Kraig Lowell Pullam

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

Archive for the tag “congregation”

Sunday Reflections

1004729_10151526345174506_668343896_nThis past Lord’s Day had its fair share of challenges. I am five weeks into my series on the Book of Acts. The week started off great, with several challenges along the way. I would imagine if I were not a parent, or atleast a hands-on parent or husband, my preaching over the pulpit would be a little more exceptional. Parenting is HARD. I don’t want to say that it will get easier when they are older because, after all, do they ever really leave you? So…in short, last week…time just escaped me and somehow flew by. The routine is quite different, with trying to get my family more active at the gym and also spend more quality moments sharing, praying and being together. Needless to say, the evenings come fast; and there is very little time to waste. What does this mean for me? I can only hope to explain. I am a voracious reader. I will read any and everything. Also, I’ve developed a habit of storing (in my mind and on paper) the things I study and read regarding the message I plan to preach in a few days. My father taught me how to basically do disciplined and well-rounded study for sermon preparation; Dallas Baptist taught me how locate the right resources and collect/gather all of the information; seminary taught me how to combine all of this….on steroids! But what I struggle with is ‘sifting’ through it all and moving my sermon to the place of dislodging what I’ve heard H.B. Charles, Jr. note as ‘unecessary words.’ So….I can be different from many on Fridays and Saturdays. While many preachers may have too little to share, I have WAY too much! A typical sermon, for me, when it is finalized is about 5 to 7 pages, single-spaced, in Pages or Microsoft word, with an 11 font. My notes, before the sermon is scaled down to the final manuscript, is usually between 15 to 20 pages. Well…because I waited until Saturday to scale it down, I ended up rushing, with a final manuscript 10 and a half pages. Not good! As a result, I think I do a disservice to the overall flow of sermon delivery.

Fortunately, I kept my sermon to about 40 minutes. My usual time, for years, has been about 50 to 55 minutes; but my goal is to be around 30.

What have I learned?

I am aware that I am ambitious & impatient. There are 28 chapters in Acts; and I want to make a dent in this book; and feel I am getting no where. But I think this should be avoided. I have preached through Acts chapter 2 before; and it took me about 5 weeks to deal with Pentecost. What I found myself doing Sunday was trying to preach a 4-week sermon series in 40 minutes. While our congregation may have remarked the the message was helpful and people responded, I am aware that this may not be the best way to help the people. I’m thinking the best thing to do is either take my time, or so sift through the material so that, when it is delivered, it is condensed yet powerful and clear.

Here is my sermon outline:

a. God Keeps His living promise. (Dead men can’t always keep their promises)
b. God Keeps His personal promise. (Luke 24:49; Joel 2:28-32)
c. God Keeps His conditional promise. (Acts 1:4)
a.Where He shows up (Location)
b. How He shows up (Wind/Fire)
a. NEW ENVIRONMENT (verse 2)
b. NEW LANGUAGE (New tongues – the principle is diversity. We don’t speak the same language. i.e. – Mary and Martha)
d. NEW ATTITUDE (Verse 14…Peter is standing)

God be praised for His giving of direction in this portion of the scripture in Acts 2.  While I do feel that it would have been better for me to have taken a smaller portion and deal with it accordingly, it is now over; and if the Lord so allows, the time will come again to share.  Fortunately, I can work now to summarize it in review of the next portion of scripture, which is Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost.  

Thankful and grateful for the one who came forward.

The day ended with news that my maternal grandfather (my Mom’s Dad) had been rushed to the hospital in Corpus Christi.  He would move from labor to reward early the following Monday morning.  I am grateful for a life who touched so many.  Rev. Alvin Francis, Sr. will be missed.  Such a presence of a man is rare as the years go by.  Please keep the Francis and Pullam families lifted in prayer.

Touchy Preaching Topics

Toni RidgawIMG_3483.JPGay wrote an article some time ago where he goes on to say that 55% of pastors report topics they either preach on sparingly or not at all. Here is the list from the article:

Politics – 38 percent
Homosexuality – 23 percent
Abortion – 18 percent
Same-sex marriage – 17 percent
War – 17 percent
Women’s role in church and home – 13 percent
The doctrine of election – 13 percent
Hell – 7 percent
Money – 3 percent

I cannot help but wonder the reasons behind these statistics, that seem to reflect what I hear proclaimed and shared across pulpits throughout America in the 21st century. Rarely do we push the political button; and when we do, it typically bleeds the typical right-wing, Jerry Falwell, type of lingo that describes the ‘left’ as the Devil and everything on the ‘right’ as endorsed by God. Homosexuality and Same-sex attractions are quite prevalent in most churches, yet rarely is it addressed though often condemned or explained. The woman’s role in the church and home remains as untouched as ancient times, while many leaders fail to realize the woman’s role in the 1st century and prior were non-issues, in that day, just as were any other minority, including Gentiles. While it is addressed in the scripture (the role of women, Gentiles, etc.) we discard it an issue already covered in past times, that needs no further explanation. Election? Too complicated! Hell? Too mean! Money? Too personal! War? Too political.

We are living in a different era and time. As a consequence, these issues can no longer be ignored! At some point, messages that consist of ‘feel good’ placebo and focus on ‘haters’ will one day wear on God’s people. Well, atleast those who want more with regard to their faith in action amid a world that is vying for their attention and affections. Preaching on success in the workplace, at home and in finances are all important; and I believe these matters are addressed in scripture. But happens next after I have preached on success and the next level for the man in the pew (or pulpit) who is struggling with homosexuality? Or for that matter, he is no longer ‘struggling’ with it. What about the woman or girl who is surrounded by lesbian thoughts and tendencies? Or the person trained to believe that Christians are Republicans and non-believers are Democrats; and that giving a woman the right to choose is automatic murder while putting young troops in harm’s way in senseless war is noble? As a result, our churches are becoming a place where we talk about Heaven, and shout around the building about what’s on the way. However, we go home and live the same defeated lives.

I contend that BEING church far outweighs HAVING church. But I also believe that it is very possible to HAVE BOTH! However, when PASSION retards PROGRESS, how does this glorify the God Who created us?

The good news is – there is a way to address all of these issues without trying to figure out where to start. And there are a remnant of pastors and preachers who are doing it. It is through the verse-by-verse exposition of God’s Word. Anyone who would pick up God’s Word, open it, read it, study it and explain it…will, at some point, come across the aforementioned topics. This is necessary in teaching the people who hear (and proclaim) God’s Word to go home and LIVE the abundant life. And the exposition of the scripture inevitably shows us the HOW TO, and not just the WHAT! It is one thing for me to tell a person how nice Pebble Beach is; but it is another thing to tell them how to get there. Let us not spend so much time in our preaching, teaching and leading simply telling people how nice heaven is, and how great the next level is; but let us tell them practically, in God’s Word, how to get there. This is the challenge for me, in my dealings!

What say you?


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