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Joel Osteen - Rebooting


Joel Osteen - Rebooting (4/26/20 Sermon)

I want to talk to you today about Rebooting. When you have new software or new programs for your computer, most of the time it requires a reboot. Rebooting can be inconvenient: you have to shut the computer down for a while, you can't use it everything's on pause, but once the reboot is done the computer operates on a new level, it can do things it couldn't do before. It has better speed, more capability, optimum performance. None of this would have been possible without the reboot.

In a sense that's what's happening to us today: we're going through a reboot. The world has been put on pause with this virus. We can't go to work like normal, we can't do what we used to do, we're in this waiting period. The good news is: the reboot means God is doing a new thing, he has new software that he wants to download, new ideas, new opportunities, new perspectives. He's getting you prepared to go where you've never been, to accomplish dreams that you didn't think were possible.

The key is: you can't go back to business as usual. Don't go back to doing everything the same way. If you're not open for change, then the reboot is not going to work. You need to re-evaluate how you're spending your time: are you making the most of life, pursuing your dreams, fulfilling your purpose? Or are you just going through the day not excited, stuck on a job where you're not fulfilled? This is the time to make adjustments. Stay open for something new. What God did ten years ago was good for then, but it may not be good for now - he has a new software, there are new dreams, new friendships, new ways of doing things.

Don't get stuck in the old - God has freshness. He wants you to come out of this rebooting with new mindsets, with clear vision, with better productivity. It's time to refocus, realign. Ask yourself: what's working in my life? What's bearing fruit? What am I excited about? What causes me to get up in the morning with a spring in my step? Sometimes the reason we're not passionate, the reason we're not as effective as we should be is we're still operating on old software. You have to get out of your comfort zone and stretch to a new level. It may mean starting that business, trying new things on the job or different ways of doing things in your personal life. Look for the new open doors and be willing to walk away from doors that are closing, things that are stagnant.

It's easy to get comfortable, not want to rock the boat, but being complacent will keep us from our destiny, when God is moving us forward and we try to stay where we are. There's no grace for the old. The favor is on the new, the blessing, the increase, the ease is waiting for you at your next assignment.

The scripture (2 Corinthians 3:17) says, "Where the spirit of the Lord is there is liberty". Not "Where the Spirit of the Lord was". Are you stuck in where God was, still doing things the same way you did years ago? "Well, Joel I know God blessed me with this position, God blessed me with this house". Yes, it's good that you recognize it was God's favor - all I'm saying is God has new favor, new ideas, new dreams, new businesses, new levels. God wants you to be more productive, more effective, have more influence, handle more resources. This reboot means new software is coming. You may be doing good, you know God has blessed you, but don't let good keep you from the best. God has taken you from glory to glory, from victory to victory. With each level of glory it usually requires new software, new thinking, new perspectives, new ways of doing things.

When Moses was leading the Israelites through the desert toward the Promised Land, they came to a place where they were very thirsty and didn't have any water to drink, nothing within miles. God told Moses to gather the people around this big rock, he wanted them to all be watching. Moses was to take his staff and strike the rock. When he did, water came flowing out of the rock, in the middle of the desert they suddenly had this stream of fresh spring water. Moses and all of the people were so thankful, it was a great miracle.

Years later they were in the same situation: in the desert, nothing to drink. God told Moses to gather everyone around this rock. Same problem as before, same instruction so far, but then God told Moses something different, "Instead of striking the rock, this time I want you to speak to the rock". God had new software, a new way of doing things. The problem was: Moses was stuck in the old. When he saw the rock, he took his staff and thought, "This worked before, I know it'll work again". He struck the rock instead of speaking to it.

Water did come out, but God said, "Because you didn't obey, because you didn't step into the new, you and all of these people will never enter the Promised Land". One thing God was showing us is just because something happened one way doesn't mean that's the way it's always going to happen. Stay open for something new, be willing to change. Yes, God blessed you one way in the past, but God is doing a new thing. If you're going to make it into your Promised Land, you're going to see blessings, increase, favor - you can't keep striking the rock, you can't keep doing the same thing the same way.

What made you successful five years ago may not keep you successful. You're doing the same thing, you know God blessed you, he favored you, but now it's a new season, you're in a reboot, he's loading some new software, he's lining up new opportunities, he's taking you to a new level. It's going to require new thinking, new attitudes, new obedience, new commitment. But it's tempting to do like Moses and keep striking the rock, because it worked before, "We've seen God's favor in the past. We've seen him bless us where we were". The problem is God is not in the past, he's doing a new thing. And the new thing may not look like the old thing, may not happen the same way in the same time with the same people.

I've heard it said, "If you don't innovate - you will evaporate". You can't rely on what got you to where you are to keep you where you are. The world is changing. You have to stay open for new ideas, new ways of doing things. Examine your life: what's effective? What's causing you to grow? What's moving you toward your purpose?

One reason Moses didn't make it into the Promised Land is he was operating on old software. He had good intentions, but he wasn't sensitive to the new things God was doing. When God told him to speak to the rock, I can imagine it hardly even register. He thought, "We're out of water, there's a rock, been there done this". When you've seen God bless you in the past, he's given you a good job, promoted you, open up doors, it's easy to think "I've got this, just go on autopilot". But you have to stay sensitive: what worked in the past may not work in the future. God has new software to take you to new places, to new levels.

The old software was good for that time, but yesterday's software won't take you into the future God has in store. Yesterday's attitudes, yesterday's ideas, yesterday's ways of doing things. Are you striking the rock or are you speaking to the rock? Are you open for change, trying new things, being innovative, accepting the new software? Or you stuck in what worked in the past, comfortable, not wanting to stretch, doing what you've always done?

I had an iPhone that was six years old, and at least twice a year I would get a notice on my phone saying that a software upgrade was available, and it would be downloaded on my phone that night. The truth is: my phone was working fine, I had no problems, no complaints, but the manufacturer is constantly making improvements that make the phone more effective: hold more data, take better pictures. The new software is keeping the phone up to date. It's the same way with God: he didn't create you and say, "Okay you're done, you're all you're going to be", he's constantly upgrading our software, giving us new ideas, new abilities, new perspectives. Now it's up to us to take the download.

On my phone it says, "To receive this update press 'yes'". Now I could think, "My iPhone is fine, I'm happy with it, I don't need the update". I wonder how many of us are not taking the new software? We're satisfied with the old, stuck in what was, we don't want to be inconvenienced, have to get out of our comfort zones. No, it's time to stay up into the new things God has doing. Press "Yes" to that new attitude, "Yes" to the new way you see yourself, "Yes" to that new talent, new opportunities, new vision. God wants to take you where you've never been, bring talent out that you didn't know you had, give you a wisdom and ideas, creativity in greater ways. He's updating your software.

Now get an agreement with him and receive it. Start trying new things. Dare to take some steps of faith. The only thing that's holding some people back is they're running off of old software, they're stuck in what was, trying to keep things going that have no anointing on them. This is a new day, it's time to make some changes. Don't come out of this reboot and go back to normal, doing everything the same way. Let go of what's not working and step into the new favor, new friendships, new ways of doing things.

There was a couple that was recently married. The young man noticed that when his wife cooked a ham, she always cut the ends of the ham off. He thought that was strange and asked: why she did it? She said, "My mother made the best ham in all the world and she always cut the ends off". He asked: why her mother did it? She said, "I have no idea". He called the mother and said, "I noticed that my wife cuts the ends of the ham off, she said she does it because you always did. Can you tell me why you did it"?

The mother said, "My mother made the best ham in all the world, and she always cut the ends off". He called the grandmother and said, "Your daughter and granddaughter cut the ends off the ham, because you always did. Can you tell me why you did it"? The grandmother said, "Yes, it's simple because my pan was too small".

Sometimes we're stuck in traditions and old mindsets, that have been passed down. That's why it's important to reevaluate why you do something: why you feel limited? Why you don't think you can run that company? Why you can't live in that nice house? Why you can't break that addiction? Could it be that your software is contaminated? You're letting what's been passed down set the limits for your life? God is rebooting you. Those viruses that have held you back are being cleared out.

Now you need to receive this new software - you have been fearfully and wonderfully made, you are crowned with favor, you have seeds of greatness, you are full of can-do power, you will lend and not borrow, you will set new standards and go where no one in your family has gone. They may have cut the ends of the ham off, the good news is: you have a bigger frying pan. That was okay for their day, but this is a new day, God is doing a new thing. And don't let old mindsets, limitations that were passed down, addictions, mediocrity keep you from stepping up to who you were created to be.

When Jesus was crucified, the veil of the temple, this huge curtain was torn from top to bottom. Behind the veil was the holy of holies - that's where the Ark of the Covenant was, that housed the presence of God. No one was allowed to go in there, except the priest and then only once a year. It was a very sacred place. When the veil was torn, that signified that God moved out of the temple and he moved into us: we are the temple that God lives in.

From that time on the people didn't have to make sacrifices to cover their sins, like they did all through the Old Testament. The only way to get forgiveness back then was to sacrifice animals, but when Christ died he became the sacrifice for our sins once and for all. He started this new covenant not built on the blood of animals, but on the blood of our Savior.

What's interesting is not long after the veil was torn, the temple was reopened and people went right back to making sacrifices for their sins. I can imagine they sewed up the veil, got it back to what they were used to. They thought, "We've always had to pay for our sins, we've always made these sacrifices, we've seen our grandparents do it, our ancestors". God was giving them a reboot, he was changing the way things had been done for hundreds of years. The scripture says, "They entered a better covenant built on better promises". The problem was: some people wouldn't accept the new way, they were so stuck in what was, in their tradition, they continued doing something that had no favor, no blessing, no benefit.

I wonder if there are areas that we're sewing up the veil: God is doing a new thing, but we keep going back to the old, stuck in tradition, cutting the ends of the ham, stuck in limited thinking, believing we can't rise higher or stuck in old ways of doing things, trying to keep things going that are not producing any fruit. When God is done with something, you have to move on, step into the new way, the better way, the more effective way - that's where the favor is, that's where you're going to see God take you where you couldn't go on your own.

In the early 1900's farmers in Alabama were facing a major challenge. A small insect called the boll weevil had migrated from south America and was quickly destroying their crops. They tried everything to get rid of it: exterminated with all kinds of chemicals, pesticides, but nothing worked. All they could do was watch their livelihood being slowly eaten away. But God never closes a door without opening another door. When you go through a reboot, a season of pause, where something is not working, instead of being discouraged look for the new thing God is doing.

One of these farmers had an idea: instead of planting the normal cotton crops, that they knew wouldn't survive, he decided to plant peanuts. The other farmers thought he had lost his mind, they said, "We'll never make a living off of peanuts. Cotton is all we've ever grown". He eventually convinced them, they planted peanuts. They discovered, the boll weevil didn't like the taste of peanuts, their crops took off like nothing they had ever seen. They made more money off of peanuts in a month, than they normally would make all year long of a cotton. In fact even when the boll weevils left, they didn't go back to their cotton crops, they stuck with peanuts.

You may have some boll weevils bothering you right now - stay encouraged, there are peanuts in your future. I know people that have lost their income because of the virus, they've lost hours, lost their position - that is not a surprise to God. What you think is a setback is really setting you up for something better. See, sometimes God shuts a door to force us to change, he doesn't give us a choice, he knows we wouldn't do it on our own, so he has to push us into our destiny. Don't fight the things you don't understand, God is up to something, he's the one ordering your steps. The enemy didn't come in and suddenly take over, God is still in control. It may not make sense right now, but he's working all things for your good. You're not going to just come out, you're going to come out better.

I love the fact that the boll weevil didn't like the taste of peanuts. That tells me: no matter how bad it gets, God always has something in your future that the enemy cannot touch, he has some way to prosper you, some way to heal you, some way to restore you, some way to bring your dreams to pass. And even when it looks impossible, when things aren't working out, remind yourself - "These boll weevils may be causing me problems, but they can't touch my harvest. They can't stop what belongs to me". God has the final say. He said, "No weapon formed against you will prosper". He said, "Even in famine you will have more than enough". Dare to trust him. The scripture says, "Everything sir his plan".

If it had not been for the boll weevil, the farmers would have never tried peanuts, they would have stuck with the regular crops, missing out on the abundance that could have been theirs. And sometimes God will stop provision in one area, because he's about to do something much bigger in another area. When the Israelites were in the desert, they had manna every morning for years, something like bread to eat. But one morning the manna quit coming, from then on there was no more manna - it was because they were about to enter the Promised Land, they were about to see provision like they'd never seen: clusters of grapes so large, that it took two people to carry them.

But here's the key: if those farmers had not been willing to try something new, if they had sown the veil gone back to planting cotton, stayed where it was comfortable, where it was familiar - they would have never seen the abundance that God had in store. You have to stay open for change. Don't get set in your ways, thinking it's always going to happen the way that's happened before. When you reboot your computer, one thing it does - is gets rid of the viruses and the bugs that have contaminated the software.

Sometimes I'll go a month or two at home and not reboot my computer. I notice it starts to slow down, the files won't open properly, some of the features quit working. Finally I have to stop, take the time to reboot it. Once it's rebooted it's all back to normal, everything is functioning properly, just like the manufacturer designed it to. In the same way, over time we can get viruses that are slowing us down: bad attitudes, unforgiveness, limited thinking, insecurity. This reboot that we're in now is an opportunity to get rid of these things, things that are hindering our growth, stopping our potential. In some area we can all come up higher.

Don't do like the people with the veil and go back to what's comfortable, what's familiar. If you go back to business as usual, you'll miss the new things that God is doing. Ask yourself: where do I need to change? What can I do differently to make me more effective, more productive, more passionate, more loving, more generous? Maybe that means: don't go back to unforgiveness, holding a grudge, living bitter. Don't go back to being late to work, slacking off, not giving it your best.

Don't come out of this reboot and go back to being sarcastic, disrespectful, hard to get along with. That may be how it's been, that's what's familiar, but God is downloading new software. If you're going to come out of this better, you have to make adjustments. What are you willing to walk away from to reach your destiny? Walk away from a bad attitude, walk away from that person that's poisoning your future, walk away from compromise and doing things that are holding you back.

This couple I know had been trying to have a baby for many years with no success. She was taken to fertility treatments, they'd been praying and believing, but still no baby. One day the man was flying home from India from a missions trip, he's a minister. Sitting on that plane alone he was very discouraged, he said, "God, it's not fair. Here I'm out helping these people, doing what you're asking me to do, why can't we have a baby? I don't understand why you won't give us a child"? He heard God say to him, not out loud, but down in here, "You're not going to have a baby until you start treating your wife better".

He wasn't doing anything major wrong, just little things: he'd become disrespectful, argumentative, not giving her attention. He knew he wasn't treating her the way he should. He had allowed this virus to contaminate him. The good news is: he was willing to change. That season of pause where his dreams weren't coming to pass was a reboot, it was God giving him an opportunity to come up higher. He started treating her with respect, being loving and kind, going out of his way to be good to her, making her feel like a queen. After years of being barren, six months later she conceived. Today they have a beautiful, healthy daughter.

But it's easy to let one of these viruses contaminate our software. Like him, we don't realize how it's not only affecting our attitude - how we treat people, our self-esteem - but it's keeping us from our dreams. Over time we can all have these things that are slowing us down, clouding our future - this reboot is a time to clear it all out. I'm asking you to not go back to normal, don't go back to the way you used to do things. Come up higher in how you treat people: be more kind, more respectful, more forgiving. The people God has given you the love aren't going to be there forever. We can make all the money in the world, have all kinds of success in our careers, but if we don't have good relationships life is not enjoyable.

Let this reboot inspire you to be a better spouse, a more loving friend, a kinder co-worker. Come up higher in your attitude: no more complaining, finding fault, seeing the negative. Life is a gift, be grateful for what you have, look around at all the blessings God has given you. And come up higher in your walk with the Lord, spend more time with him, talk to him in your thoughts all through the day, get planted in the house of the Lord. Make this a priority for you and your family.

This is a time to realign, to refocus. Be willing to change. Don't get stuck in your ways - God has new software, he's getting you programmed for the amazing things in your future. And if you'll accept this reboot, I believe and declare: like my friend all the viruses that have held you back are being cleared out right now. You're going to have fresh vision, more creativity, new doors are about to open, the baby you've been believing for is on the way. Those boll weevils may have stopped you, don't worry, peanuts are coming, abundance, healing, breakthroughs, the fullness of your destiny, in Jesus name.
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