Joel Osteen - Write Your Vision
I want to talk to you today about Write Your Vision. We all have dreams we want to accomplish, and promises God has put in our hearts. We're praying, believing, standing in faith. And that's good, but there's another important step. The scripture says in Habakkuk 2:2, "Write the vision. Make it clear so it can be read on the run". One version says, "Write what you see". When you close your eyes, what do you see? What is God whisper to your spirit? Maybe it's to start a business, or have a baby, to see your health turn around, to move into that new neighborhood, to be free from that addiction. It's not enough to just think about it, hope that it happens, imagine it. When you write it down, you give it permission to come to pass.
The scripture says, "Make it clear so you can read it on the run". That means you need to have it in front of you. All through the day you should see it. Put it up on your bathroom mirror, on your phone, your computer at work, your refrigerator, in your Bible. When you constantly see what you're believing for, it's getting down in your spirit. Every time you see it, under your breath, "Lord, thank you for bringing it to pass". If you're dealing with an illness, you need to put up, "I am healthy and whole. I am strong and energetic". Put scriptures to back it up, "God is restoring health back unto me. The number of my days he will fulfill". If you believing to pay your house off, you need to see, "I am debt free. I have abundance, I am blessed so I can be a blessing". Put scriptures underneath it, "Because I honor God, I will lend and not borrow. What I touch prospers and succeeds. My cup runs over". Every time you walk by and see it, it's going to inspire you to keep believing. As you see it again and again, you're drawing it closer and closer.
Every service here Lakewood, you know how we make these declarations of faith. You see them on the screens, "I'm blessed, I'm strong, I'm healthy, I'm valuable". We've written down what God says about us. We keep it in front of us. We read it, we declare it. It's getting down on the inside. That's writing the vision. Now, those are generic things that belong to all of us, but God has spoken specific things to you that you need to write down. Maybe a child is off course, it's good to pray, it's good to believe, but you need to write down, "My child", put his name there, "John is making great decisions. He's a leader, he's honoring God". "My daughter ingrid is free from this addiction. She has great friends, she is disciplined, she will fulfill her purpose". Put the scriptures underneath, "As for me and my house we will serve the Lord. My children are mighty in the land. My seed is blessed". Everytime you see it throughout the day, let it be a reminder to thank God that it's on the way.
I met a lady after the service in the visitor's reception, she handed me her business card. It was this financial company, had her name on it. Underneath it said, "President and owner". And she told me something interesting. She had that card made four years before she ever started her business. God put that dream in her heart while she was working for another company. She wasn't even in management, she didn't have any backing. In the natural, there was no way she could start her own business, but she took this step of faith and had the card printed. She couldn't even hand it out, because the company didn't exist, but she kept it in her wallet, on her shelf in the closet, in her bathroom, the kitchen, the computer, in her car. Everywhere she looked she saw that card. One day God calls things to fall into place: doors opened she couldn't open, right people showed up, clients came to her. This landLord offered her space in his building. Today she has over 300 employees, very successful. She smiled and said, "Joel, now I can hand out my card. It's no longer a vision, it's a reality".
But I wonder if she woulda had that business, would she be seeing God's blessing and favor if she had just hoped for it, she just thought, "That'd be nice to have a business". She took this step of faith to write the vision. When God birth a dream in your spirit, don't dismiss it. When he speaks something that ignites your faith, that you get excited about, don't take it lightly, "Yeah, that'd be great", let it be a passing thought. Write the vision down. Get an agreement with God. You need to see it again and again, so it will take root. But sometimes we dismiss things because they seem too big, too good to be true. "Well, Joel, I could never have a business that successful. Could never live in neighborhood. Never marry someone that great. Never be totally free from this addiction. My children could never accomplish that much".
Why are you telling God what he can't do? Who are we to tell the Creator of the universe what he's capable of? He spoke worlds into existence. He flung stars into space. What he spoken to you is no problem to bring to pass. Why don't you get an agreement with God? He said, "Write the vision". He didn't say, "Write what you can afford". He didn't say, "Write what makes sense to you". "Write what others in your family have done". "Write what the medical report says". "Write what you have the education for, the experience". No, when God gives you the vision, he'll take care of the provision. What he puts in your spirit, you're not on the line for, what he orders he's going to pay for. It's not just up to you, he's going to make it happen. He's going to open the doors, he'll cause you standout, he can heal you without the medicine. He can turn that child around. He's just asking you to write what he put in your heart.
Maybe it's, "I will lead my company in sales. I will build that orphanage in Africa. I will break this generational curse, this addiction that's been in my family line. I will write my book. I will produce that movie. I will graduate with honors. I will see my family restored". Whatever God spoken to you, dare to write it. Now here's the key: don't water it down, don't try to make it fit your budget, don't reason it out and shortchange yourself. "God, if you just keep my child out of trouble, then I'll be happy". That's a watered down vision. How about this, "God, thank you that my son stands out in the crowd, that he will become all that you created him to be". "Well, God, if I can just pay my bills, if you just help me to scrape by". The scripture says God wants you to not only have all your needs supplied, but plenty left over so you can be a blessing to others. Why don't you put a new vision up, "I have abundance. I live in overflow. Blessings are chasing me down".
"Well, Joel, there are a lot of things in the past I didn't write down. I think I missed my chance". No, God's about to give you fresh vision. He's about to speak things to your spirit that you've never heard. You'll be tempted dismiss it, think "That couldn't be for me, knowing my family has done that". It's going to be far out, it's going to seem unlikely, this time write it down. Keep it in front of you. Several times a day thank God that it's coming, make plans like it's going to happen. You don't have to tell anyone else, they may try to talk you out of it. The scripture talks about the secret petitions God puts in your heart. Those are things that seems so big, so rewarding, doesn't seem possible. Write that vision. God's going to do things that make your head spin, things that you could have never imagined would have happened. He's getting you prepared right now. When he speaks, what he shows you in the night, that idea he drops in your spirit, don't dismiss it! The scripture talks about having a pen like a ready writer, that should be our attitude, "God, when you show me, I'm ready. I'm standing by. I'm going to write the vision".
Are you missing blessings, favor, healing, breakthroughs because your pen is not ready? You're thinking about it, imagining it, "Maybe it'll happen". No, start writing it down. Here's a good one, "I'mma have an abundant year, a bountiful year, a flourishing year". As you see that over and over, that's what's fueling your faith. And I found that God will always put bigger things in your spirit than you can accomplish on your own. One way you know the vision is from God is you don't have the resources, you don't have the training, the odds are against you. The experts say, "There's no way", that's a God-sized dream. If you can do it on your own, you don't necessarily need God's help. It's supposed to be over your head, it's supposed to feel impossible. Don't make the mistake of dismissing it, write it down, that's God getting you prepared for something you've never seen.
When I heard the Compaq Center was coming available, that was far more than I could ever imagine. The Houston rockets had won two world championships here, and practically every major entertainer had played concerts here: Elvis, Michael Jackson, the rolling stones. Two million Houstonians a year came into this building, the premier facility in our city. In my mind I thought, "There's no way we can get it. That's too good to be true". I had to what I'm asking you to do, make this decision: was I going to water down that dream, think of all the reasons I couldn't do it, talk myself out of it? Or was I going to do like God said, and write the vision?
One of the first things I did is I had our team get a picture of the Compaq Center, the exterior. But I had them take off the "Compaq Center" name, and instead put Lakewood church there. I had them take off the "Compaq Center" logo, and replace it with our logo. I made about a dozen of those pictures, and I put them up in our house. On my desk, as I was writing my sermon each week, there was the building with our name on it. In my closet where I got dressed, in my bathroom, in the kitchen. Every time I saw that building, under my breath, "Lord, thank you that it's ours. Thank you that you're making ways where we don't see a way". For two and a half years, we were trying to convince the city council members to vote for us, and going through a legal battle with a company much bigger than us.
There were plenty of times I was tempted to get discouraged, didn't seem like it's going to work out, but I'd go back and look at that picture. That fueled my faith. "Lord, I know what you started you will finish. I know nothing can stand against you". God knew we would be tempted to be talked out of it. That's why he said, "Write the vision, and keep it in front of you". Every time you see it, it's fueling your faith. It's helping you to stand strong and believe. Now, 20 years later, that picture I had with the Lakewood name photoshoped on it, I don't need it anymore, I have the real picture. And it's paid for, God is faithful.
Now many of you have done this, you've written your vision, you've kept it in front of you. The scripture (Habakkuk 2:3) goes on to say, "Though the vision tarries, wait on it. For it is for an appointed time and it will not be late". Like God did for us, you're going to come in to an appointed time. You're going to see God bring dreams to pass, turn that medical situation around, get that child back on course, catapult you to a new level. The vision may be tarrying, but wait in faith, wait with expectancy, knowing that God is working. Keep thanking him that it's on the way. Keep talking like it's going to happen. You are closer than you think. You're on the verge of seeing something that you've never seen.
When God told Habakkuk to write the vision, the Israelites were being persecuted by the Babylonians. The Israelites had made poor choices, that open the door to these enemies. The whole first chapter Habakkuk was complaining and telling God how bad it was. "Why are you going to let them wipe us out, God? Aren't you going to have mercy and help us"? On and on, telling all of his woes. Well, God answered him back by saying in effect, "Habakkuk, if you want to see things change, there's something you have to do. It's not just up to me, you have to write the vision that I've given you, so that everyone can see it". Some scholars say that vision refers back to what God promised the Israelites through Moses in Deuteronomy 28. God told them, "If you'll obey my commands, you'll be blessed in the city, and blessed in the country. The fruit of your womb will be blessed. Your storehouses will overflow with an abundance of good. When the enemy comes against you one way, God will defeat them and cause them to flee seven different ways".
All these promises God had spoken to them. God was saying, "Habakkuk, don't write your complaints, don't write how bad it is, write who I say you are. Write what I say you can do. Write what I've declared over your life". Habakkuk changed his perspective. Instead of writing about the problem, he started writing about the promises. The next chapter he had a new attitude, he said, "Though the fig tree does not blossom, and there be no fruit on the vine, yet will I rejoice and joy in the God of my salvation". He was saying, "Yes, things have come against me, but I have a new vision. God's going to deliver us. He's our way maker, he's our promise keeper, breakthroughs are headed my way".
Are you writing the right things down? It's easy to write complaints, what didn't work out, who hurt us. That's going to limit you. The scripture (Psalm 29:18) says, "Where there is no vision, the people perish". If you're lacking vision, if you think you've reached your limits, focus on what you can't do, and how big the obstacles are, that wrong vision is going to limit you. What would happen if you would do like Habakkuk and start writing some new things? Write what God says about you. You may have difficulties, God said, "Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers us out of them all". Write that vision, "I'm coming out. This too shall pass. I'm healthy, I'm strong. Good breaks are chasing me down. I will have a bountiful, productive, favor-filled year". Keep that in of you, that's what you're giving permission to come to pass.
I've heard it said: if your vision is small, if it's limited, God will reduce his plan to fit your vision. What if the vision you're writing is what God is going to do? Are you writing any big things? Do you have any God-sized dreams? I don't think we would have the Compaq Center if I had not let that seed take root, if I had not that picture and kept that vision in front of me, I would have talked myself out of it. "Well, I don't know, Joel. God's God, he's going to do whatever he wants to do". Yes, God is sovereign, he is a sovereign will, where he will override what we want to do, and bring about his plan. But he also has a conditional will, that's based on what we choose.
Think about the twelve men that Moses sent to spy out the Promised Land. God had already promised them that the land was theirs, that he would help them defeat the opposition, that they would live in houses that they didn't build, and reap from vineyards that they didn't plant. But ten spies came back and said, "We don't have a chance. The people are huge. There are giants in the land. We'll never defeat them". Notice what they wrote, "Can't do it. Not able. Never going to happen". That negative report spread throughout the 2 million people. Before long were all discouraged, complaining, saying "Let's go back to Egypt". God promised them the land, but they never did go in. What happened? God reduced his plan to fit their vision.
This should inspire us to get an agreement with God. Don't let the wrong vision take root. Keep in front of you what he's promised. There should be some things that you can accomplish on your own, where there are giants your land, people that are not for you. You don't have the experience, you need the favor of God, that's how you're going to see the fullness of your destiny. Maybe today you need to enlarge your vision. You're stuck in neutral, not stretching, living with things that are limiting you. Get quiet and listen to what God is saying to you. You may have missed some opportunities in the past, the good news is: God is going to give you a chance. You can still go into your Promised Land. You can still get your Compaq Center. You can still meet someone awesome. Still write that book. Still lose that weight. Still move into that nicer house. Write that vision, keep it in front of you.
My sister Lisa and brother-in-law Kevin tried for many years to have a baby with no success. Lisa took all the fertility treatments, she had a couple surgeries, still nothing. Finally the doctors told them that they couldn't have children. That was one report, but they had another report. They found in the scripture all these promises about children. They put them up, "The fruit of our womb is blessed. Children are a gift from God". It says in Psalms, "You will make the barren woman a happy mother of children". One day Kevin received a package in the mail. He opened it up, and there were two diapers in it. It was a promotion piece that this company was doing. And he didn't have any need for diapers, but Kevin took that as a sign from God. Instead of throwing them away, he went to Lisa and said, "Look, here are two diapers that we can use for our baby". He wrote the date on them, and kept them on his desk at home.
For months, even years they would see those diapers and thank God that their baby was coming. One day out of the blue, a friend of ours named Nancy that runs mercy mysteries, it's a ministry to help teenage girls that are in crisis, she called unexpectedly and said, "Lisa, I know we haven't talked about this, but we have a young woman that's about to give birth to twins. I was wondering if you and Kevin would be interested in adopting them". What Nancy didn't know was that Kevin is a twin, his dream was always to have twins. You think about how God sent them two diapers in the mail, could have been just one. But here's what I've learned: when you stretch, when you believe, instead of reducing your vision, God will exceed your vision. He'll do more than you saw coming. They adopted those babies at birth, and today those twins are beautiful girls in their twenties, my nieces. God would do amazing things if you'll simply write the vision.
10 of those spies had their destinies reduced because of a lack of vision, but there were two other spies, Joshua and Caleb. They came back after seeing the same giants, same people, same land, but they said, "Moses, we are well able. Yes, the people are big, but we know our God is bigger. Let us go in at once". They had a different vision. They were bold enough to write what God promised, "Well able. Victorious. This is our land". Out of those 2 million people they were the only ones that went into the Promised Land.
Now, you may have friends, family, coworkers that complain, see the problem, talk about how big the giants are, the economy, the traffic, the boss, the bad breaks. You can't up them from writing whatever they want, but don't let them talk you out of writing what God put in your heart. If you're going to reach the fullness of your destiny, sometimes you have to do it alone. Everyone can't see what you see. They can't hear what you hear. They may try to discourage you, convince you that you can't go in, there are some things you need to keep to yourself. Don't tell them what's in your heart, just keep it between you and God. All through the day keep seeing it, keep declaring it, keep thanking God that it's on the way. You're going to come in to your appointed time. Because you dared to believe, because you stretched, you took steps of faith, instead of reducing your vision, like the ten spies, God's going to enlarge your vision. He's going to exceed your expectations.
My father was raised in a very poor family. They were farmers, and they lost everything during the great depression. He had to drop out of high school to help on the farm, didn't look like he had kind of future to speak of. But at 17 years old, he gave his life to Christ, the first one in the family. They knew nothing about God, he didn't have any kind of faith background, but he felt God calling him to become a minister. God put a dream in his heart that one day he would pastor a church with thousands of people. It didn't make sense, he didn't have the training, the experience, but he was bold enough to let that dream take root. He wrote it in his Bible with the date that he gave his life to Christ. Back in the 1930s there were no churches with thousands, but God will put things in your spirit that defy the odds. My father left the farm at seventeen, he had the hitchhike, he went out and started ministering in the prisons, the senior's homes. God begin to open doors. 1959 he and my mother started Lakewood in an abandoned feed store, with just 90 people.
Few years later my father put up a big blue sign upfront it said "Lakewood International Outreach Center". He called it an international church, when in fact it was a neighborhood church with less than 100 people. What was he doing? Writing the vision. He had done it since he was seventeen, "I'm going to pastor a church with thousands", now he's calling it an international church. Over time it became just that, went from those 90 people to over ten thousands. Who knows where God will take you if you will dare write the vision? It's not enough to just think it, just imagine it, takes on a new life when you write it down. Keep something in front of you that reminds you what God promised, a picture like I did at the Compaq Center, those diapers like Kevin did, or what you've written. "Well, Joel, I don't hear God saying anything to me. I used to have big dreams, but it's been so long, I think I missed my chance". No, if you'll get quiet, God's going to speak you again. He's going to whisper things in the night that seemed too good to be true. Don't water it down, don't do like the ten spies, and talk yourself out of it, to where God has to reduce what he has for you to fit your vision.
Get in agreement with God. You don't have to figure it out, he didn't ask you to write the how, he just said, "Write what I've spoken to you". As you keep that vision in front of you, and thanking him that it's on the way, declaring that it's going to happen, God promise is that there is an appointed time that it will show up, and it will not be one second late. Now, many of you have been faithful, you kept that vision, you believed when the odds were against you: get ready, you're about to come in to one of your appointed times. God's about to show out in your life. I believe and declare: something that you've never seen, new doors are about to open, the right people showing up. Healing, freedom, breakthroughs, the fullness of your destiny, in Jesus name. And if you receive it, can you say amen? Amen!