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And he notes that millions of people find solace and strength in his sermons. Luke's in Houston, patients suffer as a renowned heart transplant program loses its luster "I've outlasted the critics and figured out what I feel like I'm supposed to do," he said in one of two lengthy interviews with the Houston Chronicle.

"If you have a message to get out, there has never been a better day." Osteen, the son of televangelist John Osteen, Lakewood's founder, became head pastor after his father's death nearly 20 years ago.

"All you get is an empty box of hope for a better life someday." Osteen responds that building a personal fortune is not in conflict with his belief that God wants all who worship Him to prosper.

He casts Lakewood's expert use of marketing and media as the contemporary equivalent of shouting from the mountaintop.

Of that total, nearly 93 percent was donated — via mail, the internet or collection buckets — in response to an understated yet persistent message that God will bless those who support the church's mission.

The church spent 70 percent of its budget on television broadcasts, weekly services and programs and Night of Hope events.

Since then, he has overshadowed virtually all his contemporaries, avoiding the sorts of embarrassments that have toppled other TV preachers.

A 24-hour Sirius XM station, launched in 2014, expanded his domain to include people commuting to work or running errands.His is a church that finds its followers, no matter who or where they are.*** Osteen doesn't flaunt a life of luxury, but he does enjoy one."When you're looking at his lavish private lifestyle, I'd say that's too much." Pete Evans, a licensed private investigator, has spent 20 years examining church misconduct for the Trinity Foundation, a donor-supported group in Dallas known for exposing financial abuses by televangelists.Evans said Osteen stays on the right side of the law.

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