Kanye West talks about serving God during visit with Osteen

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Rapper Kanye West, right, answers questions from Joel Osteen, left, during a service at Lakewood Church, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)


HOUSTON (AP) — Rapper Kanye West told parishioners at Joel Osteen’s Houston megachurch on Sunday that his recent spiritual awakening has made him realize he’s no longer in the service of fame and money but “in service to God.”

West spoke to a packed crowd of about 16,000 people at Lakewood Church’s 11 a.m. service.

During a 20-minute interview with Osteen before about 16,000 Lakewood Church parishioners, West told the packed crowd about his recent conversion to Christianity and how God has been inspiring him.

“I know that God has been calling me for a long time and the devil has been distracting me for a long time,” West said as he stood next to Osteen.

He said that at his lowest point, when he was hospitalized in 2016 after a “mental breakdown,” God “was there with me, sending me visions, inspiring me.”

Last month, West released “Jesus is King,” a Gospel-themed album that’s been described as Christian rap.

West also was scheduled to perform Sunday evening at Lakewood with his “Sunday Service,” a church-like concert featuring a choir. Tickets for the free concert were distributed through Ticketmaster and sold out within minutes on Saturday, though some people have been reselling them for hundreds of dollars.

West has been traveling around the U.S. holding his “Sunday Service” concerts since January, including at the Coachella festival, an outdoor shopping center in Salt Lake City and at an Atlanta-area megachurch.

On Friday, he and his choir performed for inmates at the Harris County Jail in Houston.

During Sunday’s appearance, West touched on a variety of topics, including religion, the perils of fame and money and going to church as a child. He also talked about how he used to approach things, telling parishioners that “all of that arrogance” that people had seen in him, he is “now using it for God.”

“The only superstar is Jesus,” West said as the crowd applauded loudly.

Lakewood Church, where more than 43,000 people attend services each week, has become the largest church in the U.S. It holds services at the former Compaq Center, which was once the home of the Houston Rockets.

Osteen’s weekly television program is viewed by more than 13 million households in the U.S. and millions more in more than 100 nations around the world.

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