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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?

 

 

 

December 17 | Morning

Isaiah 12:2
“See, God has come to save me. I will trust in Him and not be afraid. The LORD GOD is my strength and my song; He has given me victory.”

DEVOTION by Zoe Wiebe

Two thousand years ago, we were given the gift that would surpass all others; Jesus. “See, God has come to save me.” God saved us by giving His only son, who would later sacrifice His own life for you and me. If God could offer up His son and Jesus could surrender His life for us, shouldn’t we also make sacrifices for others? One of my favorite stories is “ The Gift of the Magi.” In the story a couple, Della and Jim, each give up their most valued possession in order to get the other a Christmas gift. Della sacrifices her long hair to buy her husband a watch chain, while Jim gives up his watch to buy his wife a set of combs. The author states that they “most unwisely sacrificed for each other the greatest treasures of their house. But in a last word to the wise of these days, let it be said that of all that give gifts these two were the wisest.” This Christmas let’s not focus on what gifts we are receiving but rather what sacrifices we can make for others, because God did it for us first. And in doing so has given us victory.

FAVORITE CHRISTMAS MEMORY:
Christmas time is often seen as the gifting season. We love ripping open our presents in the morning. My favorite Christmas memory is doing secret Santa with my extended family. I spend months attempting to get the perfect gift while trying to figure out which of my family members was my Secret Santa.

FAVORITE CHRISTMAS CAROL:
O Holy Night

ONE LINE FROM THE CAROL YOU LOVE:
“Long lay the world in sin and error pining, till He appeared and the soul felt its worth”

December 17 | Evening

Luke 21:1–3
“He looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasury; he also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. He said, “‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them.’”

DEVOTION by Ellen Baker

Two small coins. The widow’s mite. What appears to be a tiny monetary gift is the one Jesus points out to His Disciples, the one He wants them to pay attention to. As a widow, this woman had no social status, little opportunity for income. She was likely dependent on family for her most basic needs. This gift was given sacrificially, out of the widow’s faith that God could use it, no matter how small. For offerings aren’t about money, not really. They are about TRUST. This widow trusted that God would provide for her and would use her gift to His Glory, just as we are called to do the same. If you have not yet experienced the joy of giving a consistent weekly or monthly gift to the Lord’s work here at Bel Air Church, make 2018 the year you start. Pray about how He wants you to share what He has given you. Give to Him first, not with what is left over after all the other bills are paid, but first. Trust Him with your two small coins, and watch what He will do.

I have been a member of Bel Air since 1998. My husband, Ken, and I have two grown children, and we are raising our granddaughter, who is now 13. One of my favorite Christmas traditions when our children were little was serving cake for dessert on Christmas Eve, and singing Happy Birthday to Jesus.

FAVORITE CHRISTMAS CAROL:
Angels from the Realms of Glory:

ONE LINE FROM THE CAROL YOU LOVE:
“Angels from the realms of glory, wing your flight o’er all the earth;
Ye who sang creation’s story now proclaim Messiah’s birth.”

December 17 | The Third Sunday of Advent

THE SHEPHERDS’ CANDLE
The candle we light today, on this third Sunday of Advent, is the Shepherds’ Candle. It represents the joy and celebration the shepherds shared at the birth of Christ.

READ:
Luke 2:8­–10 and Luke 2:15­–20

Though the shepherds were frightened, they went to Bethlehem to see this Christ Child. Having seen the child, they left the manger, overflowing with joy. They set out to tell everyone about the angel’s message and about having seen the newborn King.

Today in our Worship service, we will light the previous two candles and the pink candle.

Today we light the Prophecy Candle, the Bethlehem Candle, and the Shepherds’ Candle. This candle represents the joy and celebration that filled the shepherds that first Christmas.

PRAYER:
God of good news and great joy, free us today of any complacency about the message of Advent and Christmas. Rekindle in us a joy that springs up from within and carries us through the best and the worst of times. We give you our joyful praise! Amen.

December 16 | Morning & Evening

Today the morning and evening devotional is one
Luke 1:49-52
“for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly”

DEVOTION by Care Crawford

Mary’s song continues. The magnifcat goes on. Did you write your own last night? Today let the morning and evening verses hold together as one.

Read yesterday’s verses combined with today's. Read them aloud.

Try listening to a rendition of Ave Maria- maybe google or go to I Tunes and look for Franz Biebl’s "Ave Maria"…it is a beautiful piece of music. (One of my husband’s all time favorites!)

As you listen, close your eyes and be transported into relationship with Christ. Even though you may not understand the words in Latin, take the Scripture from yesterday and today-and see how you can translate it!

Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariae
et concepit de Spiritu sancto.
Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum.
Benedicta tu in mulieribus,
Et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Jesus, Jesus.
Maria dixit: Ecce ancilla Domini.
Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum.
Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum.
Benedicta tu in mulieribus,
Et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Jesus, Jesus.
Et Verbum caro factum est
et habitavit in nobis.
Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum.
Benedicta tu in mulieribus,
Et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Jesus, Jesus.
Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus,
Sancta Maria, ora pro nobis, nunc et in hora mortis nostrae.
Amen. Amen. Amen.

Here are some questions to consider as you listen to the music of the Magnificat:

What are the great things the “Mighty One” has done for you?…List them and thank Him for them.

What does MERCY mean to you? There is a line in a song we sing in contemporary worship, “mercy triumphs over judgment.”. What does that mean to you?

When the Scripture says that God has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts, how do you understand that? What happens when we are pride-filled?

God lifts up the lowly. How do you see that happening in our society, in your community? How do you get called to participate in this? What tangible ways might you also look to the lowly and give them a “lift up”?

FAVORITE CHRISTMAS MEMORY/TRADITION:
Care Crawford here. When I was a little girl our family would drive into New York City at Christmas time, to see the department store windows decorated for Christmas, and hear the Salvation Army people collecting money with a red kettle and ringing a bell on each street corner. We were there to see the lights of the Rockefeller Center Tree, watch the skaters and go to Radio City Music Hall to see the Christmas pageant. I remember loving when the real animals walked across the stage…especially when the wise men came on the scene…real camels! I was awed-the bigness of the stage, the music, the pageantry. I can remember thinking how great God must be to have people put on a show like this to tell His story!

FAVORITE CHRISTMAS CAROL:
O Come All Ye Faithful

ONE LINE FROM THE CAROL YOU LOVE:
“Oh come”…(I love the invitations of God!)

December 15 | Morning

Luke 1:45
“and Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”

DEVOTION by Care Crawford

Blessed.
Blessed is she.
Blessed are you.
Blessed am I.
Blessed are we…

Mary’s faith is a witness for us, we who are blessed. Mary believed. Mary believed there would be a fulfillment... a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her. This is faith at its best. This is faith, believing when common sense and circumstance would tell you to do otherwise. What an example and challenge this young Mary provides for you and me this day. What has the Lord spoken to you? How do you hear His voice? Do you believe it?

Spend some time this morning thinking about what it is to be “blessed.”

What does that word blessed mean to you?

How are you living out the blessed life?

Is there something God is asking you to believe that has not yet been “fulfilled"? How do you live out your ‘blessedness’ while you wait?

Advent is a season of waiting. For what do you wait?

FAVORITE CHRISTMAS MEMORY/TRADITION:
I remember as a little girl our family was going to go hear the Korean Orphan Choir sing at Christmas time. My mother, always teaching us to look and care for others, suggested that we might do something in this Christmas season that we would both enjoy and that we could share with another. So we made gingerbread cookies for the orphans singing in the choir. Specifically, we made gingerbread men. And we decorated those cookies, for a very large choir. I remember it being a hard task and a labor of fun and anticipation of joy – to be able to share those gingerbread men with children we had never met. I also remember that the night before that concert, we had an epic snowstorm. Roads were closed, we couldn’t get out. I have to assume that we made good as a family to share those cookies with friends in the neighborhood, but I’m not sure but we didn’t eat them all!

FAVORITE CHRISTMAS CAROL:
Silent Night

ONE LINE FROM THE CAROL YOU LOVE:
“How silently, how silently the wondrous gift is given.”