Joel Osteen - Preplanned For Purpose
I want to talk to you today about Preplanned For Purpose. It's easy to think that we have to make everything happen: make our dream come to pass, make this door open, make this person like me. This can be stressful and discouraging, because there are things that we can't make happen. We've gone as far as we can, facing obstacles that are too big, and feels like we've reached our limits. The good news is: you're not doing life on your own. It's not just up to you, there's something happening that you can't see.
And Paul said in Ephesians 2:10, "We are created to do good works, which God has planned before time, taking paths that he prepared ahead of time, that we should live the good life, which he prearranged and made ready for us to live". God has already prearranged a good life for you. He's already planned out your days: he's lined up the right people, the right breaks, solutions to problems. He's put in you the gifts, the talents, the potential, so you can live this good life. When you realize the Creator of the universe has a prearranged plan, that he's already figured it all out, that you're not at the mercy of fate, happenstance, coincidence, "I hope this works out", "I hope I meet the right person", "I hope I fulfill my purpose" - no, you can be confident, God is ordering your steps. You can live in peace, knowing it's not just up to you to make it all happen. God has gone ahead of you. He's planned things out before you got here.
Now, our part is to honor God, keep him first place, and you'll walk into that prearranged good life that he's already planned. And this doesn't mean we won't have difficulties, and things come against us, people that are not fair. It means that God has already taken that into account. When he pre-planned your life, he arranged the comeback for every setback, a solution to every problem, mercy for every mistake, a new beginning for every loss.
When Jesus was betrayed, acts chapter 2 says, God knew this would happen, and his prearranged plan was carried out when Jesus was betrayed. God knew Judas was going to turn on him. It wasn't a surprise, he had already prearranged that as a part of his plan to bring salvation. Your setbacks, disappointments, betrayals, they don't catch God off guard. He wouldn't have allowed it if it was going to stop your purpose. It may not have been fair, but God has the final say. He's already prearranged how he's going to turn that for your good. See, God's been thinking about you long before you ever showed up on planet earth. You're not just a product of your parents, they decided to have a child. God knew you before you were in your mother's womb. You may have come through your mother, but you came from Almighty God.
David said in Psalm 139, "God, you knew my unformed substance. All my days that you have ordained for me were written in your book before I was ever born". Before you got here, God already decided your purpose, he already planned out your days, already put in you everything you need to fulfill his plan. There are gifts and talents in you right now that you haven't tapped into. Potential that's lying dormant, but at the appointed time it will come to life.
Like in the natural, a gene can lie dormant in our body for years. It's been pre-programmed by genetics, by who your parents and relatives are. I've seen people, when they're young they have a full head of hair, but when they hit 40 there's nothing there. What was that? A gene lying dormant. It was there, but not activated. When the time came, it did exactly what it was supposed to do. We pray against those genes. In the same way there are gifts God put in you that you can't see right now, talent, potential, ability that you need for your purpose. When the right time comes, you're going to discover ability that you never knew you had.
For 35 years I didn't know there was a pastor in me, I didn't know I could get up here and speak. My father asked me to help been pastor for 17 years, all that time I was behind the scenes. "Joel, why don't you speak for me this Sunday? You would be a good pastor". I thought, there's not a chance in the world. I wouldn't know what to say. I'm more quiet and reserved. I don't have a big personality to be out in front of people. But when my father passed, suddenly I had the desire to get up and speak. I felt a boldness, a confidence, a can do mentality. And yes, those limiting thoughts still came, but they didn't phase me. I thought "I can do this, I am well able". That wasn't me just getting my courage up, being determined, that was something God put in me before I was born. A gene so to speak that he pre-programmed to open at a certain time.
You don't know what God has put in you, you don't know what's going to open up: the talent, the ability, the confidence. What he has already planned in your future is bigger, better, more rewarding than you can imagine. When you understand this, you won't live striving, straining, worried, "How's it going to work out? What if I don't meet the right people"? You'll live from a place of peace, a place of rest. You're confident that your Creator has planned out your days for good, that he put in you what you need for your purpose, that he's lined up the right people, the right breaks, the solutions. It's all been prearranged. Your job is to keep being faithful, keep living with excellence and integrity. You're going to walk in to the good plan that's already been prepared for you.
I'm still amazed that I'm able to do this. Sometimes Sunday nights I'm flipping through the channels, and I see myself on television. And I think who is that man? How did this happen? It was all a part of what God already prepared for me. God's not making it up as he goes. "Oh, man, Joel's father died, need somebody to pastor the church, maybe Joel can do it". No, before you were born God planned at all your days. The scripture says (2 Corinthians 4:7), "God put treasure in earthen vessels". We can feel ordinary, thoughts tell us we're average, nothing special, but God loves to use ordinary people to do extraordinary things. I'm an earthen vessel, you're an earthen vessel, don't let that fool you, there is treasure in you. God put greatness on the inside, value, honor, influence, things that have not yet all come out, things that he has pre-planned that will cause you to bloom, to blossom, to go further than you ever dreamed.
When God needed a young woman to bring Jesus the Messiah to the earth, someone that would give birth to the Savior, he could have chosen royalty, king's daughter, someone that came from wealth, prestige, influence. Instead, he put his greatest treasure, his only son in a girl that was from a low income family, poor, overlooked, not regarded as much God. Loves to put treasure in earthen vessels. Don't discount yourself cause you feel like you're at a disadvantage, you have flaws, weaknesses, you've made some mistakes. That's okay, your heart is tendered toward God, you're an earthen vessel, that's who God uses. Or maybe you think you're not as talented as some, not as beautiful, not as outgoing. None of that stops our God. He's put things in you that are going to cause you to stand out, to leave your mark, to make the world a better place.
David was a teenager, out in the shepherd's fields, taking care of his father's sheep. Was lonely, boring. I'm sure thoughts told him, "You'll never do anything significant, you're stuck out here". But somehow, I believe David understood this principle that God put things in him that he couldn't see. Yes, he was an earthen vessel, from an ordinary family, they were shepherds, they didn't have influence, but deep down David knew, "There are bigger things in my future. There is a destiny for me to fulfill".
One day the prophet Samuel showed up unexpectedly at his house. He was there to choose the next king of Israel. David's seven brothers all stood before Samuel. When Samuel saw Eliab, the oldest, he thought for sure it was him. He was tall, strong, good-looking. But God doesn't choose the way we choose. He passed over all seven, finally asked Jesse, "Is there another son"? Jesse said, "Yes, my son David is out in the fields, but I'm sure it's not him. He's small, young, not experienced. He doesn't have the strength, the talent like these other sons". God loves to use the unexpected. He loves to put treasure in people that seem unlikely, at a disadvantage. When Samuel saw David, he didn't think twice. He said, "There's the next king of Israel".
Later David took lunch to his brothers, they were in the army in another city. He heard Goliath taunting the people of Israel. Something rose up in David. He told king Saul, "I will defeat this giant". Well, Goliath was twice his size. When the other soldiers heard Goliath, they ran and hid. How could a teenager with no military experience, with nothing but a slingshot had this kind of boldness, this confidence? It was like David had this gene open up, this courage, this ability that God put in him before he was born. Now, at the appointed time it came alive. David went out, slung that rock, and defeated Goliath. King Saul nearly passed out. He couldn't see it, but there was treasure in this teenager, there was greatness in this earthen vessel. This was all a part of what God had pre-planned for David. God had already prearranged him to be a giant killer. He had already put in him the talent, the confidence, the skill to bring down Goliath.
There are giants in your future that God has already equipped you to defeat. There are dreams that look impossible that God has already empowered you to accomplish. When you look at what you're up against, it can seem Dawning: sickness, financial issue, struggling with an addiction. Like David, that potential that's been lying dormant in you is going to suddenly come to life. You're going to feel a supernatural strength, a supernatural power, God breathing in your direction. He's already pre-planned your victory, he's already put treasure in your earthen vessel. Yes, you may seem ordinary, the truth is: you are extraordinary. You may look small, but the Most High God is on your side. Goliath had a sword and a shield, but your slingshot with the favor of God will bring down the giant.
My father was raised very poor. His parents were farmers, they lost everything during the great depression. There were times that they didn't have any food. And he went to school with holes in his shoes, wearing hand-me-down clothes. Eventually he had to drop out of high school to help on the farm. His family were good people, they just had a limited vision. They didn't think they could ever get out of poverty and defeat. They knew nothing about God, they didn't have any kind of faith, but at 17 years old my father gave his life to Christ, the first one in the family. The scripture says that God chose us before we could choose him. Part of this good life that God has pre-planned is when he reaches down in mercy and calls us out of darkness into the light. When we become a new creation.
Now, our part is we have to respond to that call. That's what my father did. He was working in a movie theater, selling popcorn at 17, no future to speak of, but now he felt this calling to become a minister. Where did that come from? Seemed so out of the blue. That was a gene that had been lying dormant, something God put in him before he was born: treasure in an earn vessel. Now, at this appointed time time it came alive. You don't know where God is taking you. You don't know the treasure that's going to wake up, the gifts, the callings, the ideas that are going to come alive. It's already pre-planned. There are good things that God has already prearranged for you.
My father told his parents that he was going to leave, and go out and start ministering. They said, "John, all you know how to do is work on the farm. You're going to get out there and fail, you better stay here with us". Other people can't always see what God put in you. They can't see the treasure, they just see the earn vessel. "You're ordinary, you're average, you can't do anything great", don't let them talk you out of what God put in your heart.
My father didn't have the training, any experience, any support, but he took that step of faith and went out and started ministering. He didn't have a car, he had to hitchy. God begin to open doors, and he started pastoring churches. Yes, there were disappointments, betrayals and letdowns, but when I look back over his life, I can see how at every step of the way he had exactly what he needed: the right people showed up, right doors open, solution for problems, mercy for mistakes. It was already lined up, pre-planned by the Creator of the universe. He stepped in to that good life. He discovered the treasure in an earn vessel.
I want you to have this confidence, this knowing that God has it all figured out. That before you were born, God who is rich in mercy, God who is loving and kind, God who calls you a masterpiece, God who chose you before you could choose him, he thought so much of you that he took time to pre-plan your life, to pre-arrange everything you need need, to deposit in you gifts, treasures, talents, wisdom. This is why we don't have to go through life worried, wondering "What if I don't get the right breaks? What if this giant is too big"? Stay in peace. God has it all lined up. What's in your future is greater than anything you can imagine. The good news is: it's already set up!
In my early 20s I was playing baseball practically every night of the week, and tournaments on the weekend, and I had never really ever dated anyone. I thought, "God, I'm tired of hanging out with all these guys, I need to meet me a woman". Well, the battery for my watch died, so I went to a Jewelry store to get it replaced. Out walk the most beautiful girl I'd ever seen to wait on me, it was Victoria. I thought, "God, you just answered my prayer". We got to talking, and I found out that she was a good Christian girl. I thought, "That's great, because if not, I was about to convert her". I went in to buy a battery for my watch, she ended up selling me a whole new watch, she's been taking my money ever since then. Out of all the Jewelry stores in Houston, I just so happened to go into that store, her mother's store. That wasn't random, that wasn't a lucky break, that was something God pre-planned before I was born. That was God ordering my steps, putting me at the right place, at the right time.
This building, the former Compaq Center, I used to have season tickets to watch the rockets play basketball. This is where Victoria and I came on our first date, but I don't believe this building was built just for basketball. God knew that one day Lakewood would need a larger auditorium. This was something he pre-planned to thrust us into our destiny. The scripture (1 Corinthians 2:9) says, "You haven't seen, heard or imagined what God has in store for you". God has some things stored up for you, some things he's planned that are going to boggle your mind: doors he's going to open, people you're going to meet, gifts you're going to discover, treasure that's going to come out, resources that no one in your family has seen. He's going to take you further, he's a progressive God, he wants every generation to increase. You're not limited by your background, your job, your family, your skills: God has things pre-planned that will catapult you ahead, things you didn't see coming. His ways are not our ways. His thoughts are higher than our thoughts. We think natural, but he's supernatural.
Before you were born, he planned out your days for good. That means he's not playing catchup, "Let me see what I can do now. They're in a bind, they've made mistakes, that giant is so much bigger". God knew everything you'd face, he knew every limitation, every weakness, every disadvantage. He took all that into account, he's already planned the solution, he's already lined up the right people, the Jewelry store. He's already put the treasure in you, the talent, the favor, the anointing that you haven't seen yet. It's like a time capsule: when the appointed time comes, you'll discover who you really are, a new level of your destiny.
And yes, I know we have to do our part: we have to believe, take steps of faith, keep God first place. But there are times when we're making poor choices, we've gotten off track, but God is so merciful, his purpose will override our mistakes. His plan will supersede our wrong decisions. Just ask Jonah! God told him to go to the city of Nineveh, and preach to the people. Jonah didn't want to go there, he got on a boat going the other direction. He did exactly opposite of what God told him to do. Surely, that would stop God's plan. Surely, he wouldn't see this good life that God had prearranged for him. But the scripture says, "God who is rich in mercy". It could have said, "God has an ample supply of mercy", "God has enough mercy", but it uses the word "Rich" to let us know that God has an abundance of mercy, it's from generation to generation.
Jonah was in this boat, going the wrong way, and a huge storm arose. Sometimes we make decisions that bring a storm. If God gave us what we deserved, we'd get stuck, we'd only have heartache and miss our destiny. But they threw Jonah overboard in the middle of the sea, waves crashing, winds so strong. He thought he was done, but it just so happened there was a big fish waiting for him, swallowed Jonah, and three days later took him to the shore and spit him out on dry ground. The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, saying "Go to Nineveh". God was saying, "Jonah, you can't stop my plan. I have a purpose that I laid out before you were born. I have an assignment, a calling on your life, I put treasure in you".
God is so merciful. He not only pre-planned the good breaks, the open doors, the right people, but he's pre-planned the fish to rescue you when you go the wrong way. He's pre-planned for the times we'd fail, the times we doubt, the times we'd put off doing the right thing. And I'm not saying to live sloppy, and make mistakes, it doesn't matter. I'm saying: when you have a heart after God, but you make some mistakes, there are times you fail, you get off course, that is not going to stop God's plan. May cause trouble and heartache, but the scripture (Ephesians 1:11) says "God is working all things according to the counsel of his will". Not your will, not your circumstances, not how you were raised, it's according to what he has pre-planned long before you got here.
You may be an earn vessel with flaws and weaknesses, but he put treasure in you. He's not going to let that treasure go to waste. Don't believe those lies that you've made too many mistakes, you've gotten too far off course, you've missed what God pre-planned for you. Can I encourage you? You're not that powerful. God's calling is still on your life. God is not through with you. If he was finished with Jonah, he would have made it out of the waters. If God was finished with you, you wouldn't be hearing this. He sent me as that big fish to bring you back to shore, to get you back on track. The treasure is still in you. Get your fire back, start making decisions that honor God.
The Book of Acts, there's a man by the name of Saul of Tarsus. He was the biggest enemy of the church. He was constantly arresting believers, causing all kinds of havoc. No one did more to threaten and bring fear and turmoil than Saul. He was on his way to Damascus with official letters from the courts to put believers in prison. This bright light shine down from heaven, knocked him off his animal, he was on the ground, he couldn't see, he is blind. A voice boomed out, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me"? He was puzzled, he said, "Who are you"? The voice answered, "I am Jesus". That day was a turning point for Saul, he became a follower of Christ. His name was changed from Saul to Paul. He went from being the biggest threat of the church, to being the biggest asset of the church. He ended up writing over half of the books in the New Testament.
It's significant what he wrote in Galatians chapter 1. He said, "You know how violently I persecuted Christians, how I did my best to get rid of them, but then something happened: God in his kindness chose me before I was born to proclaim the good news to the gentiles". Paul was saying, "I was going about my business, doing what I thought was right, but what God pre-planned for me overrode my will". That encounter with God on the road to Damascus changed his mind, brought him into the purpose that was ordained for him before he was born.
There are things that God has pre-planned for you that he's not going to let you miss. Sometimes we think, "Oh, Joel, I've made too many mistakes. I got way off course, it's too late now". No, what God has purposed for your life is still going to come to pass. He did not take the time to plan your days before you were born, to line up everything you would need, to put gifts and talents, programmed to open at the right time, he didn't go to all that effort and then decide you can miss your purpose. The treasure is still in you. The good breaks, the favor, the spouse, they're already on the schedule. You keep honoring God, being faithful, there are destiny moments in your future, where doors are going to open, right people are going to show up, gifts come out that you didn't know you had.
You don't have to struggle, try to force it to work out. "What if this problem doesn't turn around"? God has it all figured out. What you're concerned about, the solution is already in place. Come back to a place of peace, a place of rest, there is a good life in front of you. It's not just up to you to make it happen, the Most High God is ordering your steps. It's all working according to the counsel of his will. I believe and declare: you're about to step in to some prearranged blessings, some pre-planned favor, something you didn't see coming. The treasure God put in you is about to be discovered. Talent, promotion, resources, breakthroughs, the fullness of your destiny, in Jesus' name. And if you receive it, can you say amen? Amen!