Osteens: People Using Faith In Tough Times

Nearly 40-thousand people pack the Lakewood Church in Houston every weekend to hear the message of hope preached by pastor Joel Osteen and his wife and co-pastor, Victoria.

But in these tough economic times, hope can be in short supply, and Saturday night, the Osteens were to bring their message to the brand new Yankee Stadium, for what they're calling an "historic night of hope."

It will be the first non-baseball event in the new ballpark -- and it's a sellout.

The Osteens sat down with co-anchors Chris Wragge and Erica Hill on The Early Show Saturday Edition ahead of the big event.

"We just feel very blessed to be here, very humbled and just rewarded," Joel observed. "The Yankees have been good to us, and it seems like it's a time in our nation that we need hope more than ever. So we feel just blessed to be here.

"When we first were invited to come by the Yankees, my first thought was, 'Why do they want a minister from Texas? This is not the Bible Belt. It's amazing how the people of New York and this area have been very responsive and very open. I almost think, sometimes, they get a bad rap here being called not religious or not spiritual, but we found just the opposite. Walking down the streets, the people are warm. I mean, they're filling up stadiums. It's really a neat time." And important, he added, to bring their message to the Northeast - though people are coming from many parts of the country to attend.

"It feels very historic for us that they choose a ministry to be the first non-baseball (event). They could have chosen anybody. But to me, it's an act of faith. I don't want to over-spiritualize it. but in these times we're living in, I think they realize that people need hope."

And when Hill referred to debate in the public arena about whether people turn to faith when times get tough - as times certainly have for many in this economy - and asked the Osteens what they're seeing, Victoria said it's no contest.

"Our churches are growing. Our church's attendance is up. I just think people want to find something other than themselves to depend on, so they do turn to their faith."

"They want to know how to help themselves. You know, it's like anything. When you help someone, you don't -- children don't even do well in a critical environment. When we're encouraged and nurtured, we all do better. So that message has resonated with people."

Asked by Hill about people who get discouraged and frustrated when they don't see material gains even though they're trying their best, Joel replied, "You know ... prosperity is being blessed in your health, in uour relationships, and of course, in your finances, too. We have to have money. But we encourage people that, no matter what comes your way, God's gonna give you strength to make it through. So don't get negative. Don't get bitter. Don't start blaming people, blaming your employer and things. We just have to take what life deals us with an attitude of faith. And we believe that, if you keep doing your best and keep believing, God will open up new doors."

  • Details:"> The Osteens' "Night of Hope" at Yankee Stadium
  • Excerpt:"> "Hope for Today Bible," by Joel Osteen
  • "Hope for Today Bible" is published by Free Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster which, like CBSNews.com, is part of the CBS Corporation.
  • Excerpt:"> "Love Your Life: Living Happy, Healthy, and Whole," by Victoria Osteen
  • "Love Your Life: Living Happy, Healthy, and Whole" is published by Free Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster which, like CBSNews.com, is part of the CBS Corporation.