July 14, 2024

The Heartbreaking Loss Joel Osteen Endured Days After His Fateful First Sermon

“I thought, ‘What are the coincidences of me speaking the last Sunday of his life?'”

As the leader of the country’s largest Protestant church, it might be hard to imagine Joel Osteen as anything other than a public figure followed by millions. But Osteen actually never wanted to be in front of the pulpit, he told Oprah on “SuperSoul Sunday.”

Osteen was raised in the church, a Baptist congregation founded by his father in 1959. While the elder Osteen stood confidently in front of the parishioners and preached week after week, Joel worked happily behind the scenes for 17 years. He always turned down his father’s requests to step onto the stage. Then, in January of 1999, things changed.

Osteen’s father asked one more time if the then-35-year-old would deliver his first sermon. Osteen felt an unexplainable shift inside him and, this time, he agreed. That was on a Monday.

That week was stressful for Osteen, who was incredibly nervous to stand up and preach, but it wasn’t the only concern he had to contend with. His father unexpectedly landed in the hospital a few days before that fateful Sunday.

“He had to go to the hospital that Friday — just some complications from dialysis,” Osteen recalls. “He’d been on dialysis three months. He still seemed very healthy.”

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