Kraig Lowell Pullam

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

Archive for the month “January, 2016”

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!!!

The Entitlement Cure

 
I’ve just finished reading John Townsend’s book “The Entitlement Cure”. After hearing and reading several stellar reviews, along with seeing the intriguing title, I wanted this book in hand. And while the subtitle sparked my interest more than the title, I knew I needed to read it…amid my difficulty in reading all things Townsend. I don’t know what it is; but I’ve always found the writings of John Townsend a chore and bore…to the extent of having to play music in the background not to fall asleep. Admittedly, I realize this is an unfair criticism; and something I would hate for anyone to say about my writing. After all, Townsend is a well-respected author and the co-mastermind behind New York Time’s bestselling “How People Grow”, a book I have used during my days of Christian Education in our Book Club. The fact is…Townsend is not a wordsmith. But getting beyond the style, there is substance couched in “The Entitlement Cure.” Therefore, I wouldn’t 1) Discard this book as irrelevant 2) Misdiagnose this book as a prompt of any political propaganda 3) Write off this volume as being unworthy of investment. 
“The Entitlement Cure” addresses a prevailing problem that now infiltrates every vital organ in relational life as we’ve come to know it. Whether it is in the church, marriage, home-life, work-environment…Townsend asserts that we are all infected by the disease of entitlement. In fact, entitlement is a byproduct (well, he shows how it pre-dates human creation) of man’s fall in the Garden of Eden. Townsend contends that entitlement is the belief that “….I am exempt from responsibility and I am owed special treatment…”, and that the problems in human society stem from this crippling disposition. In this volume, the author not only analyzes, but also speaks to both the culprit and enablers of the entitled on how to jettison this attitude of being special, being owed, refusing to take responsibility and blaming others.

Hitting at the core of the book, I realized I actually love Townsend’s style of writing! Addressing the relational patterns that drive entitlement (Chapter 2), he gives the practical markers of how we often feed the entitlement monster and thereby foster attitudes of entitlement (example: praising what takes no effort; praising what is required; praising what is not based on reality; etcetera). Unfolding five principles that can restore the problem ALL of us have with entitlement (some more than others.) While all five principles are of notable mention, I do think one of the components outlined by Townsend is how denial, perfectionism and narcissism attribute to the pressure, stress and emptiness that accompany their intended. Entitlement limits our good and our growth, according to the author. I do agree! 

One of the very central themes in this volume is Townsend’s description of feeling deserving to taking responsibility. He says that there is a right way to deserve and there is a wrong way to deserve; and explains how responsibility is not only right, but the practical ways to assume responsibility (Chapter 8). One of the things I like is Townsend’s conventional use of what he calls “NHT”. In short, this means “Next Hard Thing.” Townsend argues that our NHT is the choice we all need to make that moves us beyond the difficulty. In a real sense, what separates the good from the great, the best from all things average…is the ability and willingness to move past the proverbial areas of discomfort. According to the author, this requires 1) Carving out time 2) Going against the flow of life 3) Going against other’s expectations 4) Starting a ground zero (ie – “at the bottom”), etc. In this recourse, there are two (2) specific dynamics I would like to spotlight here in conclusion. One is saying when you are wrong (Chapter 13) and facing the pain that gets you somewhere (Chapter 14). I think that these two chapters and dynamics are key to understanding Townsend’s entire point. 

In summary, I would suggest this as a read for anyone who is looking to practically stop being an enabler to those who are highly entitled; and as a practical guide to taming the entitled monster who lives inside of us all. I give the book two thumbs up; and a 9 on a scale of 1 to 10. I would also suggest this as a great read for parents, couples and church leaders. 

 

Chris Bailey’s ‘Productivity’

  
At the start of 2016, I think it is important to evaluate and explore the level of our productivity in any given arena. Chris Bailey does a stellar job of coaching his readers through such in his newly-released volume “Productivity.” In short, this volume is not your average spin on productivity. In a real sense, it is a practicum on how one can and should effectively master the use of their time and time.  

Bailey takes a year out of his young life to do an experiment on productivity. What he finds are some astonishing facts about himself, the human race and research that points to how we, as humans, can effectively make the best use of our time, energy and attention. Within the first section of his work, Bailey stresses the importance of discipline and focus by way of the use of meditation. Take note that this is not a Christian or Spiritual Book. However, Bailey highlights an essential element to not only being a person of character and faith; but being grounded requires a time of being centered and focused on the spiritual reality surrounding who we are. In my faith and the dynamics of spiritual formation, I consider this essential in how we work and serve in Christian ministry. As we set our priorities, we are then poised to work smart, knowing that all tasks are not created equal; and learn to identify what is most important. 

 

Bailey contends that productivity is about working deliberately and not, as he terms it, working on ‘autopilot.’ Working deliberately helps you and I to locate priorities in our work, to define the big picture of our tasks and to discern how best we can take control of the obligations at hand. The central pieces of this kind of drive are focus and discipline. As Bailey says: “…productivity has nothing to do with how much you do, and everything to do with how much you accomplish.” (12) Efficiency in our work is no longer enough; it is all about accomplishment. As a strong proponent of daily meditation, Bailey asserts that productive people not only manage their time, but they also manage their attention and their energy well. To this author, the three ingredients of productivity are time, energy and attention; and doing it deliberately and intentionally.  

 

A very important component in this volume is what Bailey terms our Biological Prime Time (BPT). He argues that, by taking a self-assessment in tracking the fluctuations of our own energy levels throughout any given day, we are then poised to take steps to becoming more productive, committing our high-impact tasks to our BPT. As the author stressed, productive people don’t just manage their TIME well; they manage their ENERGY and ATTENTION well. Interestingly, if I may apply this to the arenas of relationships or in ministry, we can typically scale our progress in any given relationship or in our spiritual growth in where we assign our energy and attention, as well as our time. In 2016, it should be a general rule of our proverbial thumb not to assign energy to non-impact influences, low-impact thoughts or mundane things that consume our attention. The key point is to spend your time more intelligently and to make every effort to “punctuate your productivity.” Generally, it is good to track our time; and, as Bailey contends, when we are aware of how we are spending our time, we are then prepared to make adjustments. I like that he not only gives us the what of maximizing the use of time (after all, most already know they need to manage their time more efficiently); but he walks the reader through the process of doing as such. As this is important to all persons in every station in life, it also applies to how we plan our study time in devotion/meditation, personal growth and time for sermon preparation. Knowing your strong points throughout the day allows you to appropriate and allocate your creativity, sharpness and even vulnerabilities, all that are needed.

 

The book consists of eight (8) sections. All of them have a different variable; but all of them are simply and overarching of one theme: controlling your mind; redirecting your attention; choosing what you give priority to; getting started on tasks and choosing where you will procrastinate. 

 

Overall, I think the book of overwhelmingly filled with practical principles and tools to prioritize and maximize our productivity; and thus becoming more effective in what we accomplish, short term and long term. Bailey gives a lot of information. I don’t think this book is for the faint of heart. In like manner, it is not an easy-read. However, on a scale of 1 to 10, I give this book a 7.5. Again…it is not your typical book on productivity. Therefore, I’d suggest giving it a read!

Sunday Reflections 

IMG_5586God be praised for a wonderful Lord’s Day!  The first Sunday of 2016 has come and it has gone. 

Overcoming several challenges and celebrating a few milestones, I am excited about what this new year has to offer. Whole o make no claims to know what 2016 entails, I am praying for a great year!

Here’s my outline… 

Title: Facing Life’s Defining Moments
Text: Genesis 12:1-9

C.I.T.: God uses unlikely people to faithfully demonstrate obedience in the face of life’s most defining moments. 
I. Life’s Defining Moments Are Bigger Than You (Vs. 1) “Abram”

II. Life’s Defining Moments Require Your Participation (Vss. 4-6)

III. Life’s Defining Moments Require Leaving Well Enough Alone (Vs. 1)

IV. Life’s Defining Moments Require Following Instructions Without Having Directions (Vs. 1) “Leave…I will show you…”

V. Life’s Defining Moments Require Leaving the Place Called Yesterday (Vs. 1) “Leave your father’s house”

I rushed my study during the course of the previous week. In addition, I didn’t commit the time toward the study of this text, as I should have. Because this is a part of a future publication, I will really need to work through it and get it right. While I was displeased with the overall delivery of the sermon, I believe God blessed the message and I am thankful for the 3 souls who made s decision. 

It is a privilege to serve in the capacity of a senior pastor; and to serve the people of God; particularly in sharing the Word of God. My prayer is that God would continue to bless the fruit of our labor, our local congregation and His work for His glory. 

How was your weekend & Sunday?  Thanks for visiting and reading my blog. I pray you have a great week!

2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,200 times in 2015. If it were a cable car, it would take about 37 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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