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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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Church Dedicates Alzheimer's Facility

Thu, 20 Nov 2014 - 9:53 AM CST

Memory Lane
Van Buren First Assembly of God's Memory Lane Alzheimer's Special Care Unit is considered the finest Alzheimer's facility in Arkansas and one of the best in the nation.

Many Assemblies of God churches care for the needy through food pantries, clothing banks, holiday meals and similar compassion ministries. But Van Buren (Arkansas) First Assembly of God may be the very first AG church to not only offer a retirement center for seniors, but now a fully-staffed care unit for individuals who have Alzheimer's or dementia.

The new $5 million, 34,000 square-foot Memory Lane Alzheimer's Special Care Unit, dedicated on November 13, was recently completed through the donation of a gift of $5 million given anonymously last November. The care unit is an addition to the already existing 60,000-square-foot Legacy Heights Retirement Center.

Senior Pastor Bobby Johnson, who has been ministering at the 1,100-member church for the past 34 years, says that in 2007 the church opened the Legacy Heights Retirement Center, offering 55 units for retirees.

Having converted a wing of the center into an Alzheimer's care unit in 2009, Johnson says at first the church struggled as the economy crash at that time took its toll. "But three years ago, a foundation offered us a $1 million grant, if we could match it," Johnson says. "We matched almost all of it and that helped us recover."

Memory Lane pictures
Much of the decor in Memory Lanes is designed to help those with Alzheimer's use their memories.

Apparently liking what Johnson and Van Buren First Assembly were doing, the same foundation came back to them this past November and offered the grant money to build a state-of-the-art Alzheimer's care facility.

AG General Treasurer Doug Clay spoke at the dedication of the new unit. "Thank you for being a wonderful and biblical example of excellence in ministry to our seniors," Clay said. "There is nothing quite like this . . . praise the Lord!"

When the new facility, which is expected to open by mid-December, is at capacity (40 patients), it will have a staff of 50 to 60 people, including nurses and other professional staff who will provide 24-hour care in private rooms. The facility is also licensed by the state.

"Memory Lane is divided into two mirroring pods of 16,000-square-feet each," Johnson says. "They each have 20 rooms and include a dining room, activities room, a beauty salon, whirlpool, an outdoor walking track within the confines of each pod, and between the pods is a safe room for residents of Legacy Heights and Memory Lane."

Clay observed that one out of eight Americans are now age 65 or older, with more than 5,500 Americans turning 65 every day. "As the percentage of older people in the population increases, problems, attitudes, responsibilities, and care related to the aging become matters of increasing concern," Clay said.

Pastor Bobby Johnson
Pastor Bobby Johnson

Johnson agrees with Clay's assessment. "Statistics say 1 out of 2 people who are 85 will contract this disease — a disease where there are no survivors."

According to what state officials have already communicated to Johnson, the new Alzheimer's facility is the best in the state and is one of the best in the nation.

"The difference is, this facility was built strictly for Alzheimer's patients — it's not an older building converted to house Alzheimer's patients," Johnson explains. "For example, our large outdoor walking track is secure, pictures and decorations are from the 1930s, 40s and 50s, which will help with memory, and each patient's door will have pictures of their family members on it."

What's more, Johnson says, those residents living at Legacy Heights and the patients soon to be a part of Memory Lane will continue to have the opportunities to hear the gospel message, through visitation of retired AG ministers and live-streaming of all church services.

And perhaps Clay summed the church's efforts up best when he said during the dedication, "Thank you for addressing this concern with care, quality and excellence."

For more information about Legacy Heights or Memory Lane, contact Van Buren First AG at info@vbfirst.com.

 

 

Keywords: AG churches
Authors: Dan Van Veen

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