A Difficult School
World War II was coming to a close when I was born into the family of a Pentecostal preacher. My dad moved to a different city almost every three to four years to pastor another struggling church. For me that meant, not only was I always the new kid in school, but I was introduced as the Pentecostal preacher’s kid. It was always a challenge to make new friends and a dread to dodge the bullies just as it was equally difficult to be labeled by the kids as the Holy Roller Guy. I always wondered, “why me? Why can’t my dad be a normal 9 to 5 man?”
What I didn’t know was, God had a plan in motion that required all this unwanted anxiety and taunting. He was preparing me to have a fearless personality along with the ability to handle a myriad of stressful situations. God was preparing me to be an encourager with experience.
Now that I have matured and grown spiritually I have discovered that many people are experiencing stress, anxiety, and rejection. And I am so glad that I was raised a Pentecostal boy that was taunted for being one. It made me tough. In fact, I’m thrilled to the bone that I was a holy roller, because my kind is almost extinct. You might say that I am a rare breed. But I am qualified to feel what many are going through. And because I understand rejection, I have the ability to encourage others to be an overcomer and to keep their focus.
My upbringing served for a great purpose. Yes, the schooling was tough but the payoff has been priceless. I must mention the strict discipline that I received from my parents has served me well, too. Undoubtedly, my parents loved me mucho! What I know is: “All things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
So, nothing just happens by chance. Everything has a purpose for good results. Our experiences happen for a cause, but most people do not understand this fact. They think that bad experiences happen out of God’s hate for them or that He just doesn’t care about them. Too many people have never learned that the harder the trials of life the greater the victories.
It is fact that people will pay top dollar to go to the most challenging schools in the nation because they know that the outcome is going to pay them with big dividends. Now, why is it that many cannot see what God is doing in their lives and that He is developing a strong character? It is true. God wants to make us the best there is. It takes education, experience, and endurance.
Now that I can see the picture clearly I have the ability to discern what God is doing in others. I tell people that God is setting them up for a great blessing which is the reason for their trial. So don’t run away, cower down, or get a bad attitude. Stand strong and put your face to the wind, because something great is coming your way. Accept each trouble as a stepping stone to the next level. Victory is yours if you’ll stay positive! You can get more information by visiting us online at www.JoyChristianMinistries.com. We'll see you there.
Shaped By Disappointments
Ten-year-old Phineas was up before the sun. He’d scarcely slept the night before and long before a sound was heard in the house, he was downstairs with his bag packed, ready to climb into the wagon. The year was 1820. And Phineas was about to see an island. His island, the island promised to him at birth. The day he was born, his grandfather presented Phineas with a deed, a sizable portion of Connecticut land called Ivy Island. And today, for the first time, Phineas was to see it.
Not every boy is born a proprietor. His parents were always quick to remind him of this. They urged him not to forget them when he came of age. Neighbors feared that the young landowner wouldn’t want to play with their children. Their concerns were legitimate. Phineas was different from his playmates. While they dreamed of fighting dragons he envisioned Ivy Island. Someday he would be lord of his own island. He would build a house, start a farm, raise cattle, and rule. When you own an island you feel important. Phineas had yet to see it.
He pleaded with his father to take him to his island and, finally, in the summer of 1820, his father agreed. Three sleepless nights preceded the expedition. Then, early that morning, Phineas, his father, and a hired hand climbed into the buggy to begin the long anticipated journey. Finally, Phineas would see his land. He could hardly sit still. At the top of each hill he would ask, “Are we nearly there?” And his father would encourage him to be patient assuring him that they were drawing near.
At last his dad pointed beyond a meadow to a row of tall trees stretching into the sky. “There,” he said, “That is Ivy Island!” Phineas was overcome. Jumping from the wagon, he dashed through the meadow leaving his father far behind. He raced to the row of trees into an opening from which Ivy Island was visible. When he saw the land his heart sank. Ivy Island was five acres of worthless snake-infested marshland. His grandfather had called it the most valuable land in Connecticut, but it was valueless. His father had told him it was a generous gift. It wasn’t. It was a cruel joke. As stunned Phineas stared, his father and the hired hand roared with laughter. Phineas was not the fortunate beneficiary of the family, he was the laughingstock. His Grandfather Taylor had played a joke on him. Phineas didn’t laugh, neither did he forget.
That disappointment shaped his life. He, the deceived, made a life out of deception and fooling people. You don’t know him as Phineas. You know him as P. T. You know him as the one who coined the phrase: “There’s a sucker born every minute.” He spent the rest of his life proving it. Such was the life of P.T. Barnum. (Gaining a new attitude on life; Max Lucado; 2007; Thomas Nelson Publishers) And such is the life of many who have been told lies. Disappointments have shaped their lives. The cure for disappointments is the Holy Bible. You can find more online at www.JoyChristianMinistries.com. Here's a link to find out more on P.T. Barnum.
Failure Can Be Good!
In 1879, a child was born to a poor Jewish merchant. Early on, the boy suffered a haunting sense of inferiority because of the anti-Semitic feeling he encountered on every hand. Shy and introspective, the boy was so slow in learning that his parents had him examined by specialists to determine if he was normal. In 1895, he failed his entrance examinations at the Polytechnicum in Zurich, Switzerland, though a year later he tried again and succeeded. Later he received a doctorate from the University of Zurich, yet obtained only an obscure job as a patent examiner in the Berne patent office at first. Who was he? He was the man who formulated the theory of relativity, Albert Einstein. He was one of the greatest geniuses to ever live. He never let early failure defeat him!
Failure can be a wonderful thing if we look at it in the right way. Because, it enables us to recognize a wrong turn before we make it again. Failure can actually make us smarter and wiser. And if handled rightly can turn us into a success story. But the key is to not give up. Keep the energy and the dynamics going.
I have found that failure sometimes cannot be helped. In-other-words, the circumstance is out of our control. But what we do with the situation and the attitude we have toward it is in our control.
When failure was facing Paul the Apostle, he kept a high spirit and said with vigor, “But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24). Failure is only the end if we decide to give up.
The decade of the 1980’s wasn’t the most wonderful time of my life. Living in Orange County, California I had just completed a beautiful sanctuary which many said, because of the recession, could not be done. Then not long after that some of the people in the church voted me out as pastor. I felt like a failure. But I talked myself out of giving up and felt strongly to start a church just a few miles away. Things looked great, the church grew and looked very promising. Then matters beyond my control happened and the church began to shrink in number. This was a double strike against me. In eight years I had experienced two failures and I was confused.
The year was 1988 and I didn’t know what to do. To keep soul and body together I went to work while, all the time, praying for God’s will. I didn’t know that God was setting me up to move to West Sacramento, but in 1991 I received a phone call that changed my life forever. After moving up here God spoke to my heart about starting “Joy” so in January 1992 the church had its first service. The two failures in Orange County set me up for a successful ministry. Had I quit when things looked gloomy I would not be writing this article or enjoying a beautiful ministry here today. Failure made it possible! For more info you can visit us online at www.JoyChristianMinistries.com
Pastor J.C. Myers, III
Pastor J.C. founded Joy Christian Ministries in 1992. He was Sr. Pastor at Joy Christian Ministries in West Sacramento, California from 1992-2016. He was succeeded by his 2nd son, Pastor Brandon Myers who had been under his father's ministry and teaching for 39 years.