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Pastor to Pastor (ft. Dr. John Check)

Clearview Today / Abidan Shah
The Truth Network Radio
March 28, 2023 9:00 am

Pastor to Pastor (ft. Dr. John Check)

Clearview Today / Abidan Shah

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March 28, 2023 9:00 am

In this show, Dr. Shah talks with Dr. Check about the role of a pastor. We get a unique insight into their heart, struggles, and goals.

If you like this content and want to support the show you can visit us at Don't forget to rate and review our show! To learn more about us, visit us at If you have any questions or would like to contact us, email us at or text us at 252-582-5028. See you tomorrow on Clearview Today!

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30 Days to a New Beginning:


Hey, everybody. Today is Tuesday, March the 28th. I'm Ryan Hill.

I'm John Galantis. You're listening to Clearview Today with Dr. Abbadon Shah, the daily show that engages mind and heart for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You can find us online at If you have any questions for Dr. Shah or suggestions for future episodes, send us a text at 252-582-5028, or you can email us at contact at

That's right. You can help us keep this conversation going by supporting the podcast, sharing it online, leaving us a good five-star review on iTunes, Spotify. We're going to leave a link in the description of this podcast, so you can do just that. But before we do anything else, I think, and I know in my heart and I'm convinced, that it's time for the verse of the day. Speaking of a five-star review, let's give a five-star review to the Word of God. Ooh, there we go.

Ten out of ten, would recommend. All right, so the verse of the day today comes from Psalm 31, verse one. In you, O Lord, I put my trust.

Let me never be ashamed. Deliver me in your righteousness. Yeah, a lot of clutter in our lives, a lot of things that we put our trust in. But I think you take all that stuff away, you start to see that your real hope is only in God. When I push aside all of the awards and the accolades and the honors and the successes and the air quotes that I see in life, the basis of my significance is really nothing if I don't have God.

Well, you can almost hear the Psalmist, you can almost hear his past when he's writing this. In you, O Lord, I put my trust. Let me never be ashamed, because I've put my trust in other things before, and I have been ashamed.

And I haven't been delivered. So I'm placing my trust in you, God, because that's where my trust should have been in the first place. Right.

And we talk about that. And I know Shah said that before. He is a PhD, he is a scholar, but scholars are wrong sometimes. Scholars sometimes don't get it right.

Or even not even scholars, just experts in their field. We've been seeing that, well, you got to listen to the experts, leave it to the scientists, leave it to the doctors. They can be wrong. They're prone to error. God is not prone to error. So that's why it says, it's you, O Lord, I put my trust.

Because there's only one true source of hope that's trustworthy. That's right. We've got an amazing episode planned for you guys today. We've got a very special guest this morning.

Dr. Jon Chek is with us. He's a good friend. We've known him for several years. He and Dr. Shah have known each other a lot longer than that. So we're going to hear about their relationship, how they met, and how they continue to partner together today. Very cool.

You have a question for us from a user? I'm sorry. I'm sorry. How they continue to partner with us today. And we're going to hear how... Let me take it from the top.

Sorry about that. We've got a great episode lined up for you guys today. A very special guest with us this morning. Dr. Jon Chek is here with us in the studio. He and Dr. Shah have been friends for a number of years. A good friend of ours as well.

And we're going to hear today about their relationship, how they met, and how they continue to partner together. That's right. But before we get into that, we do have a question that was sent in by Kathy M. What did you get for your birthday last year? Oh, gosh. I don't even know if I could answer that.

Yeah. Kathy, I didn't get nothing. I didn't get squat. I turned 30. Now I'm turning 31. Oh, wait, wait. This was my birthday.

You're already 31. But still last year. I got some good stuff this year. I wonder what Dr. Shah got for his birthday. I got him something. I don't remember what I got. I got him.

I mean, Ellie got him something. Put both of our names on the card. We'll find out in just a minute.

We're going to get Dr. Shah and Dr. Chek and bring them into the studio. But if you have any questions or suggestions for new topics, send us a text at 252-582-5028 or visit us online at We'll be back after this. Hey, everyone. My name is Ellie.

And I'm David. We want to take a minute and let you know how we can actually serve you as you're listening to Clear View today. The Bible paints an extraordinary picture of who we are as a church body. The mission of Clear View Church is to lead all people into a life-changing, ever-growing relationship with Jesus Christ. A huge part of leading people is praying for them. A big reason that Christians have unanswered prayers in their life is because they're not praying.

You know, 1 John 5 15 says, and if we know that he hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of him. If you're listening to the Clear View Today Show, we want to know how we can pray for you as well. There's a number of ways that you can get in touch with us at Clear View and share your prayer requests. But the best way is by texting us at 252-582-5028. You can also send us an email at prayer at

Or you can download the Clear View app on iTunes or Google Play. You know, on that app, there's a dedicated prayer wall that helps us to get to know what's going on in your life, how we can pray for you, and how we can take any necessary steps to get you moving in the right direction. Thanks for listening. Now let's get back to the show. Welcome back to Clear View Today with Dr. Abbadan Shah, the daily show that engages mind and heart for the gospel of Jesus Christ. You can visit us online at

If you have any questions or suggestions for future episodes, send us a text to 252-582-5028. Dr. Shah, welcome to the studio today. Exciting day on the podcast.

Yes, it is. It's exciting because you guys are my friends, of course. Ryan, John, David, Nicholas. Nicholas is more than just a friend. But anyways, I have a very good friend here today. A friend in ministry, a friend who's been a blessing to me. A friend in need is a friend indeed. I think that was supposed to be like puffs tissues. I'm always in need.

Yeah, maybe listen to take that back. I was trying to say a friend indeed. Okay, is a friend in indeed. Yeah, I guess I messed up. I was thinking about the puffs tissue thing. The idea behind it was good, but the delivery was more.

We'll take it again. I guess that's part of the Department of Redundancy Department. That's funny. Well, if you guys are new to the show, we want to let you know who's talking to you today. Dr. Abbadan Shah is a PhD in New Testament Textual Criticism, professor of Carolina University, author, full-time pastor, and the host of today's show.

You can find all his work on his website. That's That's right. Like you've heard already, and those of you who are watching the video podcast you've seen already, we have a very special guest with us today. Dr. Shah, do you want to introduce our special guest today?

Yes. The special guest is Dr. John Chek. He's been a friend for quite some time. He was a pastor in our local community for a while, and then we sort of became friends while he was here towards the tail end of that process. Since then, he's come preach for me.

I've gone to preach for him, and he's had me on his show. There was a show, and then there's a show, right? This is the second show. Am I right? Indeed. Yeah. Indeed. So the first one was just John Chek Live, right? Well, it's Check It Out was the name all along. Okay. It was always Check It Out. That's right. And now it's Check It Out. Still, almost five years.

Well, start in my fifth year. So did the show take a hiatus, or was it just like, we're going to reinvent the show with the same name? No, it was always the same name. I chose the name Check It Out really off the cuff, just kind of playing with it, and it was stupid enough that people would remember it.

I love a good word book. And you're a pastor in the Rocky Mountain-Nash County community right now, but you pastored at the places as well. Yeah. As a Methodist minister, I moved around at the whim of our system, so to speak, and I spent six years at my first appointment, which was fun, and then eight years my next one, and then I had a couple twos in a row and a four and then another two. Frankly, I don't mean to sound less than humble on this, but frankly, I was tasked as a guy who can fix broken churches, and there are plenty of them out there, so I was sent around. You're the one who goes and plows the field or something of that sort.

Yeah. I went to one church, had no young adults, and we put a plan together and worked out incredibly well. We ended up with 47 young adults in one Sunday school class, and then I was sent to another church, had all kinds of nuanced issues, and then I was sent to a church that had a $1.2 million embezzlement. I was tasked with cleaning that up, and it was a great experience in spite of how hard it was. Very difficult. We had to put a $32,000 a month mortgage payment into the 08 economy, if you can remember, back in the 2008 years.

Oh, yes, 2008. Everything crashed. And we did it without laying anybody off, and we got very creative with the bank, and they were very helpful, and I had a lot of people helping. I'm an idea guy, but fulfilling those ideas is not always my niche, but we ended up doing well. We actually grew. I figured we'd lose 100 families through the embezzlement, the court case and all that stuff. It's horrible for that to go through a church. We actually grew by 5%, which was amazing.

In the last six months I was there, we raised $880,000 to finish a building that had not been completed, and it was all cash we raised so we could pay as we go. Well, what I've noticed about you is that of course you love the Lord, and your theology is so close to the way I believe, but you care about the church. It's not just academia or just sitting in an ivory tower somewhere, but you actually care about people, and you want to see their lives changed, come to know Christ. Well, one of the things I was unaware of until it was kind of thrown in my face, in a positive way of putting my face, was my giftedness in evangelism. I just thought everybody talked about Jesus and the need to be saved, but I applied to a mission agency right out of college and had all kinds of resumes or references sent in. I think they had a total of 75 references by the time they multiplied them out, and 95% of those said that I'm very evangelistic.

I had no idea. I was like, wow, okay, I guess I can hear that. Then in one of my churches, we actually had 75, number 75 again, 75 professions of faith in one year. Wow, that's pretty amazing. It was incredible, yeah. I had a great experience. I was in a military community, had a lot of soldiers being Marines, being deployed. Transitional community, yeah. We took care of the spouses that were at home and so forth.

Very gratifying. That was also the church that had the embezzlement. We've talked about this on the show plenty of times, but Dr. Shah, your background is in broadcast journalism. You sort of married those two loves of yours, which is the text of the Bible and then broadcast and put them together. That's, over the years, manifested itself in lots of different ways, and I think culminating in this daily show where we're taking this first love, which is, like you said, Jesus Christ, and we're combining with that second love, which is making shows and producing content. How did that manifest itself for you? How did you take those two loves, like creating content and spreading the word of Jesus?

How did that first materialize for you? What was very formative to me in seminary, at Dallas Seminary, was Howard Hendricks. He's with the Lord now, of course, but he made a statement in class repeatedly that said it's a sin to bore people with the word of God. I felt like that was a cue for me because in the years I've been pastoring, I've never been accused of having boring sermons.

I think that's important. You want to connect the dots with folks. You want to help them understand the gospel, but you have to do it in a way that engages them. Sometimes, I think, another formative thing was one of the Dallas Seminary guys went up to preach at a big event, and Vance Hafner was the emcee of the event. There were like 800 pastors in this event. After the sermon, Vance Hafner put this guy in his place.

He said, God has called us to feed sheep, and buddy, you were trying to feed giraffes today. I thought, and honestly, I think that most of our congregants here on about the sixth grade level, and not to minimize their academic ability or whatever, but when I do a children's talk, I see the parents are very engaged. That's for me. Good point.

He's like, man, this dude's making a lot of sense. But you can also speak to children in a way that the parents can hear it too. That's right. That's right.

That's right. Did you feel that, Dr. Schell, when you first started preaching, that you knew, because I know you were telling me a story once where you would record all your messages to tape. Did you know at that point, like, this is going to manifest itself someday?

Or was it like, maybe I'll hold on to it and see what kind of what happens? I didn't know about the internet going to go to the level it did, or social media. I know there was no Facebook or Twitter or Instagram when I started in 1998. Actually, it started earlier, just kind of preaching here and there, whoever needed me to come do a revival meeting or just a substitute preaching. But then I knew. I knew that my calling was not just to preach to people within those four walls, but to take the message outside. And I got that from my own father, because he was like that.

He was always trying to take the message out. For him, it was going places. So he would go into the hills. He would go to tribes. And in India, people don't think they're tribes.

So there are plenty of tribes up in the hills and mountains, and no transportation, no roads, nothing. They had to get on little canoes and go and have pictures of that. So I watched him taking the message out. And in our church, our church was probably the most advanced church, I'm talking about in India, in our community, because we had sound system back in the 70s, in the 80s. I mean, I remember getting up early in the morning. Yeah, you were the one running that, weren't you?

Yes, my brother did for a while. And then when he left, it kind of fell on me, and my grandmother would wake me up at six o'clock Sunday morning. I didn't want to get up at six o'clock Sunday morning. But she would wake me up and say, I'll make you some coffee or tea.

I'll make you some breakfast if you go and set up dad's system. That's my mom's mom. Well, another kind of funny thing that was said to me by one of our bishops, I had a bishop come preach for me at one of my churches. And the church is actually listed on the National Historic Registry. It's a very, very beautiful building. He said, it's a shame that those stained glass windows aren't pointed outside.

That's right. And I think that's something to be said, too, for a vision of, you know, one of the things I mentioned this before, and it sounds insulting to some, I don't mean it to be at all. But I was one of the churches I served for eight years. We went from about 90 people that didn't like each other very much when I got there.

We were averaging 350 or so when I left. But what I grieve when I left, you'll get this, is the people I left in the community that I spent most of my time with. I had a biking club. We had 40 or so bicyclists that would meet, you know, three or four times a week and ride in the evenings or Saturdays, whatever. And I developed relationships with those guys.

They actually referred to me as Padre. And one particular story is that I was out riding bikes one day and a guy blew a tire. And the tire, he blew a hole in the tire and didn't know it. With these high pressure tires, if you blow a hole and you put a new tube in it, as soon as you pump it up, it goes flat because the tube will pop through that hole. So I gave, you know, you fix that by putting a dollar bill inside the tire itself, and it keeps the tube from pressing through the hole.

You fold it up and stick it in there. I had a five, and I was the only guy out there that had any cash on him. So I gave him a $5 bill and he put it in his tire and he continued his ride. And he came to me the next week and wanted to give me $5. I said, no, no, no, you've got to put that in the offering plate, my brother. And he came to church and began coming to church and made a profession of faith. And so I don't mean to sound like I'm any better than anybody else in any of this, but I've always thought that God doesn't give me experiences.

He loans them to me to be used for the good of the kingdom of God. And somebody else can hear the gospel. Yeah. My experiences are just avenues of communication and avenues of connection with other people. That's right.

That's right. I love that heart for other people. What is, thinking back over the years that you've been pastoring, Dr. Shaw and you, Dr. Check, what is something that surprised you about ministry that maybe going in you weren't expecting or maybe took a different turn than you had charted out in your mind?

Well, I can, I mean, let me tell you this flat out. I did not realize how codependent I was until about three years in the ministry. And I realized I was Pavlov's dog.

Really? I would go out and visit people and they would ring the bell and I'd come back and visit them again. They rang the bell by not showing up for church.

I had a handful of people in this little church I was serving that I had to see them once a month that they quit coming to church. They were training me. When I had that aha moment, I realized, dang, I'm just as codependent as anybody else in this world. And so I had to deal with my own codependency. And once I did that, things took a better turn for me. The second thing that happened was, and I read this in Christianity Today magazine. I had to turn my green card in before I could be an effective pastor.

In our system, people are always looking for the next appointment. And I had to make sure that I was not going to be that person. And I wanted to be the faithful preacher, servant, minister, and assuming I'd be there the rest of my life. And even though it didn't turn out that way. Right. But that's the way you went out looking for, to serve that community.

I would agree the same sort of the same thing. Learning about people, learning about the power of God's Word. There's so many things.

What made it easier for me, I would say, not easy, but easier for both me and Nicole, or Nicole and I, is the fact that we grew up in pastors' homes. So we saw a lot of things that we encounter today. And I often go back to how did dad handle that? Did he handle that perfectly every time?

Probably not. But I saw a lot of wonderful principles that helped me through the years. And I would say just the opposite for me. I had the privilege of not growing up in a pastor's home. In fact, I didn't go to church much at all. My first bad experience in church was I was a kid in the children's choir. And the choir director announced I was going to sing a solo the following Sunday. Oh boy. And I missed church for the next six years.

I was terrorized by that. And so I hit and missed church growing up. Then when I gave my life to Christ in 1980 or 1972 now, the fact of the matter is I didn't have the baggage of having preconceived ideas of what church should look like and what church should be. Yeah, it has its pros and cons. From my standpoint, it's also been a challenge because I don't understand what those sacred cows are out there that I run into. I go, oh, I didn't realize it. And I have a habit of trying to unravel sacred cows. Let me give you an example of one. They make great burgers, though.

Oh yeah, you bet. We have chancel rails in all of our Methodist churches and so forth. My understanding is that the chancel rail came from the middle-aged church where the priest came in the village to preach and they paid him with livestock, chickens, and hams. And they put a little picket fence up to keep the animals from running up there and grabbing the ham off the altar. And now the joke is now we go there to pray.

I'm just like, well, that's crazy. That's too funny. Yeah, I take on sacred cows and sometimes I end up taking a sacred hit for that, a lesson sacred hit for that.

Some of those sacred cows you talk about in your book. A Methodist minister finally tells the truth. Is that right? Well, I took the word finally out. Oh, you took it out? Okay.

Yeah, I thought that was a little harsh for my... Okay. And the book has done well on Amazon. It's sold over 2,000 copies, which for a self-published book, you don't expect that. And I've got another book in my head.

I just haven't figured out when I'm going to write it. But yeah, the sacred cow thing has just been a big deal because I think what happens often in church, and this is just my opinion and I've got, as you know, I've got an opinion about everything. One or two of them might be right, is that things we brag about in church are barriers to the unchurched often. We have this ongoing Sunday school class been in place 25 years.

Well, nobody wants to go to that and so forth. Other things we brag about often become barriers to the church and to the people we're trying to read. That's right. That's right. And from my standpoint, I have to be cognizant of the fact that a lot of church folks don't see the church the way I do.

And I just want them to see the church the right way. That's right. That's right. And that's with, you know, the focus of the church needs to be, as I would say, evangelism, discipleship, missions, outreach, and fellowship, those five things. And we try to put those five things in place in every event we do. Now you don't have to equal a balance, you know, not 20% of everyone, but you want to touch on all those things. That's right.

That's right. That's basically what we do here, although we call it different, but discipleship and seeing people grow in the Word, mature in their knowledge of Jesus Christ. Worship. Worship is very important for us because that helps our minds and our hearts to be ready to receive what God has for us and also make things right. I mean, worship is more than just preparation for the sermon.

It's also getting your heart right. And then, of course, evangelism is a top priority, reaching the lost. What I've said many, many times about worship and preaching is that, you know, the first sermon goes to me. You know, I have a hard time preaching any area that I'm not faithful in. I just don't...the hypocrisy of that, I just have to deal with my own hypocrisy first.

Right. If the message doesn't touch me, then, you know, how am I expecting it to touch somebody else's life? Well, another surprise back to that was that to see people respond to a sermon that I thought really stunk. Here's a really bad sermon and you get a letter in the mail from somebody who says, man, I was there that Sunday and, you know, I was touched by God and I'm going, really? If there are too many of those, then you begin to wonder. It's like, I'm preaching stinky messages.

Are they just trying to lie to me? It is funny, though, how perception changes because I've definitely had...there's been Saturday nights where Dr. Shaw come down and be like, what did you guys think of that? Like, I was like, that was one of the top 10 I've ever heard.

He was like, are you sure? So it is kind of funny how, like, you can be preaching and be like, yeah, this is not impacting people, but there's people out there, like, I've definitely had like, wow, that was good. I had to learn to take, not to take responsibility for the result, but to be faithful in the sermon.

That's a great point. What, we don't have a whole lot of time left, but what advice... Wish we could go for another whole poem. I know, me too. Too much fun to cut it off now.

Have to have you back on another episode. What advice, Dr. Shaw and then Dr. Chuck, would you give somebody who is considering going into ministry vocationally? Well, I'll go back to Spurgeon and my father-in-law who said, you know, if you can do something else and be happy, go do it. That's precisely what I was going to say.

Almost word for word. You know, because ministry is not just a place to hide and just coast. It's tough. There's a lot of joys as well.

Would you agree with that? A lot of joys. A lot of joys. And I would say too, that the fact that you, if you have a sense of calling, and that calling can get you through all kinds of stuff. You know, when you're in the foxhole and things are hard, you have that calling to go back to and say, well, you know, God, I realize you called me into this.

I didn't realize this is part of the package, but I can survive and I'll be okay in it. Again, I sound like Pollyanna when I say this. I've had no bad experiences in ministry, only experiences. And those experiences can shape you to make you better or you can become bitter. It's your choice.

It's a perspective. You know, you're a servant of the Lord. You're an under shepherd. So when things happen, of course, they're not fun.

When people act mean or hateful or conniving, it's not a fun experience. I can tell you that. But once you realize, okay, this is his work, this is his flock, then I am under shepherd.

They're really going after him and his grace is sufficient. He's going to get me through this. And whatever we learn from this experience is going to change someone's life.

I may not know it. I may not be there to see that happen, but that's okay. Amen. Indeed.

That's amazing. What great advice. I hope you guys are listening out there.

I hope you wrote that down. I know there's some people listening who have been thinking about ministry and I know that, you know, that was helpful for you. If you guys enjoyed today's episode or you have questions or suggestions for future episodes, send us a text to 252-582-5028. You can visit us online at

And if you have a, you can partner with us financially on that website. There's a button there to donate. Every gift that you give goes not only to building up this radio show, but countless other ministries for the kingdom of God. Dr. Chek, we appreciate you so much being on the show today.

It was wonderful. Like you said, I wish we could go for another hour. We need to do that. We need to bring you back here and do like a whole hour long thing. Yeah, that'd be fun. Just let me know where and when. Okay.

We certainly can. Hey, listen, before we go, I do have, we had a question come in from Kathy M this morning. It's directed at Dr. Chek, but Dr. Chek, you're free to answer as well. What did you get for your birthday last year? Oh wow. So my girls, Rebecca and Abigail, they got me, I think gift cards to someplace. I don't remember. It was, it was, it was, it was, they were being very nice to me. And of course, Nicole and I went out to eat.

She took me out to eat and the boys, Nicholas and Thomas both gave me some amazing gifts. Nicholas gave me this little wooden box thing that, that I can put things in. It was crafted by somebody. I don't even know who crafted that Nicholas, but, um, do you remember that Nicholas? Yeah.

Who crafted that Nicholas? You did? Oh, somebody did. Okay. So it was, it was great. I was a great birthday. Nice.

Wow. Dr. Chek, how about you? I probably got a hard time. More than I deserve.

You know, I really don't remember. Um, I got a big birthday coming up in September though. Okay.

Changing of another decade. You want to drop so we can drop some hints in here. If you want to, if you want anything. A BMW. Okay. 2023 check my bank account.

I don't know if like Q5, I guess it's called M5. Let me just look up the price. Oh, wow. I don't like that.

That's a lot of numbers. Can we give them a little model? I can afford a Hot Wheels. How about that? You know, uh, years ago, my daughter, uh, is a Duke fan. Of course. I mentioned that to you before, but she, uh, we were playing basketball in the side yard and I threw up a shot and I said, if I switch the shot, we'll go to the men's ACC tournament. And lo and behold, I was trying to miss it. And I probably, I switched it.

Yeah, of course. We get back and she's in this on the side of the baseline, 25 feet away. What will you give me if I switched this and I said, how about a new Duke blue Mustang? And soon as I shot it, oh my goodness.

It went in right before she graduated from high school. I drove up in a Duke blue Mustang and gave it to her all because I said I would. That's right. That's I love it. We love you guys. We'll see you tomorrow on Clearview today.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-31 19:06:03 / 2023-03-31 19:19:09 / 13

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