How I would say what Victoria Osteen said differently

How I would say what Victoria Osteen said differently September 2, 2014

In a video clip that has been making the rounds on social media, prosperity gospel preacher Joel Osteen’s wife Victoria goes on a rant about worship that has gotten many Christians up in arms. She said that worship is about making us happy more than it’s about pleasing God. While I would say what Victoria Osteen said differently, I absolutely affirm the basic insight that worshiping God is not supposed to be moralistic drudgery but actually a genuine source of deep joy.

Here’s the full text of what Victoria Osteen said in the controversial clip:

I just want to encourage every one of us to realize when we obey God, we’re not doing it for God—I mean, that’s one way to look at it—we’re doing it for ourselves, because God takes pleasure when we’re happy. That’s the thing that gives Him the greatest joy… So, I want you to know this morning: Just do good for your own self. Do good because God wants you to be happy,” she continued. “When you come to church, when you worship Him, you’re not doing it for God really. You’re doing it for yourself, because that’s what makes God happy. Amen?

Now I wouldn’t say what Victoria said exactly the way she said it, but there’s a very unhealthy attitude about worship in the middle-class American church that her rant pushes back against. Many middle-class American Christians think of worship as a moralistic duty. We worship God because it’s the right thing to do, just like paying your taxes on time, staying caught up on the dishes, keeping organized files of all your financial paperwork, and registering your son for the soccer team three months in advance instead of at the last minute.

The hamster wheel that drives middle-class existence is striving always to be right, always doing the right thing for the right reason. The only way we can feel secure that we’re doing something for the right reason is if we’re not doing it for our own benefit. It needs to be a sacrifice for the good of society or for our children or for God’s sake himself. If it makes us happy to worship God, that means that we’re probably not worshiping him in the “right way,” but doing it in the way that “feels good” to us instead.  If we enjoy worshiping God, then we can no longer feel like we’re “paying our dues” by doing it.

The benefit that we gain from pretending that we don’t benefit is the sense of moral superiority to other people that we feel. People who don’t do the right thing like us (e.g. poor people) don’t deserve to have the comfortable existence that we have. Doing the right thing at all times is the key to a life of perpetual self-justification. Paradoxically, one of the ways that Christians self-justify is to say all the right things about God which includes talking about how we can’t earn our salvation by doing the right thing (though we apparently can earn it by always saying the right thing).

Now if it’s the case that worshiping God can actually make us happy, then we lose the hidden currency of self-righteousness we gain from the “sacrifice” of worshiping God. In Matthew 6, Jesus exhorts his audience not to do their acts of piety like alms-giving, fasting, or prayer flamboyantly to be seen by others because people who do that “have had their reward in full.” I would extend Jesus’ exhortation to those of us who always do the right thing and say all the right things about God in order to feel superior inside our own heads even if our self-righteousness is a secret between us and God.

Jesus says in Matthew 6 that God gives a “secret reward” to those who forget themselves in their good deeds. Now it’s only my speculation, but I think the “secret reward” Jesus is talking about is to share in God’s joy, which is greater than any trivial happiness we could ever have without it. Victoria Osteen is absolutely right if what she’s saying is that God doesn’t need us to worship him for himself, but he wants us to worship him for our sake. God doesn’t have such a fragile ego that he needs our worship; we need to worship him so that we won’t worship ourselves or other idols that make us ultimately unhappy.

I would revise Victoria Osteen’s words to point out that the way we gain true happiness is to forget ourselves because of our delight in God. It may be the case that when we worship, we’re honestly doing it “for ourselves,” but we’re also doing it in order to lose ourselves. People who worship as a moralistic duty are actually more focused on themselves in the self-justification they secretly covet than those who worship as a “selfish” act of hunger. So don’t be ashamed to admit that you’re pursuing your own happiness by worshiping God. Just understand that the best way to be happy is to forget yourself in God’s beauty.

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  • Levi

    What’s even more interesting is that if you look past John Piper’s Calvinism, that’s his main point in “Desiring God” as well. Both he and Ms. Osteen go off the rails, albeit in different directions, but they seem to be trying to get at the same thing.

    • Very true.

    • Gonzalo Esquivel

      Why don’t we look at what God says about being happy rather than what sinful humans say. Opinions, opinions, opinions everyone has one. God calls us to be Holy as He is. What does it mean to be Holy? I’ve yet to see God’s word tell us to be happy.

  • Good comments. I think the problem with the way she said it was that it made it sound selfish and self-centered. Yet, worship does result in happiness. As we become less self-centered it becomes more possible for us to find happiness.

    • Right. It’s paradoxical that way.

    • Larry Miles

      I believe worship results, in a deep reverence, humility, thankfulness, gratefulness, repentance, service and gravitas, toward God. We need to use Biblically charged words. Happy? happy meal, happy feet, happy face? Nah. “God so loved the world and gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have a happy life,.” Nah, x2. #maybeshemeantjoy

      • Whereas I like the term “happiness.” John Wesley said holiness is happiness — and it seems to me the word can be used to mean human flourishing. I’m not willing to surrender the concept to the makers of the Happy Meal, and I don’t see any reason why I should. Thomas Aquinas also (in translation of course, I don’t know what the Latin was) spoke of human happiness as the goal of the moral life.

        From John Wesley’s sermon on Spiritual Worship: “eternal life then commences when it pleases the Father to reveal his Son in our hearts; when we first know Christ, being enabled “to call him Lord by the Holy Ghost;” when we can testify, our conscience bearing us witness in the Holy Ghost, “the life which I now live, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” And then it is that happiness begins; happiness real, solid, substantial. Then it is that heaven is opened in the soul, that the proper, heavenly state commences, while the love of God, as loving us, is shed abroad in the heart, instantly producing love to all mankind; general, pure benevolence, together with its genuine fruits, lowliness, meekness, patience, contentedness in every state; an entire, clear, full acquiescence in the whole will of God; enabling us to “rejoice evermore, and in everything to give thanks.”

  • Great observations, Morgan.

  • Steve

    Very
    good. Remember that in the Beatitudes, the Greek word that we often
    translate as “Blessed” can also be translated as “happy.”

  • moralistic duty vs. for ourselves = false dilemma

    There are other options such as, “to praise God”

    • You’re the one creating the false dilemma. If praising God has to preclude self-benefit, it’s a moralistic duty. Many Christians need to feel like they’re doing something they don’t want to do so they can get credit for making an arduous sacrifice.

      • doulos41

        Maybe you’re both creating a false dilemma? Gary seems to suggest that “praise God” is completely separate from “for ourselves”–and Morgan, you’re right that it need not be. But Morgan seems to suggest that everything is EITHER self-benefit or moralistic duty–and Gary is right that we need not accept either of these two options.

        Morgan, your psychologizing of others is a bit onerous (I could easily psychologize your “need” to “feel like” you are exposing others’ moralism). Why not accept that many Christians, following Scripture, wish to humbly strive for a bit of self-denial in their worship, and need not be tarred with the “moralistic” brush? Other Christians, following Scripture, wish to emphasize the way that even self-denial ultimately benefits us, and need not be tarred with the “anthropocentric” brush.

      • Arak Seepoom

        your argument looses most of its force if in fact most Christians are not worshiping because they are working on angle to obtain what they to be moral superiority. that most are doing this is simply your take on things; it’s an opinion only.

  • summers-lad

    I agree with the headline of Victoria Osteen’s comment but not the text of it, I think. I suspect – indeed, fear – that worshipping God is indeed often for ourselves. The activity of “worship” gives us a sense of comfort, rightness, wellbeing. If that is true, it is truly self-serving. This is different from the “sacrifice” that you portray in your post, although that no doubt is also a valid observation. But Mrs Osteen seems to be encouraging a self-serving approach: worship God because of what you will get from God. All of these are opposites of Christ’s hard call to die to self.
    I wholeheartedly agree with you that we don’t need to worship to massage God’s ego (which I have too often heard implied, if not stated outright). I also agree that worship – if we are truly meeting God – is thoroughly good for us, but for us as people made in God’s image, not as consumers.

  • Larry Miles

    Why, there seems to be a need to, give some sort of “pass,” to Ms. Osteen is baffling. She spoke out of the abundance of her heart. When people have to decode, something said from the pulpit and take responsibility, as to allude to, “This is what they MAY have meant?” that is very problematic. Ms Osteen, meant, what she said, and it was wrong, and is indicative of a faulty, Biblical construct and exposes, what she “really,” (no pun intended) believes. Jesus, did not give the Samaritan woman, “brownie points,” for agreeing that worshiping God was essential, per her traditions. Her, reasoning/conclusions, was faulty, and in no uncertain terms, Jesus, let her know, she had no clue, what she was talking about, (John 4:1-26).

    • Tracy

      Since people are different and understand things differently, your analysis is extremely faulty. We are human beings. What is crystal clear to one person may be cloudy to another. No matter how clear Victoria stated her feelings, there would be someone to question it. And there was no reasonings from the samaritan woman. Your speech is just as cloudy as you claim Osteen’s is. Jesus said God the Father is looking for true worshipers to worship in Spirit and in truth.

      I realize i am sounding negative and divisive. I do not wish this for the church. I hope we can come together and as long as we know that Jesus is the Only Way, our Only Savior, we can work together. Unfortunately, until Jesus comes back, we are going to have misunderstandings. Love in Christ .

    • I think your reading of Jesus’ interaction with the Samaritan woman says more about you than about Jesus. If she left that conversation thinking wow this guy just showed me what an idiot I am, why in the world would she run overjoyed to get her whole village to come meet him? Also you use too many commas. I used to be an English teacher. Pet peeve.

      • Me10

        She was overjoyed because Jesus understood completely who she was and her erroneous motivations. She recognized Him as divine. It’s the VERY thing that makes us Christians: “I’m a sinner, flawed and weak. Here is God in all His perfection, holy and merciful. I need Him.”

        The idea that Christians worship out of a sense of joyless duty is itself highly judgmental, not to mention presumptuous. For example, many people take joy in their duties, joy in serving as they are supposed to and trusting in God’s leadership.

        If we worship for ourselves in the sense that Osteen promotes, we are missing the point of being there. We worship God because He’s the divine creator of the Universe and the source of our life and salvation. We worship Him because He deserves worship. Any joy we have in worship should flow from that. Osteen has the cart before the horse, so to speak.

        Also, the “wow … I am” part should have been in quotes. I have an English BA. My pet peeve is punctuation corrections that are themselves incorrectly punctuated. (Though I’ve probably done it myself, on occasion. 🙂

        • “We worship Him because He deserves worship.” I want to worship God because I genuinely delight in his presence, not just because I think it’s something I “should” do because he “deserves” it. Now it’s probably true that I have to do the latter in order to get to the former, but it’s also true that the evangelical Christianity I grew up in teaches that if you enjoy something, it’s probably wrong. And it used the word “joy” in joyless ways. I’ve interacted with many Christians whose “joy in serving as they are supposed to” was articulated in their sense of gaining a soapbox to judge others severely. We should always be on guard against getting overly enamored with ourselves for doing what we’re supposed to.

      • Larry Miles

        Sorry Morgan. A student, as per essays, conveying thought, logic, research, grammar, syntax, etc. The woman at the well went back and evangelized, because she was cut to the heart, over her sin. The mention of 5 husbands, was not a casual discourse. The woman was an adulterer and Jesus forgave her. No one realizes the need for a Savior, until they realize they have sinned, or are sinning against a holy God. I’d say, you need an understanding of the gravity of sin. Why you choose to interpret the woman at the well as an, “idiot,” is beyond me. #yourproblem. “You worship, what you do not know,” is a direct statement to, awaken the woman from her position of ignorance, relative to worship.

  • Tony Moore

    It’s not so hard to understand what she said. http://youtu.be/7xGrLfpNTuI

  • Michael J O’Brien

    Christ in His sermon on the mount said, “go to your room close the door behind you and say, OUR FATHER WHO ART IN HEAVEN ALL HALLOWED BE THY NAME, LET THY KINGDOM COM THY WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN, GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD AND FORGIVE US OUR TRESPASSES AS WE FORGIVE THOSE WHO TRESPASS AGAINST US, FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM THE POWER AND THE GLORY FOREVER. AMEN. For GOD knows what is in your hearts” He also said,”for those of you who go to the Temples and come out smiling have received their reward”.
    I say live by the sermon on the Mount and you won’t go far wrong. For CHRIST did not say go out build me Temples/Church’s/Chapels etc He was very explicit in what he said. Not only that but there are so many different breakaway Christian Church’s with their own Agendas that bring about the comments and other interference’s with other breakaway Church’s that create wars arguing and infighting. This is not what Christ wanted. People seeking the power of GOD over His peoples. To be a true Christian do as Christ says not what you think GOD wants.

  • Me10

    The simplest argument I can make against Osteen’s comment, attitude, and Morgan’s take is to observe that such an approach gets cause and effect backwards, and it does so by forgetting just who God really is. He’s the creator of the Universe. He’s the holy judge of all. He’s the source of all life and salvation.

    We should worship Him because of that, not because worshiping is happy time. We should worship God because He is awesome, majestic, beautiful, and perfectly holy – all the things we recognize we are not when we come to Him through Christ. Yet, the beautiful thing is that when we worship Him in this way, there is real, magnificent joy. That’s where the joy comes from.

    Yes, God wants us to be happy, but that’s just another reason He is magnificent. The moment we make worship about our happiness first is the moment we start worshiping something other than God.

    • And again, I would say that some people are more in love with their conformity to the “shoulds” of their doctrine than they are in love with God himself. It’s a legitimate danger to be wary of.

  • RGII

    I have a question, can any of you answer:

    If you get sick with a bad disease will you not go to the hospital? Will you instead go to your church and pray? Will you ask the preacher or the hand of god to heal you?

    No you wont. You are going to go to the hospital. That place where all those smart people that spent their lives learning about science conduct their business.

    Next time you go to stick that check or that cash into the collection cup at church, why dont you instead take a step back, think about the billions of people medical SCIENCE has cured and/or helped (probably many of your friends and family), and then walk that money down to your local university and give it to them instead.

    • summers-lad

      Yes I would go to the hospital. And I give a lot of money to hospitals and some to universities through my taxes. That is a good thing, and no less so because it’s compulsory.
      But that is not the reason for giving money to churches. Churches are involved in many things: building community, meeting lonely people, debt relief, famine relief, to name but a few that may not come within a narrow definition of “gospel” but are to me workings-out of the gospel. (Not that these activities are confined to churches or Christians of course.)
      Similarly, if I want to contribute to freeing political prisoners I’ll donate to Amnesty International, not the British Heart Foundation.

  • Conrad from PA

    Actually, I agreed more with this post (http://themattwalshblog.com/2014/09/04/joel-osteen-wife-heretics-thats-america-loves/) than yours. We shouldn’t water down the Gospel.

    • Please engage with whatever you disagree with in my post instead of link-spamming me with Matt Walsh. He’s got the whole world following him already.

      • Arak Seepoom

        he is engaging you. maybe you don’t like the engagement, but he is engaging you.

  • Andrew Dowling

    The bad assumption with much of the responses to the Osteen quote is this anthropomorphic vision of God as a being akin to a king from the Middle Ages, who demands his share of “glory” from his human subjects just as Julius Caesar would circa 50 BC. IF God were the all powerful, all-knowing Being inscribed in much of classical theism, why the demand for very specific “props” from the lowly humans? Wouldn’t that make Him either insecure, or simply a tyrannical despot?

    That said, I utterly despise the Osteens. The “Prosperity Gospel” is so detached from the Judeo-Christian tradition it’s not even funny . . .

    I like your take Morgan. Let us do good deeds both for ourselves and others as the entryway to being closer to God.

    • Very good point about the anthropomorphic origin of this “glory” theology.

    • Benjamin Martin

      Anthropomorphic, indeed. The world is covered with 70% water. Whales have brains much larger in size, and more highly developed (deeper folds in the frontal lobes.)

      God is actually a Whale, and created the largest mammals on this world in her likeness.

    • livefreeordie4

      The Osteens know that teaching in the Judeo-Christian tradition won’t be good for their bottom line. Like Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker they aren’t Christian but greedy shysters out for a buck. The Osteens are more attractive so many more fall for their deception. Superstitious people are quite easy to deceive to begin with.

  • Tim Walker

    Thank you! Imagine living your entire life before the camera and having every word you utter from the stage broadcast worldwide. Every preacher, and most public speakers in general, with any longevity of ministry has become tongue-tied, or lost their thoughts and misspoke, or said stupid stuff that had to be re-spoken or explained…unless there aren’t enough smart people in the crowd to notice. See, I just did it! Just saying. Haters need to leave the woman alone!

    • That kind of grace is wise and sorely lacking in our gotcha media culture.

    • Gonzalo Esquivel

      Preachers need to live above reproach. Study 2 Peter. and ask yourself where in scripture does God say he wants us to be happy? I do see where he says he wants us to be Holy like he is and that the Joy of the Lord is our strength.

  • Bob Lorenzo

    The one thing I’ve noticed this week is how much people disagree with one another on just about every topic. The fact that people do most things for themselves should not surprise anyone. I have throughout my life observed many preachers use the term “Bless God”. What makes anyone think God needs to be blessed? The fact (to me) is when one uses that term, it should be known that our blessing comes right back to us and it may come back many times greater. We please the Lord in blessing Him, that’s the worship part. But don’t be ignorant to the fact that He gives the blessing right back to us, that’s the part of doing it for ourselves. When people go out to spread the Word it always benefits the spreader not just the recipient. That’s a blessing unto ourselves, it comes to us in the form of a reward. It places another jewel in our crown of salvation, so therefore one does it unto themselves. The simple fact could be, the one getting saved may get their crown earlier in life, so they can start earning their own spiritual rewards (jewels). I don’t think for one second I’m the reason why that person was saved. The bible tells us we were chosen before the foundations of the world, not one will be lost. So some of us might end up with just the crown without any jewels, which could happen if we wait until we’re on our death bed. That could also happen if we chose to do nothing for ourselves after salvation to bless others. Remember, if we knock on a door and it gets slammed in our face, we’re supposed to brush the dirt off our feet but we still get blessed. It’s always a win-win situation with God. If we bless someone and they reject it, our blessing comes back to us maybe two fold. When we suffer for Christ, does it mean we have to whip ourselves or that it should be painful? It could simply mean to “suffer the children”; nurture, feed and protect. So yes we do it for ourselves and in return it pleases God, it’s also part of worshiping the Lord. We need to find some common ground as good Christians, not by criticizing but coming together and agreeing. When someone is wrong, correct it in love not discourse. God Bless and lighten up, life is short. I’m pretty sure you can’t get blessed for being negative. Bob L. 🙂

  • Tony TheMan

    Here’s how I would have said what Victoria Osteen said – by changing “God” to “Mum”:

    “I just want to encourage every one of us to realize when we obey God, we’re not just doing it for God—we’re also doing it for ourselves, because God takes pleasure when we’re happy. That’s the thing that gives Him the greatest joy…”

    ‘It’s like our Mother who art on earth.

    ‘When we obey our mother, we’re not doing it just for her..we’re doing it for ourselves. Because our mothers take pleasure when we’re happy. Do good, partly because its the right thing to do but also ’cause your mum wants you to be happy (and she knows you’ll be happiest when you’re doing good.). When you go home to be with your mum, and when you show your appreciation of her you’re not just doing it for her, really. You’re doing it for yourself. And that makes her happy.’

    • Gonzalo Esquivel

      Show me where in scripture does God say he wants us to be happy?

      • Tony TheMan

        Christ is very clear that love is His/God’s key commandment.

        Unfortunately, out of the Bible’s 1000+ pages very little is written on what love is, what it isn’t, how to develop it, and to release that which gets in its way.

        (1 Corinthians 13 is great. But it doesn’t really define the core of what love is. NeilaG’s quote from Luke 9:24 shows that if we reduce our ego and connect instead with God then we lead a full life (of love). But the reality is that many people who say they are following God are really only following their interpretation of what God is.)

        So it is useful to think of earthly examples of what a truly loving person would be like. That is partly why God is called “Father”. So thinking about what our Father and our Mother would wish for us will help to understand what God wants for us.

        Would it not be fair to say that our Mother (and indeed anyone who really loves us) wants us to be happy?

    • NeilaG

      [23] And he(Jesus) said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. [24] For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.”

      (Luke 9:23-24 ESV)

      Worship is not for ourselves. It is not “worship me” doing…..the focus is not ourselves but God. Words of Jesus himself is very clear on this, that if we are to follow him, we should deny ourselves and take up his cross.

  • Ateca Kaloudina

    Believers, those words were uttered
    during worship time, where the Holy Spirit would move and give utterances and
    revelations too deep to the carnal mind to grasp. He sees our hearts and
    no secret is hid from Him. Different people have different needs so the
    Holy Spirit gives words of utterances to suit the individual needs. The
    scripture says who can direct the Spirit of God? who can tell Him what to
    do? Whatever GOD does is because He loves us as a Father loves his
    children and speak words and instruction which when we follow, would be for our
    own good. Such is our God who is all sufficient, when we worship Him
    where ever, whenever, it is for our own good. We, believers benefit, because
    worship brings His presence down to us and benefits us by giving us His power
    to enable us live in obedience to His words. I personally rejoice and
    worship Him every time I think of Him because He is my joy ; and find that the
    more I praise Him, the more I know I am close to Him and remain in His
    presence!, therefore its for my benefit!

    – Go Victoria! May God continue to bless you and your family. Keep
    moving forward in the LORD and do not turn to the left or right, listen only to
    the voice of the Holy Spirit and obey Him!

    – Last but not least, why are we Christian making this an issue to divide
    and separate us? Where is the love for one another Jesus commanded
    us? If we truly love one another, why are we backstabbing each
    other and pick on people whose words or action offend us? Look only to
    GOD believers, I pray, and let’s shut the devil out of our midst by loving and
    forgiving each other. The only one issue we should stand and speak out
    against are the increasing level of the manifestation of the work of darkness,
    creating fear and chaos in our midst. God bless us all and give us His
    wisdom to walk in love.

    • Gonzalo Esquivel

      study 2 peter and see why we need to be discerning. The Osteens are what Peter is warning us about.

      • Ateca Kaloudina

        Hi Gonzalo! I am only human, so I cannot judge anyone because judgement belongs to God alone. I am always mindful of the scripture that says this ….”always consider others better than yourself” As long as you walk in the Holy Spirit, you will never fear any spirit of error because the word of God says “Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world!” The Holy Spirit of God is my guide, counsellor and helper ; as long as I allow Him to see, think, and walk with and through me, I will never walk in darkness. The same Power of God is the grace that enables me to live in obedience to all His commandments. He also enables me to see others as God sees me. He is our Wonderful Savior, as long as I live in obedience to His words, He remains with me through His Holy Spirit, in whom is no darkness at all. Awesome God!

        • Gonzalo Esquivel

          Don’t confuse discernment with judgement. Two very different things here. When Christ came he did not come to condemn, because we were all already condemned. He came to save. God is our judge and will judge us according to what He sees fit. Now, we as believers are equipped with the HS to guide us, He is our helper to live our lives Holy as He. The HS helps us discern! We as believers need to be discerning! Peter is telling believers to be discerning to be aware of those false teachers! 2 Peter is warning us about people like the Osteens.

          • Ateca Kaloudina

            Don’t you get it Gonzalo? You and others have already judged the Osteens as false teachers ; as such you have judged and point fingers. If they are really as you have alleged, then they will answer to God. You and I just have to ensure we judged ourselves that we do not sin against anyone nor break God’s command on loving one another. Just let go of this issue, give it over God!

        • Gonzalo Esquivel

          Ps you paraphrased Philippians 2:3. Paul is talking to believers to be like minded. To be servants and take of one another. If you take that paraphrased verse you used. To consider others greater than yourself. It’s true, but this is between believers. I do not fear any evil, for Hod is with me always. Christ has already conquered sin, Satan and death! There is nothing to fear for the believer. I am very aware that there are false teachers they have always been around. Peter is warning those believers in 2 Peter and His word is still true and real vent for us. We need to be discerning and speak Gods truth to those who are being deceived!!! Their eternal life is at stake!!!

          • Ateca Kaloudina

            Gonzalo, God;s word says ‘Cast your care upon Him for He cares for you’ So, if you really care for people not to be deceived because their eternal life is at stake, THEN, GO TO GOD, GIVE AND CAST YOUR CARES UNTO HIM. Stay under His feet in prayer on the issue until you feel the burden off your shoulder, then thank Him for taking over, and He will. Check out Jeremaiah 33:3, it’s a wonderful promise! Its time to cry unto Him to enable us understand the deep things of God and the reasons He allows things to happen to our lives.

    • Bob Lorenzo

      Beautiful.

      • Ateca Kaloudina

        God bless brother!

        • Bob Lorenzo

          and back to you. 🙂

    • NeilaG

      [23] And he(Jesus) said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. [24] For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.”

      (Luke 9:23-24 ESV)

      • Ateca Kaloudina

        Hi there Neila!
        I will give you a situation where that powerful Bible verse is would be relevant.
        Situation – I have a bad quarrel with someone and I was so hurt with the nasty words and maybe false accusation he/she threw at me. After the incident, when I am left alone, I decided to take my revenge on that person. Now, full of anger and hurt, that Bible verse you quoted above was dropped into my mind and heart by the Holy Spirit. So, because I love the LORD, instead of taking my revenge on that person, that powerful verse challenges me and discerns my thought and imagination of my heart ; so as soon as I give in to those words, its power removes my anger, calms me down and enables me to forgive. Essentially, I have just denied myself, let go of all my own emotion and allow God to have His way in me. I have just ‘lost’ myself for righteousness sake, because I love the LORD. I had just denied my right not to fake revenge although I was falsely accused.
        – God’s blessings and favour pour down into our lives due to obedience to His words, nothing else. God bless!

  • Robyn Bray

    A huge part of Olsteen’s message is to not live in the tiny box other try to cram you into. The boxer uppers are condemning Victoria for not trembling in their box, but speaking from the heart about her relationship with God. She’s coming as a child. The box keepers would be better off as accountants or grammarians because nothing to they say is real faith any more than dot to dot is art.

    I don’t watch the Olsteens often, but when I do, I hear practical application of Biblical truth that encourages and strengthens. I don’t hear “prosperity.”. I hate the name it – claim it theology with all my heart. That’s not what I’ve heard from Joel & Victoria. The world and the church does everything possible to drain our confidence & energy… even our faith. The Olsteens say, ” Jesus loves you. Come to him. Don’t let others break you down. Give yourself and God a chance to

  • Victoria just misspoke. Nobody is perfect and she simply made a mistake by putting words unwisely. And I don’t think Joel Osteen is “prosperity” preacher. He is a “Faith Builder.” Faith is things we hope for and is to believe things unseen. It is to follow Jesus Christ based on the Word of God and His Promises only through Bible. As it is written, if you believe (Word of Truth without doubting), all things are possible. Therefore, I still respect and love Osteens since they are trying to build up Faith in God!!

    • Gonzalo Esquivel

      How so are they trying to build of Faith in God YSim? We just studied the book of 2 Peter and God warns us believers of false prophets and teachers. There are plenty of verses through out the scriptures describing what these false teachers look like and unfortanuately the Osteens fit the profile to a T! I see you have bought into these type of teaching since it’s written all over you comment. First of all if you are a believe who knows God’s word why would even utter something that is not true? I know she is not a pastor, but the same goes to anyone who claims to be a believer. Peter tells us that God has a greater punishment for those who twist the scriptures. Now what do you mean that Osteen is a faith builder? Sorry, but I have never heard that. As a pastor you are responsible for teaching God’s truth as God has intended it. You must live above reproach, always spkeaking the TRUTH. God is the only one who gives us faith when we ask for it. How do we follow Christ based on the WOrd of God and what are His promises? We follow Christ by following Him as at any cost Matthew 10:35-39.To truly follow Christ means that he has truly become everything to us, Luke 9:23. Following Jesus means to strive to be like Him.He always obeyed His Father and that is what we ought to do as his followers. that’s what it means to make Him Lord of our lives, Romans 10:9, 1Corinthians 12:3, 2 Corinthians 4:5. To follow Christ means we apply the truths we learn from His Word and live as if Jesus walked beside us in our lives. His promise is that we as believers will have eternal life with him. Our hope in Christ. This means our hope is in His promise that he will return and we will be with him for eternity. In this hope/certainty we rejoice and have joy. Our joy in Christ is not circumstantial it is a promise from God who always keeps his promises. This is not our home! God is not so as much concerned with our happiness here as he is with us being Holy as he himself is Holy. Joel Osteen talks about living your best life here as if this is the only life we have to live as if there is no looking forward to that Hope he speaks about! As if eternity with him is not better than this life! Paul talks about being content in all circumstances. Contentment is very much a part of a believers life. We are to be content in all circumstances because of the Hope that is to come. We must look to that day when Jesus returns and we as believers are united with Him forevermore. This is not our home.

      • Hi Gonzalo,

        I said Victoria Osteen made a mistake. I am sure
        she didn’t mean it but it sounded otherwise and millions of people
        watched it unfortunately. However, you see, God will take care of it
        through this and the Osteens will renew their mind if there was anything
        more than being humbled.

        While I cannot deny what you say, there
        is another side of Faith all throughout the bible if you pay attention
        to it and I really wish your heart will open to them. The faith that can
        move mountain and live more than a conqueror in this world with Christ.
        That is what He want us to live because He loves us so much!! That is
        why He took all or our sin and iniquities on the cross to ease our
        burden while we live on the journey on this earth as well as give us
        eternal life. Therefore, we received inheritance to live victorious all
        the time in whatever circumstances if we believe and live with voice of
        truth. We cannot make Jesus’ death worthless!

        It
        is completely to live against the opposite, voice of the accuser,
        darkness, the satan. Faith is first, to believe then step out of faith
        by walking it. We have always been in this spiritual war. We need to
        completely shut down to the accuser then we can open the window of
        heaven and blessings. It is hard since we are so accustomed to the dark
        side of us.

        Also, can’t you see in the Bible that
        how many miracles Jesus gifted us freely and His words were so powerful
        and optimistic? It is because our God is supernatural. He is not like
        us, natural. I know this is the hardest part but if you only believe,…
        those that is written in the Bible, you can do all things in His name.
        That is the faith. Also in order to receive His amazing grace (this
        mighty power), we need to deny ourselves, meaning our selfish and sinful
        nature, take up the cross which means to follow what Jesus did in the
        bible, I don’t think we need to suffer the passion of Christ; He did for
        us already. He defeated Satan at the Cross!! We cannot do on our own but in Jesus. We can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. That kind of wonderful, optimistic and powerful Faith.

        Peter began to walk on water, when he doubted he began to sink in…..

        It
        is also written,” First seek the Kingdom of God and its righteousness
        then everything will be added unto you” What is the Kingdom? It is
        supreme rule of God on this earth as well. His righteousness is trying
        to be like Jesus with true repentance, we will never be holy until we
        come to home but God sees our heart and forgives all the time and He
        does not remember at all. Then we have the authority ruling over the
        world as a child of God in Christ Jesus and overcome any bad
        circumstances and make victory over or through trials and tribulations. I
        want to say this is the truth of good news that we need to press on.
        Satan
        is always trying to play with attack our mind with darkness and
        weakness with wicked schemes through any means including circumstances
        you said.

        Joel Osteen is not the only pastor I
        watch every Sunday but I love to listen his sermon since he builds me
        up, not tearing down. To be honest I just realized about a week ago that
        what he was trying to say was FAITH that our God is good and loving
        father, filled with his unfailing love and grace, His mighty power. He
        desperately want to bless us and that is why He sent us the Holy Spirit
        to lead our life!

        The Lord’s prayer says, “Thy
        Kingdom come and thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Jesus
        wants us to live fully with His promises until we go home. He has a plan
        for each one of us that we need to live for it during this time on
        earth. Otherwise, what can we do before heaven? Think about that. Jesus
        will suffer with us when we are miserable.

        In order to be obedient to Him, we need to try to achieve the fruits of the Holy Spirits

        So
        we need to be His hands and feet in this world by spreading out His
        good news until the end of earth that God loves each one of us to know
        Him faithfully, not being enslaved to the prince of world, darkness. We
        were born, possessed by him and are natural. That is why it is so hard
        to be faithful but we can ask the Holy Spirit to help us.

        I can continue to say endless…but I need to stop and hope this will give you some clarification. God bless!!!!!

  • Yerp72

    wow. you critique the “middle class” approach to Christianity in favor of the wealthy’s totally corrupt version.
    you and the Osteens are unlikely to ascend.

  • If I’m not a big fan of Victoria Osteen’s statement, then I’m hardly a fan of what Jesus said that father of his prodigal son said:

    But the father said to his servants,

    ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him,
    and put a ring on his hand,
    and shoes on his feet.
    23 And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat
    and celebrate.
    24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again;
    he was lost, and is found.’

    And they began to celebrate.

    Now, let’s edit in the Bill Cosby clip, quipping about Jesus’s hyperbole about it being about this son: “that’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard in my life!”

    • “Now, let’s edit in the Bill Cosby clip, quipping about Jesus’s hyperbole about it being about this son: “that’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard in my life!” Oh, that’s good!

  • Chris Wyatt

    Helmut Thielicke, the German Lutheran theologian and pastor during his first trip to the United States after WW II was confronted by a parishioner following a worship service in Chicago with the question, ‘Did you enjoy the service, Dr. Thielicke?’ He was taken aback and had to begin to examine anew the nature and intent of worship. He described his initial feeling of not believing you should enjoy worship, it is a duty. He changed his position and until his death he believed that worship was to result in joy. This is not euphoric happiness, but a confidence that “the greatest joy of a Christian is to give joy to God”. That may mean to walk away reassured, happy, concerned that some task is not complete, that new tasks await. Any of these, or all of these or others, but the fact that God has touched us and that we have touched God is the driving force of worship. Martin Luther was right when he said “The church short-circuits the natural flow of human spirituality by filling the hearts of people with guilt instead of understanding.” Worship provides relationship and understanding.
    Finally, Thielicke noted Nietzsche made a true observation when he said ‘You will have to look more redeemed if I am to believe in your Redeemer.’
    Thank you for your thoughts and insights

  • That is exactly what these television preachers believe… they are doing it for themselves so they can buy luxury homes none of us get to live in and luxury items none of us are rich enough to be able to afford.

    What this country finds difficult to understand is precisely how difficult it is to place our faith in such television evangelical preachers. We have difficulty in believing them and we have difficulty in denouncing them for most of us live in a country that has inculcated in us a strange sense of the meaning of freedom. Most Americans find it absolutely difficult to comprehend that freedom is not a license to do as we please and it is not a license to believe what we want.

    These television preachers are more like Tallinn preachers than Christian preachers. The primitive christian church was all about the community of christians and about sharing! These millionaire preachers are all about themselves and their wealth accumulation and they tell us we can all do it if only we too are willing to do GOD’S WORK… BUT NOT FOR GOD… FOR OURSELVES… TO MAKE GOD HAPPY!

    I wonder from what theological seminary of divinity school these fake preachers graduated from!

    They are also the very first ones to condemn the past popes and cardinals for living in luxury and dressing in luxury and enjoys foods fit for kings and they do the same thing but pretend they are not doing so!

    We have a very strange system! No wonder so many think it is time the churches start paying their fair share of taxes.

    How much do the Osteens pay in taxes?

  • Bob Lorenzo

    How is it that we are all supposed “come to the Lord as little children” but some of us have the nerve to explain ourselves using $10,000.00 words and criticize others without knowing any facts beforehand. I don’t know that these “wealthy” television preachers take any money from their ministry (the Osteens), besides all people will answer to the Lord for their intentions. I have a sneaky suspicion they pay all their taxes to the letter of the law. Most of their money likely comes from book sales which is their money. Here we have two people that want others to do well for themselves. Why? I guess, so we could bless others and compound that reason by how many people actually succeed in doing so. There is this sense I get that some feel you can’t be good and rich at the same time, suffering is the only way to know or please God. Just so everyone knows, I am a poor man in my view but if I did have great fortune I’d probably give most of it away. However, finding a way to grow that blessing so it could outlast mine, my children’s and grandchildren’s lives would be a smart investment. Paul Newman did it with salad dressing and he was a Jewish man. I heard he gave away every penny of those profits and stated it on the product label which is still in business. What’s wrong with wanting others to excel and preaching it? I may be poor in dollars and cents but rich in spirit. No one has the right to judge me, be opinionated about that or anything else. They should remove the moat from their eyes before complaining that I have the proverbial speck in mine. The guy that said while you point your finger at others there’s always three fingers pointing back at you, should have been given a medal. Maybe we should find out what the Osteens actually do with that ministry money. I’ll bet their glad to give anyone that asks a copy of the year end report for that ministry to all that ask. In case one doesn’t know, people that talk about everyone else but themselves will most likely never fix their own wretchedness. Also, thank God no one can actually guess who’s going to “ascend” and who is not. People should be forced to expose their own sinfulness before being opinionated about others. As to how we should worship is no ones business as well. That word means to love among other positive meanings. So if someone only loves God throughout their whole life, it seems to me thats all that’s needed. It becomes sickening to see, hear and read all the haters tear someone and each other down. Then people wonder why some wouldn’t go to church if it was the only safe place left to go. By the way that father of the prodigal son, he did that because he loved his son. He probably “worshipped the shoes he walked in”. Doesn’t it sound familiar? The Father loves His Son and the worshipper loves their Father. Go figure… I wouldn’t be surprised if the Father worships His children too. By the way, I’ve never read Nietzsche, it seems to me he needed to look more redeemed to believe in my Redeemer. This letter is not meant to call anyone out, just food for thought. Maybe the Father worshipped the shoes His Son walked in. You think? -BL

    • Andrew Dowling

      “What’s wrong with wanting others to excel and preaching it?”

      Then be a self-help speaker; don’t mask your self-help in Christian clothing .. Jesus’s message wasn’t “get wealth and make it grow because it makes you happy!”

      “People should be forced to expose their own sinfulness before being opinionated about others.”

      This is basically the classic retort people have for their favored preachers when they don’t have anything substantial to defend them with . . .

      • Bob Lorenzo

        You sir, have no idea of who I am or what I’m about. It’s for this reason I stopped communicating with thoughtless individuals 30 years ago. The message from the Lord, I received was to shut my mouth and live in the Word, I learned from reading scripture. The purpose was to show evidence of what the Lord intended for His people to learn and how to conduct themselves, drawing others into His realm. I try to teach people the word of God; however, one must be drawn to it in order to receive it. That is why it’s a waste of time thinking everyone will learn what you’re teaching, all at the same time. A teacher needs to pray for patience to know what their saying is actually being received, so they’re words are not falling on deaf ears. Also, so they’re not wasting they’re time or the ones that should be receiving a spiritual teaching. I’ve noticed throughout many years most people learn something and are blessed when I teach but not always because I’m only human, prone to make mistakes. That by the way is humility. I always know when the Lord is in the midst because the teaching is received when He’s there and it has little to do with me getting through to them, it’s Him. You obviously don’t read very well or can’t comprehend what you do read. I stated I am poor, I don’t think I’d make a very good “self help speaker” and can’t stomach the cruelty that comes out the mouths of people like you. You obviously need a class on positive communication, if one exists. I find that many individuals mix up and blend together the spiritual realm with physical realm. It confuses the young in Christ, often pushing them away instead of drawing them closer to the Church and Christ. Jesus did preach wealth, His was of the spirit. While he did say, “it would be easier to fit a wealthy man through the eye of a needle, than it would be for him to enter into the gates of heaven”. He also quoted, “to give your wealth away”. In either case, spiritually or the physical, it’s meant to give Joy to that individual and get him or her blessed while blessing others. Both result in happiness, since the word joy means to be happy (“great happiness”). I have no favorite preacher but tend to listen to many that make scriptural sense to me. The one thing I don’t appreciate is sitting there, having to keep a dictionary next to my side, while trying to figure out what some ass is saying. So keep your anthropomorphic retort to yourself (mythological arguments, for those of us that are to stupid to understand your rhetoric). Maybe you need to become a mind reader since it appears you act like you know what others are thinking and what they meant to say when giving their opinion. Either way you won’t be hearing from me again. Gob bless you, it seems as though you need it. -B

  • Billy North

    Morgan,

    I love your statement: “… Those who worship as a “selfish” act of hunger”

    Brilliant!!

    Billy

    • That’s all I know. In Psalm 42, it says, “My tears have been my food while all day long they say to me where is your God.” I worship sometimes with tears and it is my food.

  • Jonathan Tobias

    So Victoria Osteen’s words need clarifying to be defended. That much is obvious from the media backlash that reacted to phrases like “Just do good for your own self. Do good because God wants you to be happy” and “When you come to church, when you worship Him, you’re not doing it for God really. You’re doing it for yourself, because that’s what makes God happy.”

    Mr Guyton tries to rescue poor Victoria (and Joel) from such rhetoric by changing a few terms and hurling back a jab at the backlashers. “It may be the case that when we worship, we’re honestly doing it ‘for ourselves,'” he concedes, “but we’re also doing it in order to lose ourselves.”

    This last phrase — “we’re doing it in order to lose ourselves” — is clearly meant to make everything better. Actually, it does not make it better. Christianity — at least as the Prophets and Apostles preached it — involves the sacrifice of ego and the ego’s subsequent becoming Christlike: not at all the “losing of ourselves.”

    Despite this probably unintentional skipping of doctrine, the writer is confident enough in his rebuttal that he moves immediately to accuse the Osteen critics that “People who worship as a moralistic duty are actually more focused on themselves in the self-justification they secretly covet than those who worship as a ‘selfish’ act of hunger.”

    Now that is a startling jump. I know what the term “duty” means: I am obliged to worship in Liturgy — from the Apostolic era, “forsaking not the assembly” was one of the primary responsibilities of being a Christian.

    But I have no idea what “moralistic” means — or at least what Mr Guyton makes of this term. Is it “moralistic” to say that I “should” participate in worship and prayer, or receive the Eucharist, or put the interests of others in front of my own? Well, then, call me a “moralist.”

    Life is full of duties. God’s design for life is delineated by a lot of what we call “morals” — and there was a time that we were not uncomfortable with calling such indictions “morals.” But perhaps some of us are not contemporaneous enough, and we are not used to correlating our church language and programming with Nielson ratings.

    It may be a real insult to denigrate the attempt “to do the right thing” as mere “perpetual self-justification” (talk about moralizing). This attempt to follow a “right way” has a long history in Christianity — all through the Old Testament and the New, the Didache and the Fathers. It has nothing to do with the close-minded culture of the middle-class or the bourgeoisie. Admittedly, there have been many hypocrites and other failures over the years (including myself): but the falling away from these expectations of right behavior in no way invalidates the truth of rightness.

    “Blessed are they who hunger for righteousness” — that seems full of moral duty and drudgery in this present context.

    If you want to characterize the attempt to “do the right thing” as just a bunch of “drudgery,” well then, you’re entitled to that feeling. But do not accuse those who walk this path of “drudgery” of doing it for show, or doing it for superiority. There are many, many people who attend little, poorly appointed churches on Sunday mornings who are doing so because it is “the right thing to do.” There is no entertainment, no ecstasy or excitement, no glamor and certainly no bright lights and TV.

    There is, rather, a humble embrace of the quotidian. Whether there is true worship of the Father “in spirit and in truth” is a mystery, but at least there is nothing obvious that crowds out the real objective:

    Worship is not for the worshiper at all. The ego is not forgotten, it is poured out in complete sacrifice.

    But here is the main irony in Mr Guyton’s cheerful apology for the Osteens. The Osteens themselves pack quite a lot of moralizing in their message:

    “You should be happy” (when maybe, you should actually repent).
    “You should want to be comfortable” (when maybe, discomfort is often necessary in growth).
    “You should be entertained with easy platitudes” (when maybe, theology is always hard).
    “You should rejoice in your situation” (when maybe, the Lord is more interested in your salvation).
    “You should be happy” (when maybe, the Lord is actually scary in His beauty, overwhelming in His peace).

    In the effort to make worship so “non-drudgmental,” they have made worship not worship at all.

    • BludBaut

      You might consider looking in the mirror and asking the Lord why you judge and criticize with such generosity and pray like a miser for your brother and sister who bless more people in 30 min. than you will in your entire life.

      • Jonathan Tobias

        Well, we could go on and on with “You judged, so I will judge you,” and then I will say “You judged my judging them, so I will judge your judging my judging” …

        You are right that I am criticizing Joel and Victoria Osteen. I am indeed saying that the idea that they proclaimed “Worship is for my benefit” is a non-Christian statement, and would have been denounced by the Apostles.

        Here is the problem, though. There is a world of difference between a criticism that is part of discernment, and the judgmentalism that the Lord condemns.

        You may want to review your assumptions, accordingly, about comparisons like “blessing more in 30 min. than you will in your entire life.”

        I will ask the Lord, certainly, to make me a more faithful prayer. I would rather not look in a mirror, if you don’t mind. I’d rather gaze into the icon of Christ.

      • Jason Bird

        You should ask yourself, “In whose name are they offering the blessing?”

        As far as judgement goes…I refer you to the Apostle Paul:

        9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. 11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister[c] but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people. 12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.” 1 Corinthians 5:9-13

  • BludBaut

    You made some good points, and you represented her well in one way.

    It’s nice to see someone trying to ameliorate the situation!

    Yet, you referenced only “worship.” Victoria first said “obey” and later said “worship” so your analysis, in referencing only “worship” leaves us wondering if you would have spoken differently if you had addressed both. They are not synonyms, but the point she was trying to make applies to both words.

    On what she meant: She meant what has been said by thousands of the same religious persuasions as the people who are now criticizing her and that was where you reasonably represented her in your next to last paragraph.

    Regarding people’s response, we hear differently when people we don’t like (but we love them in Jesus! [yeah, right]) say essentially the same thing as people we love! Unfortunately, those who hear us see our lack of objectivity more than we do!

    She was saying, as you pointed out, essentially, “obedience is for our benefit, not God’s.” Now, if the self-righteous religious phoniness hadn’t risen up in so many people, they could have easily seen the practical wisdom and reality of that. It’s really rather obvious.

    When we obey God, we’re not helping Him. He doesn’t need help; in fact, He needs nothing at all! Our obedience is always for ourselves, and our family and all those who are influenced by us, for the more we obey the Lord, the more we are yielding to Him, the more we manifest the fruit of the Spirit, the more we reap God’s blessings and those who come in contact with us reap the benefit.

    And our God has said this many times and many ways–that we will prosper and be blessed when we obey and we will suffer consequences and even judgment when we don’t. The very principle of “we reap what we sow” spoken of in the Scriptures references the spiritual application of the natural principle that everyone knows and understands. This wasn’t and isn’t hard to understand.

    It’s a shame that there is a lot of religious self-righteousness in people that makes us feel superior when we criticize someone, especially someone of a different abom… er… denomination. 😉

    Now, I don’t want to appear to whitewash Victoria. She made a glaring error. She said that God’s greatest joy is when we’re happy. I’m surprised that she hasn’t corrected that remark. It’s just wrong. While it’s true that the Lord does want us happy, it’s clear that our obedience of faith is the key to that happiness and it’s never presented as a primary goal for God, but something that He understands is important to us and has clearly told us that we’ll get that if we love Him and are obedient I don’t think there is one of us who is qualified to say what makes God the most happy because our grasp of God, I would hope everyone would agree, is limited.

    John said he had no greater joy than when his children walked in truth. I think that’s about as close as we could get to guessing on God’s greatest joy.

    • Jason Bird

      She hasn’t corrected her error because she does not see it as an error.

      She said in response to her critics, “While I admit that I
      could have been more articulate in my remarks, I stand by my point that
      when we worship God and are obedient to Him we will be better for it,”
      she said. “I did not mean to imply that we don’t worship God; that’s
      ridiculous, and only the critics and cynics are interpreting my remarks
      that way.”

      The Osteens are deaf to the critics who are shunning their happiness and prosperity theology as idolatry. They have not addressed that. They answer questions in feel good pop psychology, not sound theology.

      In Him,
      Jason Bird

  • Tracy

    Mr. Guyton, from what I gather (according to my very limited vocabulay due to me being among the poor class), your statements indicate that only the wealthy-class understand what she meant and that middle-class people view worship as something they are supossed to do or are required to do?

    May I please say to you that I spend most of my day, every day and not just on Sunday morning, in deep intimate worship to my King Jesus, God, not for myself or because I think I’m required to as a Christian believer, but because of WHO HE IS and because HE alone is worthy and deserves my highest praise!! And when I enter into private worship like that (you know, worship where only God can see and not other men), He pours out His Holy Spirit in such a way that I am so filled with joy and peace that nothing in this God forsaken world of idolatry, vanity, lust, pride, witchcraft and covetness could ever interfere with! I can’t help but wonder if all that money and spotlight were gone, if any of the wealthy class would still “feel” joy when they worship… that’s IF they still wanted to worship at all in the absence of money and fame.

    I’m sorry, but it IS about Him and ONLY Him…. worship is for HIS glory because of who He is, was and is to come!! It’s His GRACE that makes it about us! You know, the free ticket to Heaven because of the finished work Jesus did on the cross even though we ALL deserve to burn in hell for eternity! His grace and undying love for us is what makes Him worthy, and we should worship Him alone as the worthy Lamb of God and Magestey of Heaven!!

    My fervent prayers continue…

  • Jason Bird

    Mr. Guyton,

    You wrote, “…worshiping God is not supposed to be moralistic drudgery but actually a genuine source of deep joy.” You are correct in that should not be drudgery , but Worship is not supposed to create joy either.

    Worship is an expression of the Joy we have in our salvation through Christ Jesus. It is an outpouring, an offering from our souls to God. Thankfulness for God’s abundant blessings of forgiveness, mercy and grace. If you’re doing it because it makes to feel good, you’re doing it wrong.

    You then tried to make a connection to Jesus’ words in Matthew 6. Jesus’ exhortations were AGAINST doing these things for OUR benefit. Jesus said in Matthew 6:1, “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.” The remainder of Chapter 6 is just further illustration using the subjects of generosity, prayer, fasting, possessions, and faith. As Pastor Rick Warren so eloquently put it, it’s not about us.

    By the way…reading and teaching about any “secret reward” in the Bible is a form of Gnosticism. Our reward is our salvation, paid on the cross and is freely given…no secrets.

    In Him,
    Jason Bird
    Charlottesville, VA

    • summers-lad

      Jason
      In an ideal world, you are right, and we do come in and out of that ideal world. But in the world we live at least some of our time in, worship can create joy. Take the refrain of Psalm 42/43 for example: “Why are you so sad, my soul, why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, and I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God.”
      Have you ever prayed while not feeling at all like praying, or gone to worship because you knew it was good but you really didn’t want to? Have you ever found joy through doing that? I have.
      But thank you for keeping the focus on Jesus.

      • Jason Bird

        When I don’t feel like praying is exactly when I need to…it’s part of being obedient to God. We worship God because we are thankful for his blessings of mercy, grace and salvation through Jesus perfect work on the cross.

        Not because we got a raise at work. Not because our child was born healthy. Not because we finally graduated college. These are earthly things…idols. We give thanks to God in ALL things, because through ALL things he is perfecting us in him.

        So…when the Osteens tell their congregation to pray to God earnestly and they will prosper…how many people go away from God when that is not His plan for their life? A wise pastor once told me, “If you ever want to hear God’s laughter, tell him what YOUR plans are.”

        I pray that God shows me His purpose for my life (and yours!) and that I have the will to get out of the way and let Him do his work. I am merely a vessel for him his purpose.

        God > I

        In Him I remain,

        Jason Bird
        Charlottesville, VA

  • Ron Smith

    Thank the Lord for Robert Tilton who by revealing the dark underbelly of televangelism poisoned the well and opened peoples eyes to the snake oil salesmen who flap their arms to God on TV. Good night!