The World Needs You!

03 May The World Needs You!

The world needs you!

I was thinking this past week about my childhood and how I grew up. I was remembering some of the great difficulties I had as a child and in my teen years. I was ADHD, and dyslexic. This made it very difficult for me to learn and get an education. It was very hard for me to pay attention and my mind would wonder often. Many times within a few minutes I would move from one subject to the next, to the next. Never accomplishing anything. Being dyslexic, when I would go to read, many times I would see words backwards or get the letters mixed up. You can imagine the frustration I faced as a child and even a teen not being able to focus and when I tried, not being able to pronounce words correctly. I had to go to special education classes. This was very difficult because all the other kids labeled you with very ugly names when you had to go to these special classes. So I struggled and did very poorly in school. Many times it was difficult for me to understand the purpose in which I was born. Growing up in a poor home, not being able to read clearly, and having a horrible time focusing on any one thing. I would think to myself often, there is no point in my life. What can someone like me, raised in a poor home and can’t even learn, ever do for society and the world? This was the question that haunted me for most of my childhood and teen years.

I always knew deep down that I had been called to preach the gospel. But with so many setbacks and difficulties it seemed so far away. Almost impossible to do. Then, one night my father took our whole family to a small storefront church on the backside of Gatlinburg, Tennessee. It was so small only 10 or 12 cars could fit in the parking lot. When I got out of the car I could hear sounds coming from the church building. It was sounds I’d never heard before. The only way I can describe it is, joyous! I could feel the excitement even in the parking lot before we ever went in the building. I did not ever remember a time in my life where we had went to a church like this one. As we opened the door and walked in the building, I remember people standing on their feet clapping their hands singing to the top of their lungs. Musicians all over the platform playing with all of their heart and a lady upfront and center singing with a loud voice, “I never shall forget the day when the burden of my soul was rolled away! It made me happy, happy, happy glad and free! I’ll sing and shout it for he is everything to me!” She had a smile on her face and joy coming out of her like I had never seen or heard before! Of course the words to the song were very intriguing to me. Especially the happy, happy, happy. I wanted to be happy, but how could a poorboy that could barely read and not focus be happy? I soon found out.

When the pastor got up to preach he was happy as well! This drew my attention. I was a small boy that night but I still remember what he preached Col 1:12. I remember he was so exuberant, even jumping on the first bench in the congregation. Wow! Is what I kept thinking. Then people went upfront and would fall in the floor. Many of them were speaking in languages I had never heard. As I watched every person in that building I knew they had something I want! As we started attending that church on a regular basis I heard something one day that confirmed in me even more that they had what I wanted. I overheard someone talking that the pastor and his wife and their three small children still in diapers had nowhere to live and have been sleeping in the church floor. I began to think, “How is this man so happy so full of joy? Every service he preaches with joy and passion all the while he has no home and is sleeping in the church floor with his family!”

This made such a huge impact on my life and formed me for the many trials in ministry that I would later face. When I started to preach the gospel as God was my helper I could focus more and read. I remember when I served as state evangelist in my denomination I would be in different cities each week preaching revivals. Many nights as I lay in those hotels I would cry out to God thanking Him that He had saved and was using a poor, ADHD, dyslexic boy like me! What I learned from my childhood, through being poor, the dyslexia, and the ADHD was all preparing me for the way the Lord would use me later in life. What you need to understand whoever you are, whatever problems your facing is,  the world needs you! You were fearfully and wonderfully made. God created you for a purpose. There are things in life that will never get done if you don’t step up and do them. There are things only you were created to do. So do not cower behind your handicaps, hangups, and struggles. Give them to God today. Say, here’s my hands, here’s my feet, take me, use me. The world needs you. God needs you.

Jeremiah 1:5
“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.”

Pastor Joel

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