Joel Osteen - A Nevertheless Person
I want to talk to you today about A nevertheless person. We all face situations that seem impossible. We don't see how we could ever accomplish a dream or get the break we need, meet the right person. In the natural, we feel stuck. Maybe the medical report says you're not going to get better, or you raised a child in church and now they're off course, not interested in doing what's right, or in our careers, we gave it our best effort. We worked hard, took the extra training, but now we've peaked, gone as far as our education allows.
What do you do when you've done the right thing but it hasn't worked out? You're standing on God's promises, believing that he's restoring health, that you'll lend and not borrow, that he'll give you the desires of your heart. But every circumstance looks like it's not going to happen. Your logic, your reasoning tells you, "Forget it, it's not going to work out. It's not your lot in life". It's easy to get discouraged and give up on what we're believing for.
This is where Peter was in Luke chapter 5. He'd been out fishing all night and caught nothing. He was an experienced fisherman. He went to the places where he knew there were always fish. He tried again and again, hour after hour, came up empty. They were fishing with large nets, not just a few poles. You would have they would have caught something, at least a few fish, even it wasn't the kind that they were looking for. But Peter said, "We've caught nothing".
In other words, it couldn't get any worse. They came up totally empty. But early the next morning, after a long night of being in the boat, frustration, nothing worked out, as they were coming in to the shore, they saw Jesus, and Jesus asked Peter if he could borrow his boat to teach people from the beach.
In a few hours, when he was done, Jesus told Peter to do something that seemed illogical, didn't make sense to Peter's natural reasoning. Jesus said, "Peter, go back out into the waters, throw out your nets, and you will catch a great haul of fish". You can imagine how Peter must have felt. "Are you kidding? Go back out there again? We've been out all night. No fish are biting. We're experts. We know what we're doing". Plus, it was morning now. The fish go down deeper to stay out of the daylight.
Every circumstance told Peter, "Don't do it. It's going to be a waste of your time". If Peter would've reasoned it out, only looked at it logically, he would have talked himself out of it. He could've told Jesus, "I appreciate your suggestions. Thank you for your advice, but we're not going to do it. It's not going to do any good". Instead, Peter did something that we all must do if we're going to see promises come to pass. He said, "Jesus, we fished all night and caught nothing. Nevertheless, at your word, we'll go back and try again".
He didn't deny the facts. He was saying, in effect, "The odds are against us. It looks impossible. Nevertheless, because of what you say, I'm going to do it". He went back out into the water, threw out his nets, and caught so many fish that the began to break. Practical people would have missed their miracle. People that only look at things logically, realistically, statistically, would have talked themselves out of it.
God is looking for, "Nevertheless," people, for people who say: "The medical report doesn't look good. Nevertheless, God is restoring health back into me". "My child is still of course. Nevertheless, as for me and my house, we will serve the lord". "Business is slow, no fish are biting, doesn't look like I could ever get out of debt. Nevertheless, blessings are chasing me down. I will lend and not borrow". Or maybe, "I've had this addiction for years, gone through treatment, rehab. Nothing has worked. I should be discouraged, but I'm a, "Nevertheless," person. I know freedom is in my future. I know one touch of God's favor can turn it around".
It may not make sense to your logic. In the natural, you don't see how you could accomplish a dream, meet the right person, see your family restored. You've given it your best efforts, exhausted your resources, but came up empty, no fish. All the circumstances say, "It's not going to happen". You're right where Peter was. You can either give up, get discouraged, or you can dig your heels in and say, "It looks impossible. The odds are against me. I tried and it didn't work out. Nevertheless, I still believe. Nevertheless, I'm going to try again. Nevertheless, I'm going to keep hoping, praying, expecting".
Friends, if you don't learn to become a, "Nevertheless," person, you won't reach the fullness of your destiny. Because there will be situations where there's no way out. The obstacle is too big. The opponents are too strong. Without God's favor, you'll get stuck. God puts us in these situations on purpose, to where we come to the end of our ability. There's nothing more we can do. This is what faith is all about.
If you can achieve it on your own, you don't need God's help. But his dream for your life is to take you further than you can imagine. That's why he plants things in your heart that are too big for you to accomplish on your own. It's easy to think, "Man, I don't have the talent, the experience, the connections," and too often, we let this overwhelm us.
We get discouraged, thinking, "Man, I'm out of my league. This is over my head. I'll never live in that nice neighborhood. I don't have the funds. I'll never get well. Joel, I've been sick for years. I'll never start my business, write that book, build that orphanage. The odds are all against me".
No, you are exactly where God wants you. He would not have put the dream in your heart if he didn't already have a way to bring it to pass. Your attitude should be: "It may be big, nevertheless, with God, all things are possible". "I may not have the connections, nevertheless, I know friends in high places". "I tried and it didn't work out. Nevertheless, what God started in my life he will finish".
All through the scripture, we see, "Nevertheless," people. When David went out to face Goliath, he was a teenager taking care of his father's sheep. He didn't have any military training, any experience, any armor. Goliath was twice his size, a skilled warrior. David could have looked at it only in the natural and gotten depressed, but David was a, "Nevertheless," person. He thought, "All I have is this slingshot and a few stones. This giant is much bigger, much stronger. Nevertheless, if God be for me, who dare be against me"?
David didn't just stop with the facts. If he would've, he would've talked himself out of it. The key is, you have to add the, "Nevertheless". You may have the facts. The medical report may say you're not going to get well. That's fine, I'm not asking you to deny the facts. I'm asking you to add the, "Nevertheless".
"These giants look huge. Nevertheless, my God is much bigger". "Medical report says I'm done. Nevertheless, nothing can snatch me out of God's hands". "I've been single a long time. I don't think I'll ever meet the right person. Nevertheless, I know a divine connection is headed my way".
Or perhaps, "The specialists, the experts say that my spouse and I can't ever have a child. Nevertheless, I believe there's a baby that already has my name on them". This is what Abraham did. God gave him the promise that he and his wife, Sarah, would have a baby.
In the natural, they were way too old. Sarah had already gone through the change of life. This would defy the laws of nature. In fact, when Abraham told her what God said, the scripture says that "Sarah laughed". It was so far out in her mind, she thought it was funny. She said, "Oh, yeah, right, Abraham. You and me have a baby? I don't think so. We're way too old".
Has God ever put something in your heart so big, seems so unlikely, your first thought was to laugh? He whispers in your spirit, "One day, you're going to live in that nice neighborhood. You're going to lead your company in sales. You're going to write that best-selling book. You're going to see your whole family come to know the lord. You're going to marry somebody fantastic".
On the surface, it seems so far out. We think, "Oh, yeah, right, that could never happen," and when Abraham heard Sarah laughing, he could've gotten discouraged, thought, "Yeah, right, what was I thinking? Let me come back to reality. Man, I'm way too old". If he would've looked at it only logically, practically, realistically, he would've given up.
Abraham did what we all must do to see that promise come to pass. He added the, "Nevertheless". "Yes, I'm too old. Nevertheless, God can make a way. Yes, it's impossible. Nevertheless, God can do the impossible. Yes, it defies the laws of nature. Nevertheless, God supersedes the laws of nature". Whatever looks impossible in your life, start adding the, "Nevertheless".
Those thoughts make you feel: "Man, I'm too small to ever get chosen for that lead role. Nevertheless, God's favor is shining down on me". "I don't have the strength, the talent, the experience for that promotion. Nevertheless, God's causing me to stand out". Or "Joel, I don't have the funds, the resources to go to college. Nevertheless, God can open doors that no man can shut".
I know a young man. He had a dream to play baseball in college. He lived way out in the country and he was the star player on his high school team, but there wasn't a lot of competition in that division. Different scouts had come to see him play, but they all told him he wasn't big enough to play at a major university, and he had an offer from a small private school, and while he was grateful, he knew he had something bigger in his heart, and he was invited to go to try out at this large college.
There were other players there from big cities, big programs. They were bigger, stronger, had more experience. But when he stepped up to bat in front of the coaches, all the scouts, the pressure was on. He said, "Joel, it was like something came all over me and I felt like I was 10 feet tall".
He hit the ball harder, further, more consistently than all those top prospects, and out of several hundred young men that tried out to walk on the team that day, he was the only one chosen to make the team. He was given a full 4-year scholarship, went on to have a great college career.
The odds may be against you. You don't think you have the talent, the experience, the connections. Neither did David. Don't talk yourself out of what God put in your heart. Start adding the, "Nevertheless". "God, I don't have the size. Nevertheless, you can get me to where I'm supposed to be. I don't have the strength, the talent. Nevertheless, I know your favor surrounds me like a shield".
When you add the, "Nevertheless," that's what allows God to do amazing things. But too many people, instead of having this, "Nevertheless," mentality, they have a, "No way," mentality. "No way I can get out of debt, Joel. I'm too far down in the hole. No way I'll break this addiction. I've had it for so many years. No way I'll be successful. I come from the wrong family". You are prophesying your future. If you think it's impossible, it becomes impossible.
God is not looking for, "No way," people. He's looking for, "Nevertheless," people, for people who say: "I don't see how I could ever get out of this problem. Nevertheless, God always causes me to triumph". "This legal situation looks like it's going to be the end of me. Nevertheless, no weapon formed against me will prosper". "My dreams are taking a lot longer than I thought. Nevertheless, what God started in my life, he'll bring to completion". Shake of the, "No way," mentality. Have this, "Nevertheless," mentality.
In the Old Testament, the Israelites were camped right next door to the Promised Land. God had brought them out of slavery, parted the Red Sea, gave them food and water in the wilderness. They'd seen these great miracles, now they finally made it to the Promised Land. They were right next door. Moses sent 12 men in to spy out the land, to see what it was like. 10 of those men came back and said, "Moses, we don't have a chance. There are giants in the land. The people are huge! We felt like we were grasshoppers compared to them". When they saw how big their opponents were, how impossible it looked, they made the mistake that many of us make today. They stopped right where they were. They thought, "You can't argue with the facts. You can't deny these people are bigger, stronger, more experienced".
They looked at it only logically, realistically and talked themselves out of it. They had a no-way mentality and that group of 2 million people never did make it into the Promised Land. I wonder what would've happened if they would've added the "Nevertheless". What if the spies would've come back and said, "Moses, the people are huge, there are giants in the land, it looks impossible, nevertheless we are well able. Nevertheless, we've been armed with strength for this battle. Nevertheless, the forces that are for us are greater than the forces that are against us". If they would've added the nevertheless, the same God that parted the Red Sea, the same God that brought them water out of a rock, the same God that caused Pharaoh to let them go and gave them valuables on the way out, that same God would've helped them to defeat those giants. Instead of wandering around in the desert for those 40 years, they would've lived in the Promised Land for 40 years.
Friends, don't let a no-way mentality keep you from God's best. It may look impossible, I'm not asking you to deny it, just add the nevertheless. These enemies look huge, nevertheless me and God are a majority. This sickness looks permanent, nevertheless it's only temporary. The number of my days God will fulfill. "I don't see how I could ever get out of debt in the natural, nevertheless explosive blessings are chasing me down". Or maybe, "I've been through a loss, a disappointment, nevertheless I know God has beauty for these ashes. He can turn mourning into dancing". Don't be a no-way person, be a nevertheless person. This means you choose to believe even when the odds are against you. You stay in faith even when it looks impossible.
A few years after Victoria and I were married, we moved out of our town house into a very old, rundown house that was close in to the city. The house wasn't worth anything, but it was on a half acre lot right across the street from a nice neighborhood. Many times in the evenings, we would go out and take walks through the subdivision and one night as we were walking, we came to this big 2-story house that was in the final stages of construction. They were putting the finishing touches on it. We walked up to it and the door was open, so we went in. It was so magnificent. It had high ceilings, big tall windows, it was so new. Everything was pristine. Here, we were living in this 60 year old house that had been run down, nobody had taken care of it, had foundation problems, leaks in the ceiling. We fixed it up so we could live in it, but the contrast between our old, rundown house and this beautiful new house was like my brother Paul to me. I mean, there was no comparison.
As we were walking... Now y'all are not listening. As we were walking out of the house that day, down the front sidewalk, 26 years old, in awe of what we'd just seen, Victoria stopped, turned to me and said, "Joel, one day we're going to live in a house just like this". I looked at her like she had lost her mind. I went on to tell her all the reasons why we were never going to live in a house like that. I went down the list. "Victoria, I work for a ministry, we're never going to have those funds, we can barely afford this 60 year old house with crooked floors. It's going to take us 30 years to pay it off". I was passionate about my doubt. I wanted her to doubt with me. I went on and on but she no more paid me attention. It was like I was talking to a tree. She said, "No, Joel. I can feel it right down in here. One day, we're going to live in a house just like this one".
The difference between her and me is I saw the facts. I knew what we made, I knew how impossible it was. I let the facts talk me out of it. I had a "No-way" mentality. Victoria saw the same facts, she knew our same situation but she didn't stop with the facts, she added the nevertheless. Her attitude was, "Yes, it's impossible right now, nevertheless with God all things are possible". She was saying, "In the natural it's not going to happen, but we serve a supernatural God. He knows how to open the windows of heaven". That's exactly what happened. About a year later, a builder knocked on our door. We didn't go to him, he came to us. We sold half of our property for more than we'd paid for the whole thing. He built two new houses on it, one for us. We ended up living in a house just like the one we had seen. Victoria barely let me come in there. I almost had to live in the garage.
Are you doing what I did, letting the circumstances talk you out of God's best? Talk you out of being healthy, being free, being prosperous, being fulfilled? "Well, Joel, I've been single so long. I don't think I'll ever meet the right person". Get rid of that no-way mentality. Turn it around. "I've been single a long time, but I know the right person is headed my way. Somebody fine is in my future". Throw that in too. On paper, it may look like you could never get out of debt. I'm not asking you to deny it, I'm asking you to add the nevertheless. "God, the numbers don't look good. Nevertheless, I believe I will lend and not borrow. That I'm coming into overflow". Or, "I've had this addiction for years. It looks permanent. Nevertheless, I know it's only temporary. I know freedom, wholeness, victory is in my future".
What's interesting is Peter went back to the same place where he had not caught any fish the whole night before. Suddenly, it was filled with fish. Sometimes we think, "Well, I've tried once. It didn't work out. It's never going to happen". How do you know God hasn't put the fish for you there now? Don't give up and quit believing. Go back and try again. God controls the whole universe. It may not have happened yet, that doesn't mean it's not going to happen. Just like with Peter, God has an abundance of what you need waiting for you. You haven't missed it, it's not too late. If you'll have this nevertheless mentality, God will lead you into favor, into healing, into abundance, into the fullness of your destiny.
This is what happened to a young lady named Elizabeth Blackwell. She lived back in the 1800s. She had a dream to become a medical doctor. That was unheard of back then. There were no female physicians. She applied at medical schools and was turned down 29 times. Most people would've given up, thought, "Yes I get the message. It's not meant for me". Not Elizabeth Blackwell. She was a nevertheless person. She knew God put the dream in her heart. He had the final say. Every circumstance said it wasn't going to happen. Her attitude was, "Nevertheless, I'm going to keep trying".
She applied to medical school number 30. This time the administration was faintly open to it but they had to get approval from the students. When they told all the young men that a female wanted to attend, they voted unanimously "Yes". They were thrilled. She graduated from medical school and became the first female physician in America. She went on to start the New York infirMary and later founded women's medical college. What am I saying? Just because your fish weren't there the last time doesn't mean they're not going to be there the next time. You've got to do like Elizabeth and say, "God, the odds are against me. Everything says I'm done. I tried and got turned down. Nevertheless, at your word I'm going to keep believing. I'm going to keep trying".
When you're a nevertheless person, God will get you to where you're supposed to be. He'll bring the fish to you. David said in Psalm 3, "Lord, how are they increased that trouble me"? He was saying, "God, it looks like my enemies are multiplying". David not only had other armies coming against him, but his own son Absalom turned on him and was trying to take the throne. David could've gotten discouraged and thought, "That's it. I can handle other people trying to stop me, but now it's my own family? I'm done". This could've been the point where David faded off into the sunset and we don't read about him anymore. But David didn't just talk about the problem. He stated the facts, then he took it one step further. "Lord, how are they increased that trouble me? But you, oh Lord, are a shield unto me". Notice, David added the nevertheless. "I'm having a lot of trouble, nevertheless God is my shield".
What's the message? Don't let the enemy have the last word. Always add the nevertheless. "The medical report doesn't look good, nevertheless the Lord is my healer. My co-workers did me wrong, nevertheless God is fighting my battles. He's my vindicator. I went through a bad break. Nevertheless, what's meant for my harm I know God will turn to my advantage". Friends, some of the things that have you worried right now, upset, discouraged, it would all change if you would start adding the nevertheless. If you just stop with the facts at how impossible it is, it's going to cause you to get discouraged. Every time something negative happens, every bad break, disappointment, delay, answer back with a nevertheless.
You get stuck in traffic, "I should be upset, nevertheless I know God is directing my steps". And when you face these situations that look impossible, we all do, don't talk yourself out of it. Get rid of a no-way mentality. Have this nevertheless mentality. If you'll do this, I believe and declare God is about to turn some things around. He's about to open some new doors. There are explosive blessings coming your way. Because you're a nevertheless person, like Abraham, you're going to see the promise come to pass. Like David, you're going to overcome obstacles that were much bigger and like Peter, God's going to bring the fish to you. An abundance of what you need in Jesus' name. If you receive it, can you say "Amen" today?