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I recently re-read the memoir of Pastor Chuck Smith entitled, “A Memoir of Grace”. (You can purchase a copy here.) The last chapter has in it what I would call ‘last words’ from Pastor Chuck. In his own words he writes, “A few of the more important lessons the Lord has drilled into me include the following:”

Over the next few posts I’ll share a few paragraphs with you/us to remind, encourage, and challenge us.

As I reflect on the few years that I’ve served Jesus here in Aurora, one thing I see time and time again is that the mistakes I have made, most of them, were because I failed to heed the discipleship and teaching that I’ve received either from my pastor (Jeff Johnson) or his pastor (Chuck Smith).  Teaching that is a true application of the clarity of Scripture.  So in a very real way, mistakes have come in ministry because I haven’t heeded the truths of God’s Word!

Of course like all servants of Christ, we as pastors and leaders are men with feet of clay, fraught with failures and mistakes. What we say is not the ‘gospel’ and is not infallible. We are merely learning from the shared experiences of men who have gone before us. We cannot neglect the discipleship and wisdom given to us by men and women who have gone before us. Ignoring the insights of those on whose shoulders we stand could lead to catastrophic mistakes.

From Pastor Chuck Smith:

“The more I became immersed in ministry, the more it became obvious to me that my education was deficient in many areas. I frequently encountered problems and challenges for which I was not prepared and found myself thinking, “I wish they had taught us something about this in Bible college.” Over the years of my ministry, however, I’ve learned that there are many things you simply can’t learn from an instructor. Some things can only be acquired through life experience. The education we receive from following Jesus as His disciples is not exclusively meant to inform us but to transform us. In other words, throughout our lives in Christ we are being trained as well as taught (Hebrews 12:7-13). Like Jesus, we learn both truth and obedience through suffering (Hebrews 5:8). Godly character is not developed in a classroom or seminar, but in the heat of tribulation (Romans 5:3-5). God has certainly been more consistent than me in the eight decades that I have walked with Him on this planet. Therefore, everything I have learned and anything I have accomplished is based completely on His mercy and faithfulness.”

Let’s run this race!

One Comment

  • Ron says:

    Thanks pastor for sharing your heart. I’ve been examining myself a lot more in these last days. Reflecting on past mistakes and not repeating them. Paul writes, “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith … ” (II Cor 13:5). I have not always been ‘in the faith’ with my decision making, but ‘in the flesh’. I know I can’t serve Him in the flesh, and I have to allow Him to be Lord of all in my life. So, “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” – (Phil 3:14), and try live out His word day by day.

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