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Should We Be Excellent

Quite often Joel Osteen declares "God does not want you to be mediocre." Something in me resists those words as somehow selling Pride. Surely he knows God looks at each created child of His equally. Am I missing Osteen's point?

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 ---Geraldine on 8/8/08
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Adam and Eve were God's pure creation. Uncorrupted but still human. I think that the more Christlike we become the more Human(fulfilling Gods design for us).

So it would seem that God wants to be Holy, but we will never achieve this as quality but merely a degree of that quality until we get to Heaven.

I think his point is that God loves us.

I also reflect your concerns though as God calls us excellence but I think the measure of that excellence is Holiness. It does seem that the desire for excellence may easily glorify ourselves rather than Jesus.
---Martin_nz on 10/4/08


While elevating man out of pits of unnecessary condemnation is a good thing, "elevating man" in an of itself is not necessarily a good thing, especially if it elevates him above his station.

One of Satan's very first lies was "you shall be like God" - surely a bad kind of elevation.

So one must still be careful of preachers that teach doctrines like "you are all little gods", etc. which is uncomfortably similar.
---StrongAxe on 8/18/08

To me, Joel Osteen is an humble servant of God. His teaching is designed to elevate man not degrade him.
---gayla on 8/17/08

Mima, the crooners, business frauds, and religious ear ticklers all opeate on what the public will buy and pay for. But a few sincerely believe what they are singing or selling or teaching, and we should pray for them. I don't know which Osteen is, but God knows. Our best options appear to be to prove or disprove his claims by Scripture, and not support his teaching with money if we believe the teachings are false. As StrongAxe said it so well, "Use discernment." And I would add, use it lovingly.
---Geraldine on 8/15/08

Geraldine, please be careful who you give your ear to. In music they are call crooners. In business they are called frauds. In preaching they are called ear ticklers. Which of the above(if not all) would you say Mr. Osteen is?
---Mima on 8/15/08


In that case, we should do the same here that we do in all other things - use discernment. We must separate the good from the bad, the wheat from the chaff. We can take encouragement from his notion of striving for excellence, while at the same time rejecting his notion of being prideful and self-righteous about it.

Every church is imperfect, and every preacher is imperfect (even Peter got told off by Paul). As long as we don't blindly follow any of them, but rather "search the scriptures daily to see if these things be true" like the Bereans, we will be fine.

For example, Paul condemned those who preach the gospel with ulterior motives, yet recjoiced in them "because the gospel is preached".
---StrongAxe on 8/13/08

1) In 1Tom6:9, read on into verse 10 and youll see that it is stated that those who love money are the rich that falls into temptation & a snare. But we can have money and not love money. Its called being a good steward of that received from the Lord. Unlike the wicked and slothful servant, who was a bad steward of that which he received form the Lord because he was afraid of loosing what little he had (Matt.25:26).
---Shawn.M.T on 8/13/08

2) Some people, like the slothful servant, hold the poor man's mediocre mentality in order to keep them selves feeling that theyre safe from the temptation of loving money or loosing it. But that does not keep them safe. Learning to be good stewards is what keeps us safe and good stewards is what the Lord wants us to learn to be. He wants us to learn to manage every aspect of our lives more & more so we will learn to be obedient with His true riches (Luke16:11), which are far more precious than money.
---Shawn.M.T on 8/13/08

GOD wants us, His people, to be holy!!! HOLY, HOLY, HOLY is the Lord GOD Almighty! The LORD says to us to "Be holy as I AM Holy." Joel Osteen is a false teacher who only presents HALF of GOD's Character. And even THAT presentation of GOD of his is not accurate! GOD is not only "Love, Love, Love!", He is also a GOD of WRATH. A GOD of Wrath against SIN and EVILDOERS. The Bible says that GOD is ANGRY with the wicked E.V.E.R.Y.D.A.Y! That's why Hell and the Lake of Fire are as HORRIBLE as they are!
---Gordon on 8/13/08

"How does this fit in with the words of Jesus to one would-be follower..."

Katavasia, it doesn't fit at all. If it is not already clear, I'd like to restate the fact that I DISAGREE with Osteen. The purpose of my post was to accurately present Osteen's position so that others might understand and evaluate the ideas behind his words. Again, I believe Osteen to be wrong here. I have listened to and have read up on him because a relative of mine has bought into Osteen-mania, and I decided that I needed to be prepared to counter the things that he says.

BTW, Katavasia, excellent post.
---Bobby3 on 8/13/08

StrongAxe: "That is fine as long as it doesn't lead to a feeling of self-righteous entitlement..."

That's the point I'm driving at. Osteen DOES encourage us to develop such an attitude. This goes right along with WoF teachings, which attempt to elevate man to a position of near equality with Jesus. This is why I hope no one misses the true gist of Osteen's words and falls for such nonsense.
---Bobby3 on 8/12/08


In Matt.8:18-20, Jesus commanded the multitude to depart unto the other side. Jesus was telling them, spiritually, to get ready to go to Heavenly places that He will prepare for them. When Jesus says to the scribe "Son of man hath not where to lay his head", Jesus was telling the scribe this because Jesus had not yet prepared our place in Heaven, so the scribe could not follow Him there, yet.
---Shawn.M.T on 8/12/08

What God wants is for us to love him with all of our heart, mind and soul (first commandment) and since the bible tells us we are "heirs" with God and the Saints, how much higher than that can you get?

If Osteen means God wants us all to achieve something, that's not true.

God is looking for Sons and daughters, not workers. And besides, it's the Holy Spirit that does the work THROUGH us, so it's all GOD anyway that's making things happen through his vessels.

I honestly can't listen to Joel. I know he's anointed and has this love message he wants to give out, but I have to listen to teachers of the word that teach the word, cabesh? (that means understand? in
---donna8365 on 8/12/08


That is fine as long as it doesn't lead to a feeling of self-righteous entitlement, such as "I am part of God's family, so I DESERVE the best", which leads down a slippery slope of demanding a pampered life style (always eating the best foods, flying first, class, etc.).

Jesus himself might have legitimately claimed such an attitude, but he thought that his equality with God was not something to be clung to - instead, he emptied himself of it. It would be sheer arrogance of us if demanded more, which would be saying that we're better than Jesus.
---StrongAxe on 8/12/08

""In other words, as "children of the Most High" (a favorite phrase of his), we are ENTITLED to certain benefits (health, wealth, etc.) which will enrich our lives here on Earth. Therefore, says Osteen, we should NOT "settle" for anything less than the best life imaginable.""

How does this fit in with the words of Jesus to one would-be follower, "The foxes have holes, and the birds their nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head."

1 Timothy 6:9
But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.
---katavasia on 8/11/08

listen, GOD loves his children equally, just as he loved JESUS and sent him to earth as GOD man and raised him from the grave for our sins ,no matter what, as long as you believe in HIM you are a blessed child of GOD!what part of that dont you understand? i dont even know what mediocre means nor do i care, what i do know is that my LORD and savior loves and wants the same for me as he does anyone.
in HIS word, HE says I am no respector of persons.dont listen to me or any preacher, just read GODS word and pray for the HOLY SPIRIT to give you understanding. GOD says, seek my FACE! DO THAT, and you will not have to worry about HIS LOVE FOR YOU!!!
---Terry on 8/11/08

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There seems to be a bit of confusion over what Osteen means when he speaks of being "excellent" vs. being "mediocre". As someone who has heard such speeches from Osteen (and has read up on him), I can attest to the fact that he is NOT talking about EFFORT. He does NOT mean we should always TRY to DO our best in everything, Osteen says we should always expect to BE the BEST, particularly when it comes to wealth. In other words, as "children of the Most High" (a favorite phrase of his), we are ENTITLED to certain benefits (health, wealth, etc.) which will enrich our lives here on Earth. Therefore, says Osteen, we should NOT "settle" for anything less than the best life imaginable.
---Bobby3 on 8/11/08

I appreciate all of your replies. I want to believe that Osteen does not mean God looks at some of His children as "mediocre" in worth as compared to others of His children. I want Him to see me just as worth being loved by Him as the poorest person on the planet or as Queen Elizabeth. I am hoping that when Osteen says God uses the word mediocre, he means that God does not want any of His children to mis-use, or to under-use all of the special gifts and abilities he has blessed them with, and He is NOT COMPARING one child with another. I agree with the person who said, "In Heaven's eyes, there are no losers."
---Geraldine on 8/11/08

Ecclesiastes 9:10:
"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might, for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest."

Also, while I was growing up, I was taught "whatever you do, do well".

Finally, the Golden rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you". If you take your car in to a repair shop, would you rather that they fixed it so it is running perfectly, or just do a half-hearted job so that it's barely running? You would prefer excellence.

So, when you do a task for other people, you should be excellent for them as well.
---StrongAxe on 8/11/08

It is hard to know what a person means when you don't hear the entire speech or sermon.I do believe the Lord wants us to do our best at all times in anything we do.If we are a farmer,ditch digger,senator,president,preacher,missionary whatever.I believe Paul was an excellant tentmaker as well as being an excellant missionary.God wants us to try our best at all times.I don't think he blesses laziness.
---shirley on 8/10/08

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Common sense should tell you to be very wary of people who claim to know what God wants for "us".

"God wants you to be happy. God wants you to be rich. God doesn't want you to feel bad or be mediocre." Rubbish.

God has created each of us for a purpose. Some have been created for honor, some for dishonor. The only thing God wants us to be is obedient. We were created to serve His purposes, not so he could make us happy and full of self-esteem.
---ralph7477 on 8/9/08

I'm not sure Osteen has much of a point to start with.

For Osteen, being "mediocre" means one has "settled" for an ordinary life, is content with "just getting by", has just enough money to pay the bills (but not much more than that), etc.

This is contrasted with living a "victorious" life. One can attain health/wealth and transform his/her life into a life of abundance (which, says Osteen, is what God wants for us). All a person needs to do is think positively and confess "words of victory" (for, under this brand of theology, words have "creative" power when activated by the "force of faith").

Personally, I disagree with most of what Osteen has to say.
---Bobby3 on 8/9/08

Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, and to virtue knowledge,
And to knowledge temperance, and to temperance patience, and to patience godliness,
And to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness charity.
For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2Peter 1:4-8

Excellence in these things considers the needs of everyone all the time, and in his death and resurrection he gave us his life to live.
---Pharisee on 8/9/08

Is it not true we are made as per Genesis,1:26-"To his Image and likeness".and did not Jesus say "Be Perfect"Matt 5:48.This is not Pride but a worthy goal of attainment as asked of us .I would say it is a challenge to improve. In the Olympics, the men and women participating, Have trained their whole lives to reach that Goal, in their own specific field. Jesus asks us to do the same but in His field of Righteousness.
Don't quibble, Just do it.It is not Impossible Jesus as a man did it.He says "Follow me"
---MIC on 8/8/08

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Joel Osteen is a false prophet worth 72 million dollars.

Many videos about modern false prophets can be found on youtube.
---more_excellent_way on 8/8/08

You're right to resist pride but pride has nothing to do with living to the fullness that God has provided for us. He is hopeful that we live exceedingly, pressed down & shaken together so His glory, through us, may overflow into the lives of everything around us, to repletion the earth.

God has given us power to become whole (wealthy), so he may establish His covenant promise that He has promise us (Due.8:18) so we may live complete, in the earth, wanting nothing but to love one another.

For this reason we are to strive to be firmly established in covenant with God. To be content with living an incomplete or mediocre lifestyle is like say "I'm not concerned with establishing covenant with God."
---Shawn.M.T on 8/8/08

Is this the same Joel Olsteen who is the Pastor of Lakewood Church?

Who also denied and rejected that Christ is the only way to God, while being interviewed by Larry King.
---Rob on 8/8/08

Yes, you are missing his point.

Pride is having an exalted opinion of yourself.

Trying to do your best to please the Lord is not prideful.

Is it prideful to want to win a race? Is settling for "also ran" a mark of humility? Didn't St. Paul say in 2 Cor 9 something about running to win the prize?
---katavasia on 8/8/08

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What he is meaning is he doesn't want us to think we're less then we are. He is giving a positive thinking lesson. God loves us no matter our social status, whether we're poor or have money,but again we shouldn't down grade our thinking that we're less then we are, just"mediocre"
---Candice on 8/8/08

Being mediocre is sitting still and letting life and situations control you. It's settling for the situation and not for what the word of God says. For instance, many get into a situation and when it feels/looks like there is no way out then they settle for the situation. The word of God opposes that. It tells us that we are more than conqerors, head and not the tail, above and not beneathe, etc. But, unfortuanately, are too lazy to overcome the situations.
---Rickey on 8/8/08

Well, his wife seems to not be mediocre at all in the lawsuit that is now in court because she didn't get her way immediately on an airline flight in "first class" travel. In fact, if the witness reports are true, she acted like a spoiled brat.
---SusieB on 8/8/08

There are so many Christians who struggle with low self-esteem and feelings of low self-worth even though they are saved. Recovery from a past of abuse, rejection, betrayal, great loss,and so forth is a journey. Many people need help to understand they can overcome their past or their circumstances to be all that God created them to be. I believe Joel Osteen is offering HOPE IN JESUS CHRIST and is not preaching pride.
---Vel on 8/8/08

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I don't know Joel personally, so I can't say I know really what he means.

But Paul is very clear how, before one qualifies just to be *considered* for ordination, "A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife...sober-minded...not who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?)," (see 1 Timothy 3:1-10, with Titus 1:5-9)

THIS would show me how *God* is able to make any of us excellent. His leaders are His "examples" (1 Peter 5:3) of how His love can mature all of us to be.
---Bill_bila5659 on 8/8/08

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