My name is Tim Thompson and I’m the Sr. Pastor of Versailles United Methodist Church in Versailles, KY. In 1982, I was the Youth Pastor at First Alliance Church in Lexington, KY. In October of that year, we hosted Dr. Zacharias for a week long Missionary Conference. I was 24 then, and now I’m 60, but I remember that experience with Ravi like it was yesterday. I’ll never forget his story about meeting Jesse Owens and shaking his hand that Ravi told while preaching about Worship and the Rechabites in Jeremiah 35. It’s the most powerful sermon I’ve ever heard on worship, and the only one I ever heard about the Rechabites. Ravi’s sermons and his presence were electrifying and his ministry impacted me greatly. I still even have some of the cassettes from those sermons!
What impacted me the most, however, was when Ravi invited me over to his hotel room so we could talk. This I will never forget. Ravi casually sat on his bed with the pillows behind him as I sat in a chair and asked numerous, probably mostly mundane, questions about the Bible and theology. I was in the land of giants, and I was in awe.
My most pressing question had to do with - what I understood then - as the wrath of God being the theme of the Old Testament, and the Grace of God in the New Testament. I asked Ravi about this, as I couldn’t understand how these two extremes of the nature of God could be reconciled. I was expecting a long and detailed explanation, because as we all know, Ravi is famous for such things. He pondered for a moment, and said, “Tim, quite simply, the two natures meet at the Cross.”
I have told this story many, many times over the years, and I’ve witnessed how it’s helped hundreds of people as much as it helped me that night in Ravi’s room. Some people leave footprints in your life that never fade. Ravi did that for me in October of 1982.
My prayers and heart go out to Ravi’s wife and his children. I also remember the story about how Ravi first met his wife -when he saw her for the first time getting off the plane! I pray that Ravi’s and their suffering will not last long. I pray that together they will worship God and praise the name of Jesus for His unending mercy and ever reaching grace. God is for us, and He is with us!
Sincerely, and with great fondness and admiration,
Versailles United Methodist Church