Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Readings for Last Stretch of 2010

Currently, I make no claims to be in an exclusive, monogomous relationship with any particular book. While the Bible is my spiritual, moral, theological, practical and universal compass - I seek to evade and avoid any comparison with such a sacred text. However, I must admit, I am quite unfaithful when it comes to entering into a one-on-one read with just one piece of literature these days. I am finally adding some rhyme and reason to my reading regimen, with no particular order of importance:


A long-term theological read; A devotional read for spiritual formation; A reading of pastoral insight for church ministry; and reading for pastoral care and chaplaincy; and a reading for the sharpening of preaching and teaching formation.


At one point, I strove to read one book per week. However, with the present task of serving as a chaplain resident (demanding 48 hours per week); pastoring a fledgling congregation; fulfilling my role as a husband to D'Ani and 2 demanding boys; and a crying infant - one book per week, in addition to sermon prep, rest, reflection, prayer and my regular Bible reading - is almost unrealistic and hyperbole.

Therefore, if I can complete (with reflection and retention) these works, by the end of the year, I will consider myself 'on my A-game':

  • Long-Term Theological Read: Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem

  • Devotional Read for Spiritual Formation: Eat This Book by Eugene Peterson & God is in the Small Stuff by Bruce & Stan

  • A Reading of Pastoral Insight for Church Ministry: The Church Awakening by Charles R. Swindoll & The Church God Blesses by Jim Cymbala

  • Reading for Pastoral Care and Chaplaincy: The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy by Irvin D. Yalom

  • Preaching & Teaching: The Preacher and His Preaching by Alfred Gibbs

Monday, October 11, 2010

Signs of a Dead Church

For quite some time now, I've been reflecting upon 1) How I can renew and refresh my creativity and passion for ministry as a pastor 2) How this desire can flow into the hearts of our membership and 3) How to translate these dynamics into action, change and execution.
One of my burdens, as a pastor, has been for our congregation to develop and cultivate a passion to share Christ with others. In all honesty, this has been my greatest challenge in my now 16 years of ministry - to motivate our core group in this specific area of Christian duty and responsibility. It just so happens, we have reached a crossroads where both our Sunday School is now centered on the New Testament Book of Acts, while our Mid-Week Teachings now focus on The Person of the Holy Spirit. While it seems repetive and redundant, I believe the Spirit of God has us here for a reason! My hope and prayer is to see the people whom I serve becoming excited and enthralled about the Gospel of Jesus Christ; and continually graduate from being served to serving others in life-transforming encounters and Christ-centered forms. Incidentally, I happened upon an article that I believe EVERY Pastor and Church who is serious about developing within it's local fellowship an awareness of sharing the Gospel....should read this article. Even if that local fellowship refuses to nomen or ascribe themselves as 'Dead', I believe the repeated nuance of 'sharing Christ', between the lines of the article, is beyond coincidental. I believe Easum is on to something that we all need to hear!
Daryl Kearney Six Signs of a Spiritually Dead ChurchBy: Bill Easum
For much of the past three decades, denominational officials have been promoting seminars and programs aimed at revitalizing the church. I know because I have been the speaker or consultant to many of these groups. For many of these leaders, their goal was to breathe new life into churches experiencing declining memberships and lack of commitment. Yet after years of trying to revitalize these churches, the vast majority of them are still declining. What gives?

Reformation, renewal, and revitalization assume some preexisting foundation of faith from which to raise up a new church. But what if that assumption isn't correct? What if the assumption is part of our problem? What if being a member of a church for 40 years doesn't automatically guarantee any spiritual depth? What if holding every office in the church doesn't automatically mean someone is a disciple of Jesus Christ? Do we dare look deep enough into our souls to find answers to these questions?

Based on the conversations and actions of the thousands of Protestant leaders with whom I worked over the years, I have concluded that most of them are spiritually dead and their institutions have ceased being the church. They have the form but not the substance of what it means to be the church.

Let me define what I mean by spiritually dead churches. If your church spends most of its energy on itself and its members, it's spiritually dead.

Such churches are living corpses. They are physically alive; some may even be growing; but they are spiritually dead to the mission of the New Testament church—to make disciples of Jesus Christ. They've turned inward and exist solely for themselves. They look for ways to serve themselves, and the kingdom be damned.

They're like baby birds sitting in the nest with their mouths open waiting for momma bird (pastor) to feed them with no concept that Jesus intends them to feed others. Oh, they might collect money to send away to some distant mission field, but they're all thumbs when it comes to sharing the good news with their neighbor or community. What growth they might experience is not of their doing—it just happens because of the population growth around them.

Here are eight death clues. Spiritually dead churches:

1. Have lost their sense of mission to those who have not heard about Jesus Christ and do not pant after the Great Commission;
2. Exist primarily to provide fellowship for the "members of the club;"
3. Expect their pastors to focus primarily on ministering to the members' personal spiritual needs;
4. Design ministry to meet the needs of their members;
5. Have no idea about the needs of the "stranger outside the gates;"
6. Are focused more on the past than the future;
7. Often experience major forms of conflict;
8. And watch the bottom line of the financial statement more than the number of confessions of faith.

Bringing life back
The starting point for unfreezing a stuck organizational system is the development of a solid community of faith that includes spiritual leaders, the absence of major conflict, trust, and a desire to connect with the unchurched world.

True spiritual maturity is approached when people turn their attention to those outside the church and seek ways to spread the good news rather than exercise their entitlements as members. Unfortunately, too many pastors assume their church has spiritual leaders and skip right over this starting point. It has become apparent to me that most church leaders do not understand that the decline of their church is due to the lack of spiritual depth on the part of their leadership.

So, now, I want to go deeper on the spiritual issue. It's not just that our churches are stuck; they are spiritually bankrupt!

I know. These churches are filled mostly with good Christian people, but there's no discernable spiritual power, just good Christian people—and we all know what Jesus said about being good. (Mark 10:18)
So it's obvious. Isn't it? The only solution for spiritually dead congregations is resurrection. You can't revitalize something that is dead. They must be brought to life again! And that is resurrection.

Revitalization is a waste of time. You can't breathe life into a corpse. Only God can do that, and that is resurrection.

My experience has taught me the resurrection of a church happens in three stages. It begins with a new pastor. Either the pastor experiences a personal resurrection or the church actually gets a new pastor. Next is the resurrection of the leaders of the church either by transformation or replacement. Finally, the church itself is resurrected and turned around through some tactical change. Then, if resurrection happens, our behavior changes:

1. The church turns outward in its focus.
2. Jesus, not the institution, will become the object of our affection.
3. The Great Commission will become our mandate, and we will measure everything we do by how many new converts we make rather than whether we have a black bottom line.
4. Membership in the Kingdom will replace membership in the church.
5. Pastors will cease being chaplains of pastoral care and will become modern-day apostles of Jesus Christ.
6. And those who try to control the church with an iron fist or intimidate the church at every turn of the road will be shown the door.

The primary reason society is shunning the institutional church is because for the most part it is spiritually dead. Spiritually alive churches, no matter what their form or where they are planted, always grow. That is the nature of the beast. That is the kind of church God honors. That is what the church was put on earth to do—spread the good news. When a church faithfully does that, it grows. Period.

Adapted from "A Second Resurrection" by Bill Easum from Abingdon Press

Thursday, September 30, 2010

7 Things Your Pastor (Kraig Pullam) doesn't know!!!

1. I don't know how to pastor a church without God's help.

2. I don't know how to pastor a church without being immersed in prayer.

3. I don't know how to pastor a church without casting a vision.

4. I don't know how to pastor a church without building a team.

5. I don't know how to pastor a church without hard work.

6. I don't know how to pastor a church without incurring pain.

7. I don't know how to pastor a church without endurance.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Wesley's 25 Articles

The below (though many have read before, I have I) is so powerful, I thought I'd place it here. Enjoy!

John Wesley’s 25 Articles

Article I—Of Faith in the Holy TrinityThere is but one living and true God, everlasting, without body or parts, of infinite power, wisdom, and goodness; the maker and preserver of all things, both visible and invisible. And in unity of this Godhead there are three persons, one of substance, power, and eternity—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

Article II—Of the Word, or Son of God, Who Was Made Very ManThe Son, who is the Word of the Father, the very and eternal God, of one substance with the Father, took man’s nature in the womb of the blessed Virgin; so that two whole and perfect natures, that is to say, the Godhead and Manhood, were joined together in one person, never to be divided, whereof is one Christ, very God and very Man, who truly suffered, was crucified, dead, and buried, to reconcile his Father to us, and to be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt, but also for actual sins of men.

Article III—Of the Resurrection of ChristChrist did truly rise again from the dead, and took again his body, with all things appertaining to the perfection of man’s nature, wherewith he ascended into heaven, and there sitteth until he return to judge all men at the last day.

Article IV—Of the Holy GhostThe Holy Ghost, proceeding from the Father and the Son, is of one substance, majesty, and glory with the Father and the Son, very and eternal God.

Article V—Of the Sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for SalvationThe Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation; so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man that it should be believed as an article of faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation. In the name of the Holy Scripture we do understand those canonical books
of the Old and New Testament of whose authority was never any doubt in the church. The names of the canonical books are:

Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, The First Book of Samuel, The Second Book of Samuel, The first book of Kings, The Second Book of Kings, The First Book of chronicles, The Second Book of Chronicles, The Book of Ezra, The Book of Nehemiah, The Book of Esther, The Book of Job, The Psalms, The Proverbs, Ecclesiastes or the Preacher, Cantica or Songs of Solomon, Four Prophets the Greater, Twelve Prophets the Less. All the books of the New Testament, as they are commonly received, we do receive and account canonical.

Article VI—Of the Old TestamentThe Old Testament is not contrary to the New; for both in the Old and New Testament everlasting life is offered to mankind by Christ, who is the only Mediator between God and man, being both God and Man. Wherefore they are not to be heard who feign that the old fathers did look only for transitory promises. Although the law given from God by Moses as touching ceremonies and rites doth not bind Christians, nor ought the civil precepts thereof of necessity by received in any commonwealth; yet notwithstanding, no Christian whatsoever is free from the obedience of the commandments which are called moral.

Article VII—Of Original or Birth SinOriginal sin standeth not in the following of Adam (as the Pelagians do vainly talk), but it is the corruption of the nature of every man, that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam, whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and of his own nature inclined to evil, and that continually.
Article VIII—Of Free WillHe condition of man after the fall of Adam is such that he cannot turn and prepare himself, by his own natural strength and works, to faith, and calling upon God; wherefore we have not power to do good works, pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of God by Christ preventing us, that we may have a good will, and working with us, when we have that good will.

Article IX—Of the Justification of ManWe are accounted righteous before God only for the merit of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, by faith, and not for our own works or deserving. Wherefore, that we are justified by faith, only, is a most wholesome doctrine, and very full of comfort.

Article X—Of Good WorksAlthough good works, which are the fruits of faith, and follow after justification, cannot put away our sins, and endure the severity of God’s judgment; yet re they pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and spring out of a true and lively faith, insomuch that by them a lively faith may be as evidently known as a tree is discerned by its fruit.

Article XI—Of Works of SupererogationVoluntary works—besides, over and above God’s commandments—which they call works of supererogation, cannot be taught without arrogancy and impiety. For by them men do declare that they do not only render unto God as much as they are bound to do, but that they do more for his sake than of bounden duty is required; whereas Christ saith plainly: When you have done all that is commanded you, say, we are unprofitable servants.

Article XII—Of Sin After JustificationNot even sin willingly committed after justification is the sin against the Holy Ghost, and unpardonable. Wherefore, the grant of repentance is not to be denied to such as fall into sin after justification. After we have received the Holy Ghost, we may depart from grace given, and fall into sin, and, by the grace of God, rise again and amend our lives. And therefore they are to be condemned who say they can no more sin as long as they live there; or deny the place of forgiveness to such as truly repent.

Article XIII—Of the ChurchThe visible church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men in which the pure Word of God is preached, and the Sacraments duly administered according to Christ’s ordinance, in all those things that of necessity are requisite to the same.

Article XIV—Of PurgatoryThe Romish doctrine concerning purgatory, pardon, worshiping, and adoration, as well as images as of relics, and also invocation of saints, is a fond thing, vainly invented, and grounded upon no warrant of Scripture, but repugnant to the Word of God.

Article XV—Of Speaking in the congregation in Such a Tongue as the People UnderstandIt is a thing plainly repugnant to the Word of God, and the custom of the primitive church, to have public prayer in the church, or to minister the Sacraments, ina tongue not understood by the people.

Article XVI—Of the SacramentsSacraments ordained of Christ are not only badges or tokens of Christian men’s profession, but rather they are certain signs of grace, and God’s good will toward us, by which he doth work invisibly in us, and doth not only quicken, but also strengthen and confirm, our faith in him.

There are two Sacraments ordained of Christ our Lord in the Gospel; that is to say, Baptism and the Supper of the Lord. Those five commonly called sacraments, that is to say, confirmation, penance, orders, matrimony, and extreme unction, are not to be counted for Sacraments of the Gospel; being such as have partly grown out of the corrupt following of the apostles, and partly are states of life allowed in the Scripture, but yet have not the like nature of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper, because they have not any visible sign or ceremony ordained of God.

The Sacraments were not ordained of Christ to be gazed upon, or to be carried about; but that we should duly use them. And in such only as worthily receive the same, the have a wholesome effect or operation; but they that receive them unworthily, purchase to themselves condemnation, as St. Paul saith.

Article XVII—Of BaptismBaptism is not only a sign of profession and mark of difference whereby Christians are distinguished from others that are not baptized; but it is also a sign of regeneration or the new birth. The Baptism of young children is to be retained in the Church.

Articles XVIII—Of the Lord’s SupperThe Supper of the Lord is not only a sign of the love that Christians ought to have among themselves one to another, but rather is a sacrament of our redemption by Christ’s death; insomuch that, to such as rightly, worthily, and with faith receive the same, the bread which we break is a partaking of the body of Christ; and likewise the cup of blessing is a partaking of the blood of Christ. Transubstantiation, or the change of the substance of bread and wine in the Supper of our Lord, cannot be proved by Holy Writ, but is repugnant to the plain words of Scripture, overthroweth the nature of a sacrament, and hath given occasion to many superstitions.

The body of Christ is given, taken, and eaten in the Supper, only after a heavenly and spiritual manner. And the mean whereby the body of Christ is received and eaten in the Supper is faith.

The Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was not by Christ’s ordinance reserved, carried about, lifted up, or worshiped.

Article XIX—Of Both KindsThe cup of the Lord is not to be denied to the lay people; for both the parts of the Lord’s Supper, by Christ’s ordinance and commandment, ought to be administered to all Christians alike.

Article XX—Of the One Oblation of Christ, Finished upon the CrossThe offering of Christ, once made, is that perfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual; and there is none other satisfaction for sin but that alone. Wherefore the sacrifice of masses, in the which it is commonly said that the priest doth offer Christ for the quick and the dead, to have remission of pain or guilt, is a blasphemous fable and dangerous deceit.

Article XXI—Of the Marriage of MinistersThe ministers of Christ are not commanded by God’s law either to vow the estate of single life, or to abstain from marriage; therefore it is lawful for them, as for all other Christians, to marry at their own discretion, as they shall judge the same to serve best to godliness.

Article XXII—Of the Rites and Ceremonies of ChurchesIt is not necessary that rites and ceremonies should in all places be the same, or exactly alike; for they have been always different, and may be changed according to the diversity of countries, times, and men’s manners, to that nothing be ordained against God’s Word. Whosoever, through his private judgment, willingly and purposely doth openly break the rites and ceremonies of the church to which he belongs, which are not repugnant to the Word of god, and are ordained and approved by common authority, out to be rebuked openly, that others may fear to do the like, as one that offended against the common order of the church, and woundeth the consciences of weak brethren. Every particular church may ordain, change, or abolish rites and ceremonies, so that all things may be done to edification.

Article XXIII—Of the Rulers of the Unites States of AmericaThe President, the Congress, the general assemblies, the governors, and the councils of state, as the delegates of the people, are the rulers of the United States of America, according to the division of power made to them by the Constitution of the United States and by the constitutions of their respective states. And the said states are a sovereign and independent nation, and ought not to be subject to any foreign jurisdiction.

Article XXIV—Of Christian Men’s GoodsThe riches and goods of Christians are not common as touching the right, title, and possession of the same, as some do falsely boast. Notwithstanding, every man ought, of such things as he possesseth, liberally to give alms to the poor, according to his ability.

Article XXV—Of a Christian Man’s OathAs we confess that vain and rash swearing is forbidden Christian men by our Lord Jesus Christ and James his apostle, so we judge that the Christian religion doth not prohibit, but that a man may swear when the magistrate requireth, in a cause of faith and charity, so it be done according to the prophet’s teaching, in justice, judgment, and truth. [The following Article from the Methodist Protestant Discipline is placed here by the Uniting Conference (1939). It was not one of the Articles of Religion voted upon by the three churches.]

Of Sanctification
Sanctification is that renewal of our fallen nature by the Holy Ghost, received through faith in Jesus Christ, whose blood of atonement cleanseth from all sin; whereby we are not only delivered from the guilt of sin, but are washed from its pollution, saved from its power, and are enabled, through grace, to love God with all our herts and to walk in his holy commandments blameless. [The following provision was adopted by the Uniting Conference (1939). This statement seeks to interpret to our churches in foreign lands Article XXIII of the Articles of Religion. It is a legislative enactment but is not a part of the Constitutional. (See Judicial Council Decision 41, 176, and Decision 6, Interim Judicial Council.)]

Of the Duty of Christians to the Civil Authority
It is the duty of all Christians, and especially of all Christian ministers, to observe and obey the laws and commands of the governing or supreme authority of the country of which they are citizens or subjects or in which they reside, and to use all laudable means to encourage and enjoin obedience to the powers that be.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

You Call Yourself a Pastor?

Permit me a moment to vent my frustration. I've served in the capacity of a Senior Pastor for almost 6 years now (though I'll be officially celebrating my 5 year anniversary in 2 weeks). There has been something that has caused me great frustration as well as confusion. For the most part, it comes from those who profess to be ministers of the gospel, who seem to promote everything that could potentially, one day, affect their own ministy. Now, I can already hear someone saying - Pastor, it is your responsibility to love them inspite of; and it is your responsibility to train and teach them a better way. I honestly believe I do both.

Admittedly, while one character trait stands out to me more than the others, let me highlight the others:

- Ministers who won't tithe or don't believe in giving. (In my view, this is an oxymorom - a minister who wants to be a pastor who refuses to tithe!)
- Ministers who gossip with the laity.
- Ministers who don't come to Bible study or Sunday School but are frustrated with not preaching enough on Sundays.

And, the one I fail to understand the most:
Ministers who glory and celebrate the fall of other Pastors.

A Pastor or Minister who glories in the fall of another Pastor should examine his Pastoral heart. Our stance for righteousness should never come at the expense of love and compassion for our fallen fellow-soldiers.

Though I make no claims to be the authority of any Pastor who would visit this blog. It is just my humble belief that, if we preach and proclaim Christ, we can uplift one another without condoning what another person does. Mind you, I am speaking from the standpoint of a Pastor who, as of this date, has not been involved in any major scandal, outside of the typical things any GOOD pastor deals with, such as those who are disgruntled, drop off in attendance, anger over a specific topic or teaching. But I must say, though I haven't 'fallen', in the typical sense of 'falling', we should never run to our members and engage in tearing down our fellow-ministers as well.

Of course, we should always uphold righteousness and, at times, this will require addressing certain things with our members, and share with them the error in the minister's life; and how the avoid those pitfalls. For instance, there was a certain Bishop who had been accused of beating his wife in a parking lot in the Atlanta, GA area. Our members came to our Bible Study, addressing the issue and desiring to know my stance and perspective. Of course, I did not ignore or condone that minister's actions. If what he did occured, there is NO justification for his actions. But am I in a position to wish his ministry to doom or failure if he truely repents and seeks restoration? Should I go throw a party after I see his ministry declining?

My honest perspective (though this is really a random blog, with no scriptural notations) is a person who glories in a fellow-minister's demise should examine their heart. As we should never glory in the laity's fall or doom, we should never loathe in the failure of fellow ministers. Are there times when you must distance yourself? Yes, there may be times for that, according to scripture. But should you celebrate a Christian Leader's fall? I will continue in my study regarding this matter...but, for now, I say that is entirely wrong! If you have any thoughts, I would love to hear your perspectives!

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Majoring in the Minors

We're proud of our buildings. We're proud of our budgets. We're proud of our degrees. We're proud of our programs. We're proud of our robed choirs. We're proud of all that we're doing through the cleverness of human wisdom and ingenuity of carnal abilities. And, out of the midst of that repulsive pride, there has evolved a sickening brand of self-satisfied, dry-eyed church member who wouldn't shed a tear over some poor lost sinner if his or her very life depended upon it. -Junior Hill

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Another Year

Well, as the day comes to a close - I can honestly say that I am thankful and grateful for this day! Today, for me, was bitter sweet. Sweet, in that God has allowed me to see another year of life. On August 14, 1978 at 7:40am, I entered the world! I am thankful to see 32; and humbled that God would use me to communicate the message of His love to others through the proclamation of His holy and righteous Word. What makes this time bitter is the fact that, during this time each year - for the past 11 years - I have been in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, preparing to preach at the Fairview Baptist Church, Dr. J.A. Reed, Jr., Senior Pastor. I never shall forget recieving the call immediately after returning from our honeymoon in LAs Vegas, from Pastor 'Pop' Reed, asking if I would be there with them. Little did I know that this man whom I had never met would turn out to be such a blessing and inspiration to my wife and I; and discovering that this one man has been such a blessing to many, many preachers, pastors and Chrstians. Because of circumstances, particularly being in the midst of a Chaplain Residency in Harris County Hospital District, I am unable to be with them this year for their youth revival. While I will miss them this year, I am thankful for 11 years! I am grateful for the family D'Ani and I have gained and the rich memories and moments we've shared together. Because of this, I am eternally grateful and indebted.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Sunday in Retrospect

It has been a busy, yet productive, weekend. Having the opportunity to visit Dallas always brings back feels of nostalgia and serendipity. Moreover, having the blessed opportunity to be with my old classmate, preaching colleague and friend, Rev. Bertrain Bailey, was very special and a great joy. Bertrain has been a friend of mine since my early days at Dallas Baptist University. Changing of cities, pastorates, preaching responsibilities, etc. have caused us to lose touch, but not with the abandoning of our love and respect for one another. He pastors the St. John Missionary Baptist Church (Dallas, TX); and is married to Kim, both of them growing up as Pastor's kids, from great preaching legacies. In addition, I had the opportunity to spend some to worship with my uncle, Rev. Lloyd A. Pullam, and the St. Emmanual Baptist Church for their Homecoming Celebration, there in Denton, TX. I am grateful for this day; but I am also tired!!!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

It's Been Some Time

I've only blogged once in the year 2010? Shame on me! My hope is to do much better in the coming months and for the remainder of the year. I have noticed, in the blog world, a paradigm shift within my blog fraternity (and sorority) from Blogspot.com to Facebook.com. I have seen both the advantages and disadvantages of this shift, but I will not extrapolate my idiosyncratic assertions here. What I will do is seek to express my love for writing, along with my desire to renew my commitment to this available outlet of blogging, and my hope that others will renew their commitment to do the same.

I have been going through an unusual season of life and ministry. Serving in the preaching ministry, now over 16 years; and serving in pastoral ministry, now over 8 years - God has taken me both on an amazing, yet peculiar, journey. It is my hope and prayer to highlight my feelings, emotions, joys, fears and faith throughout this continuous journey. All in all, God has been good! I have seen various angles throughout this journey of ministry and, as time goes on, I pray that the Father will continue to lead, guide and instruct my steps as I dance with Him in my worship, stewardship, life, ministry, family and faith.

The most interesting thing that has occured to me since my last blog is the announcement of my third child, another boy! I have come to view this new addition (due in October) as a gift from God! I'm looking forward to the joy of this new addition; as well as all of the other things going on in my life. God is so good, even when we often fail to see the forest for our little trees - yes, He is STILL so GOOD!!!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

In Retrospect

To think that it has been over two (2) months since my last blog is beyond belief or comprehension! In surveying the record, my last post was on Nov. 21, 2009. Since that time, I have continued to find myself immersed in both my work and ministry as I have sought to prioritize my relationship with my Father and family. To say that I have a newfound respect for the bi-vocational Pastor would be an understatement. To comprehend what a bivocational Pastor experiences from day to day can be incomprehensible to a full-time Pastor, much less the laity! I have come to value many different aspects of God's grace along the way. First, I value time off, particularly time with D'Ani and the boys. Secondarily, I value the impromptu gift of God's Holy Spirit in the preaching moment. You may ask why? It is because various demands can at times rob the minister/pastor of the usual study time he may feel that is needed. Strangely, I believe the Father is strengthening my preaching as I dance with my challenges through this stage and phase of my spiritual growth, development and maturation. In addition, I have sensed a sharper motivation and desire to see my people grow, serve and share the gospel! Some of this may be slightly selfish in one sense....because I don't want to be bivocational all of my life! But I must also say...my love and commitment to God's plan for my life far exceeds my little selfish inclinations and tendencies.

With all that being said, my trade is chaplancy!!!! Which means, I am paid to pray, encourage and uplift others in need. In a real sense, I am in full time ministry. I strongly believe now that every seminary graduate should do a minimum of one year in chaplancy at a hospital or healthcare instituion. Nothing compares; and nothing can develop such pastoral prowess and ministerial grit. That being said, I cannot imagine what the pastor goes through-the pastor who is entrenched in a profession that isn't even remotely connected to ministry. My point -let's keep all Pastors...bivocational or not...in our prayers!!!