Dr. Matthew Smith was born in Lodi, Wisconsin. He was unaware of his need for Jesus Christ as personal savior until senior high school. As a sophomore, his history teacher shared The Four Spiritual Laws with him. There in that teacher’s office, Matthew prayed to receive Jesus Christ as Savior and put Christ on the Throne of his life as Lord.
Dr. Smith has pastored churches in Iowa and Florida. These opportunities allowed them to expand God’s Kingdom and reach out with mission teams throughout the United States, Mexico and France. Currently he is the Transformation (Senior) Pastor at the First Baptist Church of Palos Verdes, California. He has also been on the faculty at California Baptist University in the School of Christian Ministries; he is currently an adjunct professor at California Pacific School of Theology and Colorado Christian University.
Matthew’s habit of rising early to read the Bible and prayer has been a source of great strength and understanding when it comes to leadership development. He reads the Bible at least once per year cover to cover. He enjoys an intimate, spiritual walk with God, enjoying hundreds of answers to prayer every quarter, and hundreds of new insights monthly from God’s Word (having read it cover-to-cover some 25 times since 1993). It is his habit to label and file each insight topically for future retrieval for messages. Currently he has some 15,000 plus topical observations from the Bible that are a direct result of God’s intimate work during his devotional time.
Enjoy this interview.
Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from and how long have you been writing?
I have been writing for about a decade. It is the natural extension of my life career in ministry. My habit of rising early to read the Bible and prayer has been a source of great strength and understanding when it comes to Biblical understanding, God’s heart and leadership development. (I read the Bible at least once per year cover to cover and enjoy an intimate, spiritual walk with God, enjoying hundreds of answers to prayer every quarter, and hundreds of new insights monthly from God’s Word – having read it cover-to-cover some 29 times since 1993). It is my habit to label and file each insight topically for future retrieval for messages. Currently I have some 15,000 plus topical observations from the Bible that are a direct result of God’s intimate work during my devotional time. Therefore, writing becomes the natural overflow of so much intake.
Tell us about your latest work. What do you hope people come away with from this book?
Many times in life’s journey people’s lives are scarred, battered and sometimes even shattered. In His Presence describes our journey with God in a difficult and hostile world. One of the things I realized is that ‘when the bottom drops out’ God is there to catch you, cover you and comfort you.
This book is a daily inspirational journey through the Old Testament book of Psalms – one portion per day for the entire year. Throughout the year we are reminded again and again that God wants to personally guide us through this life during times that can be good, bad or very ugly. What is amazing is that, despite the storms around us, God’s presence promises to provide us joy and many pleasures as we walk hand-in-hand with him (Psalm 16.16).
Share some of your writing goals. What’s next for you?
This book, like each book in The Intimacy with God series, is targeted for those who have read the The Purpose Driven® Life: What on Earth Am I Here For? by Rick Warren and desire to explore their life purpose in more detail.
In His Presence is the second of five books I am authoring in this series, each with their own life purpose target. The proposed flow of the books is as follows:
In His Image is a daily devotional which targets the purpose of Mission. It revolves around the Biblical truth, “God created you to love you.” The reader follows a reading schedule through the entire Bible over the course of the year. It uses the New Living Translation as its Biblical base. (Complete)
In His Presence is a daily devotional which targets the purpose of Magnification (Worship). It revolves around the Biblical truth, “God welcomes you into His presence with joy and pleasure.” The reader follows a reading schedule through the entire book of Psalms over the course of the year. It uses the New International Version as its Biblical base. (Complete)
In His Spirit is a daily devotional which targets the purpose of Ministry. It revolves around the Biblical truth, “God calls you to carry His love to others.” The reader follows a reading schedule through the Book of Acts, complimented with Old and New Testament texts over the course of the year. We hope to use the English Standard Version as its Biblical base.(Current Project)
In His Shadow is a daily devotional which targets the purpose of Maturity. It revolves around the Biblical truth, “God longs for you to know Him more intimately.” The reader follows a chronological reading schedule through the Gospels over the course of the year. Its Biblical base since I will use Robert Thomas’ and Stanley N. Gundry’s A Harmony of the Gospels as its chronological base. (Progress: Texts almost completely chosen)
In His Family is a daily devotional which targets the purpose of Membership. It revolves around the Biblical truth, “God surrounds you with family for encouragement and strength.” The reader follows a reading schedule from portions of the Pentateuch of the Old Testament and the Epistles of the New Testament over the course of the year. (Not begun)
I love to read … voraciously … in many different genres. For great thinking in Christian matters, I love to read my friend Leonard Sweet and Reggie McNeal. For fun, I am a great Tom and Clancy Clive Cussler fan.
Book you’re currently reading?
I am currently reading Mark Elliott’s book, Confessions Of An Insignificant Pastor – an amazing book about the current pastoral crisis in America and my friend Matt Bell’s Money, Purpose, Joy: The Proven Path to Uncommon Financial Success. Matt writes about the proven path to uncommon financial success.
Any type of writing ritual you have?
Not really … I usually work in increments: topic, outline, source materials, then I write. Usually I write 2 pages at a setting.
Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, how did you get past it? If not, why not?
Writer’s block is very real and appears when something is missing. For me, writer’s block means either, I am lost or I am empty. When I do not know where I am going or how to get there I hit a roadblock. Often, when I try to write and come to an obstacle, it often has to do with the fact that I need to refuel my emotional, relational, spiritual or informational tank. When this happens I sleep, read, spend time with my wife Melodee and do something absolutely different, like playing Canasta with my family.
Advice for other writers?
Write about what you are passionate about! Let people read what you write … start a blog and ask for input. Develop a thicker skin. Speak! Do it for free. Point people to your writing … take a class on writing at your local community college. Get advice from friends. Develop your social media networks on Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Linkedin, Flicker, etc. Post your writing online and generate traffic flow to those sites.
Where can we learn more about you?
My website for ‘Eagles In Leadership’ is http://EaglesInLeadership.org. It is the natural flow of my heart and soul …
My life vision is to “Encourage Achievement in Godly Leaders by Emphasizing Servanthood (EAGLES).” I mentor and coach people to soar as the “Eagle” God desires them to be. I have the ability to teach in such a way so as to communicate the vision and heart of God from the Word of God so as to encourage the men and women of God to respond and grow in love with God and live their life for Him. I am able to develop men and women into a team of leaders who can shepherd, train, and encourage the flock of God. Evaluating, developing, managing, coordinating, designing and implementing programs are some of the skills I have developed as a Youth, Missions, Solo and Senior Pastor. Leadership training, problem-solving, encouraging and strengthening individuals and families are priorities in my ministry. I currently desire to focus my attention on the area of my spiritual SHAPE, which I believe to be the training and discipleship of men and women as well as providing the spiritual and leadership development they will need for and in ministry. “Eagles In Leadership” is the portal I currently use to touch the world with this vision and passion.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Thanks for the opportunity! 🙂