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Encore: Interview with Joel & Victoria Osteen

Aired December 27, 2008 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, mega preacher Joel Osteen. If ever there was a hunger for hope...

JOEL OSTEEN: That financial difficulty is not going to last forever. This, too, shall pass.


KING: A need for faith.


J. OSTEEN: You are not a victim, you're a victor.


KING: A desperate desire to believe in ourselves.


VICTORIA OSTEEN: You hold the keys of change within you. You be the change you want to see.


KING: Now is the time. There is a way to ride out this storm of economic hardship and you can get a grip on it, get through it, get back on track. Joel Osteen and his wife Victoria -- they're going to be here to tell you how. And they'll take your calls, next on LARRY KING LIVE.

It's always a pleasure to welcome the Osteens to LARRY KING LIVE.

Joel is the senior pastor for the Lakewood Church in Houston. It's home to America's largest congregation. He's a best-selling author, as well.

And his wife Victoria, she's co-pastor at that church, author of the new book "Love Your Life

Living Happy, Healthy and Whole." I have it right here. And there you see its cover.

And she and Joel have two children.

I always meant to ask you, were you -- are you related to the late -- not the late, the former Dodger pitcher Claude Osteen?

J. OSTEEN: No. And I get asked it a lot, but I'm not.

KING: It's an odd name, right?

J. OSTEEN: I know it is.

KING: And I believe he pitched in Houston for a while, too.

J. OSTEEN: I think so. Way back.

KING: Yes.

OK, what do you make of all this -- bleak news, economic tumult, terrorism. If you look at the world, only you could be optimistic -- only you.

J. OSTEEN: Well, you know what, it is a difficult time, Larry. But I think in times like these, we need to turn to our faith. And we need to believe that God is in control and that -- you know, that it will pass, that there will be good days up ahead.

I don't think to get bitter, to get negative, to get discouraged -- that just makes things worse.

KING: But you have to take action.

J. OSTEEN: Yes, I do. I think you have to be responsible, be frugal, do what you can. But then you've got to expect -- you know, you've got to believe that God will do what you can't do.

And it just seems like to me, Larry, that, you know, fear is contagious. It seems like all over all -- that's all we hear about -- you know, the difficult times and how we're not going to make it through.

And if you listen to that enough, you can talk yourself into having a bad life, whereas, you know, we've got air to breathe. We've got to believe that this day is a gift, even though it's difficult. Let's find something to be grateful for and -- and press forward and get through this time.

KING: How do you know -- and I don't mean this in a mean fashion -- that what you're offering is not a crutch?

It's comfortable to hear that -- OK, it isn't my problem, it's his.

J. OSTEEN: Well, no, I don't think it's -- I don't think it's God's problem. But I think God gives us strength to make it through difficult times. And I don't think this is a time to get discouraged and to get -- you know, to get all fearful. I do believe in being responsible and, you know, doing what we can.

But today, it seems like so many people are just, you know, making plans to be defeated and depressed for the next year. KING: Victoria, couldn't God prevent these times?

V. OSTEEN: Well, you know...

KING: He's omnipotent.

V. OSTEEN: He is omnipotent. He is a good God. Even in the tough times, he's still a good God.

But you know what?

We -- we have our free will. We do things. We make choices. And, you know, I'm like Joel. When you use your faith, it gives you energy. It gives you the ability to be able to see beyond where you are right now and see into the future.

I know when I get down and discouraged, it's hard for me to be able to just see anything except for right where I am. And so that's why I think this is the way you have to always keep yourself motivated and try to keep yourself looking, you know, forward.

KING: Do you ever doubt it -- doubt your faith?

V. OSTEEN: Doubt my faith?

I don't doubt my faith.


V. OSTEEN: I really don't.

KING: No matter what happens?

V. OSTEEN: I don't doubt...

KING: A hurricane goes through the town. That's not...


KING: That's not man's will.

V. OSTEEN: No. You know what, my faith is like this -- when I die, I'm going to live with God forever and ever. But I believe he wants us to have a good life here on Earth.

But whatever happens you know what?

He's still a good God.

KING: Do you ever wonder, Joel, like why he doesn't -- with this power and this love -- prevent travesties?

J. OSTEEN: Well, I think, you know, maybe...

KING: Doesn't it puzzle you? J. OSTEEN: Well, I guess sometimes it could, if you looked at it that way. But, you know, the scripture talks about in life you will have difficulties and hardships, but it says be of good cheer, for, you know, God has overcome the world.

And so I think it's -- you know, we never like to let people, you know, let our message be that you'll never have problems if you trust in God, if you believe in Christ. It's not that he'll give you the strength to make it through the difficult times. And I think that's what we're in now and we turn to our faith and we believe.

KING: Well, let's turn to the car thing.

The front page "New York Times" this weekend, at the Greater Grace Temple of Pentecostal Church, congregants -- they gather on stage with an SUV. "The Wall Street Journal" has a close up, pretty much of the same thing.

What do you make of the car industry and all of this problem?

J. OSTEEN: Well, you know, it's -- I don't know what to make of it all. We sure don't want to see it go under. We don't want to see it hurt the American people. I don't know what the answer is. I haven't been up to speed at -- I've been praying over the cars.

But you know what?

I don't think it hurts to pray that, you know, God will get us through this time.

KING: Do you -- praying for -- what about a specific kind of political issue?

Would you pray for a bailout?

J. OSTEEN: You know, I don't know that I would. I know people that may feel that way and I don't know that that's wrong. But I would just pray, you know, God give our leaders wisdom, people that are smart enough to know. Give us wisdom to make the right decisions and help the people of this country.

KING: Do you wonder how we got into all of this, Victoria?

V. OSTEEN: Well, you know what, we're not perfect, that's for sure.


V. OSTEEN: So I think it just took a lot of us to get into it. But, you know, this is still a great country. This is a wonderful country. I think more people would rather be here than anywhere in the world. So that's what we have to remind ourselves of, that we're smart people. And, know what, there is a way out. And this is a great country. And if anybody can pull out of it, we can.

KING: You said that the Lord is our provider, not the economy, the stock market or even jobs. Explain that.

J. OSTEEN: Well, I think that we can't put our trust -- I mean we're seeing it today. We can't put our trust in things like that. We've got to -- you know, we've got to put our trust in the Lord, trust in that he is going to take us through, no matter -- no matter what kind of times come.

You know, in the scripture, it talks about how God will even prosper us in a desert or cause us to flourish in a famine. And the thought behind that is to believe that God is in control of your life and that no matter where you are, even in these difficult times, that he'll help you to make it through.

KING: Where is he?

J. OSTEEN: Well, you know what, God is -- I believe he's in heaven, but I believe he's on the inside of us.

KING: Do you believe there's a place?

J. OSTEEN: I believe there's a place...

KING: A place?

J. OSTEEN: ...called heaven, yes. I believe God lives there. But, also, God, through his spirit, can live on the each side of us. It's -- you know, it's up to us to believe. And, you know, that may be far out for some people, but, you know, I believe that I contain a portion of God. It's his holy spirit that lives on the inside of me. That's what gives me air to breathe and life and the goodness.

KING: But if, God forbid, he gave you disease, then he would give you that, too?

V. OSTEEN: Well, I don't...

KING: I don't mean if -- if he's in you and he's giving you good, he also gives you tuberculosis.

J. OSTEEN: Well, I think there's -- there's evil...

KING: I mean, you didn't give it to yourself.

J. OSTEEN: No. No. Sure. But I think there's evil -- evil forces. And there are just things that are part of this life. I mean, you know, again, the scripture talks about, you know, when you get old, your body is going to begin to, you know, wither away. But it will be renewed. But I just don't think that you can say that -- I mean I don't believe that God's going around putting sicknesses and diseases on people. I believe God's the one that restores us and heals us.

But it's not a perfect world.

KING: He's probably the number one preacher in America today. He's Joel Osteen and he's with his wife, Victoria. We'll talk about lots of things. He's going to preach at the new Yankee Stadium. And they aren't going to charge $3,000 a seat.

Sound off and keep watching. See if we air your answer to this question -- are you frightened by the times we're living through?

Go to

And we'll be back with the Osteens right after this.



J. OSTEEN: I know people that are being talked into having a bad year. They've listened to the news reports so long, they're expecting their finances to go down. They're expecting to barely get by.


KING: We're back with Joel Osteen and Victoria Osteen.

And Joel is, as we said, we'll tell you about that Yankee Stadium thing later. It's quite a thing.

And Victoria's new book is "Love Your Life

Living Happy, Healthy and Whole." She also has a children's book coming. We'll ask about that.

You've said, Joel, that it's when we have faith that we can learn not to worry.

What do you mean?

Is faith all that people need?

J. OSTEEN: Well, I think you need faith to believe, you know. And I always encourage people -- don't use your energy to worry, use your energy to believe. It takes just as much energy to worry and say oh, man, am I going to make it through and, you know, how are we ever going to -- you know, get through this -- as it does to say, you know what, God, I believe you're in control. I believe that there's going to be good days up ahead. I believe I'm going to be at the right place at the right time.

And I just don't think that it does any good to go around negative and discouraged and defeated. I think that makes it worse.

KING: Victoria, how do you get faith if you don't have faith?

V. OSTEEN: Well, the bible...

KING: It's called a leap of faith.

V. OSTEEN: Right. Well, the bible talks about faith -- that everyone has a measure of faith. And I believe faith is kind of like your muscles -- you know, when you use it, you develop it, you develop more faith. And so as you use your faith, you get stronger in your faith. And you're able to, you know, press past things that may have once really got you down or you were able to -- you know, Larry, it's funny, because I've watched myself grow, you know, in my own faith by -- you know, maybe two years ago something that I would just get so worried about, I'm able to say OK, you know what?

I'm going to put this in perspective. I'm going to do what I know to do. I'm going to believe God for what I can't do. And it's just all growing and maturing in your faith.

KING: How do you respond to someone who says well, I have faith, but I lost my job, my house is being foreclosed. I don't have health insurance.

What do you say to him?

J. OSTEEN: Well, I'll tell him this is the time that you've got to believe more than ever. You've got to do whatever you can do, look for new opportunities, be responsible. But this is not the time to get just defeated and throw in the towel and think I'm never going to go any -- go anywhere.

I don't encourage people to have a victim mentality. And it's easy in life. We can all have some reason to feel sorry for ourselves -- and especially now. But some people -- and, you know, fortunately I wasn't -- but some people weren't raised right or they went through a lot of heartache.

But I just think you can't see yourself as a victim. You've got to know that God still has a plan and that even if you lost your job, even if one door closes, God can open up another door.

KING: What do you do when you get down?

J. OSTEEN: When I get down, I try to -- I try to get back in perspective. I try to find something to be grateful for. You know, if I don't feel like going through the day or I've got a lot of problems or people are criticizing and things like that, I think, well, you know what, let me just get back and go look at my kids and take -- you know, Lord, thank you that they're healthy. Thank you for my wife. I find something to be grateful for.

The second thing, Larry, I think is important when we're down, is try to go do something for somebody else. It's amazing how it'll change your perspective, because somebody's got it worse than you. You may not have money to give, but you can go, you know, encourage somebody or bake them a cake or baby-sit their children, volunteer at the hospital.

But there's something happens when we get outside of ourselves, you know?

KING: A new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey shows four in 10 people questioned say this recession is adding stress to their holiday season -- affecting their holiday season.

What do you say?

J. OSTEEN: Well, I wouldn't doubt that a bit. But I think, again, you have to come back to that -- that belief. Take time to -- with your family, look at the good things in your life, keep it in the right perspective.

And, you know, again, I'm an optimist, but I believe this, too, shall pass. I believe that we'll get stronger out of this. It's in the tough times that we really grow and develop character.

The other thing -- and I say this not to be negative -- but sometimes, you know, situations like this calls us to do what we should have been doing a long, long time ago...

KING: Yes.

J. OSTEEN: ...meaning get our finances in order and not being greedy and things.

KING: And so if you buy a lesser Christmas present, so what, right?

J. OSTEEN: I think so. I think so. Boy, this is a great time to get it in perspective and say I'm going to celebrate the people in my life. And it's not so much the gifts. I mean, the older we get, the more we realize it's -- you know what, it's not so much the gifts. It's the time you spend together. It's the compliments, the encouragement.

KING: We'll be back with the Osteens in a moment. Lots more to talk about.

And later, the president of the United Auto Workers.

In a moment -- back in 60 seconds with some of your e-mails.


KING: We'll spend a couple of moments with e-mails for the Osteens.

From -- this is from Susan in Alberta, California: "Are you donating any of your own money to causes to help people in economic distress? If so, what causes do you support?"

J. OSTEEN: We support all kinds of causes. One of our favorite causes is an organization called Feed the Children -- good friends of ours, Larry Jones. We've supported them for years -- not necessarily just economic times, but we support Mercy Ministries. That's a home for troubled teenage girls.

So we're big believers and, you know, believe in giving back.

KING: An e-mail from Maria in Tampa: "How do you stay positive without being unrealistically optimistic about our circumstances or the impact other people have on our lives?

Aren't there times when it's wise to be anxious or concerned or afraid?"

J. OSTEEN: Well, I don't know about afraid or anxious. But I think concerned -- there's nothing wrong with being that. Victoria and I -- I would say that, you know, we're -- we're concerned. We're watching closely.

But I don't think that it goes -- gives -- then does any good to go around afraid and fearful and worried. You know, I've found that your life follows your thoughts. If you think more about that, if you think about those things, you just draw it in.

KING: And this one from Mary in Nashville, Georgia -- not that you're necessarily the chairman of the board of an oil company or a car company -- but: "Do you fly in a private jet or by commercial air carrier? Do you travel first class?"

J. OSTEEN: We travel all different ways. It just depends on what we're doing. You know, if we do some events on Sunday nights, after the services on Sunday, we will take a chartered jet. But then there will be times we just -- travel just normal like everybody else or, you know, all different ways.

KING: Are you very wealthy?

J. OSTEEN: I think I'm very wealthy. I think I'm wealthy not just in money, but I'm wealthy -- God's blessed us with money, but I'm wealthy in health and...

KING: Is there any conflict in a minister having money?

J. OSTEEN: I don't think -- I don't think so. I mean, I look back in the scripture and Abraham was the wealthiest man in all the east and that's where it all started from -- or a big part of it started from.

It's all does money have you?

I mean is that your focus?

Is that what you're living for?

KING: But Christ wasn't interested in it, was he?

J. OSTEEN: I don't -- I don't -- he talked about money. But you know what, Jesus lived his life to help other people. And I think that's what the focus is. We are blessed to help others. And so -- but I'll say this, I don't believe in that philosophy that you know what, I'm a Christian, I'm a pastor, so I'm supposed to be poor and defeated and just show that I'm humble. I don't think that's God's will for us. I think God wants us to excel. And he wants me to be blessed so I can bless other people.

KING: We'll be back with Joel Osteen and Victoria Osteen on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE.

Don't go away.



V. OSTEEN: It's God's goodness that leads us. We have so much to be grateful for.



KING: They do three sermons every weekend -- one on Saturday night, two on Sunday. The arena they speak in holds 16,000.

Some say that you advocate a prosperity theology -- that faith will bring financial blessings. And you say this is not what you preach.


J. OSTEEN: Well, I don't like...

KING: Do we have a conflict here?

J. OSTEEN: You know, I don't like that term prosperity gospel. I believe there's one gospel and that's the fact that Jesus came and died and gave us, you know, a way for salvation.

I do believe that God wants us to prosper. But it's not just all about money. Again, it's about having your health and having your good relationships, peace in your mind. I do believe that God rewards obedience. I believe God blesses you when you do his work and be the best.

KING: OK. In another area, the new issue of "Newsweek" -- I don't know if you've seen it yet -- but it discusses the Proposition 8 study in California and the defeat of the proposal to allow marriage among gays. And it claims that the bible has many, many, many marriages among gays and that it does not come down on it.

How do you feel about it?

J. OSTEEN: Well, the way I feel about it is I'm an...

KING: It's an interesting article, though.

J. OSTEEN: Sure.

KING: You ought to read it.

J. OSTEEN: I have this...

KING: It's very -- written in depth. J. OSTEEN: Sure. I'd love to read it.

I'm not for gay marriage. Every -- in the bible, I see that a marriage is between a male and a female. Now, I don't know -- I haven't read this new one that you're talking about.

I'm not against anybody. I'm not against gay people or anybody else. But I just think that, you know, that's -- my faith is based off the scripture and that's what I see in the bible that it should be between (INAUDIBLE).

KING: But this gives you other scripture to think about. I mean, it's very interesting...

J. OSTEEN: Yes. I'd love to see it.

KING: ...the new issue.

J. OSTEEN: I'd love to see it.

KING: Do you think it's a civil right, though, marriage?

J. OSTEEN: Yes. I don't -- I'm not -- I'm not sure I'm up to speed on it.

What do you mean by that?

KING: Do people have the right to marry whom they wish to marry?

You know, for a time in this country, blacks couldn't marry whites in the South.

J. OSTEEN: Oh, yes. Yes, oh, I think -- absolutely. I think anybody should be able to...

KING: But not gays?

J. OSTEEN: Well, I just don't think that -- you know, I don't think that's God's best. And, no, I don't think that's -- that's (INAUDIBLE).

KING: Do you think that gay is a choice?

J. OSTEEN: I think that it is a choice. I do think it's a choice. I can't say that I understand it all, but I believe it's a choice.

KING: Do you minister to gay people?

J. OSTEEN: Absolutely. Anybody that comes through the doors.

KING: Do they come and ask you questions?

J. OSTEEN: I'm sure...

KING: Or do they have difficulty dealing with a theology that runs against them? J. OSTEEN: No. I think -- anybody is welcome to come. They know what I believe. But it doesn't mean that, you know, that the scripture can't help them. And, you know, our church is not a place for perfect people. There's not -- you know, I can't say nobody...

KING: Then I can't go.


J. OSTEEN: Well, you know what I mean. So, there's plenty of people that come in and have difficulties and have issues. And, you know, we probably all have something. But we're open and, you know, want it to be a place of hope and healing.

KING: How do you feel, Victoria, about the gay question?

V. OSTEEN: Well, you know, I just -- I believe marriage should between a man and a woman. And we do have gay people in our church. And then they're wonderful people. They're nice people. It's just that we just don't believe in that.

KING: All right. You -- the bible says the love of money is the root of all evil.

Do you agree with that?

J. OSTEEN: I do agree with that.

KING: So when you -- you say it's OK to have money, you don't mean you love money?

J. OSTEEN: You don't love money. No. Again, you go back to -- you know, people with that theology, go back to Abraham. You know, he was the wealthiest man. And I think David left his son, King Solomon, you know, hundreds of millions of dollars -- in today's money -- to build the temple.

So it's not that God's against you having money, it's what are you going to do with it?

I mean, the flip side, Larry, that means that everybody with money, then -- then we're evil or, you know, there's something wrong with us.

But I couldn't -- I don't believe that's God.

KING: Do you think the love of money might be part of the cause of this financial mess?

J. OSTEEN: I think so. I think we can...

KING: Greed?

J. OSTEEN: Oh, I think so. You know, I'm not an expert on it, but just reading in the papers and things, I think people got out of balance. And, you know, some the salaries that you see and things, I think it was.

KING: The fortune tellers, the tarot card readers, the so-called psychics -- their business is booming in these troubled times.

Does that trouble you?

J. OSTEEN: Well, I don't know if it troubles me, but, you know, people are looking for something to hang on to. I would like to -- I'd say, also, the church has been -- at least our church and friends' churches are booming at this time because people are realizing that, you know what, I need some help. I need some strength in this time.

So I don't think it's just them. I think people are turning to their faith.

KING: So there's no indication of people staying away from church?

V. OSTEEN: No. We've seen an increase. And we see people -- they -- they want to come to God at this time. They want to understand. You know, they want to find comfort. And I think that's what happens. I think we find comfort in our faith and...

KING: Is it hard, Joel, to preach to the dying...

J. OSTEEN: Well...

KING: you call them -- or ministers call them or (INAUDIBLE)?

J. OSTEEN: Yes. Oh, sure. Sure. Oh, it's very difficult. It's difficult.

But you know what?

Again, Larry, we go back to that having that hope of heaven. I mean I've looked at people that are -- you know, you know they're not going to be there 24 hours, but you just, you know, pray that they'll have that peace and that strength and you know, where they're going.

But, you know, it's very hard.

KING: It's very hard.

I mean do you get lessons in it?


KING: How to do it or...

J. OSTEEN: I'm not -- I don't know that I'm -- you know, every time is different, you know?

I'm the world's worst, because I cry more than the family cries, because I...

KING: That sends them off well, right?




J. OSTEEN: That's just -- that's just me. But, you know what, I still can go back to the fact that, you know, God can give you a peace that only he can give. And, you know, I've been there with people on their deathbed not far away. And, you know, many times they've just looked up and smiled and all kinds of stories.

So, you know, I'm just a -- you know, obviously, I'm just a strong believer.

KING: And, of course, you believe in life after it.

J. OSTEEN: Yes, I do.

KING: Yes.

J. OSTEEN: Yes, sir.

KING: We'll be right back with the Osteens.

Don't go away.



J. OSTEEN: You've got to reprogram your thinking. I'm trying to put some new software in your computer today. This is the latest, greatest version available. It says every problem is temporary, that sickness is not permanent, that financial difficulty is not going to last forever. This, too, shall pass.


KING: Victoria, your new book -- your new book is "Love Your Life: Living Happy, Healthy and Whole".

Tell me about the children's book that's coming.

V. OSTEEN: Oh, the children's books are from ages zero to four. And it's the Happy Heart books. It's teaching children how to have grateful hearts.

KING: Oh, there we see them.

V. OSTEEN: Yes. And then the unexpected treasure is for like four to seven. And it's a faith building book, so...

KING: Is that hard to do, write a children's book?

V. OSTEEN: They're very hard to do. They are.

KING: Because you don't want to write down.

V. OSTEEN: Right. And you have to use fewer words to get a message across.

KING: Correct.

V. OSTEEN: And so it seems easy but it's give because then you also are working with an illustrator. So the illustrations and the words go together. But it was a lot of fun.

KING: Tell me about Yankee Stadium.

J. OSTEEN: We're excited. A while back we got a call from somebody at the Yankees Organization that liked the ministry and invited us to come hold the first, non-baseball event in the new stadium.

KING: You're doing the Billy Graham thing.

J. OSTEEN: Well, sort of. I guess so.

KING: So what, it's an evening?

J. OSTEEN: We call it an evening of hope, a night of hope actually and it'll be April 25th, nine days after opening day. We're just looking forward to it. Really haven't even announced it yet. But we're excited.

KING: How do you feel? The new Yankee Stadium. You'll be the first, other than baseball in there.

J. OSTEEN: That's right. Oh, I feel honored to do it and I feel like it's a great time to speak faith into the nation and what better place than the most famous stadium in the world?

KING: Wow. That's a great, great thing. Louisville, Kentucky. Hello. We'll take some calls. Hello.

CALLER: Yes. I'm a divorced, white male, 46-years-old. I've been on disability for severe depression and anxiety. And many years ago, I accepted Christ as my savior. But I've always struggled with my feeling saved, basically, and I guess my basic question to you is, how can you prove that God and heaven exists, that there is an afterlife and, also, can you measure your salvation by your feelings?

J. OSTEEN: Well, I don't know that I can prove anything. I think you have to accept it by faith because it's not going to make sense to your mind but I don't think you can live out your salvation or your belief in God by your feelings.

I think you have to, you know, in his case he needs to know, you know, who God made him to be and to feel that purpose. There are many, many people like him. That's who we deal with a lot. That's why we talk a lot about self-esteem and knowing again who Christ made you to be and just believing that you're, you know, I call it a child of the most high God and you have to get your fire back and your enthusiasm back. There are so many people that are just down in the dumps, discouraged. They kind of got a victim mentality. But you know what? My encouragement is God's going to open up some new doors but you have to get up first.

KING: That leap is something though.

J. OSTEEN: Yeah it is.

KING: Laguna Niguel, California, hello.

CALLER: Yes, good evening. I'd like to ask how much money he's making in his organization this year since the economy is falling down, how much he actually pays in taxes for running his business.

KING: OK. If you want to answer it, you can.

J. OSTEEN: Oh, I don't mind answering it. The church is nonprofit. We brought in about $75 million last year, the ministry. And we spent $75 million. I hope and believe this year we'll bring in $75 million. I hope to bring in more, but it's difficult.

KING: Does the church supports you with a salary?

J. OSTEEN: Victoria and I don't take a salary.

KING: How do you?

J. OSTEEN: We make money off of our books and other things like that. Mainly our books. But we haven't taken a salary.

KING: So you take no money off the church.

J. OSTEEN: We take no money from the church whatsoever.

KING: I didn't know that. So therefore all of your income is from outside sources.

J. OSTEEN: That's correct.

KING: At a time when they're needed more than ever, charities are strapped because people don't have the money to give to them. There's a dichotomy. What do we do?

J. OSTEEN: Well, it is difficult. And we have, you know, we've seen the same thing in churches where, you know, it's difficult for people. But I think all we can do is hope and pray and believe that things begin to turn around and I just encourage people to, you know, do what you can.

I think, too, Larry, a lot of it is, I'm going back to that same fear thing. I read an article today that many people still are making the same amount of money but they're spending 20 to 25 percent less and I'm not saying it's not good to be frugal but when you hear the news all the time about how bad it's going to be, you know, it's kind of a cycle.

It makes the economy slow down and then that hurts it worse because the consumers aren't spending, so I like to be a voice to say, you know what? I believe there are going to be some good days up ahead.

KING: Some say suffering is good for the soul. Do you believe that?

V. OSTEEN: I think challenges make us stronger. I do. I think sometimes when we go through struggles, we find strength that we didn't know we had. And I think we catch our second wind when we finally get that victory and, but yeah, I really do. I think it makes us dig deep. It does one of two things. It makes you better. Or it makes you bitter. It should make you better.

KING: You've lived through some of these.

V. OSTEEN: Yeah, I have.

KING: We'll take a break and come back with more and then we'll meet later the president of the United Auto Workers. Don't go away.


KING: We're back. Do you see any positives coming out of these times? Any possibilities in tough economic times to produce pluses?

J. OSTEEN: Well, I think so. I think, again, we develop character here and I think we're refocusing our priorities and, you know, many people are getting things in order where they should have been maybe years ago. But I think something good comes out of it. I think not only coming out of it, but come out better than we were before.

KING: Alberta, Canada -- Alberta, Virginia, is this you?

CALLER: No, no. My name is Tony from North Carolina.

KING: OK go ahead, Tony.

CALLER: Am I on the air?

KING: Yeah, go ahead.

CALLER: OK. I don't really have a question for Joel. I pretty much want to give him a testimony. I accepted the lord in my life about three years ago and that I know that he is true. He has changed my life tremendously in a lot of ways. I wake up every morning and I start about the 91st psalm where it talks about the security of the godly and my favorite verse in that whole chapter is 91:15 where it says he shall call upon me and I will answer him. I will be with him in trouble. I will deliver him and honor him. I know that to be very true.

KING: You don't have a question though? CALLER: No, no. I sure don't my friend. I'm so sorry.

KING: OK, it's all right. Thank you. That man is a conceptual believer. Do you wake up with a prayer every morning?

J. OSTEEN: I wake up and just choose to give God thanks. I don't necessarily a prayer but I do wake up and find something I can be grateful for. I just try to get in that frame of mind.

KING: OK. We continue. In December 2005, an incident -- we have to bring it up. An incident aboard a Continental flight resulted in a flight attendant accusing you of assault. In August of this year, a jury cleared you and you always say -- you said on this program in the middle of it that you were positive you would be cleared.

V. OSTEEN: Right.

KING: What was it like to be cleared?

V. OSTEEN: It felt good. It was great.

KING: Did you have any fears the jury would say the other way?

V. OSTEEN: You know what? I had made up my mind that I was going to go on no matter what happened. That's the truth, Larry. I just said, in the truth and the truth is what gives me strength and courage and so I had kind of made up my mind but there was no one that said I did this. There was nothing there. You know, so I mean --

KING: Did you support her through that whole thing?

J. OSTEEN: Absolutely.

KING: You weren't with her on the plane though, right?

J. OSTEEN: I was. I was right there.

KING: You were. So you saw this non incident I guess.

J. OSTEEN: Absolutely. And it's always what we said from the beginning, that it was a false accusation. And I'm the one that asked to leave the plane to begin with. It all came out in court. The jury said it took them 10 minutes and they awarded -- you know, made the other party pay our court costs. So it was a waste of our time and taxpayers' time. But that's life.

KING: A product of celebrity, right? You think?

V. OSTEEN: I don't know.

KING: We'll be back with more, right after this.


KING: we've been asking are you frightened by the times we're living through? Let's see what you're saying on our blog with our own David Theall. David, what have we got?

DAVID THEALL, LARRY KING LIVE PRODUCER: Larry, this is a blog that can be seen at We'll get right to the comments. Mimi when asked if she was frightened about the times we're living through said no. "Despite our current problems, it pales in comparison to what the majority of mankind faces daily throughout the world."

We also heard from David tonight, who didn't say that he was frightened about the times that we're living in but he did comment about something else. He said he's terrified to think about the U.S. government giving money to corporations and banks that have been run poorly and irresponsibly.

We also heard from Harold, Larry, who dropped by your blog. And he had this to say to you. If you're not frightened, you're not paying attention. And then the comment that really caught our attention, one that sort of put a smile on some of our faces, Debbie dropped by and she said, when asked if she's frightened about the times, she said "Frightened schmightened. America has been through civil wars, world wars, epidemics, a great depression and 1968," says Debbie. "We'll make it through these times too."

We of course are going to continue this conversation throughout the evening, Larry, on your blog, Look for the live blog link, click it, come on in and jump into the conversation.

KING: Thanks, David. So apparently, Joel, more people are optimistic than we think.

J. OSTEEN: Yes, I think I believe like Debbie. I mean America's a great place to live. We've been through so much in the past. But it always comes back, even the history of the stock market, it's never, you know, stayed down. If I'm not mistaken, eventually it comes back.

KING: So these are a good sign.

J. OSTEEN: Well, I think so.

KING: Better than we think.

J. OSTEEN: Well, I think so. I think there are a lot of people that are feeling they're being overwhelmed with bad news and they're thinking hopefully like us, that it's time to hear good news. We're not denying that it's difficult and people are, you know, being laid off and things like that. But there are going to be good times.

KING: Do you have a Web site?

J. OSTEEN: Yes, I do.

KING: What is it? They'll blog you now.

J. OSTEEN:, just my name.

KING: Joel Osteen -- one word or?

J. OSTEEN: One word, yeah.

KING: Do you read his e-mails or blogs?

V. OSTEEN: Yeah, I do.

KING: You're an interesting man. We'll be back with more moments with Joel Osteen and his wife Victoria and then we'll meet the president of the United Auto Workers. First, these words.


KING: Anderson Cooper will host "A.C. 360" at the top of the hour. What's up tonight, Anderson?

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Larry, tonight we're following breaking news. Negotiations on Capitol Hill still ongoing at this hour. Congress, the White House, trying to hammer out a bailout deal for automakers. The question is, can Detroit be saved and how much is it going to cost? We're going to look over the new proposal.

Also, Barack Obama saying the economy will get worse before it gets better. He is proposing a massive plan rebuilding America's infrastructure. We have details on that and analysis from David Gergen and others.

And O.J. Simpson arrives at his new home today, Nevada's High Desert State Prison. We'll take you inside the prison for a tour and show you what his life will be like behind bars. Legal analysts Jeffrey Toobin and Lisa Bloom join us. Those stories and Oprah Winfrey speaking out about her attempts to get Sarah Palin on her show. All that and more, Larry, at the top of the hour.

KING: Thanks, Anderson. "A.C. 360" 10:00 Eastern, 7:00 Pacific.

Let's take a call for the Osteens. Vancouver, British Columbia, hello.

CALLER: Hello, sir. This call is for the pastor. I'd just like to ask the pastor, in connection with these super churches, super ministries, what he thinks these churches are in the United States but not in Europe, say continental Europe?

KING: Yeah. There aren't churches like that I understand in Europe.

J. OSTEEN: Well, I think it's beginning to happen. We have some friends starting to have large churches in different places. I know London for sure. But I don't know what it is, Larry. I think sometimes the churches here in America, I believe have changed with the times and maybe stayed a little bit more relevant. I don't mean that critical but sometimes just the same thing, the same way, what worked 50 years ago may not work today and so I think that's part of it.

KING: Have you preached overseas?

J. OSTEEN: Yes, sir, I have. I preached in London and different places.

KING: Ellijay, Georgia, hello.

CALLER: Wonderful show, Larry. Victoria, I've read your book. I loved it. It really fired me up and inspired me. My question to you both is what would you like for your legacy to be?

KING: For both. OK. Joel?

J. OSTEEN: I want my legacy to be somebody that brought hope to the world, somebody that lived a life of excellence and integrity and just, again, drew people closer in their walk with the lord.

V. OSTEEN: that would be it. That people would be encouraged and they would know that, you know, God loves them and to leave a great family line, family tree.

KING: Do you two argue?

J. OSTEEN: We don't, we debate. But I'm not a big arguer, but we debate.

V. OSTEEN: At this point, almost 22 years, he's given up. No. I'm just kidding. I'm kidding. No. We've learned to work things out.

KING: Do you run the show?

V. OSTEEN: No, I don't run the show. We're a team. We've always been a team. And we have a way to work things out. We really do. We're flexible. We adapt to each other. We pick our battles. You know, you don't -- can't have your way all the time. If you're going to have a good relationship, I've learned after 22 years, you have to be willing to change.

KING: And what do you think of Barack Obama?

J. OSTEEN: I think he's great. I think he's going to be a great president. He seems brilliant to me and just, I believe God puts the right people in office so we're praying for him and just believing that God will give him wisdom and strength.

KING: Much more with the Osteens ahead, including a look at what life is like at home with Joel and Victoria. Plus, we'll take you behind the scenes at the Osteens' Lakewood church, where nearly 50,000 people worship every week. And a special musical performance from the Lakewood Church worship team. You do not want to miss this.


KING: The Osteens invited our cameras into their home and behind the scenes at Lakewood church. Check it out.



J. OSTEEN: Every weekend, people fly in from all over the world. I met somebody there that flew in just from Korea Sunday to be in the service. I said, "why'd you come?" He said, "we just want to see you." It's sort of, you know, I say this humbly, it's sort of a phenomenon to see 50,000 people come together and worship, and it's exciting.

I worked behind the scenes for 17 years, and I did the television production, behind the scenes work, and I was comfortable back there. My father tried to get me to preach for those 17 years a thousand times. I told him, "daddy, I'm not a preacher, I don't know how to talk in front of people."

Keep being a believer, not a doubter. God's going to do great things with your life.

V. OSTEEN: We've been married through the whole thing. So I always knew he could do it. He just didn't know it.

J. OSTEEN: Get a new perspective. Don't believe the never lies, they are exaggerations.

When I took my father's church and my mom's church, they had spent 40 or 50 years there, building. And so I stepped into something with a beautiful facility and just a lot of opportunity in front of me.

It's time to believe again. I can still bring that dream to pass.

V. OSTEEN: When Joel's father passed away, my son was 3 1/2 and my daughter was a month old. So they've kind of just grown up in it. And we don't -- we try to just be as normal as possible. The truth is, we just have a normal life, because we do have a church where our children are growing up pastor's children, and we just try to keep it really normal.

He's a good father. He's a firm father. He disciplines our children, but he does it always in love. And, you know, that's his personality. The message that you hear is coming from who he is.

What we try to do is just spend time with each other.

Oh, she's got the hiccups. Look at her.

And spend time with our children. And what we do is we really prioritize our time. We don't do a lot of things outside so that we can make time for our family. And those are, you know, sacrifices. And people say, well, it's all so easy. It's not easy, but it's worth it. You know, it's worth spending time with your kids, it's worth sacrificing right now, because our kids aren't always going to be this age. We really try to just make time for each other.

J. OSTEEN: I thought I did good. I went back and watched it and I thought it turned out good.

God's put gifts and talents in all of us that we don't even realize we had, and that's what I feel like my whole calling is, is to empower people to become all God's created them to be.


KING: We thank the Osteens for joining us tonight. And now a special treat. As we say good night, we turn it over to the Lakewood Church choir and worship team, performing a beautiful rendition of the classic "Amazing Grace."


KING: What an inspiring group. Don't forget to check it out, While you're there, sign up for our newsletter and e-mail alerts. Send an "I ask" question, and of course, get on our blog,

It's time now for Anderson Cooper and "AC 360." Anderson?