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

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie
The Truth Network Radio
January 14, 2023 3:00 am

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

A New Beginning / Greg Laurie

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January 14, 2023 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. 


Catch the powerful story of Chuck Smith, Greg Laurie, and more in the upcoming feature film, Jesus Revolution. Get your tickets at 

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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. Welcome back to Truth Network. I'm Greg Laurie. Thanks for listening this Truth Network Podcast. Welcome back to Truth Network.

I'm Greg Laurie. Thanks for listening this Truth Network Podcast. Welcome back to Truth Network. I'm Greg Laurie. Thanks for listening this Truth Network Podcast. Let's listen. Welcome back to Truth Network.

I'm Greg Laurie. Thanks for listening this Truth Network Podcast. Let's go to our website, Welcome back to Truth Network. Let's go to our website, Welcome back to Truth Network. Let's go to our website, Welcome back to Truth Network. Let's go to our website, Welcome back to Truth Network.

Let's go to our website, 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 would 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 loved 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 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, okay, 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. 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 past 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 will soon be past, 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 love with joy when you told her that. 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 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 it more beyond this. But I wanted to talk about the time you met her. It was at a ballgame, 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 hanking 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 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. 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.

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 Vandy camps that night.

I remember one of 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. 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? 63 years.

Kay, now here's the interesting thing. 63 years. So how long was your courtship?

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

That's funny. Okay, so Chuck, question. What's the secret to a long and successful marriage? I mean, I know it's a big question. But just give us a couple thoughts. 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. Because differences are going to rise. But if you can always come together in Christ. In other words, 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, now, Lord, you guide us in this.

And you give us the decision. 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.

Right. Huntington Beach. California. Costa Mesa. Los Serranos. 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 I would move these boulders. And so I got a big pry 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 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. But 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. Hey everybody, Greg Laurie here, thanks for listening and we'll see you next time.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-14 04:25:47 / 2023-01-14 04:32:47 / 7

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