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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

On the Next Episode of The Lead

Former CENTCOM commander Gen. Anthony Zinni on ISIS. Plus Robert Plant on his new album.

Former CENTCOM commander Gen. Anthony Zinni on ISIS. Plus Robert Plant on his new album.

March 29th, 2013
06:42 PM ET

Televangelist Joel Osteen on the power of Twitter, and same-sex marriage

One pastor who will have a very busy Easter weekend is televangelist Joel Osteen, who oversees a congregation far larger than the thousands who fit into his Houston church. Osteen is a TV mega pastor whose message reaches millions of households weekly.

This weekend at his church, Osteen will be speaking to an average of 40,000, 45,000 people, and also reach 10 million through television. How does he create a message for such a wide audience, as opposed to the one-on-one ministering?

A lot of it "is acting like you're talking to one person," Osteen said on "The Lead with Jake Tapper" on Good Friday. "When I prepare my messages, I think, okay, how am I going to talk to people about how to live the Christian life, how to forgive, how to overcome, how to keep a good attitude? So I think the beauty of talking to the masses is you've got to act like you're just talking to one."

"Even though I'm standing in a large auditorium, you know, I do my best to make it as personable as can be," added the pastor.

This week in the news, the Supreme Court took up arguments about same-sex marriage and same-sex couples. Where does Osteen draw the line?

"It's a fine line," said Osteen. "We're for everybody. But, of course, as a Christian pastor, you know, my base is off what I believe the scripture says."

"Marriage is between a male and a female," said the pastor.

Even if you don't call it marriage, people in same-sex couples should be able to have the same rights to visit a sick, loved one in the hospital, and other such rights, says Osteen.

"I think we have to be, you know, compassionate about it all. We're not against everybody, and there are certainly people that love each other. And I believe they should have those rights," said Osteen.

But coming back to the scripture, while Osteen says he is "for everybody" he adds, "I don't see same-sex in the scripture."

Osteen is a consultant on the History Channel's series "The Bible." His friend, Mark Burnett, produces it. The series is an unbelievable success. More than 10 million people watched last week's episode. Nearly 14 million watched the debut.

Osteen is not surprised by the success.

"There are a lot of people of faith still in our country and when somebody takes a step of faith like Mark and [co-executive producer Roma Downey] did, people want to get behind it" and see a good quality production of something that is so true and dear to all of our hearts, says Osteen.

The pastor also dismisses the controversy over the actor who was cast as Satan bearing a resemblance in some people's minds to President Obama.

"I felt like it was nonsense," says Osteen. "People can draw funny conclusions."

Osteen has more than 1.5 million followers on Twitter, and says social media plays a big role in religion today.

"It's the greatest day to be alive, to have a message to get out," said Osteen. "When I was growing up, it was, you know, you watched television or listened to the radio, but nowadays, to be able to touch people instantly, to, you know, through podcasts, through the Internet ... it's just an amazing day to use the technology that I believe God's given us," says Osteen.

There are a lot of people out there who are suffering, people in war, people who have lost loved ones in war, whether it's in Syria, or Afghanistan, or in Africa. There are people who do not imagine that there can be a loving God who would put them through what they are going through. Osteen reconciles that disconnect with a familiar edict.

"Life is not always fair," says Osteen. "But I believe that God has each one of us in the palm of our hand. And when we believe, when we trust, it doesn't mean we won't have difficulties and unfair things happen, but I believe God will give you the faith to make it through."

"Our hearts go ... out to these people that are hurting and suffering," added the pastor. "We just believe in the power of prayer. And then when you turn your trust to him, God will take you through some very, very difficult situations."


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