He's a leading pastor and best-selling author many times over and Monday evening Joel Osteen visited hundreds of followers in Waxahachie. Though he's one of the most influential people in America and runs the largest church in the country, at his stop at the Hastings Book Store he was very down to earth.
Osteen arrived to spread a message of encouragement, in another bestselling book. The latest publishing is a delight to followers like Barry Wolverton, who was born legally blind. "Of course, I've got a hard time seeing. I was born that way, so I've got all mine [books] on audio," he explained. "I've got just about everything that he's [Osteen] put out; including the brand new one that he put out recently."
From the dozens who stood in line at the book store, to the more than 40,000 followers at Lakewood Church in Houston, Osteen is touching lives.
Charlene Smith says Osteen's message has helped her many times. "He's very inspirational, and it seems like he's talking directly to me." Wolverton says he has been strengthened by the words of the senior pastor. "I went through a critical time at work a couple years ago, and his message has helped pull me through."
Osteen says he and his family are also encouraged when others succeed through the word. "Be inspired, to have their faith challenged and just somebody to be encouraged to dream bigger, believe bigger, to know that no matter where they are they can rise higher," was the message Osteen had.
In his newest work, "It's Your Time", Osteen gives accounts of personal triumph. He and his wife of 22 years, Victoria, took on his father, John Osteen's, ministry in 1999. The couple built their mega church in 2005 and hold major evangelical events throughout the world.
Pastor Osteen says the message is faith-based inspiration. "It's about believing trusting and expecting God's goodness."
Monday Osteen talked with us before greeting followers, taking pictures, and signing copies of his new book.
The author and pastor said his new book is different because different times call for different writing measures. "My first couple of books were more about principle, how to improve your life, how to reach your potential. But it seems like there was so much negativity in the world with the economy and different things happening... I wanted to write a book to just lift people's spirits, and to get them expecting God's goodness… even in a down time."
Even teenagers showed up to see Osteen in Waxahachie. "I have his bible carrier right here, because he's taught me so much about being myself, and everything is possible," 14-year-old Micah Lett said with excitement.
Micah's brother, James, also stood in line, with books in hand, to meet Osteen. "I just now started being a youth leader at church so I can go to church and let them know I actually met and talked to Joel Osteen."
Pastor Osteen says his hope is that his message will help improve the lives, of all who read it. "I would hope that they go away with knowing they can accomplish their God-given dreams, their goals, that they can overcome obstacles. That God is in control of their life. That even when it doesn't seem like things are going their way that they come back to a place of trust and know that God has a plan."
While in Waxahachie Osteen signed about 420 copies of his latest best seller; last week in New York he signed about 1,000 copies.
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