Chances are you’ve heard of Joel Osteen, known around the world as the dynamic senior pastor of Houston’s Lakewood Church, one of the largest (if not the largest) congregations in America. Joel has written several books, some of which have gone on to become bestsellers --- perhaps the most recognizable, YOUR BEST LIFE NOW. But Joel is not the first Osteen to influence the church with his teaching. The late John Osteen, Joel’s father, was in fact the man who founded Lakewood Church. Throughout his pastoral career, which included hosting a weekly television show for 16 years, John ministered to millions and impacted his generation in a huge way.
Like Joel, John Osteen published several books. As an author his sales numbers may never surpass his son’s, but his books contain the foundational and timeless truths he taught for 60 years. John passed away in 1999, but his wife Dodie, along with Joel, made sure to keep his legacy alive. In April 2011, John’s book, BECOMING A MAN OF UNWAVERING FAITH, was released. This guidebook, compiled from John’s sermon transcripts and previous writings, packs a powerful message for men about increasing and living out their faith. Needless to say, women will also benefit from the principles here.
The book begins with a foreword from Joel, talking about his dad and the wonderful example he set by living out his faith. Joel’s love and respect for his father shines through this brief foreword. Joel ends by noting that at the conclusion of each chapter, he will share a personal reflection about his dad.
In the introduction, John briefly takes us through his testimony and Christian journey into the faith and how Lakewood Church was started. He then offers a word of encouragement about pressing on, even when faith is tested. Then we get to the “meat” of the book, with chapters like: “A Man of Faith Can Change His Destiny.” “A Man of Faith is Strong When there is No Evidence of the Answer.” “A Man of Faith Never Gives Up!” “Faith for Our Families and Friends.” “What to Do When Nothing Seems to Work.” “Jesus, the Author and Finisher of Our Faith.” He uses biblical examples throughout of great men of faith like Jabez and Elijah. It comes as no surprise that he also uses many illustrations from the life of Jesus.
Healing is a big part of the faith message woven through these pages. John recounts his own (and his wife Dodie’s) experiences with healing. He also points out what the Bible says on the subject. In the chapter, “What to Do When Nothing Seems to Work,” he reminds us “it isn’t that the Bible doesn’t work. God’s Word works! We must realize that if there is something wrong, it is not with God or His Word. It may be us.”
John begins the last chapter with these words: “There is no limit to what a man of faith can do for God no matter where he is, if he will learn the basics of faith, dare to believe in God, and act on his Word.” He then goes on to state that faith is not a “formula.” It is a way of life.
Saturated with scripture references, BECOMING A MAN OF UNWAVERING FAITH is easy to read and understand, and the personal reflections from Joel are a nice touch. This small gift-sized book is perfect for the new Christian or anyone needing a faith kick-start. If you’re looking for something that will encourage and inspire you to exercise your faith in new and challenging ways, grab a copy of this book. By the last page, I suspect you will find your faith rising to heights you never dreamed possible.
Reviewed by Lynda Lee Schab on May 24, 2011