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From the Archives | Chuck Smith: Man of Impact Part 1

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
July 24, 2021 3:00 am

From the Archives | Chuck Smith: Man of Impact Part 1

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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July 24, 2021 3:00 am

In this special episode, we revisit an interview between Pastor Greg Laurie and his friend and mentor, the late Pastor Chuck Smith. Pastor Chuck shares about his family, his family experienced, and his start in ministry. 

The conversation touches many subjects, including:

Pastor Chuck’s early love of the Bible

How he encountered the Lord in a special way as a teenager 

His original plans to be a medical doctor

How he met his wife, Kay

This interview took place in 2012. Pastor Chuck Smith went to be with the Lord on October 3, 2013. 


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Hey everybody, Greg Laurie here. You're listening to the Greg Laurie Podcast and my objective is to deliver, hopefully, compelling practical insights in faith, culture, and current events from a biblical perspective.

To find out more about our ministry, just go to our website, So thanks for joining me for this podcast. We'll be right back. Greg, thank you so much for joining us today. We'll be right back. Greg, thank you so much for joining us today. We'll be right back. Let's listen. Tonight, along with your father and your mom, your sister, something happened traumatic and it impacted you.

You weren't even born yet. Tell us about what happened to your sister, Virginia, and how it impacted you and the way you were raised. Well, actually, my sister, for all practical purposes, felt she was dead. She had spinal meningitis. My cousin had died of spinal meningitis just two weeks earlier. She had been playing with them and all, and she came down with it. And she quit breathing. And my mother, my dad was down at the pool all playing pool.

He was a real pool shark. But my mom took my sister. There was a church just about two blocks up the street from the hotel they were in. And so she ran up to the church and got hold of the pastor, and he came in and saw my sister, and he said to my mother, just get your eyes off your daughter. Get your eyes on Jesus.

Just start worshiping Jesus. And he started praying for her that God would restore her life to her. And my dad, I guess, had come home from the pool hall, found that his wife was gone, and the nurse that was there said, well, I think your daughter's dead. And she went up the street, and he was going to go up and beat up the minister and take her to the hospital. But when he came in and saw her lifeless body, he fell down on his knees and just started crying. It just realized that she was gone. But then she opened up her eyes and was healed.

And so that really made a dramatic change in the family. And about, well, my mom, as she was praying, said, Lord, if you will give me my little girl back again, I'll give you my life. I will serve you. I will do whatever you want me to do.

And go into the ministry or whatever, you know. And so actually about two months later when I was born, and the doctor came in and said, well, Mrs. Smith, you have a little boy. She prayed and said, Lord, through my son, I will fulfill my vow to you. So from the time I was just a little kid, she started me. There's a picture of you.

You're a cute little guy. So from the time you were a little kid, she was reading the Bible to you. Reading the Bible to me. In fact, she taught me to read when I was four years old.

Amazing. And I would read to her while she was ironing. And so I just, you know, she started me memorizing scriptures. And so I just grew up on the Word of God. In your book, A Memoir of Grace, you write that those biblical characters became my heroes more than heroes. They were my friends and people I knew and among whom I lived. And most of all, I ran with David.

Yes, I love that. So is he your favorite Bible character? Well, as a kid, he sure was. You know, Paul probably now. But then it was David.

And just, I could just picture myself running with David's guys, you know, and just, you know, it was always exciting. And so Charles and Maude took the Smith family to church every week. You guys went Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. So you were in church a lot. But when you were age 14 at church in Ventura, something happened where you encountered the Lord in a different kind of a way. Do you remember that night?

Yes, I surely do. We had been on vacation at Bass Lake, and we returned back to Ventura. And it was a Sunday night, and my folks decided they weren't going to go to church that night, but Dad let me have the keys to the car and said I could go. And so in those days, at 14, I got my driver's license, and so I drove on down to the church. But that night I was sitting with my buddies, and when the pastor gave the invitation for the people to go forward, I turned to my friend and I said, you know, go down with me.

And he said, no, no, you know, and he just didn't want to. And so I just went by myself. But, I mean, it was really just God really got hold of my heart that night. And it was a very exciting experience. I found myself just shaking really with the presence of God in my life. When I went home, my mom and dad were still up, and so I was sharing with them how that night I really made a commitment of my life to Jesus Christ.

So tell me about your call to ministry, Chuck. Well, actually, Greg, I was studying to be a medical doctor. You would have been a great doctor, I think. Well, I would have had a lot of compassion, I'm sure. In fact, that's, I think, what was in my heart. Helping people.

I mean, I just had that, you know, and I figured, you know, that as a successful doctor, I could be a great layman in some church and just, you know, help support and just serve the Lord in that capacity. And I was living in Santa Ana at the time, and the pastor came up one Sunday and said, you know, there's a lady in the church that has paid a sponsorship for someone to go to the youth camp, and why don't you go? And I said, well, you know, I had plans to go to Corona Del Mar and surf, and so. And what year was this?

Oh, my, this was about 1943, 1944, somewhere in there, and. So you had plans to go to the beach, but go to a camp instead. Well, that's summer, you know. Of course. It's Corona Del Mar.

I understand. And I think that was before the jetty was there, so the waves were bigger. No, the jetty was there. It was there way back then.

Yeah, we used to watch for the end of the jetty when the waves were up high and we would all head into the water, you know, to catch those waves. And so I went on up to this summer camp, and the speaker at the camp was a very inspiring fellow, and he made the statement, you have only one life, it will soon be passed. And only what's done for Christ will last. And so that afternoon I was out under a big pine tree and just my Bible and just thinking about one life, it'll soon be passed.

Only what's done for Christ will last. And so I felt the Lord speaking in my heart and saying, look, you can go ahead and become a doctor and you can help people physically and you can help them for a time, but they're all going to die. But if you will devote your life to helping people spiritually, then you're going to help them eternally.

Now, do you want to give your life for something that is temporal or something that is eternal? And I couldn't argue with that, and so that was where I felt the Lord was calling me to go to Bible college. And so I figured when I went home and told my mom that I wasn't going to be a doctor, I was going to go to Bible college instead of USC. And she said, well, son, if that's what you feel the Lord is calling you to do, that's wonderful. I didn't know that she had made this promise to the Lord when my sister was dying that if the Lord would just bring her back to life, she would serve him and so forth. And when I was born, she said, Lord, I'll fulfill it through my son. I didn't know that until she was on her deathbed. And then she told me, she said she didn't want that to influence me. She wanted it to be the Lord. Her heart must have just loved with joy when you told her that.

Imagine. And I thought, she's so cool. You know, I thought she was to keep that all those years. So you went to Life Bible College. That's right. You started out amazingly as a traveling evangelist. I mean, you're known as the expositor extraordinaire, but you were in a traveling evangelist. But then the Lord redirected you, but I want to talk a little bit about your wonderful wife, Kay, and we're going to talk about her more beyond this. But I wanted to talk about the time you met her. It was at a ball game, as I recall.

Yes. And I think your brother may have been playing. My brother was playing. And so Kay comes along, and that wasn't the first time you saw her, was it? Well, I'd seen her the night before down at Echoes of Eden, a black church in Los Angeles.

There were the young people who used to go Sunday nights because they had a radio broadcast and they had good music. And it was just sort of the in thing for the kids to go down there. And I saw her.

You know, she's a good-looking gal. And so the next night, my brother was playing ball, and I went up to watch him play ball. And there was this gal sitting there on the stands and the benches there. And so I knew her, and so I was sitting there talking to her and all. And Kay came up with some of her friends. And she had been in Bible college that night and had come over to the game after the school. And she got out of hanky and started dusting off the bench. And so I scooted away from this gal because I didn't want her to think that I was, you know, with that gal.

Smart guy. And so I said, here, I've dusted off a place for you. And so she sat down, and then she remembered that she had left some books back at the Bible college, had to go get them. And so I said, well, I'll drive you back to get them, you know. So there was this real old funky car there, and so I opened the door and let her get in and sit down. And I walked around to the driver's side, and then I started laughing. I said, this is not my car. I don't know who the car belongs to.

I've never heard that. That's funny. But I had a neat Ford convertible at that time, and it was parked right in front of that car. So it's like a definite upgrade.

Yes, it was definitely an upgrade. So we went back to the college, and then we went to Van De Kamps that night. I remember those places we all went. And so I took her home, and that was the beginning of our relationship. Now, you guys fell in love. You know, it's been said, love at first sight is nothing special.

It's when two people have been looking at each other for years and still love each other, it becomes a miracle. You've been married to Kay for how long? Sixty-three years.

Kay, now here's the interesting thing. Sixty-three years. So how long was your courtship?

Go ahead, say it. Six weeks. Our friends said it'll never last. Oh, they were sure wrong, weren't they? Oh, they've all died.

That's funny. Okay, so Chuck, question. What's the secret to a long and successful marriage? I know it's a big question, but just give us a couple thoughts. Like, you've been married all these years.

Tell us what a secret is. Well, I think it's having Christ at the center of it, you know, because differences are going to rise. I mean, but if you can always come together in Christ, in other words, you know, you don't agree maybe on certain things that you should be doing and so forth, but if you can bring to the Lord and say, Lord, you guide us in this and you give us the decision, you know, and so it's not my mastering over her or her mastering over me, but it's both of us being mastered by Jesus Christ. Amen. Yeah, that's right.

So you've pastored quite a few churches in your life and tell me if I have the order right. Prescott, Arizona. Tucson, Arizona. Corona, California.

Palm Beach, California, Costa Mesa, Los Arranos, now Chino Hills, then back to Corona, and finally Costa Mesa. That is correct. Okay. Now, when you were pastoring in Prescott, Arizona, you almost destroyed the church. Maybe we should explain it. It involved a boulder. What happened?

I remember that. Here, look at this picture, Chuck. Here you are with the boulder years later. So what happened? Now, that boulder pile was, when I went there, was actually so tall you couldn't see the church.

Right. And so I decided, you know, coming up the street you couldn't see the church, so I decided, well, I would move these boulders. And so I got a big pride bar and some hydraulic jacks, and I started rolling the boulders on down to reduce the pile. And so as I was actually jacking up one of these boulders to roll it on down, Kay was there, and she said, honey, that's going to go into the church. I said, no, no, I've got it all figured out.

It's going to stop right at the bottom there, and it'll lock in there. And so she said, honey, you know, it's going to – I said, no, no. And so the Lord taught me very early, listen to your wife, Chuck.

She has a real gift of discernment, you know. So I went ahead and gave it the extra crank, and the boulder went on down and it sort of locked where I told her it would, but then the inertia carried the thing over and it rolled right through the church wall. And that wiped out two pews, rows of seats in the church. And so I had to call a tow company to pull the boulder out of the church and then had to go and get some materials and repair the thing, because that was a Saturday and we had church on Sunday. So it was quite an experience. with God, go to That's K-N-O-W-G-O-D dot org.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-09-20 08:03:43 / 2023-09-20 08:10:11 / 6

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