Book Review-Next Level Thinking” by Joel Osteen.

A few days ago, I felt to get out a book that Sara had written for a Daily Lily annual retreat that I and others that participate on this website attended in 2008. The Work book is titled, “The Four Bees of Giftings – Finding Your Spiritual Gifts”. The reason for re-studying this was prompted by a gift that I received for Christmas from Tammy M, “Next Level Thinking” by Joel Osteen. As I read Joel’s latest book, it jogged my memory about many similar things I had studied in Sara’s book. So, I began to study both books concurrently and found many parallels, some of which I would like to share related to our gifts.

Both authors agree that we need to be finding and using our unique gifts. And both emphasize that in order to do this we must not compare ourselves with someone else. Joel states, “Be who God created you to be. You are an original. You have something to offer the world that nobody else has. Let your gifts shine.” Sara writes, “You are unique, there is not another you. Your gifts live and die with you. If you don’t develop them, they will not be used.”

Joel contends that in order to accomplish this, we must leave behind negative mind sets and move up into “next-level thinking”; Sara puts it this way, “You can accomplish much more than you think if you reframe your thinking.”

The authors said that one of the biggest hindrances to being ourselves, happy with who we are and with our gifts is jealousy. Sara warns us: “There should be no jealousy of one another’s gifts because that would be a block to your own. If you see someone else writing a book you wanted to write, got published before you got to be published, encourage them, exhort them…because you are watering your own gift to come forth when you recognize and exhort and encourage another. When you feel happy, joyful about another’s gifts your gift will shine.” Joel admonishes us saying, “Don’t get distracted trying to keep up with someone whom you were never supposed to keep up with. When you understand you are fully loaded for the race that’s been designed for you, instead of competing with people, you’ll celebrate them. The right attitude is: They may have something that I don’t, but that’s ok. I’m not running their race. I’m equipped for my destiny.” And he uses the biblical illustration of Saul’s jealousy toward David and says Saul, “didn’t realize they weren’t in the same race. He wasn’t competing with David. If Saul had been happy for David, he wouldn’t have missed his destiny.”

These examples were a couple of highlights that I hope will encourage you as they have me. I found thinking on and comparing the same biblical truths written in two different styles/ways by two different authors to be very helpful.

Debi and Tammy M

Published by Debi

I live in Leesburg, Virginia where I teach high school students in the Agriculture Department. Additionaly, I am self-employed as a horticultural consultant and landscape designer. "Beefriend the Bees!" and "Neither Here Nor There" are children's books I wrote and illustrated available from Amazon ( Chaves&x=12&y=25. Other interests include singing and playing my guitar (also have a CD for sale on Amazon called "Gardening Therapy"); walking my American Bulldog, Cloud and Olde English Bulldogge, Sky; staying active in my local church, and blogging on the

31 thoughts on “Book Review-Next Level Thinking” by Joel Osteen.

  1. Thanks Debi for the book review. I have this Joel Osteen’s book to read which was also a Christmas gift for me. I’v just started the first few pages. Your review has peaked my interest and spirit to pick it up a bit and read on. I’v sure got a lot of mind sets and old baggage to discard and reframe my thinking for 2019.

    I recently read Bill Gates notes from Gatesnotes end of 2018 and was reminded of a thought he mentioned in moving forward in 2019. He states, the questions he is asking himself at age 63 are very different than the ones he would have asked himself at age 20.

    As Debi draws from a book written a few years ago by one author and another one written in the now by another author, I am greatly reminded the truths remain the same, different voices, different years but Truth remains.

    Now, this connects me to Truth, 1 Corinthians 13:1(KJV)
    “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”

    Debi, you state you hope your Debi notes will encourage, they do. Thanks!

  2. Debi what a beautiful review of tying together both authors writing which is written so beautifully by you in beauty and exactness. What an on going encouragement for all people. I have sometimes earlier struggled with whether my gifts were good enough. Your encouragement in review, “They may have something I don’t, that’s ok, I’m not running their race. I’m equipped for my journey.” Also in watering someone else’s gift with encouragement, your gift shines. What a reminder to me and all who are reading your blog Debi.

    I think thedailylily this past Christmas time had all the individual gifts of God working. It was so thrilling to me, I was like a child with not in anticipation of a gift but of giving one. You used your gifting of floral design to bring freshness and beauty to someone who needed a touch from God, Tammy used her beautiful gift of choosing delicacies to be devoured. Little did she know that gift she chose brought back childhood memories of peanut brittle and an orange put in a brown bag given out to all church member so each one was touched at Christmas. Sara decorated each package with such professionalism it was like seeing a package seen in the windows of the finest department stores. She with her beautiful gift of words which bless, encourage, and always shows love by speaking and revealing truth and opening up God’s Word. Another thing I have seen over the 50 years I’ve known her is best said by Frances H. Burnett Quote from the Little Princess, “If … GOD has made you a giver, your hands are born open, and so is your heart; and though there are or may be times when your hands are empty, your heart is always full,and you can give things out of that – warm things, kind things, sweet things – help and comfort, laughter…” My sister who likes to give anonymously is a professional sewer and gives to touch others. I love to paint. What beauty and excitement when all the gifts came together. We pray we will have many opportunities to share our gifts again and again.

    Thank you Debi for the review of two authors whom with their Word encourage people’s God given gifts define who they are and when given in partnership is a GOD thing.

    1. Thanks Rena for gathering your paints and objects of sorts, canvas, glass, China and Muslim to splash colors on that makes a scene to inspire.

      It’s a beautiful thing to see colorful unity in action. As we write, read and share our words of confirmation of 2018 it gives great Hope as we sojourn in 2019!

      1. Thank you! I love playing with color and creating paintings that God has put in my head. I tell people I’m the brush for God. So much fun.

        So thrilled we all partnership together at thedailylily to get out the perfect touch He God orchestrates in each gifting . His song in presented to who He chooses. So wonderful to be in His orchestra.

  3. Rena, your description of so many gifts working together in operation reminded me that in Sara’s book she encouraged us by saying, “As you build your individual and corporate power structures you will grow in your gift(s). You will flourish in your gift(s). You will be successful and prosperous in your gift(s).”

    And, Rena, you spoke of the thrill and excitement. I think we all want to have joy in our giftings. Sara helps us see that in her book when she states, “The very essence of that joy is when you have unity within yourself and you know who you are and you understand who you are. You stand clothed in robes of righteousness.”
    Joel, in his book, writes this about himself, “I like myself, I’m happy with who I am. I’m proud of who God made me to be.” So he tells us to “be happy with who you are” and says, “It’s very freeing when you can be happy with who you are even though you have some areas in which you still need to improve.”

    More to encourage us….

    1. Thank you Debi I’m humbled And encouraged. I am now finally accepting of who I am and so am appreciative and admire the beauty of others talents. I love the beauty and exactnes as I said in your writing which always ties in Pastor Sara’s writing which I have to go back and read but you know like the palm of your hand. That beauty and exactness overflows in you as a horticulturist. I’ve in the past have volunteered and worked along side of you and know this for a fact. Thank goodness you were always there to show and teach me how to do or redo. What a wonderful growing experience your students have while working and learning through you. As a result of your teaching people tell me I’ve got a beautiful flower garden. Your lessons go on and on. Thank you.

  4. In thinking on the parallels given of two writers, one female, one male a few years apart their words were penned, my thoughts went into a spiral of excitement. I walked around gathering my morning joys, a perfect cup of hot brew, ☕️ journal, 📒pen🖌 and reading materials 📚🖥from various places and people.

    My first thought was the title of Osteen’s book, “Next Level of Thinking” Bingo! Why would this book invoke read if in fact I had been part of a written/verbal/journal summer retreat with these thoughts being our theme and study only a few years before?

    My thinking seem a little chaotic and the words that seem to pump my thinking for clarity was, ‘cerebral cortex‘, dictionary …“the furrowed outer layer of gray matter in the cerebrum of the brain, associated with the higher brain functions, as voluntary movement, coordination of sensory information, learning and memory, and the expression of individuality.”

    Now, help? I wrote, taught, chattered but what happened to “The Next Level of thinking”? Was it fail to do? Did I fail to develop a new positive habit? Was it unbelief? Are we starting to see why age gives time to put in practice and then realize it was in us all along? Hey, here I am thinking aloud hoping for wisdom from our gathering on higher thinking. Why, do I feel like singing, “Age of Aquarius? 😮 It’s the beat!🎼🎹🎤 🔨💡🕯

    1. “I wrote, taught, chattered but what happened to “The Next Level of thinking”? Was it fail to do? Did I fail to develop a new positive habit? Was it unbelief? Are we starting to see why age gives time to put in practice and then realize it was in us all along? ”
      Sara, I think these are penetrating questions that, for me as a retreat participant, sent me back into your book more tonight. You wrote extensively about four levels of growth and development which are so dependent on how we “reframe our thinking” (as you put it): “burgeoning, budding, blossoming, blooming.” Both you and Joel wrote of us having “seeds” from God in us. You explain several “blockages” (he writes about several “contaminants”) that if not removed will keep our seeds from “burgeoning, budding, blossoming, and blooming perennially.” …going from one level to the next.

      1. Debi, we are working you overtime but it’s great to have an in-house online researcher👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

        As I listen to news, debates with emotions, angry and threats flying through the airways in reference to “government shutdown,” and “walls,” and “border control”I referenced back to our ongoing communication here including how the Book of Judges along with many other very pertinent Books of the Bible to gain insight into these issues. When we pause on light-dark, good-evil, compromise-quarrel, Angels-demons, God-gods, right-wrong and I’m sure there’s more. The Book of Proverbs gives instructions how to obtain wisdom, ie through understanding of knowledge. This perfect wisdom is framed in John 11:23-25, 32-35.

        I would also like to suggest if you feel caught in an old mind-set read the account of The Ten Virgins prayefully. (Matthew 25:1-13)

  5. Sara, as I read the Parable of the 10 virgins you suggested and what you wrote above then ‘paused’ to think on all, I went to search for some answers again in your “Finding Your Spiritual Gifts” book. Your statement above, “light-dark, good-evil, compromise-quarrel, Angels-demons, God-gods, right-wrong and I’m sure there’s more” seems like a long list of warring opposites. You warned over and over in the book that “Matthew 12:25 says, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” And so many examples from Pastor Reggie’s teachings showed us that the Israelites were divided in their hearts towards loyalty to God and in their actions against one another.

    Also, I wonder if the foolish virgins were an example of “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”? Why didn’t they think to or want to fill up and get extra oil? Your book told us that one of the ‘house’ rules was to “Be prepared to use your gift(s)”, and warned us about becoming “distracted by another lover”. Maybe the foolish virgins didn’t want to take the time or energy to search for the oil thinking it wasn’t that important. That’s what I thought of when I read this quote in your book: “Find your gift and use it. Leave it hidden and lose it.”

    You sure gave us a lot to think on.

    1. Interesting insight on divided house….“is double-minded, …unstable in all their ways. …And, should not suppose that they will receive anything from the Lord.” ‭‭James‬ ‭1:8‬ ‭

      Many confirmed scriptures support your research….The other thought that ripples the same fast moving river…on the 5 virgins that did not share their oil…we often hear they didn’t have enough oil to share. Another ripple we can’t give our wisdom away to a foolish one…this gives great warning we need to get busy and find and obtain iwisdom?.?

      1. Thank you for sharing those ‘ripples’, Sara. I picture rocks in a river causing a ‘ripple’ and I think these are solid rock truths to think on.

  6. I find the most amazing 🧩🧩🧩🧩 pieces lay in wait for the connect of higher plane living, when I go about fulfilling the joy of the writer of Philippians 2:2. Takes a little mind-❤️😴😴❤️🧩 connectors to discover the awesomeness of living in joy and all the benefits joy brings. Now, we need to first make St Paul’s Joy complete and then his joy spills over into our lives and our lives into others. I’m seeing we have to work diligently on the mind of Christ by following the dots of connectors to have the mind of Christ.
    Philippians:2:1 “If then there is any encouragement in Christ, any consolation from love, any sharing in the Spirit, any compassion and sympathy,
    2:2 make my joy complete: be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.
    2:3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves.
    2:4 Let each of you look not to your own interests, but to the interests of others.”

    I think it’s all to easy to Amazon or second time around the books we share including web search and Bible stickers to show our all mighty proofed up knowledge of hot air and then wonder why our joy cup is dry as dry bones.

    I’ve been delighted sharing in our blook review here. I’ve read a chapter from Osteen and mind stocked Sara’s words while going about my daily duties. I worked hard to focus on God’s Word, well my level which is a little in need of build up, to 🧩🧩🧩 with Paul and others to 2:2 happen.

    Our friend Wendy would say at 💡 Whohoo! I say Yippieee!

    Just another thought if we remain lone rangers and self puffers we will not fulfill Paul’s joy! Now where does that leave us?😴

    1. “Just another thought if we remain lone rangers and self puffers we will not fulfill Paul’s joy! Now where does that leave us?”

      In attempt to answer your question from my understanding that I found from your book, The Four Bees-Find Your Gifts, was that it totally illustrates Philippians 2:1-4. Your analogy, as I understand it, is the relationship of bees to the hive or apiary, painting the picture of Christ and the church and gifts being used for the body of Christ. I don’t see anywhere that there is a lone-ranger bee. A lone ranger bee would be a lost bee who would die quickly. A ‘self-puffer’ would not be a fellow worker bee to support the Queen Bee and hive so all could flourish.

      You admonish us to be a part of an active hive. “Reaffirm in your thoughts and words. I’m going to be a part of God’s plan. I’m going to join His colony. I’m going to build my hive and I’m going to pollinate with the Word of God. I’m going to journey in my terrain, and create a beautiful, active, productive apiary. I am going to find my gifts. I’m going to perfect the ones that I have and I am going to find some that I haven’t even tapped into at the moment and I’m going to use them for edifying and building up of one another, the other family members of the Bee colony, the Body of Christ.” You give Hebrews 10:24-25 as a scripture for this principle and exhort us to gather together with others.

  7. After yesterday’s confusion on my part and doing review on that and my mind, etc; and as I reviewed writings on the Lily and Pastor Reggie’s sermon on death, I continue to do soul-searching for sins and blockages, open doors to the enemy, bad habits, disobedience, etc.

    I have been troubled this week regarding my conversation with Sara about how the Sunday School person who subbed for a kindergarten class shared in class she had a difficult day because she had to take the children out due to another child’s behavior in class. Ms Muncy said that was the best thing to do. The sub (Ms Moye) felt it was difficult because they had to rotate the children from area to area for a few hours rather than removing the child. She did express that she was grateful she was a sub that day as she knew the different classes and teachers and could find places to go. I saw it from the sub’s perspective. Ms Muncy saw it differently…that it was best the child was left in class.

    After class when I was asking about reading books, etc I also asked her (if I remember the conversation and sequence correctly) if she would be subbing more and she said she didn’t know partly based on what had happened the other day and how so much has changed. And I said I agreed with her that there were lots of changes in the schools and that I agreed with her that it seemed like they would have removed the one child rather than making her class move but lots of things were new and different.

    Then when I shared with Sara about the reading books in kindergarten, and child incident Sara shared her perspective, which was the same as Ms Muncy, but Sara added the reasoning (which she had not) which made perfect sense to me (and probably also because I trust Sara’s judgement). I realized within myself that minute that I had been wrong in my thinking. The sin is that I didn’t say that to Sara. Looking back, I know it was because I was ashamed at my own ignorance and perspective and acted like I agreed and thought the same thing. So I feel like I was deceptive and prideful in not sharing that and I wanted to confess it.

    As I reflect more, I know I have done things like that before…read or think something and draw a certain stupid or foolish perspective and then Sara shares the truth of the matter, I see the real truth ashamedly but fail often to say I didn’t understand it that way…this is how I saw it. I don’t think this is right to do and I want to correct it.

    1. Debi, not sure I understand or follow your line of thinking. Yet, it’s a plus for you to express yourself and seek out what you feel might be contributing to confusion you are having.

      I’m a believer in expressing differences. In many ways from the book report on Osteen’s book we are to be ourselves by letting the light of our gift shine.

      Now “deceptive and prideful” doesn’t sound like the place to be. We are blessed to have Pastor Reggie’s teaching and many great writers here to help one overcome.

      1. Thank you Sara, and thank you for your insights.

        I agree that “We are blessed to have Pastor Reggie’s teaching and many great writers here to help one overcome.” I am grateful for them as I continue to listen, read and study the resources here that are loaded with God’s truths.

        This excerpt from your book, “The Four Bees, Finding Your Spiritual Gifts”, I think is encouraging for us: “Study the Word of God. As you study the Word, you will find the promises that are needed to affirm, confirm and validate your abilities and gift(s). In God’s Word you find Wisdom, Knowledge, and the Revelation that is needful for your situations. You will find directions and seasons for planting and harvesting. God Word is where you will find all about seeds and the burgeoning of the gifts. It’s all found in the WORD OF GOD. You will find much more useful information in the Bible than you will find in the great Farmer’s Almanac. And, FA is good”.

  8. Debi I have read this review over and over. I see your making a list of instructions which makes me feel up tight thinking the check list all needs to be done today or I’ve received an F. So glad God is a loving God and is the only teacher who is holy and perfectly knows how I learn best and at what speed.

    As I learn by story and pictures God uses those to help me learn truth. I’m so grateful that He chose me to do the part He has asked me to do. Thank you God for the gifts you have given me to touch others for YOU.

  9. Thanks for reading and sharing your perspective and thoughts, Rena. I’m not sure I am making the connection “your making a list of instructions” to what I wrote, but your own example of how you learn and that God knows “how I learn best and at what speed” is encouraging.

    It made me think of a few things Joel Osteen wrote from his book . “I’m not perfect. I have some areas in which I need to improve. But God, I want to thank You for the glory I’m in right now. I know You’re the Potter. I’m going to stay on this wheel and keep being my best, knowing on Your timetable that You will change me. This is the attitude that allows God to work.”

    And Sara wrote a similar thing from her perspective in her ‘Spiritual Gifts’ book: “Some of you may have areas in your gifts and life, that need work. We are imperfect people living in a perfect home. We are living in God’s house. We are imperfect even though we are abiding in the Vine….I am imperfect but I am becoming perfected (Colossians 1:28; John 17:23). You are imperfect but you are becoming perfected. God instructs us to be perfect as Our Heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:48)”

  10. At the beginning of each school year, teachers were bombarded with changes in curriculum or how to help students learn better. We left the meeting on overload. When I looked at all the “you’s” It was scary as the first meetings teachers had for the year.

    Pastor Sara and Joel Osteen are wonderful teachers, pastors, spiritual encouragers. They are God’s coaches who train, have practice on the field, dig and implement the rules, make sure you have worked on an area that you need to win. Once on the field there is no time to think how did the coach tell me how to implement that play. No he yells, “It’s time we show them what we got, play ball!”

    Thank you to our wonderful God coaches 👏👏👏👏👏

    1. Debi and Rena, nice to wake up early grab my brew, touchscreen and read this ongoing book report. And, find you two have it well under way for clarification of Debi’s comment on her ‘self exam’ as she hung negatives around her neck for having an opinion and not sharing.

      It’s so interesting you both are well beloved hands on school teachers and seem to have seen an understanding of thoughts given in Debi’s self exam. I was only seeing through a hazed window from my writing perch. Rena made it clear the two writers of books opining from their perch aren’t the ones in play on the playing field. Rena, great illustration!

      It’s encouraging to see the two of you dialogue about how to hear and apply. Bingo! That’s a biggy for gifts working together. 👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼👏🏼

      1. And, let’s keep in mind the title of this book in play here, “Next Level Thinking” …. Sounds like work to me. 🤭

  11. Thanks Debi for posting this from our retreat years ago. “ If you see someone else writing a book you wanted to write, got published before you got to be published, encourage them, exhort them…because you are watering your own gift to come forth when you recognize and exhort and encourage another. When you feel happy, joyful about another’s gifts your gift will shine.” I think anyone who may visit and read here can learn, grow, and be encouraged by this.😊

    1. Tammy, I agree with you regarding encouragement.
      Also, I found some additional encouragement that Sara finished her quote that you cited above with . Here was her thought: “This has a double benefit when the gift is much like yours, it’s like the growth and fragrance after the rain…”a sweet smelling fragrance to the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:2)

    2. Tammy, I’m so in the ship of hope with the words you have just quoted. Thanks for the life jacket of repeat.👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻♥️

      Your repeat brought my mind back to but forward thinking of our Blog 2019 where we spoke about and quoted the Msgr. Lloyd Torgerson of St Monica Catholic Community, California.

      “…now age 79…He felt more freer to be himself than ever before, more peaceful and grateful to have a reservoir of Grace to draw from among other interesting thoughts of knowing himself.”

      The “Reservoir of Grace” is our reward for having a heart of gratitude in sharing praise for another’s success. And, drawing from their gifting helps to fill our reservoir to draw from to launch our gift.

      And, Tammy, you surely tapped into the reservoir with these words, “I think anyone who may visit and read here can learn, grow, and be encouraged by this.🥰”

      I feel like I have been in a world first class library reading and studying from our daily
      Lily writers. Hey guys, you are great! 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

  12. I appreciate, Sara, how you tie discussion and dialogue together to paint a complete picture.

    And Rena, thanks for more clarification and example of “our wonderful coaches” and the ball field. Your comment,” implement the rules”, sent me back to Sara’s “Spiritual Gifts-Bees” playbook to read up on the “Rules of OUR BEEHIVE” where she said, “We will BEE blossoming by obeying the rules of our Family. Jesus, the vine, God The Father, the vinedresser, and we the Legume family the branches.” Her six rules to follow were, #1. Bee Thankful; #2. Bee Kind; #3. Bee Merciful; #4. Bee Transformed; #5. Bee An Example; #6. Bee Doing.

    1. Thank you Debi for bringing me back to the rules in Sara’s book, Spiritual Gifts – Bees which lays out the wonderful rules for life, which are concise and easy to remember when I’m going about my day.

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