Wednesday, July 20, 2005


By Stockton

Thousands Gather to Celebrate Megachurch

By KRISTIE RIEKEN, Associated Press Writer Sun Jul 17,

HOUSTON - America's largest church celebrated its move into the former arena for the Houston Rockets with a capacity crowd of 16,000, an upbeat sermon from its televangelist pastor and a spirited welcome from the governor of Texas.

"How do you like our new home?" Lakewood Church pastor Joel Osteen asked to thunderous applause. "It looks pretty good doesn't it? This is a dream come true."
The new home for the nondenominational Christian church is the former Compaq Center, once home to the Rockets.

There were no vacant spots in the arena as Lakewood, which recently became the first church in the United States to average more than 30,000 worshippers weekly, held its first service there Saturday night. The service also was televised live.

Gov. Rick Perry praised the church's new look and told the crowd, "As lawmakers we do a lot of things, but only the church can teach people to love."

As Governor Perry noted, the church will be holding love clinics on the third Monday of each month. Attire is casual.

In addition, the Mega-Huge-Super Church will offer a drive-through funeral service, an Apostolic Hair Salon and a dental service whose slogan is "Jesus Even Flossed after the Last Supper!"

Some have criticized the opulence of the church. However, Pastor Osteen says the project is scripturally sanctified. According to Osteen, the Biblical passage wherein 'Jesus commands his followers to sell all their worldy possessions' has been mistranslated from the original Greek. The passage really read: "Build Ye' a big-ass church in the land of the Cowboys and Rangers and don't forget to grab a good television deal."

In unrelated news, a new study finds that church size is inversely proportional to the average male congregationalist's penis size.

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