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HOPE FOR TODAY MAGAZINE from Joel Osteen Ministries

Vol 2 Issue 1 SPRING 09

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Keep choosing to stay in hope and believe for God to make things new.

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God of Second Chances

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Allow God to restore your dreams and embrace all that God has in store for you.

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Share Your Story

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Parents of an autistic child believe the impossible of God. Hear their story.

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Sign up for your free daily devotional from Joel and Victoria!

Daddy is Home

Find the peace that only God can give

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INSIDE HOPE FOR TODAY

HOPE FOR TODAY MAGAZINE from Joel Osteen Ministries

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DADDY IS HOME

Find the peace that only God can give. By Marcos Witt

11 NIGHT OF HOPE — NEW YORK

Thousands gathered for Hope at Yankee Stadium! By Duncan Dodds

17 LOCAL MISSIONS DADDY IS HOME By Marcos Witt

NEW BEGINNING

The presence of God the Father in our lives can bring us unique and singular peace throughout life’s toughest storms. When we keep Him present in our lives, we live confidently to the degree that we are able to sleep peacefully through life’s storms that may come our way.

22 ABUNDANCE OF RAIN

Marcos Witt brings this truth to life through the telling of his own personal experience with his family during the night when Hurricane Ike made landfall in Houston, Texas.

28 GOD STILL WORKS MIRACLES

SHARE YOUR STORY

God is changing lives through our ministry - watch as the Conner family shares their story of hope and victory through their daughter’s autism.

Trust God and choose to walk in love. By Laurie Dodds.

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Bask in the cloud of God’s favor. By Steve Crawford

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24 LIVING THE DREAM

Trust God to bring your dreams to pass. by Paul Osteen, M.D.

26 STRATEGIES TO WIN AT LIFE

Love is a choice you have to make. by Lisa Comes

God is no respector of persons... He’ll do the same for you! By Dodie Osteen

29 NIGHT OF HOPE SCHEDULE

See Joel and Victoria live in your area!

30 TV LISTINGS Marcos Witt is pastor of the spanish speaking services Lakewood Church in Houston, TX.

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20 MARITAL ORDER

COVER STORY

Ask God to restore opportunities and to empower you to dream again. This is your season, this is your time to embrace all that God has in store for you.

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Reach out into your surroundings.

THE GOD OF SECOND CHANCES

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FEATURES

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Vol 2 Issue 1 SPRING 09

Keep choosing to stay in hope and believing for God to make things new in His time. Remember, if we don’t give up, in due time we will be richly rewarded!

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Get the TV listings from around the country.

31 BECOME A CHAMPION OF HOPE

When we partner together - miracles happen!

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JOEL OSTEEN

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WE ALL LOVE TO SEE MIRACULOUS TRANSFORMATIONS. Whether it’s a sports team that goes from worst to first in a single season, a life-saving surgery for a child, a person that loses hundred of pounds, or even the amazing home make-overs on TV that take a home in much need of TLC and literally transform it into a beautiful mansion – we all love the outcome of miraculous transformations. Anytime we want to have a change though, especially one that will make our lives better, it requires us to believe that it can happen. We have to make a choice to have hope. Most of us have found ourselves in a place where we were on the edge of losing something very precious to seemingly everything.

Whether you’ve lost your job, your mortgage is in risk of foreclosure, your relationships are struggling, or you or a loved one need healing, I want to encourage you to never give up!

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IN A SINGLE MOMENT, GOD CAN MAKE ALL THINGS NEW FOR YOU!

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It all begins with a choice; the choice to never give up. God always completes in us what He has started; His good work and good plan. (Phillippians 1:6).

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“being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

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NEW BEGINNINGS JOEL OSTEEN

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I love the story of a man named Ira. His story is the perfect example of what happens when you never give up. By the time he was 12, both of his parents had died. He and his brothers had no choice but to take care of themselves. So they got jobs working at a ranch.

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behind on his payments. The bank threatened to foreclose and take away everything he’d worked so hard for through the years. At the last moment, just days before Ira lost everything, massive reservoirs of oil were discovered on his ranch!

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REFUSE TO GIVE UP Through hard work and refusing to give up, Ira eventually got married and saved enough to buy a small ranch of his own. He kept dreaming, staying focused and making good decisions. He bought a small grocery store, which turned into a big success. But he didn’t stop there either – he then sold the store to purchase a large 20,000 acre ranch in West Texas. Not long after this big move, the Great Depression hit with full force and Ira fell

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Instead of losing everything, Ira received more than enough resources to bless his entire family and many more throughout his area. He provided jobs for people in need, built schools, children’s homes, Boy Scout camps, Salvation Army centers and developed a town that still exists today.

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I love this story because his life was suddenly transformed.

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Now I’m not saying that you’re going to find oil on your property or instantly become a millionaire! But what I am saying is that no matter how dark things look, God can turn things around in a single moment.

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NEW BEGINNINGS JOEL OSTEEN

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We all just enjoyed the changing of seasons from winter to spring. Spring symbolizes new birth, a fresh start. No matter how cold and harsh your winter might have seemed or even been, I want to encourage you to see your new fresh start in God. This spring, let this truth take root in your heart and mind: In a single moment, God can make all things new for you.

It all starts with your mind and attitude. Even if you don’t physically see this change right now, God can transform your heart and thinking, giving you peace that the world can’t give you. It’s a sustaining peace. It’s hope. Hope carries you through as you wait for your completing moment. Ephesians 1:19-20 says: “I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead…” (NLT) Think about it! The Bible says that God gives the same power that raised Jesus from the dead to those who believe Him. He triumphed over every force of darkness, disease and destruction. And He’s promised to give this same victory to everyone who puts their trust in Him!

God’s incredible power is available for you, but you have to do your part and believe in Him and by faith, receive what He is offering and persevere in your hope!

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SEE YOUR NEW FRESH START IN GOD. When you face challenges and tough times, do you focus on the negative and begin to complain about how unfairly you are being treated? When you give in to those thoughts, you stop the transformation process.

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When you are filled with doubt and unbelief, God’s miracle for you is put on hold. And it stays on hold until you begin to walk again in obedience and put your complete trust in Him.

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NEW BEGINNINGS JOEL OSTEEN

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When you stay positive, full of hope, and do not give up on God, He can take any situation in your life, any circumstance regardless of the economy or what the world might say, and turn things around in a single moment for your benefit. Your life can change in a moment just like Ira’s and just like the disciples – who went from being alone and afraid to boldly proclaiming the message of Christ to every nation, making an impact on the entire world! 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us, “…anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (NLT) No matter what you are facing today, I want to encourage you…

for greater things to happen for you, in you and through you! We are all hearing the negative reports about the current economic conditions; I hear them, too. But in order for us to overcome these challenges, it’s important to know what God’s Word says about it. His Word promises us in Philippians 4:19: “And my God will liberally supply (fill to the full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus” (AMP). God promises us that He is able to meet every need.

But it’s up to you and your choice! Keep choosing to stay in hope, believing for God to make things new in His time. Remember, if we don’t give up, in due time, we will be richly rewarded!

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“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

– Galatians 6:9

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Remember, no matter what challenges you’re facing, God will make all things new in your life!

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When you decide to not give up and put your whole trust in Christ, you pave the way

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EXPERIENCE THE

supernatural unexplainable

FAVOR OF GOD

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“God is a good and loving Father, and He’s ALWAYS looking for ways to show us His love.”

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WITH A GIFT OF ANY SIZE

WITH A GIFT OF $125 OR MORE

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Favor For Life

Hope For Today Bible

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In this 4-part audio series, Joel Osteen shares how to live a life that prepares you for more of God’s favor. He encourages us that God wants to pour out His abundant blessings upon each one of us.

To help you in your faith journey, we are thrilled to offer you the brand new Hope for Today Bible with notes and encouragement from Joel and Victoria.

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MARCOS WITT

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THE HURRICANE ARRIVED AT OUR HOUSE AROUND MIDNIGHT. I had never experienced anything similar to this. The only word I can use to describe it is impotent. The experience of living through a hurricane beating your house with its powerful wind hour after hour is simply unexplainable; you can only understand it if you’ve lived it. I have read and spoken with so many people describing their experience of living through a hurricane, but nothing compares to the personal experience. The impact it made was stronger than anything I have experienced before. My wife and I barely slept through that dark and loud night as we heard the winds produce guttural, treble and all kinds of

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imaginable sounds as if Ike was “playing” our house like a wind instrument. I heard notes and sounds that I had never known before. The other impression I had was that of hearing different flying objects hit against the walls of houses and railings of our neighbors. A concern we had was one of those flying objects becoming a weapon of destruction by hitting glass windows. Thank God, we had no damage to our house.

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Last year my daughter got married and left my three sons as complete rulers and princes of our home. We all worked together to prepare the house for Ike’s arrival. We covered all the pots in

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DADDY IS HOME ...CONTINUED MARCOS WITT

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the cellar and made sure there was nothing left for the wind to take. You could feel the tension and excitement in the air because we had never personally experienced a hurricane ourselves.

CHILDREN FEEL PROTECTED, SHELTERED, AND SECURE WHEN “DADDY IS HOME”. We spent hours glued to the television so we would not miss any updated news on this storm named Ike. After watching for hours, we did not hear anything new since a hurricane’s course is slow and steady. What most intrigues the experts in this field is trying to figure out exactly where the eye of the storm will hit. What is curious though is that although many predictions are made, the hurricane will land wherever and whenever it wants to. On the other hand, the news reporters (whose names we had memorized by the time the storm hit) serve as companions who help

us dispel the boredom we have to endure the hours before this massive hurricane arrives.

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To my surprise, all three of my sons slept through the entire night. Indeed, I was impressed. Being able to sleep peacefully during a natural disaster as powerful as a hurricane speaks of various things:

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The extraordinary ability that teenagers have to sleep wherever and under any circumstance. The personal security my children have and that has always characterized them.

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And last, the confidence they felt knowing that “Daddy’s home”.

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I would like to believe that the last point I mentioned is the strongest reason they had for sleeping so peacefully the entire night! Children feel protected, sheltered, and secure when “Daddy is home”.

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DADDY IS HOME ...CONTINUED MARCOS WITT

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The morning after the storm, my wife and I were chatting. We were trying to figure out what to do with all the food in the refrigerator. Would we move to a hotel or leave the city, how would we get current news? Without electricity, we could not use the television, radio, or internet.

THE PRESENCE OF GOD…IN OUR LIVES CAN BRING US A UNIQUE AND SINGULAR PEACE We wondered if our family members were okay. Everything one would naturally think about after living through a hurricane. Around noon, one by one my sons started to come downstairs from their bedrooms. By that time, it was still raining, but the powerful winds had ceased. One of my sons asked, “Did something happen last night; was it strong or not?” Obviously, he did not hear or feel a thing the entire night. I could not resist the urge to laugh aloud after hearing his sincere and honest question, but it was truly incredible.

I asked my boys how could they sleep so calmly and one of them answered, “Well, we knew that if something went wrong, you were home and would know what to do.” I was surprised that my presence, as daddy, brings so much peace to our home. What a privilege, what great responsibility!

times. I am not only referring to the damage a natural hurricane leaves, but emotional and spiritual storms that might come our way and cause devastation. For those more complicated storms, we need to be confident that “DADDY IS HOME”!

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The presence of God the Father in our lives can bring us a unique and singular peace. No one can bring more peace into our lives than the One given to us by Him, especially during life’s storms. He is our anchor and safe haven. When we keep Him present in our lives, we live confidently to the degree that we are able to sleep peacefully through life’s storms, just as my boys did as Ike visited us through the night. I strongly desire that God have a preeminent place in all of our lives. It is not an understatement to say that we are currently facing difficult

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DUNCAN DODDS

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In my ten years as Executive Director for Joel Osteen Ministries, we have experienced many memorable moments and milestones. We doubled our attendance when we added a second Sunday service in January 2000. I remember standing on the floor of Philips Arena in Atlanta as 19,364 people filled it to capacity at our first Night of Hope event in July 2004. Since then, we’ve traveled all over the United States and Europe packing out arenas, delivering hope and the inspiration found in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

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In 2005, we transformed the Compaq Center into a 16,000 seat worship facility that ministers to over 42,000 in weekly worship attendance and millions more around the world via television, missions and other outreach efforts. On April 25, 2009, we experienced another milestone when our ministry conducted a historic Night of Hope at the new Yankee stadium. It was the first non-baseball event ever held at this world-famous ballpark. This first celebration of faith was a night that our ministry will never forget. BECOME A CHAMPION OF HOPE With Joel Osteen Ministries

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NIGHT OF HOPE — NEW YORK JOEL OSTEEN MINISTRIES

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It was both a humbling and rewarding experience to see 9 months of prayer and hard work come together into such an amazing night of worship. Our entire ministry team, led by Reed Hall and Stephanie Loyd, prayed that tens of thousands would come to hear the Good News of the Gospel and millions more would watch it live on television. All this and more came true. God did something extraordinary in the hearts of everyone who experienced this powerful event at Yankee Stadium. We could not have done it without your prayers and support – and for that we say “thank you.”

I believe that this most recent milestone is just the beginning of what God has in store for this ministry. I continually remind our team that it’s not the size of the crowds that matter to God, but the motives and integrity of our heart. I want to encourage you… seek to serve the Lord with all your heart and live a life of faithful obedience – as you do, He promises to open the windows of heaven and pour out blessings that you will not be able to contain.

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HOPE FOR TODAY MAGAZINE from Joel Osteen Ministries

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Miguel and Monique Conner found themselves ready for a powerful change after discovering their daughter’s diagnosis of autism, especially after a specialist told them their daughter would have to one day be placed into an institution.

Sometimes life throws a challenge at you that you just don’t know how to face. When everyone is a pessimist and says the odds are against you, it can be difficult to rely on your faith and stand on the promises of God. In those times, it’s important to shut out those negative voices, speak blessings over your life and your family, and remember that God hears the prayers of his children.

Whenever the couple relocated to Houston from New Jersey, they discovered Lakewood Church was actually based in Houston. The couple had often watched the services on TV, so they were very excited to attend the live services. It was then and there during a service that they found the change that they were looking for when Dodie Osteen shared her own miraculous story of being healed of cancer in 1981. They realized that if God could heal her, He could heal their daughter. They dug in their heels, stood in faith and believed that Gabriella would be like any other child; being placed into an institution was not going to be the testimony of their child.

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They began to search the scriptures and quote them, confess them, and daily build their lives upon them. It wasn’t long before Gabriella started responding and singing in the worship services. What was going on in the church services carried over to her progress at home. By using Gabriella’s love of worship songs, her parents were able to use her singing as a training tool to help her enunciate her words.

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Today, Gabriella is in a mainstream classroom and has continued to flourish. Gabriella’s story is a testimony that God’s Word is true. Miracles and healing, in whatever form, still exist today and are available to us all.

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SHARE YOUR STORY WITH US

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VICTORIA OSTEEN

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For one reason or another, we’ve all allowed dreams and desires to fall by the wayside and opportunities to slip through our fingers. Sometimes, based on our past experiences, we think there are some things that we can’t accomplish so we decide there’s just no use in pursing them. But the scripture tells us that God is doing a new thing in our lives. We have to look for it and keep our hearts and minds open to Him. I can remember one time I was in a conversation with a friend who was encouraging me to do a particular thing, and before I even thought twice about it, I blurted out, “Oh, I can’t do that.” It wasn’t because I didn’t want to do

it; I had just made excuses about it for so long that I convinced myself I couldn’t do it.

Later on as I thought about it, I said to myself, “Why can’t I do that? I guess I can do that!” I realized that up until that point, I basically had hung a “do not enter” sign at the door of my mind regarding that area. I didn’t even stop to consider how to make it happen; all I saw was, “Do not enter”; “Don’t even think about it.”

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DON’T ALLOW THE FAILURES OF THE PAST KEEP YOU FROM

EMBRACING THE DREAMS GOD HAS FOR YOUR FUTURE

Let me encourage you today, Don’t allow the failures of the past keep you from embracing the dreams God has for your future. Don’t shrink back or hide your talent, and don’t let excuses keep you from God’s best. He wants you to live a fulfilled,

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THE GOD OF SECOND CHANCES

BRINGING THE HOPE OF CHRIST TO THE WORLD from Joel Osteen Ministries

VICTORIA OSTEEN

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abundant, and rewarding life. Be open to Him. Be open to the new opportunities He brings across your path. Maybe you missed an opportunity or were discouraged by a door that closed to a dream. One thing we always have to remember is that we serve a God of second chances! He’ll bring back opportunities, strengthen us to overcome every obstacle, and empower us to fulfill every dream and desire in our hearts.

BE OPEN TO THE

nearby shelter. I called the one I wanted to help and began sharing my heart to the woman who answered the phone. I told her I wanted to bless the women and help make them feel special. But, rather than getting excited with me or helping me get connected, she began grilling me with questions. She said, “This is a private facility and the women need to remain anonymous.” Then she asked, “Have you been abused? Do you know somebody who has been abused? Do you need help, are you looking for help?”

NEW OPPORTUNITIES HE BRINGS ACROSS

YOUR PATH.

One Christmas several years ago, I was longing to do something special for God. I began thinking of all the women in shelters and homes around the city and felt a strong desire to make some Christmas baskets for them. I was excited about my idea so I searched the yellow pages to find a

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BEFORE I KNEW IT... I HAD MISSED THAT

OPPORTUNITY

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“No,” I said. “I just want to brighten the day for some women.” She went on and on as though she didn’t even hear me, apparently thinking that I was trying to disguise some abuse that I had suffered. Finally, I ended the conversation and hung up the phone feeling frustrated. I thought to myself, I’ll call back tomorrow and speak with someone else. But as life would have it, I became busy with family holiday projects, and before I knew it, the holidays whizzed right by and I had missed that opportunity.

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As I was praying one morning after the holidays ended, I told the Lord how I felt that I had allowed that opportunity to slip away; that I had lost my determination and felt like somehow I let those women down. I asked

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THE GOD OF SECOND CHANCES

BRINGING THE HOPE OF CHRIST TO THE WORLD from Joel Osteen Ministries

VICTORIA OSTEEN

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Oh God, those Christmas baskets would have been so much easier! Couldn’t I have just started there? But, even though I was nervous, I felt this was the opportunity I had prayed for. In the following weeks, I worked so hard to

ALLOW HIM TO EMPOWER YOU TO

DREAM AGAIN.

Him to present another opportunity to me and I promised that this time I would see it through. Several months went by, when one day I received a telephone call from the director of another local women’s shelter inviting me to speak at one of their major fundraising events. As she was speaking, I thought about those Christmas baskets and my prayer asking God for another opportunity. I was honored by her request, and immediately said, “Yes!” even though at that time, I didn’t have experience speaking in front of large audiences. When I hung up the phone, I thought,

prepare my presentation. God honored my prayers and worked in a powerful way. He worked through me to help those women far beyond my wildest dreams! It took faith and effort, but it was marvelous to see how God brought back an opportunity that looked like it was lost.

That simple experience remains a powerful reminder to me that we serve a God of second chances. I believe God wants to bring back opportunities in your life as well—He wants to restore your dreams, He wants to heal your relationships, and pour out His favor and blessing upon you beyond your wildest dreams. I encourage you today, no matter how big or small, bring Him your longings and desires. Ask Him to restore any opportunities you may have missed. Allow Him to empower you to dream again. This is your season, this is your time to embrace all that God has in store for you.

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BRINGING THE HOPE OF CHRIST TO THE WORLD from Joel Osteen Ministries

LOCAL MISSIONS

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AT THE BEGINNING OF THE SCHOOL YEAR, the young adults ministry of Lakewood Church gathered together with volunteers and illustrated to the Houston community the love of Jesus through serving.

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Every year before students go back to school, many schools in the Houston area are in need of maintenance attention. Schools regularly submit maintenance requests in hope of approval by their school districts, which ensures a nice appearance and clean atmosphere for students to attend. Some schools, due to budget cuts, do not get the approval and are left with their problems until the following school year.

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On a Saturday from 9am to 5pm, 75-100 young adults gave their time and helped give a local school a makeover. In one day, through white-

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LOCAL MISSIONS

JOEL OSTEEN MINISTRIES

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washing the walls, painting the school, pulling weeds, building a computer room, and organizing classes, an entire school was turned around. For the finishing touches, over a thousand desks were prayed over, declaring God’s favor, protection, and declaration that each student would know Jesus Christ as their Lord and personal Savior. On top of every desk, the note, “You have a great plan. We believe in you! signed Lakewood Church” was left for each student to read when they got to school on their first day.

Not only have the Houston schools been blessed by the servitude of the church, but other organizations have benefitted as well. Mission outreaches are conducted once every three months consisting of working with Hurricane Ike victims in Galveston to rebuild their homes, working with foster children, women shelters, food banks, habitat for humanity,

local schools and the homeless. A Christian’s purpose and existence is to be the hands and feet of Jesus. To not simply “do religion”, but make a tangible difference like James 1:27 encourages us to do:

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“RELIGION THAT GOD OUR FATHER ACCEPTS AS PURE AND FAULTLESS IS THIS: TO LOOK AFTER ORPHANS AND WIDOWS IN THEIR DISTRESS.” ~ JAMES 1:27

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Seeds of hope were planted in each of the students’ lives. Even though separation of church and state eliminates the ability to list a scripture reference in the public schools, each student was left with the knowledge that Lakewood Church believes in them. No matter what is going on at school or at home, the truth that there is a great plan for their life was spoken and declared and will no doubt rise up in their heart when times get tough.

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LOCAL MISSIONS

JOEL OSTEEN MINISTRIES

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Our purpose and existence is to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

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By serving together to reach a common good, God has blessed both the local community and the young adults department of Lakewood Church. Through outreach, they’ve discovered deeper, richer relationships filled with a tighter bond and greater connection. Joel Osteen Ministries has become known as a beacon of light throughout our world today. Yet in Houston, Texas, Lakewood Church is making a profound difference in the lives of the greater Houston community. We believe in modeling outreach according to Acts 1:8 “BUT YOU SHALL RECEIVE POWER WHEN THE HOLY SPIRIT HAS COME UPON YOU; AND YOU SHALL BE WITNESS TO ME IN JERUSALEM, AND IN ALL JUDEA AND SAMARIA, AND TO THE END OF THE EARTH.” ~ Acts 1:8

Judea is symbolic of the church, Samaria is symbolic of unbelievers in our region, and lastly, God has blessed us tremendously to take the message of hope literally to the ends of the earth. No matter where you live or the church you attend around the world, decide to reach out in your Samaria today.

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THE FELLOWSHIP OF BELIEVERS Acts 2:42-47

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They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles…They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

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LAURIE DODDS

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In every sport, there’s a rulebook, an order to the game, that when followed, brings much enjoyment and success to the game. Likewise, knowledge of what the Bible, God’s Word says on marriage is essential and crucial to having a harmonious marriage. In God’s goodness, He has already established these guidelines and natural order. We aren’t left in the dark in this organizational structure, trying to figure things out on our own. Having order is not having a higher rank in equality. It’s simply order. God knew all along what would work and what wouldn’t. He created us as equals, but gave us different roles and different functions in marriage. Ephesians 5:22-25 says, “Wives, submit to our own husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands love your wives just as

Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her.” Submit is a military word. It literally means “to be under in rank”. The idea of submission doesn’t have anything to do with someone being smarter, better or more talented. It has to do with a God-appointed order.

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A wife’s submissive gentle spirit will do wonders in a marriage. One thing that often occurs in the order of marriages that has occurred since Bible times is the woman’s natural nature to feel like it’s their “duty” to straighten out their husbands! If you’re a wife, and there are situations about your husband you don’t like, go straight to the Father in prayer. Submit to God and keep walking in love. God will do the changing in husbands

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MARITAL ORDER

LAURIE DODDS

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when needed. Scripture teaches to pity the man who is married to a quarrelsome wife! It’s like constant dripping. Yes, that’s really in the Bible! One thing that happens when wives stop submitting to God in prayer is quarreling and strife breaks out. Scripture says where there is envying and strife there is confusion and every evil work (James 3:16). That’s not God’s order. When wives practice submission to God and to their husbands, homes are filled with a more peaceful and loving flow.

What’s the role of husbands in marriage? Love unconditionally. The description of this “love” is agape. That means it is not the romantic love that is “felt”, although that is certainly part of the love we have for one another. This word is the love that is a choice of commitment to love, regardless. It’s a love that is giving without demanding or expecting repayment, even when rejected.

How did Christ love the church? He was a servant. It was an unconditional love. In John 13:3-17, He washed His disciples feet and said that he who wants to lead has to first serve. Remember, Christ gave Himself as a sacrificial offering for us all. He is our example of leadership as well as servitude.

Just like in couple’s tennis, when both players play according to their role, there will be much success in their game. Each has their allotted side, their natural order, to defend their game. Just like the ball goes back and forth, wives keep submitting to God and your husband by walking in love. Daily, keep monitoring your gentle spirit, especially by holding a critical tongue! Men, keep the ball smoothly going back by loving your wife unconditionally as Christ loves the church. When these roles are daily checked and as God’s word is applied, your marriage will be transformed as you both walk in God’s natural order. Even if you find yourself being the only one faithfully following this godly order, take heart and faithfully keep submitting to God. Trust God and choose to walk in love. God will honor your faithfulness and in due time, you’ll reap a blessed harvest.

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STEVE CRAWFORD

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ABUNDANCE OF RAIN God desires to overtake us with His love, peace and presence. Just like one becomes saturated when standing under a downpour of rain, God has His abundance of rain ready to saturate our lives, changing, blessing and enriching us in His fullness in every way. In order to be affected by rain, we have to be in the correct position. In the natural sense, the correct position

would be standing under the rain. In the spiritual sense, part of positioning ourselves is asking. Zechariah 10:1 says to “ask for rain even though it’s raining”. That means that even though we know that God’s presence, peace, joy, health, and hope are available, we should ask for it, and by faith, believe that we are going to receive it.

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The song “Abundance of Rain” is featured on the worship album from Lakewood Worship called Hope for Today Worshp. ORDER HOPE FOR TODAY WORSHIP

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ABUNDANCE OF RAIN STEVE CRAWFORD

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It’s important to take what you know a step further and by faith, out loud, acknowledge the manifestations of God’s presence, and part of doing that is to praise and worship.

In order to be AFFECTED by rain, we have to be in the correct

POSITION. It’s interesting to think about the components of water. A water molecule is composed of two hydrogen atoms bonded to a single oxygen atom. Likewise, the rain of God is God Himself and everything that comes along with Him. What is that? It’s healing, peace, goodness, forgiveness, selfesteem, joy and so much more. When it rains, you experience and have access to it all. There is transforming power in the declaration of praise. I believe that worship along with our praise, thanksgiving, and confessing the Word of God is essential to our Christian life. Worship is our response to God in our lives which only enhances intimacy, obedience and revelation of who He is and who we are.

I leave every worship experience in the presence of God more influenced by Him and more like Him than before. That’s why I take advantage of every opportunity to praise and worship the Lord. It always brings more strength, wisdom and understanding toward whatever situation I might be going through. As a matter of fact, there have been times when I’ve entered prayer with concerns, and after being in His presence and worshipping Him, it wasn’t even worth bringing up because I knew that my needs were already taken care of.

Through worship, we activate and release our faith by acknowledging God’s lordship in our lives. And according to Psalm 1, when we acknowledge the Lord in all our ways, He directs our steps and gets us into proper alignment; that’s an abundance of rain.

Worshipping the Lord is not only a privilege, but it is life. It’s in the life of every believer. The Bible says that even the rocks cry out and give God worship. God is so worthy of our worship and adoration. We all have something in which we are thankful; for one, Jesus saved us and came to give us a full life! We have a reason to live, and we have hope in our lives. That’s reason enough!

The presence of the Lord is the safest place that you can be when it seems as if your world is crashing around you. I love the fact that when you are close to Jesus, you will see your life and everything around you from His perspective, which is found in the abundance of His rain.

And it’s through our worship and adoration that we experience and are drawn more and more into all of the manifestations of God’s presence. The cloud of God’s favor opens up and begins to pour over our life, equipping, anointing and enriching us.

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Through worship, we ACTIVATE and

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RELEASE OUR FAITH

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BRINGING THE HOPE OF CHRIST TO THE WORLD from Joel Osteen Ministries

PAUL OSTEEN, MD

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She and I have always together sought God with our dreams and His will above our own. For many years, I practiced surgery in Arkansas faithfully and my wife was a nurse and then a mother and teacher to our children.

I WAS TWELVE YEARS OLD when I discovered I had a dream to be a medical missionary in Africa. My wife was a little girl when she discovered she had a dream to work with children in the orphanages of Africa.

Ten years ago, we both began to sense that God had something different for us to do. After much prayer, there was no clear answer. We did what we knew best to do and began applying to different mission’s agencies to do medical mission’s work. We filled out the applications. With all the desire that was within us, we wanted to send them, but we could not. We did not have peace about it. We knew in our spirit that it wasn’t the right time. So we waited. And that time of waiting was hard. A few years later, my father John Osteen passed away. As I drove home from his memorial service, God spoke to me and

said these words, “Give up your practice of surgery, move to Houston, and help with the ministry.” At the time, it did not make sense. I had this dream inside of me to do medical missions requiring surgery on patients, and in order to do that, it made the most sense that I should be a practicing surgeon. It seemed like God was asking me to give up the very thing that I had in my heart to do.

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IT SEEMED LIKE GOD

WAS ASKING ME TO GIVE UP

THE VERY THING

THAT I HAD IN MY HEART TO DO.

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It was as if my wife and I had to lay our dreams on the altar to be obedient to do what we felt like God had asked us to do.

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THE BLESSING ...CONTINUED PAUL OSTEEN, MD

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Faithfully, we obeyed, and my entire family moved to Houston and served joyfully and faithfully at Lakewood Church along side my brother, Joel and sister, Lisa and have seen God do incredible things. All the while, God remembered our dreams, for He is the one that placed them in our hearts and had a perfect way of orchestrating them into fruition at His perfect time.

Under a blanket of stars in the African plains, I thought about the fact that I was actually living my dream - my wife and I both. I realized for the first time that we are now, today, living the dream that God put in our hearts many years ago. If God can orchestrate this whole universe, we can trust Him with our dreams. He’s the one that places the dreams in our heart. He’s the one that keeps them burning throughout the years. And He’s the one that we can all trust to bring our dreams to pass.

In the summer of 2007, for the first time in eight years, I went back to the operating room. Joining a group of local doctors, I went to Africa to do a mission’s medical trip. Even after years of not practicing surgery, my skills came back immediately. It was like God said to me, “You put your Isaac on the altar; I’m going to give Isaac back to you.”

“Being confident of this, He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion. — Philippians 1:6

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Since then, we have taken two more trips as an entire family to Africa, in which my wife was also able to fulfill her dream of working with children in the orphanages there.

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LISA COMES

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The greatest commandment to us all that sums up the entire Scriptures is to love God with our whole heart and to love others. When others see us loving as defined in the Bible, they see the Father. God wants us to be vessels of this type of love to His people.

His strength and ability to love, our lives can be transformed and our relationships enriched. People are the most important thing to God.

Everywhere Jesus went, He allowed divine love and passion to flow out of Him. He loved people no matter what. When we let love cover us completely, no matter what situation we are in, no matter who we are around, when we are leaning on Jesus for

important thing

Many years ago, when my father was alive, he went to Israel to minister. Every morning he would go to a coffee shop for breakfast. He became acquainted with the owner of the coffee shop. One morning, he didn’t go due to the business of his schedule. The next morning, the owner informed my dad that one of his regular customers had asked where my father had been. He had asked the owner, “Where is that man who has God in his eyes”.

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People

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are the most

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to God.

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STRATEGIES TO WIN AT LIFE

LISA COMES

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You see, he couldn’t even speak my dad’s language, but he had been watching my dad and saw something tangible. He saw God in his eyes. How was that? Perhaps through his kindness, his gentleness, and his joy; but ultimately, it was his love. People ought to look at us and see the love of God in our lives. Love is more than just a feeling. It’s a choice. That’s why the Bible says to put on the garment of love. We can’t wait for feelings to motivate us to love others. If we did, we would be waiting forever! Instead, every day we must focus on the fact that we need to walk in love.

We need

to walk in Love

A few years back, I made it a daily declaration of faith to pray 1 Corinthians

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13 over my life, and I encourage you to do the same. Even if in the past you feel you’ve missed the mark in your love walk, love is something you can fix. You can work on it. Love can be cultivated.

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At Lakewood Church, we encourage everyone to come up higher in their faith. Yet in Galatians 5:6, it actually says that the only thing that counts is faith expressing its self through love. We need to walk in faith, but we need to make sure at the same time, we are putting in as much effort to walk in perfect love. Perfect love is described in 1 Corinthians 13. It says, “Love is patient. Love is kind. It does not envy. It does not boast. It is not selfseeking. It is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices in truth. It always protects. Always trusts. Always hopes. Always perseveres. Love never fails.”

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For more teaching like this, order Strategies To Win At Life from Lisa Comes.

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ORDER STRATEGIES TO WIN AT LIFE

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Let me encourage you to take a look at your love language. How’s it looking? How’s your love walk? If you are like me, maybe struggling in one of those areas, I challenge and encourage you to make 1 Corinthians your daily declaration, and you will come up higher in your love.

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DODIE OSTEEN

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GOD STILL WORKS MIRACLES

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When God dramatically healed me of cancer in 1981, I learned how important a touch from God really is. And God’s touch is not just for physical healing. We also believe God for miracles in families, financial situations,emotional health, jobs, and any other important needs that people have. We have found, through prayer, that God still works miracles in the lives of His people. The Bible says the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Something extraordinary happens when two or more agree together in prayer. If you would like someone to pray for and with you about a need in your life, you don’t have to wait until a church service, you can pray right now at our new Pray Together section in Joel’s new website. Post your prayer to thousands, even millions, of believers all over the world. Let others join their faith with yours and watch miracles happen. You can also agree with others in prayer and encourage others by leaving a note of thanks to God for the victories He has done in your life.

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“At sunset, the people brought to Jesus all who have various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them.” — Luke 4:40 TNIV

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Step into the authority that is yours as a child of God, the authority that says, “Sickness, you have to leave in Jesus’ name.” Please pray this prayer with me:

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Thank You, Lord, for sending Your Word to heal us. You never change-Your Word always brings healing. I’m glad my family and I are delivered from the destructions the enemy has planned for us. I believe that You heal and deliver us daily.

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Jesus, I thank You that You never change and that You still want to touch me, answer my prayers, and bring the miracles I need in my life. I’m glad that You’re still working miracles today.

God is no respecter of persons. What He’s done in my life, He’ll do the same for you. God sent His word to heal us and to provide life. Remember, He whom the Son sets free, is free indeed! Free from sickness, calamity, disease and strongholds.

BROADCAST LISTINGS Watch Joel

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NIGHT OF HOPE See Joel & Victoria live

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Adapted from Dodie Osteen’s daily devotional, Choosing Life. Click here to order your copy, or call 888-567-JOEL (5635).

BECOME A CHAMPION OF HOPE With Joel Osteen Ministries

DODIE OSTEEN

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click here to download a printable version of Dodie’s Healing Scriptures card.

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UPCOMING EVENTS

HOPE FOR TODAY MAGAZINE from Joel Osteen Ministries

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a Night

Hope Joel & Victoria of with

Joel and Victoria Osteen are taking the unconditional love and unending hope found in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ to millions of people all around the world.

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On Sale Now

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CLICK THE CITY TO PURCHASE TICKETS

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May 29 – Minneapolis, MN Target Center

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Upcoming Events

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CHECK JOELOSTEEN.COM FOR TICKET INFO

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August 29 – Rio Grande Valley, TX August 21 – Atlanta, GA August 30 – Portland, OR September 11 – Charlotte, NC December 4 – Phoenix, AZ

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to purchase tickets or for more information about upcoming events visit JoelOsteen.com

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TELEVISION LISTINGS

HOPE FOR TODAY MAGAZINE from Joel Osteen Ministries

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Listings By City

All times listed are local. * Dual Feed; Airs at time listed on both EST & PST. ** This is a Friday airing.

Albuquerque Atlanta Atlanta Austin Baltimore Birmingham Buffalo Charlotte Chicago Cincinnati Cleveland Corpus Christi Dallas Denver Detroit Indianapolis Jacksonville Kansas City Las Vegas Los Angeles Los Angeles

KRQE-TV13 WAGA-TV5 WSB-TV2 KTBC-TV7 WBFF-TV45 WBRC-TV6 WIVB-TV4 WCCB-TV18 WCIU-TV26 WCPO-TV9 WEWS-TV5 KZTV-TV10 KDFW-TV4 KWGN-TV2 WDIV-TV4 WRTV-TV6 WTLV-TV12 KMBC-TV9 KTNV-TV13 KTLA-TV5 KTTV-TV11

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9:30 am 10:30 am 6:00 am 8:00 am 10:00 am 10:00 am 7:30 am 10:00 am 9:00 am 10:00 am 7:30 am 10:30 am 7:30 am 8:30 am 7:30 am 10:00 am 10:00 am 9:00 am 9:00 am 8:30 am 6:30 am

Memphis Miami Nashville New York New York Norfolk Orlando Paducah Paducah Philadelphia Phoenix Pittsburgh Pittsburgh San Antonio San Antonio** San Diego San Francisco St. Louis Tampa Washington, DC Winston-Salem

WREG-TV3 WSVN-TV7 WTVF-TV5 WNYW-TV5 WPIX-TV11 WTKR-TV3 WOFL-TV35 KBSI-TV23 KFVS-TV12 WTXF-TV29 KPHO-TV5 KDKA-TV2 WPCB-TV40 KSAT-TV12 KSAT-TV12 KGTV-TV10 KTVU-TV2 KMOV-TV4 WTSP-TV10 WTTG-TV5 WXII-TV12

10:30 am 10:00 am 10:30 am 9:00 am 7:30 am 11:00 am 8:30 am 7:30 am 10:00 am 8:30 am 7:30 am 8:00 am 9:30 am 10:00 am 4:30 am 9:00 am 7:00 am 10:30 am 8:30 am 10:00 am 10:00 am

for the most current listings, visit JoelOsteen.com

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BECOME A PARTNER

HOPE FOR TODAY MAGAZINE from Joel Osteen Ministries

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When You Partner With Us, Miracles Happen.

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PARTNERSHIP WITH PURPOSE The vision of this ministry is to use every avenue available to present the hope of Jesus Christ to people everywhere. We know it is this hope and the transforming power of the gospel that makes an eternal difference in people’s lives. We are committed to reaching those who live without Christ in their hearts. We are committed to encourage and equip fellow believers, strengthen

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relationships and offer help and hope to people with physical and spiritual needs. Your partnership makes this ministry possible. Your faithful and consistent monthly support makes you a Champion of Hope. By giving to this ministry, you share in the blessings and fulfillment of what God is doing throughout the earth.

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YOU ARE A CHAMPION

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As a Champion of Hope, you become a partner with Joel and Victoria. Your heart and hands are joined with theirs as you financially support the outreaches of this ministry each month. The amount of your gift is not as important as the prayers and commitment behind it. Your gift is an expression of love and dedication to advancing the kingdom of God here on earth. A Champion is someone who fights for a cause, a hero who comes to the rescue of those in need. In our world today, we need hope like never before – we need Champions of Hope.

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BECOME A CHAMPION OF HOPE TODAY!

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CLICK HERE TO PARTNER WITH US

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Receive the Limited Edition Partner Bible

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LIMITED TO THE FIRST 5000 PARTNERS, THIS CALFSKIN LEATHER, RED LETTER NLT BIBLE IS AVAILABLE WITH A GIFT OF $1000 OR MORE

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This Limited Edition Partner Bible features insights, notes and encouragement from Joel and Victoria to help you grow deeper in your walk with God. Individually signed and numbered by Joel, this beautiful calfskin-bound Bible is filled with inspirations, insights and resources including specific verses to pray over for your relationships, your children, your finances and your health.

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