Home > Uncategorized > A GOOD GUY, Pastor Robert J. Neill

A GOOD GUY, Pastor Robert J. Neill

On August 3, 2012, a really good guy went home to be with the Lord. Some people would point out that no one is good but God, but Bob Neill came closer to it than most. For over 30 years Bob and I have been friends, colleagues, ministry partners, and brothers in Christ. He was one those people that you liked right away, and even if you haven’t been in touch with him for years, when you do meet again, you just take up where you left off, as if no time has passed at all.

Bob and I had much in common, we both had three daughters, and we referred to ourselves by the acronym D.O.D.O. (Like the extinct bird, not something else) which means Daddies Of Daughters Only, because we both were blessed with three daughters. We had the privilege of serving together as Co-leaders at a Christian Family Camp for several years, and we both had a great appreciation for the Arts.

One of the things I loved best about him was his laugh. Nobody laugh liked Bob. He committed his whole face into it when he found something funny. I made it my mission whenever I was around him, to try and make him laugh just so I could see the goofy way He did it.

Bob’s love for Sue and his daughters was such a blessing to me. But his love for his God and His word absolutely blew me away.

Bob was a man of grace. The last time I was able to spend a length of time with him was when I was getting ready to become the Pastor of the First Baptist church of Palos Verdes. He was at the time the church’s interim Pastor. I couldn’t have followed a better man. Prior to this Bob and I had lost touch… well… because I got a little lost… and was out of pastoral ministry for many years. First Baptist was to be my first pulpit in 17 years. Bob was one of those in whom I experienced complete restoration, like there was no brokenness at all. On July 10 of last year, we made the transition from his ministry with the church to mine. The theme for the day was Isaiah 43:18-19;

18 “Remember not the former things,
nor consider the things of old.
19 Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.

The culmination of the service was when Bob presented me with a “Shepherd’s Staff” with the scripture above inscribed upon it, to remind me of my responsibility in caring for my new flock.

At the time I thought of Jesus who restored Peter back into ministry, by charging him three times to feed his sheep. That morning God used Bob to bring me full circle into His restorative purpose. I am so glad it was Pastor Bob.

I am sad Bob Neill is gone. I am sad for his wife Sue. I am sad for his children and grandchildren, because I know they will miss him deeply… I am also totally jealous that He gets to be home with Jesus.

All of those who loved him and the churches he served, including the First Baptist Church of Palos Verdes will truly miss this good guy. We can hope that a bit of that “Good Guyness” has rubbed off on all of us who called him friend.  

Blessings,

Pastor Joel Fairley

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Categories: Uncategorized
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