Joel Osteen — There's Another Ingredient Coming
I want to talk to you today about there's another ingredient coming. We all face disappointments in life and situations that we don't understand. It's easy to get discouraged and think, "Why did that happen to me? Why did that friend betray me? Why did I get laid off? Why wasn't I raised in a good childhood like you, Joel"?
No, life is not always fair, but God is fair. And he said in romans 8, "All things work together for good to those that love the Lord". The key word is "Together". You cannot isolate one part of your life, one divorce, one bad childhood, one disappointment. That in itself may not be good but God is not finished. Your life is not over because you had a bad break. Don't get stuck where you are. There is another ingredient coming.
That means the right people, the right opportunities, are in your future. If you'll get your passion back and start moving forward you'll see what God promised. It will all come together and work out for your good.
When our children were small one of their favorite things to do was make chocolate chip cookies. We had done it so much we didn't even have to look at the recipe. We knew exactly what to put in. Jonathan, just five or six years old, he would get the brown sugar, the butter, the eggs. Little Alexandra, just three years old, she would get the flour, baking soda, vanilla. We were very precise to put in the exact amount in the exact order it was called for.
But one time, about half-way through making a batch of cookies, I realized that we didn't have any baking soda. I didn't feel like going up to the store. So we decided to not put the baking soda in. I thought, "No big deal. It's just a teaspoon". We had put two and half cups of flour. What difference was a little teaspoon full going to make? But when we took the cookies out of the oven they were as flat as could be. They had not risen one bit; totally tasteless.
What was the problem? An ingredient was left out. A small amount made a huge difference. Some people are bitter on life because they haven't waited for all the ingredients to come together. God is the master chef. The recipe for your life has already been established.
The scripture talks about how God has planned your days for good from beginning to end. God knows exactly what to add and when to add it. He's not going to do like I did and leave out an important ingredient. He is going to put in just the right amount at just the right time so you can become everything he's created you to be. But sometimes in life it may feel like things are flat. It's flat in your career, flat in your marriage, flat in your finances. But don't get discouraged. There's another ingredient coming. All God has to do is add some of his baking soda and you'll rise to a new level.
You may have seen the chef on television, chef Emeril. He's very animated. Whenever he adds an ingredient he says, "Bam"! Just imagine at the right time God, "Bam"! Adds a little favor to your life. It's not flat anymore. Things begin to take off. "Bam"! A good break. "Bam"! A healing. You're lonely. That person left you. "Bam"! A divine connection. Somebody better.
Maybe your child is off course. You think, "Joel, I don't know what I did wrong. I raised him in church. I just don't understand it". No, you didn't do anything wrong. Relax. There's a "Bam"! Coming. God knows how to get him on the right course. He's not going to stay in the pit. At the right time God will add just the right ingredient that will cause him to rise up and fulfill his God-given destiny. I don't know about you but I'm expecting some "Bam's"!
Listen, you have not seen your best days. You have not reached your full potential. God has ingredients coming your way that will thrust you to a new level. He has ingredients that are going to cause everything to make sense. When God brings it all together and you see the fullness of what he was doing you're not going to worry about who hurt you, what you lost, how unfair it was. You're going to look back and say, "Wow, God! You're amazing! You had it all figured out. Your plan was better than my plan. You gave me beauty for ashes. You made a way when I didn't see a way. You had just the right people show up at just the right time".
Why don't you trust him? You may not understand something right now but one day you will. It's going to all come together. But the mistake we make too often is we isolate one incident and it causes us to lose our passion.
I had a lady tell me recently how her husband of many years left her for another woman. She was so devastated. She couldn't understand it. And I know that's hard. That's painful. But that is not the end. If that person leaving was going to keep you from your destiny God would have never allowed it. This may be hard to swallow but if they left you, you didn't need them. If they walked away they weren't a part of your destiny. There's another ingredient coming, somebody better, somebody that God ordained, somebody that will treat you like a queen or a king, somebody that will value you, celebrate you, somebody that cannot live without you.
There is something called the "Gift of goodbye". They may think they did you harm, but they're doing you a favor. Blow them a kiss and don't ever look back. Just keep moving forward. Now some of you, you've got to quit mourning over what you've lost. Quit being discouraged over what didn't work out. It's not over until God says it's over.
I heard somebody say, "God always ends on, 'all is well.'" So if all is not well in your life that simply means it is not the end. Keep moving forward. Another ingredient is coming.
A lot of times, like this lady, people are soured on life because they can't understand why something has happened. But everything is not going to make sense if you isolate it. If you look at it just on its own you'll get discouraged. You have to remind yourself it has not yet all come together. It's not supposed to make sense by itself.
Imagine my children, when they were smaller, wanted to make some chocolate chip cookies, but we didn't have time to bake them. So I got the ingredients out and gave them to Jonathan to eat separately. "Jonathan, here's a cup of brown sugar. Eat this. Wash it down with this tablespoon of vanilla. Here's the raw eggs. When you're done with that here's two cups of flour. Okay, here's your two sticks of butter. Now, Jonathan. You officially have chocolate chip cookies on the inside".
Somehow it doesn't work that way. The key is, it has to all be mixed together. In the same way, you cannot isolate one part of your life and think, "Oh, this tastes bad. I went through a divorce. I had a lousy childhood. I started a business that failed. I had to take a year of chemotherapy. Look what I've been through". That's not supposed to taste good by itself. You've got to wait for God to bring it all together. He's got another ingredient that he's going to add to your life.
That person that left you, that's painful. That's bitter on its own. But when God brings it all together and brings you somebody greater than you ever dreamed of, you're not even going to miss that old goat that left you. All the bitterness will be gone. It's just a matter of time before it comes together. The person that lied about you, tried to ruin your reputation, by itself that tastes bad. But that's only one ingredient. God knows how to vindicate you. God knows how to make wrongs right. He can prepare a table before you in the presence of your enemies.
When it all comes together and you're promoted, living your dreams, fulfilling your destiny, it will taste good. When you're facing that sickness and maybe having to take the treatment, it's easy to think, "Man, God is not even concerned about me. Look what I'm going through". No, God has you in the palm of his hand. He said, "No weapon formed against you will prosper". "Weeping may endure for a night..." here's the promise "...joy is coming in the morning". God is saying "It may get tough. You may face some situations that are bitter. But if you'll stay in faith and not let the bitterness get on the inside," God says, "I'm not at a loss. I have another ingredient that can turn the bitter into sweet".
Several years after Victoria and I were married we received an unexpected tax bill in the mail. The man that was doing our tax returns lived in another state. He wasn't familiar with a certain tax law in Texas. Now we owed thousands and thousands of dollars. To make matters worse, over half of what we owed were in penalties. I thought, "God, this is not fair. I hired a professional. He messed up. Now I'm having to pay for his mistakes". We were discouraged. We were a young couple. We were trying to save money for a down payment on a home. This was going to take all of our funds. We ended up finding this man to help us get it straightened out. He was a tax attorney.
For several weeks he was at our house every night, going over the documents, filling out new forms. We would eat dinner together, run errands together. We ended up becoming very good friends. Ten years later, I was working in the television department here at Lakewood. A man stopped me before service and said, "Joel, my cousin has a construction permit for the last full-power commercial television station in Houston. He'd like you to be a part of it".
As you know, a TV station in a major market is extremely valuable. But I didn't know where to start. I was young. I thought, "I don't know anything about negotiating a contract for a TV station". Then it dawned on me, "I'll call my attorney friend, the one I met during my tax problem". In three months he handed us a contract. The station was ours. We put it on the air.
Eventually my father went to be with the Lord. Now I was the pastor. Three years later, we acquired the Compaq Center; this place. We found out it was going to cost about $100 million dollars to renovate, so we decided to sell the television station. We sold it for a huge profit. It was those funds that were instrumental in us renovating this place.
What I want you to see is when it all comes together it'll make sense. That tax problem on its own was very bitter. It didn't seem fair. But had I not had that problem I would have never met the attorney and become good friends. Without the attorney, I would have probably never pursued the TV station. Without the television station we may not have been able to renovate this facility like we really wanted to.
Friends, God knows what he is doing. He's got it all figured out. In life you will face situations that don't make sense. On their own it seems bitter. You may think like I did, "God, it's not fair. Why is this happening"? Let me assure you, God has a plan. There's another ingredient coming. Somewhere down the road, in a month, in a year, in 20 years, you're going to see God work it all for your good. When you face these situations that don't make sense it's very powerful to say, "God, I don. God, it doesn't seem fair but I know you're fair. I'm not going to get bitter. I'm not going to lose my passion. I'm going to keep pressing forward knowing that you are in complete control".
Here's what I've learned. Nothing in life happens to you; it happens for you. God wouldn't have allowed it if he didn't have a purpose. If that person that left you, if that bad break, if that sickness was going to keep you from your destiny, God would have never permitted it. The enemy is not in control of your life. God is in control. The enemy can't even touch you without asking God for permission. Keep the right perspective. Instead of getting bitter and discouraged. No, our attitude should be, "This is not happening to me. It's happening for me. God said he is going to take what's meant for my harm and use it to my advantage. It may be bitter right now but I know a secret; another ingredient is coming".
I heard about a man that was out in his boat and a big storm came up and his boat capsized. He ended up stranded on a deserted island. Month after month went by. He was so miserable all by himself. Just when he thought it couldn't get any worse, when he was out gathering food one day, he came back and the little thatched roof hut that he built had caught on fire. He sat there and watched it burn to the ground. It was like pouring salt in the wounds. He said, "God, I give up. I ask you to help me and one bad thing after another happens".
About that time, he looked way off in the distance. He saw a boat coming toward him. He perked up. It got closer and closer. Sure enough, it was the coast guard, came and rescued him. He was so thrilled. Got on the boat. Gave everybody a big hug. He said to the captain, "How in the world did you find me"? The captain said, "We saw the smoke from the fire that you built".
Sometimes what we think is a disappointment is God simply getting us in position to go to a new level. I didn't like the tax problem but I sure do like being in the Compaq Center. When your hut is on fire, if your hut ever gets on fire, keep the right perspective. Don't start complaining. God wouldn't have allowed it unless he had a purpose. It may not make sense right now but one day when it comes together it will make sense.
In the scripture there is a lady named Naomi. Her name means, "My joy". Every time someone said, "Hello, Naomi" they were saying, "Hello, my joy". "Good morning, Naomi". Good morning, my joy. She must have been a very happy, joyful person. But Naomi went through a series of losses. Her husband died. She was very devastated. Her sons were killed in a battle. All these things came against her. She made the mistake of letting the bitterness get on the inside.
Yes, there's a proper time for grieving but you can't let a season of mourning turn into a lifetime of mourning. Her attitude was, "I've been through too much. My dreams are all shattered. Never be happy again. Just leave me in my pain". She was so discouraged that she changed her name from Naomi to Mara. Mara means, "Sorrow". Now when somebody said, "Hello, Naomi" she said, "Don't call me that. I don't have any joy. I don't have any hope. Call me by my new name, sorrow".
Like Naomi, you may have been through a loss, maybe a dream has died. My challenge to you is don't let life change your name. There's another ingredient coming. God still has something great in your future. He has not forgotten about you. God sees every sparrow, every little bird that falls to the ground. How much more is God concerned about you?
I've learned the depth of your past is an indication of the height of your future. When construction workers are going to build a large skyscraper they have to first go down deep to lay a foundation. The taller the building the deeper the foundation. You may have been through an unfair situation, lost a loved one, friend betrayed you, you're dealing with a sickness. It would be easy to get discouraged and just settle there. But you have to realize God is going down deep because he has something big in your future. You may be low right now but he is getting you prepared to go high. There are new levels of joy, new levels of influence, new opportunities, new relationships up ahead of you.
Now don't do like she did and let what you've been through become your identity. Don't become known as the person that had cancer, the person that lost a loved one, the person that went through that bitter divorce. No, that's not who you are. That's what you went through. You are a child of the most high God, created in his image, with a destiny to fulfill. Your name is not sadness, sorrow, defeat, mediocrity. Your name is victory. Your name is joy. Your name is favor. Your name is abundance. Your name is bright future.
No matter what life deals you, you've got to have the attitude, "I am in it to win it. I may have been through a lot but I've come too far to stop now. I am not going to get negative. I'm not going to live bitter. I'm going to keep moving forward. I know what's in my future is greater than what's in my past".
Listen, God is not going to allow one event or one person to ruin your life. Your destiny cannot be stopped by a bad break, an injustice, an unfair situation. All the forces of darkness cannot stop what God has ordained. Yes, you'll have to fight off the bitterness, the self-pity, the resentment. But if you'll keep moving forward the right ingredients will come. The Psalmist put it this way, "When you keep your hope in the Lord you will never be disappointed". Yes, we may have temporary setbacks. Sure, we'll have temporary disappointments. But if you'll keep hoping, trusting, honoring God, then you will see how God will work it all together for your good. You will not be permanently disappointed.
One time Moses was leading the people of Israel through the wilderness. They had been traveling for a long time, a great distance with no water. They were extremely thirsty, tired, hot. They didn't know if they could make it. They finally came to a river. They were so excited. It was like a dream, an oasis. They rushed over to get a drink but when they tasted the water it was bitter. They couldn't drink it. It was too sour.
You can imagine how disappointed they were. But God had a plan. He told Moses to put a certain type of tree in the water and when he did the bitter waters were turned sweet. Now they could freely drink as much as they wanted to. God is saying, "Even when life turns out bitter, even when it's unfair, I'm not at a loss. I still have an ingredient that can turn your bitter waters into sweet".
This is what happened to my father. He was married at a very early age. Unfortunately, the marriage didn't work out. He was devastated. He thought his days of ministry were over. He didn't think he would ever have a family. It's like the people of Israel. He came to the water, thought his dreams were coming to pass, only to find out the waters were bitter. Life didn't turn out the way he had hoped. Every voice told him, "You're a failure. You blew it. Nothing good is in your future".
But the scripture says, "God's calling is irrevocable". You may make mistakes. You may go through some failures but God does not change his mind. His calling is still on your life. He still has a destiny for you to fulfill. If you fall down you've got to get back up and get in the game. God has another ingredient that will turn your bitter waters into sweet.
My father shook off the self-pity. He received God's mercy. He quit listening to the condemning voices. He started moving forward. One day he was at the hospital visiting one of his church members. He saw a beautiful young nurse that he had never seen before. It was my mother. He was so taken by her he would look for any possible reason he could find to go up to that hospital. I mean, he would go visit your great uncle's, third cousin's, next door neighbor if you asked him to. He was almost hoping that some of his church members would get sick so could go up to the hospital.
My mother didn't realize what was going on. She told her nurse friends, "That pastor has the sickest congregation I've ever seen". One day it dawned on her, he was up there to see her. Long story short, they fell in love and got married. God blessed them with four average children and one exceptional child. (I didn't say it was me). He went on to have a ministry that spanned 50 years and touched the world. He was married to my mother for 44 years.
What happened? God added another ingredient. It was my mother that turned the bitter waters into sweet. Some of you, like my father, you've gone through disappointments. Maybe you've made poor choices and now you're beating yourself up, no passion, no dreams. You've got to get back in the game. It starts by forgiving yourself. Receive God's mercy. Quit listening to the condemning voices. That mistake did not stop God's plan. Shake off the self-pity and move forward and you'll see God add another ingredient.
David put it this way, "I have pitched my tent in the land of hope". My question, "Where have you pitched your tent"? Do you know God has another ingredient? Do you believe that together it's all going to work for your good? Or are you doing like Naomi and letting life change your name? You can't understand why something has happened. No, you've got your tent pitched in the wrong location. If you want to see God's favor, if you want to see God add new ingredients, you've got to pack up your belongings and move out of the land of discouragement.
It's time to leave self-pity estates. Move out of the nothing good ever happens to me subdivision and come on over to the land of hope, the land of faith, the land where you know "Bam's"! Are in your future.
When life tries to push you down, when you face situations you don't understand, don't isolate them. Don't try to figure it out and say, "Oh, man. This doesn't taste good". Remember, that's not the whole recipe. That's just one ingredient. God wouldn't have allowed it unless he had a purpose, like the hut on fire, like my tax problem. It's not happening to you. It's happening for you. God is going to use it to your advantage.
Many of you have been faithful. You've passed the test, done the right thing when the wrong thing was happening. You need to get ready. God is about to add an ingredient. That person you've been waiting for, "Bam"! They're about to show up. That problem that's dogged you for years, "Bam"! A breakthrough. "Bam"! Vindication. That sickness, that chronic pain you thought you had to live with. "Bam"! Healing. "Bam"! A new beginning. Or maybe that dream you've been believing for. "Bam"! A good break. "Bam"! A divine connection.
I want you to go out expecting some "Bam's"! This week. Listen, friends, if you will keep your tent pitched in the land of hope, God promises you will never be permanently disappointed. At just the right time he is going to add just the right ingredients. I believe and declare together it's going to all work out for your good. In Jesus' name.