Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday, October 26, 2008

We had an awesome time in our Worship Gathering on the last Lord's Day of this month. I am really enjoying our series, 'No More Church As Usual', and yesterday we continued with our third message in this series. I am at a crossroads in our ministry - I see how, in many ways and through many of our people, the Lord is actually demonstrating His intentions and the progressive possibilities within our church; but then there are some persons (or shall I say spirits) in our church that, for whatever reason, refuse to let go of the past, or the people who have moved on - and even in my spirit it is difficult for us to forge ahead. I am praying for them. Apparently they care for and love our church, but the negative, cantankerous spirit is hard for not only a new church, buy ANY church seeking to exalt and centralize Christ in every facet. Nevertheless - WORSHIP at the Stone was 'off the chain'; and the Lord tremendously used the message from Acts 2.

The highlight of my day (though already on a high) came after leaving our service during Sunday School and going to visit my home church in the city, Pleasant Hill. I got word that my old mentor and friend, Dr. Cleophus LaRue, was in town and would be preaching. LaRue is Princeton Theological Seminary’s Francis Landey Patton Associate Professor of Homiletics. He has also writted some great works, including the 'Heart of Black Preaching' and 'Preaching in the Pulpit' that features H.B. Charles and Ralph West, two of my favorites. Dr. LaRue is also from Corpus Christi, grew up with my parents in the same church and school, and just a great friend of our family.

Dr. LaRue preached a message out of Mark 14 entitled, 'Three Kinds of Trouble.' Awesome message!!!

After service I had a chance to fellowship and commune with LaRue and my Pastor for a few hours, which, of course, was another treat. Just to sit with these men, talk about theology, politics, the coming election and changes taking place, and everything else - was certainly rich and refreshing.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

5 Questions

I have been engaged in a personal study of Creeds and Confessions from the Early Church. It is astonishingly amazing how these confessions and creeds speak to me both personally and spiritually. The first 5 questions and answers of the Westminster Larger Confession are quite striking and clear:

Question 1: What is the chief and highest end of man?

Answer: Man's chief and highest end is to glorify God, and fully to enjoy him forever.

Question 2: How does it appear that there is a God?

Answer: The very light of nature in man, and the works of God, declare plainly that there is a God; but his Word and Spirit only do sufficiently and effectually reveal him unto men for their salvation.

Question 3: What is the Word of God?

Answer: The holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the Word of God, the only rule of faith and obedience.

Question 4: How does it appear that the Scriptures are the Word of God?

Answer: The Scriptures manifest themselves to be the Word of God, by their majesty and purity; by the consent of all the parts, and the scope of the whole, which is to give all glory to God; by their light and power to convince and convert sinners, to comfort and build up believers unto salvation: but the Spirit of God bearing witness by and with the Scriptures in the heart of man, is alone able fully to persuade it that they are the very Word of God.

Question 5: What do the Scriptures principally teach?

Answer: The Scriptures principally teach,: What man is to believe concerning God, and: What duty God requires of man.

May the Lord continually use and infuse us in Christian Ministry - as we hold high the blood-stained banner of the Christian Life; this blood and flows from the pierced wounds of our lovng Savior!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

No More Church as Usual, Part 2

You've Been Approved
Acts 2:14
I. Separation
II. Assignment
III. Intercession (Luke 23:31)

No More Church as Usual, Part 1

Here is a general outline.
Acts 2:1-14

I. The Formula FOR the Filling
a. Replacement of Some Relationships (chapter 1:12-26)
b. Maturity to Handle What we Cannot Manipulate (vs. 1 'Suddenly')

II. The Fallout FROM the Filling (Verse 2)
a. '...the whole house'.
b. '...spoke in languages'; not tongues - rather, foreign languages.
Principle 1: When the Spirit shows up, things that you don't have the ABILITY to do, you start doing and can't explain how.
Principle 2: When the Spirit shows up, there is the Manifestation of Diversity
Question: What's YOUR language?
KEY: We may not speak the same language in our giftedness, worship, talents, etc. - but we should ALL be saying the SAME THING.
God needs you to speak your language.
c. '...others mocked'. There are others in every crowd.

III. The Freedom IN the Filling vs. 14 'But Peter...standing'.
a. Peter's history (Denial, switchblade, etc.)
b. God specializes in redeeming the reject.
c. God gives you a NEW attitude.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Spurgeon on Human Emotions

"A sinner has a heart as well as a head; a sinner has emotions as well as thoughts; and we must appeal to both. A sinner will never be converted until his emotions are stirred. Unless he feels sorrow for sin, and unless he has some measure of joy in the reception of the Word, you cannot have much hope of him. The Truth must soak into the soul, and dye it with its own colour. The Word must be like a strong wind sweeping through the whole heart, and swaying the whole man, even as a field of ripening corn waves in the summer breeze. Religion without emotion is religion without life."

- C.H. Spurgeon

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sunday, October 19, 2008

We had an awesome time in Worship this Lord's Day. The week has been far spent; and though I haven't laid down or batted an eye since rising at 6:30am this morning, I am thankful and grateful for God being gracious enough to show up today. Attendance is picking up since the aftermath of Hurricane Ike. I don't think it has gotten much press--but the Hurricane really did shake Houston. All in all, I am both excited about and anticipate a fresh course taken in our direction and commitment as a church family during this month of what I am deeming a time of re-commitment and renewal. By God's grace, we continued the second part in our series in Acts chapter 2 with 'No More Church as Usual'.

God smiled upon the message and the members are spreading the word around the city about our ministry. Of course, this is ONLY the beginning when we consider the fact that Christ's call is for us to take the sanctuary to the streets. All in all, I seek your prayers in the area of our witness--and sharing Christ in our immediate contexts and cultures.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Out of the loop...but all is well.

I have been out of the loop this past week. As many of you may know - this has been a hectic time for me with all of the many things going on. Most importantly, please keep my wife D'Ani in your prayers. This past Friday we had to take her to the Emergency Room - and have been dealing with some things since that time. She is at home and doing well; her spirits are well. D'Ani is very strong; and an extremely strong woman of faith and virtue. I ask that during this week if you will lift her up in your prayers; and also that I will be an encouragement to her during this time - as her husband and as her pastor. Thanks!!!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Today we had an awesome time in worship. I am just blown away by how the Lord can do what He wants to do whenever He wishes to do so. Of course, I am not the only one the Lord smiled upon; but just reporting on my experience. Attendance is picking up since the Hurricane. Of course - I wasn't satisfied; but by the time we departed, I am completely convinced that every single person who was there...God specifically arranged their priorities and schedules to make it there. And those who were not...God had something else in mind. I started a series yesterday from the Book of Acts chapter 2 entitled, 'No More Church As Usual'. I am amazed in seeing how God used the message to challenge our church, collectively and personally. For the first time in my history as Pastor...nobody seemed to want to leave. Because of some events this past week, I contemplated not preaching and asking one of our six ministers to stand in my place. But after much prayer, I knew I HAD to stand. If nothing more than to demonstrate the authenticity of my faith; and to practically share the importance of standing amid adversity and challenge. It reminds me of something my mother shared with me many years ago when I had a terrible break up and thought about quitting the ministry. She said, in summary, 'Now is the time that you have to believe in the God that you preach about.'

I want to encourage someone who is dealing with adversity. Galatians 6:9 affirms very clearly for us how we should react in the face of life's circumstances. I have had several disappointments the past several months; but I must admit...God is strengthening me character, testimony and convictions concerning Christ. Deitrich Bonhoeffer was correct, 'I'm blessed when I bleed.'

Sunday, October 05, 2008

A Busy Weekend

This is where I usually give a summary of what happened on Sunday at our church. But...I have to say that it has been a long weekend! My weekend began on Friday afternoon-I would say-as I interviewed with an IMB Missionary; and gained insight about the entire mission process. The interview was a part and parcel of a 12-page report due by 11:59pm Friday evening. To say the least, the report was turned in at about 6pm--thank God. Now...let's just pray for the grade! Friday evening was filled with another 7pm meeting and ended with kind of a breathing moment - my wife and I went to see Tyler Perry's 'A Family that Preys' with another couple in our church. We had a good time! (Interestingly--we were free of our boys; they were at home with a 'free' sitter!!!) Friday night and Saturday morning was spent both tending to my children as well as in sermon preparation. Saturday afternoon - my wife and I attended the wedding of Rev. Johnny L. Goff, Jr. and his bride. I have only heard of platinum weddings; THIS was one of those weddings, I assure you. To be in the number was an humbling experience, to say the least. The wedding itself was held at the Windsor Village Church and officiated by Rev. Marcus D. Cosby, pastor of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church. Everything was done in excellence, including a solo by Ms. Kathy Taylor. The reception was held at the Westin Galleria in Houston. To make a long story short - it was an amazing wedding; I am praying even more for a spectacular MARRIAGE!!!

I preached twice today. First, I shared at Cornerstone, our church. This was our first Sunday back at our worship facility since the Hurricane. It appears that quite a few of our members didn't get the memos, calls, or emails that we were now meeting back at our regular facility! But when I say that the Lord smiled upon our worship and His Word - God is gracious and kind!

I also preached in the place of my pastor, Rev. Harvey Clemons, Jr. at 10am @ Pleasant Hill Baptist Church. Pastor Clemons has been a blessing to myself and my family and ministry. For almost 4 years he allowed me to preach his early service fresh out of college. After Christ and my own father, Rev. William L. Pullam, to this day I consider him to be a stellar example of greatness and servanthood; and in helping to shape me as a minister of the gospel and as a pastor.

Tomorrow I have two exams and need to finish my studies but wanted to blog. I will be so glad when I have completed my studies altogether. This semester, along with next semester being my last in this M.Div. program - have been some of the most challenging experiences in my life altogether. I need your prayers to maintain my sanity.