'Expect God's Favor': Interview with Joel Osteen

The megachurch pastor says that by expecting the best, we can enjoy the abundant life God wants for us.

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When I first started, I played basketball down at the YMCA with a bunch of guys—I don’t know if they’re Christian, but they’re not living a Christian life. I always thought, when I speak, if they can’t understand what I’m saying, then I’m not doing the right thing. So I try to speak in everyday language. I feel like God has gifted me to take Bible principles and make them practical.

In terms of current events, there's been a lot of talk about the divide in America, the issue of moral values and the whole election. What is your perspective on the election and what it said about American voters?

I'll give you my two cents, but I've never made political statements. I don't necessarily see the divide in what I'm doing because we see people that are happy and that are together. The congregation is very racially mixed and all that, so I don't see it. I've seen in the polls how Americans want to stand up for values. I think it reinforces the kind of the messages that we preach.

What moral values are important to focus on now?



I think most of it has to do with the family and the marriage situation and all that.

You mean same-sex marriage?

I'm sure that's part of it. I have not gotten very involved in any of that.

But I don't think people like in general what they see on TV.

But they like watching you on TV.


What's the most important thing to do to overcome guilt and shame?

We've got to forgive ourselves for mistakes we've made. A lot of people tell me, "I don't feel like God wants to bless me."

If we don't forgive ourselves for mistakes we've made-and everybody's made their choices, some worse than others--we'll never experience the good life God has in store.

It's just changing your attitude and knowing that God gives you your value. Even though somebody's tried to devalue you, you've just got to say, "I've gotta let that go and know who I am, who God made me to be."

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Laura Sheahen
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