In Memory Of Our Dearest Pastor Chuck Smith

Written by gregdenham on 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!

5 Comments so far ↓

  1. Kristin Avila says:

    That was beautiful Greg. Thank you for sharing your special story. Our Lord sure created a huge ripple effect when he put a desire in the heart of Chuck Smith to reach the lost. Praying for your precious family today. I can only imagine the mixed emotions you must all be feeling. How wonderful that his work in your life/family came full circle with Greggy serving under his leadership at the end of his ministry. Such wonderful fruit! Blessing to you :-)

  2. Michael says:

    “…The pilgrims then began to inquire if there was no other way to the gate. To which they answered, Yes; but there hath not any, save two, to wit, Enoch and Elijah, been permitted to tread that path since the foundation of the world, nor shall until the last trumpet shall sound. The pilgrims then, especially Christian, began to despond in their mind, and looked this way and that, but no way could be found by them by which they might escape the river…Then said the other, Be of good cheer, my brother: I feel the bottom, and it is good…
    Now, upon the bank of the river, on the other side, they saw the two shining men again, who there waited for them. Wherefore, being come out of the river, they saluted them, saying, We are ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for those that shall be the heirs of salvation. Thus they went along towards the gate….
    Now, while they were thus drawing towards the gate, behold a company of the heavenly host came out to meet them: to whom it was said by the other two shining ones, These are the men that have loved our Lord when they were in the world, and that have left all for his
    holy name; and he hath sent us to fetch them, and we have brought them thus far on their desired journey, that they may go in and look their Redeemer in the face with joy. Then the heavenly host gave a great shout, saying, “Blessed are they that are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” Rev. 19:9…
    Now when they were come up to the gate, there was written over it, in letters of gold, “blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of
    life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.”
    …Now I saw in my dream, that these two men went in at the gate; and lo, as they entered, they were transfigured; and they had raiment put on that shone like gold. There were also that met them with harps and crowns, and gave them to them; the harps to praise withal, and the crowns in token of honor. Then I heard in my dream, that all the bells in the city rang again for joy, and that it was said unto them, “enter ye into the joy of your lord.” I also heard the men themselves, that they sang with a loud voice, saying, “blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the lamb, for ever and ever.”
    Now, just as the gates were opened to let in the men, I looked in after them, and behold
    the city shone like the sun; the streets also were paved with gold; and in them walked many men, with crowns on their heads, palms in their hands, and golden harps, to sing praises withal.
    There were also of them that had wings, and they answered one another without intermission, saying, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord. And after that they shut up the gates; which, when I had seen, I wished myself among them…”

    ~ John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress

  3. Kim Johnson says:

    I rejoice also in knowing Pastor Chuck is home. I have prayed, and will continue to pray for you and your loving family Pastor Greg. May the peace that passes all understanding, and the love of God our Saviour fill you, and bless you!

  4. marsha gallup says:

    in The Helper by Catherine Marshall:

    “Jesus without Thee we’re orphaned and lonely,
    Come as our Teacher and Guide.
    Leave us not comfortless, send us the Comforter,
    Come to our hearts to abide.

    Come Lord Jesus. Come.

    to the Denham Family:
    Chuck Smith is to you whom you are to us at Calvary Chapel Auburn. with Love from the Gallups

  5. diana english says:

    I am so sorry to hear of you losing such a great friend. I lost my mom 8 months ago (alice bowie) and my husband Robert Glad to hear you are a grandpa Our Lord gives and takes away he took your friend and gave you baby greggy.
    God bless you
    Diana english

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