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Create Your Own Pearls

 |  by Victoria Osteen

Tuesday, August 7, 2018
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Most of us know that a pearl is formed through a process in an oyster, but what fascinates me is that the oyster is not trying to make a pearl. The oyster is trying to protect itself from an intruder, such as a parasite or grain of sand, that slips in between one of its two shells and the protective layer that cover its organs. To seal off the irritant, the oyster quickly covers it with layer upon layer of nacre, the mineral substance that fashions its shell, until the iridescent pearl is formed.

Offenses in our life are very much like the irritant that invades an oyster. Someone says or does something hurtful to us. It's an irritant that needs to get sealed off from our hearts or it will embed itself and produce resentment, bitterness, and unforgiveness. We've got to secrete the nacre of God's love, so to speak, and seal it off. We have to keep a barrier between our hearts and the things that try to harm us. And God says the only way to do that is through forgiveness and love. The Bible says to pray for those who hurt you, for your enemies, for those who persecute you. I believe that every time we pray and declare, "God, in the name of Jesus, I am sealing this offense away from my heart. I forgive this person. I release the hurt and give it to You," we're covering that offense with layer upon layer of the nacre of God's love.

We cannot allow bitterness and unforgiveness to take up valuable space in our heart because God wants to work and do good things in our heart. Jesus says, "A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good" (Luke 6:45). Offenses take the space of the good things God wants to do in our heart. When we store up the good things and keep the barrier between us and those harmful things, we're going to produce good things in our life. That's why God is saying today, "Let it go. Start fresh. Make room for the good things I want to put in your heart."

Don't let life's hurts get into your heart. If you choose to cover it with the nacre of God's love and seal off the harm of those irritants, you're going to begin to create and form pearls of wisdom in your life, pearls of freedom, pearls of abundance. You're going to be able to put a string of pearls around your neck that will declare that God is amazingly good!

Lakewood Youth Vision Announcement

 |  by Lakewood Youth

Friday, August 10, 2018
comments: 0

Hello!

As the parents and guardians of our Lakewood Youth students from 6th – 12th grade, you are essential to the strength and success of our youth ministry. Thank you for allowing your student to be a part of what God is doing in Lakewood Youth. As a staff, we see the youth ministry entering a new season as we are making changes that we believe will make a lasting impact in your student's life. With that in mind, we wanted to take a moment and update you on the vision of Lakewood Youth moving forward.

We've seen for many years now, across the country, that most students stop attending church and walk away from their faith as they enter college and adulthood. Finding a way to keep our students connected to God and the church has been the motivation toward our vision. Research has shown that when students are connected to the church through serving and relationships, they are twice as likely to stay committed as they grow into adulthood. This data has shaped the two main objectives of our vision:

1. Build connection and community for our students through Life Groups and purposeful conversations in youth services.

2. Have students serve in the church during weekend services and allow them to work with adult volunteers and serve the younger generation in KidsLife.

A few ways we will accomplish these objectives are:

  • Youth services on Wednesday night (7:30 pm) and Sunday afternoon (2:00 pm) to facilitate student connection, discipleship, and conversation for students to process and grow in their own faith
  • Monthly Life Groups around the city to provide community and ministry in the students' neighborhood
  • Quarterly Youth Nights for all students 6th – 12th grade to unify as one ministry
  • Youth HUB on the 2nd Floor Lobby for youth to connect around weekend services, stay informed about youth services, events, and serving opportunities
  • Youth seating in section 203 during weekend services so students may worship alongside their peers

 

One last important change is the blending and unifying of our youth ministry. In the past, we have operated as four different departments – English High School, Spanish High School, English Middle School, and Spanish Junior High. Moving forward, we are working as one team in Lakewood Youth, which includes English and Spanish students 6th – 12 grade.

This unification allows us to work as one staff, under one vision, joining forces to accomplish the same goals for all of our students. We will still offer grade specific youth services on Wednesday and Sunday for junior high and high school students, as well as grade specific Life Groups.

We hope to work more closely with you and provide updates as we move forward. One of the ways you can stay connected is to text YOUTH to 77377 to receive monthly updates of what is happening in the youth ministry. We also plan to gather with parents in order to better support and partner with you in your student's spiritual growth. If you have questions, please contact us at [email protected].

Thank you again for your continued commitment to your student's growth at Lakewood Youth. We are honored to join with you to develop a lasting faith and commitment to God in this next generation.

Realign Your Focus to Stay on Course

 |  by Victoria Osteen

Tuesday, August 14, 2018
comments: 0

In the Bible, an angel declared the coming birth of Samson who was to become a man of great destiny (Judges 13). God gifted him with supernatural strength to deliver his people from the hands of the Philistines, but Samson didn't take responsibility for what he had been given. He let his guard down, set his eyes on the wrong thing, began to rebel against what he knew was right, and was weakened in his morals. He began to hang around the wrong people and got into the wrong living situation. Just as the Bible states, "Bad company corrupts good character" (1 Corinthians 15:33), so it was with Samson. He did not guard what he was doing or saying, and he ended up in the hands of his enemies, blind and chained.

Just think of what Samson could have become if he would have checked his heart and said, "God, help me to say no to these temptations and distractions that are taking me from what You want me to be and do." If he would have just realigned his focus, asked for forgiveness, and repented of his sins. He had the power to say, "Okay, I'm done with that lifestyle, and I'm breaking away from the friends I've been hanging on to. God, help me be strong."

Just as it does for us, every single day held a new beginning for Samson. God's mercies are new every morning. We're all going to make mistakes and do things we shouldn't, but when we fall down, we don't have to stay down. We can get back up because of the mercy and grace of Almighty God. We can make the decision that we are going to do what Samson did not do: "let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us" (Hebrews 12:1). We can say, "I will change what I'm doing. I can change this habit. I don't have to go with the crowd. I am taking responsibility for what I say and do."

If you want to stay on the best path for your life, when you get up every day, ask yourself, "Am I honoring God in the decisions that I'm making? Am I setting right priorities every single day?" These will realign and refocus you. You have to evaluate your life and be willing to change. You will never get away from temptations and distractions, but with God's help, you can overcome them!

Houston’s Mayor and City Council Proclaim Tuesday, August 14 to be Lakewood Church Day

 |  by Lakewood Church

Tuesday, August 14, 2018
comments: 0

We're honored to let you know that the Mayor of Houston and the City Council have declared Tuesday, August 14, 2018 as Lakewood Church Day, and will present Lakewood with a Proclamation honoring your selfless efforts to help our city recover from the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey.

Your time, your generosity and your support in countless other ways, during and after the storm have shown the world the true heart of our church and have made an important and lasting impact on thousands of families in the Houston area.

Because of your heart to help:

- Lakewood has given over 5 million dollars in financial assistance to more than 2,100 Houston-area families.

- More than 9,300 Lakewood volunteers have spent 70,000 hours helping Houston families recover.

- Lakewood volunteers have helped in the rebuilding of 1,150 homes, and the church has provided 1.1 million dollars in building materials, furniture, appliances, and professional services.

- Lakewood served as a distribution center supplying more than 1,050 pallets of food, water, clothing, infant and children's products, and medical supplies to families in need.

 

Houston’s Mayor and City Council Proclaim Tuesday, August 14 to be Lakewood Church Day

 |  by Lakewood Church

Tuesday, August 14, 2018
comments: 0

We're honored to let you know that the Mayor of Houston and the City Council have declared Tuesday, August 14, 2018 as Lakewood Church Day, and will present Lakewood with a Proclamation honoring your selfless efforts to help our city recover from the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey.

Your time, your generosity and your support in countless other ways, during and after the storm have shown the world the true heart of our church and have made an important and lasting impact on thousands of families in the Houston area.

Because of your heart to help:

- Lakewood has given over 5 million dollars in financial assistance to more than 2,100 Houston-area families.

- More than 9,300 Lakewood volunteers have spent 70,000 hours helping Houston families recover.

- Lakewood volunteers have helped in the rebuilding of 1,150 homes, and the church has provided 1.1 million dollars in building materials, furniture, appliances, and professional services.

- Lakewood served as a distribution center supplying more than 1,050 pallets of food, water, clothing, infant and children's products, and medical supplies to families in need.

 

Grow in christian fellowship through Lakewood LifeGroups!

 |  by Lakewood Church

Sunday, August 19, 2018
comments: 0

We know that growing in your faith is best done in community. That is why we want to encourage you to join, host, or lead a LifeGroup! LifeGroups at Lakewood are all about conversation and community, building friendships while at the same time building our walks with God. We believe your life will never be the same!

Attending a LifeGroup: To attend a LifeGroup all you have to do is show up! We hope you'll come to your LifeGroup with an open heart and be ready to discuss the week's topic.

Leading a LifeGroup: Leading a LifeGroup is a wonderful way for you to help both you and others grow in their faith! And, we make it easy – we will provide the discussion topics and questions to help you lead your group's conversation.

Hosting a LifeGroup: Hosting a LifeGroup is an easy way to have your group meet right in your own home! Hosting a group simply means you will open your home to have a LifeGroup meet there. If you would like someone else to lead a group at your home, we can make that happen!

If you would like to attend, lead or host a Lakewood LifeGroup, please click here to register: LakewoodChurch.com/Groups.

After you register, watch for an email from us on next steps!

Become Your Own Best Encourager

 |  by Victoria Osteen

Tuesday, August 21, 2018
comments: 0

Life doesn't always turn out the way we thought. A young lady recently told me about her breakup with a man whom she thought was really special. She thought they were heading in the direction of marriage, but one day he told her that he was moving out of state to take a new job and was so happy. It shocked her that he could decide to just up and leave without even talking to her. It hit her hard that she was not as special to him as she thought she was and that he didn't love her the way she thought.

She said to me, "I began to dwell on those negative thoughts. I tried to make sense of what happened. What did I do wrong? I got so discouraged that I didn't want to go to work or go out with friends. I just wanted to stay home. One evening I saw your television program and listened to the message. I felt encouraged and began to regain a sense of who I was. I realized I had been so focused on what happened to me that I wasn't understanding what was happening inside me. I felt so hurt, so discounted, and so alone that it was causing me to destroy my life. But as I became encouraged, hope rose. I started to like myself again. Little by little, I would look in the mirror and say, 'You are beautiful. You are talented. You are valuable.' Suddenly this fun person came back into my life—the person I really was. I was so excited to get up in the morning and tell myself how well I was doing."

Then she added this, "And I say to myself, 'God is going to bring the right person across my path because I'm in the palms of His hands.'"

I love that! She made a choice about her discouragement. She took the encouragement she received on the inside, and she began to encourage herself. Hope began to rise in her heart, and faith caused her to move forward with her life.

I hope you'll take a moment to read David's story in 1 Samuel 30. He had just suffered the worst defeat in his life, and the men in his army were threatening to stone him. At his lowest point of discouragement, with everyone against him, the Scripture says David "encouraged and strengthened himself in the Lord his God." He rose up, inspired his men to fight again, and they defeated their enemy.

It's great when family and friends are there to encourage us in difficult times, but we can't depend on others to encourage us. We have to learn to encourage ourselves in the Lord every day. We have to remember what God has done in our life. We have to get in agreement with God and say, "Thank You, God, for who You made me to be. You made me to be more than a conqueror in Christ Jesus. I'm an overcomer because You back me up, because I have Your Word in me, and I will overcome this."

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