I Have Learned…

  • That some people are not happy unless they’re in a fight with someone.
  • That there are still lost people hungry for to know God’s will for their lives.
  • That it is so easy to make excuses and so hard to make the effort.
  • That I still have so much to learn, so far to go, and so little time to do it.
  • That some people do not believe it’s possible to lean too far to the right.
  • That some people do not believe it’s possible to lean too far to the left.
  • That some people get “preach the truth” but not “in love.”
  • That some people know how to be loving, but are unwilling to preach the truth.
  • That there are some who believe they are judge, jury, and executioner.
  • That some preachers decide what to preach based more on popular opinion and felt needs than honestly, courageously seeking to preach the whole counsel of God.
  • That some run roughshod over others while hypersensitive to their own rights.
  • That some can tell you what the preachers’, elders’, and deacons’ jobs are, but think their only job is to tell you that.
  • That many of God’s people are striving to live right every day, often at great personal sacrifice and despite great opposition.
  • That there are some who do good all the time, and would be mortified for others to know it.
  • That some make sure others know every good thing they do.
  • That everybody is extremely busy, but some are better time managers than others.
  • That with some people you are guilty until you can prove you are innocent, and you may still be guilty in their minds.
  • That no one can hand you success, prosperity, or discipline.  God gives you the tools, but neither He nor anyone else can make you develop and sustain them.
  • That elders and preachers who work together create a bond that holds the local church together.
  • That we have overemphasized specialization (evangelism training, youth workers, Bible class teachers) to the point that many feel unqualified and “opt out.”
  • That every one of us that gets to heaven will get there with much help from God and brethren.

—Neal Pollard


Good Deeds

Neal Pollard

Good deeds don’t make the nightly news.  When a person serves or is nice to others, it rarely goes beyond the circle of occurrence.  That’s OK, because Jesus urges us, “Be careful not to do your acts of righteousness before me, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven” (Mat. 6:1).

That probably wasn’t a problem for Titus, since the Cretans weren’t renowned for doing good deeds. In fact, a Cretan prophet said of his fellow-citizens, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons” (Ti. 1:12). How would you like to live in a neighborhood or work on your job with such charming people as that? Paul calls them lying, wild, evil animals and slaves to their stomachs.

So, Paul spends some significant time in his letter talking about good deeds. There were some on Crete, particularly Jews, who by their deeds denied God and were “worthless for any good deed” (1:16). Thus, he urges Titus to show himself a pattern of good deeds (2:7). These deeds were not to earn salvation (3:5), but instead to please God. Notice how Paul emphasizes deeds in this letter.

  • Good Deeds Show The Right Example (2:7). I heard about a pair of identical twins.  One was a preacher and the other was a doctor. It was impossible to tell the two apart. A woman approached one of them and asked, “Are you the one that preaches?” He said, “No, ma’am. I’m the one who practices.” Paul tells Titus to show himself a pattern of good deeds in three areas: (1) Through sound teaching, (2) Through a serious life, and (3) Through his speech.
  • Good Deeds Show Where Our Passions Lie (2:14). Christ wants us zealous for good deeds. Wrongly directed zeal is destructive.  The Jewish zealots of the first-century helped bring about the demise of Jerusalem. But, a zealot with the right cause and conduct is powerful!  If we appreciate that we’ve been redeemed from every lawless deed (13), we’ll be zealous for good deeds. It should be natural for us, when saved from our sins, to be passionate about it to the point that our lives boil over with gratitude! That shows up in good deeds.
  • Good Deeds Show Our Faith In God (3:8). Paul urges Titus to share with all believers the need to be ready for every good deed (3:1). What will motivate us to do these good deeds? God’s mercy (3:5)! What will this motivate us to do? Share the good news (3:7-8). The world walks by sight and not by faith. Our challenge is to rise above that disbelief and show by our deeds our faith in the God who saved us from our sins! Our challenge is also to rise above the strife and division of those who profess to believe but whose lives yield evil deeds (3:9-11).  Doing good is broad and takes in the whole will of God for us, being all He wants us to be in marriage, parenting, the church, our neighborhood, the workplace, the nation, and in our relationships (cf. Titus 2). What will our good behavior in all these relationships tell others? Simply, that God is the guide of our lives and we put our trust in Him.
  • Good Deeds Meet Pressing Needs (3:14). Paul ends the letter by mentioning four Christians by name. The last two, Zenas and Apollos, would need financial help. Paul’s encouragement in Titus 3:14 seems directly related to this need. Whether it’s supporting missionaries or weekly giving, we are God’s hands on earth to help the needy when we give.

The old adage is true.  “Actions speak louder than words.” Paul writes of some who profess to know God, but in works deny Him. What a reminder that the Lord will not say, “Well said,” but “well done!”  Dorcas was a woman “full of good works and charitable deeds” (Acts 9:36). The woman with the Alabaster box did what she could (Mark 14:8).  What about us? What will be said about our deeds?


Neal Pollard

I spoke with our newspaper deliveryman this morning, and he had some story to tell.  He summarized his experience as the longest 15 hours of his life.  He got stuck once and had been towed twice.  He delivers his newspapers in a 2014 Toyota Camry, a front-wheel drive vehicle fighting against 10-12 inches of snow in a thousand cul-de-sacs.  Surprisingly cheerful, he was plodding on until finishing his task—delivering The Denver Post to every customer on his route.  That, my friend, is dedication!

As a former subscriber to the Rocky Mountain News and current subscriber to the Post, I cannot describe his product as “good news.”  With the internet competing, the newspaper is far from the exclusive or timeliest source of news.  That notwithstanding, this man is determined to get out the news.

The gospel is, by definition, “good news.”  Without a doubt, it is the most important and timeliest news of all time and eternity.  Every person needs to be exposed to it as it contains information that will impact where they will spend their forever.  God has given the job to you and me and every Christian in this nation and around the globe. Every day, we see people and relate to people on their everlasting journey.  They may or may not be oblivious to their need, but we are well aware of it.

Are we determined to get out the news?  The first century church was.  In bad times (Acts 8:4) or in good times (Acts 2:47), the news went near and far.  Paul described it as news which had reached every creature under heaven (Col. 1:23).  Christ commissioned that the news be spread to that extent (Lk. 24:44ff).  The challenge is great today, with over seven billion people on the earth.  But we have more resources than they did, and there are more of us, too.  The difference, then, may be the level of our determination.  Until we are determined to let nothing stop us from getting out the news, darkness will eclipse light and our challenge will grow.  Let’s let nothing stop us from sharing the great salvation of Jesus to everyone we meet.

Where’s Greg Reynolds Today?

Neal Pollard

Being a Rockies’ fan has its ups and downs—historically, there have been more downs than ups, I’m afraid.  Being no-hit last night by Dodger’s pitcher Clayton Kershaw was pretty low!  While it was only the third time in franchise history that no Rockies’ hitter got a hit in an official baseball game, there was a particular pain to the “no no” last night.  Kershaw was picked by the Dodgers with the seventh overall pick in the 2006 Major League Draft.  That means he was available when the Rockies used the second overall pick to take right-hander Greg Reynolds out of Stanford University (via http://www.baseball-reference.com).  While Kershaw is arguably the best pitcher baseball has seen this generation, Reynolds is duking it out in Japan’s professional baseball league with the Saitama Seibu Lions.  So far, he’s notched a very mortal 6-11 record in America’s professional baseball league. He’s 0-5 with a 5.52 ERA with the Lions (bis.npb.org.jp).

This is not intended to be a rip on Greg Reynolds or even Colorado’s front office, though the local fan base may like to see it.  Nor is it simply an opportunity to vent frustration against our local diamond dwellers. It is, however, a great illustration of something that can happen elsewhere in life.  Reynolds was selected so high in the draft because of potential, a record of achievement he had compiled to that point, and certain tools and traits that seemed to scouts and organizational brass like a “can’t miss” opportunity.

How often are we reminded that superior intellect, physical strength, charisma and charm, and abundant material resources alone are insufficient?  Whole nations like Edom, Canaan, Egypt, and even Israel learned this in the Old Testament.  Individuals with such potential, whether Samson or Saul or the Rich Young Ruler, prove that performance is the ultimate measurement over potential.  “Almost” is an unsatisfactory and incomplete idea, as is nearly, close, and “could have been.”  The graveyard is littered with stories of those who did not parlay potential into performance.  History’s pages portray so many figures who flirted with greatness without getting there.

The stakes are different for us.  It’s not millions of dollars, All-Star status, or the Hall of Fame (or even being able to stick on a Major League roster).  Intentions are insufficient.  Action is all-important.  When we are thinking about God’s commands and considering that eternity is at stake, we must have more than tools and talents.  We must, simply, do (Mat. 7:21; Luke 6:46).


No, THAT is not Reynolds. Guess who it IS?


Neal Pollard

 You may be thinking that the title is presumptuous, opinionated, and even out of line.  Let me disclaim what follows by asserting that God does not hate all shorts.  He does, however, hate the following types of shorts.

But not these. :)

GOD HATES SHORTCUTS.  At least, He hates humanly devised shortcuts for which He has given no authorization.  Man has devised shortcuts to salvation that cut out divine commands.  He has made shortcuts in ethics and morality to justify and rationalize behavior God condemns.  We should examine such “shortcuts” carefully to make sure they are not detours off of the narrow way.

GOD HATES SHORTCHANGES.  In Malachi 3:8-10, God condemns His people for “robbing Him” in their giving.  They did not give with appropriate gratitude and generosity.  Those who fail to put Him first (cf. Matt. 6:33) are shortchanging God of the time, talents, resources, and service He deserves.  

GOD HATES SHORTSIGHTEDNESS.  When we make decisions based on instant gratification or immediate benefits without giving thought to longterm implications, we often make a mess of our lives.  This is true of church plans, the person we choose to marry, unbiblical changes to the church and teaching to attract the unchurched, and the like.  Certainly, one can be too deliberate and methodical to the point of lethargy and apathy.  Yet, neither is it proper to leap before adequately looking.

GOD HATES SHORTCOMINGS.  God’s hatred for sin is so great that He sent Christ to the cross as payment for it.  Sin is falling short of God’s mark.  The sobering thing is that all of us come short of God’s glory as the result of our sin (Rom. 3:23).  The great news is that while God hates shortcomings, He deeply loves shortcomers.  That’s also why He sent Jesus to die for us.

God hates these shorts, but He has provided an alternative regarding all of them.  By full and trusting obedience, we avoid shortcuts.  By recognizing our debt and feeling heartfelt gratitude to God for paying it, we avoid shortchanging Him.  By growing in wisdom and Christlikeness, we avoid shortsightedness.  By walking in the light as children of God, we avoid the eternal ramifications of our shortcomings.  That’s because God loves us!

Heaven Really IS For Real

Neal Pollard
While so many in religion and even the media latch onto sensational tales of traveling to the “other side” and coming back with stories about heaven (they do not ordinarily wind up going the other direction), these individuals often claim (necessarily without proof) to have seen or heard things from God, Christ, and other heavenly inhabitants. Sadly, much of what they claim to have experienced is at odds with or even contradicts what God communicated to us through His Word. Despite the high-drama and mystical tales, these undoubtedly sincere folks are right about something incredibly important. Heaven IS for real!

The Bible describes it (Rev. 21-22). Jesus is preparing it (John 14:1-4). The Father lives there (Mat. 5:16; etc.). Those who travel the “narrow road” (Mat. 7:13-14) and are faithful unto death (Rev. 2:10) are going to be allowed to dwell there forever (cf. Ps. 23:6; Mat. 25:46; 1 Th. 4:13ff). The Bible communicates that it is a place reserved for those who believe and obey the will of God (2 Th. 1:5ff). It is not for those who refuse to submit to His authority (Gal. 5:19-21; etc.).

Heaven is described as a place where treasure is (Luke 18:22). It is described as a place where our citizenship can be (Phi. 3:20). It is a place where our hope can be laid up (Col. 1:5). It is a place where our name can be reserved (Heb. 12:23). It is a place where we can have an inheritance (1 Pe. 1:4). It is a place described as that which will be new (Rev. 21:1).

I suppose it is human nature for us to want to have blanks filled in and details more fully supplied. That’s why claims of going to heaven and back have long captivated people. Perhaps it strikes the chords of our hearts and imagination more than words, howbeit Divine words, on a page. Yet, those words produce living hope to those who are staking everything on the truth of those words (1 Pe. 1:3). They are neither fairy tales nor wisps of wishes. God has given us enough to know, as we measure the claims alongside His providence and answered prayers, that His Word can be trusted. We don’t have the full picture yet, but we know it will be more glorious and joyous than we are able to understand in this body confined by time. Thank God that Heaven really is for real!

Our Congregation Follows The Biblical Pattern For Marriage

Neal Pollard

In the spirit of our ancient, spiritual forebears, Peter and John, even in the face of social pressure, political correctness, and even governmental legislation, letting all laws and mandates be condemned which violate or transgress His Law, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Ac. 5:29).  For that reason, however cultures and civilizations change or regress, we will continue to believe and teach what the Bible says about marriage.  Believing that God’s people must stand with Him, however hard, we believe:

  • “He who created them from the beginning made them male and female” (Mat. 19:4).
  • “A man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife” (Mat. 19:5).
  • “Because of immoralities, each man is to have his own wife, and each woman is to have her own husband” (1 Co. 7:2).
  • “Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body” (1 Co. 6:19).
  • “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge” (Heb. 13:4).
  • “And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery; and whoever marries her who is divorced commits adultery” (Mat. 19:9).
  • “For the woman who has a husband is bound by the law to her husband as long as he lives. But if the husband dies, she is released from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband lives, she marries another man, she will be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from that law, so that she is no adulteress, though she has married another man” (Rom. 7:2-3).
  • “For the Lord God of Israel says That He hates divorce, For it covers one’s garment with violence,” Says the Lord of hosts. “Therefore take heed to your spirit, That you do not deal treacherously” (Mal. 2:16).
  • “For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due” (Rom. 1:26-27).

We will not and cannot make laws where Christ has not, but neither can we loose or nullify that which He has bound.  Whether such a position makes us mainstream or fringe, accepted or rejected, we cannot alter the book meant to alter us.  Whereas the Bible is the mind of God revealed to us (cf. 2 Ti. 3:16-17), we will humbly yield to Him and it no matter the cost.


Neal Pollard

Two wonderful upcoming events should have us excited! Vacation Bible School is a prime opportunity for us to be evangelistic with our neighbors, friends, and co-workers.  It showcases the many talented people we have in our education program for children and it is always pulled off in an impressive way.  Our seminar/gospel meeting will be conducted by one of the most engaging, genuine preachers among us.  Steve Higginbotham will do an outstanding job.  There are several things we can do, but this Saturday’s door-knocking can accomplish so much to try and draw our nearest community neighbors to both these events.  May I make a personal appeal to you to be at our building this Saturday at 1 P.M.  To encourage you, consider three brief and true statements.

  • It Is Easy.  We are not setting up Bible studies.  We are simply inviting (or leaving fliers at the door if they are not home).  A quick, pleasant “hello” and statement of what we are inviting them to attend is all you need to know.  If you have access to small children, they always serve as an excellent buffer.  But, no matter your age or degree of cuteness, you will find this the easiest evangelizing you will ever do.
  • It Is For You.  Door-knocking is not just for the students, preachers, elders, or teens.  Parents, deacons, men, women, middle-aged folks, young adults, professionals, unprofessionals, blue-collar, white-collar, tall, short, fat, skinny, and if there be any other category, your presence is vital to the success of this.  So often, we assume others will do the work.  Please do not make this assumption.  If you are tempted to feel that way, know that others share that struggle.  Encourage somebody else.  Call or email them and tell them you are coming and ask them to come, too.
  • It Is Important.  You may be helping somebody take their first step toward heaven.  You might find somebody who has been searching for truth.  You may knock the door of somebody who has been struggling and looking for answers.  God may use you this Saturday to save a soul!  How wonderful to be able to face our dear Savior some day having taken opportunities like this Saturday to expose people to the Lord’s church.

I feel pretty confident that you will not regret participating in this Saturday’s mass inviting. It will require a little time, gas, and energy, but it is also one of those things that just leaves you feeling like you have helped the Lord a little in His mission of reaching the lost.  My highest hope is that I will see you this Saturday at 1 P.M. as we try to take greater Bear Valley for Christ!

Was Uzzah’s Death Unfair?









Neal Pollard
If you Google the phrase “Uzzah Death Unfair,” you will find at least 1380 hits most of which addresses that idea. In case you are having a momentary brain cramp over exactly who Uzzah was, he was the man who died when he tried to steady the Ark of the Covenant as David arranged for it to return to Jerusalem. Since the last day of Eli’s life, the Philistines had assumed possession of the Ark (1 Sam. 5:1). That idolatrous nation, given the trouble they received from God for keeping it, returned it to Israel, to Kiriath-Jearim, where Eleazer was consecrated to keep it at Abinadab’s house on the hill (1 Sam. 7:1). Then, following Saul’s reign, David wanted to bring the ark back to Jerusalem (2 Sam. 6:1ff). Abinadab’s sons, Uzzah and Ahio, set the ark on a new cart and began the journey toward Jerusalem. At Nachon’s threshing floor, the oxen stumbled and Uzzah took hold of the ark (2 Sam. 6:6). Then, “God struck him down there for his irreverence; and he died there by the ark of God” (2 Sam. 6:7). David became angry because of the Lord’s outburst against Uzzah, even calling the site of Nashon’s threshing floor that name (Perez-Uzzah).

One might ask why God reacted in what the modern mind sees as a harsh way “simply” for steadying the ark after the oxen stumbled. In 1 Chronicles 15, several inspired answers are given. First, David said it was “because we did not consult Him (God) about the proper order” (13). In other words, Israel took it on themselves to move the ark-which they knew as the residing place of the glory of the Lord (1 Sam. 4:22; cf. 2 Sam. 6:2)-without regard to how God commanded it to be done. Jeremiah says that it is not in man to direct his own steps (10:23). Second, they had gotten away from their spiritual roots. In this case, their spiritual roots were what “Moses commanded according to the word of the Lord” (1 Chron. 15:15). God had an established, authorized way to carry the ark which the writer reviews in this verse. On this occasion, they did as Moses revealed. “The Levites bore the ark of God on their shoulders, by its poles” (15a). Finally, they tried to get by on self-reliance (26). Their newly rediscovered reverence following Uzzah’s death led David, the Levites, and all Israel to see that “God helped the Levites who bore the ark of the covenant.” This spirit of dependency apparently did not exist when Uzzah walked behind the oxcart.

Is it unfair for God to want people to consult Him, to be true to their spiritual roots, to properly regard and revere Him, and to rely upon Him? Certainly not. Uzzah certainly shows us the grave spiritual danger we face by trying to go out on our own, without reverence toward, reliance upon, and recognition of God and His power and authority in our lives.

What Does God Want From Us?

Neal Pollard

The words might be bewilderingly spoken in frustration, through a voice broken by the tears of trial or temptation, or from a puzzlement borne of a lack of adequate information.  But, many times over, men have asked the question posed by Moses in Deuteronomy 10:12.  “What does the Lord your God require of you?”  What does He want from us anyway?

Micah knew what the answer was not.  Rhetorically, he asks, “Does the Lord take delight in thousands of rams, in ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I present my firstborn for my rebellious acts, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” (Mic. 6:7).  The obvious answer is “no.”  The first idea is finally and logistically prohibitive.  The second idea, though the greatest sacrifice a human could make, is spiritually repulsive to God.  So, if we cannot pay our own debt, what does God want from us?

He wants an AWE (Dt. 10:12–“Fear the Lord your God”).  He rejects flippant, heartless, lackadaisical, bored, and faithless approaches, but He praises the one who falls before Him in godly fear (Heb. 12:28).  God calls such “blessed” (Ps. 128:1), “life-giving” (Pr. 10:27; 14:27), “preserving” (Pr. 16:6), “growth-inducing” (Ac. 9:31), and “persuasive” (2 Cor. 5:11).

He wants an ACT (Dt. 10:12–“Walk in all His ways”).  Lip-service (cf. Isa. 29:13) apart from living sacrifice (Rm. 12:1) sickens God!  Notice, He does not want partial obedience.  He expects us to walk in all His ways!  We do not get to follow God on our own terms.  He wants full obedience!

He wants an AFFECTION (Dt. 10:12–“love Him”).  This is the first, greatest command (Mt. 22:37).  God modeled the kind of love He wants reciprocated (1 Jn. 4:19).  He is not satisfied with a cold, aloof “relationship.”  Jesus is proof positive that He wants intimacy and closeness.

He wants an ATTITUDE (Dt. 10:12–“Serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul”).  Man wants to receive.  He wants to be “king of the mountain.”  He wants happiness and fulfillment at the price of another.  God wants us to give, humble self, and consider what others need (Ph. 2:4).  In fact, He calls this “great” (Mt. 20:26-28).

He wants an APPLICATION (Dt. 10:13–“Keep the Lord’s commandments and His statutes”).  Intellectual assent, alone, is insufficient.  He wants His truth to live in our lives!  He wants His will to play out in our thoughts, words, and deeds (Lk. 6:46; Mt. 7:21ff).

Why does God want all of this from us?  The answer is simple, profound, but not surprising, the better we understand God.  Moses says all of these divine expectations are “for your good” (Dt. 10:13).  God wants from us only what will help us be the very best individuals we can be.  That is not possible unless we are spiritually OK.  More than anything, that is what God wants for us!