12 Not that I have now attained [this ideal], or have already been made perfect, but I press on to lay hold of (grasp) and make my own, that for which Christ Jesus (the Messiah) has laid hold of me and made me His own.
13 I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead,
14 I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward.
Many of you know that I am a teacher. In fact wanting to become a teacher is what lead me to Slippery Rock University, and if I would not have gone to SRU I would have never met and married the most beautiful woman in the world, Shannon Leigh Holland. Also, if I would not have become a teacher I probably would not have moved to Columbus and joined First Church of God. If I would not have join First Church I would not have been there when you called Bishop Clarke asking for ministers to fill your pulpit. Which led to me becoming your pastor, and celebrating our one year anniversary of the union of pastor and people last week. In other words, everything happens for a reason. I am in my 21st year of teaching, seven in kindergarten and this is my 14th year in first grade (it took me seven years to get to first grade), but when I began my educational journey at Slippery Rock University, I earned my bachelors degree in special education. During my educational experiences at the ROCK I had a number of encounters with the special education population because there was an actual special needs school on campus, and through those experiences I fell in love with that population of students. I had a great desire to work with them. As I got closer to my graduation date I had the opportunity to complete my student teaching in Las Vegas. That’s right Sin City. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas! What stayed in Las Vegas for me was my desire to become a special education teacher, but not because of the children. It was because of all of the paperwork, meetings, and acronyms that special education teachers have to deal with. Do you know what acronyms are? It is a group of letters or an abbreviation formed from the beginning letters of other words, like AYP, which stands for adequate yearly progress or MFE, which stands for multi-factored evaluation. Now I have the utmost respect for special education teachers because they do what I do to the fifth power. They have to document everything, individualize instruction for every student in their classroom, complete individual assessments, lesson plans, and educational strategies for every student in their classroom. They have to write IEP’s, participate in qualifying students for special education, and placing students in the LRE, making sure they receive a FAPE depending on whether they are LD, ED, MD, ADD, ADHD. Now most of you probably are thinking, “what in the world did he just say”, and that is why I am not a special education teacher today. Plus after seeing Arnold Swartzaneggar in Kindergarten Cop I knew what my true calling was, becoming a kindergarten teacher. Then this text age began and it was acronym déjà vu because now all people do is use acronyms when they text and email and you have to figure out what people are saying. Here are a few examples
Lol-laugh out loud
Lmbo-laughing my butt off
Smh-shaking my head
Aap-always a pleasure
Acc-anyone can come
Adbb-all done bye bye
Aitr-adult in the room
BFF-best friends forever
Bbl-be back later
IDK-I don’t know
IKR-I know right
PTL-praise The Lord
And I can go on and on but you guys get the point.
The bottom line is no matter how hard I try I just cannot escape the acronyms. So this morning we are going to embrace an acronym and talk about ADHD, which is the special education acronym for Attention Deficit Hyper Activity Disorder. It is one of the most commonly diagnosed disorders in the country, especially with boys, and even more so with African American boys. The minute a child starts to misbehave they want to diagnose the child as ADHD and give him or her a pill. A pill that sometimes zaps the life and potential out of a child. A pill that sometimes robs a kid of his or her personality and creativity. Now don’t get me wrong I am not against medication when it is needed and necessary, but many times it is not necessary because most of these kids are not ADD or ADHD they are just BAD and they need BEAT! And even with that being said I am going to encourage everyone in the house this morning to be ADHD. Are you saying you want us all to not pay attention and be hyperactive? Are you saying that you want us to fidget, bounce up and down in ours seats, and stare off into space? Not exactly, but I do desire for all of you to be ADHD, Attaining Destiny with Holy Determination.
Now in the text today we find ourselves in the middle of a letter that Paul has written to the church in Philippi while he is in prison, well actually he was on house arrest. He was incarcerated nonetheless. He had to stay in his house, but he could share the good news to anyone that came to the house to hear it. Well in this letter to the church in Philippi he wanted to thank them for the gifts they had sent him, let them know how he was doing, and most importantly he wanted to encourage them to stand firm in the face of persecution and rejoice regardless of their circumstances, to be humble and united. In the particular verses that were read for your hearing Paul is telling the church to press on toward their ultimate goal. Which was living a life that is worthy to spend eternity with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He tells them that he has not already attained this. He is in no way, shape, or form perfect, but he is trying everyday to be all that God has called him to be. And he does this by forgetting what is behind him and pressing towards what is in front of him. You see life is kind of like the Olympics and Olympic athletes. Just like each and every Olympic athlete from every country gives everything they’ve got to win the gold medal, we must do the same. We must strive for the gold! And let’s be honest this morning, silver and bronze are nice, but Olympians go to the Olympics in hopes of winning the gold. So we as Christians must push everyday to reach our goal, to receive our prize, eternal life with God. The life of abundance that God has promised to everyone that believes in him. We have to be ADHD, attaining destiny with holy determination, and I will give you three ways to do this and then I will bid you good day. Ask your neighbor are you ADHD?
The first way that we become ADHD is that we must forget. Just like Paul said. Forgetting those things that are behind me. It is so hard for Christians to be all that God has called them to be because they are too busy looking in the rearview mirror of their lives. Wondering what should of, could of, or would have been. You cannot change the past so why bother dwelling on it. Learn from your mistakes and move on. Learn from the past and move one. There are three things that you need to forget.
First we forget the accusations. You have to forget all of the “he said she said” garbage that people have said about you over the years. Whether it is true or not, who cares. It is like the kid at school that gets mad because someone calls him stupid or ugly. I simply say to the child, “Are you stupid? Are you ugly?” The child will respond, “No!” I give him a hug, and then we move on. You know who you are and who God has called you to be so stop worrying about the neigh sayers in your life and concentrate on what really matters, being all that God has called you to be. And always keep this in mind; people only talk about you when you are doing something worthwhile. Haters only hate on kingdom builders. So if you have a lot of haters just keep doing what you are doing because that means God is using you. If you don’t have any haters at all, you might want to consider doing something.
First we forget the accusations. Then we forget the attitudes. You have to forget that bad attitude you used to have. Now don’t look at me in that tone of voice you know that you were Mr. or Mrs. Negative. Why we doing that? That’s stupid. That’s not going to work. Why they always got to sing the lead. He thinks he’s all that. Get a grip, who died and left you in charge? Who made you the Ebert and Roeper of life? Forget the bad attitude and realize how blessed you are because God is in your life. You know what a pet peeve of mine is? Mean Christians. What in the world is a Mean Christian? How could anyone be a mean Christian? After all that God has done for you, you have the audacity to be mean to other people. What in the world is going on with that? That is the epitome of an oxymoron. That is what the Road to Racial Reconciliation program is all about this Friday. We need to forget about our past attitudes about race. I know its easier said than done. I know that we have been through a great deal as a people. It’s is hard enough to forgive, and now you’re asking me to forget. Well that is what God requires from us because that is exactly what He does. He forgives us and then He forgets what we did. The Bible says that he will no longer remember your sins as far as the east is from the west. Also, when asked how many time should we forgive, Jesus responds 7 X 70. So what are you saying PB? I am saying when our white brothers and sisters join us at the table of racial reconciliation we must forget our past attitudes towards them. See them as we have always wanted them to see us, and take the necessary steps to move forward as children of God. We must forget the attitude!
We must forget the accusations. We must forget the attitudes. We must forget the actions. Whatever you have done you have to let it go and let God. ALL have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Let he who has no sin cast the first stone. We have all messed up including the man holding the microphone. If we didn’t mess up there would be no need for grace, no need for mercy, no need for salvation. But because God in his infinite wisdom knew that we would mess up created a plan to save us from sin, to save us from death. Are there any redeemed saints in the house this morning? Has anybody been set free this morning? Has anybody been washed in the blood this morning? You see when God looks at us he doesn’t see all the things that we’ve done. He only sees the blood. Is anybody thankful for the blood? Oh, I know it was the blood, I know it was the blood for me. One day when I was lost he died upon the cross. I know it was the blood for me. We must forget the actions!
First to have ADHD we must forget. Secondly to have ADHD we must follow. Paul says that he is pressing on toward the goal, the prize for which Christ is calling us upward. If Christ is calling us upward, the only way to achieve the prize is to follow him. This is hard for some of us because we always have to be in control. Things always have to go the way we want them to go. It’s my way or the highway. It is time to let Jesus take the wheel. We must follow the calling of Jesus Christ in our lives, and we do this in three ways.
First we follow the word of God. You have to read the word and know it for yourself. Coming to church and hearing the preacher is great and I encourage you all to continue to do that, but you have to do more. How many of you have personal and private devotional time? When you spend time alone with God and your Bible. It is a very important thing to do. For years now Bishop Clarke has been giving the scripture he’ll be preaching from though email before Sunday so that the church can look at the word and be familiar with the text before he delivers the anointed word of God. That is why you have to know the word for yourself. You cannot get by on what mommy and daddy know, or what pastor knows, or what your mama or papa know. You have to know for yourselves. It is like the story in Acts 19 when a group of Jews try to help a demon possessed man and said in the name of Jesus whom Paul speaks. The demon said I know who Paul is, and I know who Jesus is but who are you. Then the demon possessed man jumped on them and beat their clothes off of them. Now you know that’s a butt whooping if your clothes get beat off of you. You have to know the word for yourself. You have to follow the word of GOD
But not only do you follow the word of God, you must follow the will of God. By reading and studying the word you can learn what His will is for your life. That is why when Jesus is teaching His disciples how to pray He says thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Jesus does not say my will be done, or your will be done, or mommy and daddy’s will be done, but He is referring to God’s will being done. God has a purpose and a plan for everyone, and the best way to find out what that is, is through the will of God. That is why you need to study His word and have private time with the Lord, because the more time that you spend with God the more you will understand His will for you life. And once you know what His will is for your life you can walk in His way, which is the third thing that you must follow.
You must follow the way of God. You must walk in his ways. Not your ways, or Pastor’s way, or Bishop Jake’s ways, or Buddha’s ways, or Muhammad’s ways. But the way of God. The Christian way of life. The road less traveled. Many people who are not Christians believe that Christians are supposed to be perfect. But Christians are not perfect. Christians are supposed to be as much like Christ as humanly possible. I know what you are thinking, Christ was perfect. Yes He was perfect, and he was also God! If we could be perfect their would be know need for God, but that is not the case. We are to be like Jesus in the fact that Jesus was different. And we must be different than everyone else. You are the light of the world and the salt of the earth. So you must walk in the way of The Lord so that your light will shine and the love of Christ will be seen in your actions and attitudes.
So in order to have ADHD you must forget, you must follow, and you must have faith. Now I’ve been talking about faith for the last three week so God must be trying to tell us something. Now faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. Faith is the glue that holds it all together. Faith is believing in something even though you cannot hear it, see it, or touch it. Also, faith without works is dead. In other words, if you say you have ADHD and you are not doing anything to attain destiny with holy determination, you do not have the proper diagnosis. If you are attaining destiny with holy determination you have got to be doing something. Here are three things that you should definitively be doing if you are ADHD.
First you must pray. You must have the faith to pray without ceasing. You have to talk to God constantly. And just like First Lady and I have tried to teach Elijah and Noah you do not have to use big and fancy terms, vocabulary, and speech. Just talk to him like you would talk to your father, because He is your father. You have to have a little talk with Jesus and tell him all about your troubles. He will hear your faintest cry and he will answer by and by then you feel a little prayer will turning you will know that a fire is burning just a little talk with Jesus will make it right. Just talk to your God.
First we must pray. Secondly we must perform. This is how you live your life. You must have the faith to live a life of faith. Well if you are a Christian you should have a Christian performance. Just like I said a few moments ago it is how you should live everyday of your life trying to be as much like Christ as humanly possible because that is the meaning of what a Christian is. In other words, you cannot do what everyone else is doing. You cannot watch what everyone else is watching. You cannot say what everyone else is saying. You cannot go where everyone else is going. You cannot listen to what everyone else is listening to. You cannot be at the water cooler talking about the boss. You have to have the faith to perform the life of a Christian. Now I don’t want you to get performing and acting confused. I do not want you to act like a Christian. I do not want you to pretend to be a Christian. I want you to be a Christian. I want you to perform which means to carry out, accomplish, or fulfill a task or function. To work, function, or do something to a specified standard. Do you see where I am going with this? Is there anyone here this morning that wants to be the best Christian that they can be? Just like the old army recruitment commercials would say, be all that you can be in the army of The Lord. We must perform.
First we must pray. Secondly we must perform. And last must not least we must praise. We must have the faith to praise God in spite of your circumstance or your situation. How do you think we made it through the last four years? You have to praise God in the good times and the bad times. The ups and the downs. The highs and the lows. When you’re healthy and when you are unhealthy. On the mountain and in the valley. Man it is so easy to praise God when things are going well. When the rent is paid. When the car is running. When your kids are acting right. When you like your job. It is so easy to praise God in the palace, but can you praise him in the pit. I believe that God is looking for some pit praisers in the house this morning. Is there anybody in the house that is in a pit?
Anybody in the house that has been knocked down by life but you refuse to stay down.
Is there anybody in the house that has taken a licking but you keep on ticking.
Is there anybody in the house that has been knocked down, but is not knocked out?
Is there anyone in the house that understands this morning that, that which does not kill you can only make you stronger, and you are going to praise God in spite of the fact that the devil has thrown everything at you but the kitchen sink.
But I am crazy enough to tell the devil that he can throw the kitchen sink as well; because once he throws the kitchen sink he will have nothing else left to throw. Which really doesn’t matter anyway because the devil cannot take my joy away. He did not give it to me so therefore he cannot take it away from me. And I don’t know about you but I am not going to let anything or anybody stop me from giving my God Praise. Do I have a witness? The bible says that if you do not praise me the rocks will cry out, and I don’t know about you but God has been to good to me to let a rock cry out in place. Is anyone in the room ADHD attaining destiny with holy determination? Now the H in the special education acronym stands for hyperactivity, it is the term that the hip-hop culture got the word hype. When they wanted to hype up the crowd. Well I am wondering if there are any hype saints in the house this morning. I know that you might not feel like giving God praise.
Since you are already up you mind as well get hype for Jesus.
Since you got dressed you mind as well praise Him.
Since you came all this way you mind as well lift up the name of Jesus.
Stand up on you feet and give him praise.
Oh magnify the Lord with me let’s exalt his name together! ADHD, attaining destiny with holy determination.
Don’t you know that your destiny is to spend eternity with Christ? I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go to prepare a place for you I will return to take you to the place that I have prepared.
Oh come and go with me to my father’s house.
There will be no lying there.
There will be no dying there!
No bullying there!
No peer pressure there!
No mistakes there!
No sickness there!
No fighting there!
No cancer there!
No politics there!
No racism there!
No need for racial reconciliation there!
No poverty there!
No social injustice!
No elections there because Jesus Christ is my candidate and he is already the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
So since I began this sermon talking about education let me end this sermon with education, and share with you the ABCs of praise. In order to have ADHD attaining destiny with holy determination you’ve got to get hype and praise.
- Alpha and omega
- Bread of life
- Captain of our salvation
- Everlasting God
- Friend who sticks closer than a brother
- Great Shepard of the sheep
- High and lofty one
- I am
- Jehovah Jireh
- King of kings
- Lord of lords
- My strength and my power
- New song in my heart
- Overcoming lamb
- Prince of peace
- Quiet spirit
- Refuge from the storm
- Son of the most high God
- True bread of heaven
- Upholder of all things
- Vine that give us life
- Worthy lamb
- Exalted one
- Yahweh, the God of the covenant
- The God of Zion our holy resting place
Have a great day Second Community Church Family! Happy Anniversary to the greatest ushers in the world.
I have got to go, but remember to be ADHD attaining destiny with holy determination by forgetting, following, and having faith. ADHD, Attaining Destiny with Holy Determination! Let’s get hype for Christ! Not for The Browns, the Buckeyes, or Biden!
Let’s get hype for Christ!