Philippians 3:12-16; Selected Scriptures
D.Z. Cofield, Th.M., D. Min.
January 22, 2023
Responsive Reading: Psalm 118:1-9 (ESV)
Leader: 1 Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; for his
steadfast love endures forever!
Congregation: 2 Let Israel say, “His steadfast love endures
Leader: 3 Let the house of Aaron say, “His steadfast love
Congregation: 4 Let those who fear the LORD say, “His
steadfast love endures forever.”
Leader: 5 Out of my distress I called on the LORD; the LORD
answered me and set me free.
Congregation: 6 The LORD is on my side; I will not fear. What
can man do to me?
Everyone: 7 The LORD is on my side as my helper; I shall look in
triumph on those who hate me.
1. J.K. Rowling
She had just gotten a divorce, was on government aid, and could barely
afford to feed her baby in 1994. She wrote a children’s book that she
thought was good, but she was so poor she couldn’t afford a computer or
even the cost of photocopying the 90,000 word novel, so she manually
typed out each version to send to the publishers. It was rejected dozens of
time until finally Bloomsbury, a small London publisher, gave it a second
chance after the CEO’s eight year-old daughter fell in love with it. She was
broke just three years before the first of her books was published, and now
she is the best selling living author in Great Britain, worth over 820 million
British pounds or over $1 billion US dollars. The name of the first book –
Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone. Her name is J.K. Rowling.
2. Tyler Perry
He had a rough childhood. He was physically and sexually abused growing
up, got kicked out of high school, and tried to commit suicide twice—once
as a preteen and again at 22. At 23 he moved to Atlanta and took up odd
jobs as he started working on his stage career.
In 1992 he wrote, produced, and starred in his first theater production, I
Know I’ve Been Changed, somewhat informed by his difficult upbringing.
Perry put all his savings into the show and it failed miserably; the run lasted
just one weekend and only 30 people came to watch. He kept up with the
production, working more odd jobs and often slept in his car to get by. Six
years later, Perry finally broke through when, on its seventh run, the show
became a success. He’s since gone on to have an extremely successful
career as a director, writer, and actor. In fact, he was
named Forbes’ highest paid man in entertainment in 2011 and today is
worth over 1 billion dollars. His name, Tyler Perry.
3. Sylvester Stallone
Born in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of Manhattan, complications his
mother suffered during labor forced her obstetricians to use two pairs of
forceps during his birth; misuse of these accidentally severed a nerve and
caused paralysis in parts of his face. As a result, the lower left side of his
face is paralyzed – including parts of his lip, tongue, and chin – an accident
which has given him his snarling look and slightly slurred speech.
By all accounts, he also had a difficult childhood. His parents had a
volatile relationship and fought all the time. They eventually got divorced.
So, after living for a number of years in the Washington, D.C. area, he
moved to Philadelphia to live with his mother and her second husband.
He took on a number of odd jobs during these days to pay the bill,
including working in the cleanup crew for the lion’s cages at the Central
After several small roles, he began writing a screenplay that would
change his life forever. In 1976 his life would make a dramatic change.
The film he wrote and starred in was nominated for 10 Oscars, including
two for him for acting and writing. He wrote and directed two sequels in
the ensuing years, and went on to earn critical praise for his
performances 2 other movies.
Steps of Philadelphia Art Museum named after him. His credits include the
Rocky series, the Rambo series, Judge Dredd, Get Carter and His name –
4. Shania Twain
Her career began more out of necessity than raw ambition. Her parents
divorced when she was two, and she rarely saw her father. Her mom and
stepfather, to whom she grew close, often couldn’t make enough to get by,
so she started singing in bars to make extra money when she was just
eight years old.
She recalls her mother waking her up at all hours to get up and perform.
Sadly, when she was 21, her mother and stepfather were killed in a headon
car accident with a logging truck on the highway. She put her career on
hold to step in and take care of her three younger siblings (who were in
their teens at the time). She sang in resorts and put off going after big-time
stardom until her sister and brothers were old enough to care for
themselves. Only once her youngest brother graduated high school did she
feel OK heading down to Nashville to pursue her career.
She has sold over 100 million records, making her the best-selling
female artist in country music history and one of the best-selling
music artists of all time. Her name is Shania Twain
Ask yourself which helps more — having advantages or
How To Get PAST Your PAST, Pt. 3
1. You must take RESPONSIBILITY and DO all you can to GROW
and fulfill God’s purpose for your life. (14)
Philippians 3:13-14 (ESV) – Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it
my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining
forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of
the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:14 (NKJV) – I press toward the goal for the prize of the
upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Romans 8:29 (MSG) – God knew what he was doing from the very
beginning. He decided from the outset to shape the lives of those who love
him along the same lines as the life of his Son. The Son stands first in the
line of humanity he restored. We see the original and intended shape of our
lives there in him.
Ephesians 4:13-15 (NLT2) – This will continue until we all come to such
unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the
Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ. 14 Then we
will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown
about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when
people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15 Instead,
we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like
Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.
2. You must stay FOCUSED and keep THINKING and DOING what
will keep you growing in spiritual maturity (15-16)
Philippians 3:15-16 (ESV) – Let those of us who are mature think this
way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you.
16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained.
Philippians 3:15-16 (NLT2) – Let all who are spiritually mature agree on
these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain
to you. 16 But we must hold on to the progress we have already made.
Philippians 3:15-16 (MSG) – So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of
us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else
in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred
vision—you’ll see it yet! 16 Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it.
Romans 8:6 (NLT) – So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to
death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace.
Galatians 5:16 (NLT) – So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then
you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.
Philippians 4:8-9 (ESV) – Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is
honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever
is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of
praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned and received
and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace
will be with you.
1 John 2:4-6 (NLT2) – If someone claims, “I know God,” but doesn’t obey
God’s commandments, that person is a liar and is not living in the truth. 5
But those who obey God’s word truly show how completely they love him.
That is how we know we are living in him. 6 Those who say they live in God
should live their lives as Jesus did.
L.I.F.E. Group Questions
1. What are some things children have to do and experience to grow
2. When did you take responsibility for your own spiritual growth and
3. What is God’s purpose for your life?
4. What are some things the enemy uses to distract you from focusing
on what it takes to fulfill God’s purpose for your life?
5. Why’s it important to know you are responsible for, and can choose to
6. How has God used something that was challenging to you in your
past to make you stronger, better and wiser?
7. How does knowing God can do something better for you in your
future help you focus on what’s in front of you instead of what’s behind
8. What do you need to do specifically to help fulfill God’s purpose for
9. How do you stay focused on God’s purpose for your life when
distractions and difficulties come your way?
10. What do you need to do to maintain the spiritual progress you’ve
already made in your life and to continue making spiritual progress in your