Monday, January 03, 2011

Mega Memory Month: Starting at the Beginning

I'm off and running this morning in my memorization work, and thankful to Ann Kroeker for hosting Mega Memory Month again this year!

I'm also excited that MMM will have a new participant in 2011: three-year-old Elijah :) After discovering how easy it is for him to memorize at this stage of his life, when his little brain is a sponge, I've decided it's high time for us to start working on Desiring God's Foundation Verses: "strategically chosen Bible verses for children preschool through age five. The pack includes 76 verses designed to lay a firm scriptural foundation of basic Biblical truth that will pave the way for faith response."

The introduction to the Foundation Verses reads:
Children are never too young to begin memorizing Bible verses! Since we want them to learn to love the Word of God, we should start Bible memory at the earliest opportunity. Although their minds may not understand every word, our prayer is that their spirits will be touched. As their life experiences add to their understanding, these verses will come to mean even more to them. ...These verses have been chosen for the basic truths they contain. Along with prayer and interaction, they will provide a solid foundation for spiritual understanding. By the time your child has memorized them, a lifelong habit of memorization will be started and a foundation for faith will be laid.
So Elijah and I began this morning with Genesis 1:1 - "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth." My Mega Memory Month goal for him is to establish a habit of working on one verse per week, and by the end of this year to have the first 50 verses memorized. Even if he can't actually recite all fifty in December, I trust that to have worked on them and memorized them temporarily will still be fruitful.

My goal for myself is a bit bigger...and honestly, a bit ridiculous-sounding. But Mega Memory Month gives me a lot of motivation and momentum--I'm not nearly so diligent about memorization when I'm on my own!--so I want to take advantage of the opportunity and aim high.

Almost all of my memorization work in the past has been in Paul's epistles and in Psalms. I decided it was time to dig into the Gospels--specifically, the book of John. I am by no means foolish or arrogant enough to believe that I can memorize the entire book of John in a year, or even two! But that's what I'm setting my long-term sights on. I hope to start at the beginning, meditating on and memorizing John's Gospel straight through, as the Apostle wrote it.

My goal at this point is to finish John 1 this month, and to get through chapter 8 by the end of 2011--which puts me on a three-year plan. Given that it took me ten months to memorize Ephesians, that's pushing it. But I'll never know what I can do until I try, right? Because memorization, by God's grace, comes so easily to me, I want to work to be a good steward of that gift. So I'm going to stretch myself and see what happens. I figure narrative will be a lot easier than Paul's letters. And I know no matter how far I get, every word of the Word that I hide in my heart will be beneficial.

So Elijah began this morning with "In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth," and I began with "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." My prayer for both of us, and for you (won't you join us, however big or small your project?) is that God will sustain and increase our hunger for His Word and nourish our souls with these Words of Life. I pray that He'll help us to work hard and be disciplined, that He'll open our eyes to see wonderful things in His Word, and that His Spirit will give us understanding as we memorize.

And then I'm asking: Lord, transform me. Don't let this be merely a mental exercise or even temporary emotional heartstring-tugging. Let it be life-changing. Let me encounter Jesus here, and not be the same. Make me more like Him as I get to know Him better. Fill me to overflowing with these life-giving words of grace and truth.

Head over to Ann's blog to sign up for Mega Memory Month, and check out the following posts for tips and inspiration:


jennymarie1981 said...

Thanks for your example and encouragement to memorize scripture. Often, in Bible studies and my 10th grade life group I'm left flipping quickly to find what the Holy Spirit has brought to mind.

It's also so encouraging to see your example of leading your pre-schooler through memorization. I recently asked my group of 16 year old what verse they shared when sharing their faith...crickets. I then asked what was their favorite verse...crickets again. It broke my heart and strengthened my resolve that in my family and in my circle of influence, the practice of hiding the Word in our hearts would be renewed.

Ann Kroeker said...

What a great plan--you are ambitious, yet realistic when taking your memory gift into account. I'm in John, too, though I worked on John 14 and now John 15. Maybe I'll piece it all together someday? Leave it to me to take a non-sequential approach! You're a wise one to lead your little one to take in the truth, one verse at a time.

Danielle said...

You go! Thanks for the link to the Foundation Verse Pack. You've really inspired me to start this with my boys too. I'm also starting them this year doing "personal" devotions. Well, as personal as listening to an audio portion of the Storybook Bible can be!

a joyful noise said...

In my childhood we did not have the foundation packs for children. My mother selected our scriptures to learn. This pack sounds like a wonderful way to begin your children on memorization.