Everything that’s living is growing. And everything that’s growing is fed and watered. Healthy disciples take responsibility for their own spiritual growth by having a plan. Now is a great time to make a spiritual plan for the new year. Here are some helpful links to get you moving:
Bible reading plans:
- From Zondervan: http://www.zondervan.com/Cultures/en-US/Product/Bible/Plans.htm?QueryStringSite=Zondervan. I’m using the 3 year reading plan with the kids beginning on Friday. Love that it keeps going back to the Gospels as it takes you through the whole Bible.
- If you use the new update of YouVersion on your smart phone (which I HIGHLY recommend), it comes with 20 different Bible reading plans of every stripe and variety and a tracking feature to keep your progress. A can’t-miss tool!!
- From NavPress: http://www.navpress.com/dj/content.aspx?id=138
Guidance on making spiritual plans:
Help with memorizing Scripture:
The Redhead is leading her small group to practice bible memorization. (Single men, find a woman who likes memorizing the Bible. Trust me–its sexy.) I wanted to share the method she’s using because I think its both innovative and useful.
Using the clock as a guide, they are memorizing Scriptures that relate to times of the day. So when they pass certain moments of the day their mind is prompted to remember a portion of Scripture. In a time-oriented culture, this method can help redeem your busyness by attaching Scripture to moments. Brilliant!
Here are some examples to prime your thinking:
- 1:08pm–Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses…”
- 2:10pm–Ephesians 2:10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
- 3:16pm–2 Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is breathed out by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness…” (you thought I was going all John 3:16 on you, right;-)
You get the idea. Now post your ideas. And more importantly, go memorize some Scripture.
Dallas Willard, in his book The Great Omission, repeatedly points to bible memorization as the most important spiritual discipline a follower of Jesus can engage in. His words have motivated me to climb a mountain in memorization. With my son as my coach, I have begun memorizing the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). It has really put a log on the gospel fire in my heart.
Here are some reasons why I think memorizing the Bible is so powerful:
- It passively supplies biblical language to your prayers.
- It causes many life situations to bring specific Scripture to your mind.
- It empowers the Holy Spirit to nudge you back toward Jesus.
- It excites your heart–you know that you have locked up treasure when you can repeat Scripture without a Bible.
- It gives you a tangible spiritual reality when so many spiritual realities are intangible.
- It brings joy, all by itself.
- It treasures what God treasures–His words to people.
- It breeds faith and courage.
- It follows you (even when you aren’t feeling up for following Jesus.)
Here are some reasons why I believe we don’t memorize the Bible:
- No one challenges us to.
- It seems like it will be too hard.
- We’re not sure it’s any more valuable than merely reading the Bible.
- We’ve believed lies about what our memory is capable of and so we give excuses: “I’m too old”, “I’m not a good rememberizer”, “I don’t have time to memorize things”.
- We lack tools or methods that would help us.
- We’re apathetic or at least haphazard in our commitment to spiritual growth.
- We’re pretty content with far less than God’s best.
- We’re intimidated by the scope of the whole Bible so we fail to take a small first step in memorizing it.
So please, let me give you this simple, bite-sized challenge:
- read a chapter of the bible today
- pick one verse from your reading
- write it down on a piece of paper
- put it in your pocket
- memorize it before you go to bed tonight
(And no, John 11:35 does not qualify for this exercise.)