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)

the Christ house: Thessalonians, Timothy, Titus & Philemon

 

The-Christ-HouseThis month, we wind up our year-long reading of the New Testament. We’ve read the NT at a deliberately leisurely pace of one chapter per day so as to take special note of what is specifically said about Jesus Christ. As we’ve read, we’ve memorized one verse about the Christ from each of the New Testament books; a “Christ verse.”

During the first 22 days of December we’ll read the letters of Paul that we know today as 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon. Come the last week of this year (Dec. 23-31), we’ll reflect on all we’ve read this month. The Christ verses to memorize as we read through these letters in December are:

  • “Give thanks in every situation because this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thes. 5.18)
  • “May the Lord lead your hearts to express God’s love and Christ’s endurance.” (2 Thes. 3.5)
  • “This saying is reliable and deserves full acceptance: ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’—and I’m the biggest sinner of all.” (1 Tim. 1.15)
  • “… anyone who wants to live a holy life in Christ Jesus will be harassed.” (2 Tim. 3.12)
  • “… we wait for the blessed hope and the glorious appearance of our great God and savior Jesus Christ.” (Titus 2.13)
  • “May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.” (Philemon 25)

Dec. 1 – 1 Thessalonians 1
Dec. 2 – 1 Thessalonians 2
Dec. 3 – 1 Thessalonians 3
Dec. 4 – 1 Thessalonians 4
Dec. 5 – 1 Thessalonians 5
Dec. 6 – 2 Thessalonians 1
Dec. 7 – 2 Thessalonians 2
Dec. 8 – 2 Thessalonians 3
Dec. 9 – 1 Timothy 1
Dec. 10 – 1 Timothy 2
Dec. 11 – 1 Timothy 3
Dec. 12 – 1 Timothy 4
Dec. 13 – 1 Timothy 5
Dec. 14 – 1 Timothy 6
Dec. 15 – 2 Timothy 1
Dec. 16 – 2 Timothy 2
Dec. 17 – 2 Timothy 3
Dec. 18 – 2 Timothy 4
Dec. 19 – Titus 1
Dec. 20 – Titus 2
Dec. 21 – Titus 3
Dec. 22 – Philemon
Dec. 23-31 – reflection

You can easily read these letters of Paul online in any of a multitude of translations on BibleGateway. Here’s a link to today’s reading: 1 Thessalonians 1.

I pray your experience this year with this portion of God’s word has been a blessing to you in many, and powerful, ways. May we ever be students, and servants, of the word. Amen.

the Christ house: Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians & Colossians

 

The-Christ-HouseParticipating MoSt Church members are reading through the New Testament this year at the pace of one chapter per day. We call this project The Christ House (TCH) because as we read, we’re paying special attention to everything that is said about Jesus Christ. As we read, we also determine to memorize one verse about the Christ from each book of the New Testament. We call these memory verses “Christ verses.”

During the first 20 days of November we’re reading the letters of Paul that we know today as Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians. Come the end of the month (Nov. 21-30), we’ll reflect on all we’ve read. The Christ verses to memorize as we read through these letters are:

  • “… a person isn’t made righteous by the works of the Law but rather through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ. (Galatians 2.16)
  • “This is what God planned for the climax of all times: to bring all things together in Christ, the things in heaven along with the things on earth.” (Ephesians 1.10)
  • “God has generously granted you the privilege, not only of believing in Christ but also of suffering for Christ’s sake.” (Philippians 1.29)
  • “All the fullness of deity lives in Christ’s body.” (Colossians 2.9)

Nov. 1 – Gal. 1
Nov. 2 – Gal. 2
Nov. 3 – Gal. 3
Nov. 4 – Gal. 4
Nov. 5 – Gal. 5
Nov. 6 – Gal. 6
Nov. 7 – Eph. 1
Nov. 8 – Eph. 2
Nov. 9 – Eph. 3
Nov. 10 – Eph. 4
Nov. 11 – Eph. 5
Nov. 12 – Eph. 6
Nov. 13 – Phil. 1
Nov. 14 – Phil. 2
Nov. 15 – Phil. 3
Nov. 16 – Phil. 4
Nov. 17 – Col. 1
Nov. 18 – Col. 2
Nov. 19 – Col. 3
Nov. 20 – Col. 4
Nov. 21-30 – reflection

You can easily read Paul’s letters to the Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians online in any of a multitude of translations on BibleGateway. Here’s a link to today’s reading: Galatians 1.

putting skin on the sermon: pray this way

 

Today marks the start of a new series of regular posts here. Starting today, and always on Mondays, I’ll post (1) a brief summation of the gist of my sermon from the previous morning and (2) some random thoughts as to how to apply some aspect of the sermon to daily life.

My sermon yesterday morning was from Luke’s account of Jesus’ answer to the request of one of his disciples to teach them how to pray (Luke 11.1-13). After a look at the “what” of this basic, foundational prayer (the prayer’s five statements – vs.2b-4), we thought about “why” we regularly need to pray such.

For the sake of application, we summed that up with a paraphrase of the prayer with some of the “why” in mind. That paraphrase read: “Father, help me live holy before you. Override my self-seeking agenda. Give me what I need to live another day here for you. Show mercy to me the way I’m merciful to all who wrong me. When I’m distracted and lured from you, don’t leave me that way: arrest my attention and lead me home.”

Now, what can you do with that? Here are seven ways you can put some skin on this sermon:

1. Memorize this prayer our Lord told us to pray in Luke 11.2-4. Use the rendering of your choice, of course, but let me suggest the CEB for its simplicity and clarity here. Learn it so well that you come to say it just as easily and as naturally as you might already be able to quote the KJV’s rendering of The Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6.9-13.

2. Identify any and all excuses you make for not praying. Write them down. Then set out to kill these excuses. Mercilessly.

3. Make a very simple, but specific plan each week as to when, where, and what you’ll pray. That is, create the skeleton on which you will put some skin.

4. Find and designate a specific place where you’ll often go to pray. Maybe it will be a chair on your back porch. It could be when and where you go to exercise or walk. Perhaps the driver’s seat of your car or a certain room in your apartment would work. The place matters not so much as the fact you have a specific place. After going there regularly for awhile to pray you’ll likely find your mind has become trained to almost naturally kick into, or more easily gravitate toward, prayer.

5. Select one of the five statements of the basic prayer in Luke 11.2b-4 and mull it over, reflecting on it throughout the course of a weekday. Let your heart and head chew on it throughout the day the way you’d chew on a piece of gum. The next day, select a different statement and do the same with it. Throughout each day discuss them with someone or, at the end of each day, jot down some of your ponderings in a journal.

6. Compose a prayer of your own. Write it down, using the basic prayer (vs. 2b-4) as your guide. You’ll likely find you’ll choose your words of prayer much more carefully when you write them down.

7. Brainstorm your own list of ways you could apply this basic prayer in vs. 2b-4 to your everyday actions and habits. Answer this question: “Since Jesus told me to pray this way, I will ____.”

Remember: God’s word is for our life, and our living is for our great God!

the Christ house: Revelation

 

The-Christ-HouseParticipating MoSt Church members are reading through the New Testament this year at the pace of one chapter per day. We call this project The Christ House (TCH) because as we read, we’re paying special attention to everything that is said about Jesus Christ. As we read, we also determine to memorize one verse about the Christ from each book of the New Testament. We call these memory verses “Christ verses.”

During the first 22 days of October we’re reading the book of Revelation. Come the end of the month (Oct. 23-31), we’ll reflect on all we’ve read. The Christ verse to memorize as we work through Revelation is Rev. 11.15 which reads: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and his Christ, and he will rule forever and always.”

Oct. 1 – Rev. 1
Oct. 2 – Rev. 2
Oct. 3 – Rev. 3
Oct. 4 – Rev. 4
Oct. 5 – Rev. 5
Oct. 6 – Rev. 6
Oct. 7 – Rev. 7
Oct. 8 – Rev. 8
Oct. 9 – Rev. 9
Oct. 10 – Rev. 10
Oct. 11 – Rev. 11
Oct. 12 – Rev. 12
Oct. 13 – Rev. 13
Oct. 14 – Rev. 14
Oct. 15 – Rev. 15
Oct. 16 – Rev. 16
Oct. 17 – Rev. 17
Oct. 18 – Rev. 18
Oct. 19 – Rev. 19
Oct. 20 – Rev. 20
Oct. 21 – Rev. 21
Oct. 22 – Rev. 22
Oct. 23-31 – reflection

You can easily read Revelation online in any of a multitude of translations on BibleGateway. Here’s a link to today’s reading: Revelation 1.

the Christ house: John’s Gospel

 

The-Christ-House

Participating MoSt Church members are reading through the New Testament this year at the pace of one chapter per day. We call this project The Christ House (TCH) because as we read, we’re paying special attention to everything that is said about Jesus Christ. As we read, we also determine to memorize one verse about the Christ from each book of the New Testament. We call these memory verses “Christ verses.”

During the first 21 days of September we’re reading John’s Gospel. Come the end of the month (Sept. 22-31), we’ll reflect on all we’ve read. The Christ verse to memorize as we work through John’s Gospel is John 17.3 which reads: “This is eternal life: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you sent.”

Sept. 1 – John 1
Sept. 2 – John 2
Sept. 3 – John 3
Sept. 4 – John 4
Sept. 5 – John 5
Sept. 6 – John 6
Sept. 7 – John 7
Sept. 8 – John 8
Sept. 9 – John 9
Sept. 10 – John 10
Sept. 11 – John 11
Sept. 12 – John 12
Sept. 13 – John 13
Sept. 14 – John 14
Sept. 15 – John 15
Sept. 16 – John 16
Sept. 17 – John 17
Sept. 18 – John 18
Sept. 19 – John 19
Sept. 20 – John 20
Sept. 21 – John 21
Sept. 22-30 – reflection

You can easily read the Gospel of John online in any of a multitude of translations on BibleGateway. Here’s a link to today’s reading: John 1.