Tag Archives: happiness

3 Things I Learned from Joel Osteen

osteenA wise man once said that he could learn from anyone… did you catch that?  He was wise… because he didn’t let anyone stand in his way of growth.  Not their successes or their failures. Not their preferences, their convictions, their methods, their mannerisms, their eccentricities.  We would be wise to learn from this as well… everyone can teach you something!  Some might teach you WHAT to do, HOW to live, WHY, WHEN – but others might teach you why, how, and what NOT to do!

Here are three lessons that I learned from the pastor of the world’s largest church:

I learned that a smile goes a lot further than a shout

Osteen is known for his trademark smile (it’s almost creepy how much he grins, isn’t it!?).  But the fact is – warm joy takes truth further into the soul than the cold call of duty.  Happy creatures are magnetic while negative ones polarize.  The good news is truly that — good news!  How tragic when the good news is delivered with a frown or a tone of judgment.  I realize that the gospel incorporates ‘negative’ elements of sin and God’s wrath, of blood and death… but it’s overarching message is one of hope and grace.  Share His love with a smile.

Warm joy takes truth further into the soul than the cold call of duty.

I learned that hope is a powerful thing

In his book, Osteen challenges the reader to believe in himself because of the ‘Champion’ within.  He convinces his audience that he believes in them, that they need to believe that things will not always be the same as they are right now, that they don’t have to live under the circumstances, and that they should take action to change their lives right now.  This is powerful because it offers people hope and a promise.  Personally, I believe that the source of hope needs to be more than just believing in yourself; it should be sourced in the great truth that God believes in you (although Osteen might see this as semantics / splitting hairs).  How might God use you to give hope to someone who is struggling today?  Believe in them because God does!

I learned that God can use anyone

Although Osteen was a PK (preacher’s kid), he has readily admitted that he didn’t see himself in the pulpit.  He avoided the spotlight and felt much more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it.  But, in spite of my many critiques of his methods and quirkiness, I believe that God is bigger than my level of tolerance or acceptance of his ministry.  I should admit that God IS using him to share the gospel and bring glory to His name.  God’s grace is bigger than anyone can imagine.  Don’t get me wrong… I’ll not soon throw the baby out with the bathwater. I would never deny hell or the sinfulness of sin on national TV (like he did on Larry King Live) – but then I’ll not answer to God for what Joel Osteen has done, will I?  I’ll try to keep my eyes on my own life and keep myself in check.  Aren’t you glad God uses us all in different people in different ways?  To think… Wow, God can even use me (and you)!

Article by Patrick Nix

@patchnix

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The Ship is Lost

It was a desperate situation for the captain. He had traveled a long way looking for the answers to the question about his soul. He was no longer satisfied to travel the dark seas, and had heard that there was a place filled with light. He had only to find a lighthouse to guide him on his way. Before the captain – in the darkness – stood a grand lighthouse. It had been known to shine so brightly in the past, and many had found the Kingdom of Light by its testimony. The light inside the lighthouse glowed as brilliantly as it ever had. However, the keeper of the lighthouse had become weary in his well doing. In his despondency he had ceased to keep the windows clean. The desperate Capitan would have to look for another lighthouse because this one had ceased to shine.

I continue my journey though the 23rd Psalm. This time the first part of verse three. “He restoreth my soul:” If there is any doubt of the difficulties faced on the green pastures and by the still waters the fact the the Shepherd restores our souls should settle it. Lets cut through the pleasantries and take an honest look at your soul. To many Christians are just like the lighthouse mentioned above, and way past the need for a restoration. The problem is never the Light for it always shines inside of us. Too many souls are so desperate to be restored that the light can not even penetrate into the lighthouse itself. We are discouraged, depressed, worn out, and tired. We still go to church for now, and we may still even work in ministry at our church. We are however just a shell of a Christian serving God out of a habit.

If you doubt me let me ask you one question: Were is your joy?

In Psalms 53 David pleads with God to “restore the joy of thy salvation.” One of the first things to go in a Christians life is the joy that comes with our salvation. There can be no joy in darkness. The really sad part is the number of Christians who are fine being in darkness. They would never say it, but they are as unconcerned about the lost world as they are about themselves. The Fruit of the Spirit has long since been partaken of, and Satan has victory in there lives.

Well, if I have not totally ticked you off, I will show you the good news. The Shepherd knows that you are going to need restoration. He gladly provides it. His love for us is not conditional on our obedience to Him. His fellowship with us can be affected, but He has promised never to leave us or forsake us.

So there you stand covered in dirt. Your joy is gone. Your testimony to the world is gone. You are the sheep that is standing at the edge of the flock as far from the Shepherd as you can get. I challenge you to lift up your eyes and look into the eyes of the Shepherd. For He has said, ”Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) Your Shepherd stands there now, knocking on your door; waiting to restore you. You need not worry about cleaning the dirt before opening the door. He already knows it’s there, and He will wash you. Spend some close time with your Shepherd, and you will find your joy restored. See the world with His eyes, and your heart will burn for the lost.

It was a desperate situation for the captain. He had traveled a long way looking for the answers to the question about his soul. He was no longer satisfied to travel the dark seas, and had heard that there was a place filled with Light. He had only to find a lighthouse to guide him on his way. Before the captain in the darkness stood a grand lighthouse. It had been known to shine so brightly in the past, and many had found the Kingdom of Light by its testimony. The Light inside the lighthouse glowed as brilliantly as it ever had. The windows, now restored, reflected that Light far into the dark sea. The desperate captain saw the Light. His heart skipped with joy, and tears ran down his eyes. For this sheep, whom once had been lost, now had been found. His life in darkness had now been transformed into sight. This was all due to the sheep who found himself in need of restoration, and surrendered himself anew to the Shepherd.

Article by David Wagner

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Joy Story

If you were to ask me to stop and recall one of my happiest times as a child, I would have to bring up the Toy Story era. Now before you laugh, whenToy Story came out it was well ahead of its time, not because it was the first successful computer generated movie, but because it solidified what all little kids were thinking: MY TOYS CAN TALK!

As an adult, life is little more complicated now isn’t it? It almost seems that the older you get, the more grumpy and sour you become. Why? Because simply put, life can suck the JOY right out of you. Remember when you actually enjoyed your job? How long has it been since you enjoyed your marriage? Being pointed, remember when you ENJOYED coming to church and seeing everyone?

We are foolish to think that God planned for your life to just putter along in misery. Thankfully, through Paul writing to the Philippians, we can truly find our JOY STORY and get back to loving life again!

Paul, under Holy Ghost inspiration, is careful to send a strong message to this first European congregation in Philippi. Depending on how you look at it, 16 times some derivative of JOY is pumped into this congregation. One of those words, REJOICE, is the ACTION of the emotion of joy. Throughout the book of Philippians, Paul gives us 5 FACTS to help us find our JOY STORY! (This post was from a message I preached recently, if you would like to watch it, click HERE)

What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice. (Philippians 1:18)

1. Take JOY in the FACT the Gospel Is Preached

A few verses earlier, Paul was saying that the Gospel was being preached FOR THE WRONG REASON (envy, strife, etc.) and because of the POWER that it had he still rejoiced in that fact! No doubt there is coming day that the glorious Gospel WILL NOT be able to be preached; let us be busy and find joy in the fact that it still can.

Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain. (Philippians 2:16)

2. Take JOY in The FACT that Your “Race” is Not in Vain

If there is anything that makes a Christ follower want to bail out on “Christianity” it is the question of, “IS IT WORTH IT”. We sacrifice, we struggle, we seemingly tread water … but it IS for a purpose. The situations we face are all specifically for our benefit, but the payoff (at times) takes FOREVER to be manifested. Paul goes so far as to say, “I’m content and have JOY in the fact that my suffering will make sense when I see Jesus!”

I sent him therefore the more carefully, that, when ye see him again, ye may rejoice, and that I may be the less sorrowful. (Philippians 2:28)

3. Take JOY in the FACT that Your “Race” is Not Run Alone

As was mentioned earlier, the reasoning behind some of our circumstances may not be understood until we reach Heaven. With that being the case, God has given us “co-laborers” that are in the fight as well. We should REJOICE, Paul tells us, simply because we do not have to carry our burdens alone.

Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord…  (Philippians 3:1)

4. Take JOY in the FACT of Who God IS

If there was no other reason to have joy, we should rejoice simply in who God is! He is your creator, sustainer, deliverer, redeemer, and FRIEND! Through Christ’s sacrifice your are ACCEPTED before God; take joy in that fact — Why wouldn’t you?

In Philippians 4:1, Paul starts off by saying, “Therefore” — (or in other words, because of everything that was just said) — we should take steps to insure that the fifth fact in intact:

I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord. And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life. Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. (Philippians 4:2-4)

5. Take JOY in the FACT of Strength in a UNIFIED Body

We need to understand that quarrels and strife have no place in the Body of Christ. There is nothing that steals joy and destroys churches more than disunity. When everyone is on the same page, a unified assembly of Christ followers can truly change the world!

 

Article by Kevin Crozier

@kevcrozier

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Do You Want What You Have?

Not long ago, I heard ‘lust’ defined as wanting something else, someone else, or somewhere else.  If that’s true, then I must confess to lusting quite a bit.
I find my heart discontented with what I have and I’m not alone.  Ingratitude and discontent are poisons that destroys the best of men and women.  It has caused many marriages to fail.  It has drowned families in debt.  It has led us on a never-ending chase for satisfaction.  The carrot is dangled in front of us, yet we never arrive at our destination… always wanting something else, someone else, or somewhere else.

I’m ready to break the pattern and to escape the vicious cycle.  Aren’t you?  Wisdom is learning from experience – especially the experience of others.

1 Cor. 10:6 states that the Old Testament is full of ‘examples to the intent that we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.’  We have much to learn about being content with what God gives us and we will begin in Exodus 16 as God begins to provide manna in the desert…

God is good at what He does!

God could have made them anything to eat, yet He gave them what they asked for (v3 – bread to the full).  He gave them what He knew would be best for them.  His intention was to test them, to see if they would trust and obey Him or not.  He gives us the same test of daily bread (Luke 11:3).  He does not give us everything He will give us all at once, He wants us to keep coming back and growing in our dependence upon Him.  A simple illustration: the government does not give out a persons welfare benefits to him in total when he is accepted into the program, they are meted out a little at a time, as needed.  This creates a pattern of returning for more – a cycle of dependence.  God is far more interested in us having full lives (spirits) than full bellies (Deuteronomy 8:2-3), so He uses a little hunger to teach us big lessons.

God is not happy when you’re not happy!*

Please notice the asterisk: this point is probably not heading where you think it is (I’m no Joel Osteen!).  What I mean is that when you are not pleased with what God has given you, then God is not pleased with you.  If God is good at what He does (and He is), then I must learn to be content with what I have been given (Phil. 4:11).  When I complain about my level of blessings, I complain about the Blesser.  When I am discontented with my wife or my job, I am revealing a deeper discontentment with God.  When I am ungrateful for my life, my vehicle, my kids – then I am ungrateful to the One in control of all things!

Lust (as defined above) has a strange way of affecting a persons vision.  It changes the way we look at things.  We begin to under-value what we have, while at the same time over-valuing what we don’t.  Lust has a potent, poisonous effect on our memories.  Just like the Jews wished for some of the food from their former lives (Numbers 11:5-6) and conveniently forgot about the cruel slavery, we often forget about what it was like before we dwelt in God’s blessings of today.  I will tell you this, lust never ends well!  God destroyed more of His people for the sins of complaining and discontent than for all other sins combined!

God wants us to be happy with what makes Him happy!

There is no greater joy than to know that my children are living in the truth.  What could be worse than for parents to watch their children self-destruct by believing the lies of the devil?  The ‘need’ for bigger, better, faster, newer, more.  This is one of the most difficult lessons to learn, isn’t it?  But godliness (a spiritual desire for more) with contentment (an earthly desire for no more) is great gain (1 Timothy 6:6-8).  We will never be fulfilled and satisfied looking for fulfillment and satisfaction.  Never.  We will only find true happiness and joy when we find it in God (Hebrews 13:5).  I will close with a slight twist on the famous words of the Christian Hedonist (John Piper): “When we are most satisfied in Him, God is most glorified in us.”

Article by Patrick Nix

@patchnix

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