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May 28, 2020

Renewing Your Mind by Memorizing Scripture
Joseph Scarfone, Pastor of Children and Family Ministry

One of the most important and beneficial endeavors a person can partake in is memorizing Scripture. You would think that everyone would want to have the Word of God ingrained in his or her memory, yet so few people take the time to memorize Scripture.

I’m sure you personally have a couple of verses memorized and can recite John 3:16, but have you ever set out to purposefully memorize His Word? You also likely have your children participating in ministries such as Awana, where they memorize key verses, but are you making an effort to memorize the verses yourself? Yes, it’s great to have ministries where kids can treasure Scripture in their hearts, but as parents we should be memorizing the verses alongside them. Dallas Willard explains by saying, “Bible memorization is absolutely fundamental to spiritual formation. If I had to choose between all the disciplines of the spiritual life, I would choose Bible memorization, because it is a fundamental way of filling our mind with what it needs.”

When we are intentional about memorizing Scripture, we will see the Word of God transform our thinking. We will experience the renewal of the mind that the Apostle Paul speaks of when he says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind” (Rom 12:2). It is this renewal of our mind that transforms our hearts, our thinking and our lives.

Why You Should Memorize Scripture as a Parent

When you memorize Scripture you are being a great example to your children. Our faith is more caught than taught, and when your children see that you have the Word of God treasured in your heart they will begin to follow your practice. Consequently, when we tell our children they should memorize Bible verses but don’t practice the discipline ourselves, we are being hypocritical. Before long, they realize it’s not important to us and may model the same behavior. Lead by example and you will help develop a discipline that will powerfully impact the whole family.

The Benefits of Memorizing Scripture

1.              Memorizing Scripture will help you fight temptation (Matt 4:4).

2.              Memorizing Scripture will help you to pray more effectively (John 15:7).

3.              Memorizing Scripture will help you to control our thought life (2 Corinthians 10:5).

4.              Memorizing Scripture will help you to protect our heart (Prov 4:23).

5.              Memorizing Scripture will help you to give a defense of your faith (1 Pet 3:15).

6.              Memorizing Scripture can aid in bringing salvation to your children (2 Tim 3:15).

7.              Memorizing Scripture will empower you to have victory over sin (Psalm 119).

8.              Memorizing Scripture gives the Holy Spirit words to guide you (John 14:26).

9.              Memorizing Scripture helps to strengthen you (1 John 2:14).

10.          Memorizing Scripture helps in training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

*List modified from The Disciple-Making Parent by Chap Bettis

Model Scripture Memorization for Your Children

Memorizing the very Word of God empowers you to live the Christian life with greater focus toward glorifying God. When we model for our children this vital discipline they will see us living out our faith with more sincerity. Do not overlook the great importance and power of memorizing God’s Word.

Chuck Swindoll elaborates, “I know of no other single practice in the Christian life more rewarding, practically speaking, than memorizing Scripture…No other single exercise pays greater dividends!”

Scripture Memorization for the Whole Family

When we apply this practice to our family, we will see God use it “For His Glory!” Making a small decision now can radically impact your whole family. Commit to memorizing Scripture and renew your mind. Allow for the Word of God to have a more prominent space in the life of your family by memorizing Scripture together.

I encourage every family to begin memorizing Scripture today. Try to start with one verse a week! Colonial Children’s Ministry has been posting a “Verse of the Week” on their Facebook Group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/cbccolonialkids/) that can help your family get started.

I hope you’ll take advantage of this wonderful resource and begin challenging yourself and your family to store God’s Word in your minds today.

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May 6, 2020

Invest Wisely In Your Children
Joseph Scarfone, Pastor of Children and Family Ministry

If you were to ask the power brokers of the financial world what was the key to their success, there would be a unanimous echo, “Invest wisely!” You only have so much money, so you want to listen to their advice and ensure you get the greatest return on your investment.  You’ve also likely heard the old adage that “Time is money,” which means there are two great currencies of the world with nearly equal value—time and money.

But not everyone has money to invest. However, everyone has time. So it is this currency that I want to urge you to invest wisely. How are you investing your time? Are you investing your time at all, or are you letting each day slip by, with no return on investment? If you have children, you are likely thinking of their future and investing money in a college fund, but are you investing your time in them now, that will have a lifetime impact on them?

I want to encourage you to invest your time in your children wisely. At this moment, during the COVID-19 global pandemic, most people have more time than before. How have you been investing it? If not already, here are 6 ways to make that wise investment:

Invest in Their Character
No matter their age, you can invest in their character. This is who they are versus who they will become. Ultimately, we want them to live in the character of Christ. However, our children often lack Christlike character. After all, they weren’t born saints. On the contrary, they were born little sinners. Therefore, it is likely their character is far from exemplary.

Remember that, like you, they are a work in progress. Thank God He is not finished with us yet! So, we always have time to invest in their character. Their character is something they will take with them long after they graduate high school. When we spend time to teach virtues like love, peace, mercy, discipline and encouragement, we are setting a foundation with our children that they can truly build upon.

Invest in the Gospel
Whether your children are 3, 13, or 30 they need the gospel, just like you need the gospel. You never outgrow the gospel. You never reach a point in your Christian walk where the gospel is a “been there, done that” aspect of faith. The gospel is a message. It is the only message. Yes, we may teach doctrinal truths to our children, but they must be built upon the good news of Jesus Christ.

When you make the gospel a critical part of your parenting, you are investing in the gospel message for future generations. You accomplish this by teaching the need for the Savior because of sin. When your children sin, correct them and train them in righteousness by always coming back to the gospel. When you sin against your children, and you will, confess your sin to them and your desperate need for the gospel. When we model the need for the gospel to our children we are investing in the message, which the Apostle Paul tells us is “the power of God unto salvation” (Rom 1:16).

Invest in Prayer
Prayer is a discipline of the Christian faith that expresses a humble dependence upon God. When we pray, we are telling God we need Him and can’t do it on our own. When we pray for our children, we appeal to God to save them, shape them and use them for His purposes. Investing in prayer is critical. When you think you’ve prayed enough for your children, pray some more.

When you feel like you are all prayed out, pray some more. When you have prayed all day and night, pray some more.

You cannot pray enough. Adopt the attitude expressed to the Thessalonian church “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17). Pray for your children, for your spouse, for yourself. Pray the salvation of your children, for their spiritual growth, for repentance, for confession. Pray, pray and pray some more. Invest in prayer.

Invest in Biblical Literacy
People just don’t know the Bible. Whether they are overwhelmed by the deep theological complexities, the difficult passages, or the inability to pronounce names in the Old Testament, people are biblically illiterate. According to Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, biblical illiteracy is the great scandal of the modern church. Mohler affirms, “The larger scandal is biblical ignorance

among Christians…America’s Christians know less and less about the Bible. It shows.”

Much of America’s moral decline is attributed to biblical illiteracy. This idea alone is enough to push one toward learning the Bible, yet there are so many other reasons. God has revealed Himself to us through His Word and when we teach the Bible to our children with a passion, our faith is caught more than taught. When we make reading the Bible and studying His Word part of our lifestyle, our children will become more biblically literate. If you invest even five minutes every day to reading the Scripture, your family will see an increase in Bible knowledge.

Invest in Discipleship
Jesus’s final words in the Gospel of Matthew are widely known as “The Great Commission.” While many people focus on the “Go” of “Go therefore and make disciples…” (Matt 28:19), the imperative command is to make disciples. This means that while you are going, wherever it may be, make disciples.

If God has blessed you with children, you have a beautiful discipleship opportunity to make disciples of your own children. When you go to the store, make disciples, when you are cleaning up after dinner, make disciples, when you’re returning home from the game, you guessed it, make disciples. Everywhere you go, all the time…make disciples! This falls in line with the Deuteronomy 6 (D6) family discipleship mandate.

Deuteronomy 6:5-9
5You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. 6And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. 7You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. 8You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. 9You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Essentially, this means teach your children, all the time and everywhere. Teach them your all-consuming love for God, which is described as “with all your heart.” As you are going throughout your day with your children, be intentional about investing in discipleship.

Invest in Worship
Worship is often considered the music portion of Sunday service, but it is so much more. True worship is a condition of the heart. This is where you surrender all you are to all of Him in absolute adoration. When we worship God with a zeal that is built upon doctrine and truth, we will teach our children authentic worship.

Just as discipleship is to be done all the time everywhere, so is worship. Paul reminds us that even the mundane tasks should be viewed as worship. He says, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (1 Cor 10:31). Every act can be an act of worship if it is done with the right condition of the heart. It is simply this, living for His glory.

When we parent, we parent for His glory, we correct our children for His glory, and we teach them for His glory. All of these, when invested properly, are acts of worship. Invest in worship!

Invest Wisely
We have so many ways we can invest in our children. Make the most of the time that God has given you to impact your children and train them to love the Lord. Invest in your children daily and they will produce an amazing return on your investment that God will use “For His Glory!”