Friday, September 8, 2006

Almost struck by lightning once

I'm listening to Liz on the radio, and I noticed the announcement that the KSBJ broadcast tower was hit by lightning recently.

I was almost struck by lightning once.

I sat by myself inside the Taco Bell on Center Street in Deer Park, Texas. You know the one -- right across the street from the old Gerlands. I think the year was 1997, and I was a full-time college student at the time. Class was to start soon, and I thought I'd grab something to eat before I headed to campus.

I was arguing with God while eating a couple of those tacos.

Not really arguing, but certainly struggling with Him. He had given me direction on something, and I was conveniently putting it off at the time.

Oh, be fair, we've all done that at some time during our walk. He was just lovingly trying to steer me. As you will soon see in my story, that turned to tough love very quickly.

There was a horrible storm outside. The rain was practically falling sideways, and water had collected in the parking lot. No question about it...I was going to have to run through that mess to get to my car, and I didn't have an umbrella.

I prepared for the sprint. I threw open the door to the fast food joint, and began splashing step by step to the car. By the time I finally reached the automobile, I was already soaked.

As soon as I started to unlock the car, I experienced something I will never forget.

For a split second, I was surrounded by a bright, brilliant white light that washed out everything.

Then, the sound...the loudest crash I had ever heard. This sound was so loud I felt it in my chest. It sounded like something had exploded right next to me.

As quickly as the light appeared, it disappeared. Several small pieces of wood fell on the car. I looked up, and realized that a lightning bolt had just struck the wooden telephone pole I was parked next to. I was standing about five feet from it.

I stood there, soaking wet, and then slowly got into the car. I looked in the window of the restaurant. People were pointing and appeared to be laughing hysterically.

I'm glad somebody thought it was funny. It freaked me out. The Chris Tomlin song says that God has told every lightning bolt where it should go. This one was a little close for comfort, frankly.

I was interning at the time in the communications office of a Houston-area school district. I came into the office the next day with the story I just told you. One of the assistants in the office was the sweetest Christian lady. As I told the story to others in the office, she never looked up from her computer.

"Sounds like the Lord is trying to get someone's attention," she said, a slight grin forming on her face.

The Lord certainly got all of our attention last weekend, as Houston's First Baptist Church hosted "Worship Houston 2006." Worship is exactly what we did. It was a great time in God's presence.

Paul Baloche, Desperation and Reuben Morgan from Hillsong Australia led worship.

It was awesome. I had been meditating on this passage out of Psalm 67 prior to that show:

"Let the people praise thee, O God: let all the people praise thee. Then shall the earth yield her increase; and God, even our own God, shall bless us. God shall bless us; and all the ends of the earth shall fear him" (Psalm 67: 5-7).

It's wonderful that yet again here in scripture God gives his prescribed order for overcoming in our lives: praise precedes the victory. First we praise, and then we see increase, and God blesses us.

I guess in a sense it's a maturity test for us. Are we able to look past what our circumstances may be dictating to us, and exalt him for the simple reason that He is worthy, no matter what?

I know that night I had to turn my mind off, and like David, I had to choose to worship. It was the right choice. God graced us with His presence and it was an incredible night.

Christian movies are coming out!

I really feel the church should make it a point to support Christian films and filmmakers. We need to go out and see them when they are available.

Why? Because part of being salt and light in this culture is using our resources to support artists who are putting good stuff out there. Movies are likely the most consumed form of paid entertainment in our culture. It's a virtually untapped area for us to reach into and impact.

Films are a business, and as believers we vote on what we want more of by what we spend our money to see.

If you haven't looked lately, there are a lot of us believers fact, there are more and more of us every day, praise God! Christians have shown before that when we pool our resources, we can raise eyebrows.

That's why I have personal rule whenever a faith-based film comes out. Whether it's a good movie or a bad movie, I go see it. This is because the more money we invest in those films, the better they are going to get and the more we are going to see.

For starters, you know we need more of Lucy and the talking animals.

Luckily, we have a couple films to go see that look great in the next month or so.

It seems like it's taken forever for One Night With King to be released, doesn't it? I saw Tommy Tenney speak last year and he talked about it -- I'm so glad it is finally coming out (Oct. 13 nationwide). I love the story of Esther and the trailer for this one makes it look fantastic (click here to see the trailer).

Also out already is The Unidentified, which opens here in Houston on Sept. 15. This one features the lovely and gifted Ms. Rebecca St. James in a supporting role.

Two journalists are sent to Texas to cover "the oil crisis down in Houston." (See trailer by clicking here). It appears they really end up chasing a UFO story.

I'll go see both these movies and report back on them.

Have you been checking out YouTube? It's fun, but you have to be careful because there is no rating system. Some of these people have potty mouths, but some of it is incredibly entertaining.

I'm watching LucyinLA right now. She's a young woman from somewhere in Texas who moved out to Los Angeles to try to become an actor. She shares some of the interesting things she's experienced, and you really find yourself pulling for her.

So, I've been getting some questions sent to me through this blog, and I intend on answering many of them soon.

Please send any additional questions to my email address

That will make for an interesting blog entry. To whet your appetite, here's an example of something I will address -- I got this response to a post last week:

"JOHN IS WAITING FOR HIS PRINCESS... Is that what the Prince is supposed to do? If you read fairytales you see that the Prince fought for his Princess. He rescued her. She was waiting on him. I get the feeling that because of various reasons you are scared to approach a serious relationship. Just something that you might want to consider."

I've had to think on this one for a while before I addressed it, but I will. :)

It's bedtime. God bless and stay tuned... JT

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