Sunday, January 27, 2013

Storing the Word

A friend of mine says that when things are getting a bit off in her world, she asks herself whether she's been taking her vitamins and memorizing God's Word.  Those two things inevitably make the biggest difference in her overall health.

For so many years, I considered memorizing Scripture as "optional"--something I would do when things settled down in my life .  And interestingly, the fruit I was producing matched the amount of Scripture I had committed to memory:  none.

Then, my church set out to memorize Galatians.  Not just one or two verses.  Not even just a chapter.  THE WHOLE BOOK.  And because my small group was "all in," I, as the leader, decided to be "all in."  The accountability in Scripture memory paid off, just as it does when it's set up in other areas of life.  I can't say that all six chapters were committed to memory, but a lot more were committed to memory than if I hadn't tried at all. 

Two years ago, my family and I decided to memorize Psalm 91.  The benefits of that have been innumerable.  That one psalm has come to mind hundreds of times since committing it to memory, and I've been able to share portions of it with friends during times when they needed protection.  Having that psalm in my memory bank to draw on when I am fearful has been so powerful.

Yet, despite how powerful that Scripture memory was, during 2012, I didn't set out to memorize any new Scripture verses.  Unfortunately, the failure to set a goal meant that I settled back into status quo.

I resolved to change that this year.  I set out to memorize Psalm 34, and I'm already three verses in.  But I'm changing course.  Ann Voskamp has challenged her readers to memorize several chapters from Romans.  Initially, I thought, "That's not something I want to do; I've already chosen my single psalm to memorize, and that's what I want to do."  How very mature of me.  The real obstacle was that it sounded like a big chore, and I was playing the "lazy" card.

But now that a friend has jumped on board, I'm feeling peer pressure in the most positive way and have the accountability that I need.  Despite the fact that I'm almost four weeks behind, I'm going to try to play catch-up and tackle this big goal.  And much like the large project that I just finished up at work by doing a little every day, I need to focus on little chunks at a time and not on the fact that there are THREE CHAPTERS. 

So we'll see how the next forty-eight weeks go.  At the end of that time, I hope to say that I have stored more of God's Word in my heart.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Past & The Present

2012 came and went without a single blogpost, other than the Christmas letter that I just cut and pasted on here to make sure I remember some of the key highlights.  If you were kind enough to drop in during my blog sabbatical, thank you for your loyalty and patience.

My co-worker had a baby last year, so that meant lots of writing at work and resulted in no motivation to write after hours.  Most nights I didn't even turn on my computer.  Some of that "offline time" was filled with studying.  I enjoyed completing Beth Moore's study on James and her study on David - Seeking A Heart Like His, as well as Randy Alcorn's study on Heaven.  But I wish I had made myself capture some of the "dailies" here.  I will try to be better about that this year, but I can't make any promises because some new deadlines at work have already cut into my attempts to get on here earlier this year.  So, I may resort to trying to capture a month at a time. 

What I'm Pondering This Month:
I listened to Francis Chan's talk at Passion 2013 and was struck by what his church looks like now:  5 to 10 minutes of worship; 5 to 10 minutes of prayer; 2 hours of door-to-door ministering to those in poor neighborhoods, asking what they need and praying with them; and gathering back together to tell stories from the day.  The focus is on making disciples.  It has me wondering if the American idea of "church" has become a little too consumer-ish. 

What I'm Listening To This Month:
A friend treated me to Chris Tomlin's new cd, and it's been on repeat in my car for a while now.  Every track is exceptional, but "Lay Me Down" and "Sovereign" are two songs that I keep going back to, along with "God's Great Dance Floor."
I've also found a new radio station called 88.3 The Journey, which seems to be a mix of KLTY and KCBI, two Christian radio stations in the Metroplex.  The Journey is based in Keene, so it's coverage isn't the best as you head north or west of the Metroplex.  But it has virtually no commercials and lots of good music, along with snipits of sermons.
What I'm Reading This Month:
I have four books started right now, which is very unlike me; I'm normally a one-book-at-a-time kind of gal.  Before the college football season kicked off, I started two books--The Meaning of Marriage and How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and How to Listen So Kids Will Talk (which received high praise for working on adults, just as well as kids).  And then I got a great deal on Barefoot Church by Jen Hatmaker's husband and started it, along with Undaunted by Christine Caine.  I'm hoping to get some good reading time in over the next few weekends if work eases up.
So, that's a short update to kick off my return to the blog.  I'm not going to presume that anyone is still checking this, but if you are, what are you pondering, listening to, and reading these days?  I'd love to hear.