Kraig Lowell Pullam

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

Archive for the tag “Blogging”

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!

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!


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???

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