Senior pastor of Lakewood Church, author and inspirational speaker.
Posted 7/5/13 at 10:36 AM | Joel Osteen
One time, a man was telling me about how he felt as if he had wasted the first forty years of his life. He had come from a good family. He was bright and had all kinds of opportunity in front of him, but he made some wrong choices early on and ended up a cocaine addict. He told me, "Joel, I don't even really remember the first part of my life. I was so high and so messed up. I ruined my marriage. I blew my education." At one point, he thought his life was over, but today things are different. Now he's in his early fifties, his family is back together, and he has a good job. In fact, he volunteers for us every weekend. He said, "I never dreamed God would give me another chance. I never dreamed I could be this fulfilled."
During this time of year when we celebrate Independence Day, our freedom in America, I want to remind you that no matter where you are in life, no matter what has happened in your past, it's never too late for God to set you spiritually free. It's never too late for Him to turn things around. It's never too late to break that addiction; never too late to have good relationships; never too late to fulfill your dreams. It's never too late to live in true freedom found in Jesus Christ. FULL POST
Posted 7/2/13 at 3:39 PM | Joel Osteen
In Second Kings chapter five, there’s the story of a man named Naaman. He was a captain in the Syrian army and a very influential man, but he had leprosy. One day a young lady who worked for him, a maid at his house said, "Naaman, if you’ll travel to Israel and see the prophet Elisha, he will pray for you, and I know you will be healed."
He took her advice and traveled a great distance to Israel and showed up at Elisha’s house. But when he arrived, Elisha didn’t even get up and go to the door to meet him. Elisha sent his assistant and said, "Go tell Naaman that if he’ll wash in the Jordan River seven times, he’ll be healed of that leprosy."
Well, Naaman was offended that Elisha didn’t take the time to greet him. He had traveled a long way. He was an important military man, and Elisha didn’t even have the courtesy to come to the door to speak with him. Plus, Naaman didn’t want to go wash in the Jordan River. It was a dirty river. Naaman had his own plan. He said in verse 11, "I thought Elisha would come out and wave his hand over me and cure me of my leprosy."
I think those first two words almost kept him from his miracle, "I thought." He had a preconceived idea of how it was going to happen. We’ve all been there.
One of his men said, "Naaman, if he had asked you to do something difficult, you would do it. Why don’t you just do this simple thing?" He finally talked him into it, and Naaman went and washed in the Jordan River. Just as Elisha said, when he came up out of the water the seventh time, his skin was perfectly clean.
How many of us today miss God’s best because we thought it would happen another way? "I thought I would give birth to my children, not adopt them." "I thought I would get well without the treatment." "I thought I’d get that promotion. That’s how I’d be blessed." No, we have to stay open and be submitted to whatever God tells us to do.
When I look back over my life, like Naaman, I have had a lot of "I thoughts." For one, I thought I would be behind the scenes my whole life, not out in front of people! I thought we would build a new sanctuary when Lakewood needed more space, not move into the former Compaq Center where the Rockets used to play. The common denominator in all of my "I thoughts" is that God’s plan was much better than my plan. What God had in mind was much bigger, much more rewarding than anything I dreamed of.
Today, no matter what the circumstances look like, trust God to do things His way. We may not always understand it. It may not be what we thought, but it will always be His best. His ways are always higher than ours. Don’t let logistics hold you back. Trust Him, obey His commands, and embrace the blessings He has in store for you!
Posted 6/21/13 at 5:17 PM | Joel Osteen
Paul prayed in Ephesians that the eyes of our understanding would be flooded with light so that we would know the amazing future God has in store. It's interesting that Paul used that phrase, "flooded with light." See, Paul had experienced a portion of this flood; but we're living in a better day than Paul. We are in the day where Paul declared we would see the surpassing greatness of God's favor.
I can tell you firsthand, Victoria and I have experienced this flood of God's favor. God has overwhelmed us with His goodness. I'm not bragging on us. I'm bragging on God. God has taken us beyond our education, beyond our talent, beyond our training; and He has unleashed His abundance, wisdom and favor in our lives.
I believe there are two main keys to seeing this flood of favor. Number one: you've got to keep God first place in your life and honor Him. Let Him have His way in your life. Deal with the issues that He's bringing to light. Stay open and be willing to change. We don't have to be perfect. We all have flaws and weaknesses, but we should be growing and making progress.
The second key is that you have to learn to take the limits off of God. Believe big. Pray bold prayers. Live with expectancy of what God has for your future. Believe that with Him, all things are possible. FULL POST
Posted 6/14/13 at 6:36 AM | Joel Osteen
Our daughter, Alexandra, was two months old when my father went to be with the Lord. During that time, my dad was on dialysis. I was taking him up to the clinic and bringing him back home nearly every day. It was a very busy season. Then two months later, when Daddy died, our whole world changed. We were thrust into this new position. I was doing my best to just try to keep my head above water. The first few years of Alexandra's life are such a blur because there was so much going on.
I realized this one day when we were looking at her baby pictures. I just didn't have the same memories of her first few years as I do our son, Jonathan. Just under my breath, almost in passing, I said, "God, I'm asking You to restore the years that I lost being so busy and so preoccupied with other things." At that time, Alexandra was about six years old. It seemed like from that time forward, all she wanted to do was be with me, her father. She would rather go out in the backyard and let me watch her turn cartwheels than to have her friends over to play. In fact, sometimes I needed a break. I would say, "Alexandra, are you sure you don't want to go to your cousin's? You can go swimming. You sure you don't want to invite your friends over?" FULL POST
Posted 6/7/13 at 6:26 PM | Joel Osteen |
In 2 Kings 8, there's the story about Elisha and a woman who was good friends with him. Her son had died, and Elisha came and prayed for the boy, and he came back to life. Later, there was a great famine in the land. Elisha told this woman that she needed to move to another city because the food was going to be so scarce. So she left her home and went to the land of the Philistines. Seven years later, the famine was over. She was so excited about coming back home. But when she arrived, she found that someone was living in her house, farming her land and making money off of her property. She couldn't believe it. She said, "What are you doing here? This is my house. I built this place." They wouldn't budge. They weren't about to leave.
She didn't know what to do, so she decided to go see the king. Now, this king wasn't a godly man. She didn't have any connection with him. She didn't even know if the king would see her. But when she arrived, it just so happened that Gehazi, the assistant to Elisha, was there visiting with the king. The king was very intrigued by the prophet Elisha. He asked Gehazi to tell him some stories about the miracles that Elisha had performed. It just so happened that Gehazi started off telling the story about a little boy who died, and how Elisha prayed and he came back to life. Right as he was telling it, perfectly on cue, this lady walked in the room. Gehazi was amazed. He said, "King! That's the lady I'm talking about right there. It was her son that came back to life." FULL POST
Posted 5/24/13 at 10:16 AM | Joel Osteen
In First Samuel 17, the Philistines were on one side of a mountain and the Israelites were on the side of another mountain. There was a valley between them that they were fighting over. The scripture says that the valley belonged to Judah. It belonged to the Israelites. Judah means praise. Every morning and every evening for 40 days, one of the Philistines, a huge giant named Goliath, would come out and stand on their side of the mountain and shout threats and insults toward the Israelites, trying to intimidate them, bring fear and cause them to panic. The first thing the Israelites heard in the morning was Goliath shouting something like, "Your days are numbered. You don't have a chance." The last thing they heard before they went to bed was, "I'm so much bigger than you. You might as well give up."
For 40 days the Israelites were tormented and couldn't even sleep at night. They were intimidated, worried and living in fear. But one day, a young man showed up named David. He had a secret weapon. He came from the tribe of Judah, the tribe of praise. David knew the valley they were fighting for didn't belong to fear, discouragement or intimidation. He knew that the valley belonged to praise. His attitude was, "I may be in a low spot. I may be in a tough time. I don't see a way out, but I know this valley doesn't belong to discouragement. Intimidation is not going to keep me up at night. Goliath, you're not coming into my valley. This valley belongs to praise." FULL POST
Posted 5/17/13 at 11:29 AM | Joel Osteen
There’s a young lady who had been attending Lakewood for about a year, but she couldn’t get her husband to attend. He wasn’t raised in church, and spiritual things seemed very foreign to him. Not only that, he worked on Sundays, and it was difficult for him to miss because they really needed the income. Every week, she would encourage him. Finally, he agreed to come. He went in very early to work one Sunday and then took off the rest of the day. His friends at work gave him a hard time. They couldn’t believe he was going to miss work and the income he could be earning to attend church.
During the service, they came down front for prayer. It just so happened that my friend Johnny prayed for them. When Johnny was praying, he felt impressed in his heart to give them a gift. He had five $20 bills and eight $1 bills wrapped all together in his front pocket. While he had one hand on the man’s shoulder praying, he put his other hand in his pocket and tried to separate the ones from the twenties. So he’s praying and trying to sort out this money. The couple didn’t know anything about it. Johnny finished praying, but he never did get the cash separated. So he pulled out the whole amount and discreetly put it in the man’s hand and said, "Here, I want to bless you with this." FULL POST
Posted 5/3/13 at 10:33 AM | Joel Osteen
I met a lady a couple of years ago after the service. She was in town for treatment at M.D. Anderson, a cancer hospital in Houston. She was going to have a tumor removed, and then she was going to have to take chemotherapy. All of her medical records, blood work, and X-rays were shipped from her hospital back at home. The doctor she was seeing here wanted her to retake all the tests and redo all the X-rays just to double-check and verify her diagnosis. She was already scheduled for surgery when the doctor called her in. He had received the test results and couldn't find the tumor anymore. It was very clear on one X-ray, but on the new one, you couldn't see anything. He said, "I've been doing this for 26 years. I have never seen anything like this before."
What was that? That was God overwhelming her with a flood of healing. It was a flood of His restoration. Friend, God can do what medicine cannot do. God made your body. He has you in the palm of His hand. The good news is that God has the final say. He said, "The number of your days I will fulfill." That means sickness doesn't determine how long you're going to live; God does. Nothing can snatch you out of His hand. If it's not your time to go, then you're not going to go. You may be facing a major illness. It doesn't look good in the natural, but you're under a Flash Flood Warning. Any moment you could see a flood of healing. Any moment God could turn that around. FULL POST
Posted 4/26/13 at 10:27 AM | Joel Osteen
When Victoria was pregnant with our son, Jonathan, the first few months after we found out were very exciting. For Victoria, it was a pretty easy time. But about six months in, she started getting uncomfortable. Her feet started to swell. By the seventh month, her back started hurting, and she couldn’t sleep very well at night. By the eighth month, she was saying, "God, I want to have this baby right now. I am tired of waiting." But, we know God has an appointed time. Our child was not ready. He was still growing and developing. If God let Victoria have that baby early, he wouldn’t be as healthy.
In the same way, sometimes we pray, "God, give me this promise right now. God, I’m uncomfortable. These people aren’t treating me right. God, business is slow." What we can’t see is that something in our life is not ready. Maybe it’s another person that’s going to be involved, and God is still working on them. Maybe it’s another situation that’s going to be a part of your destiny, and it’s not in place yet. Or, maybe God is doing a work in you, developing your character, growing you stronger in that process. FULL POST
Posted 4/19/13 at 10:23 PM | Joel Osteen
I know a lady who, for many years, struggled with her self-worth. Growing up, she never felt like she was good enough and didn’t really feel like she fit in. Come to find out, these insecurities stemmed from being a child born out of wedlock. Her mother and father weren’t married, and as a little girl, one day she saw her birth certificate, and a little box was checked that said, "Not legitimate." That phrase became ingrained in her thinking. All through her childhood, her teenage years, or any time she tried to move forward, those words would come up in her mind once again. "You’re a mistake. Nobody even wanted you. You’re not valuable." She didn’t know any better. She believed that lie. It was affecting her personality, her attitude, and even her marriage.
One day she heard the truth that worth and value don’t come from other people. Your significance comes from Almighty God. As she received this revelation, she said, "It was like something exploded on the inside." She recognized those words "not legitimate" were holding her back in bondage. She decided to start hitting the delete button on those negative words from the past. When those thoughts came saying, "You’re not valuable. You have no future," instead of dwelling on them and letting it depress her, she reprogrammed her thinking. "I’m not a mistake. I’m not an accident. God chose me to be here before the foundation of the world. I’m accepted. I’m approved. I am valuable." Her attitude was, "No matter what my birth certificate says, I know I am legitimate. Almighty God breathed His life into me." Today she is living a blessed, free, confident life! FULL POST