Saturday, February 24, 2007

Back in Texas this weekend

I arrived back in Houston yesterday. To sum it up: California was excellent!

I decided that I would spend a day in San Diego during my trip to California this week. I headed down the 405 from L.A., which is a nice drive (when the traffic is light). If you're not from California or haven't visited you wouldn't believe how beautiful even the freeways are there. Imagine green rolling hills with big houses lodged in them on one side of the road, and the blue Pacific ocean on the other side of the road.

Houstonians, think West U on the beach.

On the road, I spent my time enjoying God's presence, the scenery and the music on the radio. There are lots of songs in heavy rotation on radio on the West Coast that I haven't even heard in Texas. Specifically, there's a song called "Someday" by a group named LaRue that's getting played a lot out there. I heard it numerous times in Los Angeles and again in San Diego. I like it a lot. It's a "Princess thoughts" type of song. The Mat Kearney song "Nothing Left to Lose" is awesome (I did hear this one on KSBJ in Houston yesterday).

My San Diego visit was actually a trip down memory lane for me in a sense, because I lived there for two or three years in the mid-1990s. The 405 takes you through Camp Pendelton as well. I got a little emotional as I approached my old apartment and as I visited some of the old stomping grounds. It never fails that when I visit an old residence I experience a flood of emotions. This was the case in San Diego. I really enjoyed living there, and it was a pivotal season in my life.

Lots of good memories. That's where I was for the second Rockets championship in 1995. We like to talk about how we Texans are friendly and hospitable (and we are), but one memory that will always stick with me was my whole office of Californians taking me out the evening of game four against Orlando. They watched that entire game and celebrated with me -- just because they knew how important that championship was to me and my city and how excited I was about it. Good people.

I didn't have a lot of time this trip to S.D., so I went down to Mission Beach and grabbed chow in Old Town, some sightseeing and then north on the 405 back to Los Angeles.

Well, no question, L.A. is a wonderful place, and I enjoyed hanging out there. I eagerly look forward to my next trip west.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Hollywood Boulevard and Santa Monica beach

Well hello! Another nice day in L.A.

Tonight I headed over to Sunset and Hollywood Boulevards to see what was going on. The area in front of the Kodak Theater on Hollywood is closed to vehicle traffic in preparation for the Oscars Sunday evening. There is a huge tent that has been raised across Hollywood Blvd., but you are still able to walk into the mall there. It's a three-level shopping center where I grabbed something to eat and a coffee at the Starbucks.

I wanted to go handle the Oscar LucyinLA talked about on YouTube but that little section of the mall closed at 8 p.m. I took a stroll down Hollywood Boulevard. It's an an interesting walk.

I also was down in Burbank for a while earlier today and then later drove to the beach in Santa Monica. Pretty water. This area is gorgeous. I drove all the way down Sunset from the the Sunset Strip area until it dead-ends into the beach, then on the Pacific Coast Highway for a bit.

Well, more later. Night night. Blessings. JT

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

I Love L.A.

This place is beautiful. I landed this morning and got checked into my hotel. Then, I spent at least a hour driving around looking for an In and Out Burger. I've been craving those things! I finally found one back over near LAX.

Didn't do much today other than drive around a little bit looking at the town. Again, this is an attractive city. The weather was a bit grey and rainy when I landed around 8 or 9 a.m., but by early afternoon it was blue skies and cool temperatures. Perfect.

By the way, great Christian radio in this city. I've been listening to this station while driving around.

I just got back from a late dinner and I'm kicking back in my room now watching the local news...worn out. It's just about lights out here.

I'll be here for a few more days and I look forward to seeing more of the city. Talk with you again soon. John

Thursday, February 8, 2007

My question for 'Bring it On'

I was watching The 700 Club this morning, specifically the part called "Bring it On" in which Pat Robertson answers theological or questions of faith from viewers. Here's what I would ask Pat:

Pat,

Was Joseph a bad or ineffective believer? Did he miss it greatly? More than a decade is a long time to live in the midst of pain and craziness if you're life is pleasing to God. Is it possible for a Christian to have a daily prayer life and quiet time in the Word, be obedient to get the sin out of their lives, have a true heart toward the Lord and the things of God, and still go through a prolonged period where nothing makes sense?

Sometimes I wonder if Joseph was alive today, and we looked at him critically during the eighth or ninth year of his ordeal, what our assessment would be of his spiritual life. Certainly, he couldn't be walking by faith with an obedient heart. Faith moves the hands of God, so He wouldn't be in that situation -- for that long -- if he truly believed.

I got it! Maybe he's not paying his tithes.

Or, it's probably a sin problem. There must be a hidden sin he hasn't addressed or repented from and left in the past. (This one is actually the most silly, because every one of us has sin problem...it's called the sin nature -- reread the second half of Romans 7. Thank God for the sin solution: Jesus).

I'm not minimizing the role of disobedience or bad decision in the trials of life. That's definitely part of the equation. There's not one of us who hasn't "reaped what we've sown," so to speak, while working out our salvation. That includes me and you.

But the Bible doesn't mention anything specific of that nature in Joseph's case. We have to assume he was fallible and made mistakes like the rest of us, but for the most part was doing the right things, and all hell broke loose in his life.

Can you imagine how we would dissect, make assumptions, and judge that guy if we didn't have the luxury of knowing the end of his story and what God was doing during the process?

I don't know if Pat will receive or answer my question, but you can view The 700 Club online each day at http://www.cbn.com.