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on October 2, 2006
I am a lifelong Christian and have read and studied the Word from many angles and sources over the years.

I don't know if it was just timing, or what, but I couldn't help but notice this 'happy preacher' on TV. For years, I passed him by while scanning the channels, but I DID slowly begin to stop and listen- a little more each time. I was taken by Mr. Osteen's simple messages, delivered with a humility and genuiness that I just don't think can be faked. Anyway, I began to enjoy the half hour I spent with him on TV, but still couldn't force myself to buy the book or even take his theology seriously for that matter - it was just 'soul candy' as far as I was concerned.

Finally, I gave in a little over a year ago and bought the book. I coincidentally began a new job that included a company paid daily bus pass. I began to read a chapter a day during my commute. I have now read this book at least a dozen times. Yes, it still has that candy-like comfort, but beyond that I have learned to respect the man and his theology. To those who cast it off as 'name it and claim drivel', I can only say that I receive a much deeper message from his words. Maybe it's because I've never been a part of anything remotely like the 'name and claim' theology, or perhaps it's because I'd like to believe that my own theology is deeper and therefore believe that his is too. What I'll say is that while I have learned to appreciate how much God DOES love me and how much he wants for me, I realize that monetary wealth is just one of many types of wealth that's being referred to in the book. And I hear the distinction loud and clear in his words. But I don't think that's necessarily his point. I don't hear him PROMISING good things in this book. What I hear (and what makes the difference for me personally) is simply, - what kind of attitude are you going to have as you go through life (regardless of outcomes)? Personally, while I can't say that his theology is totally supported in every detail by scripture, I can't say that it contradicts it either, and it helps me immensely. Call it "Positve Thinking". Call it what you want. It's working for me and I can see its (positive) effect on me, my life and those I love and live with each day.
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on June 4, 2005
I don't even know where to begin on this book. There was a time I understood the principles Osteen shares. I believed them, held to them firmly, until life happened, until exhaustion and opportunities denied or lost sapped away that faith. Until I read this book, I hadn't realized how far I'd drifted from basics I knew were true and that made a positive difference. I hadn't realized how negative some of my attitudes had become, attitudes I began to see reflected in my adult children.

Osteen brought me back to center, to my foundation: God is good; He loves me and wants the very best for me. He also wants me to trust Him, even in when bad things happen. God desires to bless, but my negative choices and attitudes can block that blessing. No longer.

Osteen makes clear ... (...)
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on June 26, 2006
I've read many books in my life, but this is probably the first I've ever reviewed. I saw Joel Osteen on TV once or twice and was impressed with his message. (We need a message of hope.) If he can bring people to God or closer to God what is wrong with that? What is wrong with living on faith and expecting a better life? I've read some of the negative reviews on the book (and some of the positive ones) and I don't understand why anyone wouldn't want a positive outlook on life. I am still reading the book. I feel my faith strengthening. I am glad I bought this book and glad there are ministers out there like Joel Osteen. I have almost always been turned off by televangelists, but not this one. Thank God for people like Joel who can help others focus clearly.
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on October 25, 2004
Sounds like the publisher's weekly folks seem to be a bit grouchy. Their mindset is one of the reasons why church attendance has been declining for years. A legalistic view of god that does not relate well to today's environment. I really don't see him as being competition for your local church but rather a nice supplement (kind of like a spiritual dose of vitamin C).

Now I don't know Joel to well, I -- like most -- just watch the man on TV (which my wife prodded me to watch with her one day). In the grand scheme of things, he's a very positive force and spending ½ hour with him is a much better investment of your time than watching some dimwitted network reality show. We've been Tivoing him for the past few months and it's nice to listen to his messages while you cook dinner or do some dishes.

If you watch his show, you will find some of the themes in the book familiar but that's OK. Like with many messages, you pick up additional things the second time around. It's a nice way to spend a few minutes and will give you some new ideas to improve your thinking, life and family.

Also what we all should take note about Joel is how diverse his audience is...not some forced, corporate or governmental diversity...but rather a free flowing diversity of people who are united by a common, positive message coming together under free will. I recently attended his talk in New York and was astounded by how so many different people came together to hear him speak. There were African Americans, Asians, White Folks, Hispanics, etc...all in cold, secular, NYC. It was something I've never experienced before and found it very comforting. There's something different going on here and perhaps we should take note.

In the end -- give him a shot -- 13 bucks is not much to invest in your outlook on life.
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on December 15, 2004
If you've been trying to figure out how to move the next level in your life, this book is a must-read. While some may criticize Pastor Osteen for being too focused on material things, I believe he, like many of his contemporaries (e.g., Joyce Meyer, Creflo Dollar, etc.) use material examples to help people to gain a very concrete understanding principles that will propel a Christian to receiving "exceedingly, abundantly beyond all you can ask or think" (Ephesians 3:20).

Before reading this book, I became overly sensitized to the number of negative comments I make/made about myself and my life and about how others seem to be exceedingly negative these days. We have become a society entrenched in fear, living with negative expectations about our lives, and wondering why we're not receiving the blessings of God. This book is helping to change my mind and the attitudes of those around me with regard to holding high expectations for how God will care for us.

If you are looking for a breakthrough in your spiritual life, your marriage, your parenting, your business, or any other area of your life, this book is a PHENOMENAL vehicle to assist you in making BIG CHANGES!
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on December 21, 2005
Everyone can benefit from a having a more positive attitude, and this book definitely helps inspire that. However, Osteen takes positive thinking to a level of ridiculousness. His premise is that God wants only good to happen to us, and that is what we can expect if we just have faith. The Bible teaches that God "makes the sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust" (Matthew 5:45). Good and bad things happen to all people. At times, God even disciplines his children, which is unpleasant (Hebrews 12:5-11). Essentially, Osteen repeats the same thing over and over, just in different words with different stories.

The most dangerous part of this book, however, is the constant misuse of Scripture. Osteen constantly takes Bible passages out of context. For example, in Chapter 2, Osteen writes, "It's important that you program your mind for success. That won't happen automatically. Each day, you must choose to live with an attitude that expects good things to happen to you. The Bible says, 'Set your mind and keep it on the higher things.' When you get up in the morning, the first thing you should do is set your mind in the right direction. [...] Start your day with faith and expectancy, and then go out anticipating good things."

"Set your mind and keep it on the higher things" is taken from Colossians 3:2. It is referring to spiritual things, not physical fortune! The context of this verse Osteens plucks from the Bible is this: "If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth." This passage teaches the opposite of what Osteen is trying to make this passage say. Our priorities ("setting our minds") is NOT on earthly things, which includes good fortune, but on the spiritual things in life.

If you can read this book with these things in mind, you can still benefit from the simple message that can be summed up in one sentence: Think positively so that your actions will move you towards success rather than defeat.

But beware of Osteen's twisting of the Scriptures!
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on October 23, 2004
What I think many people miss about Joel Osteen's message (as well as the spelling of his name) is the fine line between a name-it and claim-it theology and the simple message of the Bible that God loves you. If God loves you and sent His Son to die for you (the Christian Gospel), then why would He just want Christian ministers to focus on suffering and sin instead of having a postive attitude of faith and trusting God for more. "If a earthly father gives good gifts..."

I think Joel believes that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, that there is only one way to heaven and that sin and the battle of the flesh is important, but just doesn't focus on those things - Lord knows there are plenty of hell fire and damnation preachers out there.

Joel doesn't say that if you claim something in Jesus name you'll get it. Instead, he says to have faith that God will bring you through your circumstances and wants good things for you. "Faith is the substance of things hoped for..." We've lost the hope that we should get from God's love. It is after all GOOD news.

Many people (and several reviewers) criticize Joel for not being overtly evangelistic to save souls or not preaching more on sin. Funny how few ministries are seeing the thousands come to the Christian faith like are coming through Joel's church, television programs and events and even more find the encouragement to change their lives for the better. Perhaps honey does work better than vinegar?

As far as being applicable to people of other faiths or no faith at all, truth is truth. If I don't touch the flame, I don't get burned whether I'm a Christian or not.

In a world full of uncertainty, it is good to have a messenger who will inspire us to Live Our Best Lives Now! A nation in the war on terror needs it.
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on December 31, 2006
I just bought this book and was hesitant before I bought it. But after I received it and started reading it - it is quiet good, the only problem I have with it, is that Joel OSteen does not give any bible references to go along with the book. It seems it is just based on his opinions rather than the word of God. Also noted that some of his examples that he said he took from the bible are not biblical references at all. Plus some of his examples are not true. But otherwise it is a decent book, a book that has some great examples for your life just know going in, it is not based on the word of God, wholly.
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on November 18, 2004
When my daughter died 3 months ago, I read "A Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren. Since my daughter's life was rich and purposeful, if brief, I initially felt comforted by Warren's words. Then slowly, a disquieting awareness set in as I realized Warren reveals a punishing God who sets trials, sometimes painful, horrible trials to test our faith...and I began to wonder...Then I was given Joel Osteen's "Your Best Life Now." I went from despair to hope. My mother has said what is absent from the world is plain old fashioned commonsense. While rooted in scripture, Osteen gives us a simple guide to old truisms. Expect good things, have positive self-esteem, have enthusiasm for your life, let go of old hurts and bitterness, and help others. This is a negative world...filled with angry, bitter and self-defeated people. Olsteens simple lessons for tapping into our own potential resonate with hope, and joy. In a world where too many people are into the blame game, Joel tells us clearly we are responsible for our own success and happiness. We can choose self fullfilling, and destructive negative thoughts or positive uplifting ones. I choose to believe in a God of hope and love, and to spread seeds of kindness instead of focusing on my own needs. I choose to live my best life now.
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on October 30, 2005
Joel Osteen backs up the basic principle of life...the love of God. It's really that simple. His words accentuate that we ARE worthy and God takes over from there. To me, this was the best outlook on living and has made drastic changes in my thinking. It has healed wounds and unloaded senseless baggage that has bogged me down. Now, I feel I can move forward. I recommend this reading for everyone.
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