Joel Osteen is the pastor of the Lakewood Church in Houston. His sermons inspire people around the globe. There is clearly one--maybe more than one--person who hasn't felt that inspiration, however, because the mega-church was robbed over the weekend of $600,000 in member's and visitor's tithes.
Cash, checks and credit card payments were stolen from the Houston church's safe over the weekend. The money came from member's and visitor's tithes from the March 8th and 9th services. A church employee who retired from the local sheriff's office made the discovery on Monday morning. The church sent an email to all of its 40,000 members.
"The funds were fully insured, and we are working with our insurance company to restore the stolen funds to the church," the statement read.
A church spokesman, Donald Iloff, Jr., explained that he couldn't comment on the theft.
"Lakewood Church is working in conjunction with the Houston Police Department to investigate this matter. We do not want to compromise the investigation by commenting at this time," he said.
It's uncertain if the tweet is related, but Joel Osteen posted the following via his Twitter account on Monday, March 10th.
Trust is saying, “God I’m not going to let this upset me. I can’t make it work out my way, but I know you’re in control.”
— Joel Osteen (@JoelOsteen) March 11, 2014
Lakewood Church is a nondenominational Christian church. Located along Houston's Southwest Freeway, the congregation is the largest in the U.S. Joel Osteen preached his first sermon at the urging of his father, John Osteen, back in 1999. A week later, the senior Osteen died of a sudden heart attack and his son has preached in his church ever since. Under Joel Osteen's leadership, the Lakewood Church membership grew from 5,000 to 43,000 people. Osteen's wife, Victoria Osteen, now serves as associate pastor. Neither of the Osteen's attended or graduated from a divinity school.
It will be interesting to see if Houston Police Department investigators are able to solve the mystery of who broke into and robbed the Lakewood Church. While thieves are no doubt brazen, it takes an especially shameless person or persons to steal from a church.
Image via YouTube