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Joel Osteen Encourages Thousands at San Diego 'Night of Hope' to Trust God to Bless Upcoming Year

( [email protected] ) Jan 18, 2016 02:07 PM EST
Thousands of people crowded into San Diego's Valley View Casino Center for Joel Osteen and Victoria Osteen's popular "Night of Hope" event, during which the pastor challenged attendees to trust God to bless the upcoming year.
Joel Osteen and his wife, Victoria Osteen, host the ''Night of Hope''event in cities across the United States. Photo: Joel Osteen Ministries

Thousands of people crowded into San Diego's Valley View Casino Center for Joel Osteen and Victoria Osteen's popular "Night of Hope" event, during which the pastor challenged attendees to trust God to bless the upcoming year.

According to Fox San Diego, the highly-anticipated event was a family affair, as son Jonathan and daughter Alexandria Osteen brought the music as their father brought the inspirational message.

"A lot of times, how you start the year will determine what kind of year it's going to be," Osteen told Fox ahead of the event. "We're right here at the beginning, and I think it's the perfect time to let go of all of the negative things that happened last year; the disappointment, the mistakes we've made. Living guilty and condemned doesn't make you do any better, so I say let it all go and say, 'God, I'm ready for you to bless this year and do something new in my life.'"

The Lakewood Church pastor shared a message of encouragement, offering the forgiveness that can only be found through a relationship with Jesus Christ.

"I'm going to talk tonight about how God can accelerate things," Osteen said. "He can make things happen faster -- your dreams to meet the right person, to get healthy again, to break in addiction. So, I'm trying to encourage people in those areas."

Throughout the night, worship leaders led attendees in a time of prayer and singing before Osteen concluded his message with a call to salvation.

Later that night, the pastor took to Facebook to thank attendees for their support: "Thank you, San Diego!" he wrote, "We had an incredible Night of Hope last night! What matters to us is that so many people left inspired and changed! Thanks again to all of the churches, pastors and volunteers who made this night possible!"

Speaking to Fox, one woman who attended the event, Rochelle, referred to the experience as "amazing": "I just think that what I'm taking away is how important it is to be connected to with God," she said. "And also it's important to understand that there's good in ourselves and everyone, and we just have to stay connected to that."

Thousands of people also took to social media to share pictures and prayer requests, and to thank the Osteens for their message of encouragement and hope.

"Thank you Pastor Joel & Victoria Osteen," wrote Beth Gomez-Marquez. "Well worth it to be there in San Diego with you all powerful message you gave us strength and a difference in our life."

Added Shawn Handelman, "I was very inspired Friday night. After listening for the last year on Sirius radio I was expecting much of what I have already heard. I was very wrong, it was much more wonderful than what I could have imagined. Thank you for a wonderful message and bringing peace to my soul."

During a "Night of Hope" event in San Francisco last year, Osteen told reporters that the purpose of the experience is to uplift and encourage those who may be going through difficult times.

"Our message is about, how can we lift somebody up?" he said. "Let them know that they can overcome and they can move forward and with God's help they can still fulfill their destiny."

In October, Osteen released his latest book, "The Power of I Am: Two Words That Will Change Your Life Today," which seeks to help readers "discover your unique abilities and advantages to lead a more productive and happier life," according to its description page.

"When you start speaking negative, especially about yourself, you're just inviting that into your life," Osteen told Fox 5 of the message of his book. "So, I think it's important, you know, if you can't say anything good, don't say anything at all."

To learn more about the "Night of Hope" event, click here.