Tag Archives: Joel Osteen

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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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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