|Smiths Falls Logo|
At the conclusion of yesterday's meeting, I was able to shake his hand, mention "Smiths Falls Ontario 1972" and immediately his face registered recognition and we briefly chatted before his attention had to be given to the scores of others who wanted to meet him. Now I can tell you what he remembered with me.
|Tyndale University and College|
I was already aware of Ravi's giftedness as a communicator and his spirituality when in 1972 I invited him to be a keynote speaker for an eight day crusade in the town of Smiths Falls, Ontario where I was pastoring Calvary Bible Church. He was 26 years of age and I was 30. Mine was a small church of eighty people but in preparation for the crusade I trained spiritual counsellors there and in three other churches in the area.
|Calvary Bible Church, Smiths Falls, Ontario|
Typical of crusades at the time, I had arranged for guest musicians for each of the eight dates in October. An entire college choir from OBC under the direction of Warren Adams drove from Toronto for the event. Advertisements reached surrounding communities and each evening at the local civic arena an audience from 500-700 people listened to Ravi's challenging messages that invited people to place their trust in Jesus Christ. Seventy two individuals were recorded as having committed their lives to God that week. God knows the lasting outcome of that work.
It was evident in those days that Ravi Zacharias was empowered by God with unique perceptions and oratorical skills. Not surprisingly Ravi became a global evangelist with an ability to intelligently communicate the credibility of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He began to receive invitations to universities to engage the minds of young adults and thirty years ago he founded RZIM, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. Distinctive in its strong evangelistic and apologetic foundation, the ministry of RZIM is intended to touch both the heart and the intellect of the thinkers and influencers of society through the support of the visionary leadership of Ravi Zacharias.
He has authored 20 books in which Ravi has defended Christianity against atheism, Darwinism, Oscar Wilde, religious hypocrisy and world religions. In his book, Why Jesus? Rediscovering His Truth in an Age of Mass Marketed Spirituality (FaithWords, $21.99), he sets his sights on the New Spirituality/New Age movement and such prominent proponents as Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra.
I wrote a reflective blog piece in September 2009, called 'A Distant Greeting from a Former Resident,' the content of which I had sent to the town of Smiths Falls and an appreciation for the years I spent in the town gaining my footing as a young pastor, and referencing the special eight day crusade for which Ravi Zacharias was my invited speaker.
A Ligonier Institute Interview with Ravi
The Wikipedia account of Ravi Zachias