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Courage

Learn. Be. Do.

Discipleship is how we choose to follow Jesus Christ in response to God’s love. In this, we Learn who God is and what He desires, are transformed to Be like Jesus in the way we live our everyday lives, and Do love in action towards our families, our church, our city, and our world.

Over the next month, we invite you to engage daily in the discipleship framework of Learn. Be. Do. Every day there will be a passage to read that encourages us to engage in God's Word. After reading the passage and short reflection, we invite you to use three simple questions to guide how you allow God to speak into your yesterday, your today, and your tomorrow.

1.     Learn – As I read this passage, what is it that you want me to learn?

2.     Be – What is it that you desire me to be in light of what you are teaching me? What have I been? What are you calling me to be?

3.     Do - What do you want me to tangibly do in this moment, this week, based off that? What does it look like to do what you are teaching me?

 

 

 

Sunday, April 1 | Easter Sunday

1 Corinthians 15:4
“…and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures…”

DEVOTION BY Drew Sams
A truth that echoes across the cosmos is condensed into this brief and powerful verse. Paul (who is writing a letter to a gathering of Christians in the first century town of Corinth) reminds them, and us, of this paradigm shifting truth.

Life springs up only if it is first buried in death.

The Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament) had communicated this recipe for redemption in many ways through many people over thousands of years, and Paul is reminding them and us that “JESUS IS RISEN!”

We see this powerful truth echoed in gardens, meadows, and forests around the world. For a plant, flower, or tree to spring up in life, it must first be buried in death. Think of the imagery of a seed buried in the ground. For a while, you can’t see it, and it gives the illusion that nothing is happening. But, with the right conditions, it breaks free from the ground and springs up as God designed it to.

Every seed planted that springs up from the ground is reflecting the Gospel. The good news is that Jesus was buried and rose again AND that Jesus says we too will be united with Him in new life if we are willing to die to our self-focused ways.

INTRODUCTION
My name is Drew Sams and I first was invited to attend Bel Air Church as a college student in 1999. It has been an amazing and unforgettable journey as I now get to serve as senior pastor at the church that led me to accept Jesus as Lord and Savior so many years ago. In addition to being connected to the church as the senior pastor, I have deeply enjoyed being in a couples life group with my wife, Erika, as well as be connected to the vitality of our preschool as Judah graduated from there last year, with Barrett close on his heels.

MY MEAL MEMORY
My favorite meal memories have been with Erika, my boys, my sister, brother-in-law, and my parents at their mountain home in Big Bear. Not only are the made-from-scratch meals phenomenally creative and mouth-watering even years later in my memories, but there is a “foraging” activity that I get to do on a regular basis. We hop in my parents Jeep, take the dirt roads into the forest, and we look for dried Manzanita, flowers, and branches with berries that we harvest and bring back home. We then arrange them in what becomes an interwoven canopy through the arms of the iron chandelier above our large dining room table.

As we linger over a long meal reflecting on whatever comes to mind, we are reminded of the gift of food, family, and fellowship with a God who is the true “master of the feast.”

As we venture beyond Lent into the rest of the year, my prayer and hope is that you and I would continue to join Jesus at the table!

Saturday, March 31

John 8:32
“and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

DEVOTION BY Rev. Care Crawford

Some call this day “silent Saturday.” The truth about this day is it brings us one day closer to true freedom. For freedom Christ has set us free. For so many of us, we live outside the “truth”- the truth that we are God’s beloved, the truth that Jesus went to the cross for us. Truth brings freedom. Do you ever find yourself saying something to yourself, oh not out loud, but that inner voice which speaks untruths about who you are? Sometimes we tell ourselves we are not good enough, or good looking enough or smart enough or … ?

God’s truth is He gave us Jesus and wants to have relationship with us. God’s plan is to have a life WITH HIM!

As you prepare for Easter Sunday, take some time to sit and be still with God. What are the places in your life where you do not feel free? Is it an unfreedom of a sin you have committed or a lie you have told yourself? Is it an unfreedom of a broken place in your life which God longs to heal?

What is your image and picture of true freedom? Can you draw it? Can you describe it?

In John 14:6 Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth and the life.” What way are you heading today- toward Jesus or away from Him?
What is the truth Jesus can speak to you today? And what is the LIFE Jesus is offering? Come to the table and sit with Jesus. Feast with Him. Let Him provide bread for the journey and strength for the day.

INTRODUCTION
My name is Care Crawford, and I am one of the Associate Pastors here at Bel Air. My current position is in Spiritual Formation and Soul Care. I have served at the church for many years and have found the deep gifts of the family of God in this community.

MY MEAL MEMORY
A memorable meal was taking Communion with children in the balcony of the chapel here are church. The children and I came into the service and went upstairs to participate in Communion. When the plate of bread cubes was passed, a little boy took it and passed it to his neighbor and asked, “Is that all we get?” Immediately his friend sitting next to him said, “Don’t worry, it is all you need!” How profound, he understood! As the plates of little plastic cups were passed, each child held their wee cups and seem so pleased to have it. And when I looked down the row of the pew I noticed children clinking their plastic communion cups with each other and saying, “Cheers!” Well I was struck, clearly they had learned this somewhere. But in the midst of that communion meal, we are given something to say cheers, and thanks for. The bread, the cup- enough. And with the cheers that we get all the provisions Jesus has for us, not just bread and juice, but even eternal life.

Friday, March 30

Jeremiah 29:12–13
“Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you. When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart,”

Today we ask you to spend time with the Scripture for the day and let God speak to you personally through it. Maybe a word or phrase stands out. Use this devotional time to bring your own unique reflections to the Scripture and to God. So we have been considering special meals and meals with Jesus this Lent…think about a meal you have shared with someone which stands out for you.

Who was there? Thank God for them.

What did you eat? Where were you?

How when you think about that now was this meal special for you? And how, reflecting on it, do you see Jesus in the remembrance of it?

Thursday, March 29 | Maundy Thursday

Luke 22: 19–20
“Then he took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.’ And he did the same with the cup after supper, saying, ‘This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.’”

DEVOTION BY John Isaacs
Everyone reading these words will certainly recognize them as a variant of the “words of institution.” I believe the version Bel Air Church more commonly uses are from 1 Corinthians 11 – but the differences are minor. At this most solemn, pivotal moment at the Last Supper, Jesus articulates the basis for our Lenten Life Group Study on “Meals with Jesus; Life at the Table,” as He launches the first Eucharist.

Reading this more closely than I have before, “Do this in remembrance of me” is the first thing that jumps out at me. Contrast this with the many times Jesus admonished miracle recipients to stay quiet about their blessing… No, this is to be remembered, He is to be remembered… throughout the ages, through the reenactment of this meal. The other thing that jumps out is the announcement of “the new covenant in His blood”. Accepting Jesus’s sacrifice as atonement for our sins is the new, replacement paradigm for living a life in God’s favor.

INTRODUCTION
My name is John Isaacs. I’ve been blessed to be a member of Bel Air for 41 years – in fact Jeannine and I announced our engagement during the third week of membership classes, when Donn Moomaw (prior Senior Pastor) asked if anyone had anything interesting happen that week. I’m a past Elder and Deacon, current member of the Hospitality team, and have been emcee for Family Camp for 15+ years - a little slice of heaven in the Santa Cruz Mountains held each summer. Consider investing a week with God if you’re so inclined.


MY MEAL MEMORY
The meal with the most vivid memories is the Christmas celebration at our home. I married into a wonderful, large family – Jeannine being the eldest of six siblings. Her parents, siblings and everyone in the next two generations live in the Los Angeles area, so it’s really quite a crowd when the family assembles. On Christmas night our house is beautifully decorated, the family is happy, the food delicious and plentiful. I make it a point to go to the landing in our stairwell and look out over “the event” – it fills me with the Holy Spirit’s warmth and a sense of deep, deep blessing.

My prayer: Still my heart – remember Jesus, His holiness, His sacrifice, and dwell on the fact that God loves me more than I can comprehend.

Wednesday, March 28

John 3:3
“Jesus answered him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.’”

DEVOTION BY Kim Dorr-Tilley
“Born from above?”
I’m old and stuck in mud. I’m a creature of dust and earth and death. I’ve crawled to you in shadows, sought you out in hiddenness. I’m aware of shame and guilt and fear…

“Born from above?”
I’m entrenched in LAW, cause and effect, the righteous flourish and the wicked perish. (I’m dreadfully afraid I’m one of the wicked.) I crawl to you out of – what? Hope? Fear? Curiosity? Yes, all of these things. But I’m old and stuck in mud...

“Born from above?”
What on earth do you mean?? Why do you speak in riddles and nonsense? What am I doing here? What if someone sees me with you or hears me hearing you say such gibberish? Are you making fun of me? Ridiculing me because I’m old and stuck in mud?? What on earth do you mean by this??

“Born from above!”
Oh…wait, you’re not talking about things on earth. I am of the earth. How can I see the Kingdom of God? (Oh, how I long to see the Kingdom of God!) Who has seen the Kingdom of God? Everyone is on the earth and of the earth. We’re all creatures stuck in mud. People of dust and earth and death.

Except for you, Jesus. You seem quite different. That’s why I’ve crawled to you in my darkness.

Are you born from above??
Have YOU seen the Kingdom of God??

You speak as though you have. You speak as though you’ve been there. You speak as though you’re from there…

“BORN FROM ABOVE…!”
You are a different creature, Jesus. One entirely not like me or anyone I’ve ever known. YOU must be born from above! You MUST have seen the Kingdom of God. I suddenly believe this with my whole heart even though I don’t know what it means. You are trying to teach me something, to show me something, to MAKE ME SOMETHING…

Something quite different.
Someone born from above.
Can it be? Can I be… born from above?

I am no longer old. I am new. I am no longer stuck. I am free. I am no longer a creature of dust and earth and death. I am something… entirely different.

INTRODUCTION
Hi, I’m Kim Dorr-Tilley, and BAC is the only church I’ve ever known. I was “born from above” in 1993. Delivered out of darkness just like old Nicodemus. Praise God! A friend brought me here, and I’ve been here ever since. God, through this congregation, has discipled me and grown me and guided me. My areas of ministry are in Community, Connection, New Members, Prayer and getting to love and serve with all of you!

MY MEAL MEMORY
I have a very distinctive memory of a meal. I was 17 years old and participating in the State Speech Tournament in Colorado. I was doing really well. After my last round, my Dad came by the school where the tournament was being held. It was odd for my Dad to come to a tournament. No one ever came to Speech Tournaments; just us nerds who were on the team and our coaches were there. My Dad said my brother (who was older and judging a different field) had called him to say he’d seen my scores from the day and thought I might win. So Dad stopped by.

We had to wait for other competitions to finish before the awards ceremony so we went to get a hamburger across the street at Wendy’s. I was hungry and excited by my day. Right before I took my first bite of the burger, I asked my Dad how Nana was doing (my mom’s mother, Nana, had been in the hospital for a few days.) That’s when Dad told me Nana had died earlier that day. I couldn’t swallow. I had no spit in my mouth. Everything was dry. I had to spit out the bite of hamburger. Nana was the only grandparent my brother and I ever knew as a grandparent – as our NANA. I was lost, crushed, beyond sad.

Then, it was time to go back for the awards ceremony and find out who won the Tournament. Except I could care less now. When my name was announced as the winner, I saw one person at the back of the auditorium shoot out of his seat – my brother. My brother, four years older than me, was always distant from me. The only reason I was on the speech team at all was because HE had been on the Speech Team and I pretty much just wanted to do what he did to try to get closer to him. But he never noticed. Until that night. He didn’t know yet that our Nana had passed away. He only knew he was proud of me that night. I remember in that moment, when I saw my brother express LOVE for me, a feeling that my Nana had given me my brother that night - a relationship that I’d never had in the wake of one I would never forget. To this day, I can remember that bite of hamburger in my mouth that I couldn’t swallow. Though it would be years before I came to know Jesus, Jesus was there with me that day. My Nana loved Him. And she loved me. And somehow, I knew more of love that day than loss.

My challenge to you: Have a meal this week with someone who might not know you love them. Let them know.