“This is my bible I am what it says I am, I have what it says I have,
I can do what it says I can do. Today I will be taught the word of God.
I boldly confess: My mind is alert, my heart is receptive. I will never be the
same. In Jesus’ name.”
If you have ever said or heard the creed above, then you probably know that it was made popular by preacher, televangelist, and author Joel Osteen. Not only leading a congregation to take the word of God as truth, Osteen is a man who himself takes God at His word and believes what He says. Then he lives it.
Shepherd of the flock at Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, Pastor Osteen teaches a message of hope to 43,000 congregants each week. As though pastoring the largest church in America isn’t enough ministry outreach, his television broadcast reaches over 100 countries and some 7 million viewers weekly on local channels. Every week the 16,800-seat edifice is home to four English language and two Spanish language services. Despite his seeming meteoric rise, the 51-year-old has remained grounded.
When you speak to those who have known the ever-smiling pastor over the years they tell you that he hasn’t changed much. He was the same ten, twenty years ago. What you see is what you get. Joel Osteen lives a life of truth filled with hope. He shares those beliefs with his wife Victoria and their two children Jonathan and Alexandra. Of course, no story of Joel Osteen is complete without mention of the family matriarch, his mother Dolores Osteen, known to the hordes who love her simply as “Dodie”. A woman full of strength and faith, Mama Osteen is a prayer warrior on the battlefield for the Lord. Having wrestled with cancer and emerged on the end of that trial victorious, she continues to live a life filled with hope, faith and trust in God.
Pastor Osteen didn’t grow up wanting to be in the spotlight. When he speaks of his late father, John Osteen – founder of Lakewood Church – it is with the fondness of a son who was secure in his father’s love and wisdom. John Osteen saw in Joel something much more than Joel saw in himself. Joel was the son who enjoyed being behind the scenes handling the production side of the television ministry. What Joel did not know was that his two fathers – his Heavenly Father and his earthly father – saw more in his future.
When John Osteen died, the younger Joel was compelled to continue the great work his father and mentor had begun. Joel mustered enough courage to leave his place of comfort behind the scenes, trusting that God would be with him as He was with his father. The success that followed was nothing Joel ever expected. Even today, he continues to be amazed. The mantle to preach the gospel and lead Lakewood Church was placed on him in 1999. Since then he and his wife, Victoria, have continued in the deliberate work of God.
Quite often Joel Osteen weaves into his sermons the simple thought that you are a victor and not a victim. These are not mere words, as this message he preaches throughout his ministry is echoed by the Lakewood Church family. On Sundays as you tune in to Lakewood live, whether on television or the Internet, you are ministered to with music full of joy and a high focus on giving praises to God. One of the usual highlights for me is hearing Victoria speak powerful words of love and encouragement wrapped in God’s truth, love and mercy.
A basic belief of the Osteen family and Lakewood church is that both life and death are in the power of the tongue as stated in Proverbs 18:21 – therefore they often remind their congregation not to use words carelessly. This is perhaps an early lesson from the genesis of the ministry. Pastor Osteen speaks of when his dad named the church – he named it with a vision. Though Lakewood Church was still small, he saw greatness in its future and called it Lakewood International. Now half-a-century later, Lakewood is the largest Christian congregation in the United States of America.
This attitude of pushing on in faith may be considered the core of Osteen’s message. He speaks quite strongly about having a vision for your life. If you can’t see it you can’t receive it. Osteen tells the story of a man who looked at a mansion and said, “I’ll never have that.” His friend turned around to him and said, “You are right, you never will.” The man was stunned, since he was expecting words of encouragement, but instead he was told: “You will not have it as you can’t even believe it.” Joel Osteen’s most recent book, I Declare, gives a good understanding of the power of your words and how to not allow your feelings to rule your life.
He shows the reader how to start the day positively and how powerful the words you speak quietly to yourself and out loud are pivotal to the outcome of your day and your life. in his compelling, uplifting, and faith-building new book, BREAK OUT! : 5 Ways to Go Beyond Your Barriers and
Live an Extraordinary Life, set for release in October, Pastor Osteen presents empirical steps and inspiration for forging a life without limitations. BREAK OUT! challenges readers to have a new perspective, to let nothing hold them back, and to reject any labels that might limit them. Osteen inspires and encourages with the message that our first break outs must occur within our own minds: “When you break through in your mind, believing you can rise higher and overcome obstacles, then God will unleash the power within that will enable you to go beyond the ordinary into the extraordinary life you were designed to live.”
What Joel Osteen has is a special gift which enables him to help people view seemingly mundane things through the supernatural eyes of truth from God. Looking at the Osteen family forces you into a dichotomy – they smile a whole lot, which may make you think the smiles are not real, but indeed they are. On the other hand, if you know their smiles are indeed real, then you may think they’ve never known any trouble in their lives, but indeed they have – lots of it.
Bombarded with lawsuits, accusations and criticism, Lakewood Church with Osteen at the helm ploughs through, with eyes steadily on the hope that is Jesus. They continue to see life from the perspective of God’s word – secure in the knowledge that all things work together for good, for those who love the Lord and for those who are called to serve Him.
This same message of hope is what Pastor Osteen, his wife and their entire leadership team bring to the millions of people around the globe who hear them through their many conferences and media platforms. We live in a time when manyfeel hopeless. Joel Osteen comes offering light in the darkness, restoring hope to many who have lost their sense of purpose.
Critics say Osteen is more motivational speaker than preacher, but if you really lean in and listen you will hear God’s word throughout his messages. His teaching style is relaxed, which draws large numbers of people to hear him. He uses easy stories and lots of smiles and inevitably, the people who listen to him leave with the Gospel on their hearts. I think Joel Osteen has learned well from Jesus.
There are many great teachers of the Gospel in the world, but none I know does it like Joel Osteen. He is the champion of all those who want to live their lives in Christ at a higher, more meaningful and productive level. If that describes you, then you want to make sure you attend the “A Night of Hope” event coming to Canada’s largest city, Toronto, on September 6, 2013. The venue this year is the same as previously, the Air Canada Centre. And if past attendance is any indication of what will happen this year, then the event will sell out super fast, with hordes of stragglers waiting outside hoping to buy last-minute tickets. Go get your ticket today!
I attended the last “A Night of Hope” event in Toronto. It was beautiful. When I walked into Air Canada Centre, it was as though I
had walked into a cozy room infused with the pure love of God, a love like no other. I felt like I was in the very arms of love – the arms of our Lord and Saviour Jesus the Christ. I did not want that night to end. I came out with a fresh sense of hope and purpose. It was wonderful. I follow this ministry very closely, so I can confidently say to you that Friday September 6, 2013 at the Air Canada Centre will be a night filled with the love of God, His peace and joy, and most notably, His hope. If you live anywhere across Canada where iiNFLUENCE Magazine is found, you must treat yourself and attend this event. You will not be disappointed.
When asked by iiNFLUENCE Magazine why he and Victoria decided to begin the now famous “A Night of Hope” events, Pastor Osteen said: “We receive so many letters from around the world from our television audience. So, we began the Night of Hope events to reach out to people in a more personal way and to bring people together for a night of celebration and encouragement.”
He went on to say; “More than ever before, people are looking for hope in their lives. The “Night of Hope” events are about uplifting people. It’s a time when I’m able to share my message to inspire people, to let them know that God is good, he’s on their side, and that there are good days up ahead.” This is the inevitable truth – give a person hope and you give them Jesus.