A Night of Hope

(blogging from Jackson, Mississippi)

It’s no secret I’m a Christian.  And it’s no surprise I’m a fan of Joel Osteen Ministries.  Joel is an American author, televangelist, and the senior pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas.  His television ministry reaches over 100 million homes in the U.S. and tens of millions more in 100 nations.  And his message even reaches Alaska, where almost every Sunday, I watch his sermon at 4pm.

Joel’s ministry hosts a “Night of Hope” each year in select cities across America.  It’s rare for these types of events to be scheduled up in my neck of the woods, so when I learned there would be one in Mississippi during my Southern tour, I jumped at the chance to attend.  “Night of Hope” is jam-packed with encouragement, worship, praise, and prayer – just what I needed to ring in the New Year.

One principle I’m especially fond of in Joel’s messages are his focus on positive thinking and how positive thoughts can move mountains for us to achieve our God-given destiny.  But regardless of one’s religious beliefs, I think most people can agree on the value of positive thinking.  Part of his message tonight was to ignore our own negative thoughts.  It struck a chord with me.  Joel explained:

Every person has an internal dialogue, a recording playing in their mind all day long. Some people don’t realize their recording is negative.  You’ve got to change the recording and put on what God says about you.  Here’s what should be playing in our mind all day long:

I’m accepted.  I’m talented.  I’m creative.  I’m strong.  I’m confident.  I’m secure.  I’m disciplined.  I’m focused.  I’m one of a kind.  I’m valuable.  I’m a masterpiece.  

That’s not being arrogant.  That’s seeing yourself the way God sees you.

So, friends, I challenge you – just as I am challenging myself – to brush off those negative internal thoughts, regard yourself as the star you are, and become the best you can be.

Here are some photos from tonight's "Night of Hope" in Jackson, Mississippi!

Mississippi Coliseum

A family affair - the Osteen family on stage.