HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -
Pastor Joel Osteen carries a message of positivity wherever he goes. Thousands of faithful here in honolulu and around the world are listening. Fire and brimstone, he's not. His brand of christianity is based on the goodness of god, not sin and struggle.
"I think, for years, people have been pushed down by "religion", and I don't say that disrespectfully, but they've been shown a God that you can't measure up to. And so, my goal is to make God good and let them know, hey, I tell them all the time, God's smiling down on you right now. You're his child. He's got a great plan for your life. You can overcome mistakes, and to me, that draws people to God," says Joel Osteen
He inspires and "is" inspired by large crowds who fill arenas and stadiums to hear him.
"I tell people that faith is contagious. When you get around thousands of other believers that, just something happens on the inside. I think even on a smaller sense, that who you hang around with is very important, as well - who you connect with. Because I tell people, what you're going to be like 5 years from now - just see who you're hanging around with."
He heads up the non-denominational, diverse Lakewood church in downtown Houston, a renovated arena where the rockets basketball team used to play. 40-thousand congregants attend what is now America's largest church.
"We're always dealing with, you know somebody is, with health issues or relationship issues or financial issues. So, I try to always speak on something that people can take away that day." But Osteen has his critics. He angered some when he replied in an interview, that scripture says being gay is a sin. But he explained he doesn't preach that and would never judge anyone. Other critics call him a "cotton candy", feel good pastor, a prosperity preacher.
"I don't go up there and talk about money. I talk about: God wants you to be blessed and have good relationships and be healthy. And I think the opposite is: some people want you to, think that you're supposed to be poor and broke and suffer to show that you're a Christian, and that's just not the way I read the scripture. I think that God wants us to excel and be the best at what we can do and have happy families," says Osteen.
Osteen isn't bothered by naysayers. He's certainly got enough fans to keep him fueled.
Katherine Higa says, "He really has the heart of Jesus. Someone so sincere, humble, kind, just really wanting to spread goodness and love to everyone."
His message for the masses, if you believe.