Is there an initiative a leader can take in 2016 that is guaranteed to produce lasting fruit and that possesses the power to revolutionize lives? If so, is such an astounding claim too good to be true?
Don't take my word for it. Instead, take God at His Word:
"So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it" (Isa. 55:11).
God's promise is that when we meditate and memorize His words, the process cannot fail to produce exactly what He intends it to. God's infallible words are pulsing with life, piercing and revealing (Heb 4:12). Moses declared the words of the Lord are never ever lacking, but radically constitute our "very life" (Deut 32:47). It's no wonder David penned the longest psalm—an expansive 2,367 words—to describe the Bible's unending depths in Psalm 119.
The power of Scripture is undeniable. At the threshold of a new year, why not make this year the one we let the Word of Christ dwell richly in our hearts (Col. 3:16) . . . and invite others to experience the journey along with us?
Susan Hooker is one leader who is forging the way.
Uniting Around the Word
Inspired by Pastor John Piper's message "Greatest Book, Greatest Chapter, Greatest Joy," Susan was prompted to make Scripture memorization a higher priority in women's ministry. She understood that success and enjoyment of Scripture memory is often multiplied when people who love the Bible, and desire to treasure it more, are united in purpose. "Women of the Word (WOW)" was birthed as a year-long focus on reading through the Bible and committing Romans 8 to memory.
WOW's systematic reading plan involved memorizing Roman 8:1–39 one verse at a time, with periodic reviews. The program started in early January and ended by Thanksgiving. To stir hunger for the Word, printable memory verse cards were designed for each verse and weekly review. Downloadable artistic illustrations inspired and enhanced visual learning.
WOW wasn't intended to be a go-it-alone project. Periodic emails delivered encouragement and enabled women to connect with others who were also embarking on this venture. Spurring community and support among fellow participants was an added by-product.
As the program draws to a conclusion, Susan has observed how memorization teaches us to think God's thoughts and renews our minds in the pathway of God's truth. Not only do we need the wisdom and application of truth for ourselves, but we need to give it away to others. Romans 8 proved, over and over, to be exactly what propelled spiritual growth and faith for each person's life challenges.
One participant reflected on the program's eternal value:
Daily Bible reading gives me direction, joy, peace, and discernment—all those are the eternal benefits that start now. I see Bible reading and memorization as one of the things I can lay before His feet—His own Word that I will have as a gift to lay before His feet.
After its maiden adventure, the blessings and benefits of WOW will be carried forward. The upcoming year's memory passage is John 15.
Hungering for the Word
In Psalm 119:103, David describes how the deliciousness of God's Word delights our palate:
How sweet are your words to my taste,
sweeter than honey to my mouth!
Thinking deeply about Scripture and savoring its sweetness will satisfy like no confection possibly can.
How will you feast for yourself on God's Word and then offer the divine delicacy to the women you lead?