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Joel Osteen
American televangelist and author

Joel Osteen

Joel Osteen
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American televangelist and author
Is Minister Writer Politician
From United States of America
Type Literature Politics Religion
Gender male
Birth 5 March 1963, Houston, Harris County, Texas, USA
Age 58 years
Star sign Pisces
Family
Father: John Osteen
Spouse: Victoria Osteen
Education
Oral Roberts University
Humble High School
The details (from wikipedia)

Biography

Joel Scott Osteen (born March 5, 1963) is an American pastor, televangelist, and author, based in Houston, Texas. As of 2018, Osteen's televised sermons were seen by approximately 10 million viewers in the US and several million more in over 100 countries weekly. Osteen has also written several best-selling books.

Early life and family

Osteen was born in Houston, Texas, and is one of six children of John Osteen and Dolores ("Dodie") Pilgrim. His father, a former Southern Baptist pastor, founded Lakewood Church (of which Osteen is the current senior pastor) in the back of an old feed store. He graduated from Humble High School, a public high school in the city of Humble, Texas, in 1981, and attended Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where he studied radio and television communications, but did not graduate; he did not receive a degree from a divinity school. In 1982, he returned to Houston, founded Lakewood's television program, and produced his father's televised sermons for 17 years until January 1999, when his father died unexpectedly from a heart attack.

Career

Osteen's father encouraged him to preach for many years, but he declined, preferring to work behind the scenes until January 17, 1999, when he accepted his father's suggestion and preached his first sermon. John Osteen died six days later of a heart attack. Two weeks after his father's death, Osteen began preaching regularly and later that year was installed as the new senior pastor of Lakewood Church on October 3, 1999. As of 2014, Lakewood's attendance had grown from 5,000 to 43,000.

In 2003, Lakewood Church acquired the Compaq Center, former home of the NBA Houston Rockets and the AHL Houston Aeros. Renovations cost $105 million. The renovations took over 15 months to complete, and included the addition of five stories to add more capacity. Lakewood's 2005 grand opening was attended by an estimated 56,000 people, including Texas Governor Rick Perry and then-House Minority Leader and future Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. According to Osteen in 2008, Lakewood Church's weekly service TV program was viewed in more than 100 countries. Lakewood Church estimates that 7 million viewers per week watch the services.

Osteen was included on Barbara Walters's list of the 10 Most Fascinating People of 2006. Former presidential candidate John McCain described Osteen as his favorite inspirational author. The Osteen family attended Easter breakfast hosted by President Barack Obama at the White House in 2010.

Preaching style

Osteen's sermon preparation involves memorizing his remarks and listening to himself on tape. Osteen says he chooses to focus more on the goodness of God and on living an obedient life rather than on sin. He says that he tries to teach Biblical principles in a simple way, emphasizing the power of love and a positive attitude. When asked why he does not focus more on sin, the devil and hell in detail, Osteen stated in an interview with CBN News:

When I grew up, the devil was a reason why I had a headache or the devil was the reason I got mad today. We always blamed the devil. I think today when I say the enemy, I like to make it broader. Sometimes the enemy can be our own thoughts. We've trained ourselves the wrong way. Or the enemy can be our own lack of discipline. Some people preach about hell like you're already going there, and to me the Gospel means 'Good News.' I'd rather say God is a God of mercy. So I think the people already know what they're doing wrong, and I certainly believe in hell. But to me, when I see thousands of people before me, it just doesn't come out of me to say, 'You guys are terrible, and you're going to hell.' I'd rather say that God is a God of mercy. You've got to live an obedient life, but for every mistake you've made, there's mercy there, and I believe we can do better.

Books

Osteen's first book, Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential, was released in October 2004, and reached the number 1 position on The New York Times Best Seller list.

He released his second book, titled Become a Better You: 7 Keys to Improving Your Life Every Day, in October 2007. It also topped The New York Times Best Seller list and had a first printing of three million copies. Osteen has said that the book focuses more on relationships and not getting stuck where we are in life.

Personal life

On April 4, 1987, Osteen married Victoria Osteen (née Iloff), who later would become copastor of Lakewood Church. They have a son and daughter. In 2002, his older siblings, Paul, Lisa, and Tamara, and his younger sister, April, were also involved in full-time ministry, and his half-brother Justin was doing missionary work.

Osteen lives with his family in a 17,000 square-foot mansion in River Oaks, with an estimated value of $10.5 million. Osteen says that as senior pastor, he draws no salary from the church, which has an annual budget of $70 million, and that he instead relies on income from book sales.

Political and social views

Osteen has generally avoided discussing or preaching about controversial issues such as gay marriage, abortion, and politics. Having gone on record saying homosexuality is "not God's best", he has stated he believes the church has a tendency to become overly focused on single issues (such as homosexuality) to the point of neglecting others. When asked if he thought God approves of homosexuality, Osteen said homosexuality is a sin according to his interpretation of Scripture, but said gay people are welcome in his church without judgment.

In an interview on Fox News in 2008 during the Republican Party presidential primary race, when discussing whether he thought that Mormons were Christians, Osteen indicated that he believed that they were. He further revealed that he had not studied the religion. In an interview in 2011, Osteen stated his support for Israel.

Controversies

Prosperity gospel criticism

Osteen's sermons and writings are sometimes criticized for promoting prosperity theology, or the prosperity gospel, a belief that the reward of material gain is the will of God for all pious Christians.

On October 14, 2007, 60 Minutes ran a 12-minute segment on Osteen, titled "Joel Osteen Answers His Critics", during which Reformed theologian Michael Horton told CBS News correspondent Byron Pitts that Osteen's message is heresy. Horton stated that the problem with Osteen's message is that it makes religion about us instead of about God.

Osteen is estimated to have a net worth of over $50 million, with his church taking in $43 million a year in collections.

Hurricane Harvey response

During the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Harvey in August 2017, Osteen received significant criticism for not making Lakewood Church, a 606,000-square-foot, 16,000-seat former sports arena, available as an emergency shelter for those displaced by the storm. On August 27, posts from the church and a Lakewood Church associate pastor's social media accounts stated that the church was "inaccessible due to severe flooding," and associate pastor John Gray posting further, "If WE could get there WE WOULD OPEN THE DOORS." Lakewood spokesperson Don Iloff later described floodwaters as one foot from spilling over the facility's floodgate and surging into the building. He also stated that pictures showing Lakewood free of flooding were taken on Monday, after the flood waters had lowered.

Osteen disputed the claim that flood waters closed the church, saying "the church has been open from the beginning," and, "[w]e've always been open ... How this notion got started, that we're not a shelter and we're not taking people in is a false narrative." This contradicted his earlier statement that the church would open when other refugee centers were full. On the evening of August 28, it was announced by Lakewood that it would open at noon the next day as an available shelter to storm victims and emergency personnel, which it did.

On August 15, 2018, less than a year after Harvey struck, the City of Houston and Mayor Sylvester Turner proclaimed a day in honor of the assistance of Lakewood and Osteen in rebuilding efforts across the Houston area. It stated that Lakewood and its pastors had provided "assistance to more than 1,150 Houston-area families whose homes were damaged or destroyed by floodwaters" and bought "1.1 million dollars in building materials, furniture, appliances, and paid labor, as well as through the contribution of more than 2,500 volunteers".

Other

In 2011, Osteen and Lakewood Church were sued by the band The American Dollar for copyright infringement. A judge in 2012 ruled in favor of Osteen, but gave The American Dollar leave to amend the case.

In 2020, in a controversial move, Osteen's Lakewood Church accepted $4.4 million in federal PPP loans (COVID relief).

Filmography

Year Title Role Notes
2007 Friends of God: A Road Trip with Alexandra Pelosi Himself Documentary
2014 Words of Art Himself Documentary
2015 I Hope You Dance: The Power and Spirit of Song Himself Documentary
2017 The Star Caspar Voice role

Partial list of books

  • Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential (2004)
  • Daily Readings from Your Best Life Now: 90 Devotions for Living at Your Full Potential (2005)
  • Become a Better You: 7 Keys to Improving Your Life Every Day (2007)
  • Your Best Life Begins Each Morning: Devotions to Start Every New Day of the Year (2008)
  • It's Your Time : Activate Your Faith, Achieve Your Dreams, and Increase in God's Favor (2009)
  • It's Your Time: Finding Favor, Restoration, and Abundance in Your Life Every Day (2009)
  • Everyday a Friday: How to Be Happier 7 Days a Week (2011)
  • I Declare: 31 Promises to Speak Over Your Life (2012)
  • Break Out!: 5 Keys to Go Beyond Your Barriers and Live an Extraordinary Life (2013)
  • You Can You Will: 8 Undeniable Qualities of a Winner (2014)
  • Fresh Start: the New You Begins Today (2015)
  • The Power of I Am: Two Words That Will Change Your Life Today (2015)
  • Think Better, Live Better: A Victorious Life Begins in Your Mind (2016)
  • Blessed in the Darkness: How All Things Are Working for Your Good (2017)
  • Empty Out the Negative (2017)
  • Next Level Thinking: 10 Powerful Thoughts for a Successful and Abundant Life (2018)
  • The Power of Favor: The Force That Will Take You Where You Can't Go on Your Own (2019)
  • The Abundance Mind-Set: Success Starts Here (2020)
  • Peaceful on Purpose: The Power to Remain Calm, Strong, and Confident in Every Season (2021)
The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 04 Dec 2021. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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References
http://www.chron.com/CDA/archives/archive.mpl?id=obits_3413529
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https://www.tbnafrica.org/schedule/programme/overcomer-with-joel-osteen
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http://www.christnotes.org/_joel-osteen.asp
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http://www.cbn.com/700club/features/amazing/osteen_010408.aspx
http://www.houstonpress.com/2002-04-04/news/power-house/full/
https://archive.today/20140217014753/http://www.wvartists.org/artist-detail/175127/joel-osteen/
http://www.wvartists.org/artist-detail/175127/joel-osteen/
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/apr/29/osteen-draws-40k-to-nationals-park/
http://www.nbcnews.com/id/8565629
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