HOLLYWOOD—What does Khloe Kardashian, Jessica Simpson, Justin Bieber, Mariah Carey, Gary Busey, Lyle Lovett, Kim Kardashian, Larry King, Ellen Degeneres, Cher, Oprah Winfrey all have in common? They are part of Joel Osteen’s vast audience. One of the most controversial topics of conversation in the entire world is religion and politics. The question of who or what, to worship serving to both unite and perhaps to divide.
Let’s forget about politics, a difficult subject to talk about these days. So, we are left with religion, and when you combine religion and money, and not just a little money, but millions of dollars, you’ve got a simmering pot that’s going to boil over the second that flamed is cranked up a notch. For over two decades, televangelist and senior pastor of the Houston-based Lakewood Church, has seen his mass movement grow exponentially, and his personal celebrity as a word of faith preacher inspiring and motivating millions.
Whether you tune in on Sundays to watch him, stream him online, or listen to him on Sirius/XM, you’ve heard the messages of this Texan, with an estimated net worth over $60 million, perhaps more from his best-selling books and endorsements. He’s been a guest on “Oprah’s Next Chapter,” “The Steve Harvey Show” and “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon,” and he was on the “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.”
So, if you hadn’t heard of this man who has written numerous New York Times bestsellers and leads the largest congregation in the U.S., with an estimated 52,000 parishioners filling the infamous Lakewood Church’s arena-style sanctuary on a weekly basis, you have been living under a rock. Pastor Osteen was born in Houston, Texas, and is one of six children of John and Dolores (Dodie) Osteen. He came from humble beginnings, his father began devoting his life to the Lord, when he was seventeen.
Joel Osteen founded Lakewood’s television program, where he produced his father’s televised sermons for 17 years until his father unexpectedly died from a heart attack in 1999. Joel stepped in, two weeks later and made Lakewood Church, what it is today. Back in 2003, Lakewood Church acquired the Compaq Center, home of the NBA Houston Rockets. The renovations cost $105 million and took over 15 months to complete.
The grand opening took place in 2005, with Texas Governor Rick Perry and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. The services are seen in over 100 countries. Pastor Osteen was selected by Barbara Walters as one of her 10 Most Fascinating People of 2006. Senator John McCain described Osteen as his favorite inspirational author. Back in 2010, President Obama invited the Osteen family to attend Easter breakfast at the White House.
His preaching style is on target. He really prepares for his sermons, he memorizes and listens back to himself on tape. He teaches the Biblical principles of having faith, even when you are knocked down, you must get up, comparing it to a surge. He is also the executive producer of the new series currently running on the history channel titled, “Jesus: His Life.” This handsome pastor, with a full head of curly light hair is married to the beautiful Victoria Osteen, his co pastor.
They met, when Joel walked into the jewelry for a watch battery, which was owned by Victoria’s mom, and Victoria sold him a brand new watch. He made a U-turn and asked her out and the rest is history. They have two beautiful children, a son and a daughter. The family lives in a 17,000 square-foot mansion, worth an estimated $10.5 million in River Oaks.
I bumped into Joel Osteen and his wife Victoria, last night at my friend’s bookstore Books and Greetings, in New Jersey. Victoria is out promoting her new book titled, “Exceptional You,” which is available everywhere now. Her new book is about discovering your inner self, appreciating your true value and developing the gifts and talents God has placed inside of you.
In her new book, she focuses on seven practices to bring out the best in you: Know that you are chosen, Lift up your eyes, Keep your memory box full, Travel light, Love well, Live in the Now, and Power Up. Besides selling books and ministering, they also travel the country with “Night of Hope,” event to sell-out crowds.
Rose’s Scoop: Los Angeles police have arrested the suspected killer of rapper Nipsey Hussle, who was gunned down outside his clothing store, on March 31. Police arrested Eric Holder, and was taken into custody.