As I recently referenced regarding "Fat Tuesday", the Lenten season leading up to Easter has been particularly meaningful to Katherine and I as it was our first real connector to our church home, Bel Air Presbyterian Church (BAPC), when we moved to LA.  This year, as we've done over the past 7 years, we are going through a weekly study created by BAPC during the 40 days of Lent, with this year's study exploring Jesus' "I am" statements.  We want to share them with you over the next few weeks leading up to Easter in the hope that you will be blessed by them, as we have, and that your hearts and minds will be re-focused on the true source of our hope.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        This first week the topic is:  "Who Do You Say That I Am?" ...

"He said to them, 'But who do you say that I am?'  Simon Peter answered, 'You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God." -- Matthew 16:15-16

{+ Matthew 16:13-20 & Exodus 3: 11-14}

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I couldn't help but think of this A.W. Tozer quote in conjunction with Jesus' question to Peter...

"What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us....  Worship is pure or base as the worshiper entertains high or low thoughts of God.  For this reason the gravest question before the Church is always God Himself, and the most portentous fact about any man is not what he at a given time may say or do but what he in his deep heart conceives God to be like" -- A.W. Tozer (from The Knowledge of the Holy)

A fun exercise -- what is the meaning of your name and how does that meaning resonate with how you see yourself?  Katherine = "pure" (of course); Jay = "jay bird" (kind of sad), it also means "victory" (much better); and James = "supplanter" (huh?)  Rather interesting to see how names can set us on certain trajectories without us even knowing.  Perhaps the most beautiful, in our situation, was the meaning of James' name.  We named James for both of our living grandfathers, for whom James was their first great-grandchild.  It was only later, after Katherine's stroke, that we came upon its meaning of "supplanter", which for us, ultimately meant "to replace" and there is no question that the presence of our James in our lives has replaced many horrible things with wonderful things.

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Jesus tells us who He is, but he knows that it's not only hard for us to understand but also hard for us to truly believe it deep down.  The reality is, our interpretation of who God is, even if it is sincere, doesn't change who He is ("I am who I am"), but rather, it gives us a truer understanding of who we are.

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This week, in the quiet of your own heart, ask yourself, "Who do I really say that He is?"  During this Lenten season, we pray for ourselves and for you too that He will reveal more of who He is to us all.