the first 40 texts in The C45 Project

Throughout this year my Sunday morning sermons have had their roots in a church-wide effort toward the memorization of forty-five passages from across the whole of Scripture (The C45 Project).

For your ease of continued practice and review, following are all thirty-nine of the C45 texts we’ve sought to memorize thus far, plus this coming week’s text (Joshua 24.15):

▪ Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him … (Ephesians 1.3-4a NIV)

▪ Honor everyone. Love the family of believers. Have respectful fear of God. Honor the emperor. (1 Peter 2.17 CEB)

▪ … make your top priority God’s kingdom and his way of life … (Matthew 6.33a KNT)

▪ He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? (Micah 6.8 NASB)

▪ … imitate me, just as I imitate Christ. (1 Corinthians 11.1 NLT)

▪ … the LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin … (Exodus 34.6-7a NRSV)

▪ … yet by no means clearing the guilty. (Exodus 34.7a NRSV)

▪ … your Father knows what you need before you ask him. (Matthew 6.8b NIV)

▪ … offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God. This is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to this world’s pattern, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Romans 12.1-2a)

▪ I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14.6 CEB)

▪ My grace is enough for you; my power comes to perfection in weakness. (2 Corinthians 12.9 KNT)

▪ Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love. (1 Corinthians 16.13-14 NIV)

▪ In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. … The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. (John 1.1,14a NIV)

▪ For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3.16 TNIV)

▪ Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe. (John 20.29b NRSV)

▪ … even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. (1 Peter 3.14-15a TNIV)

▪ Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience … (1 Peter 3.15b-16a TNIV)

▪ Return the joy of your salvation to me and sustain me with a willing spirit. (Psalm 51.12 CEB)

▪ The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. (Psalm 145.18-19 NIV)

▪ Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalm 119.105 NRSV)

▪ God is our refuge and strength, a help always near in times of great trouble. That’s why we won’t be afraid when the world falls apart … (Psalm 46.1-2a CEB)

▪ … God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah. … Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. (Acts 2.36b,38a NIV)

▪ Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. (Ephesians 5.21 NIV)

▪ … I may have all the faith needed to move mountains — but if I have no love, I am nothing. (1 Corinthians 13.2b GNT)

▪ … the only thing that counts is faith working through love. (Galatians 5.6b NRSV)

▪ “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” (Mark 1.17 NIV)

▪ I will do whatever you ask for in my name, so that the Father can be glorified in the Son. When you ask me for anything in my name, I will do it. (John 14.13-14 CEB)

▪ I will show you what someone is like who comes to me, hears my words, and acts on them. (Luke 6.47 NRSV)

▪ Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart … (Matthew 11.28-29a NIV)

▪ The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace. (Numbers 6.24-26 NRSV)

▪ Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength. (Deuteronomy 6.4-5 NRSV)

▪ You must not take revenge nor hold a grudge against any of your people; instead, you must love your neighbor as yourself; I am the Lord. (Leviticus 19.18 CEB)

▪ So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. (Genesis 1.27 NRSV)

▪ Then the one seated on the throne said, “Look! I’m making all things new.” He also said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true. (Revelation 21.5 CEB)

▪ My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind, consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance; and let endurance have its full effect … (James 1.2-4a NRSV)

▪ Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. (Hebrews 13.1 NIV)

▪ … if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from everything we’ve done wrong. (1 John 1.9 CEB)

▪ … let us draw near to God with a true heart in the full assurance of faith … hold fast to the unwavering confession of hope … consider how to provoke one another to love and good works … (Hebrews 10.22,23,24 TCV)

▪ I have sent you to harvest what you didn’t work hard for; others worked hard, and you will share in their hard work. (John 4.38 CEB)

▪ … choose this day whom you will serve … but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24.15 NRSV)


C45 Scripture memorization project: common excuses called out


Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him … (Ephesians 1.3-4a NIV)

That is our very first memory verse in this project and what a great one it is, no? Week # 1, starting today, Ephesians 1.3-4a. You can do this!

But now, (sigh) on to the excuses …

Excuse #1Uh, the dog ate my announcement sheet that had the memory verse on it.

A. Bad dog; b-a-d dog! Lucky for you the week’s text is also available on my Facebook and Twitter, on the church’s text message group and e-News (like this one), the projection announcements, and more. Not to mention – you can always make my day and just ask me. 😉

Excuse #2I don’t like the version selected that we’re supposed to memorize the passage in because it isn’t the one I use most of the time and it sounds different.

A. Get over it. That’s right, that’s what I said – get over it.

Think of it like this. If Jesus showed up and said something to your face one way one day and then, a few days later, spoke of the very same subject, but in slightly different words, would you correct him and say, “Hey, that’s not how you said it three days ago! That was the only right way and this way isn’t!” Uh, not, you wouldn’t. You’d gladly accept both ways of saying it; in fact, you’d be very humbled and grateful he even spoke to you at all, right? In fact, that’s what we have time and again with parallel passages throughout the Bible.

Well, it works the exact same way with Bible translations. Same thought/different words. Accept it. Further, learn to like it. Because it is the meaning you’re ultimately after, right, not just some argument over words?

Besides, if you can’t express the same thought two different ways, I dare say you don’t really understand the thought in it well enough yet. So don’t resist variation, rather, run to embrace it. And so, allow such moments to deepen your awareness, learning, understanding, and thinking … not allowing the devil to play with your head and lead you to grumble about the very words of God.

Excuse #3I’ve got a Bible. Several of them. Paper and digital. On my tablet and my phone. With every word in the Bible so easily and quickly accessible, tell me why I need to memorize these texts? 

A. You asked frankly so, I’ll respond frankly: because they’re everywhere except where they can be doing some good for you all of the time. Knowing where your Bible is, what you think it says, where to find things in it – none of these can take the place of keeping the word of God in your heart. It is the difference between having a package of seeds and having those seeds in the ground.

Excuse #4I. Need. Help. Because. This. Is. Hard. For. Me.

A. Fair enough; that is not an excuse; that’s a sincere cry for help! So, here are four truly helpful tips …

* Memorize the text in small pieces (4-8 words) at a time. Get that piece down cold – meaning you can say it aloud consistently, instantaneously, and flawlessly every time – before you add the next words. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

* Write the passage out several times each day (no typing allowed). This forces you to think about every letter of every word and engages an additional, powerful sense in the work – your sense of touch – which will – write it down! – greatly aid your memory.

* Pay close attention to movement in the passage. As in the sense of time (past, present, future) as well as other matters (who, what, where, why, how). Note as well things like causation (e.g. – “because,” “by,” “from”), company (e.g. – “with,” “in”) direction (e.g. – “to,” “up,” “down”), and consequence (e.g. – “so that,” “in order that”). Think of these matters as something like road signs along the way. Often those “little” words will prompt you to remember the entire following string of words.

* Use your body to help your brain. Get in front of a mirror and use gestures to help convey the meaning of the text as you say it aloud. For example, does the passage speak of something being done to you or inside of you? If so, point at your heart. Does it address a group a people with words like “us” or “we?” Then broadly gesture as if toward a crowd with the sweep of your hand. Is God addressed? Look up while you say the word “God.” You get the idea. Just try it; it works wonders with your memory!

Excuse #5This really does look like a great project and I’d really like to do it, but you just don’t know how busy my life is right now and …

A. Then you’re too busy for your own good. So get real honest, inventory what occupies your time, stop doing something (or cut back), and make memorizing what the Holy Spirit has said to you a greater desire and a higher priority.

Pick something: spend less time on social media, not as much time with the news, put this in place of some of your music or video time, etc.

Multi-task: write the week’s text on a sticky-note and tack it where you are at the moment (on the mirror while you’re shaving or putting on your make-up; on the equipment or in the palm of your hand while you exercise; on your dashboard while you’re driving; etc.).

You have the time. Reject telling yourself otherwise. Just make this matter a higher priority and let something of lower priority slide, for God speaking to you is rather important, no?

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him … (Ephesians 1.3-4a NIV)

feed your head; help your heart


We’ve almost reached the halfway point in this year’s church-wide Bible reading project at MoSt, the Uncommon Truth for Common People project (UTCP). Consequently, now is a good time to stop and review the bite-sized portions of Scripture we’ve been encouraged to memorize and meditate on through the course of the past six months. How much of the following have you deliberately set your heart on thus far this year? How much do you recall?

Bible reading – “You must be doers of the word and not only hearers who mislead themselves.” (James 1:22)

prayer – “But Jesus would withdraw to deserted places for prayer.” (Lk. 5:16)

community – “You are the body of Christ and parts of each other.” (1 Cor. 12:27)

serving – “Don’t hesitate to be enthusiastic—be on fire in the Spirit as you serve the Lord!” (Rom. 12:11)

stewardship – “Teach us to number our days so we can have a wise heart.” (Ps. 90:12)

love – “This is my commandment: love each other just as I have loved you.” (Jn. 15:12)

hospitality – “… provide for their journey in a way that honors God.” (3 Jn. 6b)

self-discipline – “… desire first and foremost God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness …” (Matt. 6:33)

testing – “… it’s necessary for you to be distressed for a short time by various trials. This is necessary so that your faith may be found genuine.” (1 Pet. 1.6-7)

character – “… God has been generous to me, and I have everything I need.” (Gen. 33.11)

perseverance – “Remain in me, and I will remain in you.” (Jn. 15:4a)

obedience – “I hurry to keep your commandments – I never put it off!” (Ps. 119:60)

second chances – “… we had to celebrate. … He was lost and is found.” (Lk. 15.32)

sharing your faith – “All the things I do are for the sake of the gospel …” (1 Cor. 9:23)

hope – “I put my hope in you all day long.” (Ps. 25.5b)

reconciliation – “… everyone who is angry with their brother or sister will be in danger of judgment.” (Matt. 5.22)

worship – “… let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” (Amos 5.24)

communion – “…we who are many are one body, because we all share the one loaf of bread.” (1 Cor. 10.17)

family – “…my family and I will serve the Lord.” (Josh. 24.15b)

grace – “You are saved by God’s grace because of your faith.” (Eph. 2.8a)

baptism – “Change your hearts and lives. Each of you must be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.” (Acts 2.38)

truth – “… you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (Jn. 8.32)

Holy Spirit – “… you aren’t self-centered. Instead you are in the Spirit …” (Rom. 8.9a)

setting an example – “…set an example for the believers …” (1 Tim. 4.12a)

courage – “If we are to enter God’s kingdom, we must pass through many troubles.” (Acts 14.22b)

Feed your head. Help your heart. Strengthen your spirit. Work on your ways. Walk the talk. Take in, chew on, digest, and be the good stuff of God.

word for the weak: week fifteen


This week’s theme in the Uncommon Truth for Common People project at MoSt Church is hope. The reading schedule is:

• Mon., Apr. 9 – John 3.1-15; 19.38-42; 20.19-30
• Tues., Apr. 10 – Psalm 25.1-5; 62.1-8
• Wed., Apr. 11 – Luke 8.40-56; Habakkuk 3.1-19; 1 Timothy 6.17
• Thur., Apr. 12 – Matthew 14.22-36; Hebrew 6.9-19
• Fri., Apr. 13 – Ephesians 1.15-23; John 3.1-3; 1 Peter 1.13-15

This week’s memory verse is: “I put my hope in you all day long.” (Psalm 25.5b)

word for the weak: week six


This week marks the start of our sixth week in the Uncommon Truth for Common People project. This week’s theme is love and this week’s reading schedule follows:

• Mon., Feb. 6 – 1 Corinthians 13:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-9; 1 Peter 4:1-8

• Tues., Feb. 7 – John 13:34-35; 1 John 4:7-21

• Wed., Feb. 8 – Ruth 1-4; 1 John 3:11-24; John 15:12-13; Luke 7:36-50

• Thur., Feb. 9 – Romans 8:31-39; 5:6-8; John 3:16-17; Psalm 136

• Fri., Feb. 10 – Romans 13:8-10; 12:9-13; Galatians 5:13-14

This week’s memory verse is: “This is my commandment: love each other just as I have loved you.” (John 15:12 CEB)

word for the weak (1)


Tomorrow marks the start of the year-long Uncommon Truth for Common People (UTCP) reading project at MoSt Church. During the course of 2012, we’ll follow the fifty-two themes and related Scriptures as outlined in the Daily Companion Bible, a devotional edition of the Common English Bible. This week’s theme is reading the Bible and the schedule looks like this:

Mon., Jan. 2 – The Bible Tells Me SoDeut. 8:1-11; Matt. 4:1-11; John 5:36-47; 2 Tim. 2:15
Tues., Jan. 3 – Letting the Bible Read Us1 Cor. 2:6-16; Psalm 119:1-16
Wed., Jan. 4 – Finding Your Way in the Bible2 Tim. 3:10-17; James 1:19-25; Psalm 119:105
Thur., Jan. 5 – Get the Most Out of Bible Study2 Kings 22:1-23:25
Fri., Jan. 6 – Change ComesMark 4:1-20; Deut. 30:11-20; Heb. 4:12-13

As we do our reading each week, let me encourage you to memorize one sentence/verse of Scripture from each week’s reading. Memorize it as early in the week as possible and mention or quote the Scripture in conversations with others – family, friends, and the unfamiliar – through the course of the week. This will not only help you remember the Scripture you’ve memorized and give you something to mentally chew on throughout the course of the week, but will also help you along the way toward living out that word from God’s Spirit and will serve as an encouragement to others.

This week, the Scripture to memorize and utilize is:

You must be doers of the word and not only hearers who mislead themselves. (James 1:22 CEB)