Pastor Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa, California was famous for saying, “One day, you will read that Chuck Smith died. That’s bad reporting. What it should say is, ‘Chuck Smith moved.'” Thursday morning Chuck Smith moved into heaven! He was a large influence in my young life through his sermons.
When, I was a teenager, a remarkable revival began that swept in from the western shores of America like a Pacific tidal wave. It was called the Jesus Movement. It was a move of God among young people on the beaches of California. One day some of them began to come to Calvary Chapel dressed in shorts and sandals. They tracked sand in from the beaches onto the church’s carpets. One of the leaders in the church, posted a sign on the door, that said, “Proper attire and shoes please.” Pastor Chuck tore it down.
After a meeting with the church, they decided to swing their doors open to young people and love them and accept them as they were. Soon, they were beating down the door, to hear a pastor preach the Bible. He took the Bible literally. But he radiated the love of God and reached out to those “long hairs” as some called them.
I remember discovering him through some “long hair” Christians in my hometown and a new kind of Christians music. Music that I loved! If you are from my generation, you remember Chuck Gerard singing “Sometimes Alleluia” and “Rock n’ Roll Preacher.” Pastor Chuck was encouraging and facilitating these young people to share their faith in Jesus and sing with their generation’s music.
Pastor Chuck influenced churches to develop a deep passion for reaching the lost. He emphasized the fulness of the Holy Spirit in our lives. He believed we needed to remain culturally relevant in order to reach our communities, especially in his day the hippies. He also emphasized the importance of planting churches.
Pastor Chuck’s parents loved the Lord and their influence was felt in his life. Imagine their joy in their son’s life. Imagine our children living zealously for the Lord and reaching out with love, acceptance and affirmation in Christ!
What I truly loved about him was this, is that he continued to love God and people and preach the Good News. The Los Angeles times, said he was in his pulpit last week, with an oxygen tube. In his old age, he continued to be fruitful!
Dear Father, thank-you for the letter of your love through Chuck Smith!
Grace and Peace