Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Open Letter to the Princess

Hey Princess,

I'm not sure what's going on here in Houston, but it doesn't matter anymore.

I want you to know I care about you...and I do think about you often. I'm sorry that circumstances in my life have postponed us getting together before this, but if you hang in there a little longer, I'm doing what I can to get some resources together to get where you are.

The intensity of the war against me here is amazing, and I want you to know that I truly believe as I write this tonight that the answer is for me to move.

Basically, here's why this is happening. I have found myself right in the middle of a situation that is incredibly political, and there are people who benefit from propagating an idea that I'm not sold-out to God. It's a lie from the pit of hell.

Now, it's been a journey getting here. It's been hard work, and it took time, but I'm all His. For years. You need to know that.

If these people can make others believe that I'm not truly serving Him, or that I'm wishy washy, or I'm living with one foot in the world, it forwards their cause.

Unfortunately, their cause is, and has always been, built on lies and untruths.

I'm just like you, sweetheart. Working this salvation out with fear and trembling. And what God has done in me is amazing, and I submit to you that is exactly why I'm going through the war I'm going through.

The enemy preferred having a hold on me. He doesn't have that anymore, and he's furious.

I'm closer to God today than I ever have been, and I've got a piece of news for everyone: I believe God is proud of me today.

I am moving. Moving, however, takes resources. I will get there, and I believe wholeheartedly that with that act of obedience a door will open for me there as well professionally.

I have to reiterate this point:

You are undoubtedly waiting for a man of God who is serious about his walk with God. I promise you that you have nothing to worry about in that department. I am dedicated to Him and walking after Him. Any voice that tells you (or insinuates) that I'm not, is not speaking by the spirit of God.

I have sat here all this time waiting primary because of some prophetic words that I obviously misinterpreted. When coupled with scriptures in God's word that promise victory, I have believed something was going to happen here that for whatever reason seems more and more unlikely the closer I draw to God. It's bizarre.

Sometimes, it seems, the victory God presents to us comes not how we believe it is going to come. I'm not crazy enough to argue with God about what is best for me. I'm just thankful he has a plan and it includes you.

I have nothing but the best thoughts about you, and nothing but the deepest respect for you. You are beautiful and prefect just how you are! Don't ever believe anything different, no matter what anyone tries to make you believe.

Always, and I mean always, consider the source. Ask yourself: Do they have an agenda?

I'll be wherever you are as soon as I can get there.

Love. John

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Lance Berkman is changing

This is in response to Richard Justice's excellent column, dated 5/14/08, in the Houston Chronicle. Read it here:
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/sports/5777955.html

He may still be the same good ol', down to Earth guy that in many ways defies what normally comes to mind when we think of professional athletes, but Lance Berkman is changing.

He may still wear boots, and not cuss or drink, and he may still have his problems with them "dad-gum liberals."

He may even say he's not changing, but press him a little harder, Richard. Ask him if he's truly the same man he was five or ten years ago.

Lance Berkman is changing, and I am one fan (and there are many others) that is excited to see it happening.

"And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit" (2 Corinthians 3:18).

From glory to glory, year after year, this man is changing. That's one of the reasons I like him so much.

He's becoming more and more like his Lord. Being transformed, as the Bible says, into the image of the man who 2000 years ago gave his life for Lance (and Richard and John).

Lance is one of the King's kids.

Lance, why you ate those Twinkies at Wrigley Field I'll never know. Would you eat a hot dog at Minute Maid Park if a fan threw one on the field? I'd like to think you'd do the same in Houston, but who knows.

He's changing, and that's why he's the powerful role model he is. In my opinion, that's one of the reasons he's such a fantastic baseball player. Everything he puts his hands to, ultimately, is going to succeed and prosper.

That's why he's made it a point in the past to meet with local young men in the organization he heads, that I've seen featured in the Houston Chronicle.

He's changing, and he wants youngsters that look up to him to know that through God's power they can change to.

Thank you, Lance. Thank you for changing, and being committed to that process. Thank you for being an example not only for people in this town, but all over the league.

Keep changing, brother. We need more like you.

Bloggers note: If I was the editor of a faith-based publication or television program looking for great story ideas, I'd certainly look into doing one on the transformation of Lance Berkman, one of the best players in Major League Baseball today and a powerful testimony of God's changing power.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

You'd seriously never been to Wrigley Field before?

You can put this one in the "truly amazing" file.

The girls of BarlowGirl, who grew up in the city of Chicago, Illinois, didn't get out to Wrigley Field to catch a Cubs game until they were in their mid- to late-20s.

Isn't Wrigley Field a staple of Chicago life? It would be for me if I lived there. That is a gem in your community, and you should cherish it.

Anyway, great to see you girls finally got out there. What did I tell you about baseball?

Friday, May 9, 2008

Taking a few moments to honor everyone

I thought I'd drop a note today to honor you, my readers, and let you know how much I love you.

Pastor Joel says I should recognize the greatness of the people God has put in my life. If I had a spouse today, she'd be the best! If I had kids, they'd be the envy of everyone around.

Some of my friends and family are having a difficult time (or so it seems) with my present set of circumstances, so they are often honored and loved greatly from a distance. I believe this is with God's approval, I might add. This has been a good season for me to wait on the Lord, mostly by myself.

However, if anyone in my life doesn't feel honored, it would always be my hope and prayer that you would let me know so I could correct it quickly.

I honor and respect you so much, dear reader, that I thought I'd let you know that the posts of the last month or so are very real. I wasn't kidding, or trying to be silly. Was some of it a little hard to swallow? Well, hard to swallow or not, it's true.

From where I'm sitting, this is a serious situation, and I will wait until I hear from someone I trust to tell me that it isn't a serious situation anymore before moving on.

Lord willing, Los Angeles is the eventual destination, in case you are wondering (unless, of course, an opportunity opens up somewhere else that I feel the Lord wants me to take). Got a job offer for me? This would be a great time to let me know.

I really like the prayer section of Pastor Joel's devotional today.

"Show me how to love others the way You love me so that faith will grow stronger in my heart."

You know, quite honestly, as I examine myself today, I don't think love or faith are my problems. Joseph didn't have a love or faith problem either, and he still sat in a pit.

Paul didn't have a love or faith problem, and he sat in prison.

In that desert, Moses didn't have a love or faith problem; his problem was the people God had put in his life (I wonder how easy it was to honor them while they grumbled and wandered around in the wilderness).

David didn't have a love or faith problem, but when you read the Psalms he sure seemed like he wanted some people to fry.

I think when things seemingly don't go our way in life, we tend to look for a reason. Unconfessed sin. A bad attitude. Not honoring people. A lack of faith. Not showing the love we should.

Of course, we can always improve in any of these areas, but I think there are times we are in a situation for one reason only, and Pastor Joel mentions it: building character.

During a quiet time the other day, I asked God this very question. Is there something I'm not doing that I should be doing? I promise you, I'll do it.

I asked Him, Lord, what do you want me to do? Almost instantly, this dropped into my spirit: "I want you to trust me."

Doesn't sound too complicated, does it? Many are the afflictions of the righteous, the Word says, but the Lord delivers us from them all.

In that scripture, it doesn't sound like that's up for negotiation or argument. He's asking us for trust in His word, which never fails.

Here's something important for us all to remember: I didn't wait all this time for God's hand of healing and deliverance to be turned away without it. I will stand until this thing is resolved.

Again, if you're in my life and don't feel loved or honored, let's fix it. Drop me an email, and I promise with humility and repentance I'll make it right.

God bless you all.

Now, on to something else I noticed online the other day...

You all should check out my friend Rebecca St. James' Web site from time to time. Man, I want to honor her. She often has something encouraging to say about life in God.

She's apparently re-releasing her book, "Wait for Me," in the near future. Is everyone else asking the same question I'm asking?

How in the world is this girl still single? Here is a committed, consistent, successful, bright, beautiful, romantic woman of God. Are all the single men around her completely lost? Either that, or their standards are way to high.

I guess we could chalk it up to everything else in the kingdom...it's a timing issue.

I like what she said about God's people using their creative skills. I agree with her. We serve a creative God. Just read the first sentence of the Bible.

I believe God wants (and plans) to move mightily in the arts, bringing true believers into the arena of the arts and film like we've never seen before.

After reading the 5/1/08 entry on her site, my main thought on this is that sometimes the problem isn't vision or desire, it's provision and open doors.

You see, I'm not a coasting type of guy. No one likes coasting. However, one of the many things God has taught me over the past few years is that no matter how hard my head is, I cannot break open a door with it if God has chosen to keep the door shut right now.

I have a great sense that God wants to move in the arts/film in a big way, and I would be honored and privileged to have any part in that move that I could. But quite simply, we never know at the outset if we are just one of the many voices to help prepare the way or if we are ones that He will ultimately use.

In many ways Rebecca has always been a trailblazer, and I'm sure God will keep her on that path. I look forward to seeing the many ways God will continue to use her creative talents and gifts in the future.

I'm not silly enough to believe Rebecca reads this blog, but if someone who knows her does, I hope they will encourage her to keep praying for this mighty move of God in the arts, and to fan the gift He's put within her.

I like how she stated that we should we should link arms and walk together into our creative destiny.

Did I ever tell you about the dream I had? Check out my blog post from January 30, 2006. I actually went on that journey I mention there.

What I didn't tell you is that I had bought a ticket to opening night of the Rebecca St. James "If I Had One Chance to Tell You Something" tour, somewhere in Mississippi, I think.

My plan was to drive to Mississippi, catch the show and then go camping for a few days by myself to get alone with the Lord.

Why would I drive to Mississippi to catch a Rebecca St. James show? Well, at the time I thought I was going to marry her, and that's how you honor the person you believe is your spouse, right? You show up, unannounced, at the opening date of her tour several states away and smile at her from the audience.

Well, that will either get you engaged or you may have to put up with a inconvenient restraining order.

Luckily for all of us, I was in my office at the legendary Methodist Hospital in Houston about to run out to go home and pack, when the phone rang. I picked up the phone and was told by iTickets that the show in Mississippi had been canceled.

However, I still had asked for several days off from work, so I decided to go ahead and go camping at a Texas state park. I got out there and nothing went right. There was a burn ban, so I couldn't start a fire. And it was cold out there!

Lord, speak to me. I broke out my Bible and a flashlight, determined to hear from God. I remember thinking, I drove all the way out here to hear from you and I'm cold, it's dark, and the concert got canceled.

Then I fell asleep in the tent. I had a dream I was backstage at an event. I think it was a concert. I was talking to a group of people and I noticed that Rebecca St. James was across the room from me. We made eye contact, and as she moved around the room we kept making eye contact.

She walked passed me at one point, and I stopped her.

"Sorry to stare," I said. "You're just the rock star I've been wanting to meet."

She laughed. "Oh, it's because I'm a rock star, huh? And all this time I've thought it was because of my mind."

I'm not sure what she meant by that. It's a dream. It's not supposed to make perfect sense. But that's what she said.

We both laughed. "Let's get out of here and go talk about it," I said.

We put our arms around each other and walked out of the building together arm in arm.

Who knows, maybe we were walking out of that building into the creative destiny God has called us to?

Listen girl, if that's a script you're reading in this photograph, please have your people Xerox it and mark the part I'm supposed to read for. I'm like you. I'm not a coasting kind of guy.

By the way, how was your parking experience at Lakewood last weekend? I know there were probably some clowns out there with stop watches Sunday to see if I had made that up or exaggerated, but I assure you I did neither.

That's where I started parking shortly after the move to the former Compaq Center. When you drive nearly 45 minutes both ways to church, you find yourself trying to get creative in the parking garage. Hey, maybe that's part of my creative destiny.

No one should be angry about that post. Pastor Joel always said the favor of God includes good parking spots. Amen.