Kraig Lowell Pullam

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

Archive for the month “June, 2020”

Sunday in Retrospect

God be praised for another Lord’s Day.

Admittedly, I am ready for this pandemic to be over. More recently, I’ve found myself wondering if the pandemic will ever end. Maybe I’ll look back upon this blog, grateful for the challenges 2020 presented; and smile at how we made it through this time, thankful for the vaccine created; and overwhelmed at all of the blessings that emanated from this time in all of our lives. Of course, with all of the news, opinions and rumors…from the spikes in new cases to the notion this may last two years to the hypothesis which says this is the ‘new AIDS’…people are drawn to fear, cynicism and anxiety. That being said…I miss my parents; my brothers; and my Shiloh family.

I’ve been preaching to a crowd of ten or less for about three months now. The early days of my pastoral ministry were full of empty chairs, a few amens; and quiet moments following the preaching event. You would think I, of all people, would be in my element; and at home in such an environment. The issue is, for me, I fell in love with the PEOPLE of Shiloh; and not the place. The place is beautiful and prestigious. Built in the 60’s, it is dated, but there is a regal flair about our church facilities. But the people of Shiloh – I can write a book about the uniqueness of our members. As I have contemplated the past few years about how we can grow, build a state of the art College ministry to attract the students of TCU and Texas Wesleyan; and expand our men and women and couples ministries to galvanize and facilitate ministry to ‘families’, I often wonder where will we find those persons who will ‘click’ and ‘stick’ to 1) such an eccentric pastor (I admit I am special. But so was my predecessor, so most of the members accept me) 2) such a unique, eclectic group of great people. I conclude that God will do it. I am seeing Him placing us in a position to move us to that reality.

Leading up to Sunday was both challenging and unusually peaceful and empowering. Somehow, what I had been wrestling with for some time in my own life, God gave peaceful reassurance that He would be with me and stand by me. Actually…not that He is with me; but that I am with Him.

We celebrated our high school graduates!!! I look forward to the month of June because every year we celebrate them on the 2nd Sunday of this month. For many years, Pastor Acie Jefferson, who pastors in Houston, would share with the graduates an uplifting message. This year, I was led to get someone local; and also someone who had ties to our congregation; Rev. Michael Green, from Concord Church, in Dallas. Because of the pandemic, things changed. I encouraged our Minister of Youth (now in charge of Graduate Recognition) to preach. He implored me to speak to our graduates. Lord knows I’ve been talking so much during this pandemic that it has seemed so hard to remain fresh; and especially relevant to these young people. He suggested that this year is different; and in the midst of a worldwide crisis, they need to hear from their spiritual leader. Now I don’t know if he was just trying to get out of speaking; but I accepted the challenge. I have preached every Sunday since the pandemic started; and taught every Wednesday night. As strange as it seems, I’ve enjoyed it! Though it is quite tedious; and I pray God’s people are being blessed…I am grateful that our people keep returning.

I shared from Psalm 105 and talked about God’s promises. It is a passage I preached from once before probably over 10 years ago. The one thing I have learned during this season (something I thought I’d mastered) is that there are many surprises with technology. Going live is really GOING LIVE. This has really been a work in progress for us. The real MVP in our church is a man who leads the media ministry in our church. The Lord placed him upon my heart after first arriving; because of his spirit. God has given me the gift of discernment (it is one of my spiritual gifts); and I knew instinctively that he was loyal, passionate, teachable and an emblazoned leader. In addition, a Prarie View A&M Grad (I’m’ partial to PV alumni; my great grandmother attended and taught there many years ago). He has worked very hard to make sure our media goes and continues. Shiloh should be so very proud of him. While people thank me for working hard to get our streaming going, and moving us into the 21st century – he’s the guy who took it, ran with it – in the midst of having a full-time job; and his own things going on. I will always have his back.

That being said…we wanted our visit with our graduates to surprise them the day before, added. On my way to church, I was informed that the video presentation would not be ready following praise and worship, as we had planned and worked on for about a month; and more than likely, it wouldn’t be ready at all. How I was able to focus on my message; in addition to some important things I needed to follow up on with our church; plus ending the note with telling our members, the graduates; and their visiting families who were tuning in – ‘oh by the way…we don’t have a presentation. But thanks for watching!’

God knows me. That’s what I do know. He knew I had something pressing on my heart; and He ALSO knew I wanted to make the day special for our graduates and also appreciate the hard work the media and our Minister of Youth did. Any feelings of not sharing what I knew I needed to share were placed aside not only by conviction, and communicating with our members; but because I couldn’t end the service. It was almost as if God was saying to me literally, ‘You won’t get out of this. Share what I told you to share.’ God’s reassurance is so overwhelmingly peaceful. When I finished sharing what He told me to share; I looked up….and the video was ready.

I already try to look for a lesson in every blog. Maybe the lesson here is that we trust God’s process. It is so very important to move when God says move; and remain still (and quiet) until God says move ahead. It is so dangerous for us to get ahead of God. It is even more dangerous to speak out of turn, when God says to keep silent. God really will fight every one of your battles – in your family, your ministry, your work environment and anything else. If you remain obedient; prayerful; walk with integrity and do right by God and love people – God will place a hedge around you; and he will also expose the antics of the adversary.

In what ways have you seen God’s hand at work in your life during this pandemic? What have you done to make it through this season? I would love to hear from you. Please comment, share and subscribe. Blessings to you this week!

2020 MidYear Review…

If you’ve never read any of my blogs since 2008 or so, I’d encourage you to atleast read the one before this one.  I would also encourage you to subscribe; as well as share this blog with someone you may know.  My blogs (when I do write) are intentionally candid, transparent and brutally honest.  As a ‘church kid’ I do still remain subtle and try to remain ‘politically correct’, to protect the innocent, the faint of heart; and most importantly, the people I love; and my church.

That being said….

If you take the time to read my last post back in January…there is a glimmer of excitement, hope and relief.  Contained therein, there is an unspoken sense of ‘I’ve been through the storm and rain; and 2020 is going to be an exciting year.

For ALL (or most) of us….I sure seemed off.  This has been some kind of year.  I’ve seen so many memes referencing 2020; and how rough this year has been, from ‘Can we just skip the 2020 album, and go to the next 2021 track’ to so many others.  My favorite has been the meme I saw by one of my friends I’ll call ‘CBB’.  She is a former member of our church; and she never disappoints with the memes.  The meme is entitled, ‘If 2020 was a slide’. The slide is a cheese grater!

For me….as I wrote my last blog, I knew God was leading me to make a decision in my own life and ministry; that I had prayed so many times about, over a couple of years.  I’d promised the Lord that I would move in His time; and no matter what anyone said, I would move on His timetable.  As I wrote the last blog, I didn’t even know if I’d be bold enough to obey God; or how my decision would effect anyone involved.  What I did know is that I feared God, more than anyone else.  My intention is not to go into details regarding any of that.  My intention is to say to you – after I moved in the direction God instructed me to move, I traveled to Jacksonville, Florida for the Southern Baptist Pastor’s Conference, held at First Baptist Church in Jacksonville.  The conference was empowering, enlightening; and the things I learned and the people I met simply made the time there seem like things were just coming together.  I had never been to SBC’s Pastor’s conference held at First Baptist Jacksonville.  My father had been while I was in high school; and Jerry Vines and Mac Brunson (their previous pastors) were two of my favorites.  But it is just a plethora of encouragement, insights and empowerment.

Lord knows I needed it.  2019 (so I thought) was a rough year…just dealing with a suprising loss in our church family.  One brother we lost was such a major encouragement to me personally.  He was not a deacon or a trustee.  He wasn’t an usher or a Sunday School teacher.  He was just a ‘regular guy’ from Louisiana, retired from Delta Airlines; and just supported his new pastor.  He had been on oxygen for a couple of years; and had been struggling through that; having good days and bad days.  But I just admired how he would make his way to Bible Studies on Wednesday nights; how he would help with our security and safety personnel; and he never left church without talking to me.  One Sunday I was in the foyer greeting parishioners as they departed; and he was waiting (as usual) for me to finish.  Finally, he said he’d see me on Wednesday night.  A day or so later, he was gone.  I never shall forget doing something I advise no pastor (especially a professional chaplain) to do.  There in the hospital, in front of his wife and daughter, I broke down and cried like a little baby.  As some know, I am not a crier.  Little did I know that God was preparing my tear ducts for 2020.  I miss him so much; and he will be one of the first men I look for, after I see Jesus.

During my time in Jacksonville, my father met me there; along with a dear friend of my family, whom I call my uncle.  Being an alumnus from Dallas Baptist and Southwestern Seminary, it was also a joy to see quite a few old colleagues, professors, classmates, etc.  I was unsettled by the brewing tensions 2020 would bring; but excited about pleasing God.

I did something I don’t normally do, in 15 years of pastoring – I stayed over Sunday.  I visited my friend, H.B. Charles’ church (Shiloh in Jacksonville).  After church, I spoke to one of my best friends, Bertrain Bailey; and we shared our Sunday experiences, as we often do.  Of course, I didn’t have much to say.  I hadn’t preached; and I had only heard reports of the great time our people had back at home as Shiloh in Fort Worth.  As we spoke, Bertrain tells me, ‘Man…I’m seeing on the news that Kobe Bryant just died.’  My closest friends know I have always been a Kobe fan; and would always argue that he was better than the inimitable Michael Jordan.  As a matter of fact, my intention was to name my youngest son Kobe; to no avail.  I told him, ‘Don’t play like that.  We don’t play about Kobe.’ He said, ‘No dude, I’m seeing this on the news.’  From there…It has been a blur.

Kobe was, in fact, killed, along with others, in a helicopter crash; and the world rocked.  Without even settling down long enough, we were hit by the Coronavirus Pandemic.  And most recently, the injustices of the killings of unarmed black men and women; and the outrage that now ensues.  If things could get no worse – with family members who have fallen ill, members of my church losing family members, etc; the shocking loss of Pastor Manson B. Johnson of the Holman Street Baptist Church, has dealt another devastating blow.

Here is my summation to this blog…just in case you think the world revolves around your little worries; God knows how to allow a world of bigger problems to eclipse what you are facing.

To be sure, the things in my world continue to move on and move forward.  It is my prayer that God will continue to show Himself faithful, in the midst of any challenge any of us may face, individually or in this world.  Never forget the words of 1 Peter 5:7, which says, “Casting all your care upon Him; for he cares for you.’

Nobody told you that the road was going to be easy.  If they did, they lied to you! As long as you live this life, and seek to make an imprint, there will be challenges along the way.  It is so important to:

1. Remain Prayerful
2. Trust God (In God we trust, everyone else we thoroughly investigate)
3. Follow His Word
4. Walk with Integrity
5. Write everything down, including your story
6. Treat people right
7. Let God fight your battles

The good news is – if you’re reading this blog, you made it through some of the worst times in human history!!!  Just think – we get to live in this time.  And God is so gracious to allow us to experience it.

Be encouraged as you go throughout this process.  May you find joy on your journey!

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