Kraig Lowell Pullam

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

Archive for the day “March 18, 2014”

Why Do You Blog?

Not too long ago, someone asked me the question, ‘Kraig…why do you blog?’images

He was arguing the point from the angle of one who honestly didn’t understand what blogging was, nor did he see how any preacher who has a schedule with ongoing demands would even have the time to do it.  (To that, he has a point!)

On the cuff, I gave him a list of reasons why I blog, and have blogged through the years, since 2006.  These are they….

1. Cultivating my writing skills

I love books; and I love words.  By default, I’ve learned to love writing!  Admittedly, I often wonder if I am growing or regressing in my writing ability.  Nonetheless, I keep on writing.  I have wondered if my growing desire to write is hewn out of an early frustration of not finding enough material among more preaching giants within my culture.  I would relish more of the words of a late Manuel Scott, Sr. (who wrote 2 books) or a Miles Jones or a C.A.W. Clark, or an Isadore Edwards, E. Edward Jones, William J. Shaw and so many others.  These aforementioned preaching minds, among many others, in the African-American context, stand with the W. A. Criswell’s and George Truett’s and Adrian Roger’s of their time. But….we are hard pressed to find their materials.  As a consequence, many of ‘us’ resorted to taking the words they preached and writing them ourselves; only to compromise our preaching integrity with endless plagiarisms and non-credits that came to ‘discredit’ us in our preaching.  Somehow, and in some way….the writings of the white preacher not only gave credibility to the one who preached; but also added validity, weight and credibility to the one who repeated it.  I just decided, a while ago, that if I never become one of the premier preachers of yesteryear tomorrow, I hope to be a good writer and a communicator of truth.  At any rate….a clear writer!

2. Clarify my unrefined thoughts

In order to be a clear writer (see #1), I must not only continue to blog and write, but I must sift and think through my thoughts with the likening consistency of a swordsmith who sharpens iron or a baker who filters flour.  I often wonder how some of these great bloggers who I enjoy (please see blogs I follow), ‘how in the world do they write with such clarity?’.  I’ve discovered they blog often and are avid readers.  There are simply no excuses for the preacher not pressing toward the goal of being a voracious reader, a consistent writer and a continual thinker & philosopher.  I want my thoughts to be clear and concise.  And a primary way to do this is through continued writing.  This is a challenge to me when I consider myself to be a person who finds complex ways to say the simplest things.  The more I grow, the less I feel the need to use a big word to say a very simple, elementary thing.  The greatest minds are able to discern and select each word, and ascertain where it should be ascribed and placed.  And even if you aren’t a great writer, just start writing!

3. Chronicling my journey

I am literally amazed when I go back to my original blogs and read many of the words and thoughts I chronicled along the way, during my first pastorate, and leading into my current pastorate.  I received quite a bit of criticism from discreet and aloof Christians and pastors who felt I was being too transparent in my early writings.  Man….I am so glad I kept writing and being transparent!  I have absolutely no regrets.  I am actually smart enough to know what should not be shared, and mindful that some things are too much.  As I look back over my older blogs, beginning in 2006, I chronicled the birth of 2 of my 3 sons, losing children, starting a congregation, personal and private struggles, etc.  I have no doubt that it has blessed some whom I may never even know.  I pray that somehow it will one day even bless my own children, in some way.  For me, I would never do this on a sheet of paper or a booklet called a ‘journal’.  Blogging is my journal! I make absolutely no claims to be one of the greatest minds in the world; but I do have an innate desire to leave resources for coming generations to read it and run, as found in the words of Habakkuk 2:2.


4. Build Consistency

I suppose that when blogging is done as I imagine, it builds consistency.  If a blog is to be minimally effective and efficient, there is somewhat of a forced consistency that must be established and maintained.  After all, a person who blogs once or twice a year (which I encourage, rather than not at all) somehow loses the war on consistency, UNLESS they are consistent about that one or two annual blogs!

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5. Communal Interaction….kind of

A few years ago, I discovered something that blew me away – people read my blogs!  Well, maybe I should clarify – I don’t always know whose reading my blog!  I was once in a church during my vacation.  Incidentally, I attended a service hoping to hear the pastor.  Much to my surprise, they had a guest congregation and preacher that day.  The church was filled to capacity!  The visiting congregation was, in their own right, a church that had grown to over a thousand, as a new church; and well-respected for their consistent growth in such a short period of time.  After the preacher delivered his sermon (an interesting sermon dealing with Mephibosheth!), the pastor saw me and called my name.  The guest preacher stood up and said, ‘I know you.  I read your blogs!’  I was completely shocked.  It made me a little proud of my little blog; but it also humbled me.  To be brutally honest – it devastated me!!!  I had to go back and reflect on all of the things I wrote! But I say that to say this – interactions are all but commonplace in my arena.  I relish those who are following my blogs and, through the years, have left feedback on my page.  But to be honest, many who are touched will never leave a name, comment or website.  But they are touched!!!

6. Impact, Encourage and Inspire

Here is another reality – some WILL give feedback.  That feedback simply serves as an encouragement to let me know that my journey and story is touching somebody else.  In turn, it has a way of blessing me!

7. Instilling

I believe the purpose of blogging, at least in my context, is to leave something beneficial in the life of the one who reads.  It is my hope and prayer that I may instill something that only I can, with the dynamics of the life I lead.  We can impact the world and change generations by sharing from our history and biography.

What are some ways blogging has benefited you as a writer or a reader???

Sunday Review & Non-Series Preaching

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This past Lord’s Day I had the opportunity to share in the preaching moment with the precious people of Mt. Salem.  I love my church!  I love where we’ve been.  I love who we are.  Interestingly…I am most in love with where we are going.  Often I say to myself we have so far to go; all the while realizing that we may be there before we know it!

Non-series preaching, typically during Lent, always proves most difficult for me.  I need the structure of knowing where I am going.  I have developed, in most instances, the habit of knowing where I am going in preaching at least 6 months out of the year.  For me, the best time of study is when I am in a particular book or passage or Let me say that this past Sunday had its challenges for me personally.  Spring Break took a toll on me.  Not only this – but the lack of consistency and clarity regarding my direction often proves futile.

I am most effective when preaching through a book, a passage or a theme.  Because of my thoroughness, and my attention span, even short books can prove to be rather lengthy for me (I spent about 6 weeks on the first 5 verses of 1st Peter). I am challenging myself to now buckle down and go through an entire book nonstop, cutting out all of the thoroughness and using that for midweek teachings.

As was my lot, I found myself working on two passages throughout the entire week.  I spent all week long periodically (my study time suffered due to Spring break) perusing Acts 20:7-12 on the story of young Eutychus, where this young boy fell out of the window while Paul preached.  Third Sunday is generally our youth Sunday.  Somewhere in there, I began to explore Mark 1:21-28 where the unclean spirit comes to church, the temple.  I wrestled with both texts throughout the entire week. Needless to say, I went to the pulpit this past Sunday with two sermons on my heart and in my head.  This is completely ill-advised for preachers and pastors, I know.  But, yes, I did it.  And this is not the first time I’ve done this!

Ultimately, as was my fate, I announced via social media that I’d be preaching from Acts 20 on ‘There’s a Child in the Window’.  However, shortly before the time to stand, I changed the message and asked our church to turn to Mark 1 on ‘When the Devil Shows Up At Church.’

Well….I don’t remember getting any feedback on the sermon.  Even if our congregation was helped by the message, the Lord simply allowed this opportunity to teach me the importance of having more direction and a stronger preaching plan, between plans.  I get it; and I will adjust accordingly.

That being said, I need to work on shortening my sermons to at least 20 minutes in length.  I can simply do all things through Christ who gives me strength.  Again….this can only come through cutting out any words that are not crucial, critical or necessary to the central idea of my text or the overall point of my sermon.  I will try my best to work on it. I am praying now for my direction in the coming weeks.  So many varying places I want to go – wanting to continue on prayer; NEEDing to deal with stewardship of giving; having this pull of preaching a few messages on Christ’s passion leading to resurrection; and this strong desire I’ve had, for some time, to deal with Psalm 119 and 1st Corinthians.

How was your Sunday?

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