The 25th of this month is the birthday of the man who has most influenced my life (although he may not wish to claim it at times, as I make waves by breaking from the conventional). Sadly I believe he doesn’t really know that he holds this position, and it’s my fault. I didn’t even realize he held that position for the longest time. I was more enamored with men who appeared more influential over crowds, or commanded more respect from the public due to massive visibility. There were times in my life I sacrificed more to gain the attention and admiration of my temporary heroes than him – all the while he should have been my hero. Now that I’m older, married, and have children I see how he has influenced me more than any other individual. My Father, Tony Pulliam, has set the example for me when it comes to following The LORD’s leading regardless of what others may be saying in opposition to it. He has set the example of not being afraid to challenge the settled norm in established beliefs by bringing them under examination of God’s Word. (I still remember him searching out if he was really pretirbulational and why; or why he should be KJV-only.) I have seen him sacrifice for his family, and remain true to mom, even though I know it would have been a quick fix to alleviate the tension and pressures of married life/fatherhood by just walking out (which so many males, they’re not real men, seem to have opted for).
In my father I have seen the boldness of Martin Luther in standing for conviction. I have seen the commitment of Hudson Taylor in being willing to forsake whatever was necessary to follow God. I have seen the humility of Peter, most don’t think Peter a humble man, but you can’t mess up like Peter and not be humble. My dad has come face to face and apologized for his failures; realizing his inadequacy yet not relinquishing his responsibility. In short, I have seen Jesus Christ in my Dad. I know he’s not perfect, I inherited some of his less desirable traits for sure, but he is a man who seeks God with his entire being, a man who isn’t afraid to admit he is wrong and will repent when necessary. A man, who can be quirky with some of his standards and decisions, but who I highly respect for the stand he takes on them. He has taught me how to love my wife and kids, He taught me to think through things and not just accept the common accepted opinion, but to stand upon Scripture alone. (so for those of you who hate that I am so stink’n analytical, you can blame my Father for that one!)
I love my Dad and am proud to say that through the years he has tried to find ways to connect with me – stock car racing, deer hunting, etc – most of which I wasn’t really interested in; but after all the dust settled, the thing that my Dad and I have found that brings us together is The LORD. God is good to me, and has given me a Father with a humble heart and a passion for godliness, and has given me a love for Him also; although I don’t claim to have the humility my Dad does.
Dad, I want to tell you, “Happy Birthday! I thank God for you. You’ve taught me more about seeking God than you know. I love you, Dad!”