Joel Osteen - Buried Alive
I want to talk to you today about Buried Alive. Years ago there was a 46 year old man in a small village in Romania, that was about to be buried. In the funeral home, his family and friends walked past the open casket, grieving and paying their last respects. After the loved ones said their goodbyes, they went home and prepared for the burial. The next day something astonishing happened: the men woke up, he got out of the coffin, and walked back home. When neighbors saw him they nearly passed out, family members were ecstatic, they couldn't believe their eyes. The doctor, who signed the death certificate couldn't understand it, he couldn't find a pulse, the man had no vital signs. Their only explanation is he had fallen into a temporary diabetic coma. He was almost buried alive.
I wonder, how many times we're doing like them and burying things alive? We thought the dream was dead, we tried but the door didn't open, we didn't get any good breaks. It's been years, now we're convinced, we'll never be promoted, never start the business, never write the book. We bury relationships: this marriage is done, we don't get along, it's never going to last. Sometimes we bury promises, "Joel, I'll never get well, never break the addiction, never live an abundant life". At one time we believed, we knew God put it in her heart, we talked like it was going to happen, we took steps of faith, but now we don't see any signs of life. All the circumstances say "It's too late", so we buried it.
The good news is, it's buried alive. You may not be able to see it, but it still has a pulse. If you'll get your passion back, God will still bring it to pass. Just because you gave up doesn't mean God gave up. God doesn't abort dreams, he doesn't start something and not finish it. Like this man that everyone thought was dead, but he defied the odds and woke up, you're going to see God wake up some things you thought were dead. You thought that marriage was dead, God's about to wake it up, your happiest, most fulfilled days in that relationship are still in front of you. You thought you would never meet the right person, you'd go through life single, God's about to wake up your dream, you're going to meet someone so amazing, you'll know it was the hand of God. Or maybe you thought you were too old to accomplish you go, you convinced yourself it's too late, you've missed too many opportunities - God is about to surprise you, that dream is about to come back to life.
You may have put it in a coma, you may have talked yourself out of it - God has you hearing this, so you can be talked back into it. He wouldn't have put the promise in your heart, if he wasn't going to bring it to pass. It may not have happened on your timetable or the way you thought, but make no mistake, it is still alive: what God started, he's going to finish. What he promised you is still on the way. It's going to happen suddenly, you didn't see it coming. Not only are you going to be amazed, but people around you are going to be amazed, especially those that have discounted you, thought you could never be promoted, you could never take new ground. Don't worry, when God wakes up what's been lying dormant in you, the potential, the talent, the businesses, the dreams, the ideas, the spouse, people are going to stand in awe, they're going to know, the hand of God is on your life.
Now do your part: the dreams that you buried you need to dig them back up. Who told you they were dead? Who convinced you that you can't get well, you can't meet the right person, that you'll never accomplish your dream? Those voices did not come from our God, that is the enemy trying to deceive you into settling for less, than you were created to be. He knows you have seeds of greatness, he knows there are amazing things in your future - it's time to get the shovel out. Whatever you buried, whatever you've given up on, whatever you'd let people, delays, disappointments, talk you out of, I'm asking you to dig it back up. How do you dig it up? Start talking like it's going to happen, start thanking God that it's on the way.
Every circumstance may say: you'll never get well, just accept it. If you agree with that and go around discouraged, you're putting more dirt on the promise, you're bearing it deeper. But when you go around, "Father, thank you, that you are restoring health back into me. Thank you, that the number of my days you will fulfill", your uncovering the promise. Or when those thoughts tell you that you've reached your limits, you'll never go any further, turn it around, "Father, you said my latter days will be better than my former days. You said the path of the righteous gets brighter and brighter". That's how you remove the dirt.
As a young man God gave Moses a dream, that he would deliver the Israelites out of slavery. He was excited, he knew he was going to do great things, but Moses made a mistake, he killed a man, that was mistreating a Hebrew slave. Someone saw him, Moses had to flee for his life, he spent 40 years on the backside of the desert in hiding. You can imagine how disappointed and discouraged Moses was. He knew, God put the promise in his heart, but he blew it. It was his own fault, he thought he had missed his chance.
He did what many of us do, he buried his dream, but the scripture says, "God's calling on your life is irrevocable". That means, God doesn't change his mind, God already knew every mistake you would make, he knew every person that would do you wrong, every bad break, he took that all into account when he called you. And you may have buried some dreams, you think they're dead, it was your own fault, but God is so merciful - at the right time he's going to wake them back up. What you had in the coffin, what you've already said your goodbyes to, know, your time is coming, your mistakes didn't cancel your destiny. People not being for you, delays, disappointments cannot stop what God is purpose for your life. Everything that's happened to you is a part of the plan to get you to where you're supposed to be.
You may not understand it, it may not have been fair, you don't see how it can happen, but God is in control, he's working behind the scenes, right now lining up things in your favor, arranging the good breaks that you need. I can see by faith, dreams coming back to life, I can see marriages coming back to life, businesses that look like they were done coming back to life. You may have given up on what God promised you, but God didn't give up, he doesn't change his mind. At 80 years of age Moses was out in the desert minding his own business, suddenly a bush exploded, caught fire in front of him. A voice boomed out, "Moses, take off your sandals, you're on holy ground". God told him to go tell the Pharaoh to let the Israelites go.
I can imagine, Moses nearly passing out, saying, "I thought this dream was dead, I buried it, I had a funeral, I put flowers on the grave every year. God, you mean this whole time it was still alive? After I blew it, after 40 years, you mean, God, you're still going to do what you said"? That's the way our God is: promises that you think are dead, things that you dreamed about at one time, you were excited, you knew that was your purpose, but now there's been mistakes, disappointments, people let you down, you worked hard the doors didn't open. God is saying to you what he said to Moses: that dream is not only still alive, but I'm still going to bring it to pass, I'm still going to heal you, I'm still going to promote you, I'm still going to bring the right person, I'm still going to take you where you couldn't go on your own.
The scripture talks about how God will give us the secret petitions of our heart. These are the dreams and the promises, that God whispers to us in the night, they seem too good to be true, we don't tell anyone about them, nobody would believe they would ever come to pass, they seem so unlikely, but God likes to do far beyond what you can accomplish on your own. If you can reach your dreams by yourself, in your own talent, your own strength, your own ability, then you don't need God. What God will speak to your spirit many times will be so big, so far out, that it's easy to dismiss and think that could never happen. And too often we are burying alive all these amazing things, that God wants to do.
Psalm 31:19 says, "God has blessings stored up for the righteous". I can imagine in heaven there's this huge warehouse filled with all kinds of boxes, some of which have your name on them. Blessings stored up, promotion, buildings, houses, opportunities, ideas, children's, spouse - things God has promised you. But what if when we get to heaven, we go to the warehouse and we look and there's the promise God spoke to us as a child, but it was never delivered: I thought it was too big. And there's the healing God promised, but the medical report convinced me I wouldn't get well. There's the house I always dreamed about, but I didn't see how it could happen. What held it back? We quit believing, we let circumstances talk us out of it. The good news is all those blessings God has stored up for you are still available, it is not too late, they are on the shelf, waiting for delivery.
Now I'm asking you to stir your faith up, "God, the circumstances may be against me, but I know you are for me. The medical report doesn't look good, but God, I know you're my healer. God, I don't have the funds for my dream, but I know you own it all. By myself I'm stuck, but God, with you I know I'm unstoppable". You and God are a majority. Don't go through life with dreams buried alive. When you believe, that's what allows God to release those blessings, that he has stored up for you.
As a little boy a friend of mine had a dream to be on the radio. He would come home from school at ten years old and go down to the basement at his house. They had some mics and headphones and he would do a radio program. Nobody was listening, but they had these reel-to-reel recorders and he would interview friends and do the news, the weather. God put that desire in him as a young boy. At 14 he was accepted as an intern at a very prestigious radio station. He was so excited, this was a dream come true. But just before it started, he was transferred to a different school. This new school didn't have an agreement with the station to have interns, so he never got to go. He was mad at his parents for making him change schools, he was mad at God because it didn't work out. He was so disappointed, so upset, he quit doing radio, he buried the dream.
Well, several decades had passed and he went on to become a pastor of a large church, very successful. After serving there for many years he resigned, eventually came to work for us, he heads up our pastors network. When we do our nights of hope, the events on the road, the sirius xm radio program always starts 30 minutes before the actual event. We needed someone to host it, to do interviews, talk with the pastors. And I thought this friend of mine, phil munsey, he would be perfect, so he's been doing it for the last few years. About a year ago, before the event in New York he sat down at the table and was about to go on the air. When he put his headphones on and leaned toward the mic, he heard God whispered to him: I didn't forget about the dream I put in you as a little boy. He suddenly realized, he was doing what he dreamed about forty-five years earlier. He had buried it, he thought it was dead, he thought it was dead, he thought because of his parents decisions, because of the school, because of the bad brakes, that it would never happen, but God doesn't start something and not finish it.
The dreams God put in your heart never died: you may have gone through disappointments, it's been a long time, people did you wrong - what God has stored up for you is still in the way. Sometimes like with phil God will surprise you. You thought it was too late, you thought you missed your chance, you weren't believing for it, but God hasn't forgotten about the secret petitions of your heart. He knows what he whispered to you in the night, he knows the desires he put in you that you've not told anyone about. And God saw what didn't work out, he saw the doors that closed, the people that left you. That dream didn't die because of what people did, it didn't die because of mistakes you made.
40 years later God brought Moses dream to pass, 45 years later God brought phil's dream to pass. Neither one of them were expecting it. Moses didn't think he deserved it, phil had forgotten about it. That's the goodness of our God: dreams we bury, promises we give up on, God could say, "Fine, you give up, I'm gonna give up. You don't believe in me, I'm not gonna believe in you", but God is so merciful, so full of kindness, even when we bury it it still doesn't die. And that promise you think is too far gone, you don't deserve it, it's still on the way.
In the scripture God gave a man by the name ZerubbAbel a dream to rebuild the temple. The whole city had been destroyed, but he went back home and successfully laid the foundation. He got off to a great start, but people were against him. They went to the authorities, got a decree forcing him to stop. I can imagine, he went out to the property and saw the empty foundations, month after month, year after year. He was tempted to think: it just not meant to be, I tried, I gave it my best, it didn't work out. He could have buried the dream, no signs of things changing.
10 years later the prophet Zachariah showed up, he said in effect, "Zerubabbel, God sent me all this way to give you two words: begin again". He was saying, "It may look dead, it's been years with no activity, people against you, your own thoughts telling you it's never going to happen, but God is saying, if you'll begin again, if you'll start dreaming again, if you'll start believing again, if you'll start taking steps of faith, that God will still bring it to pass". When ZerubbAbel heard this, something came alive on the inside. The scripture says, "Your word, o Lord, is like fire shut up in my bones".
The dreams God put in you, the promises, they're like fire shut up in you. Here's the key: you can't put that fire out, you can push it down, you can ignore it, it can get buried under discouragement, buried under mistakes, but that fire is still burning. You know what I'm doing today? I'm fanning your flame, I'm stirring up what's already in you. I believe that flame is growing, I believe you're about to see a dream, that you buried come to pass, God is about to do something unusual.
After ten years of seeing nothing good happening, no good breaks, only activity was persecution, opposition, ZerubbAbel came to a destiny moment, where God was saying: this is your time. The question was: was he going to agree with Zachariah and say "Yes, I believe, I'm getting my passion back, I'm getting my vision back" or was he going to talk himself out of it? He could have thought, "Zachariah, you really think I should start building again? You know how long it's been, you know how many people are against me"? - he would have missed the miracle. He made this decision to get an agreement with God. He got his shovel out, but before he could dig on the temple grounds, he had to first dig up his dream, he had to realize it was still alive. He started building, things fell into place. Before long they completed the temple, a great victory.
But I believe this is a destiny moment for you. What's incomplete in your life, dreams that haven't worked out, promises you've given up on, you could leave them buried, think it's been too long or you can decide like ZerubbAbel: I'm going to begin again, I'm gonna dream again, I'm going to believe again, I'm going to stretch again. Maybe you tried to buy the house and it didn't work out, that was years ago, God is saying: try again. Or at one time you believed you could break the addiction, but it's been a long time, you've gotten comfortable, God is saying: begin again, this is your time. Or you had a dream to do something great, to break out of the mold, to leave your Mark, but nobody supported you, family didn't getting encouraged it, didn't work out - whatever you buried, I'm asking you to dig it back up. You thought it was dead, you didn't see any signs of life, but it's not over until God says it's over. If you'll begin again, you're going to see favor like you've never seen.
Friend of mine was in a taxicab, he struck up a conversation with the driver who was from slovenia. He asked him: what he did, when he wasn't driving taxis? The men said: I swim rivers. He handed my friend a book, his picture was on the front, the title was the man who swam the Amazon. At 52 years old this man swam 3,000 miles the whole Amazon from its source all the way to the ocean. Now, the Amazon is extremely dangerous, filled with crocodiles, anacondas, bacteria, plus there are notorious pirates all along the way. Yet, every morning for 66 days this man would go out and swim till nightfall. At one point doctors told him his blood pressure was too high to swim, but he got in the river, he spent many restless nights, nauseous and chilled, but the next morning he got in the river. He contracted a brain virus that gave him hallucinations, but he got in the river.
My friend was so inspired, he asked him what was next? The man said: I'm going to swim around the world from the Atlantic to the pacific. He's 62 years old now and he's trying to raise 27 million dollars. Nobody has ever swam the world. Experts tell him it's impossible, this man could have easily buried the dream, yet every day he's talking like it's gonna happen, he's acting like it's gonna happen, taking steps of faith. My friend is a pastor, he thought to himself: if this 62 year old taxicab driver can still be believing to swim the world and to raise millions, then I can believe to raise the funds to pay my house off and to impact the world. I can believe to accomplish my dreams.
Friends it's time to swim your Amazon. Whatever God put in your heart go after it. You have to get in the river, quit looking at how impossible it is, how long it's been, what you don't have and get in the river. Shake off the disappointments, who left you, what you didn't get and get in the river. You have greatness in you. You weren't created to live and die and nobody knew you were here. You are destined to leave your Mark. God wouldn't have put the dream in you, if he had not already equipped you and empowered you. Now get in the river and let your talent shine, get in the river and show the world what God put in you, get in the river and build that orphanage, get in the river and take new ground. God wants to show out in your life, he wants to take you further, than you've ever imagined.
In the scripture Ezekiel had a vision of this valley filled with dry bones, was a huge graveyard with thousands of bones on the ground. Bones represent no life and what's dead. God asked Ezekiel: do you believe these dead bones can live? Ezekiel could have said: God, that's impossible, they're bones, they're already dead, it's too late! In other words: God, the medical report's not good. God, business is slow, I don't have the funds for my dream. God said in effect: Ezekiel, I don't want to hear about all the circumstances, I just want to know, do you believe?
Ezekiel finally got rid of the excuses and said: "Yes, Lord, I believe". Ezekiel spoke to these bones in this vision, these bones begin to join together, organs came, skin form. Like a movie they morphed into people, God breathed life into them and they stood up like a vast army. Well, the Israelites had been complaining about how big the obstacles were, how they'd never make it to the Promised Land. They said: all we have are these dry bones. God said: Ezekiel, you go tell them, I'm about to open up their graves, I'm gonna bring them back to their land and they will know that I the Lord.
You may have dreams that you put in the grave, promises that you've buried, you think there's no way. God is saying to you: I'm about to open up your graves, I'm about to make things happen, where you will know I am the Lord. What you thought was dead is about to come back to life. That marriage you've given up on, that business you wanted to start, that house you dreamed about, you buried it, you put it in the grave, get ready, God's about to open up that grain. What you don't realize, is you bury that alive.
God is about to breathe new life into your health, into your finances, into your relationships, into your children. Things are going to come together, that you thought were impossible. Even the secret petitions of your heart, promises that you've forgotten about, dreams you had as a child, God is about to surprise you, he is going to finish what he started. It's not too late, you didn't miss your chance, you haven't made too many mistakes. Now, do your part, believe again. Whatever you buried, I'm asking you to dig it back up. If you'll do this, I believe and declare: new doors are about to open, the right people are going to find you, your health is turning around, breakthroughs are coming, promotion, new levels, the fullness of your destiny, in Jesus name.