Summary: Beginning strong is a common thing for most...but what about following through, and finishing right? This message will urge believers to continue in the faith so that they too will finish strong, like others we know from the Bible.
Stand & Read - 2 Tim. 4:6-8
?For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come.  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;  in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.?
"The GRAND Finale’!"
It is that time of year when we begin to look back on THIS year to contemplate all that has taken place?
-We hear about the top 100 songs of the year?
-2002?s most influential people?
-This past year?s most amazing events?
-And the like?
It is interesting and sometimes beneficial for us to remember what has transpired so that we?maybe won?t?make the same mistakes in the year to come?
Perhaps even some of us have been considering the ways of our past in 2002?
It is a good thing to do?(Like Janus, the two-faced god in mythology?one looking forwards and the other looking backwards?where we get the name for the first month?January.)
-Doctors emphasize that we should do self-examinations so that we can treat illnesses earlier, and with better chance of cure?
*And the same will be with us spiritually?
-Even businesses advise the same things?
*Being pro-active is better than re-active.
And our self-evaluation goes on?
-Looking at the good?the bad?and the ugly?of our own lives?
-Taking evaluation of what has taken place so that we will not repeat the history of our lives from this past year?
-Have I grown in the Lord as much as I had hoped???
-Did I do devotions every day like I committed to???
-Did I read the Bible through?cover-to-cover???
We make STRONG commitments as the beginning of each year, don?t we???
Making commitments are always made with zeal and with passion?
-We are STRONGLY committed to doing what we resolve to do?at first?
-But, it is always easier SAID than DONE?isn?t it???
It is like that resolution that we each make year-after-year to eat better and loose weight?
-You have done it, haven?t you???
-You have made that commitment too???
BUT?I have failed?haven?t you???
We have made that commitment, but we have failed to follow-through, and then complete our goal?
-I probably weigh 10 pounds more at the end of this year, than I did last year?
-And maybe you know what I mean??? J
There is something to be said for those who DO follow through, and complete their goals?
Following through pays off in many things?
-Kicking a ball?
-Throwing a ball?
-Hitting a ball?
Like hitting a golf ball?the follow-through is what makes a real difference?
*It is the follow-through that makes all the difference in the world?
And it is the follow-through that will make the difference for each of us as well!!!
Making the commitment is the easy part?
We all make commitments to do things and do it well?
-With a lot of vision?goals?and dreams?
But do we STAY committed???
Do we ?follow-through? on our commitments???
Do we even COMPLETE what we committed to do???
Because, we do need to be faithful to COMPLETE what we should complete!!!
It has been said, ?The road to hell is paved with good intentions.?
-But, good intentions do not get you very far.
So?as we commence upon a new time of our lives?2003?we must make a new commitment to follow-through, and to complete the goals; which we have in serving, worshipping, and loving the Lord!!!
?Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.  Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,  I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
 Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you;  however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.?
There are some good things here that Paul is trying to impress into the reader?
#1 - He has not yet obtained it?but He IS pressing on to do just that. And so should we!!!
#2 - He abandons ALL that is behind, so that He is not distracted from doing the present, and reaching the future goals.