Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Story of John Osteen
"Great is to dream the dream, when you stand in youth by the starry stream. But a greater thing is to fight life through, and say at the end that the dream is true." - John Osteen
JOHN OSTEEN, founder of Lakewood Church and father of pastor Joel Osteen (www.joelosteen.com), was a divorced pastor. Here's how his son Joel told about the story of what happened to his father in his bestseller book, "Your Best Life Now:"
"We all make mistakes, but God does not disqualify us simply because we have failed. He's the God of another chance. You may have missed plan A for your life, but God has a plan B, a plan C, a plan D, and a plan E. God will always find a way to get you to your final destination if you will trust Him.
The Old Testament records how King David ordered a man murdered so he could marry his wife. But when David repented, God forgave him and still used him in a greater way.
A man named Saul hated Christians; he chased them down, persecuted them, and had them thrown in jail. Yet God forgave him, changed his name to Paul, and he ended up writing more than half of the New Testament.
Rahab was a prostitute, yet God used her to deliver the children of Israel. Nobody is too far gone, no matter what he's done. You need to know that God still loves you. He has a great plan for your life; He has not run out of mercy. If you have asked His forgiveness, God has already forgiven you. The question is: Will you forgive yourself? Will you quit living in guilt and condemnation? Will you let the past be the past and live today in an attitude of faith and victory?
That is what my father had to do. Daddy went through a tragedy early in life. He married quite young, and unfortunately that wasn't one of his better choices. Sadly, the marriage didn't work out, and he went through a divorce. Daddy was heartbroken. His dreams were shattered and he didn't think he would ever preach again. It was one of the darkest hours of Daddy's life. He was tempted to hold on to the hurt and pain, continually blaming himself. He could easily have allowed his disappointment and disillusionment to keep him from moving forward and fulfiling his God-given destiny.
But Daddy had to quit mourning over what he had lost; he had to learn how to receive God's mercy, and to start believing God for something better.
Maybe you've made some serious mistakes; you've done some things that were not the best for your life, and now you're living in guilt, condemnation, or with a sense of disqualification. You will remain trapped in those doldrums unless you learn how to receive God's mercy and forgiveness, and move on with your life.
That is what my father did. Daddy made a decision to receive God's mercy for his mistakes and failures. And little by little God began to restore Daddy's life and ministry. Daddy began to minister again, but he never dreamed he'd get married again and have another family.
Then one day he met a nurse working at one of the hospitals where he visited some of his church members when they were sick. For my Dad, it was love at first sight. He started looking for any reason he could find to stop by that hospital. I mean, he would visit your great-aunt's third cousin's next-door neighbor if you asked him! He was there so much, my mother told one of her friends, 'That minister has the sickest congregation I've ever seen!' She didn't realize at the time that Daddy was there to see her. To make a long story short, they fell in love and got married. God gave Daddy beauty for his ashes, and Daddy went on to touch the world.
He pastored Lakewood Church in Houston for more than 40 years, and today all five of my parents' children are working in the ministry. God took what the enemy meant for evil, and He turned it around and used it for good. But I don't believe that would have happened if Daddy had stayed trapped in the past, focused on his sadness and disappointments. I don't believe it ever would have happened if Daddy had not learned how to receive God's mercy."