|David Sloane Central Park Manhattan New York|
It was a sad day and yet a wonderful day for the 'spiritual children' of Costa Mesa's Pastor Chuck Smith yesterday evening. Everyone had gathered together to pay tribute to the man of God. Some experienced concert goers to the Honda venue remarked that "The place was completely packed." Coming from them that means something.
Jackie Alnor has reported on her Facebook that John Higgins, a staunch traditionalist, has left the Calvary Chapel movement. Here is what he has said:
“We feel that the original calling and vision for Calvary Chapel in 1966 was from the LORD. Therefore, we at Tri City have withdrawn from the present day hype, by notifying the CCA and Chuck Smith personally that we are no longer associated with the CCA or Costa Mesa. I have spoken of this at conferences with interesting results. We speak of being a independent fellowship of believers.This took place right after the June pastors conf in Marietta when Greg and Bob Coy presented their plan for integrating with the apostasies of today.
Our church reps walked out and never returned. As a result, we have lost fellowship with many of the “Calvary’s” in our area as they have embraced these false teachers in hope of growth and (in my opinion) the hope of monetary gain.
We at Tri City go back to 1966 when we were called into the battle field. And not wanting to change our name, (we say they should), are looking to incorporate the idea of the date 1966 in our logo.
However, that is yet to be completed. Our fellowship know where we stand and we are strong in the strength of our Lord.
I hope this gives you and your associates a clear understanding of our position.
We are not fighting against CCCM and its ways but we are fighting for the Truth of God’s Word.
Some say John is not what he appears to be.
As each speaker came up to the podium I could see the tole that age has taken upon their faces over the long years. Greg Laurie mentioned that when it was his turn to speak. The zealousness of youth had long past. I had seen these same men of God from the days of my youth, during the Jesus People Movement. Each man was obviously touched with emotion at the loss of 'Papa Chuck."
No one seemed to want to appear as anything more then what they are. What I mean is no one was in that mode where they wanted to show anything to anyone of themselves, they were each humble and just one of us.
Now it was different for some of the videos that were shown on the big screens, there was a bit of posturing to be observed in some of the vignettes.
Oden Fong was working hard at holding back his emotions as he got up to play his set for the congregation. I know that Oden has a great love and respect for Chuck Smith. He worked under him for over ten years in administration. Every time I had spoken with Oden he always spoke with a tone of admiration when the conversation drifted in Chucks direction.
Love song were still good after all these years. A few of the members looked worn out but could still stand and deliver.
Mike Macintosh was not himself. He winged it on his own and it showed. Usually Mike goes with the Holy Spirit's direction and it always turns out well...it did't go as well as it could have from my perspective.
Tom Stipe was the same Tom that we all saw at the Saturday Night Maranatha Concerts at Calvary during the 70's. Only now he was more mature and not as comedic as he used to be. Gone was the big curly hair that i remembered. He kind of talked to the door to address the window in a sense when he said that it was "Fun" back in the day. People used to show up early because it was fun to go to church.
We can get somber and stiff in our Christianity if we are not careful.
Brian Broderson has some hugh shoes to fill; to his credit he didn't try. He seemed a bit nervous and fumbled when he introduced one of the speakers. Not easy to read your notes and look up and make that all important eye contact with your listeners. I don't know if there was any tension up on the platform between he and the others, but I do know that it would not be easy to be one of the speakers among such polished pastors that were present.
|Calvary Chapel on Church Street in Costa Mesa CA|
I first arrived in Costa Mesa in 1965, as did Chuck Smith. And as fate would have it, I lived directly across the
|Pastor Chuck Smith|
Next time that I saw Chuck was in 1967 in an old converted school on Sun flower Street. Only this time I not only saw his great smile, I heard him speak. The first words I heard from him were, "Kids, Jesus Christ loves you." Now this got my attention. Jesus Christ was that dead guy up in front of the Catholic alter that I saw on Sundays. I never heard anyone say those words because back in those days the mass was all in Latin so no one really learned anything at the Catholic mass.
Let me explain. Jesus Christ was only some dead guy statue at the catholic church for me until I heard Chuck Smith put flesh and blood on Him. Chuck taught me that Christ was very much alive and that He loved me deeply.
When I asked Christ into my life it was very real for me. As if a fog had cleared and I could now see more clearly. I was not alone, it was happening for a lot of other people around me.
During the winter of 1967 Kay had asked Chuck to drive her to the Huntington beach pier area to observe the hippies there. As she watched the aimless lonely looking young people, dressed weird and wandering around, her calling as an intercessor kicked in big time. Along with her natural affection as a mother with an instinct to care for children, Kay was emotionally geared to want comfort and safety for these lost children. Compassion for these lost souls drove her to tears, as she said, "Chuck, we've got to do something about this." The calling of intercessor is like that, it drives you with compassion for those targeted for intercessory prayer by Holy Spirit. You can't stop until your task assignment has completed.
|Hippie Evangelist Lonnie Frisbee|
Men are usually project oriented, and Chuck being a man started the project that would last him a lifetime.
The Lord stepped in and delivered Lonnie Frisbee. A young man who had grown up in Costa Mesa that the Lord had contacted out in a canyon in Palm Springs.
The combination of Chuck's stability and maturity in Biblical knowledge along with Lonnie's sensitivity to the Holy spirit and his anointing as an evangelist were catalytic. Lonnie knew how to address his generation and Chuck knew how to build a firm foundation under them with the Word of God.
Christ said He would not leave us abandoned or alone as an orphan without parents or direction, but that He would send us a Comforter. The Greek word for "Comforter" is parakletos. The word parakletos is derived from two words that mean, "to go along side of to help." It also means, "one who pleads the case for another as an intercessor. As the Comforter, the Spirit is always with us, we are never alone. He stands alongside of you at all times to help aid you, especially in times of weakness.
Thus Calvary Chapel grew exponentially as more and more people were added daily. All taking place with out cell phones, pagers, the internet, only word of mouth and evangelicalism by the kids themselves. The Holy Spirit was on the move!
One can only imagine what it would have been like if Facebook and Twitter were involved, but they were way in the future.
Yes Kay Smith and her calling of intercessor were the biology behind what actually happened. The unction from heaven imparted the compassion in her mother's heart that fueled her prayers of intercession that bore fruit that we all got to see yesterday. Whole generations were represented at Honda center, all because of one intercessor performing in her calling.
But we all know that it was Almighty God that got up off His throne and came down to earth and poured out of His Spirit into Kay Smith's heart.
Chuck who was janitor at the Market Basket that Judy Meston's dad managed on 17th street in Costa Mesa had no idea how big his call to the ministry was going to be. Back in those days people could smoke in the store and one of Chuck's biggest beefs was that the floor of the supermarket was not an ash tray.
He was the one who had to clean up after the smokers and he didn't like it one bit. This was the same supermarket that Lonnie Frisbee "dumpster~dived" in the back dumpsters for food to feed him and his wife. A lot of hippies discovered that they could eat still good expired-date food for free from the dumpsters behind super markets. Lonnie had to continue to dumpster dive for food even though the church was growing fast, Chuck quit sweeping floors at the supermarket. Lonnie's first wife, Connie, is still miffed about that to this day.
On any given day one could see Chuck picking up cigarette buttes on the Calvary Chapel property. Young guys like Greg Laurie, took to doing the same because it was what Chuck was modeling by example. They wanted to please Chuck.
Must have worked...Greg is where he wanted to be, where he belongs in the Lord. I think that even though Brian B is at the helm of Calvary Chapel now, it is Greg that people will be drawn to. Not that Brian cares about such things. It is just my observation. Greg's now the "Moses" of the movement as far as I can discern. I honestly expect to see the anointing upon Greg to increase in these last days.
I think it is going to astound him when he realizes it himself. Greg is not the type of man to seek such things for his own sake. I knew him when we were young men, he is sincere, what you see is an evangelist~teacher.
Greg has suffered greatly.
Don't get me wrong, Brian is the perfect choice for the work of the ministry. Things will go according to plan for the "extension of presence" for Pastor Chuck. Just like J Vernon Magee and his "Bible Bus" and Adrian Rogers. The entire extended Smith clan will be cared for right down to the 33 great grand children.
This is a family that is loved by a congregation that prospered in their walks with God because of pastor Chuck Smiths tireless shepherding. They will all continue the work of the ministry that Chuck loved so much.
As for those of us that are nameless faceless ones who were there from the beginning, we will continue to seek after that which once was. And hopefully we will find it!
A place where the presence of Jesus Christ is manifested and the people of God love one another unconditionally.