[ Here's an excerpt from an interview Joel Osteen did with FaithfulReader.com back on December 15, 2004. ]
Diana Keough, contributing writer to FaithfulReader.com, interviewed Joel Osteen, author of the New York Times #1 bestseller YOUR BEST LIFE NOW: 7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential. Osteen explains why he
decided to write the book, addresses critics who believe that his overall message is too positive, and discusses what he hopes readers will take away from his writing.
FaithfulReader.com: Where did the idea for this book come from?
Joel Osteen: The book is the basic message I've been speaking about for the last two or three years. I just wanted to get it into print and have an opportunity to reach more people.
FR: Aside from trying to get these sermons in print, what is it that made you decide to write YOUR BEST LIFE NOW, now?
JO: The main reason I decided to write it was to help people enjoy their life and to realize God has a good plan. I wanted people to see that you can be happy today --- that you can bloom where you're planted and
enjoy your life right now.
FR: Did it come out of some sense of frustration from ministering to your congregation or looking out on your flock every Sunday and seeing how many of them go through each day frustrated and not growing in their
JO: I don't know if I necessarily see it as much at my church as everywhere else. It just seems like so many people are stuck in the rut and the routine of life, and not enjoying their life as they should. So many times they're just going to be happy "some day when problems get solved." Just seeing that people are not living as happy and enjoying their lives as much as they should right now made me want to get my sermons, which addressed living your life to its fullest each day, into print.
BRC: Christians are often accused of being so insulated and insular. What difference is it to you if "the masses" are happy?
JO: It makes all the difference. From the very start our whole goal has been to reach the general public and not just the church world. I just want to make my message broad enough and try to affect the culture in
which we live today and not just the church world.
FR: Has the success of the book surprised you?
JO: It really has. This is all new to me. I never dreamed I'd be doing this. It's really been overwhelming seeing it do what it's doing and seeing all the favor that I've had.
FR: And why do you think your book is resonating with readers and people are gravitating to it in droves?
JO: I think that a lot of it is that my core message is a message of hope and encouragement. I think people are looking for that these days. There are a lot of negative things in our world. It's really easy to get pushed down and live discouraged and depressed. I think people are looking for a voice of hope and somebody that will let them know that things are going to be better and that you can live a good life today.
The rest of the Joel