Victoria, bless her heart. I’m from the south and that’s our polite way of approaching a situation where someone has said or done something that wasn’t wise. Usually its said with a facial gesture that is a mix of pain and bewilderment and accompanied by a slow head shake. To be proper it goes, painful facial gesture to show displeasure, slow head shake to show disagreeement/bewilderment, and the phrase “bless her heart” is used to show compassion. I’m not for sure when the video originally aired, but it has taken social media by storm over the past couple of days. It’s a video of her attempting to encouraging the church to worship, but it goes terribly off course and quickly. I think what she was attempting to say was that God takes delight in the worship and service of His people. I think she also was trying to say that the best thing you can do for yourself is to worship and serve God. Something about God loving a cheerful giver and delighting yourself in the Lord and all that. I think. What she said came out terribly off course. Naturally, the christian community filled with the love and grace of a crocodile has pounced on both Joel and Victoria. Which brings me to the point of this blog. Dishonor, in any form is dishonor. Whether it be in conversation, social media posts, or in action.
In my bible reading this morning I read the story of the bronze serpent in the wilderness. Snakes were attacking the Israelites because of their sin and a bronze serpent was raised up to save them. They could simply look at the bronze serpent on the pole and they would live. The interesting thing is the confession of the people. Their confession to Moses was, “we have sinned by speaking against the Lord and against you.” Included in their confession is the sin of dishonoring leadership with their words. But Joel and Victoria deserve it. They are wrong. Joel has botched media interviews, Victoria has said something that most of christendom would find unbiblical. They deserve the ire of the public. Moses was doctrinally incorrect as well, but God still spoke to him like a friend, used him mightily, and ultimately received him into glory. A chapter before the people confessed about speaking against Moses we find the story of Moses striking the rock a second time. God said to speak to the rock and not to strike it. Moses disobeyed, he didn’t follow the word of God, he completely tampered with the doctrine of Jesus Christ who was once and for all stricken to meet the needs of humanity, and God dealt with him. This post isn’t to condone doctrinal error. Instead, it’s to point out that God both uses and deals with His leaders. If social media would have been around in biblical times I wonder what would have been tweeted about David when he had an affair and was an accessory to murder, but was still a man after God’s own heart. I wonder what the Facebook posts would have said when it came out that Abraham had lied and spun a story for selfish reasons not trusting in God’s protective hand, but yet was still imputed righteousness. I wonder how many people would have been quick to post videos of Peter by a fire letting the profanities flow in order to prove he didn’t know Jesus, but yet still kept preaching. I promise you that video would have gotten a lot of shares, comments, and likes. I wonder what we would have posted when God dealt with Moses for striking the rock and didn’t allow his leadership to extend into the Promise Land. Here’s the deal. Leaders are, have been, and always will be imperfect, but be careful because what you say can bite you. Social Media Pharisees love to point out the splinters in the lives of others all the while ignoring the beam in their own eyes.
I am not an overseer of Joel and Victoria. I trust and hope that they have good people in their lives who can talk to them honestly when something has gone wrong. You and I aren’t those people. I see people bashing “celebrity” preachers and pastors on social media and it really bothers me. First of all, God raises up leadership according to the hearts of the people. If you don’t like your leaders, look in your own heart. Secondly, I lost my voice of criticism and my rocks to throw when I started sinning myself many years ago.
Here’s a simple way to approach the seeming failures of leaders that you aren’t personally involved with:
1. Trust – Trust that they have people around them to correct them and trust that God will deal with them. God really is in control and in charge. He really does raise leaders up and take leaders down. He really does determine our times and seasons, and how long we experience His blessing and favor. Fortunately for me and other leaders, He has more grace than the general public.
2. Pray – It’s so simple it’s cliche, but it needs to be said more than ever before. Pray for people instead of using social media to besmirch their character. The only person who wins when a pastor or christian leader fails is Satan. Not God, not you, not me, not the church, the enemy wins when pastors and christian leaders fail. Pray.
3. Be life giving – There is a time and place to confront people who have done wrong. Churches and pastors need accountability in order to bring correction when they have done wrong. However, if you and I are not part of the accountability process then the best thing we can do is to use our words to build up rather than tear down. We can use our words to speak life rather than death.
I want to go on record. I am a Joel Osteen fan. I am a Joyce Meyer fan. I am a T.D. Jakes fan. I am a Jentzen Franklin fan. I am a Kenneth Copeland fan. I am an Andy Stanley fan. I am a Mark Driscoll fan. I am a Chris Hodges fan. I am a fan of the bivocational pastor who works 60 and 70 plus hours a week just to fulfill the vision God gave him. I am a fan of the pastor of the mid size church in the mid size city that most of us will never hear of. He fails sometimes, he succeeds sometimes, but he imperfectly walks out his calling before God. Ultimately God’s grace covers him and God’s glory will receive him when his time is finished. I am a fan of anyone who is trying to lead people to Jesus and build His church. I’m even a fan of Victoria, bless her heart.
20 thoughts on “I am a Joel Osteen Fan”
Jason, I am so glad to read this. Standing for pastors and standing for truth is a delicate issue. I trust you are doing well and prospering in soul and body. Love you and Heidi a ton. Good words. Father make us ONE. Pastor Paul
Thanks for the kind words Paul. We are doing well.
Jason, hope you are doing well & by the read of your blog, I can assess that your wisdom & wit hasn’t diminished! The” bless your heart” cracked me up since I can totally relate! Now about the Osteen video…after watching it, my heart went out to Victoria! I do not in any way, believe that she was endorsing that we should do good for ourselves, forget about others or God & that worship is not needed. I do, however, believe that the intent of her message got “cross ways” with her words. What I took away & read between the lines, so to speak, was that worshiping God doesn’t benefit Him or make Him want to bless you any more but something really does happen to us when we look past ourselves & circumstances & get our eyes on God, worshiping and loving Him from a thankful & hopeful heart! I think maybe what she was trying to say is that doing good & worshiping God really does benefit us more than it does anyone else, including God. It changes US! I’ve been in her shoes when sometimes your mouth outruns your brain & when you’re finished speaking you don’t really know what all you said!! Your words are clear & concise that leaders are not OUR servants but GOD’s alone. Nobody’s perfect, not even the leaders of a mega-church! But how much more do they need our prayers when they’re so much in the public eye! We must trust the Holy Spirit to do what he does best… guide us into all truth! We can’t go wrong with that formula!
I agree with most of your points; however, in your analogy, there is a difference between judging peoples sin and false teaching. Yes, to gossip about someone’s failures is wrong but to disagree and point out false teaching- not the same. However, I think the spirit in which that is done is everything.
Saying “well said” is an understatement, nevertheless Very well said. I have had such a heavy heart from seeing the excerpt being judged by those who don’t really know the Osteen’s heart. I don’t know them personally but I have listen and watched them enough (as I have the other famous pastors you mentioned) to know that once I heard the excerpt, I knew there was more to the story of what was being shown.
Your balanced words of wisdom has been a breath of fresh air and made me smile. I have told my husband many times as we spoke about the different styles of preaching that is avaiable to us all, the main thing is that they are fulfilling the Great Commission. So I will end saying my favorite thing you said is “I am a fan of anyone who is trying to lead people to Jesus and build His church.” Amen
Wow, what a great post! Jason, I don’t know you, but this post was in my Facebook newsfeed today. I read through many posts per day. I am a PR/Journalism student at Marshall University and I am married with 2 small children, so I do not have the time to comment very often on posts that I read. However, this was SO good, that I had to leave a comment and say that your post resonated deeply with me! I have been very discouraged the last few days at the lack of love showing up in my newsfeed. Thank you so much for sharing, these are my sentiments exactly!
Well said my brother in Christ!
Agree totally! Great stuff!
Thank you so much for this!! The words I’ve been trying to get out! So so sick of CHRISTIANS hating on people via social media – especially pastors. Thanks again!
Love it….how bout we just give each other the benefit of the doubt….
I amen those who point to Christ and work to build up the church. Robbing God of His glory has never and will never build up the church. It will do the opposite. “Love God, love people”…If the former part of this statement is not done properly I assure you your failing at the latter no matter how sincere.
I am from Africa, Joel and Victoria has been a great inspiration in my life. At this point people have different perception and its up to them on how they want to think about it and blow it out of proportion. More GRACE to Joel and Victoria. God knows our hearts
Great words bro. As we know the bible says that life and death are in the power of the tongue. I am so disappointed seeing those who call themselves believers bashing other believers. Christians seem to be some of the worst when it comes to shooting our own wounded. Yes there is false teaching and sometimes things are said and others take it out of context, but at the end of the day as Christ followers we are to show Grace, love, and forgiveness to all. I say to my congregation all the time that each of us is one toe nail scrape away from falling flat on our face. But GOD is always there to pick us up. I to am praying for the Osteens, because I don’t know them, but my compassion goes out to them.
Jason, as a pastors’ wife of a (not known) church to the media in Texas, I am grateful to see grace being extended to those in leadership. I need it and sometimes speak to our congregation. What would Jesus do? I remember him saying those who were without sin to cast the first stone. No He always embraces us whether it is sin, mistakes or tongue twisted comments. I want to be embraced with kindness and forgiveness always. So that is why I give kindness and forgiveness to my precious sister in Christ.. I want her to be encouraged and lifted up in Christ and blessed! In that light Father, I ask you to forgive and bless those who do not know what they are doing. When it comes their turn to be in the light of critiquing, they would have a gentle perspective and understanding as they stood in Gloria’s shoes! Yes, Father bless Gloria even more than ever before as Your Goodness goes before her!!
well said!!!!! may your transparent encouragment be blessed!
On the surface it’s a great article. But…hmmm. It’s just that something irks me when I read someone who is encouraging me to lay down my discernment and personal reading of the scripture and trust in the “good-people” God has given us as leaders. I am a little averse to trusting “white-coat” experts.
eg: “Trust us, we’re doctors, it may have little arms and legs, a brain, and a pumping heart, but it’s only a tissue-blob-feotus, it’s not human.”
“Trust us, we’re politicians, we have your best interest at heart.”
“Trust your leaders – God has given them to you, God will look after them.”
I wonder if people living under a despot or in violent turmoil would agree with you Jason… eg: those in Iraq right now – could you (Or Victoria Osteen) preach the same message of love-and-prosperity to someone whose children have just been murdered in front of their eyes?
Search google for Hell’s Best Kept Secret, a powerful free message from Ray Comfort.
Thank you for your comment. I appreciate the fact that you took the time to both read and comment on the blog. There are several parts of your comment that I will address.
1. No one said to put down your discernment. In fact, the point of the blog isn’t to ignore mistakes in leadership, but to use caution in how a person responds.
2. My blog was intended to talk about the leadership of the church in particular and not how to respond to dictators/terrorists. However, I will take a shot at addressing the issue you presented. Honor is to be given to leaders even when they are not honorable people. 1 Peter 2:17 says to honor the emperor. Jesus said to render to Caesar what was Caesars, which would have been both tribute and honor. I would mention that Nero would have been Caesar at the time of Peter’s writing and he was a wicked and horrible man who did terrible and unspeakable things. We can pray for God to remove wicked leaders, we can pray to be delivered from wicked leaders. If possible, we can also willingly remove ourselves from wicked leaders. My prayer for the people of Iraq who are being martyred for their faith is that our government will come to their rescue and bring freedom to the persecuted christians there. I’m not for sure what their opinion of my blog would be, I only know what the Word of God says. It’s interesting that you would elevate circumstances above what the Bible clearly teaches. It’s important not to allow circumstances to determine our theology, but to allow our theology to shape our circumstances.
3. You mention the message that I preach. First of all, have you listened to a sermon that I have preached? If you posted this comment without having actually listened to a sermon or even multiple sermons you really don’t know what message I preach. I preach Jesus and the Bible. Secondly, are you a proponent of hate and poverty? Does the bible teach hate, does the bible glorify poverty? Both hate and poverty are the result of sin and are the tools of Satan. My prayer and my ministry will always be to help people be free from sin, the results of sin, and the devices of the enemy.
4. You flippantly mention a horrific illustration of evil that is taking place in our world today. To pointedly answer your question, yes, I would preach the same message. I preach the Bible which brings hope and healing into the darkest and most horrific of circumstances. In every culture, in every situation, and for every person Jesus is hope and the Bible is our guide to eternal and abundant life in Christ.
Love love love this. Great blog!
One thing that can be said about this couple they are there among the people.We see them praying for the people.John Osteen was the same even with a huge church he was there for the nobodies.
Amen Pastor Jason! You are so right! We tend to be too quick to point finders. I love the perspective on if social media was around in those day, what others would say about the hero’s we read in the Bible today.