In 2006, a group of us went on a one week mission trip to work with the Servant's Heart ministry, based in Guatemala City, Guatemala. While we were there we had the chance to make visits to the Shanty Town that was a short walk from ministry headquarters.
Shanty Town was where the poorest of the poor of the city lived. Walls of homes were pieces of plywood with sheets of metal serving as the roof. There was no electricity. Lamps and candles provided light at night. Furnishings were sparse. A bed (that often slept many), a chair and a table, and a cabinet for storing a few things was all that we saw in many of the homes.
We'd never seen poverty like this. What can you give to a person who lives in such horrible conditions? The young Guatemalans showed us the way. You give people God's Word.
As people shared their stories and talked about their needs, the Guatemalans kept pointing people to Christ for help and hope. And although they did not carry Bibles with them, they had memorized God's Word and the Holy Spirit gave them the words to say to the people we were meeting with. Our group was both amazed and impressed by how well these young people knew the Scriptures.
When we came back from our trip we resolved that we would make that same commitment to knowing and treasuring God's Word. We started providing little cards that had a Bible verse that people could pick up and keep handy for memorization. And we did this for the better part of a year.
For the past couple of months I've been thinking of ways to encourage our church family to better treasure God's Word. We know that God's Word has the power to speak forgiveness as we confess our sins; it has the power to comfort us when we mourn loss or separation; it has the power to give us hope when life feels hopeless; God's Word points us to Christ Jesus, "the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."
So starting on January 4, 2015, we will introduce "The 52" at LICL. It's pretty simple, really. Each week we will invite our church family to memorize a Bible verse. We'll be looking for ways to get our children and youth involved as well. Periodically, we'll review the verses during the Sunday Adult Bible study and learn how people have applied the verses to their lives. And there will be other things we'll do throughout the year to encourage everyone to better treasure God's Word.
I'm excited about this opportunity and I hope our members will grow in excitement during the coming year. What could be better than to have God's Word on the top of your head and hidden deep in your heart? That's what "The 52" will do for you!