Joel Osteen — Acceleration
I want to talk to you today about acceleration. We all have dreams that we're believing to accomplish, problems that we're hoping will turn around. But many times in the natural, it looks like it's going to take years for this to happen, years to get out of debt, years to overcome an illness, years to reach a goal. But I've learned God doesn't always follow a natural time-line. He knows how to speed things up.
I can sense in my spirit that this is going to be a year of acceleration. God is going to make things happen quicker than you thought. In your career, it should take you 20 years to get into management, 20 years to build that business up, but in this year of acceleration, God is going to give you breaks that propel you forward. He's going to open up doors that thrust you years ahead. In your finances, it may look like it's going to take years to get out of debt, years to pay your house off. But get ready, acceleration is coming your way. God knows how to open the windows of heaven. One good break can put you into overflow.
Perhaps the medical report says, "It's going to take five years to get well, five years of chemo, five years of treatment". That's one timetable but God has another timetable. He's saying, "I'm going to speed up the process. I'm going to accelerate your healing, accelerate your promotion, accelerate your dreams coming to pass". This is what the scripture says in the book of Amos from the message translation. "Things are going to happen so fast your head will swim. One thing fast on the heels of the other. You won't be able to keep up. Everything will be happening all at once, everywhere you look, blessings"!
This is going to be a year of what Amos prophesied. Things are going to happen so fast: healing, promotions, breakthroughs... that our head will swim. The scripture talks about how God can do a quick work. Yes, I know there are times we have to be patient, seasons of waiting, passing the tests, being faithful. But there are also seasons where God will do a quick work, where he will accelerate, do things so fast, so amazing that our head will swim.
A few months ago I talked to a high school student out in the lobby after service. He's a star basketball player, a big, tall young man. His dream is to play division 1 basketball in college. But the only scholarships he's been offered were to division 2 schools. He was grateful. He had a great attitude about it but he seemed torn. He asked me if he should decline the division 2 scholarships and not settle for less than what he knew was in him or should he take the scholarship and play at that school and hopefully one day transfer to a division 1 level school.
I wasn't sure how to advice him. So I said, "Let me pray for you". I prayed that God would give him wisdom, God would open the right doors and that God would make the path easy for him to choose. He thanked me and walked away. About ten minutes later when I was finishing up with the other visitors, he came back and his eyes were this wide. He said, "You're not going to believe what happened. Right when I walked away, I got a call on my cell phone. I didn't recognize the number. But when I answered it, it was a division 1 head coach, asking me to come play for him".
Just like Amos prophesied, it happened so fast his head was swimming. He didn't know what to say. He said, "Joel, I just want to thank you for praying for me". I said, "Well that's the way my prayers are always answered". The truth is, I said, "Don't thank me. Thank him". That's the God of acceleration. That's God speeding things up. I believe this year, like with him, you're going to see some quick works, some unusual things, things that you've been dreaming about, looks like it's going to take years. Suddenly, they're going to fall into place. You're going to look up and say, "I didn't see it happening that fast. I didn't know I'd get well this quickly. I didn't know the problem would turn around that suddenly". God wants to do some things that make our head swim.
"Well Joel, this sounds good but I don't think it's going to happen for me. My prayers never get answered. I never get any good breaks". Well, you're right. It won't happen. Your negative attitude is canceling it out. Negative thoughts, doubt, unbelief, that ties the hands of Almighty God. God works where there's an attitude of faith, an attitude of expectancy. Why don't you take the limits off of God? Dare to say, "God I'm asking for you to do for me what you promised through the prophet Amos. God, make my head swim; amaze me with your goodness. God, accelerate your blessings in my life".
This scripture in another translation says, "There will come a time when the plowman will overtake the reaper. The grapes will grow faster than they can be harvested". This is saying the time was coming when a man would be out plowing the field, sowing the seeds, but the harvest would come up so fast, the growth would be so sped up that as soon as he sowed, the harvest would pop right up. The plowman couldn't keep up with it. In those days typically, the plowman would have to wait at least seven or eight months to see that kind of harvest. But Amos said, "The day is coming when it will happen simultaneous. As soon as you sow the seed, the harvest will begin to spring forth".
I believe we are living in the day that Amos talked about. You're sowing the seed. You're doing the right thing. It should take months, maybe even years, but as you sow that seed, the harvest is already coming. Blessings are chasing you down, favor that you didn't deserve. It's not going to be the usual process. It's not going to be like it's been in the past. God is speeding things up.
A couple of years ago, I was driving down the freeway and this friend came to mind. I knew he was having difficulties in his finances. His job situation had changed. I felt strongly that I was supposed to help him. I mentioned it to Victoria and she agreed. So I sent him a text saying we were going to send him a gift, a significant amount. He was very grateful and couldn't thank me enough. We were out of town and I was going to take care of it the next day when I got back home.
A couple of hours later, this lady we work with called. She said a company had just contacted her. A large, well respected organization. They wanted me to be a part of a project they were working on. I didn't have to do anything, I didn't have to go any place; they just wanted to use my name. She said, "If you'll agree to do this then they will make a donation to your ministry". When she told me the amount, my head began to swim. It was over one hundred times what I promised my friend.
Here's the thing, I hadn't even put the seed in the ground yet. I was going to write the check the next day, but before I could put the seed in the ground, the harvest was already there. The blessing had already overtaken me. That's what Amos said, "It's going to happen simultaneously". As you bless others, blessings are going to pop up. As you sow the seed, the harvest will already be there.
I talked to a gentleman on the phone. He'd been addicted to drugs for over 32 years. He'd gone through different treatments and tried rehab but none of that was successful. He wasn't a religious person; he didn't grow up in church. One day he was flipping through the channels. He heard me talking about how God can help you break an addiction. How the forces that are for you are greater than the forces that are against you.
He said that day he felt something on the inside that he had never felt. He prayed a very simple prayer. He said, "God, if you're real, help me to break this addiction". From that day forward, he never touched another drug. He was set completely free. Being addicted for 32 years, you would think that at least he would have some kind of withdrawals, some pain, suffering as his body readjusted.
This is what Amos is talking about. As soon as he sowed the seed, the harvest was right there. It should have taken him months to get over. It should've been a long, drawn out process but God is in the business of speeding things up. His timetable is not a natural timetable. If you'll dare believe, God will accelerate your harvest, accelerate your healing, accelerate the freedom. God is in the accelerating business.
One time, Jesus was at a wedding. The ceremony was just over and they were all at this big reception afterwards. Right in the middle, they ran out of wine. There were six stone water pots over to the side. Jesus asked the workers to fill them up with water. They filled them up. Then he said, "Now, dip some out and take it to the host of the party". When the host tasted the water that was now wine, he called the bridegroom over and said, "This is amazing. Usually you serve the best wine first. Then when everyone is full and a little bit tipsy and they don't know any better, you bring out the expensive wine, but you've done just the opposite. You've saved the best wine for last".
Now normally making wine is a very lengthy process. It starts, of course, by planting the seed in the ground. The vines have to grow and eventually produce grapes. Then when the grapes get mature enough they pick them, make them into wine. But the process from the time you plant the seed to the time you have wine is typically three or four years. That's just average wine. Better quality wine can take five to seven years. On top of that, to make it even more valuable, many times they'll age the wine. You've seen bottles of wine 20 years old, 30 years old. That would be considered the best wine.
Here's my point: the first miracle Jesus ever performed, turning water into wine, was a miracle of acceleration. What should've been a 20, even 30 year process, God did in a moment of time.
You may think, "I could never get to where I'm supposed to be. I'm so far behind". No, God can take what should take you 20 years and get you there in an instant. Maybe it should take you years to get well, but just as God sped up the process of making wine, God can speed up the process of you getting well. On paper it may say it's going to take you 30 years to get out of debt. But the good news is God knows how to turn your water into wine. He can take a 30-year process and do it in a fraction of the time. Right now, God's working behind the scenes in your life. Do you know what he's doing? Gathering the pots, filling up the water. The process has already been started. Suddenly it's going to change. Suddenly you're going to find yourself where you couldn't go on your own.
There was a lady in town from another state down at the medical center. She stopped by the service and told how she had just been put on the list to receive a liver transplant. She was told that this would take between three and five years. She was very concerned, not knowing if she could even live that long. Of course I prayed for her, encouraged her that God can heal you with or without the transplant.
A couple of months later I saw her back at church. She had a wristband on that I could tell she had been at the hospital. I thought maybe something was wrong. She smiled and said, "Joel, you're looking at a lady that has a brand new liver". Two weeks after she was put on the list she received a phone call saying a new liver was available to her. She had the surgery; there were no complications. She said, "I feel better today than I felt when I was a teenager".
What was that? God turned her water into wine. What should have taken five years God did in a few months time. Like her, it may look like it's going to take you years to get well, years to get out of debt, years to reach a goal. But don't ever rule out the God of acceleration. He has healing, favor, breakthroughs that can propel you years ahead.
You may be a battle in your health. Don't believe those lies that it's never going to get better. Your attitude should be, "Father, I want to thank you that you're accelerating my healing. Thank you that I'll get well quicker than I've been told. Thank you that I'll defy the odds". The financial report may say you'll never be able to afford a nice place to live. You'll never be able to send your children to college. Instead of letting that defeat you, turn it around. "I know I serve the God of acceleration. It may look impossible but Lord, I want to thank you that you're turning my water into wine".
Yes, I know we have to be patient. We need to wait for God's timing, but it's also important to believe for quick works, for acceleration. That's what it's going to take to reach the fullness of your destiny. You're going to need some times like with this lady where God speeds things up, where God takes you where you could not go on your own.
In the scripture Ezekiel said, "The hand of the Lord was on me and he carried me". That word "Carried" in the original language means to shoot out, to launch forward. It implies acceleration. As God carries you through life, it's not always going to be routine, predictable, little by little. There are times when God is carrying you that he's going to shoot you out. He's going to propel you years down the road.
I look up and think how did I get to where I am? I was working behind the scenes, minding my own business. What happened? God shot me out. He was carrying me but part of that carrying was to launch me forward. All of you can look back and see times where God shot you. He gave you a break that you didn't deserve. He opened a door that you could have never opened. He turned a problem around when you didn't see a way. Now you're healthy, happy, blessed, further along than you ever imagined.
Somebody asks you, "How did you get here so quickly"? Just tell them, "I got shot. God propelled me, God promoted me, God vindicated me, God freed me".
This is what David did. He felt like he was falling behind, out in the shepherd's fields, taking care of sheep. Nobody paid attention to him. He had big dreams but he didn't have any connections. His own father didn't really believe in him. But all those years out in the lonely shepherd's fields, God was carrying him. One day his time came. He went out and defeated Goliath and overnight he became a national hero. He went from being an unknown shepherd boy to being an admired, respected leader. That should have taken him years but God caused it to happen in a fraction of the time. Just a few minutes of destiny, defeating that giant propelled him years down the road.
What was that? God shooting him out. "Well Joel, I don't think God's ever going to to shoot me out. I've had a lot of bad breaks, I've gone through a lot of disappointments in life". Think of it like this. When you have a bow and arrow, the more you pull the arrow back the further it's going to shoot. If you just pull it back a little ways, no pressure, no tension, it's not going to go very far. The reason you've been pulled back is not because God is trying to punishing you, not because there's nothing good in your future. God has allowed you to be pulled back because he's about to shoot you further than you can imagine.
Your destiny is much bigger than you realize. Like David, you may feel like you're falling behind, because of disappointments, and breaks, loss, setbacks. You don't think you could ever get to where you're supposed to be. Let me encourage you, when God shoots you out, it's going to make up for lost time. The doors God's going to open, the people you're going to meet, the opportunities that are going to come across your path are going to be bigger, better, more rewarding than you ever thought possible. When you're being pulled back don't get negative, bitter, "God why is this happening"? Turn it around, "God I may not like it, I may be uncomfortable, these people aren't treating me right, but God I know it's just a matter of time before you release me and shoot me further than I ever dreamed".
When my father went to be with the Lord back in 1999, I felt like I was being pulled back. I could feel the pressure, the tension. I lost a great friend. I didn't know what was going to happen to the church. But in the middle of that difficulty, when in a sense it seemed like my best days were behind me, at just the right time God released me, shot me to a new level of my destiny. I got here quicker than I should have. I didn't have the formal training, the experience, the qualifications. I couldn't have made it happen on my own, it was the hand of God.
I've learned when God is ready to shoot you, he doesn't ask for your permission, he doesn't check with the critics, he doesn't get approval from your friends, family members, co-workers. He doesn't look at your bank account, your degrees, your confidence; your connections. When it's your time, God simply propels you into your destiny. No person can stop you, no bad break; no organization. God has the final say. He breathed his life into you. He's planned out your days. He's already lined up these times of acceleration, times where your water will be turned into wine, times where you'll sow and reap simultaneously.
You may feel like you're being pulled back right now, tension; it doesn't seem like you can get ahead. Know this you're being pulled back for one reason, so God can shoot you further. You need to get ready. This is a year where God is going to launch you forward. You're going to see acceleration. It's going to happen faster, be so amazing, like Amos prophesied your head is going to swim. You're going to think, "I didn't see this coming. I never dreamed I'd be this blessed, this happy, this healthy, this fulfilled". That's the God of acceleration taking you where you could not go on your own.
In the old testament, there had been a drought in the land for three and a half years. The prophet Elijah went on top of a mountain and began to pray for rain. His assistant came back, after six times of looking and said he saw a small cloud up in the sky. Elijah new that was a sign that it was about to rain. He said to Ahab, "You better get in your chariot and take off toward Jezreel, there's about to be a huge rainstorm here". The scripture says that Elijah took off running and he outran the chariot to Jezreel.
God gave him supernatural ability, caused him to go faster than he should have. I read where the average horse can sprint 35 miles an hour, the average person 15 miles per hour, my brother Paul, 6.3 miles per hour. Now could Elijah possibly outrun a horse? How could he outrun a chariot? That doesn't seem like it makes sense. Here's how: God shot him out.
In this year of acceleration, God is going to speed you up. He's going to shoot you into promotion, shoot you into influence, shoot you into new opportunities. Like Elijah, you're going to discover ability that you didn't even know was in you.
When I was eight years old, I was in my backyard with my father. We just raked up a bunch of leaves and we had this huge pile that we were going to burn. Normally my grandfather would do this. He helped us take care of our yard. After a long day of raking the leaves, he would always finish it off by burning them. But my father wasn't as experienced with making a fire as my grandfather.
Daddy went in the shed and got some accelerant out. You know accelerant, that's used to make the fire burn faster, bigger and stronger. I remember thinking granddaddy never uses this accelerant when he makes a fire. I even asked my father. He said, "Oh, yeah. You want to put a whole lot of this on to really get it going". He poured that liquid accelerant all over the leaves, the branches, the whole ground was soaked with accelerant. He got a match out.
I was only eight years old but I was smart enough to go way, way back. I even asked him again, "Dad, are you sure you're supposed to use this? Granddaddy...". "Joel, I was raised on the farm. I know what I'm doing". He threw that match on, it was like a volcano erupted. That fire shot up thirty, forty feet in the air. Leaves, branches, debris went everywhere. We wanted to get rid of the leaves, we got rid of them. They went in our neighbor's yard.
A few seconds after that little mini-explosion calmed down, my dad came over. His eyebrows were singed; he had dirt, leaves stuck to his face. But daddy knew no defeat. He said, "See Joel, that's how you make a fire". I thought, "Yeah, that's how you go to heaven today".
Here's my point, the more accelerant you put on, the faster the fire is going to burn. In the same way, faith is the accelerant. Thanking God that the answer's on the way, living with expectancy, meditating on his promises. That's putting accelerant on what you're believing for.
When we go around negative, discouraged, 'it's never going to happen', 'I'll never get well'; that's like pouring water on your fire. It's going to keep it from spreading.
Why don't you start putting accelerant on your dreams? "Father, thank you that you're opening doors that no man can shut. Thank you that you're turning my water into wine". Put accelerant on your healing. "Father, thank you that you're restoring health back unto me. That the number of my days you will fulfill". Put some accelerant on your finances. All through the year, "Father, thank you that whatever I touch will prosper and succeed. That I am the head and not the tail".
Do like my father, put a whole lot on. All through the day, keep thanking God that it's coming, living with expectancy, speaking words of faith and victory.
Friends, this is the year God is speeding things up. You've entered into a time of acceleration. Like Amos prophesied, where you'll sow and reap simultaneously. Like Ezekiel said, where God is going to shoot you out. You may have been pulled back. You feel stuck. You've had some disappointments. You better get ready. This is a new day. God's about to shoot you further than you can imagine. Keep putting the accelerant on. If you'll do this, I believe and declare God is going to accelerate your dreams coming to pass, accelerate your healing, accelerate promotions in Jesus' name.