy Orr-Ewing, Abdu Murray, and Stuart McAllister form the core of our veterans. They themselves, Lord willing, have several years ahead. The younger team is loaded with talent, but more importantly, with anointing.
The second question is “What venues should be ideal settings for us?” We have always focused on four: academic, business, political, and the arts. Those will always be our priorities. But now add to that two other distinctive channels, the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics (OCCA) and the Zacharias Institute. Plus we also have the RZIM Academy.
With the total reach of these three, we have hundreds of thousands being reached and taught how to use apologetics to share the gospel. Most recently, we have added a six-session training series through Lifeway Christian Resources. They have taken the book Jesus Among Secular Gods that I co-authored with Vince Vitale and turned it into a wonderful curriculum for small groups. It is a timely product that the Lifeway group has very capably put within reach of various study groups. From secularism to humanism to hedonism and scientism, we cover numerous topics. I cannot think of a more important series for our time. Vince, a former Oxford tutor, has done a marvelous job in the subjects with which he has dealt. I was honored to be part of it. We expect to see great things happen with it. Please encourage your church to use it.
All in all, we are looking for a wonderful year ahead. We may well be in your area and ask you to bring your friends with you. We are asking the Lord to give us our best year yet. Whenever I sit in a plane, more often than not, somebody stops by to shake hands and say “Thank you.” I always tell them that this is God’s doing.
So may I pause to say to you, “Thank you for responding to God’s prompting in your heart.” Your support and your prayers are greatly valued. We thank you for carrying us, with God’s help, all over the world.
Please continue to stand with us as we do our best.
God bless you, dear friends.