The controversial pastor vowed God will “pay back what belongs to us.”

Pastor Joel Osteen, who has been under fire for his Houston megachurch’s slow response to helping survivors of Hurricane Harvey, vowed on Sunday that God would “pay back” victims for what they lost.

“We’re not going to understand everything that happens, but having a ‘poor old me’ mentality or ‘look what I lost’ or ‘why did this happen,’ you know that’s just going to pull you down,” he said in his first sermon at his Lakewood Church since the storm.

“God won’t allow it unless he has a purpose for it,” he said. “We may not see it at the time, but that’s what faith is all about.”

 Osteen said having faith will “allow” God to “turn situations around.”   

“He’s got you in the palm of his hand,” he said. “He’s working in your behalf right now, behind the scenes, he’s lining up things in your favor.”

 Then, he cited a passage from the Bible that describes how God will “restore” what “the enemy” is trying to take.

“So let’s don’t have a victim mentality, let’s have a restoration mentality,” he said. “Lord, we thank you, that you’re going to pay back what belongs to us.”

Osteen also had some sharp words for his critics, who slammed him and his church for its delayed response to the storm.

At one point last week, Osteen said the church didn’t open to storm victims because the city hadn’t asked.

Osteen said on Sunday that rising waters approached the top of the church’s flood barriers after the storm, which prevented it from responding sooner.

“It’s easy for somebody from a distance to make judgments without having all the information,” he said. “Some people that don’t have the facts and people who don’t want to have the facts will continue to try to stir things up.”

He later added: “See none of this is a surprise to God. You see, it can be a surprise to us, but God won’t allow it unless he has a purpose for it. We may not see it at the time, but that’s what faith is all about.”

 Osteen is a proponent of the prosperity gospel, an evangelical strain that teaches practising the Christian faith can help lead to increased wealth.

The Lakewood Church is one of the biggest churches in the US and Osteen is estimated to have a net worth of around $50 million.

At the service Osteen did address the church’s perceived delayed reaction to Harvey. He said there had been ‘misinformation’ about the church and that he’d delayed opening its doors due to safety concerns.

Joel Osteen Lakewood Church Hurricane Harvey
The picture Osteen shared of flooding in the church CREDIT: YOUTUBE/TRUTH LIFE

The pastor showed a picture of floodwaters rising to just underneath the church’s floodgates and said he’d opened the church when he was sure it was safe from flooding.

He added: “Had we opened the building sooner and someone got injured, or perhaps the building flooded and someone lost their lives, that would have been a very different story. Now I don’t mind taking the heat for being precautious. But I don’t want to take the heat for being foolish.”

See Osteen’s full sermon above. He first speaks at the 32:15 mark, then again at 1:28:43.

The youtube clip has since been blocked.

Everything the enemy has stolen God is going to restore: the joy, the peace, the health, the dreams.

Question: “How does God restore the years that the locusts have eaten (Joel 2:25)?”

Answer: The statement of Joel 2:25—“I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten”—is a reference to the produce of food from the years the locusts destroyed the harvest. A closer look at the context and details of this verse offers additional insight into the goodness of God.

Israel’s crops had been destroyed by a locust invasion (Joel 1:4), and the impact lasted more than one year. This could indicate that locusts invaded in consecutive years. However, it is more likely that the damage of one invasion had a multi-year impact. When locusts destroyed a crop, they wiped out the seed saved from the previous year, the harvest of the current year, and the seed that would be used the next year. Locust devastation of grape vines and fruit trees would take years to redevelop (Joel 1:12).

Joel 2:25 complements the preceding verse, which says, “The threshing floors shall be full of grain; the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.” The restoring of the years the locust had eaten would include an abundant harvest of grain, grapes, and olives.

The Prophet Joel had used the locust invasion as an illustration of God’s judgment. In His promise to “restore” the years lost to the locust, God is pledging to restore His repentant people to a place of blessing after judgment. 

The results of this restoration would be both physical and spiritual. Physically, “You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied.” Spiritually, they would “praise the name of the LORD your God, who has dealt wondrously with you” (Joel 2:26).

The conclusion of this section of Joel summarizes God’s intention for the restoration: “And my people shall never again be put to shame. You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God and there is none else. And my people shall never again be put to shame” (Joel 2:26-27).

But what is the condition of this coming restoration?

12 Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:

13 And rend your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.

14 Who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him; even a meat offering and a drink offering unto the Lord your God?

15 Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call (for) a solemn assembly:

16 Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet.

17 Let the priests, the ministers of the Lord, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, Where is their God?

God must deal with sin, but when His people repent, they find abundant blessing that more than compensates for what was lost in the judgment. His grace abounds.

I am sorry but, I don’t see anything like this being preached at Lakewood Church or most Churches throughout America!