JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- About 15,000 filled up the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena on Friday night to see one man and hear his message of hope.
He's Joel Osteen, one of the most famous televangelists today. He leads the largest church in America, Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. He is seen by the millions who tune in each week to see his broadcast. And, is the author of four best-selling books. His fifth book "I Declare" was just released.
So, what makes him appeal to so many people? First Coast News' Patty Crosby talked to Osteen the night before his Jacksonville appearance.
"I try to talk to people who are not raised like me, the preacher's kid," said Osteen.
His universal appeal is part of his success but it's also source for criticism. Some say he's doesn't talk about sin enough. They call him "Gospel Light."
"My theory is that life has already pushed people down enough. And, my message, what I feel called to do, is to lift people up. That they can overcome addiction. They can overcome a bad break. They can still have a good life," explains Osteen.
Osteen even gave his take on the First Coast's native son, New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow, and his Christian beliefs.
"I think he is a fantastic role model. He is not pushy. It is just who he is. I love what he's done. I like the way he carries himself. And, I'm a big fan as well," said Osteen.
With the end of the Mayan Calendar coming up, I wanted to know his thoughts on the theories that December 21, 2012 could be the End Times.
"My thought is that God has us all in the palm of His hand. If it were the end of time, I don't think there's anything to worry about. I believe we are ready. I am ready. I don't believe in fearing things," said Osteen.
First Coast News