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?




Friday, March 23

Luke 9:23
“Then he said to them all, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.’”

DEVOTION BY Madison Fair
Burdens. They’re hard to overcome, it’s hard to find a reason for them, and we tend to blame God for not lifting them. Any burden God gives you tests you to see if you’ll still trust in Him in dire times. I, myself, have been tested by God with my health. When I was only seven years old, I was diagnosed with alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease which makes your hair fall out. I was at a football game and my mom said she saw a bald spot on my head. Within months, I was bald. My eyebrows, eyelashes, and any hair I used to have was gone. I was called a boy and told that people would like me more if I had hair. We went to every doctor imaginable and had seven needles put in my head each week. During this time, I lost all hope of my hair growing back, and I stopped praying. I yelled at God for doing this to me and putting me in the situation I was in.

One day at school I was crying, and the secretary took me into her office. I said I was crying because I was ugly and God did this to me. She told me the opposite and told me to read Job when I got home that day. After I got home, I finished my homework, and read Job. I was reading about his happy life and how God had blessed him. It made me sad how much he had and how little I felt I had left. The next thing I knew, Job lost his family, his kids, his house, his clear skin. EVERYTHING. He was avoided by the townspeople because of his boils just like I was with my bald head, yet he never got mad at God. He cursed himself wondering what he did, but never cursed God. I realized how much of a fool I was, and I repented and cried out on my hands and knees that God would forgive me. After I did this, I lived my life knowing it WOULD get better and that I was bald and beautiful. Eventually my prayers were answered, and my hair did grow back thicker and longer than before.

God’s will for us is set in His head, and our life is already planned. The burdens He allows in our lives are there for a reason. We may not know the reason yet, but we will. We carry our cross until He can take it off of us and take us toward the path he wants us to be on. I’m not saying to be perfect because that’s impossible, but I’m asking you not to give up because it’s hard. Crying is okay. Blurring your vision can make it clearer afterward. Don’t dwell on doubt and fear, deny your own will and follow His. Loving and following Him wherever you are right now in life is what He wants because He loves you.

My name is Madison Fair. I am 12 years old and have been going to Bel Air my whole life alongside my mom, dad, and sister. I was baptized at Bel Air, enjoyed every volunteering opportunity I’ve had with my family, and sang at the Christmas Tea. I am in the Junior High Ministry worship band and attend the Grow Hour and 11 o’ clock service with my 7th grade girls.

I have many “meal memories” that have left an impact on me, but one of my favorites is the first meal my sister, my dad, my mom, and I had together after my sister had moved away in high school to live with my Grandmom to pursue her sport. My whole family is not often in the same place at the same time to sit at the table together, but this meal we all sat together and had breakfast. My dad realized that this had been the first meal we had sat all together at the table, just like old times. After we all realized this, we just started smiling. We didn’t say anything, we just smiled at each other with big, dopey grins on our faces and ate our food. I will never forget that meal because of how happy we all were that everyone was here, and that we were all together, and that is the point of family. To smile at each other with big, genuine smiles and not need to say a word is what love is and that’s how family is. God gave us that moment and transferred words through our smiles and laughs at how stupid we felt we looked. He showed each of us that love can be seen through different things, but one thing is a smile.

Before you leave, I have a prayer for you to recite. Join me if you will.
“Dear Lord, show me the way. Show me where I’m supposed to be and teach me how to get there. Give me your lantern, show me the signs, let me know you’re with me. Give me strength to carry my cross and feel loved by you. Help me to see you in the dark forest I walk through. Make your will my will and your way my way. Let my own pleasures be beneath me and have yours on top. Give me a servant’s heart and teach me to love like you do. Amen.”

Thursday, March 22

Matthew 5:3
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

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?

Wednesday, March 21

Psalm 31:19
“How great is Your goodness, Which You have stored up for those who fear You, Which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You, Before the sons of men. “

I don’t like that word “FEAR.” My first response is: Aren’t I supposed to overcome my fear? I thought “perfect love casts out fear.” So why is God’s goodness stored up for those who FEAR?

Well, I had to figure this out. This is what I found:
Google Dictionary:
an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat

Yep, that’s pretty much what I thought. That’s why I don’t like that word. I don’t like pain, danger or anything that threatens me.
Surely, God doesn’t want me to think of Him as painful, dangerous or threatening. Well, I had to dig even deeper and I found this:
Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance:
afraid, fearful
Word Origin From HEBREW ‘yare’
Definition fearing; morally, reverent -- afraid, fear (-ful)

Did you see the full meaning of ‘yare’? It says morally and reverent. Hmmm. Morally, meaning “with morals with reference to right and wrong” and reverent, meaning “with respect.” Well that sounds like Godly fear.

We are so inundated with definitions produced from the world around us. When we take time to dig deeper into the Word, and then even deeper still, to find out what God’s means, we can then be defined by Him and not the world.

I’m Kenna Bynum. Throughout the last eight years, I have served in different ministries including Mothers and Others, VBS, life groups, the Christmas Tea and as a Deacon.

When attempting to reflect on a single meal memory, a flood of flashbacks permeated my thoughts: Thanksgivings & Christmases playing Trivia Pursuit with family in teams, my first Communion as a child, how my husband and ten-year-old daughter call my quick Cheeseburger Mac-n-Cheese the “Best Meal of All Time,” and my special occasion/celebration meals with my husband, and family and friends. These multifarious meals have the same three things in common: preparation, connection and a sense belonging. Shopping, cooking, cleaning, invites, decorations, dressing up and scheduling are different tasks I’ve done to prepare. There’s always effort from everyone involved in a meal. Sometimes it’s the simple effort of just showing up. Once we are together, we connect with embraces, sharing stories, listening, playing, laughing and/or crying and of course eating. It’s in these moments I feel like I belong. The array of remembrances are conjoined and yet distinguishable in their own special way. It occurs to me that Jesus came to prepare my way. He did all the work to give me the opportunity to connect with God in relationship where I receive my fullest sense of belonging. All I have to do is show up! I am so grateful for the table He has set before me to enjoy.

As you prepare your heart during this Lenten season, I pray your connection to God will be strengthened, and you are reminded of your place of belonging within His kingdom. Ask God what is holding you back from connection. Where are you longing for connection? How will you let God define connection in your life?

Tuesday, March 20

Psalm 139:24
“See if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. “

DEVOTION BY Mohammad Mahmoudi
As I was thinking back to remember a memory about eating a meal with others, among many of those memories, one of them is still a remarkable between others. Ten years ago about two weeks before we left our country, my family and I participated in a traditional Christmas dinner in our church for the last time. The meal was so special, and we had to reserve our places. After dinner the church members got together and like a large family we could share the stories of blessing or maybe a sorrow. This time was so different for my family and me. We had two different feelings. One was the joy of being with our Godly family with their amazing love toward us and the other feeling was a feeling of missing them. We surely couldn’t see many of them anymore and have a meal with them. Some of them in their later years went to be with their Lord in heaven and participated in His table for sharing a meal with Him (including my teacher). Many of them had to leave the country and had to spread out around the world.

But as I am writing about a meal with Jesus, how can I forget the meal that He prepared for us by His sacrificial death on the cross. I will never forget the first time that I was invited to participate in the Lord’s Supper. We had a Communion service with one of our sister churches in their beautiful church. It was not a regular service on Sunday (or on Friday in our country). It was a specific service just for Communion. I was in the fifth row, and when the pastor asked us for praying and personal confessions in our heart, though I was waiting for this moment for a long time, I felt a challenge in myself. I knew by the work of Jesus Christ on the cross and giving my life to Him, I should be ready for remembering His sacrificial death for us, but I needed to ask something from God that I hadn’t asked before. I don’t recall how long I was praying, but I asked God to search my heart and show me if there was anything in there that would prevent me from loving Him and following Him with all my heart, all my thoughts and all my soul. We can’t find the wickedness that lives in the depth of our hearts unless He reveals it to us through His spirit. As I was continuing my prayer and confession, I realized that my wife was whispering that the elder who was sharing the bread and cup had been waiting for me for a long time. I took the bread and cup with tears in my eyes sure that if He had chosen me and forgiven me, He would continue to reveal all my wicked thoughts to me during my whole life in this world, and He would lead me in the way everlasting.

I pray for all of us as David asked the Lord in Psalm 139, see if there is any wicked way in me and lead me in the way everlasting.

My name is Mohammad. I came to the Bel Air Church four years ago. Since that time, I have been helping Farsi speakers to ponder in God’s word, to walk with Him and to find the beauty of His word in their heart language. I also recently began serving Bel Air Church as a deacon.

I pray and ask Him to search our hearts and show us if there be any wicked whether in our hearts, or our lives or even in our habits no matter how deep they are and lead us in His everlasting way which is the only way with His amazing grace.

Monday, March 19

1 John 4:16
“So we have known and believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and those who abide in love abide in God, and God abides in them.”


I spoke this phrase to myself as a lectio divina exercise, emphasizing different words each time.

“God is love. God IS love. God is LOVE.” One could meditate on just this portion of the verse for a lifetime.

I realize that when I pray to God, I perceive Him in different ways, depending on my needs and attitude, such as repentance, humility, or exultation. I think of God as majestic. I think of God as Heavenly Abba. But I don’t often think of God as love itself. That He actually is Love. Loving, of course. Merciful, thank God! But that He is Love itself is something I want to experience more fully.

Because He is love, all that emanates from God is love. His Holy Spirit is love. And because of that precious gift from Jesus after He died on the cross, we have love living in us. Not that love that we have known and experienced in the world before our born again experience. But the love that He is. He is love, and He lives in us. This love doesn’t look for the failings or faults in others that make us judge or reject. This love looks beyond and emanates beautiful gestures of kindness, compassion, and service. As we abide.

In our distracted, disconnected, dissatisfied world, abiding is a word we don’t really use or hear much anymore. I don’t know if millennials or Gen Z would be familiar with the word. And even if familiar, how exactly do we abide in Him? Andrew Murray in his book, Abide in Christ, states, “to abide in His love…never can be a work we have to perform; it must be with us as with him, the result of the spontaneous out flowing of a life from within and the mighty in working of the love from above.” Through prayer and scripture reading, this God who is love itself, or more exactly Himself, is formed in us. How to express gratitude for this except to surrender all to Him.

* Abide in Christ, 1979 by Whitaker House

I’m Mary Martin. I have been at Bel Air about seven years. I am co-leader of the 8:30 a.m. Prayer Team and also serve as a Deacon.

I was blessed to have a business trip to Sydney, Australia, and a client that took me to a five star restaurant on the quay near the opera house. Called “Quay,” the contemporary restaurant had glass windows, floor to ceiling, and was known for its venue of unique, particular delicacies very well presented. Everything totally fresh, the dishes we chose had flower petals, rare fish, and ingredients I’d never before seen (or heard of) in colors and shapes that were true works of art. Delicious also. Business conversation was suspended by frequent inhalations and exclamations. It had not become dark yet, and from our table we saw a wedding about to take place on a yacht. Suddenly a spray of colors exploded in the now dark sky and the evening ended with a long, stunning display of fireworks.

I saw the Lord in every color, shape, and flavor. I saw Him in the joy of the bride with her gown in the wind. I delighted in Him as He orchestrated His finale with explosions of color reflected on the water. It seemed He cooked this meal and evening especially for me. I sensed His delight in me- and His delight in all of His creation.

I believe the Lord loves to “show off” His glory. I challenge you to look for the Lord to surprise and delight you in ways that speak to your heart.