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Memory verses for grown-ups: Benefits of Bible memorization

Fri, 14 Sep 2007 - 4:05 PM CST

For generations, memory verses have been a staple of children's Sunday School lessons. But bring up the subject of memorizing Scripture in a roomful of adults, and it may be a conversation killer.

Many churchgoers today don't even read the Bible, let alone commit passages to memory. The Barna Group reports that 47 percent of U.S. adults attend church each week. Meanwhile, a Boston University researcher found 60 percent of Americans can't name five of the Ten Commandments, and half of high school seniors think Sodom and Gomorrah were a married couple, not twin cities destroyed for wickedness.

In spite of the dismal statistics, there are still those who are serious about studying Scripture - so serious, in fact, they may use time spent stuck in traffic or sitting in a doctor's waiting room learning verses.

Gary Smart, who attends First Christian Assembly of God in Cincinnati, became interested in committing Scripture to memory three years ago while helping his daughter learn a verse for the church's Stars Club. He was surprised how the verse stuck with him and reminded him of God's presence throughout the day. Since that time, he has made an effort to memorize Bible passages on a regular basis.

"I wasn't raised in a Scripture-memorizing church, so I didn't have that benefit for many years," Smart says. "Now, I feel like knowing God's Word gives me a foundation to stand on. I often think of the verses I've learned and even use them to encourage others."

Fred Gore, Junior Bible Quiz coordinator for the Southern Missouri District, earned his JBQ Master Seal while guiding his three sons through the program. To do so, he memorized all 107 JBQ Bible quotations in addition to the other Bible-related material. Gore says the benefits of Bible memorization don't just apply to kids.

"The process of repeating a passage over and over causes me to meditate on it more and really want to dig in to the Scripture to understand it better, especially some of Scripture's great passages," Gore says. "Scripture memorization for me has been like a spark that's grabbed my heart and spurred me on to some really in-depth study of the Word."

Brian King, JBQ coordinator for the North Carolina District and Southeast Region, agrees that Scripture memorization shouldn't cease at adulthood. King recently earned his Impossible Award, the program's highest honor, by reciting all 576 JBQ questions and answers. The award is usually given to children, but King says he recognized the value of learning the material himself.

"I believe the Bible is what it purports to be, and trust that God still honors obedience and faith," King says. "Therefore, it behooves me to spend time learning and practicing the Word in my life. If it really is God's Word, how could I not read, study and memorize it?"

There are a few ministries that specialize in adult Bible memorization, such as The Navigators, an interdenominational organization based in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The organization promotes a topical card system to help users memorize verses on everything from fellowship to honesty.

Lauren Libby, vice president of The Navigators, describes his 35 years of memorizing Scripture as the best investment of his life.

Libby advises people who are interested in Bible memorization to choose the method that works best for them, whether it's taping verses to the bathroom mirror or listening to the Bible on tape. He says it's often easier to begin the process with a partner who can provide support and encouragement.

"When people begin to see the benefits of memorizing God's Word, that tends to whet their appetite for more," Libby says. "For me, it increases my vocabulary that the Lord can use to communicate with me on a daily basis."

Mark W. Smith, pastor of First Assembly of God in Bellefontaine, Ohio, says his Scripture memorization occurs naturally through regular Bible reading. He notes that while committing Scripture to memory is a commendable practice, it must be accompanied by a personal desire to live out what the Bible teaches.

"I call it hiding God's Word in my heart or, as has become one of my deeply held beliefs, letting God's Word become you," Smith says.


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For generations, memory verses have been a staple of children's Sunday School lessons. But bring up the subject of memorizing Scripture in a roomful of adults, and it may be a conversation killer.

Many churchgoers today don't even read the Bible, let alone commit passages to memory. The Barna Group reports that 47 percent of U.S. adults attend church each week. Meanwhile, a Boston University researcher found 60 percent of Americans can't name five of the Ten Commandments, and half of high school seniors think Sodom and Gomorrah were a married couple, not twin cities destroyed for wickedness.

In spite of the dismal statistics, there are still those who are serious about studying Scripture - so serious, in fact, they may use time spent stuck in traffic or sitting in a doctor's waiting room learning verses.

Gary Smart, who attends First Christian Assembly of God in Cincinnati, became interested in committing Scripture to memory three years ago while helping his daughter learn a verse for the church's Stars Club. He was surprised how the verse stuck with him and reminded him of God's presence throughout the day. Since that time, he has made an effort to memorize Bible passages on a regular basis.

"I wasn't raised in a Scripture-memorizing church, so I didn't have that benefit for many years," Smart says. "Now, I feel like knowing God's Word gives me a foundation to stand on. I often think of the verses I've learned and even use them to encourage others."

Fred Gore, Junior Bible Quiz coordinator for the Southern Missouri District, earned his JBQ Master Seal while guiding his three sons through the program. To do so, he memorized all 107 JBQ Bible quotations in addition to the other Bible-related material. Gore says the benefits of Bible memorization don't just apply to kids.

"The process of repeating a passage over and over causes me to meditate on it more and really want to dig in to the Scripture to understand it better, especially some of Scripture's great passages," Gore says. "Scripture memorization for me has been like a spark that's grabbed my heart and spurred me on to some really in-depth study of the Word."

Brian King, JBQ coordinator for the North Carolina District and Southeast Region, agrees that Scripture memorization shouldn't cease at adulthood. King recently earned his Impossible Award, the program's highest honor, by reciting all 576 JBQ questions and answers. The award is usually given to children, but King says he recognized the value of learning the material himself.

"I believe the Bible is what it purports to be, and trust that God still honors obedience and faith," King says. "Therefore, it behooves me to spend time learning and practicing the Word in my life. If it really is God's Word, how could I not read, study and memorize it?"

There are a few ministries that specialize in adult Bible memorization, such as The Navigators, an interdenominational organization based in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The organization promotes a topical card system to help users memorize verses on everything from fellowship to honesty.

Lauren Libby, vice president of The Navigators, describes his 35 years of memorizing Scripture as the best investment of his life.

Libby advises people who are interested in Bible memorization to choose the method that works best for them, whether it's taping verses to the bathroom mirror or listening to the Bible on tape. He says it's often easier to begin the process with a partner who can provide support and encouragement.

"When people begin to see the benefits of memorizing God's Word, that tends to whet their appetite for more," Libby says. "For me, it increases my vocabulary that the Lord can use to communicate with me on a daily basis."

Mark W. Smith, pastor of First Assembly of God in Bellefontaine, Ohio, says his Scripture memorization occurs naturally through regular Bible reading. He notes that while committing Scripture to memory is a commendable practice, it must be accompanied by a personal desire to live out what the Bible teaches.

"I call it hiding God's Word in my heart or, as has become one of my deeply held beliefs, letting God's Word become you," Smith says.


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Coins for Kids Giving Sees Results in Alaska

Mon, 20 Oct 2014 - 5:04 PM CST

Jim and Linda Schulz
Missionaries Jim and Linda Schulz.

Missionaries in Venezuela, South Africa, Alaska, Belgium, India, Bolivia, Romania and more have benefitted greatly from the $200,000 the annual national Girls Ministries Coins for Kids missions giving program typically raises each year.

Yet, with new annual focuses every year, past years' projects can sometimes be forgotten. But in the land of the midnight sun, Alaska, the Coins for Kids 2012 giving project to help build a permanent building at a camp for children, has come to pass.

But it was more of a miracle in the making than anyone ever imagined.

The creation of Camp "Agaiutim Nune," which means "The Place of God," and is also known as Camp AN, began with a miracle. The pristine property was donated to AG missionaries Jim and Linda Shulz to create a camp for children.

Camp AN David Huff
Volunteer David Huff with wood beams traveling up the Yukon River to Camp AN.

However, Camp AN may also be a dictionary's definition of "middle of nowhere." Located on the banks of the Yukon River in Western Alaska, with no roads in or out, and accessible only by boat, Camp AN's nearest neighbor is a small village 17 miles away . . . the nearest city is 500 miles away.

But not to be detoured, the Schulzes have been operating the annual camp since 1996. Their focus is on demonstrating God's love and compassion to girls and boys, who are mostly from the Yupik Eskimo tribe, and introducing them to Christ.  However, with limited resources, the camp has had to utilize tents for church services, cooking, eating and sleeping, which had to be shipped in, set up, taken down, and stored every year.

Middle of Nowhere
Where is the "middle of nowhere"? How about Western Alaska, on the Yukon River, 500 miles from the nearest city with the only access being by boat? That is Camp AN!

In a more temperate zone, tents may be the ideal camp experience. But at Camp AN, the temperature sometimes drops below 40 in the summer. The building of a permanent multipurpose building that would protect campers and staff from nature seemed like the best of plans.

Yet even the best of plans hit roadblocks. After the strong giving effort through Coins for Kids to make the building possible, the Schulzes learned that barges couldn't navigate the river to their remote location — there was no way to transport the large, heavy steal beams or other equipment and supplies necessary to the building site.

But where barges failed, God prevailed.

"The very logistics of this projected indicated that it was impossible," Jim Schulz admits, "but God gave us wisdom, creativity, and sheer manpower to move and handle extremely heavy pieces of building materials without the use of heavy equipment."

Steel floor supports
Wood beams and steal floor supports are in place, awaiting layers of decking.

Schulz says that with the help of many volunteers and using their two relatively small camp boats, they transported 80 tons of building materials to the project site. From the ground to the locked doors, it took just 32 days to put the building up.

"Many men and church groups from both Alaska and the 'Lower 48' worked extremely long hours to accomplish the task," Schulz says. "So many miracles happened before and during construction that a brief statement like this could never begin to enumerate."

Volunteer David Huff, who attends Central Assembly in Springfield, Missouri, learned about the Camp AN project through a Pentecostal Evangel article. He agrees with Schulz, stating that the miracles that took place for the building to be completed are too numerous to name.

Nearing completion of building
The building nearly enclosed.

"Even though I have a background in carpentry, this project was very unlike anything I had ever done, due to the remote location and lack of equipment," Huff recalls. "There were lots of challenges that seemed insurmountable, but God provided solutions at just the right time.  

"We had 10 very large and heavy beams and 26 large red iron trusses that we had to move by boat, and unload them without equipment," Huff explains. "At one time it seemed completely impossible, but God gave the answer how to move them." 

Huff even praises God for the weather, explaining that typically August is a very wet month in Western Alaska, but during the two weeks he was there, the building effort was blessed by only two short periods of rain. "It was really amazing and incredibly unusual," he says.

Enclosed building at Camp AN
Through the efforts of missionaries and many volunteers, the Camp AN camp building is built in just 32 days.

Schulz says that the new building will house the chapel, dining hall and kitchen. 

"We have used the tents for 19 years and they show much wear," Schulz says. "Now we will be able to continue with a safe, dry, warm facility to continue reaching and disciplining souls for Christ. Next summer we have some 'finish' work to complete — outside steps, windows, two side doors, electrical work and insulate. We are confident God will continue to help us with this as well."

To view additional pictures of the building project in different stages of completion, see the Schulzes' Camp AN Flickr pages. To learn more about Coins for Kids, click here.

 

Authors: Dan Van Veen

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