A goal every follower of Christ should have…

Somewhere along the way… oh say, maybe 5 minutes post salvation prayer…we forget where we’ve come from & just all that Christ did for us to get us where we are. I’m not talking about the recognition of Him dying for our salvation. I’m referring to the fact that it’s now easier to see other’s faults because we now have His forgiveness & we’ve been made righteous.

It is one of the most awesome realities to grasp. The fact that Jesus WANTS to forgive us. That He did choose to die in our stead. That we are made clean because of His love for us. That He did all of it so that we can live with Him in eternity. All we have to do is recognize our NEED for Him, and ask. Yep. That simple. What follows isn’t quite that easy. But, for some people, they may be the only ones that seem to think they have received His gift.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not everywhere, just in more places than not. In our travels, the stories are shared almost everywhere. Somewhere along the way the church was hurt by none other than those supposed to be representing itself. Sometimes, the ones doing the hurting have just missed the mark, not hearing the still small voice or the “check” they ignore before opening their mouths when they shouldn’t. Other times, it’s with a calculated effort to assume they can bring correction or conviction when the Lord would actually want encouragement to be spoken.

This brings to mind the scripture that says it’s His goodness that draws us to repentance…it’s in there…you can check: Romans 2:4.  Just maybe by the Lord using us to lavishly love on someone (*if we allow Him), it will bring them to a broken state to receive the correction or conviction He wants them to see. Maybe, though, He’s wanting us to simply be obedient & love one another. This is including our words, not just actions.

Social media has become the sounding board for an “anything goes” mentality. It’s easy to write what we “feel” without considering the consequences because the person is not face to face with us. We can easily share our opinion – even if it is biblically based – yet slicing and dicing the person that our arrows of words are aimed at. I see this all the time in comments on public posts. When did it become okay to send a person directly to Hell before we even have a chance to understand the reason they feel the way they do? Have we forgotten we are supposed to have the fruits of the Spirit? You know, like LOVE (it’s listed first for a reason!), PEACE, PATIENCE, KINDNESS, GENTLENESS, & SELF CONTROL?? (You are correct, it wasn’t a miscount…I didn’t list them all, just a few that underline what I’m discussing) Maybe that lesson was missed in Sunday School. 1 Corinthians 13 may have also been overlooked.

I truly believe it’s time for the Church to remember one of the key elements to winning the world (& being a part of the body of Christ!): encouragement.

We can tell people all day long the awesome way that the Lord brought Jesus into the world. The amazing life He led here on earth, all with purpose. The struggles He went through in His humanity so that we would know if He could do it, so can we. The gruesome death He died. Then, incredible resurrection in fulfillment and faithfulness to the promises we can trust in, all because He kept His word.  This is all great in and of itself.

Without encouragement, though – it tends to be just another good story. Seriously. When the church spends more time gossiping “for the sake of prayer concerns”, or belittling another person’s view simply because it doesn’t fit the “mold”, not knowing the background of why they feel that way, we can never be all that Christ has called us to be.

We are the body. All parts of one cannot function to the full potential without the others. This means if our brothers & sisters are hurting or struggling, we have a job to do. If you are already doing this – GREAT! Keep it up. Just know, when it gets tough, and maybe you are in need of some encouragement, sometimes the best boost is in doing the same for others. Sometimes it’s reminding ourselves of all He has done. Sometimes it’s simply just being there for others, not even saying anything. Let’s do this! Come on church!!

 

“Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 KJV

Just for good measure (& because I love how this expresses the above): “So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11 MSG

Fast pace…& Focus!

Life is just so fast paced. When I sit down and realize it’s been several weeks, really almost 2 months!! since I have posted on here, it just doesn’t seem possible, although I know so much has happened. We can’t begin to express our gratitude to everyone (ALWAYS) for their prayers for us. Just a few things that have happened in the last couple months:

*My father passed away during the time we were to be moving from TX back to MO. Thank you to everyone for the prayers and concern during that most difficult time. Larry was amazing at juggling packing for our move, school work with the girls, recording, phone calls, managing the house and meals, as well as being mom and dad for almost 2 weeks – all while still traveling for road dates,  managing to record a special song for my dad’s funeral, and travel almost 20 hours to make it just in time for the visitation!!

*We finally made our move, although still in transition and in a temporary home for the time being. This of course, could not have happened without amazing people in our lives both in TX and in MO!

*Life didn’t come to a standstill while we traveled, unpacked, rearranged, traveled some more, reorganized, etc.

*We hit a deer in GA on the way to a ministry weekend in FL at 4:45 in the morning (a HUGE thank you to everyone for their prayers during this one!) – our van, (although appeared like a vehicle removed from the junkyard on the front), actually made it to FL and all the way back to MO  – again, did I say “Thank you for the prayers??”

*We got a rental that we had to sqeeeeeze equipment, luggage, school work, and anything else we needed for a week long trip into. Talk about     learning to pack light and condense. (You find out what you “really” need for travel in these situations…)

* While in WV, we visited with Larry’s Grandpa who is on hospice care. Prayers please for peace and comfort for him and the family as he is constantly making transitions and not adjusting well.

*Our van got fixed, rental returned, and we are preparing for a 2 1/2 week long trip from TN to PA to WV.

These are just some of the highlights of what has been happening with the DeLawders. Everyday is an opportunity to be grateful, give honor to the Lord, and press on. It’s seasons of life like these that really require a focus on priorities and the importance of a relationship with Christ. Without Him, and His peace, I know we couldn’t make it through all of life’s ups and downs. At least, not with our sanity, that’s for sure! Take time (even if just a little) today, and everyday, to really keep your focus on the Lord. Make Him first, seek His kingdom.

Quick update on the DeLawders

(Already shared on FB 3-6-14) Just wanted to do a quick update for everyone (from Sara):

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind for our family. As of our last post we were on the road to a concert in Canyon Lake, TX. We were 10 minutes out and I got a call that they were calling in the family for my father who had just been taken back to the hospital from the nursing home the day before with pneumonia. I was blessed to get a ride back to our house in Fredericksburg (1.5 hours away) while Larry and the girls stayed and finished the evening there. I was fully prepared to drive the night to MO, but was blessed with a plane ticket last minute from some dear friends. When I, as well as several of my siblings arrived in Branson, that day (Sunday) dad was doing amazing. They said he would be moved to a stepdown unit out of critical care the following day. The next morning, however, he had gone the other direction and they were preparing us as a family to say goodbye. It then became a roller coaster, but by Wen night, dad had decided on comfort care. We moved him back to the nursing home with hospice care and he then passed on Sunday, Feb 23. Larry and the girls had been working so diligently (and I have to brag on how well they stepped up and took the “bull by the horns”) to prepare for our move from TX to MO (this in addition to traveling and doing concerts as well) which was to take place on Feb 28, to be moved in on March 1. That did not happen, as I’m sure most of you know. That was the day we laid my father to rest. We then drove all night from Odessa, MO (first dropping my step-mother off in Branson) to TX. We have been so blessed by amazing friends that helped us to finish packing, load the truck and send us on our way the beginning of this week. We arrived last night in Branson and finished unloading the truck today. We cannot begin to share in words, the gratitude we have for all the help and prayers the last few weeks! There have been some changes on our calendar, and I am so sorry if I haven’t been able to be quick to respond to messages, etc. with all that has been happening. We do have some dates that have been moved, and some that we are still looking to fill in the next couple months. We, of course, are still working to book the rest of this year and fill in around the dates already scheduled. Thank you to all that have helped to spread the word about us being back on the road! Thank you also, for continuing to share our updates and availability. We do now have the last weekend in March open (our KS event is rescheduled to June), so if you know of a church/event that would like to have us, pass on the word that it is open! Blessings, Sara

East Bound

We are so excited for our month long trip to the eastern states of West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and the surrounding areas! We have missed all the familiar faces and look forward to meeting and seeing new ones. Bear with us as we work to get all the details lined up and posted on the calendar and website/facebook pages.

I am truly amazed through this process at the preparation it takes to get everything at home and on the road all worked out. Although we are very familiar with “life on the road”, there is always the “getting ready” stage for each trip and the return home. As I was pondering the details, I began thinking how everything in our lives are preparation. Even the times we make the wrong choice or choose to go our way, instead of the Lord’s. He uses that as well. One of the scriptures I love the most, says He has every hair counted on our heads…wow! To think He actually keeps track of how many I (& you) have, even after they fall out from washing and brushing, or aging LOL. You may be thinking right now: “What does that have to do with preparation” – well, I believe the reality of how detailed the Lord is should just have us in awe. Everything in our lives are intertwined. He is working through every single thing you are going through to bring you – and prepare you – for His purpose and plan. I also know that even the familiar things we think we’ve “got” can stretch us even further when things don’t go as expected, or throw us for a loop. Do you have a plan in place to know how you will handle those little bumps in the road? Really, that is what the preparation is about. It’s about your heart and where it is, not if you have crossed off everything on your list. You can cross your “t’s” and dot your “i’s” but never truly be ready if you don’t spend time with the One who is actually doing the preparing. -Sara

On The Road Again!

Wow! We are excited that we are going to get to do some more travel dates! There are some select dates on our calendar that we are going to be traveling and ministering. We would love to come to your church or event! Keep a watch on our BRAND NEW and AMAZING website for all that’s happening with the DeLawders. Right now we have a couple weeks that we will be in the Pennsylvania/West Virginia area in September and we are working on other dates, as well. (Even in July!)  Take some time to sign-up for our newsletter on this page, “Like” our page on Facebook, and write to us anytime you like. You can also call 417-230-7444! We can’t wait to hear from you!

God Speaking in Simplistic Ways

We had a great time at Central Baptist Church in Carthage, TX this last weekend!

As it seems typical for us to forget either something at home, or at the church when we leave – this time it was a cable at home we needed for the sound system. Before the service started, the girls and I headed to good old Wally World to get what was needed. As we were walking through the store, Faith found a penny on the floor and was so excited for her treasure. She gave it to me and we went on our way to check out and get back to the church. About ten minutes before service started, she got all panicked and said “we HAVE to go back to the store!” She was concerned that she forgot the penny, which I had in my purse for safe keeping. In that moment the scripture about the woman that went looking for her one lost silver coin (Luke 15:8-10), came to mind. Although Faith’s piggy bank is stuffed with a ton of pennies, that ONE was so important.

It amazes me how the most simplistic things can leave such an impression on our hearts. The Lord used this very event to express to me once again, just how important each of us are to Him,  and how much He loves us. Do you know how important YOU are to your Creator?!? The Lord searches and seeks you out, although He has others. He loves you beyond any earthly comprehension! Take time to relish in that reality today 🙂 – Sara

A New Website & Renewed Spirit

The design is new. Our spirit is renewed. And we want to share it with you.

Within these pages you will find photos, video, music and more. New content is being added all the time now and we want you to have reason to come back and see us. So, here is what we recommend. Sign-up for our newsletter on this page, Like our page on Facebook, and write to us anytime you like. We love to hear from people who have been touched by our ministry.

We sincerely hope you enjoy our brand new website and return again and again to see how our ministry grows.