Joel Osteen — The Promise is in You
I want to talk to you tonight about how the promise is in you. God has called each one of us to do something great. We were never meant to live an average, mediocre life. We were created to leave our mark on this generation.
A hundred years from now, people should look back at you and me and say, "Wow, they were history makers. They were world changers. They made a difference". But if that's going to happen, you have to realize you are a person of destiny. Almighty God breathed his life into you. You are not here by accident. Before you were born, God knew you and planned out all your days.
The good news is God has already equipped you with everything you need to fulfill your destiny. He has solutions to problems you haven't even had. There is no obstacle too big, no dream you can't accomplish, no enemy you cannot defeat. The power that is in you is greater than any power that will come against you. Now you've got to put your shoulders back. Hold your head up high. You are not weak, defeated, lacking, limited. You are strong, equipped, empowered, anointed, a child of the most high God.
So often, we look at others and think, "Wow, they're so amazing. And I'm so ordinary". "My cousin is so beautiful but I'm so plain". "My coworker is so smart and yet I'm so average". No, they may be amazing in certain areas but can I tell you there's something amazing about you. You are talented, you are attractive, you have been fearfully and wonderfully made. God doesn't want us to go around always just celebrating others. Cheering them on. God wants you to be celebrated. You are not second-class. You didn't get left out when God was handing out the gifts, the talents, the looks.
You have what you need for the race that you're run. Now don't go through life with the wrong image on the inside. You are not ordinary-you have been handpicked by the Creator of the universe. The scripture says you didn't choose God. But he chose you. And he has placed seeds of greatness on the inside of you. There is something you can do to leave your mark on this generation. There's something you can excel in. You can be a great business person, a great school teacher, a great homebuilder. You've got to stir up what's on the inside. Don't settle for mediocrity when God's put greatness in you. Well you say, "Joel, if I just had more talent. If I just had a different personality". No, you have exactly what you need. You just have to see yourself the right way.
I read where back during World War II, the famous actress, Betty Grable, was known for her beautiful legs. She had them insured for a million dollars. That was unheard of back then-a pair of legs worth a million dollars. Can I show you another pair of million dollar legs? Just look down at your own. If somebody offered you a million dollars to buy your legs, not one of you would do it.
A few years ago, a man lost his arm in an accident. The court awarded him $11 million for that arm. Look at your arm. It's worth $11 million. In another city, a young lady was in a city bus. She got hurt, injured her back: lost her ability to work. The city awarded her $20 million. Think about it. Just those three things and you're already worth $33 million. You're starting to feel better about yourself, aren't you? You've got to recognize what you have. God calls you his masterpiece. You can do something great. Some of you are always celebrating others but God is saying it's time to celebrate yourself. There's something special about you.
For many years, I cheered my father on. Daddy was my hero. As a little boy, we used to travel to different cities and I'd see my father up on the platform speaking to thousands of people. He was so warm and friendly. Everybody loved him. I was so proud that he was my father. In the back of my mind, I thought, "I could never do that. He's so gifted. He's so talented".
And after I came back from college, I worked 17 years with my parents behind the scenes at the church doing the television production. And again, week after week, I'd see my father on the platform, ministering, making a difference, doing something great. I would do my best to make my father look good. Make sure the camera angles were just right. The lighting was just perfect. I would even go over to his house on Saturday night and pick him out a suit and tie to wear the next morning for television at the church services. I wanted to make my dad look good.
As my father got older, people would say, "Joel, what's going to happen when your dad goes to be with the Lord? Who's going to pastor the church"? My dad had never raised anybody up. He tried many times to get me up to minister but I didn't think this was in me. I was always too quiet, too reserved. But when my dad died in 1999, all of a sudden, I had this strong desire to step up and pastor the church. I'd never ministered before. I'd never been to seminary. Yet, deep down, I heard a still small voice saying, "Joel, you've spent your whole life celebrating others. Now it's time for you to be celebrated. It's time for you to step in to a new level of your destiny". And I always knew that God would take care of the church. But I never dreamed it would be through me. I thought the promise would happen some other way. But I discovered the promise was in me.
I believe God is saying the same thing to you. You've celebrated others. Now it's time to celebrate your self. It's time for you to shine. It's time for you to step in to a new level of your destiny. Friends, there is a seed on the inside just waiting to flourish. You may not feel like you can do it but God would not have given you the opportunity unless he had already equipped and empowered you. You have everything you need.
One time, God told Moses to go speak to Pharaoh. Moses said, "God I can't do that. I stutter. Let me take Aaron, my brother, to speak for me". And God said, in effect, "Moses, that's not necessary. I put the promise in you". Moses begged and begged and finally God said, "Okay". When they were standing before Pharaoh, just when Aaron was about to speak, something came all over Moses. He stepped up and said, "Wait a minute Aaron. This is my time. This is my moment. The promise is in me". He looked at Pharaoh and said, "Let God's people go".
The scripture says they both spoke to Pharaoh. I believe Moses walked out that day knowing, "I don't need anybody to speak for me. I'm anointed. I'm equipped. I'm empowered". In the same way, God has put in you everything you need to fulfill your destiny. Don't you dare sit back and think, "Oh, they're so great. They're so amazing. I could never do that". No step up and become all God's created you to be.
I heard about this minister, before the service, he handed a man a $100 bill and asked him to secretly place that in his wife's Bible and make sure she didn't see it. The man agreed. During his sermon, he asked this woman to stand up. They were all friends. He said to the lady, "Do you trust me"? She said, "Yes I do". He said, "Will you do what I ask"? She said, "Yes I will". He said, "Then open your Bible and give me a $100 bill". She said, "Oh, I'm so sorry. I don't have a $100 bill". He said, "Do you trust me"? She said, "Yes I do". "Will you do what I ask"? "Yes I will". "Then open your Bible and hand me a $100 bill". Reluctantly, she opened her Bible and much to her surprise she saw the money. She shook her head and said, "How did it get there"? He smiled and said, "I put it in there".
In the same way, God will never ask you for something without first putting it in you. When God gives you a dream, when you have that desire and you know you're supposed to take that step of faith, you may feel unqualified: like you don't have the wisdom, the know how, the ability. But if you'll dare take that step, you'll discover things in you that you never knew you had. I never knew this gift was in me. I never knew that I could get up in front of people. I wonder how many gifts are in you right now just waiting to be released if you'll dare step up. And believe that you have what it takes.
This is where Sarah, Abraham's wife, almost missed it. She thought the promise would come through somebody else. When God told her that she was going to do something great. She was going to have a child at an old age. And her husband would become the father of many nations. She said, "God that's impossible. I'm eighty years old. That's never happened before. I must not be hearing you right".
She took matters into her own hands. She had Abraham get hooked up with one of her maids. And they had a son. Sarah looked and said, "There he is, the child of promise". God said, "No, no, Sarah, I didn't say the promise was in somebody else. I said the promise is in you. You spent your whole life celebrating others, Sarah, but now it's time for you to be celebrated. You're going to give birth. You're going to have that baby. You're going to do something great. You're going to be a history maker". Sure enough, some 20 years later, she gave birth to that baby. The promise was fulfilled.
In the same way, what God has placed in your heart is not going to come to pass through your neighbor, through your cousin, through your co-worker, through your friend, through your parents. God is saying, "I've anointed you. I've equipped you. I've breathed my life into you". Now quit looking for somebody else. Quit thinking that you don't have what it takes. You've been chosen by the Creator of the universe. You don't need anyone else to give birth to the promise that God put in your heart.
Dr. Todd Price is a friend of mine and a member of Lakewood and he recently told how he grew up very poor. It didn't look like he had much of a future. But from the time he was small, he had a deep desire to help children in need. One day he saw a program on television about how you could sponsor a child for $15 a month that lived around the world. He didn't have any money but his heart was so moved, he started mowing lawns in the neighborhood, doing yard work to raise the money.
From the time he was 12 years old, he started sponsoring a little girl that lived halfway around the world. What caused him to do that? Why did he have that compassion? It was the promise God put in him. It was a seed of greatness just waiting to be developed. Dr. Price wasn't raised in a religious home. But every night before he'd go to bed, he'd say, "God, please send some wealthy person to help these children in need".
He was able to go to college and in the summer, he would take trips overseas with a group of doctors to treat the needy children. When he'd look in their eyes, he would pray even more earnestly, "God, please send some wealthy person to help these children". He went to medical school and continued going overseas. He started his own practice. And one of his main suppliers heard how he helped needy children. And they asked if he needed some free medical supplies, vaccinations, antibiotics: things like that. He said, "Sure I do".
He started taking a couple of suitcases full of medicines on each trip. It grew to where he had to put them in boxes and have it shipped. Eventually, it got so large: he was shipping huge containers of medicines overseas. All the while, praying, "God please send some wealthy person to help these children in need". In the last three years, Dr. Price's medical missions organization has treated over 50 million children in 21 countries. He has provided over $500 million worth of medicines and supplies.
He said, "About two years ago, when I was treating my 20th million child, I finally realized that God had answered my prayers. But it wasn't like I thought. I always prayed for God to send some wealthy person. Now I realize I am that wealthy person". He was saying, "The promise is in me".
Friends, you don't need anyone else to give birth to what God has placed in your heart. Some of you are waiting for the right person. God is saying, "You are the right person. My anointing is on your life. My favor is on your life. You're equipped and empowered. You can do something great". Now, don't do like Sarah and say, "Okay, God, let me go find somebody younger, somebody smarter, more educated, more talented". No, you've got what it takes. Don't miss your destiny waiting for somebody else.
When my father went to be with the Lord. In the back of my mind, I thought God would send us somebody with great ability and a dynamic personality and a booming voice and all these degrees behind his name. And I was looking around. The whole time, I was hearing that still, small voice: "Joel, this is your time. This is your moment. The promise is in you". I said, 'God, I don't have the booming voice. I don't have the dynamic personality. I don't have all the degrees". God said, "Joel, I formed you before the foundation of the world. Now I put in you everything that you need. I wouldn't ask you to do it if you didn't already have what it takes".
And I stepped up and like Dr. Price: I discovered I was the answer to my prayer. Some of you are praying for somebody else: for another person to come along and bring all your dreams to pass. God is saying, "You're the answer to your prayer. You're equipped, anointed: you can do something great".
And the good news is, just like with Sarah, just because we don't believe it's going to come to pass, God doesn't change his mind. You are still going to give birth to everything that God's placed in your heart. What God has spoken over you is still going to come to pass. You need to get your fire back, get your dreams back. You may have given up on it but it doesn't mean God gave up. Sarah waited 20 years. You can still do something great.
I love what Caleb did. He and Joshua were the ones that went in and told Moses we are well able to take the Promised Land, let us go in at once. The other people were very negative and they talked Moses and the Israelites out of going in to the Promised Land. Forty years later, now Caleb is 85 years old, you'd think that he'd be in a rocking chair, taking it easy. No, Caleb is still fired up about not making it in to the Promised Land. He knows the promise is still in him. He went right back to that same place 40 years later where the others would not go in and he said, 'God, give me this mountain".
What's interesting is that mountain had five giants living on it. It would have been a lot easier to ask for a mountain with less opposition, maybe one or two giants. No Caleb's attitude was, "God this is what you promised me and I'm not going to settle for mediocrity when I know you put greatness in me. And yes I'm older: yes it's been a long time. I've made mistakes. I've gone through disappointments. But God, I still believe the promise is in me. I still believe I can become everything you created me to be". At 85, he went in, conquered the enemies, took the mountain: saw the dreams come to pass.
Some of you think that you've made too many mistakes. It's been too long. You're too old. No, God is saying, "You can still make it in to your Promised Land. You can still do something great. You're not too old. It's not too late. You haven't made too many mistakes". The great news about God is even when we miss opportunities - it didn't work out the first time for Caleb. But God is so good, he will always give you another chance. God will bring that opportunity across your path another time.
Now, my encouragement is get ready, be prepared, be confident. Just because the dream didn't work out the first time doesn't mean that dream has died. What God has spoken over you is still alive and well. The scripture tells us to fan the flame. Stir up the gifts, the promise is in you. Well, you say, "Joel, you don't know the mistakes I've made. You don't know the life I've lived". No, nothing that you've done is too much for the mercy of God. The scripture says, "God's calling on our life is irrevocable". That means God will never take it back. Your destiny is not canceled because of a mistake, because of a failure. Get back up and go again.
I think about Jonah. God told him to go left. He did just the opposite. He went right. God didn't say, "Too bad Jonah, I'm done with you. You had your chance.' no, God never gives up on us. Jonah got in trouble: was on the boat in a storm. They threw him overboard. It was his fault. He brought the trouble on himself. Surely God would say, "See Jonah, you should have listened to me. I told you. Now look at you. You're done. You're finished". No, God knew the promise was still in him. And God had that big fish to swallow him up and spit him out on dry ground three days later. God said, 'come on Jonah, let's get busy. I still got something great for you to do".
And some of you have made mistakes and you feel washed up: like you're supposed to be on the sidelines of life. But God is saying the promise is still in you. If you'll shake off the guilt, shake off the condemnation: God will still get you to where he wants you to be. He'll bring another opportunity across your path. You can still become all God's created you to be.
My brother, Paul, recently returned from doing medical missions in Africa. One of the safari guides that we know, a man named Henry, told how when a gazelle or a wildebeest is pregnant and about to give birth, a lion will closely stalk that animal. Day after day, the lion will follow the pregnant mother waiting for her to go into labor. The lion knows when she goes into labor she's an easy target: she can't defend herself. So the lion will actually wait for the mother to go into labor and then not only attack and kill her but the baby as well.
It's the same principle in life. You will face your greatest attacks when you're about to give birth to the dreams God places in your heart. The enemy waits till you're close to the promotion: till you're close to the breakthrough. Just when you're about to step in to a new level. Don't be surprised if you face opposition: you go through a disappointment. A friend you were counting on is not there. It's taking longer than you thought. That simply means you're about to give birth to what God has placed in your heart.
The good news is the forces that are for you are greater than the forces that are against you. Your destiny cannot be stopped by a bad break, by disappointments, by opposition, by people. No, God has the final say. And when you're in agreement with God, he says, "No weapon formed against you will ever prosper". And I know some of you tonight, you're up against big opposition, big challenges. That simply tells me you're about to give birth to what God's placed in your heart. You're about to see a dream come to pass. Now is not the time to get discouraged. Now is the time to dig your heels in and say, "You know what? I am in it to win it. I know the promise is in me. I'm not going to let this disappointment, this setback, this person steal my destiny. I'm going to give birth to everything that God placed in my heart".
That was the attitude of a young man named Troy. I met his mother after the service not long ago. She's a single parent mom. This family had been through a lot of struggles. She had some kind of sickness to where she had to have brain surgery. They lost everything several years ago in a huge flood. It's been one struggle after another.
But she told how her son, Troy, has always had a big dream for his life. He was in the third grade and he wrote in a school paper that he was going to get a scholarship to go to college. As a little boy, the promise was in him to go further, to do something great. Troy's goal is to go to Georgetown University and not only get a four-year degree but to get his masters and his doctorate in foreign relations. His dream is to become the secretary of state.
For a single parent mother, in the natural, that kind of education is almost impossible. I mean she's just doing her best to provide a living each day. Troy could have thought, "Well, too bad for me. I've got a big dream but I don't have the money. I don't have the connections". No, Troy's attitude was "The promise is in me. What God has spoken over my life will come to pass". He didn't sit back and expect God to do it all for him. He excelled in school. He took college courses in the tenth grade. And this year he graduated number two in his high school class.
Recently, Troy received not one scholarship, not two, not five, not seven, not eight. He was awarded nine scholarships worth over 1.3 million dollars. He has his four year degree, plus his masters, and his doctorate studies totally paid for at Georgetown University. Troy and his mom are with us here tonight. Tell him that you're proud of him! His mother, Connie, handed me the newspaper article. It says, "He will receive one of the finest educations available". Friends, what God has promised you, he will bring to pass. You may not see a way, but God has a way. If you'll be the best that you can be right where you are, God will get you to where he wants you to be.
In the scripture God put a promise in Jeremiah that he would be a great prophet and speak to the nations. Jeremiah was young, afraid, and he didn't think he could do it. People and obstacles came against him. He got so discouraged: he was about to give up. In Jeremiah, chapter 20, he began to tell God how bad it was. He listed one complaint after another. God, these people are mocking me. When I speak they make fun of me. I'm being ridiculed. I'm tired. I'm lonely. I'm intimidated. On and on.
Just when you thought he was going to quit, he said in verse 9, "God I feel like giving up but your word in my heart is like fire shut up in my bones". He was saying, "God, I don't see how it can happen. All the odds are against me. But this promise you put in me will not go away. It's like fire. It's like a burning. I can't get away from it".
You too may be at a place where you can easily be discouraged and give up on what God has placed in your heart. But the good news is, like Jeremiah, there is fire shut up in your bones. There is a promise that God has spoken over you that will not die. You can try to ignore it, your mind will convince you that it's never going to happen. But deep down, you'll feel a burning, a restlessness, a fire. That's the promise God put in you. God loves you too much to stay average. God is going to push you into greatness. You're going to accomplish more than you thought possible. You're going to go further than you dreamed of. You're going to see the exceeding greatness of God's power. What he's spoken over your life will come to pass.
Friends, you don't need anyone else to give birth to what God has placed in your heart. Some of you are still looking for the other person. You've got to realize you are the right person. You are equipped. You are anointed. You've got what it takes. Now stir up what's on the inside. And yes, it's good to celebrate others. But God is saying it's time for you to be celebrated. It's time for you to rise to a new level. It's time for you to do something great.
And if you'll get up every morning knowing that the promise is in you, then that fire shut up in your bones is going to cause you to rise higher. And I believe a hundred years from now, people are going to look back at you and say, "Wow, they were a history maker. They were a world changer". You're going to become everything God's created you to be. And you're going to have everything God intended for you to have. I believe it and declare it over each one of you, in Jesus name.