I just grew up believing there are great rewards when you follow the Lord Jesus Christ, said Osteen, who took over the ministry after his fathers 1999 death, growing it into a multimillion-dollar enterprise.
Unlike other televangelists, he doesnt ask for money on the air, but it clearly flows in judging from the large flat-screen televisions, colorful lighting, waterfalls and foliage that surround him on air. Before the sermons, a choir sings the churchs slogan: "Discover the Champion in You."
Osteen gave up his $200,000 church salary after the success of his 2004 book Your Best Life Now. Two years later, he landed a reported $10 million deal for FaithWords, and went on to write Become a Better You, Its Your Time and Every Day A Friday.
In October, he got a rock-star welcome at Barnes and Nobles in Coral Gables, as hundreds of fans lined up for autographed copies of his fifth book, I Declare.
One of them, Mariela Santamaria, 32, was in tears.
I was suicidal and the medication wasnt working because I was abusing other drugs, she said. One Sunday I listened to him and my life changed. It was like Gods light guided me. I knew I had to be honest with my doctor. I knew I had to work on being positive and I had to let God into my life.
When Santamaria handed Osteen her book to sign it, she smiled. Her hands were shaking.
Thank you for coming, he said. Santamaria wiped a tear. She had already made plans to attend Saturdays Night of Hope.
Thank you for being like a big sunshine, Santamaria said. I cant wait to be at the Marlins stadium. Im not Christian but I follow your message and it changed my life.