Rev. Dr. Drew Sams
I first experienced Bel Air Church as a USC student in the Fall of 1999. Tuesday nights on the USC campus, a Bel Air-sponsored Bible study was held. Completely student led, I quickly found a vibrant community that lived and loved like Jesus. Fast forward 18 years and a lot has happened. I gave my life to Jesus at a Bel Air college group retreat, volunteered in the high school ministry, became the interim high school director for a year, got set up on a blind date and eventually married Erika, who was also attending Bel Air. We miraculously had a son named Judah. I was called back to Bel Air to be the Senior Pastor and Head of Staff in April 2014. More than a job, I get to serve the community of faith that forever changed my eternity by introducing me to Jesus!
Over the last 17 years, I have grown in the many environments and ways through which I connect with God. Reading Scripture, prayer, musical worship, in community with other Christians, and serving others have always been the primary way in which I “draw near” to a God that is always near. Recently, I have been captivated by the grandiosity and wonder of nature. As I look across the valley from our campus at the beautiful San Gabriel Mountains or when I am surrounded by hulking winter waves while surfing Ventura Point, I am enveloped in something so powerful I have no control over. As I reflect on the God that spoke this grand creation into existence, I am humbled and yet emboldened to know that He seeks a personal and vibrant relationship with me in the midst of His “grandness.”
In Scripture, this all comes together in the Easter story, where we are reminded of our saving God, the God of creation. John 20:15–16 reveals that when Jesus had defeated death and resurrected from the grave, He was mistaken for a gardener. I marvel at the fact that Scripture begins with a garden, ends with a garden city, and in the center of it all is One who not only revives and renews those that put their faith in Him, but is actively reviving and renewing all of creation. On this Easter, I am filled with wonder and awe at our Powerful and Personal God, that has come to us as Jesus and has filled us with the Holy Spirit.
He is Risen!