Joel Osteen is a native Texan and the Pastor of Lakewood Church, which according to Church Growth Today is America's largest and fastest growing church. On July 16, 2005 after completing $95 million dollars in renovations, Joel moved Lakewood Church into its new 16,000-seat home - the former Compaq Center. It is the largest regularly-used worship center in the United States. Each week Joel delivers God's message of hope and encouragement to more than 38,000 attendees. According to Nielsen Media Research, Joel is the most watched inspirational figure in America. His weekly sermon is broadcast into every U.S. television market where it is viewed by seven million Americans each week and more than 20 million each month. His weekly broadcast is also seen in almost 100 nations around the world.

In 2004, his first book, Your Best Life Now, was released by Time Warner debuting at the top of the New York Times Bestsellers List and quickly rising to #1. It remained on the New York Times Bestseller for more than 2 years and has sold more than 4 million copies. Most recently, Joel was named as one of Barbara Walters' "10 Most Fascinating People of 2006" and he was selected as the "Most Influential Christian in 2006" by the readers of Church Report Magazine (excerpted from his website).



This is the sermon that changed the way Oprah sees her life. Watch as Pastor Joel Osteen, one of America's favorite preachers, reveals the power of the words "I am" during a Sunday sermon at Lakewood Church in Houston. Find out why Pastor Osteen says anything is possible if you have the faith to believe it.

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You Deserve The Best

You deserve the best. Don't settle for anything less than that. Be true to yourself and the world will align in perfect harmony. ~Dean A. Banks, D.D.

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You ARE a beautiful soul and anyone that knows you is blessed. Share that love that is you and all else will come in Divine order! ~Dean A. Banks, D.D.

The Way

Declaring one's right to believe in the tenets of their religion or NOT to believe in them is NEVER stupid. It is being truthful and loving. Stupidity is the result of thinking that you have 'the way' when in reality it is 'a way.' Freedom from religion is just as valid as freedom of religion. To diminish one as totalitarian is to diminish the other as well. We all have the right to believe what we want to believe. Beliefs are the source of ongoing conflict in our world. That is why there is so much dissension and hate in the world. When we stop fighting over what we believe and start coming together on what we know, is when peace will be the goal of our lives. ~Dean A. Banks, D.D.

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In this issue I am going to write about one of the most controversial preachers on television today. There seems to be many negative memes posted on the Internet, Facebook and Google+ about this man by bitter people being defensive over what, in their minds, he represents. Yes, this preacher lives in a huge home that is provided by his church’s foundation; yes, he has made a great deal of money from his books and speaking engagements; yes, he has made a name for himself and many jealous and unaware people have completely missed his message in favor of their ‘uninformed’ opinions.

Joel Osteen started out behind the scenes of his father’s Lakewood Church. He and his wife Victoria went on missions to other countries spreading the gospel to others. They had paid their dues by sharing what had blessed them with others. Yet, the haters claim that they somehow take advantage of others by living a lavish lifestyle at the expense of others. Joel made his money by the sale of his books. Books, by the way, that brought spiritual principles to evangelical Christianity. He bridged the gap between principles and dogma, allowing his readers to see the underlying laws of nature at work in biblical themes. I don’t agree with everything he says, but I do with most of it because he always refers to God more than man. He focuses on what God has done for us over what we think we have done for God.

Elizabeth and I once volunteered for one of his ‘rock concert’ events in Philadelphia. We volunteered as greeters at the door to welcome those coming to the ‘free’ event. We were fed, treated well and prayed together. Not once did anyone ask for money. In fact, after the event a collection plate was passed around and we were instructed to give what we could; if we could, and to pray for blessings if we couldn’t. Not once were we ever pressured to donate at all. We met some wonderful people that became friends and we were treated with dignity and respect.

Some say that Joel and Victoria are frauds because of an incident on a plane where Victoria had an encounter with a disgruntled woman looking for attention. Perhaps there were issues that we know nothing about, but I can say this, that some people look for excuses to make confrontations because they are looking to get something out of someone based on who they are. Having been in the entertainment business most of my life I know this to be true.

Others have falsely claimed that Joel and his church hoard the money and don’t give back. Not true. The Lakewood Church supports many missions and community ‘give-backs’. They put their money where their mouth is. Joel gives a great deal of his money that he has earned from his book sales to Lakewood Church. Because they broadcast from a former sports arena some say that this is wasteful and that the money used to purchase and maintain this facility should be given to the poor. Tell me something, should they do anything that the nay-sayers request? Hardly! These people have a false attitude about money and what should be done with it based on their own lack and limitation! I say that they should be even more blessed because they are demonstrating the blessings of God. Only jealous, backbiting and bitter people worry about what they perceive as grandstanding by Joel because they completely miss his message. I would wager to say that most of the nay-sayers have NEVER watched his programs consistently enough to see the theme in his message, let alone witness that he and Victoria NEVER ask for you to send them money at the end of the show.

Yet, these bitter, defensive and jealous people will post meme after meme on how ‘unChristianlike’ he is. Folderpocky! It is they who are unChristianlike because they make erroneous assumptions about money and what successful people should do with their money. Let’s review; Joel has had phenomenal success with his books because of the message they portray. They are NOT books on a ‘prosperity gospel’; they are books on being positive, hopeful and Christlike. If you so choose to distort his message that is your right; however, you are participating in spreading lies and deceit more than relaying the truth. Before you put this man down, spend the time investigating his life and come to know that his message is one of growth and expansion of whom and what God created you to be.

Stop jumping on the bandwagon of morons with an agenda to destroy the truth and direct attention to their erroneous philosophies that obviously DON’T work! If they did, why are they spending their time misdirecting others to support their twisted agendas! As Joel himself once said, he doesn’t pay attention to negative things that others say about him because he knows whom and what he is and that their opinion of him will not disturb his inner peace. He knows how to not allow the garbage of those with erroneous beliefs and selfish agendas to enter his inner ‘holy place’.

I have read several of Joel’s books and watched his program every Sunday for the past 8 years. His message is always uplifting and he always touches on universal spiritual principles that help us to deal with life ‘as it is’! Don’t be swayed by negative people with a selfish agenda. Read his books. Watch his show. Listen to what he says. Learn just how blessed you already are and participate in growing and expanding your life into what you were created to be and NOT what others say you ‘should’ be. May God bless all of you and your families now and evermore! ~Dean A. Banks, D.D.


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