[AUDIO PODCAST] God’s Perfect Purpose for Our Imperfect Lives: Rita Wilson and Lisa Osteen Comes

[AUDIO PODCAST] God’s Perfect Purpose for Our Imperfect Lives: Rita Wilson and Lisa Osteen Comes


God’s Perfect Purpose for Our Imperfect
Lives: Rita Wilson and Lisa Osteen Comes Rita Wilson: What are we all blessed with? What are our gifts? And even if you think you have a gift for
something, but you’re not quite sure, you should check it out because maybe you do. And that’s something worthwhile and worthy
and might be affecting and touching somebody else. So go for it. Narrator: Welcome to the Jesus Calling Podcast. Today’s guests have learned that God created
us all for a purpose, and put greatness inside of each of us: actor/producer Rita Wilson
and pastor Lisa Osteen Comes. First up, we talk with Actor/Producer and
Singer/Songwriter Rita Wilson. Rita has a long list of credits to her name,
including many roles in television and film, and as the producer of such blockbuster films
as My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Mamma Mia! Rita also shines as a singer/songwriter, and
has just released her fourth album called Halfway to Home. Rita tells us about growing up as a small-town
kid in the bright lights of Hollywood, and how it’s never too late to chase a dream. Rita Wilson: I’m Rita Wilson. I am a singer, a songwriter, an actor, and
a producer. I was born and raised in Hollywood, California
and my dad was Bulgarian and my mom was Greek. They met in New York and moved to California
after they got married. I’m a first generation American, and growing
up in Hollywood it was just my little hometown. I grew up with really solid family values
because my parents were extraordinary people. My dad converted to Greek Orthodoxy, and then
[my husband] Tom[a][b] [Hanks], who was baptized Catholic, converted to Greek Orthodoxy, and
both my kids are Greek Orthodox. For us, it was really great going to church
on Sundays. Easter is a huge holiday for us. Christmas as well, but Easter is really the
big, big holiday in Greek Orthodoxy. Yes, I’m a firm believer in rituals and traditions,
and we did all of that growing up. I have to thank my mom, but I also have to
thank my dad for doing it too, because a lot of times you see the moms going [to church]
and the dads are kind of like, “Catch up with you next week.” But my dad would come and feel very blessed
that he was very much embraced by the Greek community, [he] had a bunch of friends and
golfing buddies at church. Even though I grew up in this big town that
is iconic, and people come from all over the world to visit [Hollywood], I just grew up
like a normal kid. We rode our bikes and we climbed the hills
and went to the movies, except the movie theaters were on Hollywood Boulevard. [We] would get ice cream and that was on Hollywood
Boulevard. But my parents instilled in us really great
family values and my parents were married for fifty-nine years. I think you can grow up in a big city, and
it doesn’t mean that you have to abandon who you are as a person and who you are by the
nature of how you were raised. So I really have my parents to thank for that. Music was always playing in the background,
whether it was in the car or on the radio at home. It was AM radio, so it was just one station,
but that one station played everything. It played country, it played pop, it played
soul, R&B, rock, everything. So that’s how I was exposed to all this great
country music and all sorts of genres. My mom was very funny, because we’d be driving
in the car and she would hear a song on the radio and, in her Greek accent, she would
say, “That song is going to be a hit.” And she was always right. So in some weird way, I think I started listening
to music and identifying like, Why did my mom say that was gonna be a hit? What did that song have in it that other songs
didn’t have? So, that was kind of cool, Greek ladies thinking,
That’s going to be a hit. I didn’t know I wanted to become an actress. I was discovered on my first day of high school,
when I was fourteen years old, and that led to a modeling job for Harper’s Bazaar. Then that modeling job led to an agency, and
then I got my Screen Actors Guild card by doing a part on “The Brady Bunch.” That led to acting, and I felt very thankful
because it was a great job, and I kept working but I didn’t have any idea that I could be
an actor until it was almost telling me, You are working so much that I think this is your
job. And so that’s how I ended up getting into
the business. What I have memories of wanting to do is to
be a singer. But because the acting thing took so much
time and a lot of precedence, you become very ensconced in that. Back then, it was sort of looked down upon
if you tried to do two things, like “I’m going to be an actor and I’m going to be a
singer.” So I feel really lucky and really blessed
that I get to be doing music now, writing and singing. I always wanted to be a musician, I think
in my heart of hearts, but a[big part] of it is you’re scared and you kind of think
of it as a thing that happened in the past, but for me it didn’t happen. I didn’t play an instrument. I didn’t read music, and then I met a woman
who changed my life in many ways: Kara DioGuardi, an incredible songwriter and producer. She said to me, “Well, what kind of things
do you want to do?” And I said, “Oh boy, I would give anything
if I could write a song like you.” She said, “Well, what makes you think that
you can’t?” I said, “Because I don’t play an instrument
and I don’t read music.” And she said, “I don’t either. Do you have something you want to say?” And when she said that, I was like, Do I have
something I want to say?! I have so much that I want to say, and it
had almost been bursting, wanting to get out, and I didn’t have an outlet for it. I feel acting is like [this]: you have a character,
you’re playing somebody else, and then you do that performance and it’s out of your hands. Other people, editors, take care of it, and
you know your performance is formed afterwards in a way. But writing music, to me, is a really intensely
personal connection, and I am so thankful for it because when you’re writing a song,
you’re really writing your own personal experience. It’s an idea or a theme that you want to explore
with your co-writers, for example, but it is still a personal story that you’re telling. I love that. I’ve always been attracted to the story in
songs, so that is what I’m always looking for. Like, Is this a good story? Am I going to be drawn in by what this song
is?. Even growing up and hearing songs like “Ode
to Billie Joe,” [I think], What was happening up on that bridge? Or, “She’s Leaving Home,” by The Beatles. Why is she going with that man from the motor
trade? Don’t go, stay. What about your parents? They’re going to miss you. It was always the stories that engaged me. I feel, in a way, like I’m a storyteller. My new album is called Halfway to Home. It’s based on the feeling that I always have
that we’re works in progress. We’re not really finished, and we are constantly
trying to be better.[c] When you think you have something figured out, something comes
from this side and says, “Oh, well, I’m going to give you this new challenge and here’s
what you can do about that.” So I feel that sometimes you’re kind of one
step forward, two steps back. But at the same time, I wouldn’t have it any
other way, because if we’re lucky enough to be alive, we’re lucky enough to be a work
in progress. The song “The Spark” was written about anybody
who’s in a long term relationship. You can define what long term is for yourself. But when you get married, what’s that thing
that happens? You have a connection with somebody, you have
this electrical thing, you have this chemistry and you have a spark and that’s what lights
the flame. I think in any long term relationship, you’re
going to have your ups and downs, and sometimes there is going to be big flames happening
and it’s awesome. But sometimes, those flames can get a little
dim, and there’s [only] little embers, and you have to blow on them to get them going
again. [The song] is about if you keep that little
spark lit, there’s always a way to bring back that fire. “Throw Me a Party” is the single off my
album Halfway to Home. It was inspired by the fact that four years
ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and I’m a survivor. When you first hear those words, “You have
cancer,” it’s pretty terrifying. And I’m not alone in that. It was scary. Before [I] really knew that [I was] going
to be okay, and [I was] dealing with all the bad news, I said to my husband, “Look, if
something happens and I should go before you, I want you to be very sad for a very long
time. But I also want to have a big party.” And I described everything that I wanted. I wanted a party and I wanted sparklers and
I wanted food and I wanted my friends and I wanted everybody to sing and dance and tell
stories and laugh. And thankfully, that’s not going to happen
for a long [time]. But, I had the title, “Throw Me a Party.” And so, I had a little writing camp with a
bunch of songwriters, and Kara DioGuardi was there. I came, everybody was broken up into little
groups, and the group that wrote, “Throw Me a Party” was Christian Bush and Liz Rose,
two incredible songwriters, and me. We wrote the song about how you want to be
remembered. I realized that so many people are having
that same experience, or have thought about what it is that they want to do when it’s
their time. I have gotten the most beautiful comments
on social media about people who have used the song for memorials, used the song at their
funerals, have said, “This is the song that I want.” I do think people ultimately want to be celebrated
for their lives, and everybody wants to be remembered and missed. But at the end of the day, you want to be
remembered for making someone’s life better. [d] My faith has evolved as I’ve gotten older
because, for one thing, it’s different. It’s not the same as when you’re younger,
because the things that you think you want when you’re younger are very different. And having been blessed with an extraordinary
life, you almost become more thankful. You can’t take credit for it. In a way, I feel like everything that I do—anything
good that is coming out of it, I believe—is from a higher power. [e] And the older I’ve gotten, I think it’s about
much more of a trust and much more of a faith that things are going to be okay. I think we shared this the last time, one
of my favorite quotes in the Bible is in the middle of a longer quote. “Who by worrying can add one hour to their
life?” That has given me a lot of peace, because
you can spiral into the craziest sort of thoughts, and when you let go of that piece of it, It’s
very helpful. I’m a big believer in prayer. It’s the way I start my day, so I don’t get
out of bed without saying a prayer of gratitude. It’s funny, because it’s like I want to say,
“Are you getting bored hearing all this?” Because it’s like, “I’m thankful for this
and I’m thankful for that,” I just go through my list. I pray for the people that are struggling
or need a little bit of extra support. I really do start my day with a prayer of
gratitude, and I am saying prayers throughout the day. I think everybody, well, not everybody, but
a lot of people do that. For me, it’s just a part of my day. [My] first copy of Jesus Calling was gifted
to me by my friend, Faith Hill, and it was the leather bound one, I still have it. And then, I think, I told Kristin Chenoweth
about it. So she now has it, and it’s so funny, because
now that we have the app—the app is great too because it’s with you everywhere—I will
send quotes back and forth to my best friend, like, “Have you read Jesus Calling today? How about this quote?” It’s kind of crazy that sometimes you read
the passage from that day and it’s exactly what you need to hear. I don’t know. That is crazy and I love that on the app you
can mark your favorites and that’s very helpful. What I love about the book is that it’s a
devotional. There are so many different devotionals, meditative
devotionals, spiritual devotionals. But for me, what I love about it, is that
Sarah Young, the writer, has basically taken her own meditations on scripture and remade
them in a way that feels very accessible and very manageable, so that it’s personal in
a way. It makes [me] feel more connected than just
reading scripture. This is from March 23rd: I am a God of both intricate detail and overflowing
abundance. When you entrust the details of your life
to Me, you are surprised by how thoroughly I answer your petitions. I take pleasure in hearing your prayers, so
feel free to bring Me all your requests. The more you pray, the more answers you can
receive. Best of all, your faith is strengthened as
you see how precisely I respond to your specific prayers. Because I am infinite in all My ways, you
need not fear that I will run out of resources. Abundance is at the very heart of who I AM. Come to Me in joyful expectation of receiving
all you need—and sometimes much more! I delight in showering blessings on My beloved
children. Come to Me with open hands and heart, ready
to receive all I have for you. So good. I like the Psalm that goes along with this,
too, because it says her in it. I will bless her with abundant provisions;
her poor will I satisfy with food. – Psalm 132:15 Thank you, Psalm 132:15. I think there’s a myth that things just happen
easily for you, “Oh if you want to do this, you make this happen,” and we want that
to happen. But I think anybody who has worked really
hard at something knows it takes a lot of effort. It takes a lot of vision and it takes a lot
of discipline and consistency. Right? For me, I think that one of the things that
is the most important is to not give up. To believe that you can do something. I think if you’re doing things for the right
reasons, if they’re really truthful, it’s slightly easier to make the things that you
want to do happen. And I do believe that you can set goals and
make them happen. But before you do that, you have to know what
it is that you want. Earlier, I talked a little bit about everybody
having a gift. Since I’ve been doing music, I meet people
and I sign CDs and I get to talk to people a little bit. I realize and I hear a lot of people say something
like “Oh it’s so great that you’re writing and doing music now,” and “Oh I’ve always
wanted to dot dot dot,” and they have a thing or a dream that they always wanted to do. I always say, “It’s not too late to do that
dream,” and, “You don’t know where that will lead you.” Like even if it’s something like taking a
painting class, or drawing or sewing or cooking, whatever it is, drama, comedy, there’s always
a place that you can find to start pursuing that creatively. I think that that is a really important thing
that people know they’re never just stuck. It’s never too late to follow your dreams. A really good friend of mine, he’s a very
successful singer/songwriter, had this amazing quote when I started writing music, and I
[had] said, “What makes me think that I write music now? You’ve been doing it all your life.” And he said, “Because creativity is time
independent.[f]” And I was like, “Okay, yes, there are no rules. Do what you love.” Narrator: You can find Rita’s new record,
Halfway to Home, on iTunes or wherever music is sold. Narrator: As Lisa Osteen Comes grew up learning
and loving the Bible in a pastoring family, she never would have predicted God was planning
a life in ministry for her—especially after she went through a painful divorce as a young
woman. But God used Lisa’s love for the Bible and
her heart for helping others and she began teaching classes for those who had been through
similar relationship struggles. As she started to see healing in her life
and in the lives of those she was teaching, Lisa realized God was telling her, You Are
Made for More, a sentiment she shares with others in a book with that very title. Lisa Osteen Comes: My name is Lisa Osteen
Comes, and I’m an associate pastor at Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, where my brother
Joel is the pastor. I’ve been working at the church for thirty-five
years now. I’m married to Kevin, and we have twin girls
and a son. Our son is seventeen years old, so we stay
very busy between our kids and family and the ministry. My family grew up in a little town outside
of Houston called Humble, Texas. My parents had five children together and
we were just normal. We loved God. We loved each other. We fought each other, just like all kids do. But our home was really a home of peace and
safety and joy. It was a great childhood. My parents started Lakewood in 1959. They were such great mentors, great parents,
[who] trained us in the ways of the Lord. We all look back at our home life and realize
what a blessing it was to have what we had as a family. I remember that as a teenager I had this love
for reading the Bible, studying the Bible. I would order Bible correspondence courses,
you know, I would get books and study them because I just wanted to know more about God,
I wanted to know more about His Word. I didn’t know then, but I look back now and
I see that God was preparing me to be a Bible teacher and to be a pastor, and I didn’t really
realize it. I don’t really think I considered anything
else. I mean, even though I got a degree in business
education, my heart was for ministry. I loved how my parents enjoyed ministry, and
the one thing I love about it is that I saw it was fulfilling to them because they were
helping people. I think that was my heart, I want to help
people. I knew how good God had been to me, and how
He had helped me through so many things in my life, and I wanted to help people too,
in ministry. I think I always wanted to work in the ministry,
but I don’t think I knew where. I worked in the organizational side, just
the day to day dealings of a church, helping Pastor, helping organize, working with people. And I began to teach this class of people
who had been through divorces, who were separated from their mates, or even still together but
struggling in their marriages. God brought me these people, and I began to
teach them every Tuesday night. I looked back and [realized] He was training
me to teach the Bible. I have a best friend of over thirty years,
her name is Deborah. And many years ago, when I went through an
unwanted divorce, I was down, I was discouraged, but I finally got myself on track and realized
that God still had a plan for my life, and I was not disqualified from ministry. In that time, Deborah and her former husband
were married, they were big youth pastors in the state of Texas and had everything going
for them. But her husband left her, and she was just
so broken-hearted, like I had been. Two different ministers told Deborah, “You
need to go to Lisa’s classes.” Well, she didn’t want to because she thought,
“I don’t want to go to a meeting where I have to stand up and say, ‘My name is Deborah,
I’m divorced,’” and all that. But anyway, she decided she really needed
to come. When she did, I had already known that she
was coming, these ministers had told me they were going to send her, so I began to pray
for her before I ever met her. When she came into the meeting, she stood
up and she said, “You know I’m new here,” because I ask for visitors to stand up. I went back and I just said, “Deborah, I’ve
been praying for you for weeks. My friends told me about you. I went through a divorce also and I can tell
you that God’s going to get you on the other side.” She was so encouraged that God connected her
with someone else who had gone through the very same thing. She said to me, “Lisa, looking at you and
your family, I would never [have thought] that y’all would go through anything, and
yet you’re telling me you went through all of this?” It just gave her hope. I said, “Let’s go to lunch,” because I wanted
to encourage and pray with her. Lunch led to another lunch, another lunch,
and then we became best friends and we are still today. She’s in the ministry. I just felt on my spirit one day, You are
made for more, because that’s what God thinks about you when he looks at you. He says, “I made you for more, I made you
for greatness.” All these things come against us in life,
and sometimes it looks like we’re not gonna make it, we’re not going to live out our dreams. But with God’s help, we can. Twelve years before I wrote the book, God
put it in my heart to write a book about what He’d done in my life and how I overcame, how
He helped me overcome. I wrote it and shared my stories, but I also
interweaved it with the Word of God. How I overcame that fear, how I overcame an
unwanted divorce when I was in my early twenties, just a hard and broken-hearted time in my
life. I am very transparent about those those times
in my life and am very practical to help you walk it out with the Word of God. I think the greatest thing that we can do
as Christians, to follow the will of God, is simply follow God every day. I tell people all the time, “Do you want to
know the will of God for your life? Do you want to fulfill your destiny? Well, follow God one day at a time and just
get up in the morning and say, ‘God, I’m available to you. What do you have for me today? I want to follow you more than I want to do
anything else.’” That’s simply making yourself available to
God. I think another thing is to just look at yourself. What did God put in you naturally? What are your gifts, what are your talents? Because whatever He puts in you, He’s going
to use for your destiny, for His purpose, for His glory. If we’re in tune with the Holy Spirit when
we do that, then we will recognize God opportunities or people we can touch or minister to, or
things that we need to be aware of. I absolutely love Jesus Calling. It sits with my Bible. I read it all the time. It so ministers to me, and it reminds me every
day that Jesus is with me and that He’s listening to me and He’s directing my steps and I don’t
have to be afraid. It just brings that peace into my life and
I highly recommend this wonderful devotional to anyone, because it is a life-changer. I so thank God for Sarah Young and this beautiful
devotional. Let me just close by saying this: I think
knowing that God has a plan and a purpose for you is key, because God created you. He created you on purpose, and He created
you for a purpose. He put greatness inside each one of us. I think until we recognize that, we’re not
going to move forward in the direction that He wants us to. Sometimes that means taking labels off of
our lives and beginning to believe that, “I am God’s child and He has a plan for me. He will help me if He calls me. He will equip me and help me to do whatever
He has called me to do.[i]” Take those steps, pursue God, and say openly to God, “God, here
I am. I want to do your will. I want to do whatever you call me to do.” He’ll get you there. Narrator: To learn more about Lisa’s book,
You Were Made for More, or about her ministry or podcast, please visit lisaosteencomes.com. If you’d like to hear more stories about
how God has created us for a purpose, check out our interview with country music artist
RaeLynn. Narrator: Next time on the Jesus Calling Podcast,
we talk with viral sensations The Singing Contractors. While working on a house one day, Indiana
natives Aaron Gray and Josh Arnett decided to take a break and film themselves singing
“How Great Thou Art.” Little did they know, their video would garner
more than 100 million views and touch hearts around the world. Josh and Aaron share what drives them to sing. Singing Contractors: I think people were surprised
that a couple of ugly guys could belt out some tunes like that, literally dropping the
tool belts where we stood, where we actually worked. It wasn’t a made up place, it was actually
the job. Dropping [the tools], saying, “Let’s do
this tune.” We recorded that thing one time. We had no idea what it would do, and it’s
still staggering that within thirty-two hours it had a million views. That means a lot, but what we like about it
most is that people are hearing a message of encouragement and [a message] about the
gospel through a simple song, through a couple of simple guys. Narrator: Do you love hearing these stories
of faith weekly from people like you whose lives have been changed by a closer walk with
God? Then be sure to subscribe to the Jesus Calling:
Stories of Faith Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, or wherever you listen to your podcasts. If you like what you’re hearing, leave us
a review so that we can reach others with these inspirational stories. And, you can also see these interviews on
video as part of our original web series with a new interview premiering every other Sunday
on Facebook Live. Find previously broadcasted interviews on
our Youtube channel, on IGTV, or on jesuscalling.com/media/video.

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