Kraig Lowell Pullam

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

Archive for the tag “Inspiration”

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!

Farewell, Servant…

fullsizeoutput_5a00I have never fully dreaded the idea of attending the homegoing of a family member.  When my mother in law’s brother, Marvin Small, passed away…I felt it slightly.  But I never will forget the last time I saw him outside of our local neighborhood grocery store, sitting in his car….Uncle Marvin gave me a look of farewell.  I felt a sense of closure.  I eagerly gathered up the strength to be there for the extended family who had become my own, and our young son, Kai, who grew to know and love the quiet uncle who lived a few houses down the street from us.  I slightly dreaded attending that funeral; but this is different.  

My Uncle Lloyd is gone.  The tears I shed just even writing those words are hard to explain, especially for a man who never, ever cries; not even really much when my grandfathers passed away.  Getting the news from my first cousin this past Monday….upon hanging up the phone, I cannot explain the feelings that overtook me in that moment.  My father’s only living brother; the patriarch of our family….now gone.

Growing up with hearing problems, I used to think he was the visible twin of the invisible God because it seemed as if everyone called him “Lord!”  My brothers called him “Uncle Lord!”  And my own father called him “Lord!”  I determined he was somebody important!  

Over time, not only did I learn the difference between Lord and Lloyd, but I grew to appreciate his ubiquitous presence at monumental events.  As I grew, I would learn that DFW was not some hop, skip and jump from the Sparkling City by the Sea.  And yet….he was at my first sermon, there for every milestone event in the life of our family; and could always be heard in any setting….especially church.  

People loved to hear him sing “I Won’t Complain” and “My Soul Has Been Anchored.”  But to hear him sing “Because He Lives” was my favorite.  He sang it in March of 1994, at my first public sermon, during the invitation.  

Behind the scenes…he gave me a heads up on approaching a young lady from Houston I had been admiring at his church, who would eventually become my wife.  Behind the scenes…I called him in the Fall of 2015 to ask him about a church in Atlanta, and he instructed me to, rather, submit my inquiry and information to Shiloh in Fort Worth…a church I knew nothing about; and the place where I now pastor; and hope to retire.  My first 5-day revival, as a teenager, was at his church, St. Emmanuel, in Denton.  Surprisingly, amidst the poor sermons I preached, he’d invite me back a few times afterwards.  Eventually, he influenced Pastor R.L. Sanders to preach me each year in revival in Fort Worth.  In time, that led way to preaching in Oklahoma for many years for Pastor J. A. Reed, Jr.  When he was healthy, Uncle Lloyd would attend those revivals, even the ones in Oklahoma, regularly and nightly.  

Several years ago…Uncle Lloyd had a stroke.  Eventually, this led to his retiring from Pastoring.  It did not alter his mind; but it did slow him down.  I could see some changes in his life.  But I never saw him waver on his call and his love for God.  I am certain he wondered why God wouldn’t have healed him completely.  I am also sure, like anyone, it was challenging to depend on others to do for him what he once did for himself.  I would confide in him my wish for him to capitalize on what he had been left with, by God.  But I personally would ask God often to give him more years, more time, and healing.  

The last time I saw him…I felt I saw a glimmer of hope.  For the first time in a long while, he didn’t go to sleep on me.  He was talking and smiling; and sounding like his old self.  He perked up when talking about George McCalep, as we always did; and about his ministry that he had been planning to launch and expand.  It was like old times.  We talked about barbecue, Shiloh, and family.  

I finally expressed to him that I was leaving to head back to Keller.  And he said to me, “Before you leave, will you pray?”  I prayed with my Uncle.  I didn’t pray for healing (I honestly felt that God was answering that prayer).  I simply thanked the Lord for the journey.  I thanked the Lord for His peace.  I thanked Him for my Uncle.  I thanked the Lord for Aunt Janice, their children, grandchildren, friends and family.  I asked the Lord to let us all know beyond a shadow of any doubt that He is God and God all by Himself.  After our prayer together, I told him I love him and I would see him soon.  

My dread of attending my Uncle’s home going is not because of any regret; but it is in the fact that I just wished he had more time.  This loss has taken me to a new, somber, unexpected place.  It is hard to believe I will never hear his voice alive, on this side, again.  It is so hard to believe that the man who was always present for us (even after his stroke)….now rests in the arms of our Savior.  But somewhere through here there is a lesson about submitting to the will and wisdom of God.  All of our steps are ordered, including his and mine.  When our work is completed, until the final chapter….God will have the last word.  I thank the Lord for my Aunt Janice, who never wavered on fulfilling the vows “for better or worse; in sickness and in health….till death do us part.”  She is to be commended and applauded for all she has done.

My Uncle will be missed by many.

Oh, I’m certain he wasn’t perfect.  But I am certain he is in the presence of my Savior…..healed, whole, lifting up both of his hands, walking, SINGING, shouting, crying, rejoicing and worshipping. 

Uncle Lloyd in now in the presence of the LORD!

I’ll see him soon….but not yet!

 

Celebration of Life for Reverend Lloyd Anthony Pullam will be as follows:
Viewing on Friday, May 17th from 12-8pm
People’s Funeral Home
1122 E Mulberry Street
Denton, Texas 76205

Funeral Service on Saturday, May 18th 11am
St Andrew COGIC
608 Lakey Street
Denton, Texas 76205

 

God’s Gratuity

Rev. Thgrace3omas Spurgeon was a 19th Century Reformed Baptist preacher, most notably known as one of the two non-identical twins of the great Rev. Charles Hadden Spurgeon. Following the death of C.H. Spurgeon, Thomas followed his father in the pulpit, pastoring there for about 15 years at the Tabernacle Baptist Church in London. A notable preacher in his own right, I came across some inspiring words about God’s grace. And while it is free, this in no way diminishes the eternal fact of how much it cost. Today, these words bless me, when I reflect on salvation, my eternal security, His pardon and God’s gift to me through Jesus Christ, and His love that held Him to that rugged cross.

Thomas Spurgeon said…

“Salvation by grace is appropriated by faith. Grace is the fountain, but faith is the channel. Grace is the life-line, but faith is the hand that clutches it. And, thoroughly and finally to exclude all boasting, it is declared that the salvation and the faith are both the gift Of God. ‘And that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.’ That salvation is God’s gift is evident. ‘The gift of God is eternal life through Christ.’ The free gift, The gift of grace, The gift of righteousness—these phrases determine the fact that salvation is itself a Divine present to man. ‘Salvation,’ cried C. H. Spurgeon in the great congregation, ‘is everything for nothing! Christ free!—Pardon free!—Heaven free!’ Thanks be to God for a gratuitous salvation!”

 

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