Monday, April 17, 2006

Louisiana Thoughts

There is truly no place like Louisiana. The rich history, one of a kind food and down home hospitality make going home a nostalgic and wonderful experience. Kim, the kids and I made the 7 hour drive to the Lake Charles area for the Easter holiday, and I'd like to share a few thoughts from our trip.

Crazy Cajun Preacher
My cousin, Keith Fontenot, gave me a book about my Great Grandfather, Reverend Dallas Hayes. I can't believe this book! There is one story in it about how Reverend Hayes was called to Cow Creek, TX, because there was a cowboy named Blackwell who had already run off five preachers. They thought maybe Reverend Hayes could do something about the cowboy due to his reputation as a tough old cajun. They called the right man.

Reverend Hayes spoke one night to an overflow crowd, and it was rumored that cowboy Blackwell was going to be on hand to try to run the old preacher off. As soon as Hayes started preaching, Blackwell stood up in the back of the church and started cussing and making fun of the cajun preacher. Reverend Hayes closed his Bible and asked the cowboy to get quiet. Blackwell continued his mocking, and Reverend Hayes continued to ask him to pipe down. Finally, Reverend Hayes stepped away from the pulpit, walked to the back of the church, and grabbed Blackwell by the neck. He took Blackwell outside and began beating his head against the wall of the tabernacle until his knees buckled. Needless to say there was much singing and praising the Lord that night, and nobody ever heard from that old cowboy again!

Man, how cool is that! I always knew my brother and I got that wild, crazy streek from someone. It's funny because I have secretly wished that a similar situation would happen to me. I always thought it would be kind of cool to beat somebody down in church. I know it's not a popular thought, but maybe the problem with church today is that nobody thinks the preacher could whip them!

Easter Services
My family attended Easter services at Trinity Baptist Church of Lake Charles, LA. This is the same church where Kim and I were married, and we always enjoy seeing old friends and family each time we come back to Trinity. The Pastor, Steve James, shared a good message, and one thing he said in particular impacted me greatly.

When speaking about the resurrection, Pastor James shared about the two women who first heard the news of Jesus' rising again. He shared that the Bible says that these women "ran" to tell the others. His point was that "Good news doesn't walk, it runs!"

I immediately thought of my kids hunting Easter eggs the day before. Every time they found a treat in their eggs, they would run - not walk - to me and tell me the good news. I thought of the many times I had run in the house to tell my wife some type of wonderful thing that had happened that day. Good news makes us eager, and there is no way you can walk when you have wonderful news to share.

What better news to run and share than the truth of the resurrection of Christ?!

Good News doesn't walk, it runs!!

While in Louisiana, we stayed with my In-laws. Their home was damaged badly as a result of hurricane Rita, and they are still in the rebuilding process. The living room still doesn't have flooring down, and the front and back yards are clear, but not back to normal. There are holes where grass once grew, and the entire terrain has lost many of its greatest treasures: those wonderful Southwest Louisiana trees.

There are still tarps on roofs, and every other house has a damaged fence. Even though the hurricane did its damage several months ago, the clean up process is a slow one, and the area is like a strung out junkie trying to pick up the pieces of his life in a rehab center.

Restoration must be a patient process, or the faint of heart will lose faith and give up. My In-laws, though beaten by this bully of a storm, have persevered and are making so much progress. They have the prettiest yard in the neigborhood, and their house will be close to normal once the floors are installed later this week. They have a new roof, and their fence, destroyed by a thirty foot tall pine tree, is back in place and better than ever. Pop (my Father-in-law) has been working tirelessly to put things back in order, and the results are clear and amazing. The place looks great, considering all they've been through, and I'm so proud to know that they haven't given up or given in.

I see a greater story in all of this. When I think of the restoration they are striving for, I'm reminded of the restoration that will come for those who believe in Jesus, and patiently endure till the end. I'm reminded of the resurrection, which secures our hope. We may be broken and damaged now, but restoration awaits!

1 comment:

Nate said...

Steve - I always suspected something different about you. Now I know where you get it from. No questions or disagreements from me in class anymore. Whatever you say boss. ;-)