Senior pastor of Lakewood Church, author and inspirational speaker.
Posted 3/2/15 at 2:29 PM | Joel Osteen
When I was eight years old, I went to a department store with my father where he was buying a suit. The man waiting on us found out that my dad was a minister. He said in a very demeaning, condescending way, "Well, you know. If you can't afford it, we can give you a minister's discount."
Well, my father had been raised in extreme poverty. He came out of the Great Depression. They didn't have enough food to eat. Daddy had to put cardboard in his shoes as a little boy because they had holes in them. When this man said sarcastically, "We can give you this discount," it rubbed my father the wrong way. I could see it in his eyes. Daddy thought to himself, "I am not a beggar. I don't need a handout. I'm a child of the Most High God!" It wasn't out of arrogance but out of a confidence of who he was and Who he represented. He looked that salesman in the eyes and said, "No, sir. I don't need a minister's discount. Do you know who my Father is?" That man stepped back like Daddy came from some kind of influential, well-to-do family. He didn't know Daddy wasn't talking about his earthly father; he was talking about his heavenly Father. He was saying in effect, "This is a new day. I've stepped out of poverty and lack. The God I serve doesn't need a discount. He is well able to take care of me. He is El Shaddai; the God who is more than enough!" FULL POST
Posted 2/17/15 at 1:22 PM | Joel Osteen
Did you know that God will bless you through your relationships? He will pour out His favor on you by using the people in your life. He'll use your friends, family, coworkers and even your spouse. It says in Proverbs 18:22, "He who finds a wife… receives favor from the Lord." Men, do you realize that your wife is bringing you favor from the Lord? Victoria never lets me forget that! We should always be thankful for our relationships and not take our loved ones for granted. We should do our best to seek peace and choose love.
One way we can show love is by giving others room to make mistakes. Ladies, the scripture says in First Peter that you are to "enjoy your husband." It does not say that you are to remodel that man! It doesn't say to try to change him or make him fit your mold. No, let him be who God made him to be and learn to enjoy him. He may have weaknesses. He may do things that you don't particularly care for, but don't focus on that. Focus on his good qualities. Don't fall into the trap of comparing your husband to someone else's husband. "Well, my husband never brings me flowers like Susie's husband. They go out on a candlelight dinner every weekend. I don't know what's wrong with my husband." No, quit comparing and be grateful for the man God has given you. If you're single today, be thankful that you have a perfect Provider, a faithful Companion, one who will never leave you nor forsake you—Almighty God! Let Him fill the needs of your heart and direct you to the right person at the right time if you so desire. FULL POST
Posted 2/6/15 at 1:18 PM | Joel Osteen
I read a story about a young man who had a dream to play professional football. In high school, he was a star player and won all kinds of awards. He came from a very small town where everybody knew him. All the children looked up to him and wanted to be like him. He was a local hero. But most of the coaches thought he was too small to play in college. He was turned down by all the major universities. He ended up going to a junior college and working at a pizza restaurant. He didn't even play football.
One night he was out delivering a pizza. A ten-year-old boy answered the door. When this boy saw the young man, his eyes got so big. The boy was star struck. He couldn't believe the player he had watched so many times thrill the crowd, so quick, so fast, was standing right in front of him. About that time, the boy's father walked up, and the young man gave the father the pizza. The little boy was very confused. He looked up at his father. He looked at the young man and said very innocently, "What are you doing delivering pizzas?" FULL POST
Posted 1/30/15 at 10:31 AM | Joel Osteen
In scripture, we see David as a powerful king, a great leader, one of the heroes of faith. But, David wasn't raised in a wealthy, influential family. He wasn't trained to take the throne. In fact, he came from a very poor family. He was the eighth son of a man named Jesse. His brothers were involved in the military. They had somewhat significant positions, but David didn't. His job was to take care of his father's sheep. He was low man on the totem pole, so to speak. He was looked down on and seen as secondary. His family thought, "Oh, that's just David. Let's stick him out in the shepherd's fields. He's never going to amount to much."
In the natural, it didn't look like David had much of a future. He came from a low- income family, no education. His own father didn't believe in him. But, just because people write you off doesn't mean God writes you off. Circumstances may be against you, but that doesn't change what God has prepared for you. FULL POST
Posted 1/29/15 at 10:24 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 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 1/16/15 at 11:35 AM | Joel Osteen
A while back, I read about a study that was done with people who needed arthroscopic knee surgery. Their knees were worn down, and they needed the joint to be cleaned out. With permission from the family, a certain number of patients went in for surgery. But instead of actually performing the surgery, the doctors simply put the patients under anesthesia and made three tiny incisions around the knee but didn't actually do anything.
Of course, when the patient woke up, they thought they had the full surgery. What's interesting is that two years later, the patients who had the fake surgery reported just as much relief from the pain as the patients who had the actual surgery. And, it wasn't just in their minds. When the doctors examined the knees of the patients, they could see that there was, in fact, improvement. The doctors' conclusion was, "Since the brain expected the knee to get better, it got better. The expectation helped the body to heal." You could say those doctors tricked the patients into having a new vision for themselves, and just like gravity, they moved toward it. FULL POST
Posted 1/9/15 at 11:11 AM | Joel Osteen
When I was a little boy growing up, our next door neighbors had a big German shepherd dog in their backyard. Even though their yard was fenced off, they always kept the dog on a leash. One day when I was about nine years old, I was playing baseball in the backyard with some friends, and the ball went over into the neighbor's yard. I didn't think much about it. I had been over there many times. I got my ladder and climbed over our six-foot fence.
When I got to the ball, the dog was about 50 yards away. When he saw me, he took off running toward me at 90 miles an hour, and for some reason, he wasn't on his leash that day! My heart sunk. I knew I was as good as dead. I turned around and took off running toward our fence as fast as I could. The whole time under my breath, I was saying, "Lord, forgive me of my sins. I'm about to come meet You!"
When I got to the fence, all in one motion, I grabbed it with one hand, jumped as high as I could, and somehow got over that fence right before the dog got to me! I was just a little boy and had practically cleared a six-foot fence! That dog helped me to discover potential that I didn't know I had. That dog helped me to find some hidden treasure. I had never jumped that high before, and the truth is, I have never jumped that high since. FULL POST
Posted 1/6/15 at 12:32 PM | Joel Osteen
There was a lady in scripture named Rahab. She was a Canaanite woman. The Canaanites were descendants of Noah's son, Ham. Ham was the one who saw his father, Noah, drunk and naked, and instead of covering him up and downplaying it, he went out and told everybody. He made it worse. When Noah found out, he cursed Ham and all of his descendants. Years later, Ham's descendant, Rahab, is a prostitute living in Jericho. Her family is under this curse. She could have thought: "It's been passed down to me. I'll always struggle. I'll always make poor choices." But she didn't. She did something to break that curse. She made a decision.
What happened is that one day, Joshua and the Israelites were about to attack her city of Jericho. Joshua sent two men in to spy out the land. Somebody noticed who they were and told the authorities. Just as they were about to be captured, Rahab took the spies in and hid them in her home. They said to her, "Since you've helped us, when we come and attack the city, we're going to spare you and your family."
Even though Rahab had all this negative baggage, even though she was living a dishonorable life, she made the decision to honor God. That one choice changed the course of her family line. That day, God removed the yoke that had been holding her back. That day, God broke the curse that had been in her family for generations. FULL POST
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