Book Recommendation – Chuck Smith: A Memoir of Grace

Two books read in three weeks? Yes, it is some kind of record. And this book is not your typical CC history rehash book. You could say that this book goes B.C. – Before Chuck. Little joke there, very little. There is some great stuff in this book. There are 10 chapters. 1-8 are all about everything before CC. Chapter 9 is about the transition into and first few years of CC. Chapter 10 is a great series of nuggets of wisdom from Chuck gleaned from God’s word.

The theme of the book is this very simple concept; everything in life prepares us for something else. Nothing happens that God doesn’t have in mind in order to be used later in our lives. Chuck and his family went through a lot. I mean, my wife and I have moved, on average, 15 times in 15 years. Across town and across the country. Churches, secular jobs, voluntarily and out of necessity. Chuck and family went though way more than we have. That’s encouraging.

The other thing that stands out in Chuc’sk life is this pattern, and it’s all pre-CC. He begins to teach the Bible. Not topics, not themes, just the Bible. He stop focusing on growing a church and starts focusing on growing people. Next, while studying and teaching God’s word, Chuck has his own encounter with God’s grace. Having been brought up and educated in a goal-oriented, legalistic denomination, God’s grace was a concept but not a reality. It became a reality. God’s word plus God’s grace equaled personal relationship with the living God. It was at this point that God really started to use Chuck. It’s a pattern every believe is supposed to experience.

It’s a great read. It’s a great encouragement for anyone, but especially those in ministry. And it’s cool to get the rest of Chuck’s story, because it’s a story of God using everything to prepare someone for something else.


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There are 12 comments on Book Recommendation – Chuck Smith: A Memoir of Grace

  • This was a good read. You really see why many ‘distinctives’ exsist, born out of lessons learned in past ministry experiences. I love the simple truth, everything is preparation for something else, it is encouraging in both ministry and life. In this book, you see that not as a pithy statement for a plaque, but the testimony of the Smith family and God’s faithfulness. Plus-who doesn’t love the picture of young Chuck in the pulpit?

  • MaryAnne! Long time no see! It was good, wasn’t it? I was hesitant to read it because, I mean really, how many times can we hear the same old stories. But this one was different. I am going to put that statement up in my office.

    And the photo gallery in the middle is great stuff!

  • You know what??? I really needed to read the bit where it says…
    The theme of the book is this very simple concept; everything in life prepares us for something else. Nothing happens that God doesn’t have in mind in order to be used later in our lives.

    I am going through quite a bit at the moment and can’t see the forest for the trees. So… when I read that I was very encouraged. Thanks Corby.

  • No problem. Something else he observes is that people, saved or unsaved, tend to judge God based on the moment. If things are going well, God is good. If things are going bad, where is God? God doesn’t change. We need to take a step back an look at the big picture. Like Joseph, circumstances change. God has a plan. But His goodness and righteousness never changes.

  • Oh yeah… I hear you. Sometimes though, it would be nice to know the plan wouldn’t it?

  • God’s word plus God’s grace equaled personal relationship with the living God. It was at this point that God really started to use Chuck. It’s a pattern every believe is supposed to experience. …. that is good…I am so thankful for Chucks example!

    This is what changed my life…when the Lord showed me his grace while being in his word….

    Thank you for your review … it has to come highly regarded…before I want to invest time so thank you for your review.

  • I think to say that Chuck was “…brought up and educated in a goal-oriented, legalistic denomination, God’s grace was a concept but not a reality.” Is unfair assessment of the Foursquare denomination in its entirity. Yes, he did encounter leaders who were “goal oriented” (noise, noses and nickles) and that did discourage him greatly at his last pastorate.

    However, if you look back in the early years of CC you will find that Chuck brought to the pulpits of CC his Foursquare, LIFE Bible college professors Dr. VanCleave and Dr. Duffield to minister the Word many times. He also has participated with Dr. Hayford at local Foursquare pastors conferences and a few years ago preached at the Oxnard Foursquare church where he and his family worshiped. I think to give the impression that entire denomination is legalistic and doesn’t teach and apply Biblical grace is unwarranted.

    I have talked to many FSQ leaders about how God used Chuck and how they wished they had been more sensitive to the Holy Spirit and wished things were done differently back then – but God had his plan and praise God, there has been wonderful relationship in Christ between both Foursquare and Chuck Smith.

  • Tommy – I was not attempting to make an assessment of the Foursquare denomination in any way. I was simply relaying the impression Chuck gave of it during his time with it. That is, in essence, how Chuck described his own experience, and it was not my intention to communicate that as reality or otherwise. If ti came across as my judgment or perception of FSQ then I apologize. That was not my intention.

  • Corby – Thank you for clarifying that and your apology. I am looking forward to reading this book soon to learn more about Chuck’s wonderful journey with Jesus. God bless you.

  • Woah. Was just gonna say you did a great review when I noticed someone has my name. Crazy.

  • Yeah, that was funny. At first I was like, “That’s not like Tommy” but then I figured it wasn’t you because of the email.

  • baby blog » Blog Archive » Linkathon 2009: The year in links, part 2 (plus Linkathon 12/30)

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