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Televangelist Joel Osteen adds Oklahoma City to his list of cities to visit

Televangelist Joel Osteen and his wife, Victoria, will present “A Night of Hope”
by Carla Hinton Published: September 8, 2012

Q: In your book, you share a specific declaration for each day of the month. How did you come up with that approach?

A: You know, I just tried to get a big broad scope of what I would want to speak and what I do speak over my life. I tried to come up with 31 that I felt like would help people the most. Speaking favor and speaking health, speaking God's faithfulness, these are just the things that I speak over my own life and my own family and my own future and so I felt like I would share it with other people.

Q: What do you say to people who are really hurting? How do you uplift them?

A: It's hard sometimes. Here in Houston, we have a cancer hospital here, a famous hospital that serves a lot of people, so every service there are people here with cancer, many of them kids. I really tell them that this is not a surprise to God, that He has you in the palm of His hand. I think a big point, something I always try to say is don't get bitter, don't let discouragement set in, don't fall into depression. Find something to be grateful for. You might not have your health but you have a spouse. Be grateful for your spouse or your job or whatever it is. The important thing is not to get bitter and to stay grateful, stay hopeful. I tell a lot of people about all the saints that died in faith. We're all going to die sometime, so let's die in faith.

Q: I know that you are a preacher's kid, probably one of the most famous preacher's kids that we have. How do you bring that part of your life to your role as a pastor of this huge, huge church because I know that you didn't grow up necessarily thinking that that was what you were going to do.

A: I feel blessed being raised in this. Church was always all I've known, in that sense — growing up, going to church and seeing how my dad (the late John Osteen) dealt with different things. So it's obviously given me an advantage from somebody that didn't have that. When my dad died, like you said, I never dreamed I'd be doing this but I knew I was supposed to step up into this role. It was all in God's timing and it was all meant to be this way.

Q: You have critics who say you dwell too often on the positive, that you dwell too much on the positive nature of God and not putting enough of “fire and brimstone” to your messages. How do you answer those critics?

A: I just try to stay focused on what I feel like God has called me to do. I go back to the Scripture that says that it's the goodness of God that leads people to repentance. When I tell people that you can overcome the past, you can be a better husband, a better wife, you know that draws people in to want to do better and to want to know the Lord and to want to surrender their life to Him. So I know that it's not the only approach, but I just don't have it in me — I feel like there are enough things pushing people down in life that when I come before them, I want to somehow lift them up and still speak the truth. I think you can speak it in a positive way instead of “Hey man, you know you're going down,” I'd rather say “God has mercy for every mistake. Why don't you trust Him today? We're never going to change their (critics') minds. It's just a different approach. They think that it's all about telling people how bad they are and that they need to repent. It's just a different approach and I don't fault them in any way. I don't want to be critical in any way of people who are being critical of me.

by Carla Hinton
Religion Editor
Carla Hinton, an Oklahoma City native, joined The Oklahoman in 1986 as a National Society of Newspaper Editors minority intern. She began reporting full-time for The Oklahoman two years later and has served as a beat writer covering a wide...
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