Kraig Lowell Pullam

My thoughts. My reflections. My journey…. On pastoring, preaching, leading & learning.

Sunday at Shiloh

What a journey this has been!

2577006675_b5dd38dca6Admittedly, the road I’ve been treading has been bittersweet.  Leaving my old life and people, where everything was great, along with all of the things that come with being apart of a new assignment, have been bitter.  In juxtaposition, experiencing a fresh new season of life, relationships and the realization of God’s promises…have been sweet!  My difficulties in preaching, pastoral ministry and in life amid remaining faithful have truly prodded me to stop and thank the Lord for every facet and aspect of my new journey.

Shiloh has been phenomenal.  Let me be more specific – the PEOPLE of Shiloh have been phenomenal.  As I have been in a constant haze as to why and how God sent me to them; I am certain they have their own set of mixed emotions.  This is only natural and to be expected.  The loss of their leader only one year ago; the expectations of someone of his caliber;  many’s uncertainty of “where do I fit with this new guy?”; and wondering how things will look moving forward – are actually all LEGITIMATE concerns for those of us who are human.  But in the midst of this, the people have made this transition much easier.  All of the ministers, deacons, leaders and members have been encouraging; even those who have quietly shown their support through their presence; and looking me over.  As I tell them, I am looking them over as well.  The common thrust is that I believe they love Christ; and I think they may feel the same towards me.  Therefore, we can love one another through Him.

On October the 2nd, I began a 7-week series entitled, “The Journey Begins…the Legacy Continues.”  This series concluded on November 13, 2016.  After that, I took a couple of weeks to preach on Giving Thanks:

November 20, 2016: “What to do in the Meantime”, Romans 1:8-15
November 27, 2016: “The Supernatural Power of Human Gratitude”, Luke 17:11-17

Now that we are in Advent, I am simply preaching a series of sermons from Luke 1.  On Sunday, December 4, 2016. I tried my best to deal with Luke 1:26-38; entitling the sermon, “When God Doesn’t Make Sense.”  My hope is to begin live streaming our services, posting our messages and expanding our distribution of sermons in early 2017.  Please keep us in this regard.  In short, it had been a very busy week before Sunday.  I have been going nonstop since my first Sunday in September.  I had a couple of meetings on Saturday, as well.  I found myself finishing up my sermon into 1am or so, Sunday morning.  I laid down Sunday morning after 2am; and woke up when my wife said, “It’s time for you to get up.”  She was dressed!!!  I was so tired, I almost asked one of our associates to prepare to stand and preach.  I didn’t do it.  After making it through salutations and all, I just preached; and God spoke through me.  God took my few notes; and breathed upon me, us and the message.  Interestingly, I got happy toward the end.  Shiloh does communion a little differently than many congregations.  It is really on another level.  I think I’ve done communion over a hundred times.  After everyone had been served by the deacons, I began to serve the deacons before the deaconesses on the front row (lol).  I said to myself, “Kraig…go home and take a nap!”  We made it through; and worship was stellar.  Followed by meetings, I was able to try out a new restaurant with Dee and the boys; go to a place we like called Marble Slab; and made it home and went to sleep.  Although I missed several calls, texts and messages; and also my plan to attend a meeting with our Young Adults….the Lord assured me the world would not end because I took a nap; and that all of the people who needed me, didn’t need me as much as I may have thought they did.

In short, I had a great Lord’s Day.  Now that things are beginning to settle down, my hope is to continue to flesh out my thoughts in writing.  It is my additional hope and prayer that this will be of some benefit to someone who reads.  I hope and pray that you are blessed during the course of your week; and that you find a lesson and message every day of your life, in something.  Anything.  If this has been helpful to you, please share with someone else.

He’s Looking At You

Over the course of this past week, I have had the opportunity to fellowship with several Pastors and Leaders within Shiloh and in the city of Fort Worth. This has been a tall feat; but ultimately the rewards of such have outweighed and minimized the task altogether. But I must admit…the highlight of my week began on the 2nd Sunday. While in my office, talking to several church leaders before the start of Worship, the phone rang in my office. I answered!  Someone asked, “Hello, is the new Pastor of Shiloh preaching this morning?”  My response: “I believe he is. If he is not preaching, I’ve not received the memo!”  As it so happens, the person asking the question happened to be the assistant of one of my preaching heroes, Pastor Isadore Edwards. He is the Pastor Emeritus of the New Rising Star Baptist Church of Fort Worth; having served there as Pastor for over 40 years. He and my predecessor, Dr. Albert Emmit Chew, Jr. were very good friends. Interestingly, I’d learned a few weeks earlier that Pastor Chew helped to found New Rising Star, and was responsible for Pastor Edwards’ going there and serving as Pastor there. As I had heard around town…Pastor Edwards wanted to hear me preach; and had intentions of stopping by Shiloh to hear me. He wasted no time!  As service began, he came in with several preachers, sat on the front row and quietly listened in as I preached. 

My Sermon for the day came out of Romans 15:1-7. The title: Let’s Stay Together. 

For some reason, God has wasted no time leading me to deal with some very intense passages of scripture during the opening weeks of my time at Shiloh. This sermon was about unity and living in harmony as fellow-believers, amid our varying distinctions, preferences and ideologues.  I was on-edge regarding the message.  The presence of Pastor Edwards, I admit, intensified my internal tensions and prayers. 

Earlier in the week, I received a call from one of the deacons at New Rising Star, stating Pastor Edwards enjoyed the message, and his affirmation that I was a gifted student of God’s Word; and that he would like to have lunch. I was informed that Pastor Edwards, who is now 90, has good days and bad days; and that he may not talk much, but still has his memory and enjoys good fellowship. 

As we dined together, I had an interesting discourse with Pastor Edwards. 

I told him how pleased I was to have had him in service; and admitted to him I was nervous, after listing him as one of my favorite preachers growing up. That’s not hyperbole. He was, and still is!!!

Here’s what followed….

Him: Why were you nervous? Me: Because as I was preaching, I could look out right in front of me, and see you. Him: Can’t you see Jesus in front of you while you preach? Me: yessir, but I’m not looking at him physically. Him: You can believe He’s looking at YOU!

I was floored and speechless!  He got me!!!  Jesus is looking at me. 

Whether it is my character; my witness; my preaching or leading God’s Precious people; leading my family or my personal devotion – He is looking at me!!!

In the midst of his seasoned years and waning strength, God used Pastor Edwards, to reassure and afffirm His all-seeing eye is on me, as it was on Pastor Edwards’ old friend, Pastor Albert E. Chew, Jr. God knew exactly what I needed, when I needed it most; and I am grateful for the angels (messengers) He sends along the way, to remind me of His constant presence in my life and ministry. 

My Sunday & God’s Strength

A few months ago, I ran across a letter I had written to Dec. Cephus Clifton in February of 2011. A few weeks prior, I received a unanimous call to serve as Mt. Salem Baptist Church of Victoria’s 10th Pastor in their 139-Year history as a local congregation. In essence, my letter said, “I can’t do this!” I went on to express that what Mt. Salem needed, I could not realistically fulfill. I conveyed my gratitude to him and the entire congregation for considering me, and placing their vote of confidence in my serving as their spiritual leader; and that I would be praying for them in the days, weeks and months to follow. The context of my letter entailed my assessment of all of the hurt, difficulty and challenge that the congregation had experienced. In light of their journey, I overwhelmingly sensed that I was inadequate as their next shepherd. Moreover, all of the challenges in Mt. Salem made me come to appreciate what my congregation back at home had going for itself. I began to second-guess myself. I began to have a change of heart. I began to think God made a misstep. So I wrote the letter. 

I never sent the letter! 

For the record, I am glad that I did not send the letter. 

Fast-Forward five and a half years later. I’m sitting in the restroom of my hotel on a Saturday night, crying. In the morning I would stand and tell the people I had fallen in love with as Pastor, that I had been called to serve as the next Pastor of Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas. Further, that I believed it was God’s will for me to go. 

 

On Sunday morning…I tried my best to make my way through my continuing exposition of Psalm 23. To be completely honest, I’m not clear on what I said in the message. To make matters worse, my distractions caused me to leave my notes and manuscript of my sermon at home.  Because I had already informed those who were at Bible Study on Wednesday of my call; and that I had not officially accepted, but was praying…the crowd was more somber than usual. Mt. Salem is not an overly-boisterous crowd; and so the silence could have been anything at all. But I think both them and I were awaiting the announcement of my decision. No one in the room, except D’Ani, knew what my decision would be.

After church, we had a ‘church meeting.’ I told them that I believed God was speaking; and instructing me to serve as the Pastor of Shiloh. Again…I cannot recall what I said after that. What I saw were the faces of the people I had come to know and love.  I saw the faces of young people I had baptized, counseled, comforted and even rebuked. I saw their tears. It took everything in me not to cry. Since I had already cried and had my moments the day before, I was able to make it through. Eventually, I led us in a word of prayer (I think); and then that was it. 

And there it is. And there I was. Obedient to God; broken before His people….  The people I felt I couldn’t lead 5 years before, I didn’t want to leave. 

For five years, God has taught me how to love and experience the love from a congregation through Mt. Salem. He has shown me what forgiveness, healing and transformation looks like. I have seen a group of people who were hurting love me and my family in a way I had never seen before. And I will always have a special place in my heart for Mt. Salem. I’ve concluded…God makes no missteps! He knows what He is doing; and He knows where He wants us. How Shiloh even came up is clearly God’s ordered steps… I’ll share that another time. But, to be sure, God knows what He is doing!

Over the next thirty (30) days, my family and I will make the transition from Houston-Victoria to North Texas. While I am looking forward to the next chapter of my life and ministry; and the people of Shiloh await us…my heart still lingers for the people of Mt. Salem. In turn, God has prepared my heart for the people of Shiloh; as He is also preparing the heart of my successor for the people of Mt. Salem. For this I am humbled and grateful. Please keep my family, Mt. Salem and the Shiloh Church in your prayers. God is faithful!

Enjoying the Process (Pastoring)

I began pastoring my first church in March of 2005. At 26 years of age, married with a 2-year old son, I had absolutely no idea what it took to pastor or lead a congregation. Because I had been preaching since the age of 15; and the youngest son of a pastor…I thought I knew. But Bible College and seminary training did not prepare me for what I would encounter at 26. The Lord blessed me to preach almost every Sunday for four years, where I served as the Minister of Christian Education. My pastor let me preach each Sunday to the people in his congregation during the early service there. But my four years of preaching did not quite prepare me for what I would experience in pastoral ministry. Too often we can make the mistake of thinking we can handle certain functions because it either looks easy, or it seems as if we have all of the appropriate answers for any given situation. Even now, Donald Trump’s rhetoric will change regarding some of his promises if he were to receive the vote of the American people and actually become the President of the United States. This same truth applies to Hillary Clinton as well. 

 

By far, pastoring has been one of the most difficult tasks in my own life. Being the husband of D’Ani seems easy. Being the father of Kai, Kaden and Karter….well, that’s another story. But I digress!

 

Going back to my first pastorate…it was a new church! The pressure of starting a new work (specifically, a ‘cold start’) is second to none. It is one thing to start a new church that is branching off from another congregation (either a split or from a sponsoring church), it is something altogether different to start from scratch. No money. No building. No sponsors. No members! Just….a dream…

 

As I reflect, I would have done quite a few things differently. If I had pastored my SECOND church FIRST, I would have saved myself some of the trials I faced along the way; and I would have become more appreciative of the things that come with a new ministry that you are forced to endure in the old. It being my first church, and the church I started…it became my baby. Consequently, I didn’t give away enough of the ministry to others. I carried the bulk of the burden, particularly financially, upon myself and my family. When the church struggled, it fell upon me and my family. This, of course, is the price we pay for ministry. The ultimate hurt is when the church does well; and some wonder why those who’ve sacrificed are benefactors of that blessing. Ultimately, I should have been doing better financially, already finished seminary and prepared to carry the finances of the church, with or without anything in return. Ultimately, I loved Cornerstone in a way that I will never adequately describe; and the people of Cornerstone loved me and my family in a way that cannot be put into words. Not a day passes that I don’t think about and have fond memories for, “My First Church.” 

 

In my second pastorate…I was at a different place in my life: 6 years later; over a decade-long marriage; 3 children…seminary degree complete; nice chaplaincy job in Houston. Things were better for us personally. I was learning so much in the chaplaincy about pastoral care, ministering to hurting people and specializing with those who were mentally ill, along with a specialization in AIDS/HIV patients…my preaching and my ministry to the people to whom I was pastoring was transformed. In a real sense, the issues I would encounter in my current pastorate paled in comparison to the many of the issues I’d faced in the hospital (at Ben Taub in Houston). AGAIN….I am certain I’ve made mistakes along the way. I often wonder how effective I’ve been as a bi-vocational and commuting pastor. I have often wondered how many more relationships I could have cultivated in the city and at my own church had I not been on the road, or been so busy in my travels. At other times, I am amazed at how God has blessed our congregation; and how far we’ve come spiritually and in many other ways, since my arrival over 5 years ago. The challenges I had in my first pastorate were different from the challenges in my current. My greatest challenge (as I reflect) has been being an agent of change. In an older congregation, especially Baptist…not everyone is welcoming toward change. This is just a reality. As strange as it seems…I knew this by the time I came into my congregation at Mt. Salem. I knew (as I do now) that change must be gradual; and that patience is a powerful virtue. For example, I waited an entire year before starting a praise team. When I eventually did, I didn’t call is a ‘praise team.’ I called it the “A.L. Randon Ensemble”, named after the longest-tenured pastor of our church. The term “praise team” can be threatening to some who know nothing but choirs in the “old church”. And, for the same demographic, ‘praise team’ and ‘praise dance’ are one and the same. 

 

Over the years, I’ve gradually implemented change….at a much slower rate than I either have wanted or anticipated. But the most important thing (atleast in my context and in light of our church’s history before I arrived) that the Holy Spirit impressed upon me was for UNITY to remain in our congregation. For this to occur, I could not and cannot have one generation competing against another. This would have brought in a busload of new, young people. Because of my experience, I know how to get that demographic in the building… But I will never forget my pastor telling me that much of pastoring is about the “managing of many personalities”. In this instance, it is not just about gaining new people; but about resisting the need to damage the faith of some mother in the church who has been apart of the same congregation for 50 years. Make no mistake…change MUST occur. And I am not suggesting that any given pastor should stunt their growth to cater to the midget-mindset of an individual who is centered on self and convenience. I am simply saying that pastors should be sensitive in not burning bridges to get to the next town. In this case, PEOPLE are our bridges! 

I know that my blog is long and it seems as if I am rambling. But there is a method to my madness. I do have a point. In a few weeks I will celebrate 38 years of life. My point is: ALL of this has been a part of my journey. I would not have been as sensitive to the feelings of others at Mt. Salem if I had not gone through some of the backlash of not consulting anyone and just moving, at my first church. I would have not been as prepared for the journey personally and in my own financial life for my second church, if I had not gone through some of the financial struggles in starting a church in my mid-20’s while in seminary, after leaving my job at a church to start that new work in ministry. 

 

Here’s my ultimate point: ENJOY THE PROCESS. And LEARN from the process. LEARN to manage WHERE YOU ARE with gratitude and humility. Don’t take for granted that God is at work. EVERY SINGLE THING has led me to where I am at this very moment. God has blessed me tremendously! 

 

Spiritually – I’m growing.

Domestically – I am married to the woman of my dreams, with 3 healthy boys who are active, smart and growing in their knowledge of Who Christ is.

Financially – I’m not a millionaire; but I have everything I need, and much of what I desire (I don’t desire much!)

 

Ultimately…I am enjoying the process! My encouragement to someone reading this blog is for you to enjoy the process as well. Stop listening to the voices of the enemy. I have this voice that likes to remind me of much I have not accomplished at 37. “You’ve done this and you’ve been there….BUT…”

Get this: I am where God wants me to be. My job is to do the BEST with what I am given; and to remain faithful; and to BLOOM where I am PLANTED. I am doing that; and I am grateful!!! This is my continual prayer for me, my family and for you. 

 

Sunday Reflections

This past Lord’s Day I did something I’ve personally attempted not to do for maybe the past few years – I went into my archives and dusted off something old. Having been preaching now for over 22 years, being trained by my father and seminary to fully-write out my sermons from start to finish…I have a lot of manuscripts and a lot of notes! Further, when starting to preach in the early 90’s, many of my sermons are on paper and in files. I suppose I am telling my age! 
One of the first series of sermons I ever preached was in the Book of Nehemiah. Interestingly, I began preaching this series immediately following the attacks in New York following 9/11 (9/11/2001). Little did I know when preparing the series for an entire year before ever moving to Houston, the unfolding of terror that would hit America’s shores, and how the Book of Nehemiah would speak to the congregation that I would preach it to – Pleasant Hill Baptist Church of Houston. The series was rewarding to me personally and our congregation. The notes have blessed me throughout the years. D’Ani and I have been away for the past 2 weeks; and I literally enthralled myself in our time together. Before knowing it – Sunday was here; and I needed a message! 
I have personally been reading through the Book of Nehemiah; and the Holy Spirit seemed to impress upon me a need to start in Nehemiah chapter 1, verse 1. That is exactly what I did! While most of my sermons in Nehemiah are on paper; I was able to pull up my notes for chapter one. 

Here’s my outline:

Title: The Ministry of Holy Discontent

Text: Nehemiah 1:1-4

C.I.T. : God’s call to impact culture compels and solicits God’s people to move beyond mediocrity.

I. The Ministry of Holy Discontent is a call to Investigation (Vs. 2) “I asked” 

II. The Ministry of Holy Discontent is a call to Compassion (Vs. 4) “I heard” 

III. The Ministry of Holy Discontent is a call to Examination (Vs. 4) “I sat down…wept…mourned”

IV. The Ministry of Holy Discontent is a call to Conviction (Vs. 4) “I fasted…prayed.”

 God be praised for blessing our time together. Admittedly, I was tired. After having landed at 12:30am Sunday morning and arriving home an hour later…after finally making it to sleep; when I finally stood to preach, I realized it probably would’ve been a better idea to utilize one of our associates. Nevertheless, at the age of 37, God is teaching me that we LIVE and we LEARN; and this is what makes us wise. I also understand that a sermon doesn’t need to make us shout in order for it to contain substance. In this regard, I believe the Lord is well-pleased. 

How was your Sunday? I would love to hear from you. If this blog is a blessing to you, please subscribe and/or share with others. Blessings! -klp3

 

My Dad’s Day of Birth!


Today is my father’s day of birth! He is 67 years old. I am grateful to God the Father for giving me the best “Daddy” in the WORLD! Not a single day goes by that I don’t examine the course of my life and use my father as the example and epitome of what it means to be a servant, lover of people, man of integrity, companion to my mother and spiritual leader. From a very young age, I’ve been a ‘Daddy’s boy’. I admired my father so much that I would get into his things (especially his books) just to have something that belonged to him. (Sidenote: 1) that didn’t always go so well 2) I’m now reaping the consequences of my actions through my own sons.) Long before I started preaching, he would let me ride with him to the local post office and Lifeway (then called “The Baptist Bookstore”). I loved to be around my Dad!!!! Even when I became a teenager and went through the period where he would ‘get on my nerves’, I still admired him, respected him and even wanted to be in his presence. He is a great man. Anyone who personally knows him would agree. He is a great Pastor. He is an awesome son. He is an exemplar of a husband and father. He has lead by example; and for that I am grateful.

I remember all of the moments of ‘correction’ he infringed upon me. It hurt me more emotionally than it did physically; because I knew that I had let him down and disappointed him. I also remember how he lovingly listened to me, prayed with me, sent me back to pray some more when I was struggling at 15 on the divine call to preach God’s Word. I remember how he would express his disappointment when I would make mistakes along the way. I also remember how he delicately, lovingly and spiritually walked with me when I made a relational mishap at only 19 and he (along with my mother) became an anchor in my time of storm. That was one of the darkest moments in my life; and he walked with me and became my cheerleader! I remember during that time, he sent me a ‘cassette tape’ in the mail. I put it in my Mitsubishi Eclipse to play; and he had recorded for me Donnie Mcklurkin’s “Stand.” Not only did that serve for me as a ‘kairotic’ moment; but God used Him to give me hope and peace during a very difficult time in my life. In turn, through every life victory…he has been there. Thank the Lord there have been more victories than defeats!!!

Unfortunately, I have not been the best son in the world, in many regards. While I haven’t burdened him with rebellious, embarrassing or traumatic life-decisions, events and actions, I haven’t always been the best at communicating my love in ways that can be felt and always heard. I am often ‘troubled’ by the fact that he gives more to me than I give to him. It seems that I could never outgive him; and that he will never be more prouder of me than I am of him…no matter where I travel, to whom I preach, how much I come to think I know, how great my wife and children are or what degrees and achievements may hang on the wall. But make no mistake. If I were standing in the presence of the Queen of England; and the President of the United States calls; and my Dad calls…..my father’s call is much more important. The President would have to wait. I love him! I respect him! And in my book….there is no greater man who has ever walked the earth, after Jesus Christ.

I don’t know how life will all work out. In fact, those who read my blog don’t know either. We have plans. But our plans are often thrown off course and cast into the river of history. My dad could outlive my entire immediate family and myself. That’s quite possible, as healthy as he is! But should the time come where I see his life eclipsed by the setting sun; and he sticks his platinum sword in the sand of time…my heart will inevitably break; and I will cry. My preaching would not be the same. My heart would not be the same. But at some moment, in some way….I will smile; and thank my Heavenly Father for counting me worthy to be the baby son (even though he wanted a girl!) of the greatest person born on May 28, 1949.

I can only pray for many more years of health, peace, joy and victory for my Dad…and the GREATEST year of life for him at 67!! Happy Birthday Daddy!

Sunday in Review

image
Where in the world does the time go? 

While I haven’t blogged since February 25th, I have been enamored and enthralled in the busy-ness of March. From celebrating 5 years of pastoral ministry at Mt. Salem, doing some itinerant preaching, to sharing in the 30th pastoral anniversary of my father, to the demands of my immediate family and hospital chaplaincy…I am both thankful and glad that it is over! 

God is doing some great things in our church, in my ministry, my family and I am very grateful and humbled. Our church has, and continues, to go through various seasons of growth and growing pains since I arrived; and I was very pleased to have 2 ministers join our congregation. Before this past month, I had NO HELP, in that department. Their arrival and their presence is just one, of many, affirmations of God’s faithfulness when we obey His voice and follow His plan. God is awesome!

I’ve also been teaching and working through what we call our “Program Plan”. This is an idea I got from my pastor, Harvey Clemons, Jr., years ago, to provide our members with every dynamic and aspect of our church’s vision, mission, purpose, ministries, calendar, policies, accomplishments, etc. in the given and previous year. This year, our Program Plan primarily consists of bylaws, statement of faith and the statement on our view of marriage and the marital covenant.  I’ve been dealing with the controversial issue of homosexuality that I’ve entitled “Is it okay to be gay?”  Interestingly, this has sparked a wave within our congregation, community and city that I did not anticipate. Young adults are flooding our pews, seeking to hear what God’s Word, and this 37 year old preacher in town is talking about. 

On another note, I halted my preaching series that entailed a book I’ve been putting together; and preached a few messages surrounding Christ’s passion, crucifixion and resurrection. While wanting to begin a series on Giving, I came across a series of articles and outlines from Dr. Tony Evans dealing with Revival. After prayerful consideration, and the time needed to put together our series on giving, I took Dr. Evan’s articles and tried to “make it live”. 

Here’s the outline…

Title: Why We Need Revival 

Text: Psalm 85

C.I.T. (Central Idea of the Text): Remembering God’s favor in the past, prompts us to seek God for restoration and revival. 

I. Revival presupposes spiritual decay (verses 1-3)

II. Revival spells the need for spiritual reconnection (4-7)

a. Restore us (4-5)

b. Revive us (6-7)

III. Revival surpasses external change.

 IV. Revival steps in the land of God’s promises.

a. The manifestation of Gods glory (8-9)

b. The magnification of God’s goodness (10-13)

 

Three Sundays in Review…

IMG_5590My schedule has been hectic!

In fact, I’ve taken a couple of days (Tuesday & Wednesday), clearing my schedule completely, doing absolutely nothing.  In fact FURTHER…I’ve discovered I really have forgotten how to rest and just be.  I am keenly aware of the fact that changes are not only necessary and imminent, but anticipated.  While God has shown me that the reward for GOOD work is often MORE work; and my busyness is a direct result of His rewarding our faithfulness and the gifts He has instilled within us, I am not expecting my ‘busy-ness’ to discontinue in 2016… In turn, I am simply anticipating things to STREAMLINE!  Please pray for yours truly.  I really need it!

All of the above being explained, I am going to do something that is unconventional.  I want to give three Sundays worth of review, beginning with where I left off.

Here’s the outline for my message on:

Sunday, February 7, 2016
Title: Winning in Crisis

Text: Genesis 32:22-32

C.I.T. (Central Idea of the Text): At times, God takes us down in order to show us the way up.

I. God takes over when we get out of the way.
a. God’s breaking process reveals the power of our flesh. (v.25)
b. God’s breaking process reveals the power of God. (v.26)

II. God blesses clingy people.
a. We won’t cling until we are at the end of ourselves. (v.26, 27)
b. Even in clinging, we are prone to use God, not submit to Him. (v.29)
c. Clinging to God in weakness is the source of our power.

Sunday, February 14, 2016
Title: For the Love of God

Text: John 3:16

C.I.T. (Central Idea of the Text): God loves us before we win, and He communicates His love to us through His Son.

I. The Width of God’s Love “For God so loved the world…”

II. The Length of God’s Love “He gave His only begotten Son…”

III. The Depth of God’s Love “That whosoever believes in Him might not perish…”

IV. The Height of God’s Love “…but have everlasting life.”

Sunday, February 21, 2016
Title:
Handling Life Between Not Now & Not Yet

Text: Genesis 37:1-9; 18028

C.I.T. (Central Idea of the Text): Even in the waiting room, we must not allow injustice to stop us from being faithful to God.

I. Remember that who you are is not Connected to what you Have

II. Learn to handle it when what you see doesn’t match what God says

III. Always remember you have a secret weapon. “Judah”

Sunday in Review

2577006675_b5dd38dca6God be praised for a great Lord’s Day!

Our weekend began with a very powerful and encouraging time with our church family and guests at our 2nd annual prayer breakfast. The event is purposefully internal, with our members encouraged to invite their friends and family.  Our time together exceeded our first year, to my pleasant surprise.  My wife, D’Ani, spearheaded this event.  Simply put…she not only knows the expectations of her pastor; but she simply knows how to get things done, and people involved.  I am looking forward to God continuing to use her for great things in God’s work, particularly in the areas of empowering women and in prayer.

Here’s the outline for Sunday’s message.

Title: Feasting in Famine

Text: Genesis 26

C.I.T. (Central Idea of the Text): God’s blessing on your life is not the absence of problems, but the grace to handle your problems righteously.

I. Know that God is concerned about where you are (vv. 1-6)

II. Know where Nowhere Leads (vv. 7-17)

a. Listening to Bad Advice
i. Don’t listen to people who’ve never been where you’re going.
ii. Don’t listen to people who don’t know where they’re going.

b. Having no Real Direction

c. Following the Wrong Path
i. Following the Path of Least Resistance
ii. Following the Path of Sin

d. Turning Away from God’s Way

III. Know Where Faith Goes

a. There Must be a Dedication to the Will of God
i. A Place of Surrender
ii. A Place of Sacrifice

b. There Must be a Detachment to the Way of Man
i. Separation from Earthly Pleasures (v. 25)
ii. Concentration on Eternal Possessions

c. There Must be a Dependence on the Word of Life
i. We will face resistance (vv. 15-21)
ii. We can find refreshment (vv. 22-24)

Though I am disappointed in the overall delivery of the message, I realize it is primarily the fault of my lack of preparation for the message and its delivery  that being said, I am thankful for those who made decisions following the message.

We held our annual church meeting following our morning worship.  Overall, the meeting went well, serving as a time to both evaluate ourselves and encourage us as we move ahead.  It is a difficult endeavor to transition a 140+ healt old congregation who has experienced the challenge of the times and rocked by storms in her recent history.  I am convinced more than ever that the best days for Mt. Salem are ahead; and I am encouraged to know that our people are excited about what is to come!

 

 

 

Sunday Reflections

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God be praised for another Lord’s Day!

I continued our journey in Genesis 12 during our morning Worship hour. 

Here’s the outline for the message. 

Title: Avoiding Life’s Faith Reversals

Text: Genesis 12:10-13

C.I.T. : Avoiding unnecessary detours in the walk of our faith toward God’s promise. 

I. The Shortest Route is Not Always the Best Way (Vs. 10a)

II. Detours that are Not Divine Lead to Longer Journeys (Vs. 10b)

III. Quit Thinking Just About Yourself (Vss. 12-13)

A. God Uses Reversals for our Good (Vss. 14-19) 

1. To Direct (Proverbs 20:30)

2. To Inspect (Job 1:21)

3. To Correct (James 1:2-3)

4. To Protect 

5. Perfect (Genesis 50:20)

B. God Uses Reversals for His glory (Vs. 20)

I believe God blessed to proclamation of His Word. Thankful for the two (2) who responded to the message. 

As I try to press through the difficulty of the arduant task of preaching, meeting deadlines, completing our 2016 Vision Plan and writing responsibilities, I solicit your prayers. 

Ultimately, I count it an honor that I am able to do what I enjoy the most…  How was your week?  Sunday?  Please share your thoughts here, share with others and subscribe. 

I hope and pray you have an awesome week!

Blessings!!!

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