Kraig Lowell Pullam

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

Archive for the month “February, 2021”

Winning Through Daily Discipline

Yesterday, Tom Brady & the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated Patrick Mahomes & the Kansas City Chiefs (31-9) in Super Bowl 55. So many were intrigued with the prospect of a forty-three year old Tom Brady (who some call ‘The G.O.A.T.’ in the NFL) could overcome the challenge of defeating the defending QB Super Bowl champion of 26 year old Mahomes (aka ‘The Kid”). Many wondered. Vegas placed their bets. Two opposing teams gave their best. Only one team won!

People desperately want to win at life. Whether it is a career, a relationship, a job situation, a bet, or game, or a quarrel… Everyone wants to succeed in everyday life, and Christian’s are no different. People search frantically for tips from books, horoscopes, periodicals, tarot cards, and from ‘experts’ on TV talk shows. Tragically, it seems as if Christians and Christ-followers are looking everywhere to learn how to ‘win’ at parenting, in finances, the workplace and other areas of life. Whether it is Dr. Phil or Dr. Oz or Oprah or Delilah After Dark or Dr. Laura – these persons will always fall short. Our greatest strength and clearest direction is sanctioned and situated in God’s Word; and not the manmade ideologies that direct the world.

We win through WISDOM. Wisdom emanates from God. We learn from God through His WORD.

Proverbs 1:1-2 speaks of our gaining of wisdom. The main word for wisdom in Proverbs (hokma) includes being moral but goes beyond that. It is the ability to make the right choice, even when there is no moral law directing us in a specific area. The three marks of wisdom are: discipline, discernment, and discretion.

Let’s take discipline. In verses 2 and 3 of Proverbs 1 we see instruction – training with strong accountability. It means being drilled and examined by an instructor who constantly remains in your face. So then, how does wisdom come?

Proverbs 27:5 tells us that it comes through the personal confrontation of a friend.
Proverbs 26:11 tells us that it comes from our mistakes.
Proverbs 3:11-12 tells us that it comes through the suffering and difficulty God allows in our lives.

To be certain, wisdom springs forth in us each time we journey through the wilderness and through the storms in our lives.

Wisdom’s trademark is when we become disciplined through every trial, test, and even temptation. This disciplined wisdom is not given to impulse, but to learning how many things require prayer, silence, peace, and surrender. Just as a musician can only become skilled through persistent practice, and an athlete can only become physically competent after rigorous training, so wisdom is won through the discipline of searching after God’s heart through His Word.

How have you grown in your daily walk with God in wisdom? What helps you become a more disciplined disciple and follower of Jesus Christ?

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Blessings!

Here’s Your Invitation

Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn her seven pillars.
She has slaughtered her beasts; she has mixed her wine; she has also set her table.
She has sent out her young women to call from the highest places in the town,
“Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!” To him who lacks sense she says,
“Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed.
Leave your simple ways, and live, and walk in the way of insight.” – Proverbs 9:1-6 (ESV)

There’s an invitation for you!

In Proverbs 9 we see of Wisdom and Folly as rival young women. Each of them are preparing a lavish feast; and both of them are inviting people to attend. Solomon gives a disclaimer – Wisdom is a responsible woman of character while Folly is a prostitute serving stolen food. Wisdom appeals to the mind and heart. Folly appeals to the senses and impulsivity. Solomon contends that it is easier to excite the senses, but the pleasures of Folly are temporary and destructive. Conversely, the satisfaction that Wisdom brings yields lasting results, though often slow in it’s activation and can be easily abandoned by distractions, personal pursuits, and legitimate demands.

Lady Wisdom calls for us to find the right directions to her house where the feast awaits us. What moves us toward growth in either Wisdom or Folly are ultimately the love, commitment, and priorities that drive us. Think about it this way – you cannot overcome unforgiveness if your driving force is being in control. You cannot overcome bitterness or slander if you are driven by the approval of people. You cannot overcome workaholism if you are consumed by the accumulation of status, money, or affirmation. What we learn in choosing the invitation to join in and attend to the feast with Wisdom is more than WILLPOWER. If we ever seek to gradually grow and become ‘better’, it is through a reordering of our desires that will bring wisdom.

The way of wisdom is not through a quick fix, trending gimmicks, or a dramatic turnaround. The way of wisdom is traveling down the road each day that entails long training and daily discipline and….FOCUS. While focus can be mind and will; it is HEART. Proverbs 4:23 instructs us to, ““Guard your heart above all else, for from it flow the issues of life”. Don’t just believe in the goodness of God–but savor Him and His power and His heart in WORSHIP. God desires our unreserved pursuit of Him, such that our desire pursues to dine and commune with Him as we seek His face and heart, not only his hands (what He gives).

“Come and dine!” There are two houses and two invitations. Again….wisdom offers you a banquet of bread, meat, and wine; folly offers you stolen bread and water. Wisdom promises you life, but if you eat at folly’s table, you will die.

The banquet described in Proverbs 9 has an interesting parallel to Christ’s parable described in Luke 14:15-24. In Christ’s parable, many are invited but never make it to the celebration because thy are sidetracked by other activities that seem more important at the time. Today, don’t let anything become more important than your pursuit of God and your search for His wisdom.

What or who is vying for your attention today? Pastors and leaders…how are you deciphering what is pressing versus what is a priority? Christian…is there anything in your life that knocks God off of the throne of your heart, and inhibits your pursuit of God fully and completely?

Wisdom.
Folly.
Which house will you enter?

Please share your thoughts in the comments. I would love to hear from you!

Please like this blog, follow us; and share with a friend. – Pastor P.

What Do You Say?

“Kraig, what do you say?”

Growing up as a “PK”, aka “A Preacher’s Kid”, and the son of active church members, this is a question I heard quite often. After one of the church members would come up to us, give us a gift or a piece of candy, my mother would assert, “….what do you say?” The correct response was, “Thank You!” Growing up, I was a very quiet kid. Preaching at 15, followed by college, ministry, and pastoring pushed me out of my proverbial shell. But in those moments as a little child, after receiving the gift, I would hold my head down, stare at the ground, with no expression.

In leadership we understand that every member of our team has an innate desire to be valued, needed, recognized, applauded, included. Each team member should be valued in the leader’s eyes. Of course, this applies to any relationship or friendship, and in any other arena where teamwork and comradery are involved. Leaders should be the first to recognize the accomplishments and achievements of others. Most people serve and work better when they are affirmed, applauded, and told they are appreciated for their work, commitment, loyalty, and faithfulness.

It is not by accident that Genesis 1:27 affirms for us that our first parents, Adam and Eve, were created in the image of God. The theological term we often use for this is imago Dei….that we are made in God’s image. This is not merely an anthropomorphic spotlight (hands, eyes, etc); but it is more an expression of our inherent, internal qualities and are intrinsically tied to who we are. These entail our tendencies (the good ones), our proclivities, are attributes, and the like – but without sin. We like intimacy, and we are prideful. We can become jealous, and despise enemies. Of course, these qualities and characteristics come from God – but He possesses these attributes without sin. Our sinful nature is what makes pride and jealousy and despising our enemies and our pursuit of intimacy so dangerous.

Here’s another one – God loves and craves affirmation. There are many examples in scripture of God seeking and desiring His people to bask in His presence, affirm His goodness, relish His power, massage His ego, and give Him the praise He so rightly deserves. As a matter of fact, when having a conversation with a Samaritan woman at a well, Jesus tells her in John 4:24 that God is “seeking worshippers….”.

How does this apply to you and I in this moment? I’m glad you asked!

I am sure you have so many things to complain about. Maybe there are some mistakes you’ve made in life recently that simply do not reflect the best version of ‘you.’ There is so much good in the worst of us and so much bad in the best of us that there can often seem very little good in the rest of us. There are so many who have lost their lives during this pandemic (with numbers continuing to rise), people who are apprehensive about the new vaccines, and fears and anxieties are high because of financial challenge, relational instability, loss of friendships, and the like.

In the midst of it all….I contend there is something you have left. There is the gift of your praise and worship and gratitude to your Father! Whatever you are facing today, the more you lavish your affection upon Him, He will fill you with His presence and His power.

In your hurt….thank Him.
In the midst of your despair….worship Him.
After your errors…return to your place of worship, and bow before Him.

There are things and people and problems and situations in your life that will seek all of your attention and allegiance today. Consequently, the things that have your allegiance and your attention, will also have your affection. The Bible calls these ‘idols.’

I want to encourage and admonish you – whenever you are tempted to amplify non-essential, temporal things, shift your attention toward the God Who longs to hear you talk to Him (Jeremiah 33:3), long for Him (Psalm 42:1), and abide in Him (John 15).

What do you say? Tell Him “Thank You!”

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