"Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming." 1 Peter 1:13 (NIV)
The Whitwer house has two beloved dogs - Kona and Sammie. First thing in the morning, or after being gone, the sight of them makes me smile. But although they both delight me, they are very different.
Kona is a husky with a quirky personality. She pulls like she's in front of a sled, plays catch with herself and "talks back" when corrected. Sammie is a German shepherd who patrols the backyard perimeter, embraces her role as protector and has a serious personality.
And while I adore both dogs, only one of them gets to go in car with me each morning when I take the kids to school. Perhaps I should try and describe typical mornings as we gather backpacks, purses and lunch bags:
• Sammie sits and watches, head tilted, aware of patterns of preparation. Kona is asleep under the bed.
• Sammie's ears perk up when I grab the car keys. Kona is sprawled on her back, head hanging off the edge of the couch.
• Sammie watches my face, waiting for the "let's go" nod. Kona is in the backyard watching birds.
So every morning, Sammie goes on an adventure with me. We pass bikers and women jogging. We see other doggies driving with their masters. If dogs could smile, mine would be grinning from ear-to-ear! She is thrilled with our outings and looks forward to the next one. And so do I.
As I consider my two canine companions, I wonder if this same dynamic doesn't happen between God and us.
We each have our own quirks, idiosyncrasies and tendencies. And yet we are equally loved and treasured because our Creator uniquely designed us just as we are.
However, there are differences when God is looking to call someone into a place of service. The one who is alert and ready ... the one who is listening for the Master's voice ... the one who is watching for the Master's movement ... that is the one who is invited to go on an adventure.
I've been both at times. I've been consumed with my own comfort at time. Hesitant and (when I'm honest) uninterested in being used. At other times I've mismanaged my time and energy so that I'm overwhelmed and exhausted, and miss God's invitation to join Him.
Yet when my eyes are open, and my heart is saying "pick me, pick me," it's amazing how I see God move.
For so many years I wondered does God really see me, can He use me, does He even want to? Now I realize the answer was "yes" all along. He was waiting for me to be watching for His "let's go" nod.
Ready to go? Or ready to relax? Loved equally. But used differently. Which one are you?
Dear Lord, thank You for inviting me to join You in Your work in the world. You have designed me in a unique way, specifically for Your pleasure and purpose. Help me to be alert and ready, watching for the signs that You are on the move. I want to join You wherever You go. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
Have you ever been certain that God asked you to do something? How did you respond?
How would you describe yourself when it comes to being aware of God's movement in your life – alert or unaware? What can you do to be more aware of what God might be doing?
Isaiah 6:8, "Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, 'Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?' And I said, 'Here am I. Send me!'" (NIV)
Luke 12:35-36, "Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him." (NIV)
Again he asked, “What shall I compare the kingdom of God to? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty poundsof flour until it worked all through the dough. Luke 13:20-21
The word of Christ is a change agent for the Kingdom of God. Like small batches of yeast, truth leavens the Lord’s influence in a heart and soul. A little bit of Scripture goes a long way toward growing a moistened heart for the Lord. The firm, but loving fingers of our Heavenly Father work into our doughy soul the yeast of His love. Patience sees faith rise up and cause a life to smell appetizing, like the aroma of fresh baked bread. Truth is a change agent for the soul.
Furthermore, it takes work to kneed the yeast of Yahweh into a life The Holy Spirit is like the diligent cook who works the dough with beauty and persistence. The dough of our soul is tossed and turned, pounded and made smooth, so the yeast of God’s love works its influence into our inner being. We feel unstable at times, but this trusting posture invites us to receive faith’s full affects. Yes, faith’s fermenting process grows a bold and robust belief. A little leaven transforms.
A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough. Galatians 5:9
Therefore, keep your heart moist with humility and pliable with prayer. A hard piece of dough is unable to grow, but a heart full of grace submits to the Holy Spirit’s control. Each day is an opportunity for Christ to bake fresh bread from our available life. Moldy and crusty bread is thrown out, fit for the trash, but fresh bread is the dinner table centerpiece for all to anticipate. Is your life an anticipation for Almighty God? The Bread of Life changes you into His bread of life.
Lastly, be aware of unseemly influences that subtly change your heart’s desires. There is bad yeast, so beware! The yeast of greed quits growing generosity. The yeast of cynicism quits growing faith. The yeast of selfishness quits growing service. Thus, the best remedy for bad yeast is to replace it with the good yeast of God. Invite Christ to be your change agent for Him. Daily, kneel before your Heavenly Father, so He can knead His character into your doughy heart!
Your boasting is not good.Don’t you know that a little yeastleavens the whole batch of dough?1 Corinthians 5:6
Prayer: Heavenly Father keep my heart moistened by humility, so you can knead into my life what I need from You.
Related Readings: Exodus 13:3; Matthew 16:6; Luke 12:1; 1 Corinthians 5:7
Post/Tweet today: Like small batches of yeast, Scripture leavens the Lord influence in a heart and soul. #scripture
Second only to Tom Cruise’s OBLIVION, film is weekend’s No. 2 new release
Home Run has a lot to celebrate following the April 19 nationwide major film debut from David Boyd (The Walking Dead, Friday Night Lights). Opening in some 400 theaters across the country, the Samuel Goldwyn Films release, in association with Provident Films, was a hit with audiences and critics across the country, garnering last weekend’s second highest gross for new releases, following Tom Cruise’s OBLIVION. With its honest portrayal of overcoming life’s difficulties, everyone from Major League Baseball players and key Christian leaders have rallied behind the film and its message, reminding everyone that with God, it’s never too late … freedom is possible.
As he did prior to the film’s release, Saddleback Church Pastor and award – winning author Rick Warren continued to tweet in support of the film last weekend, calling it a “Powerful story of personal recovery after hitting bottom. Very moving.”
Following endorsements from fellow MLB players including New York Yankees Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera, R.A. Dickey, the 2012 Cy Young Award winning pitcher and Toronto Blue Jay, commented, “I love the heart and the message of the new baseball movie HOME RUN: No matter what you’ve done or what you’ve endured, with Christ … freedom and redemption is possible. I am living proof.”
Upon the film’s opening, fans lit up the Family Christian Facebook page with glowing proclamations, while critics came out in support of the film as well, including:
"This is an incredible movie that has the power to change peoples lives."
Alex Mosoiu DVD Buyer, Family Christian
"Cory's story invites all of us to consider how our own bad habits and selfishness might be influencing those closest to us (and) to remember how fantastic and inspiring is God's grace.”
Focus on the Family’s Plugged-In
“HOME RUN is the kind of faith-based film that is not only what we want but also what we need.”
“A major league effort….there are so many things to like about HOME RUN.”
“A powerful story of redemption….HOME RUN is a winner.”
“ ‘HOME RUN’ swings for the fences, and often connects.”
Critics Pick, Washington Post
In addition to the theatrical release of the film, Home Run the novel released in March 2013 with David C Cook publishers. Travis Thrasher, celebrated novelist, was enlisted to adapt the screenplay into a deeply moving story for fiction readers
Morning Rises, Aaron Shust’s second album for Centricity Music is scheduled to be released July 16, 2013, with God of Brilliant Lights, the first single from the project, going for adds at radio on April 26th. Acclaimed producer, Ed Cash, helped Shust deliver another very strong and focused project, delivering worship songs that glorify and lift up the name of Christ. The album marks the first time that Shust has used his touring band as the studio musicians, translating into performances that audiences will hear at his concerts across the country. The project is very uplifting, while chronicling some of the tough challenges Shust experienced over the last few months.
“This is an album about how God is faithful. God is steadfast. God is the same,” says Shust. “Whenever our life goes crazy we can say, ‘God is faithful.’ If you believe the verses that we memorized as kids or in our early Christian lives, that He has a plan for us, that He’s never going to leave us, that He’s never going to forsake us, then that rings true. You need those truths in the dark hours. That’s what this album hopefully covers. Morning Rises represents hope. Morning Rises represents promise.”
After experiencing the medical tribulations of his second son, Nicky, last year, Shust once again faced life-threatening medical situations with his son, Michael, who was born in January of this year. Facing a heart surgery shortly after he was born, being diagnosed with Down Syndrome, a second surgery for hearing issues and ongoing health issues, the experiences haven’t defeated Shust but instead renewed his passion for Christ.
Those emotions and feelings are delivered in the album’s eleven songs, with seven being co-written by Shust and the remaining four from other songwriters, which include Hillsong’s Cornerstone, the upbeat God Is For Us, and the beautiful ballad that exalts No One Higher. Shust co-wrote his first single, God of Brilliant Lights, which is a powerful song that extols God’s unconditional love that brings us out of darkness. The God of brilliant lights is shining down over us/Breaking through the darkness covering all the earth/His love is like an ocean forever overflowing/The God of brilliant light is shining over us.
Shust’s previous album, This Is What We Believe, launched one of the biggest songs of his career with My Hope Is In You. The single stayed at the top of the AC Monitor chart for 14 weeks during 2011/2012, and was listed at #8 on Billboard magazine’s year-end Christian Songs Artist category and #9 for Christian AC Songs Artist. Shust continued to have major impact on the charts in 2012 with his single Risen Today reaching #17 on the AC Indicator chart. His last song, We Are Free peaked at #21 on the AC Monitored chart and #25 on the National Audience chart.
Shust is currently on the road with Mark Schultz’s All Things Possible Tour that runs through May 5th. For more updates on Shust please visit www.aaronshust.com
"In the tent of meeting, outside the curtain that shields the ark of the covenant law, Aaron and his sons are to keep the lamps burning before the LORD from evening till morning. This is to be a lasting ordinance among the Israelites for the generations to come." Exodus 27:21 (NIV)
The memories that burn brightest from my childhood are of our family's camping trips to the beach. All the hard work of packing the tent, suitcases, sleeping bags and food into the car was worth it when camp was set up and family time began.
My favorite time of the day came as darkness settled, the shouts of children quieted and grills were lit. Often, as we cleaned up from dinner, my mother would take our lantern into the tent to repack our supplies, and I would bask in the glow from the tent and the warm safety of my parents' presence.
Those memories flooded back as I read Exodus 27 from my daily reading plan. In a meticulous design revealed in the preceding chapters, God laid out the blueprint for the Tent of Meeting, also called the Tabernacle, where He would be worshipped by the Israelites as they traveled from Egypt to Canaan. Sentence after sentence details the fabric, the measurements, and the structure.
When the plan for God's Tent of Meeting was complete, He began to describe the furnishings. They included a beautiful set of lamps on a lampstand that was to burn continuously inside. This intricate lampstand described in detail in Exodus 25:31-40 was a pure-gold work of art made by the artisans God appointed, and it burned clear olive oil.
Pieces of a greater puzzle began to click into place as I pondered other scriptures and truths explaining the rich symbolism of the Tent of Meeting's lampstand. I began to see God revealing His plans for us thousands of years ago:
We are the tent. (2 Cor. 5:4)
Jesus is the light. (John 1:4)
The Holy Spirit is the oil. (Zech. 4:1-6)
Fueled by the Holy Spirit, we are called to let Jesus' light shine through us into the darkness. (Matt. 5:14-16)
Just as the Israelites moved the Tabernacle through the desert sands ...
Just as my parents pitched a tent in beach sands ...
Just as I move through this darkened world ...
God provides a Light that shines in the darkness, and He creates a tent (us) to shine through.
For Jesus' light to pierce the darkness, shining brighter and brighter, we need to become more and more transparent.
For His light to shine continuously, we need to constantly be refueled by the Holy Spirit through prayer, studying and memorizing Scripture, and abiding in Him.
For His light to shatter the inky blackness of this world, we need to fearlessly move our tents into places of darkness where no other light shines.
There is a world of people who long for the safety and presence of Jesus–but they need a beacon to guide them. May we humble tents, who carry the Light, glow brightly everywhere as we travel through this world!
Dear Lord, thank You for allowing me to be a simple dwelling for Your Light. I pray that even as the priests were charged with maintaining the light, I would be faithful to let Your Light shine. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
Have you experienced Jesus as the Light in your darkness? If you haven't, you can today. Click here to read more.
If you carry the Light, make sure you're fueled up. In what ways can you spend time in a quiet place with God today?
John 1:4-5, "In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it." (NAS)
2 Corinthians 5:1-2a, "For instance, we know that when these bodies of ours are taken down like tents and folded away, they will be replaced by resurrection bodies in heaven - God-made, not handmade - and we'll never have to relocate our ‘tents' again." (MSG)
According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 3:10-11
A wise and patient process is required to build a quality life or organization. Everything begins on the foundation of Jesus Christ. His glory, His salvation, His teaching and His example are all foundational for a better life and a better company, church or ministry. Values that flow from the Lord focus on excellence, work done as unto the Lord. The customers of a company will demand they become bigger, if the business focuses on becoming better. Bigger follows better.
Are you proud of your work and your workplace? Is there a culture of excellence over expedience where you are employed? If so, you are blessed to have the opportunity to be the best in your industry or field of expertise. Be patient because good things come to those who wait on God, not compromising quality over the pressure to produce. Quantity follows quality.
So this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “See, I lay a stone in Zion,a tested stone, a precious cornerstone for a sure foundation; the one who relies on it will never be stricken with panic. Isaiah 28:16
The same can be said for our relationships. Relational equity takes time, trust and intentionality to build up between each other. It is much better for us to have fewer, but more in depth relationships, than a larger group of acquaintances, who we only relate to superficially. Why settle for shallow conversations when we can go deep around our commitment to Christ. We can share how we really feel and not fear rejection from those who authentically love and care for us.
Furthermore, with your family and friends focus on knowing and being known. Seek to comprehend what makes them click: their needs, their fears and their dreams. Your influence grows with those who feel like you really know them. Yes, keep Christ the cornerstone of your conversations and He will steer you into genuinely caring interactions. Remain committed to better serving and understanding your spouse and/or parent. Better love grows into Bigger love!
Built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets,with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. Ephesians 3:20
Prayer: Heavenly Father keep me focused on loving better, so You grow a bigger love in me.
Related Readings: Ruth 4:15; 1 Samuel 15:22; 1 Peter 2:4-25
Post/Tweet today: Our influence grows with those who feel like we really know them. #knowing
The busy physician has a pediatrics practice in Dallas, Texas, and meeting and falling in love with surgeon Tom Peterson is adding a rich layer to her life. She's sorting out how to introduce Tom to her family--she's the youngest of seven--and thinking about marriage.
She's falling in love with Jesus too, and knows God is good. But that faith is about to be tested, and in a way she didn't expect. The results will soon transform her entire family.
We asked Dee a few questions about her new book:
Dee, you have had a lot of fans voice interest in the continuation of the O’Malley Series. With the up-coming release of Jennifer, are you excited to get feedback from your readers to this new title?
The best part of my day is reader mail, and the most popular request I get is that readers want to know more about Jennifer O’Malley. So I am very excited that Bethany House is bringing out this novella. Jennifer and Tom are engaged in the first book of the O’Malley series, and this novella lets me go back and share their personal story in the year before book one of the series, The Negotiator. They had a wonderful romance, and a significant challenge to face together. I am eager to hear feedback from readers.
How did it feel to bring back the O’Malley family?
The O’Malley stories resonate because they are about Jesus, family, and falling in love – they’ve got a timeless quality to them which made returning to this series a wonderful opportunity. I’ve had the desire to go back and revisit this series for several years. After 18 books, Marcus O’Malley is still one of my favorite characters, and Lisa and Quinn one of my favorite couples. It was a personal pleasure to write this novella. It’s my hope Jennifer: An O’Malley Love Story allows another generation of readers to fall in love with this family.
Do you have a special connection to a particular character in Jennifer? If so, who and why?
Jennifer herself. Jennifer’s relationship with Jesus, her marriage to Tom, formed the core spine of the O’Malley series. Getting to now write her personal story was a wonderful joy. I admire her ability to cope with a crisis, and see it from the perspective of believing in God, to keep her faith, and her love for Tom. It’s a short and powerful story.
Have any of the characters in the O’Malley series mirrored anyone, related or non-related, that has been a part of your life, past or present?
I know a few guys like Jennifer’s choice in Tom, husbands who love their wives deeply and build a great life and marriage even through adversity. They stick when life is hard, and it’s a blessing to know them.
Would you ever like to see one of your novels made into a movie? If so which one, and who would you want to star in it?
My fans debate this question with great intensity so I will leave the choice of who should play which person to my readers. I would love to see one of my stories on the big screen, most writers would. The story most easily translated to film would be Full Disclosure, and I hope it does make it to the big screen one day soon.
Music lovers worldwide are captivated, swept up in the surging wave of modern folk as heard in the likes of Mumford and Sons, The Avett Brothers, Neon Trees, The Civil Wars and others. Organic, acoustic and packed with live energy and freedom, it’s the unpolished imperfection and open invitation to sing along that has catapulted these artists into the spotlight and up the charts.
Unpolished. Imperfect. Freedom.
For All Sons & Daughters’ Leslie Jordan and David Leonard, these qualities are even more keenly experienced in music that connects broken people with their God. Worship leaders at Journey Church in Franklin, TN, their critically acclaimed EPs, Brokenness Aside, Reason To Sing and The Longing, along with their first full length feature album, Season One, bear witness to the power of worship by the people, for the people and of the people. In the truest sense, the mesmerizing, soul-baring lyrics and acoustic styling of this unlikely duo are beginning to make an impact...inside and outside the church.
Now, with their first-ever live recording, Jordan and Leonard give listeners a chance to experience God in the context of confession and doubt, with an open invitation to be completely transparent and human. Produced by Paul Mabury (Brandon Heath, Hillsong), All Sons & Daughters LIVE, which was recorded with a live studio congregation in one continuous take at Ocean Way Studios in Nashville, captures the spirit and truth of transparent worship.
“We always begin by saying ‘This is a place of freedom,’ Jordan says of their approach to every concert and every Sunday morning service. “We want people to feel complete freedom to worship as they feel called to because Scripture says, ‘What we bring to the Lord is enough for Him.’ And we trust that the Spirit lives in that freedom.”
With a sensitivity and Scriptural grounding beyond their years, All Sons & Daughters’ Jordan—who began leading worship in high school while still wrestling with the idea of church ministry—embraces the tension between worship and real life. “When I came to Journey in 2007, we as a church were in a pretty heavy season of lament. This town is so churched, and this is an artist driven community, and yet so many people here are living with shattered dreams...”
“The demographic here, similar to the people we meet on the road, are broken people, people making their last ditch attempt at church or their first attempt at coming back,” says Leonard, who grew up in church but had never written for worship before meeting Jordan in 2009. “Most of our songs have been written with that healing season in mind. We’ve all thought, ‘Will God leave us if we leave him?’ its just that most of us were never given permission to feel and express those feelings of brokenness in church. That’s the most beautiful part of doing what we do, helping people find that freedom.”
From the opening song of confession, “Brokenness Aside,” to “Oh How I Need You” and “Reason to Sing,” songs for when life doesn’t make sense, All Sons & Daughters LIVE showcases 13 transparent invitations—including the unforgettable “All the Poor and Powerless”—to get real and accept that you are loved. Standards in the making like “Reason to Sing” and “Wake Up” give people hope to cling to when life, even among the faithful, doesn’t make sense.
Nothing hits closer to home for Leonard than “Your Glory,” a song of total surrender. “Being a new father, I’m seeing more than ever how much I need God. When the song says, ‘My life is yours/my hope is in you only, and my heart you hold ‘cause you made this sinner holy...’ it is a constant reminder that I can’t be the best father or the best husband, but there is a God who can help me be the man I need to be. It’s a vulnerable moment for me, every time we sing it.”
The album also introduces two new compositions: “God With Us” and “Great Are You Lord.”
“Both songs came out of writing sessions with Jason Ingram (Chris Tomlin, Brandon Heath),” Jordan says. “For ‘Great Are You Lord,’ Jason had this line, ‘It’s your breath in our lungs so we pour out our praise,’ and we felt such a sweetness and depth in it, we just ran with it. When the duo dropped in on Passion 2013 to hear founder Louie Giglio speak, the song received a sort of punctuation. “‘Worship is when we give God his breath back,’ Giglio said, having never heard the new song. That image has stayed front and center with the duo, a reminder that our acts of worship originate with the One we worship. It is His gift.”
“God With Us,” a song about the power and presence of God... “has an easy melody and felt singable and congregational,” Jordan continues, “which has always been important to us.”
All Sons & Daughters, who take great care to make music that meets people where they are, are equally intent on serving and resourcing musicians and worship leaders. As always, their song charts are free online, and they take advantage of any opportunity to start new conversations about what worship might look like... if approached with an open heart and mind.
“We’ve been given an atmosphere of freedom at Journey,” says Jordan of the All Sons & Daughters’ approach to the people who come to hear their music, many of whom experience something completely outside the worship norm. “We’ve been given the freedom to try new things and fail, to consider how different worship can look from what it has looked like. We really believe that the spirit of the room is based on the spirit of the people in the room, so that’s how we approach what we do, by asking ‘How can we serve that spirit?’”
Duo Appears Live Coast-To-Coast
Following the four critically acclaimed projects All Sons & Daughters release its first live, full-length recording, LIVE, today from Integrity Music. Receiving widespread critical acclaim, the CD/DVD was recorded in the chapel at Oceanway Studios in Nashville and features members Leslie Jordan and David Leonard sharing their best-loved songs, such as “All The Poor and Powerless” and “Reason to Sing,” as well as new songs, all delivered in a congregationally-friendly, organic worship setting.
Debuting the new music for the first time at a packed out DVD screening event at the historic Franklin Theatre in Franklin, TN, the video for All Sons & Daughters’ new song, “Great Are You Lord,” was also premiered online by RELEVANT Magazine as its “Video of the Day.”
"Great Are You Lord" from All Sons and Daughters LIVE
Here is just the latest round of critical acclaim for the duo and LIVE:
“I don’t take it lightly in saying this, but I feel I can truly say that this is the best live worship album I’ve heard in many years. It’s an album for not only worshippers, but for music lovers who want something different to listen and worship along to than the norm…All Sons & Daughters present a gorgeous outing in Live. This talented duo continue to turn out excellent pieces of artful worship and this latest venture is their best yet.” – JesusFreakHideout.com (First 5-Star-rated album of 2013)
“This project is a potential game-changer in the area of live corporate worship. Intimate and deeply personal, it still carries the weight of a heavy-hitting worship album recorded in a packed out church or arena…On the musicianship front, David and Leslie’s vocals are near perfect the entire album, which speaks volumes to their talent as vocalists…a sparklingly rugged piece of worshipful artistry. For those seeking the perfect album for soul soaking moments of praise and seeking God, All Sons & Daughters’ LIVE is just what you’ve been looking for.” – NewReleaseTuesday.com
“With the band redefining and possibly even reinventing the worship genre...the band has taken modern worship music and stretched it, placing it on its head to remind listeners that worship music can still be fun and enjoyable, unique and different, compelling, emotive and encouraging all at once....such a hopeful and inspiring album, one of my favorite in April 2013!” – IndieVisionMusic.com
“There is something about these guys - something pure, something natural, something incredible about the way they write and deliver worship songs. This new LIVE release from All Sons & Daughters made me think two main things: 1) it is one of the most concentrated albums of great worship songs I’ve ever heard; and 2) it is a very natural live album - there is a completeness to the set.” – LouderThanTheMusic.com (5-Star review)
“Comprising of Leslie Ann Jordan (on vocals and guitar) and David Leonard (on vocals and piano), they have much to teach us about bringing an organic diversity (in incorporating elements of folk, jazz, country, Celtic and hymns) in their worship… Of all the copious worship bands out there, there is something different about All Sons & Daughters. They are a gracious duo who not only took time to enrich their worship with nuances of various stripes, but they come across as organic, embracing and so heartfelt.” – Breathecast.com
Beginning today in Cape Girardeau, MO, All Sons & Daughters will bring the music and message of LIVE to audiences across North America in cities like Atlanta, GA; San Francisco, CA; Phoenix, AZ; Toronto, Canada; St. Louis, MO; Rochester, NY; and numerous others. Additional tour dates will be announced soon as the duo readies its first headline tour this fall. For the latest tour detail, go to http://allsonsanddaughters.com/dates/.
The story of All Sons & Daughters begins in 2010 with artist David Leonard (Jackson Waters, NEEDTOBREATHE) wanting to spend less time traveling and more of it in real relationship with his local spiritual community at Journey Church. David connected with Leslie Jordan, part of the creative staff at the church, and the two began writing songs together, including the popular “All the Poor and Powerless.”
Quickly realizing that they shared a similar style of leadership and desire to foster authentic connections in the church through a transparent form of worship, David and Leslie adopted the name All Sons & Daughters in reference to each other and the listeners who are vital to this active fellowship process. As worship leaders at Franklin’s The Journey Church, All Sons & Daughters see their music as an extension of their church. They are known for writing songs that focus squarely on Jesus while embracing the tension of the Christian walk.
Drawing comparisons to The Civil Wars and The Swell Season for their harmonies and organic instrumentation, the duo has been named Worship Leader Magazine’s “most enchanting sound emerging in the worship genre.” They were also recently featured on tours with Chris Tomlin and Kari Jobe.
"Dear children, let's not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions." 1 John 3:18 (NLT)
She held out the soft white blanket scalloped in pink ribbon. "I'm not sure I want to give it to her," my mom said. The stitches were a bit looser than my mother's past handiwork, but I could see love in every crocheted inch.
I held her hands in my own. Her once slender fingers were bent and swollen at the joints. I imagined her holding the crochet needles and weaving the yarn in and out for hours and days, until the blanket was complete. It is an heirloom for her first great-grandchild, one created with pain and love.
I think I take my mother's hands for granted. They have caressed my cheek. They have made me wear a coat (even when I protested that I was a mother of three grown children). They have dialed the cell phone she loves, and hates, so she could talk to "her Suzie." Her hands have penned cards that showed up in my mailbox saying "I love you."
An old 70s song says, "Time keeps on slipping, slipping, into the future." There is truth in those lyrics. I see the passage of time in my mother's hands. I also see it as moments pass into hours and then into days in a whirl.
Life is always busy, like this month when the white board on the refrigerator lists church events, dentist visits, showers and weddings and graduations, as well as other details like pay the bills, mow the lawn, clean the house.
Recently I realized that my mother was moving further down on that list. A week passed. A month flew by. The phone calls came. "Hey, Suz, just calling to say I miss you."
One day I received an email from a friend. Her mom was sick. For the next few weeks I prayed, reading every update. One night I read the email from my beautiful friend that expressed her love for her ailing mom, and prayer for strength to say goodbye.
Suddenly it hit me how little time I actually devoted to my mother. I looked at the email and wept. The next day I made a date with my mom. She was like a girl; she laughed on the phone as we made plans.
My mom and I had the best time at lunch and I was inspired to make a point to love on her more frequently. So I came up with "Love Points" which include a few things I try to do each week.
Write. Leave a note in an unexpected place.
Give. Spend time with no strings attached (help work in the garden, go to lunch, sit and chat).
Touch. Especially if your loved one is older or widowed and they are not touched in positive ways any more. (Massage their hands. Hold their hand. Touch their face or hair.)
Affirm. Tell them one encouraging thing that you believe about them.
I pray I stay committed to showing my mom love. And that I have many more opportunities to hang out with her. But more than that I pray I don't take her for granted.
Life most likely won't slow down. But as I devote time to worthwhile endeavors, I don't want to forget that in the grand scheme of things, holding my mother's hands is one of the most priceless investments I'll ever make.
Dear Lord, thank You for my loved ones. Life gets so hectic, and sometimes it's hard to slow down long enough to show them how much I care. Please help me to slow down and recognize what is of little value so that I can invest in people with immense value. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
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