DALLAS, Texas-Joel and Victoria Osteen, pastors at the 43,000 member Lakewood Church in Houston, shared their inspirational message of forgiveness and empowerment at T.D. Jakes' MegaFest on Friday. Osteen said he accepted Jakes' invitation to speak at the festival because it's important for Christians to unite, build family memories, and to be encouraged to fulfill their destinies.
"I think it's strengthening the bonds in our family," Osteen told The Christian Post. "Bishop Jakes is so good about talking about letting go of the things that are holding you back, and starting fresh and anew. Events like these help us to grow together as a family."
The best-selling author and megachurch pastor delivered his core message of letting go of the past, moving forward and encouraging people to believe that God has great plans for their lives. Osteen said his aim is to let people know that God wants the best for them, and when believers honor Him, "God will take you places that you never dreamed of."
More specifically, Osteen said he also wanted to home in on overcoming opposition. "There's going to be setbacks, delays and critics," he asserted, adding that people need to stay focused on their destinies and let God vendicate past wrong instead of carrying negativity into each new day.
Osteen and Jakes share a friendship and both have said they're not in competition with each other, but are working toward the same goal of bringing new believers to Jesus Christ.
"I think it's important that we all work together," Osteen said. "I see how God has used him to reach so many people and He's given us some favor. We're celebrating each other, and seeing how we can make each other better and to better the kingdom."
Before the start of MegaFest Jakes commented that Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of the segregation in churches on Sunday mornings, and said it continues to haunt the Christian church today.
Osteen agreed with Jakes' sentiment that "the church must come away from nuanced ideas of black churches and white churches, and finally become the church of the Bible – the blood washed church;" and added that their "desire is that churches would look like the community, not just one group."
"I think it definitely helps when we're joined together by all different races," Osteen continued. "Just to show that we're all in this together, there's unity."
During Osteen's MegaFest message, he impressed upon the 20,000-member audience that "God rewards people who seek after Him." He also explained that "you can't give God something without Him giving you back more-get your hopes up and believe big."
Osteen also emphasized the importance of gratitude, and said Christians should give thanks to God every day for the things that they do have – arms, legs, the ability to walk, or improved health.
For those who are hurting and struggling, Victoria commented that Christians need to learn to cast their cares upon God when they feel overwhelmed and are trying to fix their circumstances by themselves. "When you cast your cares upon Him, you give Him room to move in your life," she said.
During his Night of Hope events, Osteen shares his strategy for living each day in victory, and this includes having a positive attitude. "If you don't set the tone for the day," he said, "the devil will set it for you." He also advises letting go of past hurts, to forgive, and to put an end to negative thoughts and internal dialogue.
"If you are against yourself, you will never reach your highest potential. And when you criticize yourself, you're criticizing God," Osteen said. "God made you a masterpiece –be blessed, secure, disciplined and equipped."
He then explained that although there are many moments of struggle in life, God will never allow people to be put through circumstances in which he cannot sustain them. "What is now your test will become your testimony," he said, adding that believers need to have a sustaining faith in Him.
Click here to watch highlights from MegaFest.
Joel Osteen's newest book, Break Out!: 5 Keys to Go Beyond Your Barriers and Live an Extraordinary Life will be released on Oct. 1.