Wednesday, September 21, 2011

John Newman Williams

Monday morning I received a phone call from my Dad. Somehow I knew what it was before he told me. His brother, my uncle Johnny, had past away after a long, courageous bout with cancer. I wrote the following poem in honor of his memory as soon as i got off the phone. I hope it is fitting.

"Brother John"

First Born
Committed to the Cause
Peace be with You

Partners in Crime - He & She
Dad to Three
Father to Many
Peace be with You

Circuit Rider -
for a Modern Age
Set Himself Ablaze
Others Watched Him Burn
Peace be with You

Strong in Spirit
Dedicated in Purpose
Grace to the End
Peace be with You

Pictures Fade
but Imprints Remain
Peace be with You

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Balance Cycle

First, I must apologize for not posting in so long. Secondly, I have enjoyed reading many of your blogs out there during my sabbatical from posting. Thirdly, I am announcing a series of blogs I will be posting in the upcoming weeks. I am going to call them the "Balance Cycle." The premise behind this cycle is that we are beings comprised of body, mind, and spirit. Balance comes when we are growing in all of these areas. I will discuss basic Christian principals that support these ideas. Also, please visit my new blog - "Living Branch Health & Fitness." Hope to walk with you a little way down the path toward Christian Balance.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Ancient Blessing - Forward Purpose

One of my all-time favorite blessings comes from Numbers 6:24-26 and is known as the "Aaronic Benediction." This is the blessing that God instructed Moses to tell Aaron to give to the children of Israel.It is a very beautiful and simple blessing which speaks to God touching the lives of man and goes as follows:

"The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace."

What more could any Christian disciple want?

One day as I was contemplating this scripture when I felt quickened that there was another aspect to this blessing. We as Christians should not just reap blessings from God, but use what we are given to fulfill the Great Commission. One of my jobs at church is to dismiss services and in doing so I wanted to leave the congregation with a blessing that would also give a forward directive. What I share with them every week goes like this:

"May the Lord bless you and keep; may His face shine upon you, and may you use His light to go and light the rest of your world - go in peace."

My wordsmithing is amateur at best, but I do feel good about the message being promoted. My encouragement to all is not to just revel in the blessings of God, but to use those blessings to do a work for Him.

What do you think about this? Do you have any ways in which you are currently using what God has blessed you with to work for the kingdom or to help other? As always friends, safe travels - go in peace.

Monday, August 30, 2010

More Than I Deserve

Last night God blessed our family and our church in a mighty way. We had 7 people baptised in Jesus name (see Acts 2:38). Two of them just happened to be my daughters, Haley & Hanah. Congratulations also to Kandi, Annie, Laura, Gracie, & Cynthia. May God light your path as you start on this wonderful road of discipleship. Remember to always take the name of Jesus with you .

God has blessed me far more than I deserve. I just hope that I can use these blessings to further the work of Christ. God is not only moving in my life, but in our church as well. We are on the verge of a major breakthrough in worship. To God be the glory for all these things!

Feel free to share how God is moving in your life. Safe travels - In Jesus Name.

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Salute to Drago's

I forgot how much I liked Drago's Restaurant in New Orleans (Metarie). It is home to the "best single bite of food" in New Orleans; which is saying a lot! Those in the know understand that I am talking about their charbroiled oysters.

My wife and I had the opportunity to patronize Drago's a couple of days ago. Our waiter and the rest of the staff were great. Of course, we started off with a dozen charbroiled oysters. The basic premise is that you leave the oysters on the half shell and place them directly over high flame. While cooking you dose them with a butter, garlic, and herb sauce. Finally, before taking them off the flame you load them up with parmesan cheese. There is no way you can go wrong with this, but Drago's has it down to an art. It is simply the best!

Drago's is more than just oysters. I have tried and enjoyed many of their dishes. When our waiter starting describing their specials my wife and I both stopped him when he got to the stuffed, fried, soft shell crab. There was a generous portion of crab meat stuffing (full of jumbo lump crab meat) in the center of the plate surrounded by a large soft shell crab which had been quartered. As if that was not enough, the whole thing was covered with a cream sauce containing shrimp. It was the best stuff soft shell crab dish I have ever had. It replaced the hallelujah crab that is a famous dish at many restaurants between Baton Rouge and Lafayette.

The real reason I am posting this review is because I want to promote people who are a good example of what is going on right in South Louisiana. We went down to Drago's because we wanted to support those folks who are beginning to feel that pinch from the gulf oil spill. Drago's uses Louisiana oysters that they get straight from the docks. They are also famous for the help they gave the community during the Katrina aftermath. For several weeks after the hurricane Drago's fed the community for free. It is this same spirit of working together that we need now in South Louisiana to help make it through the tuff times that will arise as a result of the oil spill. So I solute Drago's and I pray for all the fishermen and their families who are being effected by this environmental tragedy. Safe travels everyone - go in peace.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

"Time of Prayer"

We wrapped up our series on prayer with a season of prayer at church. We discussed and moved throught various types of prayer using a prayer wheel. Most people commented that they really felt moved by the service and could not remember when the last time they had prayed that long was. We all struggle with time in this fast-paced world that we live in, so taking the time for extended prayer is sometimes difficult. It takes dedication and discipline to establish a strong prayer life. Using a prayer wheel can help you get started on the path with some structure. The prayer wheel that we used can be found on the World Network of Prayer Website. This oragnization has a number of resources worth checking out. I am also includeing a link to the powerpoint we used in our lessons. Share this resources with someone else. If you share something you are much more likly to make use of it yourself.

After looking over the prayer wheel answer the folloing question:
Which type of prayer on the wheel do you find the easiest?
Which type of prayer on the wheel do you find to be the most challenging?

Let me know what you think and leave a comment. As always, Safe travels - go in peace.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

First Recipe

Families, especially in Louisiana, come together over food.The need of sustenance is something that we all share.Cooking or the preparation of food can also be something that brings people together. Thinking back to when my wife and I first got married, cooking (and eating) was one of the things that helped solidify our partnership.My wife knew almost nothing about how to cook when we were first married, so I taught her.The sharing that we had in this teaching and learning relationship is something that I will always cherish and remember fondly. I was able to share with her because my parents shared with me. My father, in particular, taught me about food and cooking. Some of my favorite lessons from him came in the kitchen. He taught me how to cook a number of dishes, but the first one that I really worked on and felt like I became expert on was New Orleans Barbecue Shrimp (which by has nothing to do with what most people know to be barbecue). I think the original recipe came from Pascal Manale’s Restaurant on Napoleon Avenue in New Orleans. The version that we started with came from The Frugal Gourmet, Jeff Smith. The version that I am including in this blog is the one that I have molded to my own over the course of 20-something years (this is my wife’s favorite dish that I fix).

Ingredients (serves 4-6):
2 lbs butter
½ lb bacon
4-6 tbsp Creole mustard (I prefer Zatarain’s)
½ cup Worcestershire sauce
10 cloves minced or pressed garlic
1 cup chopped onions (I prefer white)
4 tsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp Tabasco sauce
2 tsp liquid crab boil
2 tsp oregano
Kosher salt and fresh-cracked black pepper to taste
4 lbs Gulf Shrimp with heads on

*Slightly cook the bacon (do not crisp, just render off some of the fat) and then chop it up. You may omit this step if you like.
*In a large sauté pan or Dutch oven combine all the ingredients excluding the garlic, lemon juice, crab boil, and shrimp. Sauté on low heat until onions begin to get clear.
*Raise the temperature to a medium heat and add the remaining ingredients including shrimp with head list on. Mix the shrimp into the sauce thoroughly. At this point there are two options to finish the dish:
1. You can continue to cook the shrimp in the sauté pan with the sauce until the shrimp turn just past opaque and the rinds turn orange. Do not overcook the shrimp.
2. Take your Dutch oven and cook uncovered in an oven preheated to 350 degrees. This should cook from between 12-15 mins. The dish is ready when the shrimp turn just past opaque and the rinds turn orange. (Either way is good. If I am serving it over pasta I usually cook it in the sauté pan and if I am eating the shrimp as a stand alone I usually finish them off in the oven)
*Serve this dish with crusty French bread and/or over angel hair pasta. You may or may not eat the shrimp with the shell on but it is very important to the outcome of the dish to cook it with the shell on.

What was the first real recipe that you learned? Post a comment below to share your first recipe. Save travels – go in peace.