Monday, August 22, 2005

Memorizing Scripture

Steve Watson asked a question today about memorizing Scripture. I thought I'd share my plan for memorizing passages of the Bible which I wrote up a few years ago. I know people often have very different ways of learning, but maybe this personal plan could be adapted by others. I'm not memorizing right now, but I've been meaning to get back to it. Memorizing has done more for my spiritual life than anything else.

Why memorize Scripture?
1. “I have hidden your Word in my heart that I might not sin against You.” Psalm 119:11
2. Memorizing Scripture leads to meditating upon and internalizing Scripture.
3. Memorized Scripture is readily available for use in encouraging, teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16)
4. Memorized Scripture gives basis for deeper prayer.
5. Memorized Scripture is always with you. In the worst case… if we were ever imprisoned for our faith and weren’t allowed a Bible, we’d still have God’s Word with us.
6. The more you memorize, the more you can memorize. It gets easier with practice. Psychiatrist Bronson Stilwell says that when we memorize something, our brains are trained how to better memorize. He says that it is like Velcro. The more we memorize, the more Velcro “hooks” our brains create so that even more stuff can “stick”.
7. Waylon Moore says - Memorized Scripture sheds light on the rest of the Bible.
1 memorized verse sheds candlelight on the Bible.
10 memorized verses shine a flashlight on the Bible.
100 memorized verses beam a spot light on the Bible.
1000 memorized verses pour stadium lights on the Bible.
8. Memorizing Scripture has been to most beneficial thing I’ve ever done to grow in my walk with Christ.

Why memorize large, continuous blocks of Bible?
1. You get to know the author.
2. You can remember more Bible this way with the verses flowing in a narrative than if you try to remember scattered verses.
3. You can better understand the context of a particular memorized verse.
4. We humans need goals. It’s more motivating to think of learning a whole chapter or book than it is to plan to memorize a certain number of scattered verses. But DON’T BE PROUD! Be careful about telling people you are doing it, or it may be like fasting with a somber face (Matt 6:16-18).
5. The goal is memorizing, meditating upon, and doing God’s Word. Don’t do this to show God how committed you are or to somehow earn His favor. Do it for the joy of knowing Him better.
6. The last reason I memorize large blocks instead of scattered verses is personal preference. There are definitely benefits in memorizing scattered verses (especially for evangelism). There are many programs available to assist with that type of Scripture memory. Whether you fit into my plan provided here to memorize large blocks or into another type of memory plan, I encourage everyone to memorize Bible!

How I memorize large blocks of Bible…
1. Pick an interesting Bible chapter or book that you would like to dig into deeper. Certain passages are easier to memorize than others. Here are some ideas:
-- Philippians
-- Colossians
More difficult:
--1 John
-- Psalm 139
-- Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7)
2. Use an easy-to-read translation (like NIV).
3. Each day, memorize one new verse just to the point that you can say it without looking. Since writing the verse helps me memorize it, I like to write the new verse each day on a card or in a small notebook and then carry the written verses with me for reference when I practice. Auditory learners may prefer to record themselves reading the verses and then listen or listen to an "audio Bible" of the passage in order to practice.
4. Practice reciting the new verse several times a day.
5. Each time you practice reciting your new verse for the day, recite the last 30 memorized verses. You will not know the current day’s verse well at all, and you’ll be unsure of the last few day’s new verses, but you’ll be a pro at reciting new verses learned a week or two earlier.
6. If you are memorizing several chapters or a whole book, you should recite all learned verses once per day. It won’t take as long as you think. You can recite Philippians or Colossians in just a few minutes.
7. It is good to have a partner in memorizing. It is great to be able to recite learned verses back and forth with a friend sometimes when you see each other. It is even better to one day reach the goal together and be able to get together to recite a whole chapter or book.
8. This may sound like a lot of work, but it’s really not. You will be able to learn your verse for the day to the point where you can say it without looking in a few minutes. Then, the practice of reciting known verses can happen anywhere throughout the day.

Ideas for where to practice:
- In the car.
- During breaks at work.
- While getting ready/shower/etc in the morning.
- Recite to you kids.
- Recite to spouse or friend during car trips
- During housework.
- During yard work.
- While exercising.
- As part of your personal time with God, etc.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Leadership Summit - P.E.A.C.E.

Thurday Session 2 at the Summit was Rick Warren. Warren brought before the 53,000 viewers of the summit what he thinks are the 5 biggest global problems.

1) Spiritual Emptiness
2) Ego-centric leadership
3) Poverty
4) Disease
5) Illiteracy

He says there is a new reformation brewing... one not of creeds but deeds... not of beliefs but of behaviors.

He says we should follow Luke 10 and find a "man of peace" in our towns, schools, churches, and organizations to help us do the following:

P - lant churches
E - Equip leaders
A - Assist the poor
C - Care for the sick
E - Educate people

I'm not usually big on cute acromyns but Warren's tying together of the five global problems, the Luke 10 man of peace and the five things we should be doing was pretty powerful.

Who are some "men of peace" in your town who could help you tackle some of these 5 global giants?

Friday, August 19, 2005

Leadership Summit - Holy Discontent

I don't do a lot these days with Willow Creek but one thing I do attend is their Leadership Summit satellite broadcast because of the great people they have as speakers. I'll journal here some of my thoughts from the 2005 summit earlier this month.

The opening session had Willow Pastor Bill Hybels talking about our "holy discontent". Popeye used to say "That's all I can stands, I can't stands no more!".

Hybels pointed to Biblical figures who got fed up with certain things. They couldn't stand it any more, and they did something about it.

David - you can't mock my God
Nehemiah - we must rebuild the wall

He also mentioned modern day people... Martin Luther King Jr. couldn't stand racial oppression any longer. Bob Pierce started World Vision when he couldn't stand the problem of hungry children any longer.

So what is my holy discontent?

I'm not sure yet what my one big one is, but these things come to the forefront:
1) Organizations with great potential operating in a mediocre way
2) The lack of authentic relationships in my suburb
3) My own lack of discipline
4) Prayerlessness in myself and in churches
5) Racial oppression
6) The Church (universal I mean) being behind when we should be leading the way (esp in things like world relief, leadership skill, creativity)

What is your holy discontent?

Monday, August 08, 2005

Peter Jennings

I was saddened to hear of the passing of Peter Jennings today. I had always chosen to watch ABC's World News Tonight because of Jennings and I have always admired him. I remember conciously thinking many times how amazed I was that he could be so calm and professional while also being very warm and somehow hopeful. When he would cover the election way into the night or cover an intense breaking news story he had such an ability to convey the story in a clear and professional way even when I'm sure people were speaking all kinds of information into his ear.

I think Charles Gibson and the others at ABC have some pretty big shoes to fill.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Blogger Photos

Just trying out the photo feature of

Thursday, August 04, 2005

The Famine in Niger, West Africa

One more thing to highlight today...

Please be aware that there is a very serious crisis underway in Niger in west Africa. Severe famine... between 800,000 and 5 million people in danger of starvation. Steve Watson has laid out the need on his blog...

Something to Derail Your Day

What do we do about Niger?

I'd encourage you to give to the relief effort for Niger either directly through or at and designate "Niger". Monies given to Legacy Church for Niger will be sent to World Vision for Niger relief. Every dollar counts in saving lives.

Back to blogging...

Man.. it's been almost a month since my last entry. I've had lots on my mind but little that I felt like typing in here.

I've been thinking a lot about the family of the church... how much we all need care, love, and encouragement.

Here's something I wrote to our small group leaders at my church:

QUESTION: Could Paul write to the people of Legacy the same thing that he wrote to the Thessalonians?

Paul writes to the Thessalonians…
Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. And in fact, you do love all the brothers throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers, to do so more and more.

Paul was writing about the incredible love these Thessalonians had for others!  This leads me to wonder how someone who has hung around Legacy a while would view us.  When someone spends some time with Legacians I want him to say… “man, you guys at that church really love each other!”  I want him to reel off story after story of how he saw people loving others, caring for others, serving others.  Many of the stories he tells are of Legacy people helping and loving each other through this life.  Many other stories are about Legacy people loving, serving and leading people in the community and world. 

When Jesus wanted to “show the disciples the full extent of His love” he found a wash basin and a towel and began to serve them by washing their feet.  Let’s be about serving each other and truly caring about each other this year… not in a little Christian huddle but rather let’s serve and love each other AS we go about the work of risking, reaching out, and winning our cities with the love of Christ.

Each day ask yourself this question:  “God, how should I love and serve others today?”  Make an Outlook “appointment” with yourself about this if you need to until it becomes a habit.