What hecklers at Lakewood church taught me about waiting
I attend Lakewood Church in Houston, TX. Joel Osteen and his wife Victoria Osteen pastor the church. There’s often a lot of controversy around Pastor Osteen’s sermons. Mention his name amongst a group of people and I’m sure there will be strong opinions for and against him. Some say he is a “prosperity” preacher. I think he’s a “hope” preacher.
I’m not writing today to defend Pastor Osteen or Lakewood church. Nor am I writing to convert anyone or change anyone’s mind. I’m simply writing to share a transformational lesson I learned in the midst of an unfortunate situation.
I went to church this past Sunday as I always do to worship God, be uplifted in my spirit and receive an encouraging word. This Sunday was a bit different. Throughout the sermon while Pastor Osteen was speaking, random men would stand up, shout something I couldn’t make out and wave their bibles in the air. One by one they did this until ultimately 6 different men stood up to disrupt service in the house of Lord. Each time they were removed by ushers who happen to also be law enforcement.
I could go on and on about how disrespectful their actions were to God first and foremost for the church is His bride. Secondarily, to Pastor Osteen and the entire congregation who happen to believe in his anointing and came to worship God. But this blog post isn’t about those men.
I was honored that day to be in the presence of Pastor Osteen. He stood before his congregation to share his prepared message and a random man stood up, shouted, and disrupted the message. Pastor Osteen didn’t get mad. He wasn’t visibly frustrated. He didn’t say anything mean or disrespectful in retaliation. He simply praised God, held his hands up to the sky and waited for the heckler to be removed. Once things we settled, he’d start back up again. 5 or 10 minutes later another heckler would stand up following suit with the first and disrupt service. Pastor Osteen remained calm and gracious. He made a few jokes, praised God, waited for the heckler to be removed and continued with his sermon. Again and again he did this. Six times ultimately. He was determined to finish his sermon and to let God finish what He had started in him that Sunday morning.
Pastor Osteen lives his message. His sermons are his truth. He always says don’t be discouraged, run your race, don’t ask why me, stay in faith. I got to witness exactly what that looks like first hand. He was an example to his congregation. It transformed me. I’m the one who would get annoyed, frustrated, roll my eyes at people. I’m the one that would be crying, asking, “Why me?” I’m the one who would give up, convinced it was happening for a reason and wasn’t meant to be.
Pastor Osteen showed me a different way last Sunday. He showed me that it is possible to not be easily frustrated or discouraged. He showed me it is possible to reach your end goal despite interruptions and disruptions along the way. He showed me how to wait it out. I’m not just talking about hecklers disrupting service, but whenever life or plans get disrupted we (I) don’t have to lose faith or get discouraged. I can choose to stay calm, praise God, give that thing a moment to be removed, and then continue towards my destiny. Sometimes all we have to do is wait in good spirits when things aren’t progressing as planned.
Thank you hecklers for creating the atmosphere by which this lesson could be taught. Thank you Pastor Osteen for being an example to all of us.