Joel Osteen in Jacksonville

I avoid talking politics and religion on my blog.  Instead I focus on [as the subtitle says] a look at the fun stuff.  This post is going to cross the line a bit and talk about Joel Osteen in Jacksonville last Friday night.  

When you start to learn about Joel Osteen your skepticism meter will probably come on.  I know mine did.  

Joel is a second-generation Texas minister who preaches at the Lakewood Church (a former 16,000 seat arena that used to be called the Compact Center and was home of the Huston Rockets).  Joel’s ministry is one of the fastest growing in the nation world.  His weekly sermon is broadcast to over 7 million Americans and is also seen in over 100 nations around the world.  

I’m very skeptical of televangelists.  I’ve seen way too many who preach intolerance and their need for money to, uh, spread the word.  They’ll preach that, “You, yes you!” need to send in a seed [aka money] to show God that you believe in him.  In return he will repay your investment to you many times over.  Or they’ll talk to you about family values and then later be caught cheating on their spouses, plundering the church donations for personal profit or, well, you get the idea.    

Joel Osteen isn’t like that.  His weekly message, is always positive.  It took me a while to be convinced how sincere Joel is. I hope he never proves me wrong.  One thing that I do know is that Joel’s message is always positive and uplifting.  Every time I watch him I feel better afterward.  He doesn’t ask for money.  In fact, Joel’s salary is paid from his best selling books.  Money donated to his church goes to his church.  

My wife feels the same about Joel Osteen.  So we made the trip to Jacksonville for his Night of Hope.  It was a wonderful evening.  

I’m not big on singing, especially church music, but I don’t mind listening.  The music was so good at the Night of Hope that I wasn’t ready for it to end.  [Although I still didn’t sing — my voice may sound great to God, but I know the reality for those around me.] The musicians and singers [including Joel’s son and daughter] were awesome.  There would be song and then Joel or his wife, Victoria, would speak.  Even Joel’s mom had a message.  Local preachers from the Jacksonville area came to the stage to speak.  There was just the right balance of speakers and music.  Then at the end Joel delivered a positive message.  What a great way to end a great evening.

The event started at 7:30 and was supposed to last 1 – 1 1/2 hours but went almost 2 1/2.  I don’t get to church as much as I should.  When I do go, I start getting antsy after an hour.  I didn’t look at my watch once during Joel Osteen’s Evening of Hope.

It was a truly fun evening.  And that’s why I wanted to tell you about it.