Resolving Conflict

Resolving Conflict

Gary Pollard

Philippians 2.12 says, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” What does Paul mean by this? He just used Jesus as an example of selflessness, positing him as the ultimate authority. He just told them that they needed to put others above self and correct several issues. So this verse is a warning — if they didn’t work out their problems, they would die spiritually. 

Resolving conflict is not just a good idea, it’s unequivocally necessary. Paul wanted Euodia and Syntyche to appreciate how dangerous their feud was for their spiritual health. They were to be so afraid of eternal consequences that they drop everything to fix the issue. 

2.14-16 has even more imperatives — do everything without complaining about it so you’ll be blameless in God’s eyes. That’s the second time he’s said this, the first was in his prayer in chapter 1. In 2.16, Paul reminds them of how much he invested in them and hopes that he hasn’t wasted his time. 

We’re all familiar with Philippians 3.1, “Rejoice in the lord.” This isn’t a generic, feel-good reminder. This is an imperative! They weren’t finding their purpose in God, so Paul had to demand that they make a change. 

Then he uses three more imperatives in a row — keep an eye out for people who try to undermine your faith. This might seem like a typical ADHD tangent for Paul, but this is where he uses himself as an example of sacrifice and selflessness again. 

This is the heart of confrontation: 3.12-16 — “I don’t mean that I’m exactly what God wants me to be. I have not yet reached that goal. But I continue trying to reach it and make it mine. That’s what Christ Jesus wants me to do. It is the reason he made me his. Brothers and sisters, I know that I still have a long way to go. But there is one thing I do: I forget what is in the past and try as hard as I can to reach the goal before me. I keep running hard toward the finish line to get the prize that is mine because God has given me a higher calling through Jesus. All of us who have grown to be spiritually mature should think this way too. And if there is any of this that you don’t agree with, God will make it clear to you. But we should continue following the truth we already have.” 

The worst part about confrontation is that our own faults are at the front of our minds. Who are we to correct someone else’s imperfections when we have plenty of our own? Paul addresses that with this section. We’re never going to be perfect, but that shouldn’t keep us from trying. Our own imperfection also shouldn’t keep us from watching out for the spiritual health of our Christian family! 

Healthy Relationships

Healthy Relationships

Gary Pollard

In Phil 2.2 Paul uses an imperative — make my joy complete. Because of this imperative, we know that something was still missing with that church. How were they to complete his joy? By having one mind, possessing one love, working closely with each other, by avoiding selfishness or pride, by practicing humility, by considering others to be more valuable than self,  and by investing in the lives of others. 

Look at the language used in 2.1 — if you’re encouraged by Christ, if you’re encouraged by love, if you share a common mindset, if you’re capable of compassion and pity, then make my joy complete by being unified and putting others above self. 

When we think of issues in a church, our minds usually go straight to false teaching. We want to make sure nothing inaccurate makes its way into our doctrine. That’s definitely an important part of our spiritual health, but it isn’t the only issue we face. 

This entire letter is all about how critical it is that we keep our relationships with each other healthy. And this isn’t the only time God communicates that message with us — I Jn 4.20 says, “If you hate anyone in your Christian family, God’s love doesn’t exist in you.” Mt 5.23 tells us that we shouldn’t even worship if there’s bad blood between us and someone else. Mt 18 tells us how important it is to resolve conflicts when they come up. 

God has made it very clear that it’s just as important to be on good terms with our Christian family as it is to avoid false teaching. 

Lessons From A Nameless Teacher

Lessons From A Nameless Teacher

Friday’s Column: Brent’s Bent

In Genesis 24, we meet a man who only identifies as “Abraham’s servant” (v. 34). This unnamed servant is most likely Eliezer, Abraham’s household servant, whom he expected to be his heir (Genesis 15.2). Jewish tradition is in favor of this. However, because the chapter fails to identify him, we will also refrain from doing so. Hence, this unnamed servant teaches us three things as he obeys his master’s will to obtain a wife for his son from among his relatives in modern-day Iraq.

The unnamed servant teaches us humility. The fact that the unnamed servant only refers to himself as a servant of his master says a lot. He considers his identity to be secondary to his position in his master’s household. Our Great Example was similarly humble, much like this servant. We can see that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was the most humble person of all when he took on human form and died for the salvation of mankind (Philippians 2:5–10).

Humility is an essential virtue. Humility, according to the Bible, is necessary for Christians to cultivate. For example, the book of James says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6 NASB 1995) Thus, Christians are to approach God with modesty, acknowledging their shortcomings.

But we should not confuse humility with self-deprecation. God’s word doesn’t tell us to belittle ourselves or our accomplishments. Instead, humility involves acknowledging that all good things come from God, upon Whom we depend for our success (James 1.17). Humility also requires service. The Bible calls us to be the servants of others, just as Jesus modeled servant leadership (John 13.14-16). Humility consists in putting the needs of others ahead of our desires and ambitions.

And God doesn’t overlook this service. Instead, humility is a key to spiritual growth, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. In the book of Matthew, Jesus says, “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted” (Matthew 23.12 NASB1995). James reminds us: “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” (James 4.10 NASB1995)

Therefore, when Christians talk about humility, they stress the importance of knowing our limits and weaknesses, helping others, and coming to God with a humble heart.

The unnamed servant teaches us to trust in God’s Providence. The nameless servant believed that God’s providence would help him succeed in his task. So likewise, God’s word instructs us to trust in God’s providence throughout the Bible, which means we accept that God is in charge of everything and has a plan for our lives. “For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29.11 NASB1995). I would be amiss if I did not point out that this is not a personal promise to us, as it was spoken to the Israelites on the verge of Babylonian captivity. However, we can accept that it means that God has plans for His people.

Thus, God urges us to trust that His purpose for our lives is beneficial, even if it may not seem logical or beneficial. This trust is part of submitting ourselves to God’s will. Surrendering to God’s will is part of trusting in providence. Christians are urged to pray for God’s direction and guidance and believe that God’s plan for their lives is what is best for them. “I know, O Lord, that a man’s way is not in himself, nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps,” Jeremiah says again (Jeremiah 10.23 NASB 1995).

The Bible teaches us to trust in God’s provision, which implies that we believe that God will provide for our necessities (Matthew 6.33). Even in challenging circumstances, we know God will provide for our needs. So, the Christian doctrine of trust in providence stresses the importance of believing in God’s plan for each person’s life, submitting to His will, and trusting in His provision.

The unnamed servant teaches us to be shrewd. The servant who put Rebecca through the “camel test” was astute. Have you ever thought how this man must have appeared to the young Rebecca? The unnamed servant was a physically fit man. In addition, he needs other strong men to travel with him and a caravan of ten camels. Why, then, would he need a woman to bring him water and tend to his livestock?

What could this servant learn from administering the “camel test”? Rebecca’s response suggested much about her character. For example, what concern would she have for her family if she returned the water she had given a stranger to drink? Did she have the servant’s heart to recognize and want to meet a need when it was within her power? Did she consider others first? Finally, Rebecca had to demonstrate her worth to Isaac and, eventually, to Abraham, his master.

Jesus told his disciples to “be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matthew 10.16 NASB 1995). In other words, Jesus tells us to be wise and intelligent when we talk to other people but also to be kind and safe. The term “wise as serpents” might be understood to suggest that the disciples should be as intelligent and crafty as snakes in their relationships with others. But it’s important to remember that Jesus didn’t want his followers to lie or trick people. Instead, he wanted them to be honest and wise in their relationships with others. Likewise, “harmless as doves” alludes to the doves’ gentleness and lack of aggression. Even in challenging or hostile circumstances, Jesus pushes his followers to remain calm and non-threatening in their relationships with others.

Jesus asked his followers to be intelligent and astute in their interactions while being mild and non-threatening. We should apply this advice and use it when applicable.

The unnamed servant in Genesis 24 teaches essential lessons about humility, faith in providence, and shrewdness. His humble demeanor reminds us of the importance of admitting our flaws and prioritizing the needs of others. Trusting in God’s providence entails believing that God has a plan for our lives and that everything will work out for the best. Finally, being shrewd implies being wise and intelligent in our interactions with others while maintaining our integrity. As Christians, we can learn from the example of the unnamed servant and strive to live a life that honors God. The unnamed servant in Genesis 24 teaches essential lessons about humility, faith in providence, and shrewdness. His humble demeanor reminds us of the importance of admitting our flaws and prioritizing the needs of others. Trusting in God’s providence entails believing that God has a plan for our lives and that everything will work out for the best. Finally, being shrewd implies being wise and intelligent in our interactions with others while maintaining our integrity. As Christians, we can learn from the example of the unnamed servant and strive to live a life that honors God.

Brent Pollard
The Humility Of Andrew

The Humility Of Andrew

Friday’s Column: Brent’s Bent

Most historians agree that Andrew the Apostle was born between 5 and 10 AD in Bethsaida, Galilee. If correct, he would have been about the same age as Jesus. Andrew is a Greek name that means “manly” or “brave.” Among Jews, it appears to have been a popular choice as early as the second or third century BC. Interestingly, there is no proof that Andrew had a Hebrew or Aramaic name like his more well-known sibling. So, Andrew’s name is the very first thing that stands out. His family was willing to accept Hellenism, which is clear from the fact that his name is not Hebrew, as you might expect, but Greek. Andrew was born and raised in Galilee, a region in the first century that was historically and culturally as much Greek as Jewish.

Both Andrew and Simon (Peter) made their living as fishermen. This occupational choice seems to be why Jesus called them “fishers of men” in the gospels of Matthew and Mark. According to these narratives, Jesus was walking along the Sea of Galilee shore when he saw Simon and Andrew fishing and asked them to become his disciples. Jesus even stayed with these brothers in Capernaum after beginning his public ministry (Mark 1.29). It’s interesting that Luke, the physician, and the meticulous gospel author, doesn’t immediately mention Andrew’s presence or that he and Simon are brothers. According to Luke, Jesus used Simon’s boat twice: once to preach to the crowds on the shore and again to pull in a massive fish catch on a previously fruitless night. Even though Luke doesn’t name Andrew, he says that Simon (Peter) had help while trawling the waters when he caught the big fish Jesus told him to. Simon (Peter) called for backup and assistance from his friends in another boat after the massive fish trawl so that they could help him haul the fish ashore. Luke reveals that Andrew is Simon’s brother in the subsequent chapter. So, it’s safe to assume that Andrew was out fishing with Simon (Peter) at the time of the incident, which Luke records accurately. Luke shows that Andrew is often given less attention in the Bible than his better-known brother Simon (Peter). This is an interesting fact.

John devotes the most attention to Andrew. The Gospel of John states that Andrew followed the teachings of John the Baptist. Having been moved by the words of John the Baptist, Andrew and another of  John the Baptist’s disciples decided to follow Jesus. When Andrew saw Jesus, he knew he was the Messiah and told his brother. Thus, the Eastern Orthodox Church reveres him as Protokletos, meaning “the first called.” Andrew wasn’t one of Jesus’ inner circle of disciples and apostles (i.e., Peter, James, and John). Still, he probably had more access to Jesus than other disciples and apostles because Peter was his brother. Andrew was with the other disciples on the Mount of Olives when Jesus made one of his rare appearances with “the four.” Andrew asked Jesus to explain what he meant when he said the temple would be destroyed and the world would end.

Most people think that Andrew is the one who sets up meetings between other people and Jesus. For example, Andrew introduced Peter to Jesus (John 1.40–42). Andrew also brought the boy with the bread and fish to Jesus (John 6.8–9). Finally, when some Greeks wanted to see Jesus, they went to Philip, who went to Andrew, knowing that the latter could arrange their introduction (John 12.21–23). In Acts 1.13, Luke mentions that Andrew is in the upper room with the 120. Unfortunately, this verse is the last time we hear about him in the New Testament. As a result, tradition is our only source of information about Andrew’s evangelistic career.

Both Origen and Eusebius credit Andrew with preaching in Scythia. Nestor’s Chronicle says that he also went from the Black Sea to the Dnieper River and then to Kyiv to preach. Afterward, he went to Novgorod (Russia). Consequently, the countries of Russia, Romania, and Ukraine revere Andrew as a patron saint. According to Hippolytus of Rome, Andrew preached in Thrace. The apocryphal Acts of Andrew connect Andrew to Byzantium or Constantinople. Basil of Seleucia claims that Andrew traveled to Thrace, Scythia, and Achaea to spread the gospel. Tradition says that Andrew died a martyr’s death in Greece, in the city of Patras, in 60 AD.

Gregory of Tours, a theologian who lived in the sixth century, read old texts that said Andrew died on a Latin cross like the one used to kill Jesus. But later, it became a tradition that Andrew asked that he be crucified on an X-shaped cross, which is now called a “Saint Andrew’s Cross.” However, we cannot date this explanation for Andrew’s martyrdom before the late Middle Ages. Whether the X-shaped cross is correct, the symbol lives on in many flags worldwide. For example, Alabama and Florida use it in their standards in the United States. Also, The Disciples of Christ and the Episcopals, among other groups, use the St. Andrews Cross in their logos.

What do we have to gain from observing Andrew? First, Andrew emphasizes the significance of personal evangelism. We typically think of preachers, elders, and those who teach Bible classes as winning souls for Christ from the lectern or podium. However, people are often led to Jesus by people they already know, as we see with Andrew. Even better than a good sermon is bringing about change on the inside and strengthening relationships with others. And yet, that doesn’t mean preaching and sharing your faith in public aren’t necessary. They are. Andrew, on the other hand, is not shown in the Bible giving speeches to big crowds, writing letters, or doing anything else to draw attention to himself. That was irrelevant. Andrew was humble in his service to God’s kingdom. And it seems that Andrew had already figured this out before Jesus gave the Great Commission.

Similar to what we learned in the first lesson on evangelism, Andrews demonstrates that some things are too good to keep to yourself. As the first disciple to meet Jesus, Andrew couldn’t keep quiet about the Messiah’s arrival on Earth. Instead, he had to share the good news of Jesus with his family and friends, including his older brother. Andrew engaged in “word-of-mouth” advertising through his enthusiasm. As statistics show, word-of-mouth marketing is effective. The opinions of others who have made that purchase sway most consumers to buy something, not the commercial or sales pitch. According to Nielsen, word-of-mouth is more effective than advertising at getting people to try new products. It never ceases to amaze me that we can have a perfectly reasonable conversation about anything from pop culture to sports with a stranger, but we’ll never bring up the subject of Jesus Christ. Just think of everything we could achieve if we did! Like Andrew, we must conclude that the treasure we have found in Christ is too precious to squirrel away.

Finally, faithfulness is more valuable than fame. Put Andrew in context with the other two apostles, Peter and Paul. This second group would go on to have highly visible and influential ministries. They would address massive audiences, winning many souls for Christ. They encouraged Christians with their letters, which we still read and cherish today. Yet many more gospel ministers have done their work in relative obscurity and seen fruit for it. Andrew was a follower who participated in this latter group. His name may be less familiar to you. Not many people have heard of him. Still, Andrew showed humility, compassion, and faith in Christ that modern Christians would do well to imitate by serving without seeking praise, leading individuals (not crowds) to Christ, and letting God use his gifts as He saw fit. The Andrews of the world can save more lives than the Peters and Pauls.

Brent Pollard


Tuesday’s Column: Dale Mail 


Humble Yourself – The reward for humility and fear of the LORD is riches and honor and life. Proverbs 22:4

  • One’s pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor. Proverbs 29:23

Respect the Lord – The fear of the LORD is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor. Proverbs 15:33

  • Blessed is the one who fears the LORD always, but whoever hardens his heart will fall into calamity. Proverbs 28:14


Turn Your Lips – Whoever conceals his transgressions will not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.  – Proverbs 28:13

Turn Your Life – Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones. Proverbs 3:7-8

  • One who is wise is cautious and turns away from evil, but a fool is reckless and careless.  Proverbs 14:16
  • The highway of the upright turns aside from evil; whoever guards his way preserves his life. Proverbs 16:17


Pray Confidently – For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding; Proverbs 2:6

Pray Humbly – Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding, In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6 

  • My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the LORD reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights. Proverbs 3:11-12

Pray Ready – Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce Proverbs 3:9 


Seek Him – Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the LORD understand it completely. Proverbs 28:5

Many seek the face of a ruler, but it is from the LORD that a man gets justice. Proverbs 29:26

Speak to Him –  The LORD is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous. Proverbs 15:29

Make Godly Requests:

“Two things I ask of you; deny them not to me before I die 

  1. Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; 
  2. feed me with the food that is needful for me.” Proverbs30:7-8

Seek His Favor – A good man obtains favor from the LORD – Proverbs 12:2 

Seek His Answers – The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the LORD. – Proverbs 16:1 

Dale Pollard
Who God Uses In His Service

Who God Uses In His Service

Monday’s Column: Neal At The Cross

Jesus chose imperfect, flawed people like you and me to help Him spread the gospel. It is easy for us to think that only the super-spiritual, seemingly-perfect can be effective, but the opposite is true. None of us is too spiritual or perfect, though we should always be striving to be better and do more for the One who gave everything to save us. 

Paul is continuing his discussion about the ministry he and his co-workers have when he pens 2 Corinthians 4. As he does, he speaks candidly about himself and them–the messengers. As Christians charged with carrying out the Great Commission, we should all put ourselves in his shoes and understand better who God uses in His service. 


Character does not demand perfection, but it does require a conscience shaped by Scripture and a heart softened by it. This leads one to stay encouraged no matter what is encountered (1). It also leads to honesty and trustworthiness (2). We will conduct our lives righteously, and we will handle God’s Word faithfully. People can trust who we are and, thus, what we say. We may be rejected by the spiritually blind, but we won’t be a roadblock to their faith. 


Paul gives a helpful reminder. It’s not about us, it’s about Christ. He’s the source of light, glory, and power. We’re the plain, fragile pottery God uses to demonstrate His surpassing greatness. 


To be His servants, we have to weather storms. Those storms may be those we would avoid if we didn’t serve Him, but we understand the importance of our mission. We won’t let affliction, perplexities, persecution, and threats keep us from doing His work! God does not need spiritual sissies in His service. We draw our courage and strength from Him, and it causes Him to shine out through us!


What causes us to be stable? Faith! Because we are truly convicted of the truth, we cannot help but speak. We have faith in the reality of the resurrection, so we teach and share the message that brings grace to more and more people. This leads more people to give thanks to God and causes God to be glorified.

If I want to be a faithful servant of Jesus, I need to watch my personal conduct, lower myself, endure, and be trustworthy. That does not require perfection, but it does require dedication! But God depends on imperfect people like you and me! We cannot let Him down. 

Neal Pollard
The Local Preacher (Part 3)

The Local Preacher (Part 3)

Thursday’s Column: Captain’s Blog

Carl Pollard

The Local Preacher (Part 3) 

Acts 20:19 says, “serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews.” Paul “served with humility.” As great a man as Paul was, he served (douleuo – ministered to others as if he were their slave). His service is described with three genitives: With all humility (Philippians 2:3), with tears, and with trials. So all of this could be summed up as Paul served with humility, and stayed faithful through trials. Once again we can tie this back to the local preacher, as preachers are put in a position to serve the congregation and to stay faithful to them. Many preachers can become very haughty because every single Sunday they have people telling them how incredible their sermons are. Preachers must constantly keep in mind the humility that they should be practicing (John 13).

The local preacher should not shy away from teaching that which will help the church. Acts 20:20 says, “how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house.” Herbert Agar once said, “The truth that makes men free is for the most part the truth which men prefer not to hear.” 

People will not always be open to the message that preachers proclaim. But the job is to proclaim all truth to the congregation. We also learn that preachers should be vocal about the Gospel. Notice that Paul said “…in public and from house to house.” The word used for “shrink” in this verse is upostello and means to “shrink from and avoid, implying fear.”

The local preacher is to make no exclusions as seen in Acts 8:21 which reads, “Testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.” Paul preached the Gospel to everyone! He knew what they needed and gave it to them. One way we can put this into perspective is to make a parallel between how we treat others, and how God treats us. As humans, we can sometimes show partiality. Whether it is because of someone’s personality or how they treat us, we tend to avoid those types of people. 

What if God treated us this way? We know from Romans 5:8 that God sent His son to die for us “while we were yet sinners…” God did not, does not, and never will show partiality to anyone. Paul proclaimed to both Jews and Gentiles. The Jews at this time did not get along well with the Gentiles at all. Paul puts that aside and shares the Gospel with them. Romans 10:12 says, “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing His riches on all who call on Him.” 

This all applies to the local preacher today. There should never be partiality shown to different members by the preacher. Even more than that, there should be no partiality shown to those outside of the Church! Yet we see that so much in today’s culture. The Gospel is what people need, so he must never let partiality stand between a soul and eternal life.

There Are No Small Tasks…

There Are No Small Tasks…

Monday’s Column: Neal At The Cross

Neal Pollard

The 19th-century Russian actor, Konstantin Stanislavski, famously said, “There are no small roles, only small actors.” The point is that we should do our very best no matter what our role is. Especially is that true in serving God. 

  • Who carried the lame man to the gate where he was healed by James and John (Acts 3:2)? 
  • What were the names of the four men who brought the paralytic to Jesus (Mark 2:3)? 
  • Are we told who the young men were who carried out Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:6,10)? 
  • Do we know who brought Paul to Athens and followed his command for Silas and Timothy to come to him there (Acts 17:14-15)? 
  • What were the names of those in the household of Stephanas who, like him, devoted themselves for ministry to the saints (1 Cor. 16:15)?  
  • The New Testament is full of statements about individuals whose households were baptized along with them: Cornelius (Acts 11:14), Lydia (Acts 16:15), the Philippian jailor (Acts 16:33), Crispus (Acts 18:8), Aristobulus (Rom. 16:10), Narcissus (Rom. 16:11), and Onesiphorus (2 Tim. 4:19). What contributions did they make to the congregations where they were members? How many will be in heaven because of these unnamed saints? 

We may wonder what great works we might do to carve a spiritual legacy, whether in the local church or even beyond. Perhaps we feel that we toil in anonymity, unappreciated or overlooked. How many acts of service, kindness, generosity, and sacrifice never make the church bulletin or announcements? Let us take great comfort in the knowledge that God knows. He’s even writing it down (Rev. 20:12,15). As the writer of Hebrews told some unnamed saints, “God is not unjust so as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name, in having ministered and in still ministering to the saints” (Heb. 6:10). 

Never forget the encouraging poem of William Dunkerley. 

Is your place a small place? 
Tend it with care!
He set you there.

Is your place a large place?
Guard it with care!
He set you there.

Whatever your place, it is
Not yours alone, but His
Who set you there. 

You are touching lives who may not think to tell you that you are. Your influence and example may be the difference in someone overcoming who might have been overcome. Your simple word or deed of kindness may be the fuel for another’s faith. Paul’s encouragement is weighty, when he says, “Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith” (Gal. 6:9-10). How insignificant is the lowliest private in the Lord’s Army, adorning His armor (Eph. 6:11)? There are no small tasks in His kingdom! Let us be “always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that [our] toil is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58)! 

Filled To The Brim

Filled To The Brim

Tuesday’s Column: Dale Mail

Dale Pollard

The first miracle of Jesus is found in John chapter two. While many won’t give much thought to the servants in this account, let’s place the focus on them here. 

John 2.1-11 

On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come. His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you. 

When Jesus refers to His mother as “woman” He was using a term of respect in that day and age. John writes that the hour of His death had not come because that is an underlying narrative of his book. 

Continuing on, 

“Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” 

Now, notice the response of the servants. 

“So they filled them up to the brim.” 

They never questioned why they should fill these jars with water. This was no simple task and it was no doubt a time consuming chore. The jars held anywhere from one hundred and twenty to one hundred and eighty gallons of water. They likely drew the water out of a well— one bucket at time. 

Jesus then tells the servants, 

 “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” 

Once again, notice the response of the servants. 

“So they took it.” 

The servants didn’t ask why they should draw the water out or even why they should take it to the master of the feast. They don’t seem to hesitate even though it could have been a humiliating experience to serve water to the head of the wedding feast. They just took it! They simply listened to what Jesus told them to do. 

The servants and their unquestioning obedience is praiseworthy. As servants of Christ, we should do whatever He tells us. We shouldn’t do the bare minimum but we should, in a spiritual sense, fill our jars to the brim. We should live our lives completely dedicated to fulfilling His commands, even if it’s difficult or when it doesn’t make much sense to us. 

1 Peter–Part X

1 Peter–Part X

Wednesday’s Column: Third’s Words

Gary Pollard

I’ll be repeating the book of I Peter in present-day terminology. It’s not a true translation of the book, as I am not qualified to do so. It will be based on an exegetical study of the book and will lean heavily on the SBL and UBS Greek New Testaments, as well as comparisons with other translations (ESV, NASB, NIV, ERV, NLT). My goal is to reflect the text accurately, and to highlight the intent of the author using concepts and vocabulary in common use today. 

This is not an essentially literal translation, and should be read as something of a commentary. 

I Peter – Part X

Younger people, listen to the leaders. Every one of you should think of the other as being more important than yourselves. God stands against prideful people, but he’s very patient with humble people. Stay humble under God’s power and he’ll lift you up when it’s time. He cares about you, so you should always let him handle your anxieties. 

Exercise self-control, and make sure you’re watching carefully. Your enemy (the devil) is on a determined path – like a hungry lion – looking for someone to kill. Fight him with determined faith, he’s not targeting just you. Everyone in God’s family is experiencing the same kind of suffering all over the world. After you’ve suffered for a short period of time, the God who gives so much grace will personally make you strong, give you confidence, restore you, and give you security. He has eternal power. 

I’m sending this short letter to you through Silvanus, my faithful brother. This is all true, and it’s extremely important for you to understand God’s timeless kindness and let it keep you strong. The woman at Babylon sends her greeting; she is chosen, just like you. Mark, my son, says hi. Make sure you greet and affirm each other. I hope all of you who follow Christ enjoy peace.