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It's Your Time: Activate Your Faith, Achieve Your Dreams, and Increase in God's Favor Hardcover – November 3, 2009
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Paul defends his ministry to the Corinthian church by pointing out that it was cruciform. He had been whipped, beaten, stone, shipwrecked, had gone without sleep and had been hungry and nearly killed over the course of his ministry. It is through this process of suffering that others could see in the life of Paul the resurrection power in his life. Paul notes in his letter to the Romans that God has promised to conform his children to the image of God's son. What is that image? It is the image of a dying, bleeding, suffering savior.
What happened to those who 'activated' their faith in Hebrews 11? Well, some of them accomplished tremendous feats. They waxed strong in battle and saw miracles performed. Yet others dwelt in caves, were poorly clothed and lacked food, they were sawed in two and led pretty miserable lives. Were they weak in the faith? Of course not. The writer of Hebrews is holding them up as examples of men who had great faith.
Paul urged Christians to have the same mind as Jesus who didn't consider his equality with God as something to be exploited but something that uniquely qualified him to demonstrate God's love through what he considered to be an appropriate method - a cross. Neither Joel Osteen, nor his book embrace this mindset. He neither understands the concept of faith nor does he understand that God's favor cannot be measured by the world's standards of material 'prosperity'. After all, what did Jesus say it looked like to be blessed in his Sermon on the Mount? Blessed are the poor, the persecuted, those who are hated, those who mourn....
Don't waste your money buying a book that promotes a message that is in such stark contrast to the true story presented in the bible.
Olsteen leads people away from Scripture as the sure guide, away from Christ as the sure Savior, and away from heaven as the sure hope. Instead he leads people to trust in their dreams, be their own savior, and make this heaven. Our desires are inerrant and our potential is unbinding. The amount of subjective hot air that this guy blows into each sentence is amazing.
In terms of Jesus, there is little difference between what he does and Oprah. Oprah denies Christ's claims to be the only Savior, Sovereign, and Sufficient One. Olsteen sends Jesus to the bench and then drops the subjective Olsteen eclipse on him as he prances around with his flowing mullet and detached subjective platitudes that weigh in at a combined 3 ounces.
One of the most biblically indefensible and frankly, staggering issues here is that he actually subtitles the book as a manual for 'increasing in God's favor.'
Um...I thought that was Jesus' job.
The Bible makes it clear that we have neither the means nor the inclination to achieve God's favor. We all are categorized as rebels and sinners by the God of the Bible (Rom. 3.10-13; Rom. 5.10; Eph. 2.1). The BEST we could do amounts to an unmentionable sanitary rag (Is. 64.6).
Instead it was Jesus' job to earn, provide, and keep God's favor. It is Jesus who is the substitute who lived and died for sinners. He is the one who makes an angry God propitious or favorable (Rom. 3.25). There is no other way to experience the favor of a holy, just, righteous, good God apart from Jesus (Acts 4.12; 1 Tim. 2.5).
Olsteen's shtick is nothing more than good old legalism. Earn and keep God's favor by what you do and think. We should all feel somewhat empowered and important, we are now our own Savior! We should also feel the weight of God's displeasure since this creed is actually anathamitized in the Bible (Gal. 1.6, 9). Ironically this actually undermines Olsteen's book.
The title is fitting: It's Your Time. Right now it is my time to give it a thumbs down. And Mr Olsteen, It's Your Time to go away. And take your Jesus denying, legalistic, hopeless, broken, tired, Oprah-cloning message with you.
After reading this book, I came to the conclusion that this time around he is just phoning it in. Most of "It's Your Time" is comprised of recycled anecdotes and passages from his previous two books, as well as transcriptions of a few TV sermons. How many times do we need to hear how he met his wife? We get it already....you bought a cheap watch. Or his deal with the Compaq Center(I don't think we'll ever hear the end of that one), or the story about the exploding can of biscuits, and about 50 other passages that made me stop and check the book jacket to see if I was reading his "new" book or one of his previous books. Anyone else notice this too?
There was a smattering of new paragraphs, but not enough to justify 300 pages.....a pamphlet maybe. I hope the next time around will not be as disappointing. So in the meantime, I will stay in faith, and pray for some new material. Amen.
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If you need a spiritual boost this is the book!