Saturday, September 23, 2006

Astros game

Chronicle sports writer, Brian McTaggart, posed a question in the lead paragraph of this morning's article on last night's Astros' game.

"Was this another step toward what would be the Astros' most improbable late-season playoff push yet, or just a meaningless win that does nothing more than postpone the inevitable?"

Do we only have those two choices? By elimination, it must be the first of the two choices. I say that because any game in which our team comes from behind to beat the division-leading Cardinals (for the second day in a row) on national TV and gives the fans what was probably the most exciting Astros' experience of this season to date, certainly couldn't qualify as "meaningless."

That game felt like a playoff game! And frankly, every game from here on out is technically a playoff game for the Astros. They have to be played with that intensity.

This victory, in my opinion, was the biggest of the season for the Astros. It's not just that we won the game, it's how we won it and how important this game was. We came from behind, and Biggio is the guy who ends up with the game-winning hit.

Too cool. The only thing that would top the whole thing off would be fireworks!!

Roy O on the mound tonight and The Rocket on Sunday night in his second "last" appearance at Minute Maid Park -- nationally televised on ESPN. You have to like our chances for the rest of the series.

No pressure, we're just having fun, right?

Friday, September 15, 2006

Some reader's questions

OK, here are my thoughts from the last couple days, and answers to a few of your questions.

First, I was very, very excited to read in yesterday's paper that both Mr. McLane and Mr. Purpura (Astros owner and general manager, respectively) are committed to keeping Craig Biggio in an Astros uniform for next season, a season he says will be his last.

Click here:

I can't imagine him playing for anyone else, and it sure would be difficult to see him reach that 3,000th hit as a player for another team. It's going to be tough enough to see him retire.

Now, enough about next about a run toward the post season this year? Are we still believing for that?

Of course we are.

I'm going to Minute Maid Park tonight with some folks. The Rocket is on the mound. Should be fun.

And surprise of all surprises! Lonelygirl is an actress! Turns out, there were several filmmakers behind this in California who most likely pulled off the most successful mystery in the history of the World Wide Web.

I cannot put a stamp of approval on the story line from this point on because I don't know where it's heading, but as far as the concept and creativity is concerned, they get an A+ from me.

The LA Times ran a couple articles early in the week, followed by this piece in the New York Times that explained the entire story behind this thing:

The actress is Jessica Rose from New Zealand, now living in Los Angeles...who just happened to do the CBS Early Show this morning.

A little digging on YouTube yesterday and I found she actually has a short film credit prior to this whole Lonelygirl15 project.

What did she play in this film? Please click here to see:

Ah, yes. A bride.

As you can see, we always try to come full circle on this blog.

There will be no silly rumors circulating that I announced or insinuated on my blog that Jessica Rose is the Princess! I know how you folks like to talk. That's not what I'm saying here. But follow me on this line of thinking...

The Lord uses these things to keep me encouraged! The Princess is a promise I hold dear -- she's out there.

Aren't you, sweetie? It's just a matter of time.

Here's something else He uses to keep me encouraged and focused...His word!

"If you delight yourself in the Lord He will give you the desires of your heart" (Psalm 37:4).

This "bride" discovery may not seem strangely "coincidental" unless you go back for a few minutes and revisit my blog entry from March 18:

"Sitting on the counter in the guest bathroom of my condominium is a copy of Modern Bride Magazine. I didn't put it there. My younger sister did when she stayed with me briefly right after she graduated from college. However, I've never removed it. That magazine has sat there for almost 18 months. Trista is on the cover and she is just GLOWING with joy!!

When I'm at a grocery store and pick up a magazine, I often start with a bridal magazine. It's been that way with me for years. I love the image of a woman in a wedding dress. I like to flip through and look at all the beautiful pictures.

On January 18 of this year the Houston Chronicle ran a photograph on the cover of a bride having her wedding pictures taken. I ripped it out of the newspaper and it is taped to my computer at the office, along with a printout of Proverbs 18:22 which states: "He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and receives favor from the Lord."

That same scripture is on an index card, taped to my computer monitor here at home."

These are what I call, for lack of a better term, "Princess thoughts."

This might be a perfect time to answer some of you recently provided:

"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."

There are actually several questions here, but let me start with the last one first. I am in no way afraid of a serious relationship (I wish you would have sent me examples of reasons why you get that impression).

I absolutely look forward to meeting the Princess. My marriage is the biggest dream I've ever had, and I've had several really big ones.

If she needs rescuing, when the time comes, I'll rescue. I look forward to the incredible life we'll have together.

And yes, every man of God should be "waiting" for His Princess.

Question #2

What qualities do you look for in a female?

I really don't have a long list of things I'm looking for. She must love God with all her heart, and be purposeful in her walk. She has to be committed to partnering with me in handling our relationship God's way.


Crazy sense of humor.


Pretty feet are a plus.

Question #3

What's the most important thing God has taught you about yourself through blogging?

That it's OK to be me.

Question #4

Where were you born? Where have you lived? Would you ever consider leaving Texas?

I am a native Houstonian, and I love this city. I was born at Memorial Hermann Hospital (then called Hermann Hospital) in the Texas Medical Center just a few minutes from downtown.

I have lived outside this city on several occasions, and would do it again in the future if that's where God leads.

As for the past, I lived in Dallas for a short period of time while very young. I've lived in California on three occasions; Huntington Beach, San Diego and Barstow. I loved California.

I lived in Okinawa, Japan for a year as a U.S. Marine. That was fun.

Houston is home and always will be, no matter where the road might lead in the future. In the past, all roads have led back here. We'll have to see what He has in store.

The question in this season of my life really has become, "Where is the next opportunity?"

Question #5

Do you like dogs and cats?

I love dogs.

Question #6

What is your favorite Bible character and why?

Other than Jesus, I'll have to say it's David. David is fascinating. God said David was a man after His own heart, but look at what he went through and how he handled it. What a role model of faith.

I've been studying the Psalms a lot recently. I read some of it and think, Man, how in the world did he not throw in the towel.

Amazing tenacity and strength in God. He had an ability, in the face of unimaginable pain and adversity, to keep the praises of God coming out of his mouth. He saw purpose when everything was falling down, because he knew by faith he'd see the goodness of God in the land of the living.

I was reading a great article yesterday in this month's Charisma magazine named "Take Back Your Territory" by evangelist Joyce Rodgers.

She writes well about how David saw God's goodness, even during the worst of situations:

"David knew swords and shields get heavy and that warriors get weary in battle and sometimes have to retreat to regroup. He was sensitive to the fact that if everything had been left up to him he would have buckled and collapsed under the pressures that been heaped upon him, and consequently he rightfully attributed the veracity of his confidence to the benevolence and goodness of God.

If we are honest, we must admit we share this testimony of David and are cognizant of the fact that the victories and successes we enjoy in our walk of faith are unquestionably due to God's faithfulness. We rest in the security of the knowledge that no matter what the devil says or does, our Lord will move in our lives and will answer our prayers--our faith will be honored and not rejected. Yes, weeping may last for a night, but by faith we believe joy is coming in the morning."

Enough said!

Question #7

Where would you like to travel?

I have still never been to New York City. Can you believe that?

London and Sydney are the cities I'd like to see most overseas.

I'd like to go back to Japan someday. Lord willing, travel is in the plan!

More Q&A's later. Chat with you all later, I have some places to go prior to the ballpark. JT

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