Joel Osteen - Fast Forward
I want to talk to you today about Fast Forward. When we look at the dreams we want to accomplish, and problems we're hoping will turn around, it can seem like it's going to take a long time, years to get out of debt, years to recover from the sickness, years to see our business grow. But God doesn't always follow a normal timeline. The scripture talks about how he can do a quick work. He knows how to speed things up. He has these moments of favor, where he will catapult you ahead. Everything seems routine, you're going along at the same pace, making the same progress, then out of nowhere one good break, one contract, one door opens in your 20 years down the road. You didn't see it coming, you can't explain it, it's God accelerating things, propelling you forward.
When I'm watching a movie at home or I've recorded a ball game, if it gets boring or I'm in a hurry it's no big deal: I pick up the remote control and hit fast forward, jumps it ahead, hit it again four times the speed, again eight times, then 16, 32, it can go 64 times faster than normal. I can watch a three-hour ball game in 30 minutes. The good news is: God has a fast forward button for your life. Should take you 30 years to accomplish the dream, all God has to do is hit fast forward, and it'll happen in a fraction of the time.
I met a lady out in the lobby, she was waiting for a liver transplant. She was told it would be up to five years, there were so many people in line in front of her. Problem was, she didn't have five years. Her health was declining so fast. I told her what I'm telling you, that God is not limited by normal timeline, God controls time. Three weeks later she came back and I said, "Hey, I'm still believing with you". She said, "No, Joel, I've already had the transplant". They called her the next week. Her doctor said he'd never seen anything like that before. What happened? God hit fast forward.
God knows how to accelerate your dreams, accelerate your healing, accelerate what you're believing for. That's why you can't judge your future based on the progress you've seen in the past. God has the remote control. He has some fast forward moments coming your way, things that will catapult you ahead. You can't explain it, you didn't see it coming, but suddenly you get well, suddenly you're in management, suddenly you break the addiction. Should have taken you a lifetime, but God hit fast forward, he did a quick work.
For years Lakewood was on the other side of town, and that area had gotten a little run down and become more industrial. By the grace of God we moved into this place, the former Compaq Center. The rockets had won two world championships here, it's on the busiest freeway in Texas, two million people a year had come into this building for sports and for concerts. That one move put us 50 years down the road in influence, in credibility, in respect. I had people that wouldn't give me the time of day, treated me like I was second class, at that poor church across town, those holy rollers. We got to Compaq Center: the same people that ignored me would come up and say, "Can we come to your church? Will you save us a seat"? I say, "Yeah, right up there by the flag". That one good break did more than I could do on my own in my whole lifetime.
God has some of these fast forward moments for you. You couldn't make it happen, you couldn't change their mind, you couldn't make yourself get well, it's the hand of God propelling you into your destiny. He has the remote control right now. You're on the verge of seeing acceleration, a quick work. God is speeding things up. What should have taken you years will happen in a fraction of the time. "I don't know, Joel, I feel like I'm stuck. I'm not making much progress, my dream seems so far off". No, get in agreement with God. You have to be a believer and not a doubter. "Father, thank you that I'm coming into acceleration. Thank you that you've already lined up these fast forward moments that will propel me into my destiny".
Acts chapter 8, Philip was in Samaria ministering. The disciples had just left Jerusalem because of so much opposition. This angel came to him and told him to go into the desert on the road that leads to Gaza. He didn't know what it meant, but he obeyed. And along came this Ethiopian man riding in a chariot. He was the treasurer for the queen of Ethiopia, very respected and influential man. While he was riding, he was reading out loud a passage from the book of Isaiah that talked about Jesus. When Philip heard this, he walked alongside and asked the man if he understood what it meant. The man said he didn't. Phillip started explaining to him about how Jesus came, and gave his life, and rose again, when we believe on him we can have salvation.
This men was so excited, he saw some water and said, "I want to be baptized right now". He got out and Philip baptized him. When the man came up out of the water, the scripture (acts 8:39) says, "The Spirit of God caught Philip away and the man never saw Philip again". I can imagine what this man thought, came up out of the water, and suddenly Philip is gone, he's disappeared. Verse 40 says, "Philip found himself further in the city of azotus". Azotus was 20 miles from where they were, that defies logic: he's here one moment, and the next moment he's 20 miles away?
God has these times where you're going to find yourself further. You can't explain it, it doesn't make sense, but God propels you ahead. May not be 20 miles to another city, but God propels you in your career. Should have taken you years to build that business, but you found yourself further, God opened doors, he brought the right people, he gave you ideas, he caused you to stand out. Now you look up and think, "How did I get to azotus", so to speak? It was the God of acceleration.
He's going to propel you in your health: supposed to take a long time to get well, you had your mind made up to take the treatment, to endure, to make it through, but God stepped in and sped things up, did things you couldn't do. Now you find yourself further, healthy, whole, victorious. Or you thought that legal problem would last for years, the experts told you not to get your hopes up, but God hit the fast forward button, he did a quick work, you found yourself further. See, we look at things in the natural, "Shouldn't take this long to get out of debt, Joel, I worked this many hours, the stock market does this, and my investments do that". Yes, it's good to plan, it's good to be wise, but God is supernatural. All he has to do is hit fast forward, and you're 20 years down the road. You find yourself further.
Here's the key: you can't calculate God's goodness, you can't quantify his blessings, his increase, his favor. There are things that he has already planned for you that are out of the ordinary, uncommon. That's why he said, "Lean not to your own understanding". Don't look at your dreams, your problems, the medical report just in the natural, on your timeline. God has another timeline. He has some fast forward moments that are going to defy the odds, acceleration you didn't see coming, good breaks that will catapult you ahead. You look up and think, "How did I get here? I didn't have the training, I wasn't next in line", but God catapulted you ahead. "How did I break this addiction, it should have taken years", but the chain breaker stepped in. God said, "Enough is enough", and you found yourself further.
The prophet Ezekiel 37:1 said, "The hand of the Lord was on me and he carried me". That word "carried" in the original language means to shoot out, to launch forward, it implies acceleration. As God Carries you through life it's not always going to be predictable, routine, at the same place, at the same pace, you're going to come into these times where God is going to propel you years down the road. You were going along fine, making steady progress, being faithful, then God hits fast forward: out of nowhere you're thrust into levels you didn't see coming, favor, influence, opportunity that you never imagined.
When my father went to be with the Lord, I had never ministered before, and I like being behind the scenes, doing the television production, but I knew I was supposed to step up and pastor the church. I called our contact at the cable network where my father had a national program for almost 20 years. I told him that daddy had passed, and we were going to have to cancel our air time. I thought, "I don't know how to minister, I've never been to seminary, and I'm sure not going to get on television let people see me, nobody's going to listen to me". I came home that night, and Victoria and I were just casually talking, she said, "What'd you do today"? And I said, "Well, I called our contact and I canceled that air time". She looked at me and said, "Listen to me, Joel, you need to call that man back and get that time. People are watching to see what's going to happen to Lakewood".
She was so strong and so passionate, I knew there was only one right answer: yes ma'am. Air time is very valuable, that time slot would have gone so quickly. It was a holiday weekend, so I called the first thing Tuesday morning. The man answered and said, "Joel, this is so interesting, I had the time sold on Friday. The contract was on my desk, but something said to me 'don't sign it until next week'". He gave us our time back. We started airing my messages on television, much to my surprise people started watching in record numbers. Other networks started calling. Three years later we were on the top stations in all the major cities. I was just hoping to keep things going, not let it go down, but God had another plan: fast forward. He propelled me further than I ever imagined.
You don't know what God has in store for you. He's been carrying you, he's been sustaining you, but part of that carrying are these times where God launches you forward, where he accelerates your destiny. He put your years down the road. You may feel like you're not making much progress, and can be discouraging, at this rate it's going to take so long to get ahead, so long to get well, so long for your child to get back on course. What you can't see is God has the remote control. You wouldn't be hearing this if he wasn't about to accelerate some things. Keep being faithful, keep honoring him, he's about to hit fast forward, and put your years down the road.
A friend of mine owns a small business, he's in the graphics industry, and for years it's just been him and a couple of employees. He's always had bigger things in his heart, this dream to see his business grow and expand, and he has worked hard, he's gone the extra mile, but it seemed like he always hit a limit, make a little progress, then things would slow down. Thoughts would tell him, "It's too late. Would have happened by now, just accept that it's not meant to be". But despite not seeing anything change he kept believing, he kept thanking God that he was working. Last year he picked up one client that brought him more revenue in one year than all the previous 20 years combined. His business has exploded, he has over 300 employees. He said, "Joel, I can't even explain it. I don't know why this big company chose my small firm". You know why? God hit fast forward.
God said in Isaiah 60:22, "I will make it happen quickly". May look like you're falling behind, it's too late to accomplish your dream, don't worry, God has the remote, he knows how to speed things up, he can do it quickly. It's not going to be at the same gradual pace your whole lifetime. Be grateful for where you are, stay faithful, but don't let the fact that it's routine convince you that it's always going to be that way. God has some of these fast forward moments already on your schedule. You're going to come into some quick words: you can't explain it, it doesn't make sense, it's God shooting you out, launching you into the fullness of your destiny.
Genesis 48, Jacob was an old man and about to pass. His son Joseph, he was the prime minister of Egypt, he came in to say his goodbyes. He brought with him his two sons Manasseh and Ephraim. When Jacob saw his grandsons he called them over and hugged them. He said to Joseph, "I am adopting your two boys as my own sons. They will inherit the same thing you and my other sons inherit". What's interesting is these boys were born from an Egyptian mother. The Egyptians back then worshiped idols, they didn't believe in Jehovah. Didn't seem like God would have anything to do with those boys, but God doesn't hold against you how you were raised, what family you came from. There may have been dysfunction, people that compromised, made poor choices, but that does not disqualify you. You can be the difference maker, you can be the one to set a new standard.
When Jacob said, "I'm adopting your boys", this was significant. They were grandsons, not sons. They should have had to wait 40 years to get the inheritance from their father, another generation, but because Jacob adopted them, he put these boys four decades down the road. One good break and they were a generation ahead. God was showing us how he doesn't always follow a normal timeline. He has some blessings that are going to put you a generation ahead. Everything is going in order, in line, routine, then out of nowhere a generational blessing. The scripture says, "You will live in houses that you didn't build. You will eat from vineyards that you didn't plant". Those are generational blessings.
To reach the fullness of your destiny, it's not going to happen only at a normal pace, there are going to be some of these fast forward moments, favor that catapult you ahead, times like with Philip, you find yourself further. You can't explain it, you didn't earn it, it wasn't on your schedule, it was the hand of God accelerating your destiny, thrusting you ahead. And yes, I know there are seasons of waiting, times when we're not seeing progress, and we have to endure, do the right thing when nothing is changing, pass those tests. But as God Carries you, you're also going to come into these moments of favor, where he catapults you ahead.
You may feel like you're falling behind, and then God hits fast forward. You're a grandson so to speak, but God steps in and says, "I'm adopting you as my son". He puts you a generation ahead, 40 years down the road. You may have a situation now and you don't see how it's going to resolve, and how you're going to accomplish your dream, how you're going to get well, it's been so long. You don't know what God is up to. You don't know when he's about to hit fast forward. What you think is going to take your whole lifetime, like with these boys, God's going to do a quick work, it's going to happen in a fraction of the time.
December of 2003, we leased this building from the city of Houston for 60 years. We always wanted to own it, but the lease was the best option at the time. And deep down I knew that sometime during those 60 years God would make a way where we could purchase it. I was 40 years old at the time, and I didn't want to be down at city hall when I'm 100 trying to renew the lease, I need to be at home taking care of my brother Paul. But I said, "God, let me purchase it in my lifetime, not leave it up into the air of the next generation". Seven years into our 60-year lease, the city was running low on revenue. They decided to sell off some of their properties, and the mayor called and asked if we wanted to purchase the building. And I said, "We did, but it would all depend on the price".
A building like this now would cost 500 million dollars. She said the city would do an appraisal and get back with us. They had to appraise the property based on the fact that our lease would still be honored, so whoever purchased it wouldn't take possession for many years. The appraisal came back not at 200 million, not 100 million, not 50, not 25. They said, "You can purchase it for seven million dollars". We not only got it for an unbelievable price, but what should have taken 60 years, God did 53 years sooner. We didn't see it coming, we didn't go after it, the mayor called us.
When God hits fast forward, you're going to see things that boggle your mind. You haven't seen, heard or imagined what God has in store. You think it's going to take 30 years to get out of debt, you've run the numbers, projected your income, calculated the payments: by the time you're 123 you're going to be debt free. You don't know what God is up to. He's already lined up these fast forward moments for you. It's already scheduled the right people to call you, the good breaks to chase you down, favor that will catapult you ahead. Like Philip, you're going to find yourself further. Like Manasseh and Ephraim, you're going to be a generation ahead. Like with us, you're going to see the God of acceleration shooting you into your destiny.
David had these fast forward moments. He was anointed by Samuel to be the next king of Israel, but he didn't go to the palace, he went back to the shepherds fields. For years he took care of his father's sheep. You can imagine the battle taking place in his mind, thought saying, "Man, you are anointed, Samuel chose you, what are you still doing out here. Must it be a mistake, you're falling behind". But you can be anointed, but not appointed yet. Don't take matters into your own hand, trust God's timing, let him do it his way. When we think we're falling behind, it's easy to get impatient, try to force things to happen, but God knows how to make up for lost time. When he hits fast forward, it will thrust you ahead.
David kept being faithful, he didn't get bitter, he didn't complain, he kept excelling where he was. Eventually he was called to the palace to play the harp for king Saul. But Saul was jealous of David, he tried to kill him, and David had to flee for his life, lived out in the desert on the run. This whole time he knew God had anointed him, there was no sign that it was ever going to happen. Saul wasn't an old man, he could have been the king for another 50 years. Everything was routine, out in the desert David wasn't making any progress, nothing changing. He was no closer to the throne than he was 13 years earlier when Samuel anointed him.
One day while David and his men were away on a trip, these bandits came in and attacked their city, burned it down, stole all their possessions, kidnapped their wives and children. Was the greatest defeat David ever suffered. His men were so distraught, they talked about stoning David. Sitting in the ruins of his city, something rose up in David. He told his men to get ready, they were going to go attack the enemy. They found them partying, celebrating their victory, and David and those men snuck in and they defeated them. They recovered all their possessions, all their family, all their children. Three days later word came to David that king Saul and his son Jonathan were killed in a battle, David was made the king. It looked like it was decades away, but God hit fast forward. 72 hours after David suffered his greatest attack, he was made the king.
When it feels like your dream is a long way off, that's a sign God is up to something, he's about to do a quick work. Don't let the circumstances fool you, how unlikely it looks, how impossible it is. David was anointed to be king when there was a man on the throne that could have been there for decades. Saul was strong, healthy, had loyal followers. On top of that his son was next in line. All the circumstances said David was stuck, it would be years and years, but God has a fast forward button, he knows how to accelerate your destiny. When you're under attack, and everything seems like it's coming against you, God is setting you up to thrust you forward.
Friend of mine wanted to buy property to build a school. And he had a few acres, but he needed more, and there were 10 acres right behind him connecting to his property. And he had bought his land for 4000 dollars an acre. When he inquired about buying this new property, they wanted 25000 an acre, more than five times what he paid for his. And he was disappointed, needed more room to expand, but no doors were opening. Year went by and nothing happened, two years, three years, four years, looked like he was falling behind. Thoughts told him it was too late, he'd missed his chance, it would never happen now. But God knows how to make up for lost time. He knows how to take a grandson and adopt him as a son. One good break will take you decades ahead. This is where faith comes in, "God, I don't see anything happen, I feel like I'm stuck, but God I believe you have fast forward moments in my future. I believe God, that acceleration is coming my way".
One day a city official came and told him about a 120 acres right in front of his property, it all had street frontage, it had been foreclosed on five times. They had sold it and taken it back again and again. He said, "We've been authorized to get rid of it, make us an offer and we'll see what we can do". The property had nine buildings on it that he could use for a school. He offered the man 200 000 dollars, the man shook his hand, said "The property is yours". That other party wanted 250 000 for 10 acres, he bought a 120 acres with nine buildings for 200 000 dollars. That was a generational blessing. He not only has property for his school, but there's enough for the next generation to expand. What should have taken him 50 years to acquire, God gave him in a fraction of the time.
It may seem like you're falling behind, stay encouraged: God has some of these fast forward moments for you. He's about to accelerate things. Like Philip, you're going to find yourself further, things you can't explain. Like Manasseh and Ephraim, generational blessings, good breaks that will put you decades ahead. Now you may have been through disappointments, nothing looks like it'll ever change... Like David, you could be just 72 hours from seeing your greatest victories. Now, thoughts will tell you, "Oh, no, it's not for you today. You never get any good breaks, you're stuck where you are". Don't believe those lies, God has the remote control, he's about to do some quick works. What looks like is a long way off, get ready it's going to happen sooner than you think. I believe and declare: acceleration is coming to your family. God is speeding things up. The right people finding you, good breaks chasing you down, dreams coming to pass, healing, freedom, abundance sooner than you think, in Jesus name. And if you receive it, can you say amen? Amen! I receive it as well!