John Gray - Houston, We Have a Promise
This was, by all accounts, a very difficult and tumultuous year. On every level, from political to financial to spiritual to the national tragedies that have occurred, this was a very difficult year to navigate emotionally and spiritually, financially. And for you to be here today right now in this moment is a testimony to the greatness of your God and the love that he has towards you. And since it's the last Sunday of the year, you've been storing up praise all year, so you might wanna save your conservative praise for next year. It's time to get a little rowdy right now and give God a worthy praise for bringing you through.
Now you shook a hand a few moments ago, but now you should clap those hands in honor of God who brought you through a year where other people did not fair as well as you. Some people, where you succeeded, did not make it. And it's all because of God's love and favor on your life. If I were you and I've got hands and I've got feet and I've got breath, then I would praise the Lord. Let everything that has praise the Lord. Let everything that has praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord. And what better place to praise the Lord than right here at Lakewood Church with all the nations of the world represented. Ladies and gentlemen, our God reigns and in spite of the pain, in spite of the tragedies in spite of the sorrows, in spite of the tears our God is great and greatly to be praised! Hallelujah to our God! Hallelujah to our God! Hallelujah to our God!
God, we thank you for protecting our children. We thank you for keeping us safe on the roads. We thank you for our employment and for those who are seeking employment and believing God for a job. We thank you that employment will rush towards them.
This has not been an easy year. They've been talking about a fiscal cliff, pastor. We two days from the fiscal cliff. I'm like, we already down here. The rest of y'all need to just come on and come see us. I'm over the cliff. Anybody ever felt like I'm already at the bottom. Y'all come on, come see how I been living. But I want you to know when you serve God money is not your resource. God is your source. And he can make one dollar stretch. Anybody know what I'm talking about? I'm a living witness. God will stretch what you have when you honor him. Honor him with your life. Honor him with your finances, with your tithe, with your praise.
God is so faithful. For many of us, we had some challenges that we did not anticipate. Wasn't a part of our new year's resolutions at the beginning of the year. Nonetheless, we found ourselves battling and navigating some very difficult waters. But here we are, the last Sunday in the year and you're alive and you made it. If you can make it through this you can make it through anything. I'm talking to some survivors, to some overcomers. I'm speaking to winners. I'm encouraging and speaking hope and light to some people today in the balcony to let you know that trek up them steps is gonna be well worth it in the next few minutes because there is a word from God for your life and we are a part of God's master plan.
I'm so excited because the holidays always get me excited because holidays mean presents and food. And if you can't tell, the Lord speaks to me through food. Christmas we had honey baked ham. Ham is from Jesus: don't judge me. You got things you need to work on. Don't worry about what I'm walking through. You got something you do that you don't need to be doing either. pastor Joel's up here and he's all we're just believing God and we're thanking God. And got his jacket on and I'm like, no, Jesus, that's not me. I need to keep my jacket closed, Jesus. That's not my ministry yet, Jesus. You should have some joy in your heart this morning. To be here amongst the people of God.
I know you've got challenges: we all do. No, it hasn't been easy. But look at what God has done. And on the other side of tomorrow we're celebrating a new chapter. Not just the turning of a page on a calender, but it is a turning from one place of almost to the place of absolutely. For some of us, you're just glad that the mayan calender was wrong. You was saving your tithe. Well, I don't need to tithe if the world's gonna end. I'm gonna just save my money. He don't need it no way. Get that tithe out of your hands now, we still here. It's an amazing thing to see what God has done. We're gonna celebrate the new year.
A lot of our traditions have significance. And in the new year we have new year's eve countdown. Anybody ever watched dick clark's new year's growing up? Some of y'all, some of y'all, don't act like you don't, I just pray, I fast and I pray and I worship Jesus. And I dance before the Lord, stop it! You used to watch just like me. And on times square that little ball would drop. Anybody ever watch that ball dropping? And they would do a countdown to signify this year is almost over. And everything with it I leave behind. I'm getting ready to move into my future: ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five... break it down, don't give them too much. We just getting started.
Stay right there with the five. But there's something about a countdown to signify the end of a year as we are propelled into the new year, the new moment, the new place of destiny, a new place of purpose, a renewed sense of focus, a clarity of perspective on identity and what it is we're called to do. It's a refreshing. We get our new year's resolutions. I'm gonna lose weight, Jesus. I'm gonna go to the gym every day.
See, I done brought my resolution, Lord, I'm gonna drive passed the gym every day, at least drive passed and look and behold and wave while I go to Whataburger, praise Jesus! But there's something about that countdown that there's this anticipation, there is an excitement. Because you're being catapulted into a new year. Ready or not, doesn't matter, 'cause it's coming. The countdown has begun. You're gonna be launched into destiny. I have had enough of the almost and the not quite and we'll call you back and we'll get back to you. And no, we didn't get your resume and hey, let's see if we can get your son in the program next year and oh, good job, Jim, but we're not sure if we're really gonna go in that direction and we're gonna give you a lateral move. We can't really give you the promotion, but we're gonna give you another position in the same level.
As a matter of fact, we may need to give you a little cut in the salary and the 401(k) and oh, my gosh, the fiscal cliff, and all this stuff. And God is saying guess what, if you knew what I have in store for you tomorrow you'd praise me today. That was a very pleasant applause but you missed the point. God said if you knew what I had in store for you after tomorrow night you'd praise me today! So I'm gonna give you about 10 seconds to give God a tomorrow praise today.
We don't have a ball dropping, but we've got a praise that can go up! Oh yeah, and for the people in your section that aren't all the way there yet, you're praising for them too. Because maybe they had a tough year and they need to be encouraged by your worship. They need to see that somebody else struggled and made it through. We don't beat people up that aren't clapping and applauding. You don't know what it cost for people to get here this morning. But we celebrate with those who are hurting to let them know you are not alone and I praise on your behalf because tomorrow is looking better than yesterday and God has a plan for your life and he has not changed his mind! What he promised, he is faithful to perform! That is the character of God! That is the nature of God! And that is the power of our God!
Hey! Hey! I'm sorry. I'm yelling, but I'm excited. Because I know that I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be. I'm in the wheel well of God's favor. And as I prepare and share the scripture, I want us to get our confession out. If you'd be kind enough to stand with your Bible. We will honor the tradition of this house by declaring what's about to take place in the next few moments, amen. I must say I thank God for a man of integrity, of character like pastor Joel Osteen. Thank God for he and his wife, pastor Victoria, and the entire pastoral leadership team, the staff, all volunteers. We thank God for the heart of this house and everybody connected.
Let's go ahead and declare. This is my Bible. I am what it says I am. I have what it says I have. I can do what it says I can do. Today I will be taught the Word of God. I boldly confess. My mind is alert: my heart is receptive. I will never be the same. I am about to receive the incorruptible, indestructible, ever-living seed of the Word of God. I will never be the same, never, never, never. I'll never be the same. In Jesus' name, amen. Can you give God praise if you believe it?
The new year is always brought in with a countdown. You're launched into destiny. But countdowns are not just for new years. And of all the places that should know that, it would be Houston. This city is known for a number of things: defense, engineering, business, oil, but also aerospace. And in this city, this city known for aeronautics and aerospace, countdowns mean something different than they do in New York city on new year's eve.
See, because countdowns are also used to launch rockets. And I want you to know that there is a countdown over the rocket of your life called destiny. I want you to know that 2012 was the launchpad, the place of preparation, the place of development, the place of pruning. It was the place of storing cargo and storing up right ideas and right thinking and proper alignment with the Word of God. 2012 was the time of order and government and structure. This was the year of preparation.
In the Bible, 12 was always a significant number: 12 tribes, 12 disciples, 12 gates. I need you to understand that 12 was God's governmental order. It was his structure. It's the way that God chose to reveal and do things in the body of Christ and building the church. 12 was a significant number. And this year was designed to develop you, to prune you, and to properly position you for the places of destiny and promise that the Bible says as sons and daughters of God we are to have. Houston, they count down when a rocket's about to launch.
There was a movie that came out some years ago starring Tom Hanks. Ron Howard directed it. A phenomenal film about the Apollo mission. And as they were heading towards the moon there was an explosion on that craft. And he said the famous line, "Houston, we have a problem". Well, I want you to know that I've had enough problems in 2012. I want you to know that my problems have solutions. And those solutions are rooted in the Word of God. And I wanna read to you the other side of what God's about to do in 2 Corinthians chapter 1, verse 20. Read it with me if you will, not out loud. It says for all the promises of God in him are yes and in him amen, to the glory of God through us. I'll say it again. For all the promises of God in him, him being Jesus, are yes, and in him amen, to the glory of God through us.
What that scripture is saying is that what God's about to do, he's already approved it. This is not a season for you to keep praying about the same thing. The answer is yes. I don't know who I came to encourage this morning or this afternoon, but the answer is yes. Lord, can I do that? Yes. Lord, is that possible? Yes. Lord, will I have provision? Yes. Will I be able to make it happen? Yes. You won't be able to make it happen, but me working in you will be able to make it happen. And you can do all things with me who strengthens you. Yes, the answer is yes and in him amen. If God promised it, then know that there is a yes and an amen attached. And you should get encouraged and excited about that.
You're about to take off into places beyond your wildest dreams. Beyond your expectations. You are about to lift off into places of purpose and destiny. I'm here to ignite and to spark the passion of some people in here that have waited long enough to be everything that God has called you to be. No more waiting on the sidelines! No more simply cheering on others as they excel and propel! It's your turn now! This is your moment now! It's time for the rocket of your destiny to launch and instead of the declaration of that astronaut that said, Houston, we have a problem, I'm re-declaring, according to 2 Corinthians 1:22, the topic of this sermon in the next few minutes that I'm with you, and it is, Houston, we have a promise. Houston, we have a promise.
This moment in time was designed for you. I know you may not think it because you were in your house this morning, bills on the brown kitchen table, struggling, gas light right at e. It's orange, then it just start flashing. You ain't got enough gas to keep the radio on. You just turned the radio off, Jesus. Jesus, I don't think I'm gonna make it. Just turn the air conditioning off. Turn the heat off. But I want you to know those days of not quite and almost and not enough are going to be history in a little over 36 hours from right now. And if I were you, I wouldn't take my word for it, I'd take God's word for it. In Isaiah 43:18 he says, do not remember the former things nor consider the things of old. Behold, he means watch this, watch this, I will do a new thing.
Now it shall spring forth. That's as good as it gets. That was my spring moment. I'm too big to spring. That was a spring, okay. He says behold, I will do a new thing. Now it shall spring forth. Not later, no more waiting, no more delay. And this is what he says, he says, shall you not know it? He says, don't you see it? Don't you know I'm gonna do it? I promised it. It has to come to pass. Don't you know that everything I've said about your life was not denial. It was not delay. It was development. God is concerned about your life so much so that he loves you too much to allow you to lift off into purpose without proper systems checks.
See, when you're about to lift off they start a countdown. There have been times in the history of NASA where they had the countdown going and they stopped the countdown because there was something in their systems checks that didn't look right. And they had invested too much time, too many people, and the lives of the crew to take any chances. Just doing some nominal studying on space shuttles, average cost of each craft is $1.7 billion. It takes 1.6 million pounds of fuel just to lift off. Millions of computer chips and wires and people there to launch. And you think that God doesn't have you more valuable than an aircraft?
Matter of fact, you've got people watching you and you've got angels covering you. And the Bible says that we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses. There are people that are watching, waiting for you to take off because you are the continuation of God's grace in the earth. And people need to see God move and God uses people to accomplish his will. This story, this launch, this moment is not just about you. It is about the people that are connected to your life. God is going to get glory and he's gonna use you as a miracle to get it done.