I must thank my son for introducing me to the television broadcast of the weekly services of Joel Osteen, the senior pastor of America’s largest church – Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas in the U.S.A. His weekly services are seen by more than 10 million viewers each week in the U.S and millions more in 100 nations around the world. He is the author of six #1 national bestselling books and has been named by numerous publications as one of the most influential Christian leaders in the world. For some time, we were regular viewers of his services and began admiring him for his very powerful motivational service speeches. His quotes and references from the Bible during his speech and in his writings can relate to anyone, regardless of their religion. One can learn a lot from such references and his own narrations about his personal life experiences in his speeches and the books written by him. Just a few snippets from his book “
You Can You Will” that
I happened to read:
Keep your vision in front of you:
Studies tell us that we move toward what consistently see. You should keep something in front of you, even if it is symbolic, to remind you of what you are believing for. All over your house, you should have pictures that inspire you, scripture verses that encourage you, mementoes that strengthens your faith.
“1. I learnt this from my father. He and my mother started
in 1959, in an old rundown feed store. They had ninety people. You know what my
father called the church? Lakewood International Outreach Center. There was a
big blue sign outside. The sign cost more than the building. The truth is, they
weren’t an international outreach center. They were a small neighborhood church
with ninety people. But every time my father drove up to that church and saw
the sign, his vision was being increased. He was moving toward it.
When the ninety members saw the sign week after week, something was being birthed on the inside. Seed of increase
were taking root. Do you know
what Lakewood is today? It is an international outreach center touching the
world. Growing up, my father always kept a globe on his desk at home. At the
old church there was big world map on the wall. He put a globe behind him when
he spoke. He always had the world in mind. One year at the conference, people
came from 150 countries. It looked like the United Nations.
When you keep in front of you, you are moving forward.”
"2. A few years after my father went to be with the Lord and I stepped up to pastor the church, I had a desire to write a book. My dad had written many books, and they were all translated into Spanish. On the
bookshelf I walk by at
home every day, I had two copies of my dad’s most popular book. One was in
English. The other was in Spanish. I kept those books in front of me, knowing
one day at the right time I would write a book. My dream was that it, too,
would be translated into Spanish.
In my mind this seemed so far out. I never thought I could get up and
minster, much less write a book.
This was stretching my faith. A year went by, no book. Two years, three years, four years. It would have been easy to lose my passion and thing it was never going to happen. But I had my father’s books strategically placed on this bookshelf right outside my closet.
To get to the other parts of the house I had to go right by those two books. I saw them thousands and thousands of
time. I didn’t always consciously
think about them, but even subconsciously I was moving forward writing my own.
My faith was being released. Something on the inside was saying, "Yes, one day
I am going to write a book.
In 2004 I wrote my first book, ‘Your Best Life Now.’ When the publisher
read the manuscript they decided to publish it in English and Spanish at the
same time. Normally they wait to see if anybody buys it first. But that’s the
way God is. His dream from your life is bigger than your own.”
Run Your Race:
There will always be people who try to squeeze you into their molds and pressure you into being who they want you to be. They may be good people. They mean well, but the problem is they didn’t breathe life into you. God did.
The second quality of a winner is that you run your race the way you want to run it.
You can’t be insecure and you can’t worry about what everyone thinks. You can’t try to keep everyone happy. If you change with every criticism and play up to people, trying to win their favor, you will go through life letting people manipulate you and pressure you into their boxes.
You have to accept the fact that you can’t keep everyone happy.
“When my father went to be with the Lord, I had to accept the fact that the purpose of my life was different from my father’s. His calling was to help bring down the denominational walls between churches, and he went around the world telling people about the fullness of the Spirit.
When I took over our church, I felt the pressure to be like my father, to fit into his mold. I thought I had to minister like him and run the church like him and go down the same road. But when I searched my heart, deep down I knew my calling was to plant a seed of hope, to encourage people, to let them know about the goodness of God.
struggle, because I loved my father. Some people had been at the
church for forty years. I thought, “I can’t be anything different. What would
people think? They may not accept me, they may not like me.” But one day, I
read a scripture about David. It said, “David fulfilled God’s purpose for his
I heard God say right down in my heart: “Joel, your dad fulfilled his purpose, now quit trying to be like him and go out and fulfill your purpose.” When I heard that, it was as if a light turned on. I realized, “I don’t have to be like my father. I don’t have to fit into
certain mold. It is okay to run my
race. I am free to be me.
As our church started growing and more people started watching, the critics came of the Woodstock. People were saying, “He is not like his father. He doesn’t have experience. He is too young.” Even now, some say, “He is too much of this, or he is not enough of that.” I believe one reason God has promoted me is because I turned out all the negative voices and I have done my best to stay true to who God made to be.
I learned early on that to please
God I may have to disappoint a few people. There were several members
who had been with the church for a long time, friends of the family for years,
who were upset because I wasn’t exactly like my father. I wouldn’t let them
squeeze me into their mold, so they left our church.”
I too have learnt a lot in my own experience the benefits of visualization and dreaming one’s future and the need to say ‘no’ when it warrants. It might be very painful to say ‘no’, but it might be the most appropriate thing to do on certain occasions.
Incidentally, the other motivational speaker and author I adore is Antony Robbins, generally known as Tony Robbins. His must-read two books are: “Awaken the Giant Within” and “Unlimited Power”. Sometime during the late 1990s, when I struggled to produce results in my job and my own survival was getting threatened, I chanced upon his book “Awaken the giant within” and it became a sort of Gita for me for reviving my spirits.