Thursday, October 3, 2013

Just a sad note...

This morning news has come that Pastor Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel has died at the age of 86, after a long battle with lung cancer. My heart is so sad, because he was my first pastor. I committed my life to Christ in 1976, when I was in my mid-twenties, and immediately began attending Calvary Chapel, even though is was a long commute from San Juan Capistrano. I received my grounding in God’s Word and my passion for it by listening to tapes of Chuck’s sermons through their tape-by-mail ministry. I went from Genesis through Romans listening to Chuck just read God’s Word and expound on it’s relevance to our lives. And he dedicated both of our girls to the LORD.

There was nothing magical about Chuck. He looked like an ordinary preacher and his services were fairly traditional, with singing from the hymnals every Sunday. But, during the week, the rock-style musicians would play praise music, and Chuck would sit on a stool in front of the congregation and just work his way through the Bible from beginning to end. Then he would start over again in Genesis and keep moving until he made his way through Revelation. And yet, he drew enormous crowds. People were hungry to hear God’s Word - all of it. Thousands came to the LORD through his simple ministry, which was known for its outreach to the Hippie generation!

There are now hundreds of Calvary Chapel affiliated churches throughout the country. He mentored some of the best pastors of our generation, including Greg Laurie and Mike MacIntosh. He will be missed, but I know that he is rejoicing in heaven with his Savior! He surely heard these words this morning as he entered the LORD’s presence: “Well done, thou good and faithful servant!” Praying for his family...  

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