October, 2013

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In Memory Of Our Dearest Pastor Chuck Smith

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

Calvary family,

My pastor for thirty three years went home to heaven today.

At 4:52am I received a text from my good friend Don Stewart that read, “Pastor Chuck went home last night …” “Last night” meant at 3:20am this morning. Pastor Chuck was 86.

His youngest daughter Cheryl wrote, “My dad is now everything he wanted to be and where he always wanted to be!”

A few years ago Pastor Chuck brought our eldest son Greg on staff at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa. Greg called today and said that “Pastor Chuck never complained but trusted in the Sovereign hand of God on his life!” So true. As many of you know Pastor Chuck had been battling lung cancer. But he kept walking, trusting, teaching, serving and loving the Lord and others; and amidst it all, always exemplifying a cheerful expectation!

It has been a very emotional day for our family …

Going back to when I was 16 years of age, I would often fall asleep listening to Pastor Chuck’s Bible study tapes. When I was in High School, it was my dream to be on Pastor Chuck’s staff. Graciously he brought me on staff at the age of 20. I met Stephanie at Calvary Costa Mesa (Stephanie was Pastor Chuck’s secretary). He officiated our wedding and prayerfully dedicated our firstborn son Greg, our daughter Sarah, and more recently our firstborn grandson Greg Denham III.

Over the years he has graciously provided counsel and help.

Pastor Chuck is my spiritual father. He opened the door for me to grow in my calling. When I was twenty-two years old he took me to Israel. I’ll never forget walking Masada with him. It was just he and I. It was so great! He had a shepherd’s sling in hand and we were throwing stones off the cliffs of Masada to the Judaean sands below.

“Rarely does a man come along that impacts a generation” Greg Laurie writes, “but Chuck Smith was that man!”

What began in 1965, with a church of 25 people, grew into a church of thousands, and ultimately a movement that planted over 1,600 churches worldwide as part of the Calvary Chapel fellowship.

What Pastor Chuck Smith embodied and inspired is so much:

#1 A deep passion for evangelism where churches focused on reaching the lost, not just shuffling sheep.

#2 A spirit-filled movement that believed in all the spiritual gifts, and that they should be manifested in accordance to Biblical definition and balance.

#3 Culturally engaged communities that wanted to reach (at first) hippies and then just about everyone else, bringing them into a community that embodied the priorities and values of Acts 2:42-47.

#4 Church planting that was birthed out of a desire to spread the gospel and reach a lost world through new churches.

#5 Commitment to the Word of God from Genesis to Revelation. Commitment to the explanation of the Scriptures, application of the scriptures and invitation to receive Christ!

Pastor Chuck has seen the face of the King! He is now with his beloved mother and father and little brother and the great saints who have gone before us. And I can imagine that heaven lit up today because there are so many who had come to know the Lord through Pastor Chuck’s ministry.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you, Lord – for our most dearest Pastor!”

I love you pastor Chuck!