This month is pastor appreciation month and I want to take a moment and give honor to the Pastor’s who have shaped my life.
The pastor that had the greatest impact on my life is in heaven… Pastor Chuck Smith. I had the privilege of serving under his leadership at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa along with Brian Brodersen, DonandJean McClure and Jon Courson. Pastor Chuck taught me the value of loving the people God brings you, to simply teach the Word simply and to be led by the Spirit.
The person I consider my pastor today is David Rosales who pastors Calvary Chapel Chino Valley. He teaches me to walk in humility, to walk in love and wisdom. He also challenges me to be a better Bible teacher by his sheer example.
Pastor John Milhouse, who pastors Calvary Chapel Moreno Valley. It was at a couple’s retreat for CC Moreno Valley that God confirmed the call for Roxie and I to start Calvary Chapel San Clemente. Pastor John was the first person to pray over us and encourage us.
Pastor Bill Stonebraker, who pastors Calvary Chapel Honolulu. He spoke a prophetic word over us that Roxie and I would plant a church within a year. That was in 2009 and in 2010 Calvary Chapel San Clemente was started.
Pastor Skip Heitzig, whom I had the privilege of serving under at Ocean Hills Church. Skip taught me to be a student of God’s Word and a reader of theology. He also invited me to be the Japanese Beatle and learn George Harrison guitar parts which gave me a serious appreciation for the genius of the Beatles.
Carl Westerlund, who directed the School of Ministry. He’s known me since I was 16 when I would drive up to minister at his church on Communion Sunday. He has always encouraged me to trust God’s plan for my life.
Pastor Joe Sabolick, who wasn’t perfect, but taught me to love evangelism. He was also the first person to recognize God’s call on my life for full time ministry by bringing me on staff.
Ken Blue, Intervarsity Press author who pastored a short time in Rancho Bernardo. He taught me grace and gave me a love for theology.
Lonnie Frisbee, was more of an itinerant preacher and is in heaven. Lonnie prayed for me when I was 17. It changed my life. That was the day God empowered me with His Spirit in an undeniable way.
John Lai, who no longer pastors, but at the time pastored Calvary Chapel in Escondido. He taught me the value of friendship and restored me into the ministry after I had failed miserably. He taught me how to lead worship. He introduced me to my future wife Roxie, the 2nd most powerful gift God has ever given me after salvation.
Chuck Eason, who I call my grandfather in the faith. He started Calvary Chapel Vista and made me the first worship leader. I have a package to give him of the Book I’ve written and CDs I’ve recorded. It’s all fruit to his account. I am serving the Lord today because He opened the door for me to lead worship.
I would be remiss to not mention Frank… don’t know his last name… but God used him to bring me to Christ. I will forever be grateful to Frank and one day in heaven I’ll get to share with him all the fruit that is to his account as a faithful servant of the Lord.
Pastors are often unappreciated for the long hours and sacrifices they make to care for the often overwhelming needs of others. Having served with many of these men, I have seen first hand the tears they’ve shed because of the things said and done to them. Then I’ve seen them stand in the pulpit and faithfully proclaim God’s Word. As Pastor Skip told me, what do you do when you’re in a storm? You preach through it. The Bible says to render honor where honor is due. I am forever indebted to these great men of God.