Sunday, April 16, 2006

Psalm 22:3

Between the Good Friday communion and praise service at my home church and the combined Easter service at Minute Maid Park this morning with Second Baptist and Windsor Village United Methodist Church, you could say this was a very powerful weekend in God's presence here in Houston, Texas!

Celebrating why we have new life as Christians -- the death and resurrection of Jesus -- was awesome!!

The scripture that sums up the services I've been in this weekend is the one that tells us God inhabits the praises of his people (Psalm 22:3). Jesus has not only risen and gone back to the Father, He has sent us the Comforter. And He's showing up everywhere God's people put on the garment of praise!

I have several family members (two sisters, their husband and soon-to-be husband, dad and step mother) who attend Second, and I've seen firsthand the impact of that ministry. The wonderful Pastor Joel Osteen led several members of my family to the cross, but the ministry of Second Baptist is doing an incredible job of discipling them and I'm so thankful for what I see God doing in their lives.

When they told me about this service and gave me an invitation recently, I was intrigued. What a Spirit-led idea! To bring together two churches with the same mission -- reaching Houston and beyond with the Good News -- but somewhat different racial or cultural backgrounds. Wow. And getting to see Pastors Young and Caldwell minister in the same venue...

Thank you, Jesus, for what you are doing in this city. It's amazing. I'm not sure how many were in attendance or how many accepted Christ at the end, but both of those final tallies will be impressive.

In other news, I received a wedding invitation this weekend from my sister, who will get married at Second this summer. I am so excited for you, sis. God has blessed you with a wonderful man of God.

Oh, I'm quite certain God has a beautiful, wonderful, anointed, Spirit-filled, Spirit-led, visionary woman out there somewhere for me. I'm just going to keep on waiting for her, knowing He knows what's best for me. His ways and timing are perfect...and I'm so looking forward to it (if you've been reading this blog for any length of time that's probably no surprise to you)!

We'll chat again soon. God bless you! John

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Happy Easter everyone!

Happy Easter everyone! Thank you for the cross, Jesus!

I'll be back on late tonight or tomorrow evening after church and hanging out with the family. Talk with you soon. John

Saturday, April 8, 2006

My unexpected trip to The Dove Award

Hello all and hello to you, Gorgeous! :)

I had a great week, highlighted by going to the Dove Awards on Wednesday. It's was absolutely an incredible time.

I left my place at around 7:15 on Wednesday morning, planning to work and then go straight to church afterwards. Normal Wednesday stuff.

Somewhere during the ride to work, listening to coverage on KSBJ from Nashville, I decided, "You know, I think I'm going to the Dove Awards tonight."

I’m not kidding. Sometime within the one-hour drive to work, I decided this was a show I couldn’t miss.

Problem is, I had nothing packed.

I arrived at the office. I checked my calendar to make sure I could make it work. I was clear Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning, but I had a media visit slated for one of the physicians early in the afternoon on Thursday, so I’d have to fly back either late, late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning.

I can do this.

I called and got a plane ticket, a car reservation, and a hotel reservation.

Major challenge: I didn't have a ticket to the event, and the GMA wasn’t selling them anymore on its web site.

I called the GMA. They assured me that "a few" balcony seats were still available, and that I would be able to purchase them at the Grand Ole Opry House ticket office starting at 3 p.m.

No sweat. My plane lands around 3:35. I can rush and get my rental car and off to the ticket office. Yahoo Maps said it was only a fourteen minute drive. That would get me to the arena around 4 p.m. maybe? Once I had my ticket, I could go find my hotel and get ready for the evening.

During the rush to get everything pinned down, a fellow employee smiled and said to me, "Maybe your Princess will be there!"

Maybe so!! I was consumed by the most wonderful thoughts...Princess thoughts!

I had to hurry!

I ran into Kroger on the way to the airport (no time to drive back to Clear Lake) to pick up a few necessities. Rhonda in the office gave me an Astros/Methodist Hospital backpack from the storeroom, so I'd have a way to carry some things on the plane.

I didn't realize until I was on the plane, which had been delayed taking off for about 30 minutes, that I neglected to ask th GMA representative how many tickets "a few" actually is.

Is "a few" three tickets? Those would certainly be gone by the time I arrived. I spent much of the flight asking God to please hold one of those tickets for me.

I know the Word tells us to "be anxious about nothing." But, can I speak frankly here? I was a bit concerned about going through all this just to have dinner in Tennessee and fly back to Houston in the morning because I didn't have a ticket!

Jesus proved faithful, as always!

It was truly a surreal day.

I landed and rushed to get my rental car. Then, to the event.

By the time I bought my seat, they were just about gone, and somehow I got one right on the edge of the balcony -- which I thought was a pretty good seat considering I was so late getting mine.

Anyway, no time to go find the hotel because it's already about 5:30, and the pre-show starts at 5:30.

I hung out in the lobby most of the pre-show, but I did go in a couple times to peek at what was going on. I saw Israel win a Dove. That was very cool. I stuck my head in at one point and I could have sworn the president of the United States was on the stage.

The portion of the show that was taped for broadcast began at 8 p.m. The show was amazing. Ms. Rebecca and Kirk were amazing. The music was excellent.

There were lots of performances. Third Day (you guys are wonderful), Natalie Grant, Ms. Rebecca St. James and BarlowGirl, Kutless, Kirk Franklin, and more. A great tribute to Stephen Curtis Chapman. If you’re a fan of Christian music, it was out of this world.

I don't want to take anything away from any performance that night -- but for me the highlight of the show was Chris Tomlin leading that place in worship at the end. What a powerful time it was in the Lord! God’s presence showed up in a big way.

Props to the GMA and everyone who performed or presented. It was a lot of fun and well worth the trip.

Somewhere between midnight and 1 a.m., I finally found my hotel.

I kept wishing it was Friday night so I could have spent more time in what seemed like a wonderful town. I'd never been to Nashville before, and all I had time to see was the stretch of highway from the airport to the Grand Ole Opry House. It'd be great to go again sometime and hang out, go see the sights, eat the food, have more fun!

The next morning, I was back in the Nashville airport at 6:30 a.m. and on a plane bound for home, enjoying the newspaper and a big cup of hot coffee...

Got to cut out for now...God bless!!! GO ASTROS!!

Friday, April 7, 2006

Change of plans on Wednesday morning

This past Wednesday, I left my place and started to drive into Houston like every other morning that I go to work.

If you told me when I walked out the door that morning I would be in another state by the end of the workday, I wouldn't have believed you!

Let me put on a pot of coffee...

Full story on my fun-filled journey to the Dove Awards coming very soon!