Senior pastor of Lakewood Church, author and inspirational speaker.
Posted 12/19/14 at 10:04 AM | Joel Osteen
You may have heard the story of Jesus' birth many times, but have you ever really stopped to imagine what it must have been like for Mary? She was just a humble teenage girl living in Nazareth. Nazareth was one of the poorest, most rundown cities of that region, and she didn't have any notoriety to speak of. One day, an angel appeared and said, "Mary, you are highly favored of God. You're going to give birth to a son without knowing a man. He will be the Son of God."
God gave Mary this amazing promise that wasn't even believable in the natural. You can imagine the thoughts of doubt and unbelief that must have bombarded her mind. Thoughts like, "How can I have a baby without a man? That's impossible. That defies the laws of nature." If Mary would have only considered her circumstances, she certainly would have been tempted to give up." But instead of looking at her circumstances, she looked to God. She understood this principle: if God says it, He will bring it to pass.
When Mary answered the angel back, she didn't say, "Oh that sounds too far out. I don't see how that can happen." No, Mary was bold. She made a statement of faith. She said, "Be it unto me even as you have said." In other words, "I'm in agreement. Let it happen. If God says I'm highly favored, I believe it. If God says the impossible is going to happen, I believe it." Friend, that's the way we need to be when God puts a promise in our hearts. Instead of trying to reason it out, we have to be fully convinced that what He said, He will do. FULL POST
Posted 12/12/14 at 11:27 AM | Joel Osteen
One of my favorite memories about Christmas growing up was watching my father's generosity everywhere he went. As a boy, my father didn't have much. He grew up during the Great Depression. His childhood wasn't very joyful, but he was determined to share as much as he could later in life. My father had empathy for the needy and a drive to help others. People seemed to sense it, too. I can't tell you how many times a stranger came out of nowhere and walked right up to my Dad as if guided to him by a heavenly hand.
I was about 15 years old traveling with my father overseas during Christmas break when I witnessed one of those encounters. We were in a small airport terminal with a thatched roof on an island in the Philippines. I was walking back from getting a drink and a snack when I found my father talking to a young man with long hair and a backpack. They were deep in conversation, which wasn't unusual because Dad liked hearing people's stories. The next thing I knew, my father was reaching for his wallet and handed the young man a wad of cash—a couple of hundred dollars. When I asked him about it later, he said, "Well, we got to talking, and he told me he was trying to get back to the states but had miscalculated how much money he needed and was stuck in the airport. So I gave him enough to get him home to his parents for the holidays. I just kept thinking, what if that were my son or daughter, wouldn't I want someone to help them?" FULL POST
Posted 11/28/14 at 10:10 AM | Joel Osteen
Wouldn't it be great to have Thanksgiving 365 days a year?! We can because Thanksgiving isn't just a holiday; it's an attitude of the heart. We celebrate every day because no matter what is going on in life, we can find a reason to thank God.
Having an attitude of thanksgiving all depends on what you choose to focus on. You can either focus on your problems, or you can focus on your blessings. The question is: Do you want more problems, or do you want more blessings? Living with an attitude of gratitude means that you don't just thank God for what He did in the past, but you also thank Him for what He will do in the future. You thank Him for opening new doors. You thank Him for increasing you. You thank Him for bringing the right people into your life.
When we thank God in advance, that's really a declaration of faith. Your thanks is saying, "God, I'm so sure of Your goodness, I'm so sure that You're working in my life that I'm going to thank You right now for what You are going to do tomorrow!" Remember, faith is what pleases God. Faith is what moves Him. Faith is what opens the door for His promises to enter your life. Today and every day have an attitude of gratitude and let your faith say thank you! FULL POST
Posted 11/21/14 at 10:28 AM | Joel Osteen
In the book of Numbers, Moses sent twelve men to spy out the Promised Land and see who inhabited it. After 40 days, ten of them came back and said, "Moses, we don't have a chance. The people are huge. Compared to them, we look like grasshoppers." Notice their "I am" — "I am weak. I am inferior. I am intimidated. I am afraid." What happened? Fear, intimidation and inferiority came knocking at the door.
But two spies, Joshua and Caleb, came back with a different report. They said, "Moses, the people are big, but we know our God is much bigger. We are well able. Let us go in and take the land at once!" Notice their "I am" was just the opposite. "I am strong. I am equipped. I am confident. I am more than a conqueror."
What's interesting is that the negative report from the ten spies spread like wildfire throughout the rest of the camp. Before long, some 2,000,000 people were intimidated and afraid. Nobody even paid attention to Joshua and Caleb, who had the report of faith. Here's what I've learned: a negative report always spreads faster than a positive report. When people are murmuring, complaining and talking defeat, be on guard. Make sure you don't let the wrong "I am" take root. FULL POST
Posted 11/17/14 at 1:40 PM | Joel Osteen
Every day, life brings new opportunities and presents you with thousands of new choices. One of the first choices you get to make each day is about your attitude. Yes, whether you realize it or not, attitude is a choice. You can't just wait and allow your circumstances to dictate your attitude; you have to be on the offensive and choose your perspective for each day. When you wake up with enthusiasm and choose to be grateful, you are "putting on" the right attitude. You are setting your day up for success and opening the door to be used by God in a powerful way.
Everyone faces difficulties. We all have obstacles that can seem impossible to overcome. However, the difference between those who are able to rise above their adversities and those who get stuck in them is attitude. I've heard that attitude determines altitude!
You don't have to be around our ministry very long to hear a message on the importance of having a thankful attitude. A thankful attitude is a form of praise. It shows that your faith and hope are in Almighty God. I believe it is one of the main keys to living the abundant life God has in store! FULL POST
Posted 11/14/14 at 10:26 AM | Joel Osteen
I have a friend who bought some property out in the middle of nowhere. He hardly paid anything for it, less than $100 an acre. He bought several hundred acres. On the surface, it seemed like he had wasted his money. The land was dry and barren. You couldn't grow crops on it. You couldn't raise cattle. It was like the desert, just rocks, clay and cactus. He would go out from time to time and check on it. It always puzzled me as to why he bought that property. I thought surely he must have some family up in that area.
One day we were talking and it came up. I asked him why he purchased it. He said, "Joel, I don't really know. I was just driving by it and felt drawn to it. I felt such a peace, and I knew that property was supposed to be mine." I thought to myself, "The next time you feel drawn to something, you need to do your research first!" It didn't make sense to me. Fifteen years later, he was notified that the state was putting in a new highway. It was going to go right through his property. They had to buy him out. He sold that property for more than 100 times what he paid for it! The next time he buys property, I'm buying next door! FULL POST
Posted 11/7/14 at 10:34 AM | Joel Osteen
There are many different ways that people view God. Some people view Him as a God who is far off, way out there, untouchable, somewhere out in the universe. Some people see Him in a very formal way and have a deep respect and reverential fear of Him. Some people think He is just out to get them. They think He has a baseball bat, looking down from heaven waiting for them to make a mistake. They feel a pressure that they can never live up to. If that's you today, understand that's a wrong image of God. That's not who He is. But scripture tells us how we should view God—as a loving father.
A loving father is for you. He helps you overcome mistakes, cheers you on as you pursue your dreams, and always believes the very best in you. Many people know God as their Savior. But when you know God as Father, your relationship with Him takes on a whole new meaning. You realize that He is not a God who is far off. He is not out to get you. He is not just there to point out what you are doing wrong. He's personal. He's a constant source of strength and encouragement. He is there to lift you up when you fall, to encourage you when you are down, to push you forward when you feel like giving up! FULL POST
Posted 10/31/14 at 10:13 AM | Joel Osteen
I heard a story about a man named Nick. He was a big, strong, tough man. He had worked out in the railroad yards for many, many years. He was one of the company's most reliable employees. But Nick was a chronic worrier. He was always fearing the worst and talking about what might happen.
One summer day, the crew was told that they could leave an hour early to attend a birthday party of one of the foremen. Nick was out working in one of the refrigerated boxcars when somehow he accidentally got locked inside. He didn't have a cell phone or radio, and everybody else was gone. When he realized he was trapped in that car, he began to panic. He started screaming at the top of his lungs. He beat on those doors hour after hour until his fists were bloody. He finally had his voice give out. Nick was very aware that he was in a refrigerated boxcar. He guessed that the temperature was well below freezing. He began to fear the worst. He thought, "If I don't get out of here, I could freeze to death. There's no way I can make it all night." The more he thought about it, the colder he got. Shivering almost uncontrollably, he found a piece of cardboard in that boxcar. He wrote a note. It said, "So cold. Body getting numb. These may be my last words." FULL POST
Posted 10/24/14 at 9:51 AM | Joel Osteen
In John chapter 5, there was a man who was crippled. For 38 years, he had been lying by the pool of Bethesda, a place where miracles took place constantly. There were actually angels present and whenever an angel would stir the water, the first person who got into the pool would be healed.
I can imagine the first few months that he was there, he had great expectation, thinking, "This is going to be my day. I'm going to be the one who gets healed today." He was passionate. He had enthusiasm. But a month went by and it didn't happen. He probably got a little bit discouraged. And then three months, and it still doesn't happen and he's more discouraged. Then a year…then five years. Now 38 years later, he is still lying by the pool totally convinced that it's never going to happen.
One day, Jesus came by and asked this man a question. He said, "Sir, do you want to get well?" In a sense, that was an odd question. Of course he wanted to get well. He had been lying by the pool 38 years hoping to get in. But, Jesus wanted to see his attitude. FULL POST
Posted 10/10/14 at 9:48 AM | Joel Osteen
When my father was alive, I used to say to Victoria, "I wonder what's going to happen to me and around here when my father goes to be with the Lord?" My father and I had traveled the world together for 17 years. I worked with him day in and day out here at the ministry. He would come over to our house many nights. We would have dinner or go watch the Astros play baseball. Much of my world was built around my father. In the back of my mind, I thought, "When my dad dies, it will never be as good as it is right now." In 1999, my dad suddenly had a heart attack and went to be with the Lord. I mourned the loss of my father, but I didn't get bitter. I didn't have a chip on my shoulder. I didn't feel cheated. I knew that God had fulfilled the number of my father's days. I knew it was a part of God's plan. FULL POST