What Pastor Chuck Meant To Me

Posted by Michael La Framboise on Monday, October 7, 2013 Under: Meditations
This past week I have reflected on how Pastor Chuck Smith touched my life. I knew he was close to the end, but when the news of his passing finally reached me on Thursday morning, I couldn't help but shed some loving tears. I thought about what his ministry meant to me, and I remembered when it was and why it was that he touched me so deeply.

In 1998 I was still reeling from the loss of my grandfather, Pastor Jerry Osborne; and the turmoil that erupted at his church in the wake of his tragic and untimely death pushed me far from the House of the Lord, and I had resolved to stay away from all things "church" for the foreseeable future. My grandpa had served the Lord faithfully for over 45 years, and what I saw people in his church put him through before his death, and what I saw them do to his memory after his death was so devastating to my Christian walk that I wanted nothing more to do with "church people." The betrayal, the attacks, and the dishonor that members of his church exhibited toward their own pastor with such impunity caused the very word "church" to become abhorrent in my ears! I loved my grandpa, and I was heart broken by losing him, and spiritually broken by seeing the church he had labored to build destroyed from within.

As all these things were unfolding I was attending Cal-state Fullerton, and on my way home one night I came across a station on the radio. It sounded like preaching, and sure enough it was the voice of a pastor from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I so enjoyed his message that I was eager to find out what kind of a church he was from, and I anxiously awaited the contact information at the end of the broadcast. Eventually I discovered he was a Calvary Chapel pastor, but I didn't know anything about Calvary Chapel. Over the following days and weeks I tuned into that station more and more. It was Calvary Chapel's own station, and so I began to seek out more information about this ministry. The more I investigated, the more I heard about Chuck Smith, and when I finally tuned into his broadcast I was greeted by a voice that was reminiscent of my grandpa's.

A few months later, in April 1999, Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa hosted The Jesus People Reunion at the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim; and I had an opportunity to see many of the pastors I had been listening to on the radio, including Chuck Smith. I was overwhelmed by the stories I heard and the love that I saw! The Lord began to touch my heart in a way that I didn't think was possible, and then finally He broke through the callouses of my heart and broke it completely. Chuck had come forward to announce that an offering would be taken to offset the cost of this "free" event. No big deal, right? But a moment later, as if prompted by the Spirit, he says, "But if you came here today, and don't know how you'll pay for gas to get home, don't hesitate to take a few dollars out." The tears could not be held back any longer, for I had found a new home in Christ. I had found a place where the Gospel wasn't just talked about, it was lived out in love!

Over the next two years I grew in my Christian walk as never before. I was listening to Bible studies for hours on end, and reading my Bible, and reading commentaries, and devouring every book Chuck Smith ever wrote! Soon enough, in 2001, I began to have a desire in my heart to teach and preach the Word of God as my grandpa and dad before me. On September 30, 2001, I gave my first Sunday morning sermon at my Dad's church in Norwalk. The Lord had accomplished a great and wonderful miracle in my life, drawing me to Himself, and ultimately into His service.

So when I think about what Chuck Smith meant to me, I think of all these things. I think of how he truly reintroduced me to the Lord, and then reintroduced me to the "family business." In reality the ministry of Chuck Smith has assured that the legacy of Jerry Osborne will live on through me. And for that I will be forever indebted to him.

In Loving Memory:
Chuck W. Smith
June 25, 1927 - October 3, 2013

In : Meditations 

Tags: chuck smith  jerry osborne  calvary chapel  legacy  ministry 
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