MIAMI – Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado and Doral Mayor Luigi Boria proudly spoke of God's work in their cities as they presented Pastors Joel and Victoria Osteen with the keys to their respective cities on Thursday at Shake-A-Leg Miami in celebration of the Generation Hope Project.
The Generation Hope Project is comprised of more than 150 young adults who are passionate about making a positive impact in communities by contributing their time and labor to help change the circumstances of despair through acts of kindness and compassion. This year's volunteers hail from Texas; Fort Wayne, Ind.; and one young man who endured a 16-hour flight from Johannesburg, South Africa, just to be a part of the two-day project in Miami.
Speaking about the impact Generation Hope and the Osteens have had on Miami, Regalado expressed his gratitude for their investment in the city, and for supporting the dreams of those who've devoted their lives to meeting the needs of their community. more >>
Joel Osteen, pastor of America's fastest-growing church, is in Miami this weekend for his annual "America's Night of Hope" worship event that will draw tens of thousands Saturday night. The megachurch pastor and bestselling inspirational author spoke with The Huffington Post Friday about the global event and the subject of hope, in light of this week's violent and tragic events.
Osteen appeared during the live chat apparently via a web camera as law enforcement officials were in Boston Friday morning, hunting down one of two suspects said to be responsible for the violent bombing at the Boston Marathon on Monday that killed three people and injured more than 170 others.
When asked by host Lamont Hill on what his message would be to Americans who have suffered not only from the bombing, but also due to other cases of tragedy this week, such as the Texas fertilizer plant fire that killed several people, the Lakewood Church pastor said, "I would tell them that God has us all in the palm of His hand." more >>
The Rev. Wilfredo "Choco" De Jesus, recently touted by one publication as "the new face of social justice," has been named one of Time magazine's "100 Most Influential People," with the New Life Covenant Ministries pastor introduced to Time readers by Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren.
"I am honored to be named to TIME's 100. It's a great privilege to be a voice not only for the Latino Christian community, but also for the poor and voiceless in our society," said De Jesus in a public statement. "The Hispanic community in the U.S. is over 51 million strong. We're people God has chosen to govern and to lead communities and cities with conviction, unapologetically. There are many great leaders in this community, and I am truly humbled by this recognition."
De Jesus's Chicago, Ill., megachurch is home to 5,000 members locally, and a total of 14,000 globally through New Life Covenant Ministries' church plants and various outreach programs. more >>
Pastor Rick Warren and his wife, Kay, have started a petition on the Saddleback Church's website to raise awareness and lower the stigma of mental illness. Their 27-year-old son took his own life about two weeks ago after a lifelong struggle with depression and mental illness.
"Join Kay and I, and the Saddleback Family, in our effort to urge educators, lawmakers, healthcare professionals, and church congregations to raise the awareness and lower the stigma of mental illness… and support the families that deal with mental illness on a daily basis," says the petition, which carries a picture of Matthew Warren, who shot himself on April 5.
"Matthew was just one of about 11.4 million American adults that suffered from severe mental illness in the past year," the petition says. "In fact, one in five Americans experiences some sort of mental illness." more >>
The United Methodist Church says its connection to the movie "Home Run" that premieres this weekend runs deep, both in its support of Christ-centered 12-step and recovery group ministries and the film producers' use of member churches for locations.
"A growing number of United Methodist churches offer a well-known recovery ministry featured in the movie – Celebrate Recovery, a real-life addiction recovery program that grew out of California's Saddleback Church," stated the UMC public information office.
"In the case of 'Home Run,' United Methodists even played an important part in the movie's production," UMC officials said. "Several scenes in the movie were filmed at New Haven and West Tulsa United Methodist churches in Oklahoma." more >>
Popular megachurch pastor Joel Osteen of Lakewood Church in Texas is preparing for a major "Night of Hope" event in Miami, which organizers say will be streamed live and reach hundreds of thousands of people, offering a highly interactive social media experience.
"We're excited to be working with Joel Osteen Ministries for the fourth consecutive year on this very important event," said Brian Boyd, chief executive officer of Media Connect Partners (MCP), which is working alongside Joel Osteen Ministries for the April 20th event at the 37,000-seat Marlins Park in Miami.
"It is, truly, a 360-degree interactive event connecting the online audience with the Osteens and the crowd in the stadium. You're there no matter where you are." more >>