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Meet the Author
John Osteen (1921-1999) was born in Paris, Texas in 1921. He was ordained as a Southern Baptist minister just before his 18th birthday. From 1949, Osteen was pastor at Central Baptist Church, Baytown, Texas, and during that time divorced his first wife, Emma Jean Shaffer. He married Dolores "Dodie" Pilgrim in 1954, and the following year resigned his pastorate. Osteen re-entered pastoral ministry at Hibbard Memorial Baptist Church, Houston, Texas, but left in 1958.
After undergoing 'baptism in the Holy Spirit' in 1959, Osteen founded Lakewood Church in an abandoned feed store in Houston, Texas. The membership of this phenomenally successful charismatic church would eventually grow to 15,000.
For many years, John Osteen encouraged his son Joel to preach, but Joel always declined, preferring to work behind the scenes. However, in early 1999 Joel felt compelled to accept his father's invitation and he preached his first sermon on January 17th of that year. Little did anyone know that would be the last Sunday of John Osteen's life - he died suddenly of a heart attack at age 77. Two weeks later, Joel began preaching regularly and later that year was installed as the new Senior Pastor of Lakewood Church.