Joel Osteen Delivers 'Night of Hope' to Thousands in London

|PIC1|Over 5,000 gathered at London's Wembley Arena last night to hear an inspirational message by Joel and Victoria Osteen of Lakewood Church, the largest church in the US.

"Don't magnify your problems, magnify God," Joel Osteen told the crowd.

He went on to share his life story, starting from when he was a college student in Oklahoma, to the moment he met his wife Victoria at a jewellery shop in Houston, to when he gave his first "nervous" sermon at Lakewood Church.

Joel also gave a message about living a positive life in God's favour. "You need to see yourself the way you want to be," he encouraged the crowd.

"It's not enough to see it - you need to learn to say it."

He emphasised that we are children of the Most High God, and because of this, we must live favour-minded.

Victoria Osteen later took to the stage, urging the crowd to "encourage one another, starting with your mouth".

Joel and Victoria Osteen weren't the only ones who graced the stage. Joel's mother, Dodie Osteen, also came on to testify how God saved her from severe liver cancer in 1981, drawing loud cheers from the crowd. The Osteens' two children, Jonathan and Alexandra, also shared a Bible verse and sang on stage.

The Osteens kicked off their UK tour Tuesday at the Odyssey Arena Belfast in Northern Ireland and will speak at the NEC Arena in Birmingham tonight.

'A Night of Hope' featured praise, worship and prayer with electrifying music from Dove Award-winning Cindy Cruse Ratcliff and the Lakewood band and ensemble.

Lakewood Church of Houston, Texas, is the largest and fastest growing church in the US with nearly 40,000 attendees.

Lakewood Church's weekly services are also broadcast on television in the US and around the world in over 100 nations.

According to Nielsen Media Research, Joel Osteen is the most watched minister in the US and reaches 95 per cent of all US television households.

In 2005, Lakewood began holding worship services in its new 16,000-seat facility in Houston. The facility, formerly known as the Compaq Centre and home to the Houston Rockets, was acquired by Lakewood in January of 2004 and took 18 months to renovate at a cost of $95m.

Lakewood Church is now one of the largest regularly attended worship centres in the world.

Joel Osteen has been named the "Most Influential Christian in America of 2006" by the readers of The Church Report magazine.

In addition, Osteen's first book, Your Best Life Now, went to Number 1 on the New York Times bestseller list and has sold over four million copies since its release in October 2004. The book is now available in 19 languages.