Joel Osteen - The Joshua Generation
I want to talk to you today about The Joshua Generation. When God delivered the Israelites out of slavery, Moses led them through the desert toward the Promised Land. But because they complained and had wrong mindsets, they never went in. They wandered around for 40 years. And they saw God's goodness in part, he protected them, gave them manna to eat each morning, brought water out of a rock. At times they were grateful, they thanked God for what he had done, but they only saw the Promised Land from a distance, they only heard about the cluster of grapes, so large, that it took two people to carry him, how it was a land flowing with milk and honey. They dreamed about it, they believed for it, they hoped it would happen, but they died without ever seeing it come to pass.
God raised up a young man named Joshua to lead this new generation, the children of the first group, that had died. They had a different mindset, they didn't wander around another forty years, they went into the Promised Land, they took new ground. Their parents only made it up to the border, they camped next door, they could see the cluster of grapes, but Joshua and his people tasted the grapes. They didn't just hear about the land of milk and honey, they lived in the land of milk and honey. All their parents dreamed about the provision, the peace, the abundance, the Joshua generation experienced.
And sometimes thoughts will tell you: what you're dreaming about, will always only be a dream, just a hope, a wish. Others in your family tried to get ahead, they tried to start the business, tried to break the addiction, they couldn't do it and neither will you. That would be true, if you were with Moses in the first group. The good news is, you are a part of the Joshua generation. You are not going to just dream the dream, you're going to live your dream, you're going to go, where no one in your family has gone. They may have believed for it, they stood in faith, it didn't happen. They laid the foundation, you're going to be the one, to see the fulfillment.
David said taste and see, that the Lord is good. You're going to taste the grapes, taste the abundance, taste the freedom. This is a year, where you're going to take new ground. New ground in your finances, new ground in your health, new ground in relationships. Areas that look like you were stuck, it's been that way a long time, we'll never change - things are shifting, favor is coming in a new way, breakthroughs, promotion, the right people, God is about to do something, that you've never seen, unprecedented, out of the ordinary. The scripture says: stand still and watched the Lord show his mighty power. This is not going to be by your effort, just your strength, your talent, your determination, it's going to be the hand of God. Stand still and watch him show out in your life. He's going to surpass anything you've seen. You are not going to just believe four promises, you're about to see promises come to pass. Not just hope for breakthroughs, you're gonna enjoy breakthroughs. Not just dream about the right person, you're going to meet the right person, somebody better, than you imagine.
But maybe you come from a family line of mediocrity, depression, divorce, addictions, poverty, it should continue with you, but you're the Joshua generation, there is a blessing on your life, that will thrust you ahead. Forces that have stopped your family are being broken right now. What you couldn't make happen, God is about to suddenly make happen. No more just wandering in the desert, grateful that God is sustaining you, you can see the Promised Land, but you don't think it will ever happen. The Joshua generation has a conquering spirit. Not just maintain, let me hold my ground, try not to go backwards. Sometimes we have to do that, just stand in faith, but this is a year, where you're going to take new ground. Not maintained, but advanced. Not hold where I am, but increase. New levels, new opportunities.
The people that have gone before you may have worked hard and they did their best, but they always struggled. They believed more, but they couldn't seem to get ahead. They only saw the Promised Land from distance. Get ready, you're about to go in. You are not with Moses, you are with Joshua. God is going to open doors for you, that didn't open for others. You're going to go where your family hasn't gone, you're going to set a new standard, you are not going to spend your life constantly struggling, hoping things will improve, believing, wishing. That was for a season, but you showed God you would be faithful, you passed the test, now God is about to show his power. He's about to take you to a place, that you've never dreamed. You're going to take ground, that you didn't think was possible. You didn't have the qualifications, you weren't next in line, the connections, but God is about to show out. You're going to see the surpassing greatness of his favor.
"Well, Joel, this sounds encouraging today, but I don't know how it could happen for me". That's what Joshua and his generation thought. All they had seen was wandering around in a desert, they were born out there, they grew up as nomads, people without a home, struggling to survive, fighting off bandits - that was their way of life. When they came to Jericho, the city, that stood between them and the Promised Land, there was a 30 foot high wall, that surrounded the city. It was so thick chariots would run on top of the wall, to protect the people and watch for enemies. The people of Jericho were skilled warriors, they had the latest equipment inside a fortified city. Joshua and his people had no military training, no equipment, no weapons - all the odds were against them. It looked like they would just dream about the Promised Land, like their parents.
But when God is ready for you to take new ground, it doesn't matter how big the obstacles are, how many people are against you, how long you've had the problem. One touch of his favor and walls will come down. God is not limited by what you don't have, by the economy, by how you were raised, he has supernatural power. The Israelites didn't have to break the walls down, fight their way through, they just walked around the walls, giving God praise, thanking him that he was on the throne, that he was bigger than what they were facing. Seventh time around, those walls came tumbling down. They went in, took the city, went on to their Promised Land.
You may not see how you can make it into your Promised Land, you have big obstacles in your path. The odds may be against you, but the Most High God is for you. When thoughts tell you that you're stuck, you've reached your limits, it will never change. Just say: no, thanks, I know a secret, I'm the Joshua generation, I am destined to take new ground, I may not see away, but God I know you have a way. Father, thank you, that walls are coming down. Thank you, that new doors are opening, that breakthroughs, promotion, healing is headed my way. The Joshua generation means, you're not going to live like those, that have gone before you. They may have done well, but you're going to live better. Every generation is supposed to increase. You're going to live freer, live kinder, live more generous, more passionate, more blessed. You're going to live more devoted, more consecrated, not compromising, letting the same negative habits keep getting passed down. No, the buck stops with you. You are the one to set a new standard for your family.
Quit telling yourself, that you can't do it, you've had the addiction too long, everyone in your family is negative, depressed, angry. That was the past, that was with Moses, the difference is, you're the Joshua generation. You wouldn't be hearing this, if you weren't about to take new ground. God is about to catapult you to a new level. You are coming in to generational blessings. There are people in your family line, that have gone before you, that honored God, they pray, they believed, they worked hard, but they didn't see the fullness of what they were believing for.
The scripture talks about how some of the saints of old died in faith, without seeing the promise come to pass. And some of the things that your parents, your ancestors saw, it wasn't for their generation. God put it in their spirit as a seed, they dreamed about it, they worked for it, but it was all a part of the plan, so that you could step into it. You're coming into houses, that you didn't build. You're gonna reap from vineyards, that you didn't plant. Promotion, that you didn't work for. It's God keeping his promise to your praying grandmother. It's God rewarding your family, that went before you. You're going to see a harvest from seeds, that you didn't sow: business, contracts, property, books, movies, ministries. You didn't have to go after them, they came after you. It's a part of the new ground, that God has ordained for you.
Deuteronomy 6 says the Lord will soon bring you into the land, that he promised your ancestors. It is filled with large cities, that you did not build. The houses will be richly stocked with goods, you did not produce. You will draw from wells, that you did not dig. It's talking about generational blessings. It says: soon you will come into what God promised. Soon you will take new ground. Soon you will step into new levels.
When I look back over my life, I can see these generational blessings, favor, that I didn't work for. My parents started Lakewood in 1959 with 90 people. Those original members and my parents worked hard, they made sacrifices, they had a little building - an old, run-down feed store. They didn't complain, they were grateful. Through the years the church grew, and they saw God's blessings. But in one sense, it's like they made it up to the Promised Land. My father and many of them went to be with the Lord, but when God gave us the Compaq Center, it's like we're the generation, that came into the Promised Land. We have seen increase and favor, like they never saw. 15 years before my father died, he was speaking at a friend of ours church. Out of the the blue he said: one day we're going to own the Compaq Center. This building wasn't for sale, the rockets basketball team had a long-term lease. He'd never said that before, we had an eight thousand seat auditorium, plenty of room, but God put that seed in his spirit not for his generation, but for our generation. He dreamed of it, but we're living it.
There are things, that your parents, those that went before you believed for, they dreamed about. Some wonder why they didn't happen? Why the doors didn't open? It's because God ordained them to open for you. They laid the foundation, now God is about to release, what he promised. You're about to step into favor, that you didn't work for. It's because you're the Joshua generation, you're the one to take new ground. And when I heard the Compaq Center was coming available, something came alive on the inside. I didn't know that my father had talked about it, until many years later, but that seed was in my spirit, just like it was in my father's. And everything you need to take new ground, has already been lined up. And yes, we have to do our part: pray, believe, stay in faith, but what I'm talking about, is not going to happen by your own efforts, your own ability. If you can do it by yourself, it's not the new ground. What God has in store is too big, too expensive, too far out, to complicated.
The Compaq Center was far beyond what I imagined. In my mind it didn't make sense, but in my spirit I knew, we were supposed to pursue it. This building was owned by the city. So, I called the mayor. Here's how amazing God is: 20 years before lee brown was the mayor of Houston, he was the first African-American police chief. When he came to town, my parents went to a reception to welcome him. I was a teenager, I remember that night, asking my parents: where they were going? They said: to welcome the new police chief. I asked, when they had met him? They said, they had never met him. I asked: who invited them? They said: no one had invited them. They were just going on their own to make sure, he felt welcome, and to let him know, that Lakewood was praying for him.
At 18 years old that made such an impression on me. I thought, they didn't have to go, nobody invited them, why are they going? They were simply sowing a seed of kindness. They got to know chief brown, and over the years saw each other from time to time. What my parents didn't know that night, was 22 years later, I would call him, now the mayor of Houston, and asked about us purchasing the Compaq Center. When I did, mayor brown said, Joel, I think Lakewood having the Compaq Center would be great for the city of Houston. But had my parents not made that connection, had they not developed that friendship years earlier, maybe he wouldn't have taken my call, maybe he wouldn't have been favorable to us, maybe we wouldn't be here. My parents sowed the seed and I'll reap the harvest.
What am I saying, God has it all figured out. You're not going to have to manipulate things, try to force doors to open. What God has coming your way, has been in the works for a long time, before you were born. It's so big, so amazing, you couldn't accomplish it on your own. He's been working behind the scenes, generations back, getting everything lined up for this time, to take you into a place, that you've never imagined. Opportunity bigger, influence greater, blessed, prosperous, healthy whole, so you can be an example of his goodness, so you can shine brightly, wherever you go. God has been breathing on your family line, even when you didn't know it. He has arranged things, so that you can take new ground, step into new levels, set new standards.
My father always built auditoriums, we had large sanctuaries, but the Compaq Center is new ground. I don't know of any church this bought a basketball arena, this is unprecedented. What God is going to do in your life is not going to be ordinary, it's going to be unusual, what you haven't seen. "Well, Joel, this sounds kind of far out". It's because we serve a far-out God. It's far out to be heaven church in the Compaq Center, it's far out that walls came down with no opposition, it's far out that my parents befriended a stranger and years later he helped us get this facility. That's what happens, when you're the Joshua generation - far out things chase you down. Watch and see what God is about to do. Watch him show out in your life, watch him connect the dots, direct your steps, take you where you couldn't go on your own.
God wants you to not only take new ground in your family, but to take new ground in your field of work, new ground in medicine. It's time for someone to discover the cure for cancer, maybe it'll be you. New ground in technology, new ground in the arts and entertainment, new ground in education, in ministry. You don't have to be the smartest, most talented, most educated. Just dare to believe, dare to say: God I'm ready, show out in my life. Use me to help mankind, use me to make the world a better place, to lift people, to heal people, to feed people, to save people, to leave my mark.
My friend Dr. Todd Price and his family have attended here for many years. Todd specializes in infectious disease. He has a very successful practice and is a leader in his field. Every couple of months he travels to Africa to treat the children, way back in the villages, teaches them how to have good hygiene. Several months ago Dr. Price was about to leave for Uganda. It was a Friday afternoon, he had already left the hospital and was getting prepared for his flight. His office received a call about an executive, that had returned home from overseas, and wasn't feeling well, he continued to get worse. Before they knew it, his help had gone down so quickly, he was in a coma, couldn't speak or talk, his organs were starting to shut down. Dr. Price rushed back to the hospital, he discovered, the man had malaria. The infection was spreading so rapidly to the other cells, that another few hours and he would die.
The problem was, Dr. Price didn't have the stronger malaria medicine, that he needed. You have to get it from the center for disease control, he didn't have time to wait - the men literally had a few hours to live. He prayed for God to give him wisdom, to show him how to treat the man. He decided to do what's called an exchange transfusion. That's where you take all the patient's blood out and put new blood back in. It's an unusual process, but he had no other options. The first time they exchanged the blood, the infection went from 20% down to just over 6%. A reMarkable improvement, but anything over 5% is lethal. He had a long way to go. Dr. Price stayed there all night, they did the exchange two more times. That Wednesday the man woke up from his coma, his organs started functioning properly. On Friday, a week after he was admitted, he not only walked out of the hospital with no infection, but he didn't have any further complications. Dr. Price said he had never seen anyone recover from such a severe case of malaria. That was God helping Dr. Price to take new ground.
When you're a part of the Joshua generation, you're going to have wisdom, that goes beyond your normal understanding, beyond what you learned in school: ideas, creativity, strategy, inventions, that defy the odds. You're going to have ability, opportunity, influence, to where you know it's the hand of God, you know, it's his favor, taking you, where you couldn't go on your own.
Psalm 110 says: "The Lord will extend your dominion from Jerusalem. You will rule over your enemies". Jerusalem was their home, they were used to having protection, favor, blessing there, that was normal. But God said: I'm about to do something unusual, out of the ordinary, I'm going to increase you beyond what you're used to, I'm going to take you beyond what you've seen in the past, I'm going to give you new ground. God is saying that to you: I'm about to extend your dominion, extend your income, extend your influence, extend your wisdom, extend your talent, extend your anointing. You may have been blessed in the past, but you haven't seen anything yet - God is about to enlarge your territory, he is going to give you ground, that you didn't grow up with.
It says the Lord will extend your dominion. Again you don't have to make this happen in your own efforts, just keep honoring God, keep him 1st place and God is going to open doors, that you didn't see coming. You're going to think: how did I get here? How did I take all this ground? How did we end up in the Compaq Center? It was the Lord extending our dominion. Where you are is not your final destination, it is not where you're staying - you're the Joshua generation. New ground is coming, new opportunities, new levels. Like Joshua, you may have some walls in front of you, big obstacles. Don't worry, it's no match for our God. Keep praising, keep believing, keep expecting, and the Lord is going to extend your dominion, God is going to bring walls down, and take you further than you're ever dreamed.
Goes on to say, you will rule over your enemies. It's one thing to defeat your enemies, that's good, but an enemy can recover, get back up, and come at you again. You can beat an addiction and two years later fall back. You can overcome an illness, there are times, when it comes back. But God says about you: you will rule over your enemies. That means you won't just defeat them - you will keep them defeated. That addiction is not going to be on and off, on and off, you're going to rule over it. You're not gonna live up and down, depress one week, okay the next, you're going to rule over depression, rule over anger, rule over alcohol, rule over poverty. God is putting an end to what's been hindering you.
You may have struggled with it in the past, but this is a new day - you're about to rule over every enemy. Walls are coming down. You are the Joshua generation, you are not going to wander in the wilderness defeated, lonely, addicted, poverty. Get ready to come into the Promised Land, get ready for freedom, get ready for abundance. You are not going to be at this same place next year as you are right now. God is about to enlarge your territory: new doors are about to open, the right people are going to track you down, generational blessings are headed your way. What your loved ones dreamed about, you're going to step into. God is about to show out in your life. Now, do your part and get in agreement with God. All through the day, "Lord, thank you, that I'm a part of the Joshua generation". If you'll do this, I believe and declare, this year you will take new ground, you will step into new levels, and you will set new standards, in Jesus name.