The Shepherd of Hope blog is here to serve you, to help you know Jesus better and to find hope in Him. This blog relies on the Spirit of God using the word of God to build people of God. All material has been prayerfully submitted for your encouragement and spiritual edification. Your questions and comments are welcome.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Chuck Smith - A Memoir of Grace

Pastor Chuck Smith was used by God to reach a lost generation of hippies. The Lord used him to start a contemporary revival that has blossomed and continues to spread throughout the world today. Below are some timeless quotes of what Pastor Chuck refers to in his biography as "important lessons the Lord has drilled into me." These truths are born from a life used mightily by God and worth a prayerful look and Spirit-enabled application to our lives.

Here are the lessons to glean from the life of this man of God used mightily by the Lord. If we take them in, pray for God's guidance, and follow in the Spirit, God may just use these lessons to spark another of His generation saving revivals. Pray it through! God Your will be done!

• Do not despise ‘the day of small things’ (Zechariah 4:10). Our own hearts are capable of concocting some grandiose visions of how we can serve God or how He should use us. But in His school, God begins with the alphabet. He patiently lays a foundation in our lives before raising the walls and towers. I have found that it is important to be willing to do no more than plant seeds, even if we will not live to see the harvest.” (p, 202)

• ‘It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth’ (Lamentations 3:27). One of the worst things that can happen to a young minister is to experience early success. It is all too easy for us to believe that, ‘By the strength of my hand I have done it’ (Isaiah 10:13). Until we have sat for a while in failure and come to the end of ourselves, we will neither know nor credit God’s grace for whatever good we may do. Nor will we be able to minister grace to others in their time of need and failure. . . . God rarely wastes His time trying to explain to us what He is doing and what it means. . . . Preoccupation with the troubles of the moment is what makes our hearts and minds vulnerable to panic and anxiety. We need to back away and get the eternal perspective from which it is more clear that ‘our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory’ (2 Corinthians 4:17).” (p. 202-203)

• Whatever you do, ‘grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ’ (2 Peter 3:18). I cannot overemphasize the important of the role that grace plays in every aspect of our lives. When it becomes obvious that I have not made as much progress in holiness as God desires, grace fills the distance between where I am and where I should be, and draws me forward. Grace makes what is impossible for me by my own strength, not only possible but also much easier than I could have imagined.” (p. 203)

• “Remember the two greatest commandments: “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, with all they mind, and wit all thy strength’ and ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself’ (Mark 12:30-31). . . . love the outsider, the sinner, and the enemy. . . . (1 John 3:18).” (p. 204).

• Prepare yourself – as much as it is humanly possible – to obey Jesus to do something even if it is ridiculous like ‘Stretch forth thine hand’ when your hand is paralyzed (Mark 3:1-5). Even when you have ‘toiled all night’ fishing and caught nothing – let down the net if Jesus tells you to do so (Luke 5:4-7). We sometimes balk at Jesus’ strange commands thinking, But if nothing happens I will look so stupid. Here is the heart of the matter: It is not about you. It is about the work of Jesus and the glory of God. His thoughts are always higher than ours and His work is always greater than what we ask or think. I may not always get it right the first time, but I have become more consistent in just doing what He says when He tells me, ‘Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it’ (Psalm 81:10).” (p. 204).

• Exercise your best wisdom and always be cautious when dealing with money. I cannot stress strongly enough the importance of handling your finances with integrity. . . . (1 Timothy 6:9) . . . . (Proverbs 27:23-27) . . . . When a moneymaking opportunity looks too good to be true, it is.” (p. 205).

• Beware the praise of the crowd (Luke 6:26). . . . When we put our effort into pleasing people, it disables our service to Christ (Galatians 1:10).” (p. 205)
• “I would especially direct this lesson to pastors: ‘Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine’ (2 Timothy 4:2). In other words, simply teach the word simply. The greatest service you can provide to the people in your care is to make the Bible accessible to them. Give them the ‘sincere milk of the Word’ in a way that is easily digested. . . . (1 Peter 2:2; Hebrews 5:12-14). The best Bible teaching is not that which dazzles people with the profound intellect of their teacher, but that which puts its truth squarely in their hands.” (p. 206).

• “For many years I have enjoyed a life of extraordinary blessing and I am convinced that is God’s will for every Christian. But before getting to that place in life, I learned many difficult lessons – and I am still learning – for God never allows us to fully make ourselves at home in this world.” (p. 206).

• “In the preparation, discouragements and defeats are necessary. Had I been successful early on, I would have taken credit for all that God did. I would not have been able to handle the recognition that God gave me but would have taken credit for the success. God wants to receive the glory for the work He does, so He first prepares the person to be the instrument He desires to use. That preparation includes a lot of failure in order to learn the difference between God’s work and your own. God leads you through failure so that when He works you will know for certain you are not responsible for the success. Then God alone receives the credit. God wants to work, bout the glory need to go to God.” (p. 206-207)

• “I have not been able to tell my story apart from God.” (p. 207).

• “I am no different in God’s sight from anyone else. The blessings He’s given me are available to all, and I am convinced that any person can live a life as full and as joyous as mine has been.” (p. 207)

• “Just keep your eyes on the Lord and follow Him as closely as possible. Be patient, for in His time when He finally connects all the dots, you will realize that truly all things work together for good. Even as Paul encouraged us in Galatians 6:9, ‘Let us not be weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.’ May the Lord grant you the grace and patience to wait on Him until His full purpose is completed I and through your life, and you have the joy of hearing Him say, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’” (p. 207).

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