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Your Best Life Now

September 29, 2006

I case your wondering I am not a Joel Osteen fan. This man does far more to harm the wonderful Gospel of our Lord Jesus than he does to Glorify it. To his credit he is a tremendous speaker and this has earned him one of, if not the largest church I’ve ever heard of. However this by no means qualifies him has a pastor. To illustrate why I feel this way here are some quotes from an interview he did with Larry King:

KING: Is it hard to lead a Christian life?

OSTEEN: I don’t think it’s that hard. To me it’s fun. We have joy and happiness. Our family — I don’t feel like that at all. I’m not trying to follow a set of rules and stuff. I’m just living my life.

Hmm the Christian life not hard, well granted that we live in America and that in and of it’s self means life is pretty good for just about everyone. However Mr Osteen and I have very different understanding of what it means to be a Christian, to me it means dieing to yourself and allowing God to change you. This in and of is self can be very difficult, also consider the persecuted church and ask them if facing death or worse is easy.

KING: Because we’ve had ministers on who said, your record don’t count. You either believe in Christ or you don’t. If you believe in Christ, you are, you are going to heaven. And if you don’t no matter what you’ve done in your life, you ain’t.

OSTEEN: Yeah, I don’t know. There’s probably a balance between. I believe you have to know Christ. But I think that if you know Christ, if you’re a believer in God, you’re going to have some good works. I think it’s a cop-out to say I’m a Christian but I don’t ever do anything …

KING: What if you’re Jewish or Muslim, you don’t accept Christ at all?

OSTEEN: You know, I’m very careful about saying who would and wouldn’t go to heaven. I don’t know …

KING: If you believe you have to believe in Christ? They’re wrong, aren’t they?

OSTEEN: Well, I don’t know if I believe they’re wrong. I believe here’s what the Bible teaches and from the Christian faith this is what I believe. But I just think that only God with judge a person’s heart. I spent a lot of time in India with my father. I don’t know all about their religion. But I know they love God. And I don’t know. I’ve seen their sincerity. So I don’t know. I know for me, and what the Bible teaches, I want to have a relationship with Jesus.

Hmm, OK to Mr. Osteen credit he did issue an apology, however it has been pulled from his website but at least part can be read at Al Mohler’s site here. My thing is Mr King did ask pretty direct questions, I just can’t understand why Joel didn’t have direct answers at the time.

I could go on and on with that interview but I’ll allow you to form your on opinion of it you can find the whole think here.

Something else sparked this post, it was a review of Your Best Life Now book by the folks of 9 Marks. I’ll be honest I’ve not read the book, I did however go to the library and look for a copy to read but it wasn’t in. I do think that this review by 9 Marks does a fair job with it.

Here is the part I wanted to draw you attention to:

As Osteen puts it, “God wants to give you your own house. God has a big dream for your life” (35). The key to realizing that big dream is to follow Osteen’s seven steps to living up to your full potential:

1) Enlarge your vision. Believe that God will make you successful—not saved, not redeemed, not forgiven. Just successful. Expect God to do good things for you. “Perhaps you’re searching for a parking spot in a crowded lot,” Osteen sympathizes. “Say, ‘Father, I thank you for leading and guiding me. Your favor will cause me to get a good spot” (41).

Also, expect other people to do good things for you. “I’ve come to expect to be treated differently,” Osteen says. “I’ve learned to expect people to want to help me. My attitude is: I’m a child of the Most High God. My Father created the whole universe. He has crowned me with favor, therefore, I can expect preferential treatment” (39). And don’t think for a second that he’s kidding.

2) Develop a healthy self-image. After all, just like in the case of Gideon, “God sees you as strong and courageous, as a man or woman of great honor and value.” So stop thinking of yourself as a loser with a bad job, a small apartment, and a lemon of a car. Start believing that you can become what God says you can become. Take Sarah, for example. It took a long time for God to fulfill his promise that she would become pregnant. Why so long? “The key to the promise coming to pass was that Sarah had to conceive it in her heart before she was able to conceive it in her physical body” (80).

And we all have promises from God, don’t we? “I wonder how many great things God is trying to do in your life. We’re just like Sarah. We can’t conceive it. We’re not in agreement with God, so we’re missing out on His blessings” (80). So start believing. “God didn’t make you to be average. God created you to excel.” Therefore, “if you will start acting like it, talking like it, seeing yourself as more than a conqueror, you will live a prosperous and victorious life” (82-83).

3) Discover the power of your thoughts and words. If you think negative thoughts all the time, how can you expect God to bless you? But “when you think positive, excellent thoughts, you will be propelled toward greatness, inevitably bound for increase, promotion, and God’s supernatural blessings.” “The Bible tells us that we need to ‘transformed by the renewing of our mind.’ If you will transform your mind, God will transform your life” (108).

4) Let go of the past. You can’t live successfully and with “God’s favor all over you” if you are bitter and disappointed all the time. “You can’t unscramble eggs,” so just “fill your horn with oil,” like Samuel did—which Osteen apparently does not realize was to anoint the king—and be happy (175, 181)!

5) Find strength through adversity. “God wants you to be a winner, not a whiner” (191). So take challenges in your life head-on. Don’t back down from them, because “God has promised that He will turn your challenges into stepping-stones for promotion” (217).

6) Live to give! Be compassionate, empathetic, and kind. God has created you to give, and whatever wealth, possessions, and success he gives you, he intends for you to use for the good of other people. Besides, if you plant seed in other people’s lives, God will cause there to be a great harvest sometime down the road. So when a waiter offers to pay for your breakfast in a fancy hotel—even when the breakfast is included in the price of the room and would be free anyway—don’t tell him! No, no! Better to leave the poor guy in the dark. For, as you whisper sagely to your wife, “We can’t rob him of his blessing. He’s planted a seed by doing something good for us. We don’t want to pull his seed out of the ground and give it back.” So let him spend forty bucks for no reason, because you know “that when he planted that seed in the ground, God was going to multiply it back to him.” (255)

7) Choose to be happy. Happiness is a choice. So smile a lot. God will bless you if you do. Also, become a person of excellence. “God doesn’t bless mediocrity. He blesses excellence.” (282) So do you want a new car? Then wash the one you have. You want a bigger house? “Keep it looking nice. Make sure it looks like a person of excellence lives there.” “If you will start taking care of what God has given you, He’ll be more likely to give you something better.” (283) God has great things in store for you, so start living with some enthusiasm. If you will do all these things—follow these seven steps—then “God will take you places you’ve never dreamed of, and you will be living your best life now!” (306)

Again I’d say look to the persecuted Church, as a matter of fact take a look at this from VOM’s blog. I don’t know about you about you but these our bothers and sisters else where are just not getting Joel’s message or they wouldn’t be beaten half to death.

My point in all this is not to tear down Mr Osteen himself, I do however would like to make it clear that what he teaches is not The Gospel, Christ didn’t die to bring us wealth or to make us feel good about ourselves. I said it before, being a Christian has more to do with denying yourself then it does with feeling better about yourself.

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