Our congregation, pastors, and staff write devotionals to help us experience the seasons of Lent (before Easter) and Advent (before Christmas) more fully. They are posted below with the most recent on top and do not post until the season begins.

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.’”

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.

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.

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.