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I've been in a sermon series called Focus by Pastor Mike McClure Jr., also known as PMJ. I personally believe he utilizes his initials so that he won't be confused with Pastor Mike of Transformation Church. A friend put me on to PMJ and the way he preaches resonates with me. I love the way he exercises his vocabulary, using his vernacular effortlessly. I look up to people, especially black men, who can speak like they study the dictionary.

I feel the same way about Stephen A. Smith, I enjoy learning new words through the voices of these esteemed men. I don't like how everyone likes to take jabs at Smith when he portrays his vocabulary, from his co-hosts to Kevin Hart and a myriad of others who ostensibly feel inept when he speaks. I know other people enjoy words as much as I do, he should be embraced for showing the next generation that they too can be as astute.

It reminds me of the time when my biology teacher in college pulled me aside and told me that I was actually smart. Or when people are surprised that I am articulate or was able to withstand the rigorous lifestyle of The Citadel. The one I hate the most is when my own people tell me that I talk white instead of putting in the work to learn how I've acquires such language. Upon hearing a new word, I instantly Google it and write the definition for me to study later. I remember my Uncle Akil first implanting this into my mind as an early teen, it's amazing how some things last forever.

But I digress.

God led me to these messages as a reminder of the last instruction that he left me. In bible study at my parents' house in the thick of the pandemic in 2020, my dad instructed us to write down the word or words that come to us. In my prayer, I clearly heard him telling me to focus.

At this specific time in my life, I just gave my life to Christ a couple months earlier and my thoughts and habits started to ween back into the old me. I hadn't done anything, yet, but for some reason I was losing the fire that recently engulfed me. I'm not exactly sure what caused it. My only answer would be spiritual warfare.

Now that it's 2022, I wonder if the directive was deeper than my relationship with the Father. What if it extended to my short story series and my book, which I haven't gotten much further than I did two years ago. God told me to write the short stories before I continue on with my book, I'm not sure the reasoning but I know that's what I heard.

I feel unaccomplished since I'm not as far as I believe I should be. Although I've juggled a lot these last two years, I still hold myself accountable. There were times that I felt as if I should put on jazz and just focus on what I needed but instead I try and write while a TV show plays. Other times I pick up a novel instead of a book that will further my knowledge in winning the war in my mind or how to grow rich with my thoughts.

A failure is my current sentiment, nearing 30 and I haven't been as efficient as I would like. I feel like I should be halfway, if not more, through my series. I should be prouder of myself.

This is where the sermon focus comes in, PMJ repeated a phrase that still sticks with me today. He said, "Distraction is the destruction of your dreams in slow motion." Powerful. It made me look deep within myself, at the distractions I've succumbed to and where I've put my focus. He preached that message! It's about 11 or so parts and I've watched all that I could find, I'm going to watch it again.

The latter part of the series he preached from the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. He spoke on the focus it took to fight back, the focus of Martin Luther King Jr., of Rosa Parks, and the bus boycott. The focus that it took to make a change in a world where all the odds are against them, in a world where they were judged simply by the color of their skin.

PMJ had one message and he detailed the power of the word "no." Stating that it's a statement as well as a complete sentence. He talked about saying no to the secular yes is saying yes to God. When temptation and urges of the past come up it pleases our soul and God when we tell it no and stand firm on it.

He's easily becoming my favorite preacher. His use of the institute ensnared me and has me wanting to listen to all of his sermons. I still listen to Pastor Mike Todd, but his earlier sermons, all the props he uses now has become a distraction to my learning.

And I need to focus.

I want to take time to acknowledge everybody that reads my blog, you all are amazing! Sometimes, it's hard to fathom that when I release a post it doesn't take long for at least one person to read it. It makes me feel special. As special as my daughters are to me. I just want to say thank you.

Amelia and Amara, daddy loves you.

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