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Joel Osteen - Stir It Up

TOPICS: Encouragement

I want to talk to you today about stir it up. When I was growing up we had a fireplace at home, and I would go get the logs to make the fire. My father showed me how if I'd put the logs just right, going a little bit vertical, the fire would burn so strong and last a long time. Overnight we would close the metal grate and the fire would wind down. When I get up the next morning, all that was left were some ashes and a few remnants of the logs, I would go get more wood. But I discovered something: I didn't have to get a new match to relight the fire. Underneath those ashes, there were embers that were still burning. All I had to do was to get the poker and stir it up, and the fire would come back to life. In a few minutes it would be burning as strong as can be.

It may look like some things have gone out in your life: dreams that didn't work out, promises you were believing for that didn't come to pass. You think it's never going to happen, it's been too long. Can I encourage you? Underneath those ashes, there are embers that are still alive. You may not be able to see it, they're buried under disappointments, under delays, people that did you wrong, mistakes that you've made. But somewhere under all those ashes, a flame is still burning. All you have to do is stir it up. Stir up your dreams, stir up your creativity, stir up your gifts. What God put in you didn't go out.

Jeremiah said, "Your word, O, Lord, is like fire shut up in my bones". That fire maybe a little flicker right now, but it's still in you. The good news: is the enemy can't put your fire out, depression can't put your fire out, lost, loneliness, bad-brakes can't put it out. You may have gone through things that were unfair, that kind of knocked the wind out of you, but you have to know, that didn't stop God's plan for your life. What he started he's going to finish. Now, you have to do your part and stir it up.

You can't live with no passion, no zeal, just get up, go to work, come home, do it again - that fire is not going to grow without you stirring it. Start dreaming again, start looking for new opportunities, start praying bold prayers. There is greatness shut up in you, there are dreams shut up in you, there are new levels - all they need is to be stirred up.

The scripture says (Jeremiah 29:13), "You will find me, when you search for me with all your heart". Not with half your heart. God is talking about passionate people, people that are full of praise, people that are talking like it's going to happen, people that are expecting his favor. But if you're a passive, lethargic, indifferent, you're not to reach your potential, you have to have some fire in you. Don't let what has it worked out in the past: the disappointments, the bad breaks, caused you to become half-hearted. Half-hearted in your praise, half-hearted in your marriage, half-hearted at work.

What you're believing for maybe taking longer than you thought, that's why every day you have to stir yourself up. This is not going to happen automatically, you're not going to wake up every morning excited about your dreams, passionate about life. Some mornings you're going to wake up and feel the blobs, thoughts will tell you, "Just endure the day. Nothing good is in your future. Nothing ever works out for you". You can either believe those lies and drag through the day, a day will turn into a month, a month will turn into a year or you can make a decision like David, when you get out of bed, "This is another day that the Lord has made. I'm going to rejoice, I'm gonna be glad, I'm going to enjoy this day".

You know what David was doing? Stirring himself up. He was fanning those flames, making sure the fire kept burning. No wonder he was able to outlast all kinds of opposition, no wonder he could overcome the rejection of his family, the betrayal of king Saul and become one of the heroes of faith. You know who sees dreams come to pass? Stirred up people. You know who goes further than they could imagine? People that are passionate, people that do like David and make this decision to stay full of zeal.

What's interesting is when David wrote that passage, he wasn't in a good place: he had armies coming against him, people were slandering him, trying to ruin his reputation. He could have got up complaining, "God, it's not fair. I'm doing the right thing, why are these people treating me so badly? I thought you said I would be the king"?

No, David understood this principle, that people can't put your fire out. Disappointments, bad breaks cannot stop what God has ordained for you. And the more things that come against you, the more you need to stir yourself up. The more opposition, the more you need to give God praise. The longer it's taking, the more you need to talk like it's on the way. The worse the medical report, the more you need to keep that spring in your step, that passion in your spirit, declaring God's favor is on your life.

There are embers in you right now, just waiting to catch fire like never before. Embers of healing. That sickness looks permanent? Start stirring up the healing. "Father, thank you that you restoring health back unto me. Thank you that the number of my days you will fulfill". Maybe you're struggling in your finances, business is slow, it's easy to get discouraged and think that your lot in life - there are embers of increase, embers of abundance, embers of opportunity just waiting to be stirred up. How do you do it? "Father, thank you that whatever I touch will prosper and succeed. Thank you that I will lind and not borrow, that I'm coming into overflow, into more than enough".

When David went out to face Goliath, the scripture says, he ran quickly toward Goliath. That's a passionate person, as somebody that stirred up. You would think he would be very cautious, go out there kind of slowly, little afraid, intimidated, thinking, "God I'm gonna do this but, it'll probably be the end of me". No, David ran out boldly, his attitude was: I can't wait to get to Goliath, because the sooner I get there, the sooner I'm going to defeat him. When you live stirred up you won't run from your enemies, you'll run to your enemies. You won't let that cancer intimidate you, your attitude is, "Cancer, you may be big, but you're no match for me, the Most High God is on my side".

You won't run from that trouble at work, those people that are trying to make you look bad, you know God being for you is more than the world being against you. You have everything you need to live an abundant, victorious life. It's on the inside, but it has to be stirred up. That courage maybe a little ember right now, you feel intimidated, what you're up against looks much bigger. That's the way I felt when my father went to be with the Lord. I stepped up to pastor the church, every thought told me that I couldn't do it, that nobody was going to listen, that I didn't have the talent. But instead of believing those lies, I started stirring up the courage, "Father, thank you that I am strong in the Lord. Thank you, that I could do all things through Christ. Thank you, that your favor surrounds me like a shield".

I started flat fanning in that ember of courage, that ember of confidence, that ember of talent. I didn't know I could get up and speak in front of people. When my father would ask me to minister years ago, I used to think: that is so odd, he doesn't know me very well, I wouldn't know what to say. This ember was in me all that time, but for seventeen years I never fan the flame. When my father went to be with the Lord it made it worse. Now there were ashes on top of the ember.

I didn't know how things were going to work out, but down in my spirit I could hear a voice telling me to step up. This time, instead of shrinking back, I started fanning the flame, started telling myself that I was well able, and I discovered: there was fire shut up in my bones, there were gifts and talents. Just a little flame, but as I started believing I could do it, taking steps of faith, tuning out the doubt, the naysayers, that fire came alive. God's taking me further than I dreamed.

But I wonder what shut up in you, that you haven't tapped into? What dreams, what gifts, what abundance, what healing? It's still burning. It's a little ember, now it just needs you to add your passion to it, to start believing, to start acting like it's going to happen, to step up with boldness. It's easy to make excuses, "Joel, I tried and it didn't work out". Try again. That didn't put out your fire. The scripture says, "A good man falls seven times, and the Lord raises him up". Maybe it just wasn't the right time. "Well, these people did me wrong. My company pushed me out. I lost my spouse. I have all these ashes". I know that's painful, I know it's not easy, but underneath those ashes there are embers that are still burning. You may have gone through loss, but your life is not over. Like God did for me, he has beauty for those ashes, new doors are going to open, new relationships will develop, new talents are going to come out.

That person that walked out on you, yes that's hurtful, but don't give up on life. They didn't put out your flame, they can't stop your destiny, you're going to love again, you're going to laugh again, you're going to dream again. God has someone coming for you much better than who left. Your latter days will be better than your former days. Now get your fire back, get your passion back: those dreams you've given up on, you need to get that poker out and start stirring them up, start pursuing them again. Those promises you've let go up seems like it's too late, the experts said that you can't have a baby, you'll never get well, that child will never get back on course - those are lies to try to discourage you, to keep those embers from ever catching fire. The enemy knows he can't put out your flame, but if he can deceive you into living with no passion, no enthusiasm, dragging through the day, that will keep you from God's best.

That's why Paul said in Romans 12:11, "Never lag in zeal. Be aglow, constantly burning with the spirit". It's interesting, he didn't say never lag in faith, never lag in confidence, never lag in experience. He said never lag in zeal. He was saying, "If you'll stay passionate about your dreams, passionate about what God promised, you don't lag in zeal, then whatever area you lag in will eventually turn around". You may lag in resources, lag in good health, lag in friendships, but if you'll stay aglow burning with the spirit, God promises healing is coming, the right people are coming, abundance is coming. Paul said the key is to stay fired out.

Keep that passion in your spirit, because we all go through disappointments, we all have things we don't understand. You may be dealing with an illness, an addiction or a situation that looks like it's never going to turn around. You could easily drag around discouraged - you have to put your foot down and say. "I am not going to let the enemy have my joy, my praise, my enthusiasm. I know this day is a gift from God, I'm going to stay on fire, aglow, burning with the spirit".

David said, (Psalm 103:1), "Bless the Lord, o, my soul, and all that is within me". Not halfway, not partial, he was saying, "God, I'm giving you a stirred up praise, a passionate praise. Not a praise when everything turns around, not a praise that's dependent on the circumstances". "Well, Joel, I'll have a good attitude when my boss starts treating me better. I'll get my joy back, when the Texans win again. I'll be more enthusiastic when my finances improve". No, you have it backwards, the stirred up praise is what causes things to turn around. Being on fire, aglow is what causes those embers to ignite.

What would happen if you would start blessing the Lord with all that is within you? Getting up in the morning, thanking him for the day. Going out with enthusiasm, pursuing your dreams, expecting his favor, passionate about your life. And everything may not be perfect, we can all find a reason to be sour, this is a decision that we have to make, "I will bless the Lord. I will have a good attitude. I will be good to others. I will enjoy this day". You can't wait till you feel like it, you have to decide, that's what it means to stir it up.

Timothy was a young man that was being mentored by the apostle Paul. Paul must have seen him start to get discouraged and lose his passion, because he said to him in 2 Timothy 1, "Timothy, stir up the gift of God that is within you". One translation says, "Fan the flame". Maybe Timothy wouldn't have gone on to do great things and make such an impact, if Paul hadn't reminded him to stir it out. That's why God has you hearing this - there are gifts and talents in you right now, that you haven't tapped into. There are dreams favor, promotion just waiting to be stirred up.

You have not reached your final destiny, but too often we want to settle. We don't like to stretch, get out of our comfort zones, especially when we tried and it didn't work out. But God is saying to you what he said to him, "Stir up the gifts that are in you. Stir up the dreams you've given up on. Stir up that healing, that freedom, that you quit believing for". Don't let what hasn't happened yet, talk you out of what God has in your future. You may have some big obstacles, but the forces that are for you are greater than the forces that are against you. You and God are a majority, he is breathing in your direction right now.

I talked to a young lady, she was raised in a very unhealthy environment, her father was an alcoholic, her mother was never around. At 12 years old she ended up homeless, living on the streets by herself. At 16 she had a baby, she and her child lived in a shelter. Not long after that she was diagnosed with leukemia. No insurance, nobody to help her, did it look like she had any future, no gift in her. But God doesn't create anyone without putting something significant on the inside, every person has seeds of greatness. That's why the enemy will work overtime to try to push down your gifts, bury them under abuse, neglect, sicknesses, divorce. The good news is the enemy can't put your fire out. What God started no person can stop.

You may have had some bad breaks, but the forces of darkness cannot keep you from your destiny. They are not more powerful than our God. The only one that can stop you is you: if you give up on your dreams, if you live bitter, no passion, thinking you've reached your limits, then you won't see the beauty for ashes, you won't see God pay you back for the unfair situations.

19 years old she gave her life to Christ. For the first time she felt a sense of purpose and destiny. She decided to go back to school, she got her GED, she went on to college and got her bachelor's degree, then she got her master's degree, then she got her doctorate. Today she's not only cancer free, but she's the vice president of a university. But back when she was a homeless teenager most people would have never believed that she had those gifts, they wouldn't have seen a college vice president in her. What am I saying? Don't judge your future based on where you are right now, don't let the circumstances convince you that you've seen your best days, you wouldn't be alive unless God has something amazing in front of you.

In the scripture, Abraham and Sarah were very old. Sarah had never had any children. I'm sure she was disappointed, because in those days when the wife didn't give the husband a child, they were looked down on and felt a sense of shame. Now, Sarah was 80 years old, she had already accepted that she would never have children. But in Genesis 17:16 God said to Abraham, "I'm going to give Sarah a child. She will be the mother of nations. Kings of people will come out of her".

Sarah thought she would be barren her whole life, that her womb would always be empty, but God said, "Sarah, you have something in you, that you can't see right now. Something much bigger than you've imagined. Yes, you've been through disappointments, you couldn't have children, but that is not how your story ends, there are kings in you, there are nations in your womb". A year later, against all odds she gave birth to a son that they named Isaac.

There may be areas in your life like Sarah where you feel barren: you've tried, you did your best, but it didn't work out. The business didn't take off, the marriage didn't make it, you weren't able to break the addiction - no reason for you to be passionate. That is not how your story ends. God is saying to you what he said to her, "There are kings in you, there are things that you don't see coming: promotion, opportunity, children, businesses, new levels".

It's not too late, you haven't missed your chance, God has already planted those seeds in your spirit. If you will start stirring them up, living passionately, you're going to see God show out in your life. The enemy wouldn't be fighting you, if he didn't know something awesome was in you. He wouldn't be trying to discourage you and convince you to settle, if he didn't know you are destined to rise higher, you are destined to leave your mark.

When Sarah first heard that she was going to have a baby she laughed, she thought, "That's impossible. I can't have a child, there aren't kings in me". God was talking about her seed, how her children and grandchildren would do great things. You don't know what God is up to, the scripture says no person has seen heard or imagined what God has in store. God is going to bring out of you, that you didn't even know were in you. He's going to take you places you've never imagined, you're going to see overflow, abundance, the surpassing greatness of his favor.

Now if you're going to stay stirred up, you need to get around other stirred up people. Don't hang around people that drain your energy, take all your enthusiasm, try to talk you out of what you believing for. "Well, I don't see how you can get well. My grandmother died of that same thing. I wouldn't try to start that business, what if it doesn't work out. You still think you're going to meet someone? You've been single a long time".

There will always be people that try to throw water on your fire, tell you what you can't do, how it's not going to work out, how you should just settle where you are. They may mean well, they may even be good people, but the enemy uses people to try to discourage us, to keep us from our destiny. Do yourself a favor: distance yourself from them. Your time is too valuable to spend it with negative people, people that have no vision, no passion. You need to be around people that help you stay stirred up.

That's why so many come out to Lakewood and so many listen, not because I'm the greatest minister, but I can promise you this, I'm going to stir you up, I'm gonna challenge you to reach for your dreams, to believe for God's favor, to believe for the impossible, to stretch. I'm going to remind you that you're a child of the Most High God, that you have seeds of greatness, that God didn't bring you this far to leave you, that what's happened in your past doesn't have to stop your future. That God has the final say. And my question is: are you living and stirred up? Are you excited about your future? Are you passionate about your dreams?

Friends, life is flying by, don't waste another minute dragging through the day focused on what's wrong, thinking you've reached your limits. The truth is: you're on the launching pad, God is about to do a new things, you're about to see unprecedented favor. get ready for overflow, get ready for new levels, get ready for something that you've never seen.

James chapter 5:16 says, "The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous person makes tremendous power available". That word fervent in the original language is where we get our word for "Energy". It suggests the idea of energizing, like electricity energizes a circuit. You can plug a lamp into a outlet, but if the power is not on, it's not going to do any good. This says, "The effectual fervent prayer" - not a passive prayer, not a weak, lethargic prayer, when you just say the same thing over and over, no passion. But when you pray a stirred up prayer, a passionate prayer, a bold prayer, that makes tremendous power available.

"Well, God, I know I don't deserve much, I've made a lot of mistakes, but if you want to help me you can" - that's not energizing the circuit so to speak. Depressed prayers don't bring any power. The prayer that's effective is a fervent, passionate, bold, faith-filled prayer. "Father, thank you that you're opening doors no man can shut. Thank you that you're taking me where I can't go on my own. Thank you that I'm coming in to an overflow year". Don't pray depressing prayers, "God, my back's been really hurting. These children are getting on my nerves, I don't think I can take it anymore" - that's not activating any power. Turn it around, "Father, thank you that you are fighting my battles, that no weapon formed against me will prosper. That as for me and my house we will serve the Lord".

You have to show God that you want what you're praying about. There has to be some fervor, some zeal, some enthusiasm. If you're not passionate about it, it's not an effective prayer. I'm asking you to stir it up: stir up what you're praying about, stir up your dreams, stir up your gifts. God has put incredible potential on the inside. It may just be a little ember right now, but as you keep stirring it up, I believe and declare like Sarah, greatness is going to come out of you, new doors are about to open, negative situations are turning around, breakthroughs, healing, promotion, the fullness of your destiny, in Jesus name.
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