Inside Out by Dr. Larry Crabb was required reading for a course on Spiritual Life with Dr. Ramesh Richard at Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS). It's not an easy read in that it challenges us to confront areas of personal weakness. But on the other end of this book, there can be leap-step spiritual growth.
Dr. Richard graciously agreed to step beyond the classroom and dialogue with me recently on this book and to share with us what's going on as he travels the globe to win hearts and souls for Christ.
Let me guess... you're responding to these questions from the airport... on the way to... ________________?
I'm actually at the Frankfurt Airport, on the way to Chennai, India, and under jet lag. It's 3 a.m. Dallas time, when I am usually asleep!
How many trips do you take in a given year?
I usually take six overseas trips, every other month, and several trips domestically, depending on what, where or why I'm needed.
Ballpark number of people you've reached for Christ?
I have no idea how many people reached for Christ—but I know my destination should God provide life, health and resources—one billion individuals. Through our annual telecast, we may have already surpassed it.
One billion? That is an extraordinary goal. What an incredible ministry you have. You must have some awesome "travel" stories. Do you have a favorite place to go? If so, where and why?
Home! It's the only place I don’t have to be what others imagine me to be! This is the gift of my wife to me. Otherwise...
- Best situated city--CapeTown, South Africa
- Best architecture--Prague, Czech Republic
- Best human initiative--Singapore
- Best overall country--Costa Rica
- Best meat--Buenos Aires
- Best seafood--Trishna's in Mumbai, India!
Sarah:Why is Inside Out required reading in your Spiritual Life course?
Dr. Richard:To unearth internal tensions in the spiritual life; and to remove false concepts of God.
Sarah:Did the book impact your own thinking/feeling? If so, how?
I think Dr. Crabb talks about how we all appear much better than we really are to others. I would add—except to God who can’t be fooled that way and yet accepts as we really are. He thinks the best thoughts about us, and is willing to risk His salvation and ministry for us foible servants. I often wonder if God would still trust His people and ministry to me if He really knew me like I knew myself… and He assures me that He does know me... and better than I know myself... and His entrustment is not a risk, because He’s got all this all calculated well in advance!
The book offers up some stark reality... that apart from God we will be unfilfilled, unhappy and ultimately let down by all others (hopefully I have characterized this correctly). I was profoundly bothered by this initially. It struck me as depressing and pessimistic. Upon reflection, however, its message rings true and is deeply liberating. It encourages us to loosen the needy grip we have on others, freeing them to be who they are versus who we want them to be, and puts our dependence where it belongs: on God. This was the most significant "take away" for me. From my perspective, it was positive if not life-changing.
This is a powerful insight, but from early in the Christian faith. For example, Augustine and Ambrose had already said that unless we come close to God we can’t even come close to ourselves! Mix this with the old hymn writer words (Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of Creation) when he writes, “Hast thou not seen, how thy desires ere have been, granted in what He ordaineth.”
Switching gears... best book you've read lately?
Actually, the Book of Luke…which I am working through in Greek (with a little bit of cheating from the NET interlinear) and Tamil (my mother-tongue) devotionally. I said somewhere recently, that English is like B&W television, while Tamil gives me color, and then there is Greek in HDTV.
I also read Executive Book Summaries of dozens of contemporary books for insights on my audiences worldwide and for organizational leadership input. But several of these books are anecdotal principles, often contradicting each other—another strong reason to stay regularly in Scripture!
Yes, in the Bible we have infallible truth... something even the best of our uninspired literature can't imitate. Thanks for joining us here, Dr. Richard! Safe travels and may God keep you pressing on with great energy and enthusiam!
OK... has anybody out there read Inside Out? Hit "comments" and tell us what you thought about it!
Dr. Richard is a professor at Dallas Theological Seminary. He is also the founder and president of RREACH (Ramesh Richard Evangelism And Church Health). A global proclamation ministry, the vision of RREACH is to change the way one billion individuals think and hear about the Lord Jesus Christ. Dr. Richard holds a ThD (in systematic theology) from Dallas Theological Seminary and the PhD (in philosophy) from the University of Delhi.More about Dr. Richard's ministry here: http://www.rameshrichard.homestead.com/