Saturday, September 27, 2008

W.O.W Weekend

W.O.W... It's been a tremendous week of worship, word, and fellowship. I have thoroughly been humbled and honored by the opportunity to share with Pastor Lloyd Pullam (my dad's brother) and the St. Emmanuel Baptist Church for their W.O.W. weekend. This is a ministry event/outreach effort of the college ministry. They have accepted a great challenge and call to college students on the North Texas State and Texas Women's University campuses. I was privileged to share with them on last year in this Revival and was pleasantly surprised to see that the ministry had grown almost three-fold. God be praised for their dedication to this group of young aspiring Christians.

I must admit, right off the cuff, that my impression and burden for this year was a bit different in light of the fact that I just took my oldest son off to college and "left my baby there." It has been one of the greatest adjustments to make in my life thus far. This overwhelmed me with an immediate reference to the importance of ministry to these young people who are often thousands of miles from home and embarking upon some of the greatest challenges in their life. How they make this transition and assimilate a "biblical world view" and "convictions concerning our Christ" are so vitally important for their success and continued presence in Kingdom Advancement agenda. Thus, sharing in this "Watch Out World: Your Breakthrough is on the Way" Weekend has been a great experience. God blessed the word in a mighty way and for this I am truly grateful. On last night three persons came forward to receive Christ and one to recommit her life to living for the Lord. Several of them have pulled me to the side to express how they've been touched and inquired about ways in which they can further apply the principles of the message. God is so faithful and awesome.

Well... On tomorrow morning, I will be sharing with the St. Emmanuel family again. I solicit your prayers that God will use me. I will be praying for ALL of you my blog-family that God will give you the strength, inspiration, and clarity needed to preach a solid, sound, and sincere word.

To God Be the Glory

Monday, September 22, 2008

Lord Send a Revival

It's now late Monday evening and I am in FULL gear preparing myself for revival on this week. On last year I was invited to share in a time of Revival for the College Ministry of St. Emmanuel Baptist Church in Denton Texas. The Lord was faithful and blessed our time there. Subsequently, I have been invited to share again on this year. It's an event they call "W.O.W. Weekend." The sub-caption being "Watch Out World It's Our Time to Shine." On Thursday and Friday Evening I will be responsible for sharing the preached word. I will then be the guest for a special Sunday worship experience in which they will have representation from the various Universities and Fraternities in the area proper.

I ask your prayers. I have struggled with many different thoughts. As always, I want to be relevant and helpful. I also want to be faithful and accurate in biblical exposition. This is not the time to allow "fads" and "topical trends" to overwhelm me, and I realize this. Even more, I have struggled with the thought of this being a Two Night revival, rather than three. This omits the usual "Get A Feel For It" night (night one), "Get Settled In" (night two), and "Close Out Strong" (night 3). Basically, in a situation like this, there is absolutely no room or time to try to "gage" the constituents/crowd and discern the tone for the week.

Well, I know that God has a perfect plan in mind. I will keep my blog family posted on the developments through the week. I just know that "the fervent effectual prayer of a the righteous avails much." So, please meet me in prayer that the Lord will be the central focus and voice on this week.


A Beef with Bogus "Bailouts"

Wow... What will we see next in the financial sector of this country? Now, I must rush to admit that I am not a political analyst, nor am I an economic advisor/specialist. I have a hard enough time keeping the "partisanship" and "payments" at an even kill in the modest-sized congregation where the Lord allows me to serve. I would dare not imply that I am the authority on what the government SHOULD do with what is, in every sense of the word, a RECESSION in our country. But, 740 BILLION dollars? What in the world is this administration thinking? That's a LOT of cash. Much of which will go to entities that have offices and origins in foreign countries. A country that has the BIGGEST deficit it's seen EVER. A country that is, as we speak, engaged in a multi-billion dollar war. The list goes on...

I have a "beef" with this. I am sure that I am not the only Pastor that has care over persons in the flock who are struggling with bankruptcy, foreclosure, lay-offs, poverty, etc. Don't know about you, but the government has yet to send any "bailout" money to these folks. I have seen them run into red tape when it comes to getting assistance and aid. I have seen honest intentioned, and qualified, people not able to find jobs. I have heard that social security is in jeopardy, along with the status of health care.

I am probably just rambling. I realize that my task is to be (Acts 6) "given to prayer and ministry of the word." However, it's a bit alarming to see such misdirection. Yes... We are pretty much in a "we have no choice" scenario now. But, it's a shame that the rich continue to get richer and CEO's of these fail stricken companies will still inherit innumerable fortunes. The mismanagement and wavering stewardship of these "Power Companies" escapes immediate retribution at the expense of the working class that often shiver at the thought of filling up their gas tank for the week.

Well... Jesus was right! "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also... You can't serve God and money." Truly humanitarian efforts will continue to be dismissed. Poverty will not sincerely be eradicated until we see a redirection of our country's affections.

But... With all that said, we have a great promise from our Father and Lord. "My God shall supply all my need, according to His riches in glory." So, I guess in the end we serve a God who specializes in "Divine Bailouts."

(Well Dad... I got to go there. You trained me to go there.)

ON CALVARY... Jesus was instrumental in a "Bailout" of immense and eternal proportions. "I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore. Very deeply stained within, sinking to rise no more. But the Master of the sea, heard my despairing cry. And from the waters lifted me, now safe am I."

So... I KNOW, that I don't have a problem with "Bailouts." Just Bogus ones...

By Calvary's Tie,
Kevin L. Pullam

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Did I Do That? No- God Did!

Hmmm... I did something that completely unnerves me. I prayed about, studied, and prepared a message for the better part of 10 days and then DID NOT preach it. As I mentioned in Friday's post, I went to a funeral service on Saturday. While at that funeral, a friend and brother beloved in the name of Rev. Keith Sanders preached a message from Psalms 22 and entitled it "When Heaven is Silent." He shared some thought provoking comments and commentary. Quite honestly, some of it strengthened my understanding and some raised my theological brow. I was led to go home and ponder these exhortations and the subsequent "tension of the text." The Lord ushered me into a retrospective glance of Psalm 23 in response to this seeming "Silence" of our Lord. It overwhelmed me. So much so, that even up to the preaching moment I wrestled with these nuggets/inspirations. I was torn between what I feel I had diligently studied (Acts 6) and what I now know that Lord was leading me toward. (I am sure most preachers understand how it feels to be torn between two text)

The worship was warm and celebratory. Wow... The people of our congregation are really growing in many ways. One of those ways is worship "in spirit and in truth." I am glad to see them maturing to understand the importance of expressive praise, especially it's roll in preparing the heart for receiving the Word. Rev. Williams prayed mightily, the choir sung tremendously (I got a piece of the last, and it was time. What would I do??? I had my bible opened to Acts 6 with my outline (on a notecard) readily by. WOW... I turned away from it and followed the Lord.

{DISCLAIMER: Now, I must give reference to one of my preaching "Icons" in the name of Pastor H.B. Charles. He tells of a situation in which a fellow preacher told him "I don't do all that studying and stuff like you guys. I just pray, stand up, and wait for the Lord to speak." Pastor Charles said that one week he had been in revival and came directly back to meetings and other responsibilities and by that Saturday night he was spent. So, this preacher's words came to mind and he figured he would try it. So he went to bed, got up that morning, prayed, and he stood behind the pulpit and waiting for God to speak. Pastor Charles says, "He did speak, and you know what He said? 'H.B., you should've studied.'"}

I turned to Psalm 23... I directed the congregation's attention to this beautiful song of the shepherd David. Consequently, Rev. Keith Sanders who had preached the funeral was there. In my introduction I explained the premise that Rev. Sanders had shared about the "Silence of God" at certain moments of our lives. And proceeded with the message that the Lord gave. I am thankful that it was the Lord who "ordered my steps." He was faithful in speaking to the hearts of us all. Several souls were added to the church and others testified of the help gleaned from the message. I will admit it doesn't have the hermeneutical flare that we are accustom to. Even more, no alliteration to tickle the fancy of those who've come to expect this "art." But, I am just thankful that "flunkersville" was not a scheduled stop on today. I realize that these matters can go south REAL quick when we have not availed oursleves to the will of God and "studied to shew ourselves approved." A VERY BRIEF idea of the message:

"Actions Speak Louder Than Words"
Psalm 23

Intro: There are those times (Like Psalm 22) when we feel as if God has "forsaken" us and refused to speak. The reality is there are times when God is silent. David understood this, even in the context of some of life's greatest disappointments. The same David that sobs (in Psalm 22) sings (in Psalm 23). "The Lord IS..." There are times in life where we have to be in tune and in touch with the "is-ness" of the Lord. We have a Father whose intrinsic attributes are so absolute that His silence doesn't render them void... So, in essence, David comes to the realization that there are times in my life when I was looking for the father to SAY something when He was in the process of trying to DO something. Now I must rush to say that the primary idea is that we adore and serve God for who He IS. However, what I also want you to rejoice about today is the reality that "because of who He IS you can rely on what He DOES." David, in a way, reminds us today that "Actions Speak Louder Than Words."

What "actions" do we see in the text? I want to call them the "7 Sureties of my Shepherd." My Shepherd:

1. Makes Me
2. Leads Me
3. Guides Me
4. Restores Me
5. Comforts Me
6. Anoints Me
7. Follows Me

I would love to expand the points and give the explanation, illustration, and application of each one. However, I know this post is ALREADY to long.

God Keep,


Friday, September 19, 2008

Weekend Here We Come

The ironic thing about Pastoral ministry is, as I believe I've pointed out before, our Friday is actually more like a Wednesday. Subsequently, our Sunday is more like Friday. This is simply because most of us go into extra high gear on Saturday and Sunday. They represent the climatic manifestation of what we have anticipated all week. Prayer, meditation, thesis construction, word study, cross reference, illustration, application, etc. Then the constant calls and dialogue about what should be included and excluded from the worship experience and celebration. All this, and more, adds to the "agony and ecstasy" I encounter every week as I attempt to be faithful to the cause of Christ and His Kingdom.

So, I am sitting here reviewing my notes from the week attempting to write a final "manuscript." (I will have to talk about that later... lol) Also, making sure that I am ready for my first Deacon's Training Session I have at 9am. (Wow... Got to tell y'all about that too.) Then there is a funeral service for a relative of one of our very active and faithful members. I plan to go straight there from the Deacon's meeting. Then there are a host of other "things" that are on the list that I won't bore you with mentioning.

Point is... It's clutch time again. Funny thing is, as you preachers know, we get that often too short breather on Monday and it's right back at it. Why??? Sunday's coming with a speed that can be disorienting.

I pray that every Man of God is endowed and indwelled with the Power of our Lord anew and afresh on this weekend. Then on Monday... Take some time for YOU.

God Be Praised,

Thursday, September 18, 2008

A Controversial Church

Sexual encounters between a son and step-mother. Influences of secular sects and temple prostitutes. Misunderstandings on the handling of sacrifices and treatment of the Pastor. Questionable practices surrounding the protocol in public meetings. People speaking out of turn and in undesirable ways for worship services. Misdirected mindset in the observation of Lord's Supper. Man... If there could be something to go wrong in a local church, the church at Corinth had it covered. Pastor McGhee, a beloved brother and blog buddy, has been sharing comments about his exposition of 1 Corinthians for the benefit of his congregation. It caused me to reflect our study of the same bible book on last year. As a backdrop, we used a book by Richard Ganz entitled "20 Controversies that Almost Killed a Church." I will be the first to admit it is not the most "scholarly" book as relates to the typical "commentary" we usually come to expect of well know and respected theological minds. However, it does present the church and it's problems in a real and relevant way. I thought I would share it as a suggestion to those of you who would like a relatively user-friendly read on the book of 1 Corinthians.

I'm Back!!!

Well... I realize that I'm not "all that." But, did you miss me? Our Father and Lord knows that I have missed every one of my blog buddies. It has been my daily intention to post and check on everyone else. However, the restart of another semester in school, church, family, etc. proved to nearly overwhelm my attention for the last two or three weeks.

I have been busy this morning trying to catch up with all of you. So, I think that's what I will continue to do until I go to school this afternoon. In the meantime, just know it's good to be back.