Joel Osteen — Your Father's World
I want to talk to you today about "Your father's world". We knew this man, growing up, that was very successful, very wealthy. He'd built a large business with offices around the world. His wife of many years had died earlier. They'd never had any children. He remarried a lady much younger than he was. When he was 65, they found out that they were pregnant. He couldn't believe, at that age, he was going to have a baby, his first child.
While he was excited, he was a little conflicted. They were used to traveling the world and going whenever they wanted, and now they were going to have this new responsibility. He was looking forward to it, of course, but, in the back of his mind, thinking it was going to cramp his style. His wife went into labor. Left an important meeting. Rushed to the hospital. When she gave birth, the nurse handed him his son. He held that baby and felt something that he had never felt. He began to weep and weep. He was so overcome with joy, so overwhelmed with gratitude. He looked him in the eyes and said, "I can't wait to give you my world". He was so in love with this baby, he took him wherever he went, showed him off to friends. He was the proudest father you could ever meet.
That's the way your Heavenly Father feels about you. He's been thinking about you a long time. Before you were formed in your mother's womb, he knew you. He's already planned out your days. He didn't create you to be average, to be mediocre, to get by in life. He's lined up amazing opportunities, good breaks, the right people. He's saying to you, "I can't wait to give you my world". His world is big. His world is abundant. His world is full of favor. He's going to take you further than you've dreamed. He's going to open doors bigger than you've imagined. He's going to bring talent out that you didn't know you had. He's been waiting for you to get here.
Jesus said, "It is the father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom," not, "Okay, you're here. I have to take care of you. Yes, I love you, but you're a pain. You're always getting into trouble". Have a new perspective. You are not a burden to God. You're not inconveniencing him. You're the apple of his eye. You are his most prized possession. He loves showing you favor. He takes pleasure in giving you his world. Paul talked about, in Ephesians, "The great love wherewith God loved us". Wasn't a little love, a get-by love, a don't-bother-me love. God is madly in love with you.
What he has in store is going to boggle your mind. We think natural. God thinks supernatural. We think, "Let me have enough to pay my bills". God thinks, "Let me give you overflow so you could help pay other people's bills". We think, "Let me learn to live with this sickness". God thinks, "Let me free you from that sickness". We think, "Let's build a new auditorium". God thinks, "Let me give you one that's already built. Let me bring you a Compaq Center".
God has things in your future that you've never dreamed of. I never dreamed I'd be a minister, never dreamed we'd have the Compaq Center, never dreamed I'd write books that would go around the world. I'm not bragging on me. I'm bragging on what God has done. What he has planned is much bigger than what we have in mind. The good news is he can't wait to give you his world. Isaiah said, "God is longing to be good to you".
My question is "Are you expecting to rise higher, to set new standards for your family, to break the addiction, to accomplish your dream"? It's easy to let people talk us out of it, let setbacks, disappointments convince us it's not going to happen. You have to get your passion back. You may not see a way, but God has a way. He is not limited by what you don't have, by your family, by your education. His favor on your life will open doors that you could not open. His anointing will cause you to accomplish more with less talent. His blessing will bring divine connections, people that will use their influence to push you further ahead. You won't have to find them. They'll find you. Now, stay in agreement with God. You can't go around with a limited mentality, thinking you're stuck, talking about how it's not going to happen. All through the day, "Father, thank you that you are giving me your world. Thank you that you're taking me where I could not go on my own".
Genesis 18, Abraham was standing outside his tent when three men came traveling by. One of them asked him where his wife Sarah was. Abraham told him that she was in the tent. The man said, "About this time next year, when I return, your wife Sarah is going to have a son". Well, God had promised Abraham and Sarah some-20 years earlier that they were going to have a son, but it hadn't happened. Now Abraham was 99 years old. Sarah was almost 80. It was impossible enough to believe back then, but this man was saying it was still going to happen.
Sarah was in the tent, listening. When she overheard him say that she was going to have a baby, verse 12 says, "Sarah laughed to herself and thought, 'how can a worn-out lady like me have a baby, especially when my husband is so old?'" She was saying, "God, it's not just me. I admit I'm worn out, but look at this old man I'm married to". What God promised her seemed so impossible that it was funny. Sometimes God will put things in your heart that seems so far out of reach, so beyond what you think could happen, that it's laughable.
When my father went to be with the Lord and I heard that voice telling me to step up and pastor the church, after I got up off the ground, I said, "God, I've only ministered one time. Never been to seminary. I don't have the experience". So unusual that it was funny. When I met Victoria for the first time in her mother's jewelry store and saw how beautiful she is, something said, "Call her back and ask her out". First, I laughed. "She's not going to have anything to do with me". Then I looked in the mirror and thought, "What am I thinking about"? I got my nerve up, called her back, and God is a God of miracles. We've been married 31 years now.
Here's what I'm saying. Don't be surprised when God puts things in you that seem laughable. You don't see how it could happen. Like Sarah, you could come up with a thousand reasons why it's not going to work out: you're too young, too old, your family couldn't do it, your boss doesn't like you. Even when it seems laughable, dare to believe. Let the seed take root. God wouldn't have given it to you if he didn't have a way to bring that to pass.
What's interesting, Sarah laughed, but Abraham got in trouble. God said, "Abraham, why did Sarah laugh when I said she was going to have a baby? Is there anything too hard for the Lord"? I love the fact that, when God puts big things in our hearts, even when we laugh, even when we think, "Yeah, right, there's no way," God doesn't say, "All right, you're done. You laughed. I'm not going to give you my world". God is so merciful. He says, "All right, let me give you something to really laugh about. Let me show you what I can do".
A year later, at 80 years old, Sarah gave birth to a son. They named him Isaac. "Isaac" means "Laughter". Every time she called his name, she was reminded, "God brought to pass what I laughed at". You may be laughing now in disbelief, thinking how it could never work out. One day, like her, you're going to be laughing in amazement, laughing with gratitude, overwhelmed with the greatness of our God. Sarah held her little baby that she'd waited for a lifetime, tears running down her cheeks.
I can hear God saying, "Sarah, welcome to my world. In my world, I do the impossible. In my world, I bring dreams to pass. In my world, I take you further than you've imagined. Sarah said, in chapter 21, "God has brought me out with laughter. All who hear about this will laugh with me". A little earlier, she was laughing in disbelief, saying, "I'm a worn-out old lady". Now she's holding her baby, laughing in amazement. The scripture says, "God will fill your mouth with laughter".
Some of this laughter is going to be from the amazing things you see God do. What you've been dreaming about, to start the business, to get out of debt, to break the addiction, to finish college, it may seem laughable. The odds are against you, but, like her, you're about to come into this second kind of laughter. God is about to surprise you. He's going to do something you didn't see coming, open a door that you couldn't open, cause your health to suddenly turn around, show you favor that thrusts you to a new level.
Sarah told her friends, "Who would've ever thought I could have a baby, and, yet I have given Abraham a son in my old age"? God has some of these "Who would've ever thought"? Blessings in store for you. Who would've ever thought my mother would still be alive after being diagnosed with terminal cancer, 37 years ago? Who would've ever thought we would be having church in the former Compaq Center? Who would've ever thought you would lead your company in sales? Who would've ever thought you could pay your house off? Who would've ever thought you would break the addiction and now be helping others?
Get ready for some of these "Who would've ever thought"? Blessings. "Well, Joel, this sounds good, but you don't know my situation. I don't see how it can happen for me". Look what God did for Sarah. I bet you're not 80 years old, believing for a baby. If you are, we need to pray for you. God did it for her. He could do it for you. "Well, I don't have the connections. I don't know the right people". You may not, but God does. You have friends in high places. "The medical report says I'm not going to get well". God has another report. It says you will live and not die. You may be laughing now in disbelief, but God is up to something. There is a time coming where you're going to be laughing in amazement.
Psalm 126, says, "When God brought the Israelites back to Jerusalem, it was like a dream. Our mouth was filled with laughter, and we sang for joy". The Israelites had been in slavery 400 years. You can imagine someone, back then, telling them, "There is a day coming you're going to be free, blessed, living in the Promised Land". I'm sure they would've laughed and thought, "Yeah, right". In this passage, they're laughing in amazement. They're saying, "It's like a dream. It's too good to be true".
Some of the things you've given up on, you want to believe, but seems so unlikely. Stay in faith. Like them, you're going to come into that day where God fills your mouth with laughter. It's going to be like a dream where you think, "Who would've ever thought I would be where I am, promoted, healthy, out of debt, blessing others, seeing my children honor God"? That's your father giving you his world.
In the scripture, God gave Joseph a dream and showed him how his brothers would bow down before him, how he would lead a nation. Didn't happen without opposition. Those brothers were jealous of him, and they threw him into a pit. They ended up selling him into slavery. Joseph was falsely accused, put in prison for something that he didn't do. I'm sure there were times he laughed and thought, "So much for my dream. I must've heard God wrong".
Thirteen years later, he interpreted a dream for the Pharaoh. He was so impressed, he brought Joseph out of prison and made him the prime minister, second in command only to the Pharaoh, but what Joseph went through wasn't fair. He didn't do anything wrong, yet he had to endure betrayals, lonely nights, disappointments. All those difficulties were a part of God's plan. It was to put Joseph in a strategic position, a place of great influence inside a foreign country so, during the famine, the Israelites would be able to survive.
Some of what we go through that we don't understand, the friend that walked away, the closed door, the business that didn't make it, it's not going to make sense right now because we can't see the big picture, but God knows what he's doing. He's positioning you so you can carry out your purpose. In the difficult times, you have to trust him, knowing that he is ordering your steps. He would not have allowed it if he didn't have a purpose.
Like Joseph, God is going to send some of you into strategic positions of influence, leadership, authority. We are not called to run away from the world's system. We are called to infiltrate the system. God is raising up more Josephs, godly people running the television networks, serving in the government, leading the universities: in medicine, finding the cure for cancer, aids, Alzheimer's: in the arts, singing on Broadway, producing award-winning movies: leaders in technology, business, real estate development. Our father's world is a big world. He is going to position you higher than you've dreamed. It's because he knows he can trust you. He knows you'll handle the success, the influence, the resources, with humility. He knows you're a person of excellence and integrity.
A while back, we went to New York to meet with a television network about carrying our program. A young lady came in the meeting. She's about 35 years old. She introduced herself as the vice president of programming, very important position at a very prestigious network. She pulled me aside and told how she had watched me on television since she was a teenager, how all of her family attends our events. She whispered, "Don't worry. I'm moving programming around so we can carry your program".
What was she? A Joseph. God strategically placed her there so she could take the kingdom further. I know today I am looking at more Josephs. God is going to open doors bigger than you've imagined. He's going to give you influence, responsibility, authority, to where you look up and think, "Who would've ever thought I would end up where I am"? You may hear this and say, "Joel, this is far-out. I don't see how this can happen for me". You kind of laugh under your breath. That's what Sarah did, but it didn't stop God from bringing the promise to pass. You may not see how it could happen. Neither did Joseph.
Stay faithful. Keep honoring God. One day, you'll be laughing, running the network: laughing, franchising your business: laughing, walking out of the hospital: laughing, seeing your family restored: laughing, meeting the person of your dreams.
A friend of mine came to the United States from Europe when he was a little boy, and they didn't have anything. This young man excelled in school. God opened the door for him to go to college. He attended law school and kept rising higher. Today he argues cases before the supreme court, the highest level. He's spoken at the United Nations. Didn't look like he had a chance, but God strategically positioned him there. He's a Joseph.
What am I saying? God knows how to get you to where you're supposed to be. He can open doors that no man can shut. There may be obstacles in your path, things haven't worked out. Same way for this man. That didn't stop God. He came from a low-income family. Many of the great leaders in the Bible did not come from prominence. Esther was an orphan, had no parents, nobody guiding her, no income, yet God caused things to fall into place. She ended up becoming the queen, not just for her sake. God strategically placed her there to save the Israelites.
God is raising up a new generation of Esthers, of Josephs. It's not just because of your talent, your ability, your skill. It's the divine purposes of God. It's his favor on your life. Now do your part and honor God. Keep him first place. When you're being your best where you are, not compromising, faithful, developing your skills, helping other people, when you show God that he can trust you, God will take you to levels higher than you've imagined. He'll make you an Esther, make you a Joseph.
Joseph was in charge of the food supply in Egypt. There came a great famine throughout the land. Joseph's father, Jacob, sent his ten sons into Egypt to try to find food. These brothers showed up at the palace, the same ones that threw Joseph into the pit, 13 years earlier. They didn't recognize Joseph. They had no idea he would have that kind of position, especially after what they had done to him. Instead of trying to get even, Joseph was kind to them. He not only gave them food, but he had them go get their father and all of their families and come back and live with him.
Here's my point: the brothers didn't recognize Joseph, but Joseph recognized them and showed them favor. God will put people in positions of leadership so that, when you show up, they will recognize you. You don't know them, but they will know you. They will want to be good to you, to open a door, to give you the contract, to set up the meeting. They're positioned to help you rise higher. You couldn't have made it happen. It's the hand of God having them there for when you show up.
David, as a teenager, was out in the shepherds' fields, taking care of his father's sheep, just another ordinary day, nothing special, just being faithful. He noticed, way off in the distance, his father motioning for him to come. He thought, "Why's he calling me? It's the middle of the afternoon". He went home. All of his brothers were there. Neighbors had gathered around. It's because the prophet Samuel, this well-respected, influential man had come to their ordinary neighborhood.
While everyone was watching, Samuel pointed at David and said, "That's the next king of Israel". David had never met Samuel, never sent him a resume, never followed him on social media, yet Samuel showed up and anointed him king. God has people in positions of influence. You don't know them, but they know you. They are ordained to help you rise higher, to open a door, to show you favor.
A few years after I started ministering, I was at an event in another state. There were several thousand people seated in the auditorium. On the stage, there were four former presidents next to each other. I was amazed seeing them up there. I was seated on about the 20th row. At one point, during the program, one of the presidents looked at me and started waving. I thought, "He's not waving at me. There's no way he knows who I am". I'd just been the pastor a couple of years. When he finished waving, I leaned to Victoria and said, "I think president so-and-so just waved at me". She looked at me like, "I think you're imagining things".
About that time, he started waving again, looking right at me. Well, I know from being up here, if I waved to somebody in that section, it can look like I'm waving to a hundred people, so, again, I dismissed it. He turned to the former president sitting next to him. I could read his lips. He pointed at me and said, "That's Joel sitting out there". The other president looked at me and shook his head and said, "I don't know him". God left him out.
But after the program, Victoria and I were about to leave when two security officers came and said, "The president would like to say hello". We went back there. It was like we were old friends. "Joel, Victoria, we watch you every week. We love you". He said, "I'm going to send you an invitation to be a part of my program that helps people around the world". He opened the door to all kinds of influential relationships.
A couple of years earlier, I was working behind the scenes. I was running camera. I didn't see this coming, but our father's world is a big world. He's already lined up these "Who would've ever thought"? Moments. People in positions of influence you didn't even know they knew you, but they're going to show you favor. "Well, Joel, it's because you had that church. It's because you're on television. That's not going to happen for me". Okay, Sarah, you can talk yourself out of it. You all like that Sarah? You can talk yourself out.
Here's what I love. Even though Sarah laughed, even though she didn't believe, God still brought the promise to pass. Joseph's brothers did wrong. They didn't deserve anyone to show them favor, yet God had Joseph not only recognize them, but he was good to them despite what they had done. That tells me, even if you don't deserve it, even if you don't think it's going to happen, God is going to surprise you and do it anyway. It's because your father can't wait to give you his world.
Why don't you take the limits off of him? Quit thinking of all the reasons you can't accomplish your dreams. God breathed his life into you. He's crowned you with favor. You have seeds of greatness. The prophet Joel said, "Wake up the mighty men. Wake up the mighty women". I am looking at mighty men, mighty women, right now. I'm looking at Josephs. I'm looking at Esthers. Now do you part. Stir your faith up. Believe big. Pray bold prayers. Have a God-size dream. If you'll do this, I believe and declare you're about to see some of these "Who would've ever thought"? Moments. God is going to open doors bigger than you've imagined. He's going to cause the right people to recognize you. You're going to rise higher and reach the fullness of your destiny, in Jesus's name.