Following is the full transcript of TD Jakes’ speech or sermon titled “The Power of a Thought”.
Note: There are some instances in the transcript where we couldn’t discern the terms correctly. If you know the right words for them, please do notify us. Thank you.
TD Jakes – FULL TRANSCRIPT
I was teaching some young men the other day. Can I just give you a 5-minute little seminar?
I was teaching some young men the other day and I was teaching them about the power of a thought. THE POWER OF A THOUGHT. And how I evolved into teaching them on the power of a thought is that I was teaching them about corporations.
I said a corporation is not a building. IBM can move to another building and they’re still IBM. A corporation is not a person. The founder or the president can die and the company can still exist.
So if a corporation is not a building, and it is not a person, the third thing it is not, it is not a product. It is not a product, it can exist without the product. It can change from one product to the other and continue to exist.
So if it’s not a product and it’s not a person, and it’s not a premise, not property, what is a corporation literally? It’s a thought.
A corporation is so real that if I set up a corporation and you enter into that corporation with me, the very fact that I set up a corporation means that you can’t sue me — you have to sue the corporation because the corporation is an entity unto itself. But a corporation is a thought.
And then I took it a step further. I said The Potter’s House is not a building. We could leave this building, they can have this building but they couldn’t have the church. The church is not defined by a building. The Potter’s House is not a building. The Potter’s House is not a man. I can die and The Potter’s House could continue right on. The Potter’s House is not a man. It’s a thought. It’s an idea. It’s a conviction. It’s a premise.
I said that to say to them: can I take it a step further with you? For the last 300 years, if you would imagine yourself 300 years back from where you are right now, you would be about in the 1700 or so, how many things would disappear out of your life? Car’s gone, television gone, phones gone, electricity gone, refrigerators gone, microwaves gone, cellphones gone. Look at all the fabrics that would be gone, polyesters gone, [bullions] gone, look at all the stuff that would be gone.
In 300 years, almost everything you call normal happened in the last 300 years which is a short time out of the thousands of years of our existence, it all happened within the last 300 years, it was ideas bursting at the scenes, ideas and concept creating fabrics and concepts that maybe we take this seed and this seed, we can produce a hybrid and here come subpoena and here comes the phone and here comes electricity and here comes all of this stuff born out of fertile minds. Are you following what I’m saying?
What scares me about this generation right now is that we are going into a dumbing down of ideas. We don’t feed our minds anything. We don’t invigorate ourselves anymore with everything in every genre music everywhere else television, it’s gone down enough to — just reality TV we sit up for hours to watch people like [Faasil].
So the people who studied to do the arts and to do dance and to do drama are searching for a job, while [Docoo] they sit up in front of the camera… we got people in our generation who are famous for nothing. They don’t do anything, they don’t produce anything, they don’t have anything; they’re just famous — famous because you’re cute.
So it is the dumbing down of ideas and when idea stops, economy stops, creativity stops. Buildings, corporations, all stop because everything happens that’s important to you between this year and this year.
You are one thought away from a great reformation in your life, one thought away from being a millionaire, one thought from overcoming, one thought from starting a ministry, one thought from building a business, one thought — the cure for AIDS is one thought away. The cure for cancer is one thought away. You serve the Lord with your mind. You serve humanity with your mind.
If you sow into the kingdom, you’re not asking God to give you money. What is money? Give me a thought. Give me an idea. Give me a strategy. Give me a plan. You are one thought away from the greatest experience you’ve ever had in your life.
Do you have the courage to think? Because if you can think, you can change, you can move, you can evolve, you can grow, you can become, you are one IDEA away. Your credit is not a problem. Your house is not a problem. Your car is not a problem. Your situation is not a problem. Your thoughts are the problem. “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he”.
[WomenAreNew] was a thought. Manpower was a thought. Mega First was a thought. The Potter’s House was a thought. Everything starts in the thoughts you think. You are no better than the thoughts you think. If you think little, you go little. If you think weak, you go weak. If you think up, you go up. One thought. Swab yourself in the head, one thought. That’s how close you are.
So now is a season for you to move distractions, confusion, turmoil out-of-the-way to find a peaceful place where you can meditate and think: what am I going to do at this season in my life? What am I going to do with his age? What can I do with the circumstances of my life? What would you do with what you have to make it better? One thought.
If God whispers in your ear once every 10 years, it would change the last half of your life. He won’t have to say something to you every day and it would take you 10 years to work out what he said one time in your life. You are one thought away. God thought I’ll make me a world. He spoke.
I want to pray over the thoughts you think. Because if you think wrong, you go wrong. If you think down, you go down. If you think you can’t get up, you can’t get up. If you think you can’t be free, you can’t be free. If you think you can’t learn anymore, you’ll never be able to learn. Your thoughts are either dragging you down or taking you up.
It is not what she thinks about me that makes any different. I think she thinks good about me but it does not matter. If she did not think good about me it would not impede my ability to do what I do, because I am not moving out of her thoughts, I am moving –
Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth? So why would I waste my energy trying to change how you think about me when your thoughts have no direct gearing — you’re working on the wrong stuff. Stop trying to change people’s mind. Let them think whatever they want to think. You don’t have time to be a steward over somebody else’s thoughts. Get your head together. Are you following what I’m saying?
I want to pray over the thoughts you think — the plans you have, thoughts become reality. Hallelujah! Glory to God!
[Oman Grant], W. V. Grant’s father thought when he came on this property, he would make Eagle’s Nest. He bought this property and started a ministry. He passed, his son took it. He thought it was Eagles Nest and it functioned as Eagles Nest. I came to the same property, same address, same place, I thought The Potter’s House.
It’s the same address, it’s the same lot. It’s the same property. It’s the same Bible, it’s the same message. It’s the same preaching but it is the level to which you think that Gold can take the same stuff. You all know here what I am saying.
Do you understand — somebody could take the same woman that you said ain’t nothing, somebody — Oh my God! Do you understand what I’m saying to you, somebody thought your outfit into existence, somebody thought and designed the fabric of your call. Somebody thought the car you drive, what are you thinking?
Oh glory to God……
You are creative, because you were created in the likeness of a creator. You need to be creative to live your life to its fullest potential because you are a creator. God doesn’t give you finished product because you need something to create. So God did not create the telephone. God did not create the computer. God did not create the automobile. God did not create a chair. He never made not one chair, he made a tree, he made steel, he made gold, he made air. God is going to give you the raw stuff to give you something to think about so you look at it and say what can I do with the stuff you gave me.
What can I do? Since you seldom give me finished products, you don’t make boats, you don’t make planes, you don’t make aircraft. You just give me raw materials. Maybe I’m waiting on you to give me something that you have already given me. You’re not going to give me a car, you gave me steel. You’re not going to give me electricity, you gave me lightning, you gave me waterfalls, and said now look at what I gave you and make something out of it.
An IDEA. You are one idea away from what you saw in your dreams, in your prophecies that God spoke over your life. You are one idea away. You are not waiting on God. God is waiting on you.
I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to go on and on about there. I have this stuff in me and I have no place to release it to, because sometimes church people are so spiritual they make me nauseous, because they expect God to do everything. What dress should I wear, Lord? What job should I take, Lord? Do you want me to have a brick house or what — he doesn’t care. God doesn’t care. That’s your choice.
O God! I need somebody who can catch this. One thought – one thought transforms the alcoholic from alcoholism. It is how you think about yourself.
One thought delivers you from hopping around in the failures of your past, just standing up like a man and say I’m going to be defined by what’s in front of me and not what’s behind me. What is behind me will not control me. I will break the chain on my yesterday so that I can fly into my tomorrow. My later day shall be greater than my former day. You will not beat me because I think myself to be strong enough to psyche you back off from me.
When somebody messes with your mind, they have messed with your most precious resource. When they mess up your head, they have messed up something serious because out of your head comes your thoughts and out of your thoughts comes your family, your companies, your self-perception, your creativity. And so every now and then you need to come to church so you can get your head together.
Do you have the courage to think something beyond where you are? I may not have to preach my sermon this morning.
Do you have the courage? God says to Abraham, “Look out from where you are.” He says, “Old man, do you have the courage to think beyond the parameters of your present location?” He said, “Look out, what do you see?”
“I see the stars of heaven.”
“Look out, what do you see?”
“The sands of the earth.”
He said, “What you see is what you’ll be. So shall thy seed be, your children will be what you see.” If you see nothing they will be nothing. If you see something they will —
Isn’t it ironic that God used what the Bible calls the foolishness of preaching — the foolishness of preaching? What is preaching? It is the interjection of truth into your mind. It is word coming into your head. This is a God who created the earth, the cosmos, the planet. He created everything and he chose word to change you because word produces thought.
Even evil words are powerful. If somebody stands over you and say you’re a fool and you’re a failure and you’re going to be a trap just like your Manny, whatever they say to you those words have life. If negative words have life to bring you down, positive words have life to pull you up.
Who wants this stuff? Somebody — I’m on a roll. I feel his glow. I feel his presence. I’m just tired of being around negative ghetto thinking people. I’m not going to have a ghetto argument with the ghetto light. I am NOT going to argue with the ghetto light. I left there long time ago. I’ll pull you out if you want to come out but I’m not going to go in there and fight with you. Jesus called Lazarus out the tomb. He never went in it.
Somebody was telling me something they heard somebody say about I don’t care. I don’t care. If he was me and I was him, he wouldn’t tell what I said. Wouldn’t it be stupid to be worried about what I thought? My thoughts didn’t make her and my thoughts can’t break her. When it comes out of your head it’s a designer’s original, you don’t have to owe anybody, you don’t have to pay anybody back. Y’all know here what I’m saying.
When President Bush came into office, as soon as he got into office he could scarcely unpacked before he ran into 9/11 and everything happened, and the World Trade Centers collapsed, all this drama and a new term emerged from an attack. Generally terms evolve out of attack. Creativity evolves out of attack. Necessity is the mother of invention.
And a new term comes up that we had not heard before called the war on terrorism. Okay you remember and everybody’s talking about that. But he said it was a new kind of war but really in reality it was similar to the Reagan administration who had a war on drugs. You remember that? And then there was a term the war on crime.
All three terms are new terms to us because we are used to fighting for turf, for territory, for World War I, World War II, the Spanish-American war, the Revolution all of those were war fighting for something we could see.
But the real fight is never over what you can see. The real fight is always over what you cannot see. The hardest fights you ever will have in your life is to fight for things that are intangible. They’re untouchable because — because you must understand conceptual fights are the biggest fights because concepts are the creative realm.
It is easier to fight for stuff than it is to fight for an idea, because the idea — the spirit world is a parent world from which everything physical emanates. Can you follow me with that? Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by Word of God so that the things that do appear were not made from things that do appear. Hebrews 11:3
So everything that is tangible starts out as intangibles. Okay.
I wondered in my mind then, I said isn’t it weird that that the early church had physical fights and they fought for stuff and they were martyred and they were killed and the early apostles gave life. They were sawn asunder. They were crucified upside down. They went through all kinds of horrible stuff and yet as we get closer to the ends of AIDS we don’t see as much of that as we did before. And the Lord said to me it’s because the war has slipped into the spirit.
You’re not being skinned alive, you’re not being sawn asunder, you’re not being crucified upside down. We’re not seeing a lot of that amongst Christians. It’s certainly not in America. We are in some other country but not in America. But you are being killed all the day long. You are being attacked in your mind and in your spirit and in your heart and in your attitude in ways like we have never seen before.
Your attitudes are being attacked. The spirit of things are being attacked. Your emotional well-being is up under attack. 24/7 around-the-clock we’re being shot in our morality. We’re being skinned in our integrity. The enemy is using your past to stir up all kinds of stuff to choke you to death with your childhood needs and your brokenness and your desperateness. The war has slipped underground.
Who would have thought that we would ever have to fight stuff like powder and be at the post office, talk about set everything down over powder? We used to fight nitroglycerine and machine guns and all kinds of stuff like that but the war has moved naturally into another realm. It has moved spiritually into another realm. You are being fought in ways you can’t describe.
You remember when he was talking about cell groups and there were cells all over the country and they could be living next door to you and they would be activated at different time. The enemy has certain things down in you that he knows are vulnerable, places in your life and the cell group attacks in your spirit and every time you get ready to step up or go forward or do something important he will activate one of those cells that have been quiet in your life, you are quiet, you didn’t even know it was going to come up again.
Here you are 40 years old fighting something that happened when you were 10, fighting something that you didn’t even think was an issue anymore. But every time you get ready to move he activates a cell to attack you in ways that you had never predicted would happen to you.
Marriage. Just 30 years in the marriage, now you’re talking about a divorce. You’ve been married 40 years, now you’re sick to each other. You don’t even know what day you got sick of each other. You just looked at each other one day and you say I don’t know whether I can live with you or not. Two weeks ago you weren’t thinking like that. That’s not your thought. That’s an attack. That’s a cell group that has been activated to terminate what you have. The enemy comes to kill, steal and destroy but I come that you might have life and have it more abundantly. Somebody say amen.
It is a spiritual attack that comes against you in spiritual ways, and because you are under attack, in your spirit, in your mind, in your emotions, you are lonely all the time. No matter who you around, no matter how many people know you, you end up alone because you are up under a private battle that you can’t talk about.
Oh yeah I got something for you today. It is a satanic espionage. It is a satanic espionage that has come against you for such a time as this and you’re being attacked in ways you don’t even understand. You get depressed and you don’t even know what you’re depressed about.
You feel like crying and you don’t even know what you’re crying about. You’ll be driving down the road and you feel like I don’t even want to go to work, I don’t even want to be me. I don’t want to even — look at how extreme it is — it’s not just I don’t want to go to work today, I’m sick of being me. I want to just keep on driving, forget my name, forget where I came from. Keep on going. It is a satanic attack, being attacking your mind, your heart, your spirit, it’s not about the paycheck, it’s not about the finances, it’s not about the house. It’s just a feeling of failure and forlorn that you can’t understand and for God’s sake we are killed all the day long. You’ve never seen the time people coming in shooting up everybody in the house, kill all the kids, kill the wife, kill himself, we didn’t use to do stuff like that.
You had a beautiful person at work — Fred was fine yesterday, he was smiling, he was laughing and joking. I never would have thought — he was a good man, we didn’t think he would do anything like that. They’re talking about the outside. They don’t see the inside. The warfare is on the inside. We are up under attack. Terrorist attack — you are being threatened all the time. It’s not what’s happening to you that’s hurting you. It is the threat of what could happen to you that is stealing every good day you got.
You can’t enjoy the good days because the enemy is threatening to you I’m going to do this or that so you don’t get any peace when things are well and you don’t get any peace when things are bad. Because when things are good you’re worried about them going bad and when they’re bad you’re dealing with what bad happen and you haven’t had anywhere else, you’ve had sleep but you haven’t had rest; you lay down but you didn’t go to bed. You’re tired when you get up. You’re tired when you go down. You are up under attack.
Your head, your thought life is up under attack. When Paul tells them in Ephesians to put on the whole armor of God, the first thing he tell them is to put the helmet of salvation. The first thing he tell them is cover your head, cover your thoughts, cover your mind, keep your mind in a safe place. To be saved is to be safe. You don’t feel safe in your head no wonder you can’t be creative, you don’t feel safe enough to be creative. You’re always on the defensive, fighting back what might happen. I rebuke the spirit of terrorism, I come against it.
Do you understand what I’m saying to you? Can I just teach just a few minutes to you this morning?
He says cover your head, the helmet of salvation. So you can think clear, so you can be creative, because you’re going to go in the direction of your thoughts. Remind your head that you’re saved. So you’re saved but you don’t feel safe, you don’t think safe, you don’t think thoughts of victory and deliverance. You’re still thinking out of your old nature. Cover your head with who you are: the helmet of salvation. Not cover your head with who you were.
Your head is covered with who you were and not who you are. Cover your head with who you are. What would a person like who you are do, not what would a person like who you were do.
I’m talking to you about elevated thinking. I’m talking about thinking in heavenly places. I’m talking about getting above the storm you Eagle. Stop talking to me about the storm and the recession and what’s going on in the economy. That’s the Blue Jays and Robins and sparrows. Eagles fly above the storm. They don’t read the weather report, they don’t even care. Get above it. There is a way to get above the storm in your life.
You are flying into something you ought to get above. The whole reason Jesus allows Peter to walk on the water is so that he would have the experience of walking on top of what other people sink in to. Glory to God.
Can I get into this a little bit?
Last Sunday when I was teaching about blessed be God, you remember that — when I talked about how God was fat and God was pregnant and what I did not emphasize is blessed be God who has blessed us the transference of birthing. I think you understood that, but I want to carry deeper with all spiritual blessings — spiritual blessings, spiritual blessings, spirit blessings — blessings in my spirit, healed in my spirit, free in my spirit, creative in my spirit.
God said I’m going to make a transfer from my wealth account into your wealth account and it’s going to go spirit to spirit. It’s not going to go spirit to flesh because I cannot wire to the flesh. I’m going to wire to the spirit. So I’m going to heal you in your spirit and then your spirit is going to heal your body.
I’m going to prosper you in your spirit and then that prosperity is going to hit your finances. I’m going to preach in your spirit and then you’re going to open your mouth and breathe. This is easy for me to see because I’m a preacher. God does not take my tongue and my lips and make me to move up and down.
He puts the Spirit, he puts it in my spirit, he puts the message in my spirit and then all I gotta do is get up and speak out what he spoke in. That’s how you’re going to get out of debt, that’s how you’re going to get healed, that’s how you’re going to be free, he’s going to speak it into you, you’re going to push it out of you, it’s going to start in your spirit.
It’s going to start in your spirit. You’d never be a great preacher, when you preach if you’re not a great preacher in your spirit. You cannot — you cannot deliver greatness out while you breathe in weakness. Your perception has everything to do with your progression. If you do not perceive your situation correctly, it will not be better, hence the awakening.
The Awakening deals with your perception. Father, I pray that the eyes of their understanding might be enlightened that they might know, not hope that they might know that they might know that they might know that you can stand fat further on what is the hope of your calling.
I know who I am, not who I was, who I am. I know what he had in mind for my life. I know I will not die today. You know why you can’t kill me today: I ain’t finished.
You see, you are called according to his purpose and not yours. All your life you’ve been talking to God about your purpose and the reason he didn’t move on it because it was your purpose. If you talk to God about his purpose, he will always move over his purpose. He did not call you according to your purpose. He called you according to his purpose. And if you dedicate yourself to his purpose, he will protect, you he will provide for you, he will process you, he will keep you, he will strengthen you because God always pays for what he orders.
I’m going to say that again. God always pays for what he orders. You’ve been trying to get God to pay for your meal. God ain’t paying for your meal. That’s what you want. God said if you do what I want, I will send the money, I will send the people, I will send the resources. I will send the help. It ain’t about you; it’s about me. You understand what I’m saying.
I’m going to show you something. By all rights if we would be fair, Saul was far more a moral man than David. And yet God blessed David far more than he did to Saul, because in spite of the fact that David had his weaknesses and his proclivities, David was a spiritual man.
And because David was a spiritual man, he tied into God’s purpose. God used him according to his purpose. He needed David to complete to start the lineage through which Christ would come, to put David on the throne so Christ could be the son of David was a part of God’s plan. Get in the plan of God.
Get in the plan of God. Get in the plan of God. Get in the plan of God. God will always keep you, always protect you, always provide for you when you get in his plan. That means you have to bathe yourself from your selfish agenda and what you had in mind for yourself and say Here I am Lord. I’m available to you. I commit my way under you. Any way I can serve you. It doesn’t have to be a big thing. It doesn’t have to be an impressive thing. I’m delivered from all of that. Any way you want to use me if I’m nothing but the man that tells laymen he could be healed from his leprosy. While I’m making the bed I will tell man that you’re able to heal and deliver.
If I’m nothing but the little boy that takes all censored by the hand and shows him where to place his head, I am willing to do that. My ego is not at this. I just want to line up with your purpose.
Glory to God. Glory to God!
When you get rid of your agenda, God will bless you. He is not going to fund your agenda. David was committed to God’s agenda. He was crazy. He had issues. He needed to go to — one of them, sexual control — it’s the truth though.
See, this is my problem with the church. People don’t tell you the truth. So you end up trying to be something that you cannot be, and they all commit to something where we won’t tell people that God used flawed, crazy, stupid people who did dumb things. If you don’t tell people that when they do something stupid, just say God can never use me, God can never love me. I have to be one of those good people. There are no good people. Everybody’s messed up some kind of way.
Why do you think I got saved, because I was crazy and stupid and drowning and I needed somebody come get me for I kill my full self. That’s the truth. That’s the truth. That is the truth.
I spent years asking God to make me good like the good people. But then I got to norm, and I found out they were crazy like me and then I got angry with them. I wasn’t angry because they were crazy like me. I was angry because they didn’t tell me. If you would have told me that you had issues too, it would help me to perceive myself in a different light. God uses ordinary people. It is not your ordinariness that is messing you up. It is your inability to get in the spirit. God operates in the spirit and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.
Oh God! Oh you better pray for me. You better pray for me because I’m about to give birth to the church that I really saw in my spirit. It took me a while to get the courage to say what he really called me to say. Oh my God y’all better pray. Glory to God.
We need to understand God knows who you are. He knew who you were when he called you. You’ve been surprised at the stuff you can do. God was not surprised. He saw the end from the beginning. It neither made him want you nor made him hate you. It’s just an undeniable fact he knew you. He called you according to his purpose.
Read the book of Ephesians over and over and over and over again. Paul keeps teaching you it is God’s purpose that he begotten you. He had a role for you to play that nobody else could play. Nobody can do you like you do you. You are in a class all by yourself. Nobody can do you like you do you. Nobody – nobody, you’d be shocked what you could do if you would know what I just said.
If you would just breathe in what I just said, you wouldn’t be so insecure, you wouldn’t be so intimidated, you wouldn’t be so vulnerable. There will never be another you. You are in a class all by yourself. You got a voice like nobody. You got a fingerprint like nobody. You got thoughts like nobody. You are in a class all by yourself. If anybody ever loves you, you ain’t gotta worry about nobody taking them because if they love you, you are one of a kind.
And so what I was going to say was this: man, the craziest thing in the world after 35 years of preaching the word, my Bible is coming alive again. It’s like I’ve never read it before. I’m seeing stuff I never saw before. It’s the awakening.
Resources for Further Reading:
- Neil MacGregor: 2600 Years of History In One Object (Transcript)
- What the World Can Learn From Ukraine’s Fight for Democracy: Olesya Khromeychuk (Transcript)
- The War-Torn History of Crimea—My Home: Emine Dzhaparova (Transcript)
- How Literature Can Help Us Develop Empathy: Beth Ann Fennelly (Transcript)
- The Human Skills We Need In An Unpredictable World: Margaret Heffernan (Transcript)