Joel Osteen Blog

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Posted 11/9/12 at 12:50 PM | Joel Osteen

A Good Idea or a God Idea?

Growing up, my parents knew this couple. They had been friends for a long time. This couple really loved my parents, but they didn't attend Lakewood. They lived on the other side of town and thought it was too far. It was about a 30-minute drive, which is really no big deal nowadays. But for years they told my father, "If you ever bring Lakewood to our side of town, we will be there every time the doors open. In fact, there are so many people, thousands on this side of town, that would love to attend Lakewood."

My father heard him say that so much that he was convinced that there was this mass of people on the other side of town waiting for Lakewood. So he rented an auditorium less than five minutes from the house of this couple, spent thousands of dollars on the building, the sound system and the advertising; and for one month, every Thursday night he brought Lakewood to that side of town. The truth is, God didn't call him to do it; these people called him to do it. They talked him into it. It was a good idea, but it wasn't a God idea. There is a difference. There can be a lot of things that look fine on the surface, but you've got to search your heart and say, "God, is this for me? Is this a part of my destiny? Is this a God idea or is this just a distraction? Is this just people trying to squeeze me into their mold?" FULL POST

Posted 11/2/12 at 4:41 PM | Joel Osteen

Opinions and the Pit

There's a story about a man who fell into a pit. Different people came along to voice their opinions. The Pharisee said, "You deserve to be in the pit." The Catholic said, "You need to suffer while you're in the pit." The Baptist said, "If you'd get saved, you wouldn't have fallen into the pit." The Charismatic said, "Just confess, 'I'm not in the pit.'" The mathematician said, "Let me calculate how you fell into the pit." The IRS agent said, "Have you paid taxes on that pit?" The optimist said, "Things could be worse." The pessimist said, "Things will get worse."

Everyone has an opinion. If you try to please every person, the one person that will not be happy is you. And it's funny; sometimes the people who are trying to run your life can't even run their own. It's good to get advice. It's good to listen to opinions, but you've got to be confident enough in who God made you to be that when something doesn't bear witness with your spirit, you have a boldness to say, "Thanks, but no thanks. I love you. I appreciate your advice, but this time, it's not for me."

I have a friend who's on staff here with us. Several years ago, a man came up to him and said, "I feel very strongly that you're supposed to go out and start your own church. You're a great minister. You're anointed. I know it would be a success." FULL POST

Posted 10/26/12 at 1:24 PM | Joel Osteen

Don't Get Squeezed into a Mold

When my father went to be with the Lord, I had to accept the fact that God's purpose for my life was not the same purpose as my father's. His calling was to help bring down the denominational walls and let people know about the fullness of the Spirit. When I took over, I felt pressured to be like my father, to fit into that mold. I thought I had to minister like him, run the church like him, and go down that same path. But when I searched my heart, I knew my calling was to plant a seed of hope, to encourage people, to let them know about the goodness of God. At first, it was difficult because some people had been in the church for 40 years. I thought, "I can't be anything different. What would they think? They may not like me. They may not accept me."

One day I read a scripture talking about David. It said, "David fulfilled his purpose for his generation." I heard God say right down in here, "Joel, your father fulfilled his purpose. Now quit trying to be like him and go out and fulfill your purpose." When I heard that, it was like a light turned on inside of me. I realized I don't have to try to be like my father. I don't have to fit into a certain mold. It's okay to run my race. I am free to be me. After all, God doesn't want us to be an imitation of somebody else; be the original God created you to be. FULL POST

Posted 10/19/12 at 11:35 AM | Joel Osteen

The Double Portion

In scripture we see that for many years Elisha served the prophet Elijah. He was his protégé. Elijah had seen God's favor in incredible ways. He is the one who called down fire from heaven and 400 false prophets were destroyed. One time, Elijah prayed that it wouldn't rain. For three and a half years, there was no rain. He was one of the most powerful, anointed people that ever lived. When he was getting very old and about to be taken to heaven, he said to Elisha, "What do you want me to do for you for serving me faithfully all these years?"

Elisha could have asked for something simple. He could have said, "How about a couple weeks off?" or, "How about that new iPad? I'd really like that." He could have said, "My request is that I'd be able to carry on your ministry." But, Elisha was bold. He looked at Elijah and said, "What I really want is a double portion of your spirit." He was saying, "I want to do twice what you've done. I want to do twice the miracles, have twice the anointing, twice the favor, twice the influence."

Elijah could have looked at him and said, "Boy, who do you think you are? You sure are greedy. You need to be a little more humble." No, Elijah basically told him, "You just keep serving me faithfully and what you have asked will come to pass." FULL POST

Posted 10/12/12 at 11:46 AM | Joel Osteen

Soaring Above the Critics

I believe God has new levels of freedom for you today. One of the ways you can see yourself go to a higher level is by learning to choose your battles and refusing to fight battles that don't matter. Friend, you don't have to fight every battle. You don't have to respond to every critic. You don't have to be offended because of what someone said. You're not a crow; you're an eagle. You can rise above it. You can soar at new heights.

This is what Nehemiah did. God called him to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. He and his men got started, but he had two main critics: Sanballat and Tobias. They were constantly criticizing him, spreading rumors, and trying to make him look bad. They said, "Nehemiah is not a builder. He doesn't know what he is doing. If a fox runs on this wall, it's going to fall down."

The whole time, Nehemiah and his men had to listen to these two men belittle them, ridicule them, and make fun of them. What did Nehemiah do? He simply ignored them. He let it go in one ear and out the other. When that didn't work, they went to the city leaders and started spreading lies. They said, "Nehemiah is not building this wall for our good. He's just building a kingdom unto himself." They started questioning his motives. Don't you know that Nehemiah was tempted to come down off that wall and say, "Guys, I'm going to shut you up? I'm going to show you who I am." No, he was smart enough to realize they were a distraction. He chose to ignore them and went on to build that wall in record time. FULL POST

Posted 10/5/12 at 11:11 AM | Joel Osteen

Find Your Passion, Fulfill Your Potential

Everywhere I go people ask for prayer for many different reasons, but one of the most common prayer requests come from people dissatisfied with their jobs. They may be paying the bills, but they don’t have any passion for what they do. Consequently, it affects every area of their life and drains them of valuable energy. In his new book, The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, John Maxwell talks about it like this:

"I am amazed by how many people I meet every day who don’t like doing what they do for a living. Why do they do it? I understand the necessity of having to make a living. We’ve all done jobs we didn’t love. I worked in a meat-packing plant when I was in college. I didn’t like that job. But I didn’t stay there my whole life, doing something I found unfulfilling. If I’d loved it and it had fit my passion and purpose, I would have stayed there and tried to build a career. But it wasn’t what I wanted to do.

Philosopher Abraham Kaplan noted, ‘If, as Socrates said, the unexamined life is not worth living, so the unlived life is worth examining.’ If you’re not enjoying what you do for a living, you need to take some time to examine why. FULL POST

Posted 9/28/12 at 12:08 PM | Joel Osteen

Promises to God

My grandfather on my dad’s side was a very good, hard-working man. But, Granddaddy didn’t have any kind of spiritual upbringing. None of his relatives knew anything about God. My father was the first one in the family to come to know the Lord when he was just seventeen years old. Granddaddy Osteen was a very quiet, reserved man. My father shared his faith with Granddaddy many times, but he just wouldn’t hear it. He said, “John, when I’m dead, I’m dead like a dog. Just roll me over in the ditch.”

My father would say, “No, Daddy. You’ve got to live on somewhere after the stars fall like autumn leaves.”

But it just went in one ear and out the other. It didn’t have any effect on Granddaddy. Year after year went by. One Sunday, my father was up in the pulpit at the church he pastored at that time. Granddaddy walked in that church for the first time ever and sat down on the back row. My father was so thrilled! It was a dream come true. Then, right in the middle of his message, Granddaddy got up, walked down the aisle and stood at the altar, interrupting the whole service. He said, “John, I’m finishing today what I started over 40 years ago.” FULL POST

Posted 9/21/12 at 10:10 AM | Joel Osteen

The Unity of the Faith

One thing I've learned in life is that you aren't going to agree on everything with every single person you encounter. Backgrounds, upbringing, friends and family all have influence on people's perspective. Scripture shows us in Ephesians 4 that our goal should be to come together in the unity of the faith in the knowledge of the Son of God. In other words, we are eternally connected by believing that Jesus is the Son of God; that He lived on earth, died for our sins, and rose from the dead so that we could live in eternity with Him. Unity in Christ is the foundation upon which everything else in our lives should be built.

My friend Andy Stanley talks about this in his new book, Deep and Wide—Creating Churches Unchurched People Love to Attend. He writes:

"For millennia, before the invention of concrete, builders used stones to lay a foundation for a new building. They gathered granite, marble, or limestone from a quarry and chiseled the material into giant brick-shaped blocks. They then selected one particular stone and designated it the "cornerstone"—the reference stone that would determine the placement of every other stone in the foundation. As they laid other stones end-to-end to form the outline of the building's foundation, they made sure each one was level and square with the cornerstone. FULL POST

Posted 9/14/12 at 1:00 PM | Joel Osteen

I Declare

Our words have creative power. Any time you speak something, either good or bad; you give life to what you are saying. Scripture says, "We will eat the fruit of our words." That means you will get exactly what you've been saying. You are prophesying your own future. That's why it's so important to send your words out in the direction you want your life to go. You can't talk defeat and expect to have victory. You can't talk lack and expect to have abundance. You will produce whatever you say.

Are you declaring the blessing of God over your life? Are you speaking His promises? Have you ever noticed that many of His promises are in the past tense? For example, in Ephesians God says, "I have blessed you with every spiritual blessing." In Colossians He says, "I have made you worthy." In Psalms He says, "I have surrounded you with favor as a shield." These are all past tense, like it's already happened. In order to activate His blessing, you have to come into agreement with what God has already declared about you. That's faith!

Maybe you don't necessarily feel blessed today. A lot of things may be coming against you in your family, finances or health. But that doesn't change the Word of God. Circumstances don't change what God says about you. However, what God says about you can change your circumstances. You are the deciding factor. Instead of talking about your circumstances, be bold and say, "God, if You say I'm blessed, then I believe I'm blessed! My checkbook may not say I'm blessed. The economy may not say I'm blessed. The medical report may not say I'm blessed. But God, I know You are the ultimate authority, and if You say I'm blessed, then I declare that I am blessed!" FULL POST

Posted 9/7/12 at 10:35 AM | Joel Osteen

Child-like, Goldfish Faith

One time, I heard a story about a five-year-old boy who had some pet goldfish. He really loved his goldfish, but one day for some reason, all but one goldfish had died. Not long after, he and his father walked over to the fish tank to find that the final goldfish was floating on top of the water totally stiff. The little boy said with great disappointment, "Daddy, he died, too." Before the father could respond, the little boy said, "Daddy, can we pray and ask God to heal my goldfish?"

Well, the boy's father was a minister. He thought to himself, "I want my son to know that he can ask God for anything, but then I'm going to have to explain how sometimes prayers don't get answered." This debate about how to answer was revolving in his mind. Finally, he quit trying to reason it all out and said, "Son, if you want to pray, of course, we can pray."

Early the next morning, the father heard a very enthusiastic "Yes!" coming from his son in the other room. He went in to see what the excitement was about. The little boy said, "Dad, it worked! The fish is just fine!" Sure enough, that little goldfish was swimming through the water as healthy as could be. The dad nearly passed out! He already had his speech lined up ready to explain everything. He threw that speech away and said in complete amazement, "Son, with God, all things are possible." FULL POST

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