Known worldwide as a pastor and motivational speaker, Joel Osteen is in Las Vegas for the next few days.
On Friday he will be speaking at the event "A Night of Hope" at the Thomas & Mack Center.
Thursday afternoon FOX5 was able to sit down with Osteen to cover several issues, including why he decided to bring his message to Las Vegas.
"'Las Vegas,' people say, 'Don't go there. Nobody's interested in things of God,'" said Osteen. "Yet the arena is gonna be sold out (Friday) night, so I see faith in America at an all-time high."
Osteen's last visit to Las Vegas was back in 2007, at the peak of the city's prosperity.
The pastor realizes he's returning when times are tough in southern Nevada.
"There has been a lot of need here, just talking with different people and the economy and all that. We feel like when we come in, we can bring a message that lifts people's spirit, let them know that God is on their side, that they can come through this. And that's sometime when our message works the best, when people have been hit the hardest," Osteen said.
As pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Osteen actually draws criticism for his big smile and positive messages. He knows even being optimistic is polarizing to some Americans.
"I believe there needs to be more joy in the world and so I don't need to apologize," he said. "Anybody that does anything that makes a difference is going to be somewhat controversial."
Osteen avoids taking public stances on issues like gun control, feeling his message of hope is much more valuable to the nation.
"When I start delving too much into the issues, then all of a sudden I'm more polarizing. ... I want to throw that wide net of hope and not have people turn me off because of some issue in the news," he said.
"Whether a person is straight or gay, Republican, Democrat, good person, not a good person, they're all welcome, because to me church is a place you're supposed to get healed and whole and loved," he said.
Tickets are still available for Friday's event.
Copyright 2013 KVVU (KVVU Broadcast Corporation). All rights reserved.
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