LiveSg Stories

#ThankYouRavi

Your life is a gift of God to us all.

The year was 2005, and I had recently joined Singapore Campus Crusade for Christ (now Cru Singapore) as a campus ministry staff. I was in Bali attending an apologetics conference for youths with a couple of other fellow staff workers.

A few months before that, I had overheard them talking about it and became very intrigued. What in the world was apologetics?

Fast forward, and I found myself seated with them in a big hall, listening for several days to speakers such as Stuart McAllister, Michael Ramsden, L T Jeyachandran, I-Ching Thomas, and of course Ravi Zacharias. Little did I know the life-changing impact this conference, and the ministry of Ravi Zacharias in the days to come, will have upon my life and ministry.

Tributes have been pouring in from all over social media (and beyond) ever since our hearts were gripped and grieved by the sudden and shocking news of Ravi’s sickness. So much have been said of this man, of the impact that his life and ministry has had.

 

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Ravi teaching at RZIM Summer Institute (Photo by RZIM)

Here are a few more to add to that chorus of grateful voices lifted up in thanksgiving to the Lord, of the blessing his life has been:

  • His unwavering commitment to the truth, and communicating it in a winsome way - he did not so much argue, as persuade others with humility, sincerity and orthodoxy. One would be hard pressed to find someone who has been offended by him; we certainly hear so many more stories of antagonistic and apathetic ones who were won over.

  • His amazing gift of marrying the heart and the mind - many have excelled in being either intellectually stimulating or pastorally welcoming. Ravi has been one of the very, very few I know whom God has gifted in bringing the two together. I learnt what it looked like to love the Lord with my mind.

  • The apologetics ministry is not for the fainthearted - the polemical nature of it puts one in the “firing-line” of defending the faith. Yet Ravi has demonstrated that making enemies is not a foregone conclusion. Instead the many friends he and his ministry has made across different faiths, cultures, and continents testify to how apologetic must be done - with gentleness and respect (1 Pet 3:16)

 

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Ravi at University of Pennsylvania (Photo by RZIM)
  • He has conducted his life with integrity before the Lord and people - I know of no personal scandals or theological controversies that have beset him, which is a tremendous testimony of what God can do in the life of one totally devoted to him. And even now, we see how the Lord is sustaining him to finish his race well.

  • His love and dedication for his wife and children is a great inspiration and model for me - of how the family does not have to be sacrificed on the altar of ministry.

  • He has exemplified godly leadership in the manner he has led his organisation - always concerned for building up the next generation, and graciously releasing power and authority so that the next generation can be empowered to carry on the Lord’s work.

  • Lastly, yet possibly the greatest of it all, is the tender and devoted love he has for the Lord - the way in which he lived his life and discharged his ministry is the greatest apologetic for a God he has given his whole life proclaiming.

 

Ravi spoke to an open forum for university students in Singapore on the topic,  "Truth If You Dare: A Closer Look At Truth In An Age of Relativism" in 2015. Organised by the Campus Collective network comprising leaders from Alpha Singapore, Brighton Community Church, Cornerstone Community Church, Cru Singapore, Eagles Communications, Faith Community Baptist Church, HOPE Singapore and Wesley Methodist Church.

As we celebrate Ravi’s life, let us also consider how we might imitate him (1 Cor 1:11) as an example of one who feared, loved and obeyed the Lord wholeheartedly. These three books, for me, encapsulates what his life was all about:

Thank you Ravi, for how you have lived your life, training and inspiring a generation of apologists, and workers in the Lord’s vineyard to winsomely and faithfully proclaim the gospel in every way possible.

Your life is a gift of God to us all. You have demonstrated that God is completely worthy of our trust and devotion in every season of our lives. May we all continue to be found faithful to him in the way you have been.

Desmond is somewhat of a specialist in being a generalist - he enjoys knowing a little about everything. When not getting climbed all over by his two boys and devouring his next set of readings for his MDiv program at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, he spends his free time dreaming about conquering the seven summits.

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