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Osteen: God Is On Your Side

Every week, seven million people listen to his sermon and 40,000 people attend his services making him the pastor of America's largest church.

Joel Osteen is also known for his best selling book, "Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps To Living At Your Full Potential."

Now he's written his third book based upon his best-seller, "Your Best Life Now: 90 Devotions For Living At Your Full Potential."

He attributes his popularity in part to his message.

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"The message is positive, it's hopeful," Osteen told The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith. "It seems like there are so many negative things pulling people down today, that they're looking for inspiration and encouragement. We talk about how we believe God is a good God, on our side, not out to get us, put great things in all of us. People seem to respond to that."

After reading his book, and watching his sermons, Smith said that the message seems to be about God and perhaps a little less about Christ than one might expect from and evangelical preacher.

"I don't think I do it purposefully because my whole basis of Christianity is Christ and the message of the cross," Osteen said. "When my father died, I thought, 'I'm going to make a decision: be who I am supposed to be.' My dad was raised Southern Baptist. I'm not loud. I'm more laid back. I feel like my gift is talking about everyday issues, overcoming the past, not being selfish and having a good attitude. I just try to tie the Bible principles into that."

Smith compared Osteen's preaching to Norman Vincent Peale's, and Osteen agreed.

"It's amazing," Osteen said. "I was preaching two or three years when someone gave me one of his books. I was going to say, 'He thinks like me.' I think like him. It seems like it's the same base there. God is on our side and if you think right, I believe, like Norman Vincent Peale did, that your life follows your thoughts. You get up negative, oppressive, you're day will go that way."

Considering the many natural disasters Americans are facing, a recent roundtable discussion on The Early Show asked this question: Is God mad at us? But Osteen does not see things like that.

"There are even scriptures in the Bible where God said if you find 10 righteous he wouldn't destroy. … There are thousands righteous in New Orleans. I think natural disasters — It's unfortunate, but I don't see God like that. A lot of people see him like a God with a baseball bat. But that is not the way I see it."

His message for those who are suffering is that "God is still in control."

"We just believe he's going to somehow, someway turn it around and bring you out better than before," he said. "It's hard at this time, maybe, to see it, but God is developing character. Whether they realize it or not, it's going to be a new beginning. Some will move to different cities, some will have a new house. You have to look at it like that."

Click here to read an excerpt from his book.

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