Hey, Calvary Fremont –
Last week I was at Mount Rushmore in South Dakota and stared up at the mammoth heads of Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln which had been blasted and sculpted out of the granite of the Black Hills. Gutzon Borglum, the sculptor of Mt. Rushmore, chose these four Presidents because he believed that they represented the birth, growth, development, and preservation of America. As I gazed upon the massive faces above me that have been so influential in the life of this nation, I asked myself what four people are engraved upon my soul? What four people have been the most influential in the birth, growth, development, and guidance of my faith? What does my inner Mt. Rushmore look like? What does your inner Mt. Rushmore look like?
Face #1 is actually two faces. My parents raised me in the Church. I had to go to church every Sunday morning, every Sunday night, and every Wednesday night. I had to go to VBS, Summer Camp, and every Singspiration by the Sea. What I resented, I now cherish. The denomination I grew up in wasn’t perfect – but I came to know who Jesus Christ was. My parents’ unswerving purpose and unbending resolve has borne fruit in me. They are Face #1.
Face #2 is Pastor George Crites. George was my youth pastor at The First Christian Church of Walnut Valley, in Walnut, California, in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. After a charismatic split in the early 70’s, George became the senior pastor, and the name of the church was changed to Christian Chapel. George, and his wife Carol, loved and cared for me. They gave me a place to live in the summer of ’72 and provided many opportunities to serve and grow. Though I attended San Jose Bible College in Northern California, Christian Chapel in Southern California was my home church. I often drove or hitchhiked down to be at my home church. George taught the Word, believed in a big God, preached boldly, and prayed for God to move in powerful ways. George was a huge influence in my life.
Face #3 is Pastor Jesse Mason. Though older than George, Jesse was the assistant pastor at Christian Chapel. Jesse had come to Christ in 1949 in what is known as the Latter Rain Movement. Though, no doubt, many self-appointed discernment ministries would condemn this hyper-Pentecostal movement (and I would take exception to some of it myself), Jesse was a tender man and loved Jesus with all his heart and loved to pray and worship. He waited on God for words of wisdom and knowledge. He wanted to bring everybody he could into the baptism of the Holy Spirit with speaking in tongues. He wanted the fire of God to consume the church and convict us of our sin. He loved to prophesy, “O, My people…” would often be heard from him. We would often lay hands upon the sick and anoint them with oil and command sicknesses to leave. He was afraid of nothing that the world, the flesh, or the devil could do. I love you, Jesse.
Face #4 is Pastor Chuck Smith. Faces #3 & 4 couldn’t be more different. Jesse’s goal was to be in the presence of God. He could lead us in worship for 90 minutes and send us home and he was happy. Pastor Chuck’s goal was to be in the Word of God. He would teach a Bible study for 90 minutes and send us home and he was happy. Chuck would think that to be in the Word of God is to be in the presence of God – and I wouldn’t argue with that. Pastor Chuck was the pastor of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa and the leader of the Calvary Chapel Movement – the spearhead of the Jesus Movement. Everything Calvary Chapel valued, I valued, and I sought affiliation with them in 1985. I am proud to be a Calvary Chapel pastor for 38 years now. It’s been a joy and delight. The emphasis upon the Word of God and the work of God in the power of the Holy Spirit and in the love of God have guided me for these 38 years. Chuck died in 2013. For me, the greatest gift he left the Calvary Chapel Movement is a theological conservatism. If you can’t ‘chapter-and-verse’ it, we have very little interest in it. Speculative philosophy and systematic theology take a backseat to the declarative teachings of the Bible.
Borglum chose the faces of the Presidents that represented the birth, growth, development, and preservation of America. The four heads engraved on my soul represent the same thing for me. I thank God for them all. Who is engraved on your soul?
Be blessed and stay healthy and follow Jesus – Pastor Tim