Church-Wide Memorizing Marathon

On January 20th, our church family ran a marathon. Only, the entire event took place inside our church building. It was not running miles, but memorizing verses! It was an exciting day! I’ll share a glimpse of what happened.

The morning began with a wonderful breakfast that Cheryl volunteered to provide. (Everyone knows you need good food before a marathon!)

As breakfast was concluding, my dad gave instructions about the morning’s schedule. Everyone chose in advance whether they wanted to do a whole marathon (memorizing 26 verses, all in one morning), a half marathon (13 verses) a 10 K (6 verses) or a 5 K (3 verses). We had 37 participants.

Memorizing 26 verses all in one morning is no easy undertaking! Like physically running a marathon, it requires unusual dedication and perseverance. It helps to know others are doing it with you. Sometimes you don’t know how much you can memorize until you really apply yourself.

No one knew in advance which Bible passage we would be memorizing. The passage was printed out, and everyone was told to pick up a copy (in the version of their choice) as they entered the auditorium to begin.

Silence filled the room as the “race” began and each mind focused diligently on the passage.

That is, until the “Chariots of Fire” theme song would start playing (approximately every 45 minutes) which meant it was time to go downstairs for a quick water and snack break. (How could you run a marathon without snacks? 🙂 )

Some of the girls prepared motivational posters for the little ones to hold to cheer on the memorizes as they came down for the snack break.

After a quick break, we were all back upstairs to keep studying! Each person picked their own quiet, comfortable spot in the church to study.

Chloe found an exceptionally good study spot (her dad’s lap).

Whenever anyone finished their entire goal (whether 26, 13, 6 or 3 verses), he or she would quote to someone.

Naomi worked really hard and did a 10 K all by herself (6 verses). Here she is quoting them to Charlie.

Thomas really applied himself and here he’s quoting his 5 K (3 verses) to my grandpa with actions. We’re so proud of how hard the kids worked!

After lunch we had an awards ceremony! In this picture Stephen is passing out the 10 K medals.

Our “winner” was Laura Howard (mint sweatshirt), who memorized all 26 verses in just 90 minutes and quoted them fluently to my grandpa. Mark Woodhouse, one of our elders, was the second to finish the full marathon. 🙂 Of course, we weren’t actually racing against each other.

The event concluded with some Bible quizzing on the passage we had all just memorized.

The kids were pretty excited to see the adults quiz also. 🙂

We praise God for all the Scripture that was hidden in hearts in just a few hours, and for the joy that accompanied doing it together! We counted up how many verses that were memorized by everyone over the course of the morning and the number came to 500. Praise the Lord.

Sarah’s Birthday + John 1 + Isaiah 40

We had a nice family time at Kava House in Swisher this morning for Sarah’s birthday!

After some nice family discussion, my dad shared some insights from John 1 that he has been enjoying. I’ll try to restate his thoughts:

After John denied that he was the Messiah or Elijah, he explained who he was: the very one Isaiah 40:3 was talking about. That must have been amazing for his audience to hear. The man standing before them was the one about whom Isaiah prophesied! Wow. They were seeing prophecy being fulfilled before their eyes. However, what John the Baptist said NEXT made his previous statement pale in comparison. He said, “AMONG YOU STANDS ONE you do not know, even He who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie” (John 1:26).

Whoa! If the crowd listening was familiar with Isaiah 40 (and I’m guessing many were) they should have connected the dots, and realized that John the Baptist was talking about Jehovah, the I AM described in Isaiah 40. If they were understanding John the Baptist correctly, it should have registered in their minds that he was saying, “The Messiah is alive today in Israel! The One that ‘the voice calling in the wilderness’ from Isaiah 40:3 was called to introduce is here! He stands among you now!”

“It’s kind of like ‘Aslan is on the move,’” Stephen commented.

And if they remembered any of the amazing descriptions of this Coming One that Isaiah 40 gives they would have been even more in awe. Although John’s listeners didn’t catch on at that time to the implications of what he was saying, praise God WE can read John 1 and Isaiah 40 with understanding.

John the Baptist was a phenomenon that Israel hadn’t seen in 400 years. An angel announced his birth. His life’s work was prophesied. He was filled with the Holy Spirit from the womb (Luke 1:15). Even Jesus spoke high compliments for him (Luke 7:28). Yet all of John the Baptist’s credentials merely elevate Jesus because John said he was not worthy to even untie the strap of Jesus’ sandal.

Anyway, there are few things better than a good Bible discussion with family at a coffee shop on a cold January morning.

Our Behind the Scenes Hero

Most people who order from our online store don’t know that almost everything is packed by our 91-year-old grandpa! Not only does he pack orders, he keeps the basement organized, duplicates CDs, meticulously proof-reads for us, picks up mail from our PO box, takes inventory, packs and unpacks for our conferences, and meets many other needs (including remembering to water our plants, since we always forget).

Even more than the practical help Grandpa provides, we appreciate his prayers. Actually, he prays diligently not only for all his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, but he prays for each individual at our church by name (while keeping up-to-date with the details of their lives). Right now he is also teaching four Bible studies. 🙂 He keeps a pretty busy schedule. I hope that when I am 91 I will be living the same kind of life. Also hoping that one day I will have read through the Bible 40+ times like he has!

I won’t go into detail about the quirky skills he maintains such as quoting the books of the Bible backwards, naming major US cities in order of population, his detailed knowledge of all the presidents and vice presidents, or his tips for remembering the ten plagues in Egypt, but if you know him you can ask him yourself.

Thanks Grandpa for your godly example in our lives!

“Most men will proclaim each his own goodness, but who can find a faithful man? The righteous man walks in his integrity; His children are blessed after him” (Proverbs 20:6-7).