“You must quit looking at what you don’t have and start believing that all things are possible.” __ Joel Osteen
A friend posted this article criticizing Joel Osteen on my Facebook timeline. Just the title, “Grace, grace, and grace: How to Battle Osteenism in Our Time,” turned me off.
I don’t want to battle Osteenism. I really don’t want to battle anyone. I’ll battle the devil when I have to. But Joel Osteen is NOT the devil. I’ve read excerpts from his book, Your Best Life Now, and found it refreshingly positive. It was a little like reading The Secret, but from a Christian perspective. It’s an easy jump, considering, “Ask, Believe, Receive,” is right there in Matthew 21:22.
The criticisms in the article my friend shared, include Osteen not having enough scripture, and encouraging us to focus on ourselves instead of God. The author writes, “…We want to be able to look in the mirror and say, “I am good, I am holy, I have made it all on my own.”
Yes, I do want to say, I am good, I am holy, but I know darn well I have not made it on my own. God brought me to this place of Grace. I had a feeling Osteen knows that too. So I watched some of his videos. This one is called: “Be Positive or Be Quiet.” (Though it starts in the middle of a joke, the actual sermon starts around 4o seconds in.) It was well worth my time.
The more I listened to Joel in this video, the more I liked him. He used plenty of scripture and biblical stories to explain how and why we need to speak positively and not speak negative thoughts. He gives God all kinds of credit.
I know we have to address things that are wrong, but we can do it by saying what we want. We can talk about our hopes, what we want for our world, nation, city, neighborhood, family, and life. Like it says on my favorite bumper sticker:
Encourage your hopes, not your fears.
I’m not completely head-over-heels for Joel Osteen. I might not believe everything he believes.
I do believe we can disagree and still admire and respect each other for good work.
I have no interest in going to a mega church. Being an introvert at heart, crowded stadiums are not fun for me. But if he can get over 40,000 people to come to his church every Sunday, he must be on to something powerful.
I believe those people are hungry for hope. Me too. I thrive on positive words of encouragement. There is too much negative energy being spread into the world by the mainstream media, and by some religious leaders. Negativity becomes toxic after awhile.
Joel Osteen talks a lot about hope. And he talks a lot about Jesus and God, too. I believe he’s one of the good guys. And even if I don’t agree with everything he’s ever said, we’re still on the same team.
“Take your dreams and the promises God has put in your heart, and every day declare that they will come to pass.” ___ Joel Osteen