Lessons from Inside Lakewood w/ Joel and Victoria Osteen

Lakewood ChurchThis week I had the privilege to take a trip with my family and staff to INSIDE LAKEWOOD with a day of leadership lessons and principles with Joel & Victoria Osteen.  Mary and I have had the privilege to be around the Osteens for the past few years, but this was exciting because we were able to bring the staff with us to SEE what we see in Joel & Victoria.

One of the most interesting things about Lakewood Church is that it took 13 years for the church to break the 200 barrier.  Wow.  There have been a lot of seeds planted in its 50 year history that have made this amazing church what it is today.

So here are some leadership lessons/things I learned:

  1. In order to see what God sees you have to raise your level of expectation (Victoria).
  2. Leaders always have to take their limits off of God (Joel).
  3. God places within you the desires of your heart (Joel).
  4. In a service not a moment can be wasted.  It is way too easy to get sloppy.
  5. A great service is built on consistency.
  6. A church of 1,000 needs a thousand guests each year to maintain its size.  You basically have to grow 20% per year to stay the same.
  7. Church should be a celebration.
  8. Joel will change anything/everything if he feels it needs to be changed.
  9. 90% of Lakewoods efforts go into the weekend services.
  10. Joel’s key to preaching: Keep it simple and leave people with 1 thought.
  11. John Osteen built Lakewood to 6,000 people w/ 20 staff members – he believed in volunteers.
  12. Churches should be forever young – use the young people in your church – on the stage and behind the scenes.
  13. Your greatest seed is the people in your church.
  14. Don’t build a road for the next generation – build a ramp (Israel Houghton).
  15. God gives you the grace for the criticism you face.  If you don’t have any critics find some.
  16. If you can’t celebrate where someone else is God will never bring you there.
  17. I would rather have influence than income (Joel).
  18. When you have great influence you will have great opposition (Lisa Osteen Comes).
  19. Lakewood is built on a culture of honor (Paul Osteen).
  20. You can’t keep good people if you don’t empower them.
  21. Let people use their gifts and talents – but keep them aligned with your vision.
  22. Understate your success.

ITodd Bishop & Joel Osteen am so privileged to have a friendship with Pastors Joel & Victoria.  They have influenced our ministry in so many ways.  But they have influenced me as a pastor even more!  This has been one of the greatest resources to Mary and I.  Thank you Pastor Buddy Cremeans for making the introduction!!!

There is so much to these amazing pastors.  Joel & Victoria are some of the most humble people I have ever met – they work very hard – and they are extremely loyal.  The greatest thing I love about this family is that they are who they are – what you see in public is who they are in private.

This is a friendship I will treasure and protect!

Push Through It.

I have discovered that those you succeed in anything have the amazing ability to HOLD ON … to never quit … to PUSH through!  Don’t ever give up. Press on … push through.  2 Corinthians 4:1: “Therefore, since God in his mercy has given us this new way, we never give up.”

You are more than you think you are … you can do more than you think you can … you have more than you know you do.  If you truly want to experience REAL LIFE … the John 10:10 life … you have to PUSH through every problem … OUTLAST any obstacle … and SUCCEED over every setback.

Let me ask you a question: “What do you do when life ruins your plans?” You know, when things don’t go the way you planned … when it almost seems as though God has responded the exact opposite of what you hope for … what do you do?

  • First, recognize pain is part of the growing process. Its part of the process none of us like but it still pushes us to grow.
  • Second, understand that everything in life is temporary. No body is designed to live forever and nothing is designed to endure forever. Everything is temporary.
  • I also believe complaining only prolongs the pain. The more you talk about it … the more you feel the agony of it. Don’t complain what you have been through … celebrate that God has brought this far.
  • Finally, realize the best thing you can ever do is never give up … push through the pain and problems.

Life is never going to be picture perfect but we all need to PUSH through.  And if we learn to PUSH THROUGH IT we will develop the abundant life God has called us to.

2015 – Faith Declaration

Faith DeclarationStanding on this faith declaration for 2015.

“Today I am convinced … that the best is before me … I declare that 2015 … is the year of opportunity … I am expecting … open doors … restored relationships … God’s favor … renewed passion … I will not … stay stuck in 2014 … I am moving forward … I am declaring … miracles … breakthroughs … healing … forgiveness … increase … answered prayers … I am committing to … Jesus … God’s Word … my church … and my family. I am ready … in Jesus name … Amen.”

Declare it.  Believe it.  Live it.

Never Stop Believing!

You will become all that God wants you to be.  Don’t stop believing.  Just because things did not go the way you planned does not mean that you are done.  Believe. The Scriptures teach “all things are possible if you believe.”  Never stop believing.

You see, if you believe it you will receive it.  But if you walk around believing that you are destined for failure, losing and bad breaks you may never experience the best for your life.

 Believe for your marriage.

Believe for your children.

Believe for your health.

Believe for your finances.

Believe for your church.

Your best days are not behind you – they are before you!!!!  You are destined to finish what God has started in you because finishing brings glory to God. Jesus was praying to God in Heaven and he said, “I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do” (John 17:4).  Believe that you will accomplish everything He desires and you will bring glory to The Father.

Don’t stop believing.  This is the YEAR OF OPPORTUNITY!  That means open doors, miracles, increase and favor are heading in your direction!

Finish Strong.

I have discovered: “How you end one season determines how you will start another season.”  That’s why it is so important to finish strong.  This sets the platform to starting strong.  You can’t start a new chapter in a book, if you didn’t finish the last chapter.  You can’t do that in life either!

How you end one chapter of your life will create the beginning to the next chapter.  Focus on what God did right. Keep your eyes on the doors he opened up. Thank him for every day that he blessed you with.  Finish strong every season strong!

Don’t take shortcuts. Don’t look for the easy way out.  So start smart … calculate your decisions … and make sure you finish everything giving your very best!!!  Jesus said it this way: “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock” (Matthew 7:24-25).

You see, if you finish your life on the foundation of Jesus Christ when the storms come in the next season you will be standing strong; Simply because you built strong during the last season.

Handling Loss

Have you ever been on a long road trip? Most of us have.  The first road trip I ever went on was when I was in elementary school and my grandparents decided to take me with them to Florida in an RV. It was about a 24-hour trip.  At first I was excited about it, but then after about 1 hour I asked the question: “Are we there yet?”  And for the next 23 hours I would ask that question over and over again.  My grandfather got frustrated with me and I never understood his frustration until I took my children on a road trip.

Herod is king when Jesus is born in Bethlehem. He hears about some wise men from the east coming to worship “the king of the Jews.”  Herod is disturbed by this, because he is king, and now someone is being born will replace him … never!!!  He secretly meets the Magi and says, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him” (Matthew 2:8).  Herod did not want to come and worship – He wanted to scope out the competition.

The Magi are then told in a dream to not go back to Herod and tell him where the Christ-child was going to be born.  Herod is furious. He gives the order to murder every boy under the age of 2. But Mary and Joseph flee to Egypt to protect Jesus!  I want us to focus on Herod because he symbolizes something we all struggle with as people … LOSS.  And this becomes so much bigger during the holidays.

  •  If you lost your job it becomes difficult to buy gifts for your wife or children.
  • If you lost a family member this year the holidays become difficult because this is the first one without them.
  • If you lost your health it may be difficult to be thankful because of the challenge you are facing.

Maybe this year your marriage broke up or a friend turned their back on you – and this year has been marked by a loss of relationship! And seeing people holding hands celebrating the holidays frustrates you because you are alone.  And when things don’t go your way you feel like you have lost your way or lost your purpose and Christmas becomes a burden.

All of us have to learn how to handle loss – how to deal with the reality that things did not go well and now I have to put on a phony smile and act like everything is ok.  You see, King Herod was feeling he was about to lose some things – his position, his power and his presence over that region.  And he did not handle it the right way.  He handled loss with deceit, manipulation and murder.

And I know that many have faced loss this year and may be even fearing loss in the future!  You see, I am not sure you can enjoy the holiday season – Christmas – without first looking at your challenges.  Maybe you feel like the Charlie Brown Christmas is your annual tradition – but I believe if we can learn some lessons from the life of Herod in this story we will come out better, not bitter.

You may feel like the only one who is having a difficult time right now. Can I give you some news – “You are not.”  There are a lot of people all around us that are facing loss – they aren’t excited about putting up the lights or buying a tree or even shopping for gifts.

And you are asking God, “Are we there yet?”  What you are asking: “Is this season over?” “I don’t know if I can handle any more.” “The drive has been too long – I am exhausted, discouraged and hurting.”

Let me encourage you today – Paul facing some difficulty said: “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns”(Philippians 1:6).

God is going to get you there. He is going to finish what he has started in your life!  Herod could not handle the potential loss of his position and power because he did not embrace Jesus.  I have discovered this: “It is impossible to handle great loss without a great Savior.”  Herod rejected Jesus … he resisted him.

Handling loss is made easier in Jesus, not easy, but easier!