Our Beloved Pastor Chuck Smith Has Gone to Be with the Lord

Chuck Thursday, October 3, I received the news that my pastor, Chuck Smith, has left this earth to be with the Lord. I mourn for the loss of his steady, godly influence in my life—and the lives of so many of my friends, colleagues, and brothers and sisters in the Lord. But I also rejoice as I picture his glorious smile, beaming with joy, as he met the Lord face to face.

When I was a young man, barely out of high school, I was bound for seminary school in Oklahoma.  Then I met Pastor Chuck.  He was speaking at a local church and I heard him teach from John 7, verse by verse. The whole Gospel, all the Scriptures—not just a few select verses.  Then he read the words of Jesus, with that deep voice: “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.  He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water,” and I experienced what John Wesley described:  “I felt my heart strangely warmed.”

I asked where he went to seminary school.  He never told me.  Instead, he told me I could start going through the Bible verse by verse at his church, Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa.  I moved into the House of Psalms and sat under his teaching, soaking in the Word, as he taught through the Bible.  He has been my pastor ever since, always available with a guiding word of encouragement or advice, full of wisdom and most of all—grace.

He taught us grace and the deep love of God beyond measure. I pray that I will never forget his message of love and acceptance.  How he embraced a generation of souls and allowed God to use him to capture us with the love and grace of God.  And how he poured his life into teaching us what he found most precious—God’s Word.

I will miss him greatly.  His voice, his teaching, his wisdom. But I also rejoice, for his suffering is over, he is free of illness or pain or care.  He is basking in the presence of the Lord!  I will always be grateful for the influence of this dear, godly man in my life, and look forward to seeing him again one day in the glorious kingdom of Heaven!