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In the 1920s there was a young African American child who was growing up in Cleveland. One day a famous athlete named Charlie Paddock, came to his school to speak to the students. At the time Paddock was considered "the fastest human being alive." He told the children, "Listen! What do you want to be? You name it and then believe that God will help you be it."

That little boy decided that he too wanted to be the fastest human being on earth. The boy went to his track coach and told him of his new dream. His coach told him, "It’s great to have a dream, but to attain your dream you must build a ladder to it. Here is the ladder to your dreams. The first rung is determination! And the second rung is dedication! The third rung is discipline! And the fourth rung is attitude!" The result of all that motivation is that he went on to win four gold medals in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. He won the 100 meter dash and broke the Olympic and world records for the 200 meter. His broad jump record lasted for twenty-four years. His name was Jesse Owens.

Spiritual growth is not an accident. It is intentional. You must intend to grow. You must make a choice to grow. I don’t know how to say it any clearer than this. You are as close to Jesus Christ as you choose to be. If you are not growing spiritually don’t blame your wife or husband or kids or parents or pastor. You are as close to God as you choose to be. If you don’t feel close to God right now, guess who moved? God didn’t move.

(From a sermon by Stephen Sheane, New Year - New You, 12/23/2010)

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