Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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Child:

Her children rise up and bless her; her husband also,and he praises her, saying, "Many daughters have done nobly, but you excel them all." Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised. Give her the product of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates. Proverbs 31:10–31 NASB (cheers and applause)

Dannah Gresh: There are cash prizes and lots of accolades! Celebrities help host the game-show-style competition.

Brian Mullins: They are wonderful friends, they are fun guys and they are the human versions of the Tasmanian Devil: David and Jason Benham!

Dannah: The mission of The National Bible Bee is to engage young people in the memorization and study of God’s Word and to provide opportunities to proclaim it through local, national, and broadcast competitions. That’s a great goal, but do they accomplish it? We’ll ask some parents about it today.

This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth, author of A Place of Quiet Rest, for Tuesday, April 21, 2020. I’m Dannah Gresh. 

Yesterday on Revive Our Hearts, Nancy spoke with seven different young people about the value of memorizing God’s Word and how they’ve been helped to do that by The National Bible Bee.

If you’d like to review that program, feel free to listen on the Revive Our Hearts app or wherever you listen to the podcast. You can also listen at our website, ReviveOurHearts.com. Today, Nancy turns to the parents to get their perspective . . . like, how much time does all of this study and memorization take? 

This conversation was recorded in a make-shift studio we set up in a hotel room in Nashville. Let’s listen in together.

Nancy Demoss Wolgemuth: Your kids, they haven’t arrived; they’re not perfect; they’re like us, right? So we’re all still in process, and what a joy to see God using His Word to sanctify them! You have different roles here, so as I ask you a question, maybe we’ll try and identify whether you’re a parent, or what your role is here.

Let me start with you, Brian. You’re the Executive Director of The National Bible Bee, and how many years have you been involved with the Bible Bee? 

Brian: I started in 2015 with the Bible Bee and have just been working and serving with our great team. We have people who are passionate about engaging young people with Scripture and helping them to develop the tools it takes to not just know God’s Word, but to study God’s Word, live God’s Word, and love God’s Word.

These few years I’ve been able to work with them, I’m just so inspired and encouraged by their passion and diligence about God’s Word.

Nancy: So as you watch these kids and—as you say—their diligence and passion, how has that impacted your life and your walk with the Lord?

Brian: Well, I tell you, it’s challenging! Because you see the effort and the time that they spend and the way that they don’t just take things at face value. You mentioned that it’s not just rote memorization, but it’s internalizing the truth of God’s Word. It’s the Word of God being planted in their hearts and seeing that fruit come out in their lives. It’s truly inspiring to me!

Some of you have an eight-year-old, a ten-year-old, an eighteen-year-old . . . and seeing them in the different stages of life, but with the same passion and the same drive to know God’s Word. It’s inspiring me, and it challenges me to dive in even more into God’s Word. Really, it’s challenging!

Nancy: Beverly, we’ve talked with two of your sons. 

Beverly Moss: I have Thomas and Samuel.

Nancy: They are two of your nine children, is that right?

Beverly: Yes, that’s right.

Nancy: How many of your kids have you had involved in the Bible Bee over the years?

Beverly: Seven. We have two who are too young to compete.

Nancy: They’re coming up?

Beverly: Yes! 

Nancy: So you’ve had them in Primaries, Juniors, Seniors?

Beverly: Yes, every summer since we started, that has just been something our family does together. We all do the Discovery Journal. My husband and I both have our journals that we try to do along with them. The little ones will try to do what they can, even if they are not officially competing yet. We try to learn the Scriptures together.

My husband and I are not quite as sharp as the children, so it takes us a lot longer to learn them, but we try to make it a family event.

Nancy: How did you first find out about the Bible Bee, and what got you interested in participating?

Beverly: We came to Nashville when it was here in 2011 (we live a couple hours away). We actually came just to hear some musical groups that were performing. The competition was just sort of a side thing for us. I actually didn’t even go. I had a nursing baby and I was with him, but my husband took some of the older children.

He came back and said, “I think we’re going to do this! And we’re going to host a local group!” 

And I said, “Ok-a-a-a-y!” (laughter) 

So we began, and we got our first summer materials (I think it was maybe fifty Bible verses for the summer; I can’t remember exactly how many), but I thought, “We will never be able to memorize this! This seems impossible!”

Although we had memorized as a family, I thought, In this amount of time, we can’t do it! And all of our children that competed that year (and my husband and I learned a few along the way, too) we were able to do that! We were challenged . . . and we’ve loved hosting, also! We’ve loved our local group and encouraging other families to be a part of this as well.

Nancy: We haven’t said anything yet about hosting, so just describe it. Have any of you others hosted groups? You have? Okay, let me ask Beverly first, and then Abey. Talk about what it means to host a group and what that looks like.

Beverly: Well, what that means for our family (and they give us a lot of freedom in how to host) is we meet locally with—I’m not sure how many families we have had in the past—but they’re from different churches in the community. We meet at our house or at one of their houses. We get together, and we help the children memorize their verses. We have a study.

We have two older daughters who have now aged out, and they will lead us in some games, just to help encourage them to know the material better, whatever we happen to be studying that week. We have just loved our local families, and we have just bonded so well! 

That’s really the only time we see each other, during that June to August window. But we see each other every week, and we have gotten to be just really close through that.

Nancy: Abey, we’ve heard from your daughter Amy. I had her sitting on my right side here. She’s one of the ones I got to hear recite Scripture the other night, and that was so precious! Your family has been involved. How many children do you have?

Abey: I have three girls, and we have been involved in the Bible Bee from 2009, the first year it was out there. 

Nancy: And then you’ve gotten some other families involved in groups?

Abey: Yes, many families in the New York metro area, some close to the city and some from Long Island. At one time we had close to one hundred people in our group.

Nancy: Wow! What did you tell them to get them involved?

Abey: We have the best thing to “sell” to them, right? The Word of God and the power of the Word of God! If you are marketing, this is the best thing to “market” to them. We can without any feeling of shame go to anybody. 

We say, “Oh, we have a program, the possibility of a ministry for your family and your children. Do you want to join us?” Yes, we went from church to church and house to house. So we had some ____. Later we found that many families, many churches, many children were not that motivated because of the heavy commitment on their part. 

Nancy: Okay, I’d love to hear from you, Abey, or any of you other parents. This is a major commitment for a summer, and some parents might be hearing this and thinking, But summer’s for play, or Does it feel like they’re in school year-round? What are the benefits of devoting a summer, as you just said, Abey, to doing this Bible study, Scripture study, and memorization?

Harold Ross: I think it’s been really helpful in our family. I was thinking when Abey was talking of our son. Having the summer study that he can fully devote to the Word of God, has been just incredible, especially to see how it’s been so beneficial in other parts of his life.

He understands that when that summer session comes, we switch gears a bit at that moment and then the Bible comes on top. I think just forming that ability for them to understand, “God is first and then everything else comes into play from there.”

I think we’ve seen that in his schoolwork. In studying God’s Word, putting it first, that’s helped him in so many different areas and has really helped him develop his relationship with God.

Nancy: You think about the whole of their life and not just the summer and say, “What do you really want for them long term?” In Scripture, there’s such a sense of responsibility that God gives to parents to be intentional about training their children in the ways of God. You guys are doing that by saying, “We’re going to take time for the things that matter most in this life!”

“We’re not going to seclude our kids; it’s not like they don’t know other kids or they don’t have other things going on in their lives.” They do school. I’m sure some of them are involved in sports or other kinds of activities. But you’re saying, “We’re not going to neglect the most important thing in their lives!”

I love watching that. I’m thinking that for some parents the spiritual is almost the easiest to neglect now. But you pay the greatest price for that neglect down the road. I just am so confident these kids are going to come back and thank you for steering them in a way that they might not at age nine or ten or eleven, have chosen for themselves.

Have any of you ever had your children, one or more of them, push back on the time or the commitment or the effort involved in doing this? Like, “I’m not sure I want to do this! I don’t think I can do this!” Or are all your kids always eager Beavers?

Lisa Ross: Not all the time! (laughter). Our son is very ambitious about a variety of things, and when it comes to the Bible, he loves the Bible. But there are always competing priorities in everything in life. I think the Bible Bee is presenting him with a really good opportunity to learn how to prioritize what is really more significant in life.

There are times when he may say, “You know what? I want to do this,” or “I need to do that instead.”

I say, “No. Remember who comes first.” It puts a check in his mind as to the things that are eternal versus the things that are temporal.

Nancy: You’re not letting him entirely determine what his priorities are for the summer. 

Mother: Exactly!

Nancy: There will come a time when he will determine his own priorities—all of your children will, as we do as adults. But you’re saying right now, “I’m the parent, and we think this is really important, so we’re going to make this a priority for our summer!”

Lisa: It’s the training that’s all a part of our responsibility. Children need to be guided. They need to be disciplined; they need to be trained. They need to be taught, and they need that example as well from their parents.

Nancy: Beverly, did your children, as they got into the teen years, ever think, “No-o-o-o, I don’t know if I want to keep doing this!”? 

Beverly: Well, they have had moments! (laughter)

Nancy: And you don’t have to name names. 

Beverly: No, I won’t name names. We have seven that have competed. They are all at different levels of competition, where some have not always made it to Nationals. But the summers were just always something that we did as a family. Just like in the fall and the winter and spring, we study other things as a family. That is just what we’ve done for the past twenty years as a family—study the Word together.

So, anyway, at times when they’re in the middle of a tough time and they can’t get this long passage or whatever, they struggle and go, “Oh, I don’t think I can do this!” But they do; they do keep going.

Nancy: So the parent becomes an encourager and the cheerleader and a coach to help keep them going! So this is time consuming for parents, too. It’s an investment on the part of parents. 

Hannah Leary: Exactly! I’m very thankful for the foundation that my parents gave me, encouraging me to invest in the Word of God. If it weren’t for them, their cheering and supporting me, I would probably never have invested the time I did.

The summer study is an amazing opportunity to really dig in deep! It’s available to anyone. A lot of times it’s like, “Oh, my goodness, this takes up so much time!” But the summer study is really designed to meet you wherever you’re at and with whatever time you’re able to put into it.

A lot of times we think, Oh, my goodness, if I don’t finish this . . . or If I don’t get all the verses memorized, I will have failed, and this or that. It just becomes overwhelming for parents. My parents have hosted in the past.

I teach Sunday school at my church now, as a young person, so I use the curriculum in my Sunday school class for fourth through sixth graders. They’re not necessarily studying hours upon hours every day, but that’s the cool thing about the Bible Bee: it meets you where you’re at.

You’re able to devote whatever amount of time you have, whatever amount of time the parents want to invest into the Scriptures—whether it’s a little, whether it’s a lot. It meets you where you’re at, and it encourages you that nothing is worthless when you’re studying the Scriptures.

Whether you come away from the summer study with just one verse memorized or just one passage, it is still worth it! It has encouraged you to do more and to just come around that community. The summer study host groups are just an amazing way to be able to do that as a community with your friends to proclaim it.

At the Proclaim Day at end of the summer, everyone is able to share their favorite verse and to proclaim it. That’s an encouraging way. So even though it can be a lot of work and if you’re not able to devote a lot of time to it, for the parent who’s like, “I don’t know . . . it might be discouraging for my child,” or “I don’t know if they could do that.” Just start, and see where it goes.

If it’s one verse, or it’s just twenty minutes a day, that’s better than nothing, and it’s just a really great opportunity to start where you’re at.

Nancy: The fact is, kids are always learning. They’re taking in, and they’re memorizing something. They have amazing God-given capacity! These brains God has created and these hearts God has made, they take in. I think the question parents have to ask is, “What are my kids taking in and what am I surrounding them with and providing for them?”

They’re taking in pop-culture; they’re taking in what their peers are involved in. The world is like an IV in our arms, even in homes that are really trying to surround their kids with God’s ways. So you’re saying we want to be intentional about what our kids are learning, what they’re taking in. We want it to be something that will stand them in good stead for the rest of their lives and for their relationship with God, which is not just the rest of their lives. That’s their eternity! 

I’d love to hear from any of you parents about any specific impact of the Word in your children’s lives: how you’ve seen it make a difference in their attitudes, in their thinking, in their responses. Okay, it’s scary for parents to talk about parenting when their kids are still kids, because they’re still in process—as we are—but we know nobody’s arrived here. Nobody’s fully sanctified!

But what kind of difference have you seen God’s Word make in your children’s lives? 

Harold: I can think of two things for Seth. Probably the earliest memory of him being able to memorize Scripture, and then we could be out somewhere maybe shopping or in a restaurant, and then he will just start quoting a Scripture. Not that we asked him to, but his memory is just going through it, and the Word of God is coming out.

And then other things where I think is it has shaped or impacted his worldview. You mentioned pop-culture and different things they come into contact with, he can see everything through the lens of the Bible. If he hears something that doesn’t quite line up with the Word of God, he’ll sometimes come and ask us, “Well, I heard this or I heard that, but the Word of God says this.”

So just seeing that form in him at a very early age . . . Then just sometimes when we’re not even asking him, “Can you quote Scripture?” we just kind of hear the verses coming out. I can see just the subtle ways that God uses His Word to come out. 

I think I heard it earlier, that the Word of God doesn’t come back void, but every time we spend in Scripture reading it, putting it in our heart and learning it, it comes back at different times. I know, for myself, sometimes I might wake up and God gives me a psalm or a Scripture. I know that it’s only because we’ve taken time to study God’s Word and put it in our hearts.

Nancy: Do you want to add anything, Lisa?

Lisa: God’s purpose is fantastic! It’s alive! We are living epistles, seen and read of all men, and I think that is imperative. When we decided to direct Seth . . . I have to mention that that instruction in righteousness___ is imperative, I believe, for parents to instill into their children, to give that guidance.

When we made the decision to get Seth involved with the Bible quizzing, and with the Bible Bee, and even with AWANA, it was because we knew the need for him to live life the way God wants him to, so that he can serve the purpose for which God has prepared him. And we’re seeing that.

We’re seeing that God is forming him and molding him, as He is so many of the other kids that Seth interacts with. He loves Bible Bee. He loves the Bible, and then there is Bible Bee to go with that. He gets all excited about it! I like that as well, that sense of community that is there amongst the kids within the Bible Bee.

Although it’s a competition, I think that was the part that really got Seth’s attention instantly, when back in 2015 he went to Nashville. He qualified, and he went to Nationals. And he said, “Mom, these kids, it’s not as if they are competing! They are so friendly; they are not trying to harm each other. They want you to advance.” It was an awe-struck moment for him, and it’s still the same today.

Nancy: Yes, they’re encouraging each other. I’ve seen them do that when one advances, the others are high-fiving and encouraging. That’s the spirit of humility, that you would hope knowing God’s Word would breed in a heart. Scripture says, “knowledge puffs up” im 1 Corinthians 8:1. It brings pride, if you just have knowledge. “But love builds up.” It edifies.

It’s sweet to me to see these kids growing in, not just knowledge, but love and humility that builds others up! Beverly, anything you’ve seen in your own children, your family, as you’ve watched your kids grow up in studying, memorizing, God’s Word?

Beverly: Well, I can talk about one of my children who is not here, to make it easier. But she was just a pill when she was little, just a real struggle with obedience, just lots of things. You would never know that about her now. She sort of went through a phase where she didn’t really care about anything!

Then we began the Bible Bee. She just began putting those words into her heart, and they just changed her! She is just a beautiful young woman in the Lord now and such an encouragement to me! She has memorized books of the Bible. She’s my last daughter at home. It’s been really good to see the impact of God’s Word in her heart!

Nancy: Well, we have a teary mom here. Listening to you parents and listening to your kids, it’s really moving to me. I’m thinking of their knowledge of God’s Word, but also how it’s shaping their character and their affections and their priorities and their worldview, as we heard earlier.

Now these kids are going to be . . . Only God knows what they will be vocationally, what their lives and families will look like. But you know, some of your kids I’ll listen to and I think, He’s going to be a nuclear physicist, or something that I will have no idea what that person does! They’re going to be professionals of different types and in various trades and, Lord willing, many of them will be husbands and wives and moms and dads. They’re going to be living in communities and going to churches. They’re going to have lives like we do, but for them to have the underpinnings of God’s Word . . .

We know that this world is not going to be an easier place to live until Jesus comes back. They’re going to have to face ways of thinking, things in the culture . . . There are things in this culture today that, when we were kids, we never dreamed we would have to be facing!

But to think of these kids loving Christ. By the way, there’s no guarantee that memorizing Scripture is going to make them love Jesus. But to have that Word in their hearts certainly gives them a greater opportunity to know Him and to love Him.

They’re going to be sharing Christ; they’re going to be counseling and encouraging and discipling and nurturing friends and children and grandchildren and in their workplace and when the news comes on. They’re going to be able to bring back these hundreds of verses.

If they can’t recite them . . . I’ve memorized much Scripture over the years that I can’t recite today, but I’ll tell you what: when I see in the news or in the culture things that are contrary to the Word of God, I see it! Or I know where to go to find out the truth.

These kids are really making a difference now, but they’re going to make a significant difference in generations to come when we’re in heaven! You’re sending your children out like arrows, equipped with the Word of God to make a difference in their world. Do you want to say something, Hannah?

Hannah: Yes, I just want to say one thing. I have the privilege of working alongside a lot of the alumni of The National Bible Bee (and I’m an alumna myself). One of my favorite questions to ask alumni is, “What is your dream in life? What is your mission? What is your goal?” Even just last night we were talking with Kerestal and Daniel and Kate. I just asked that question.

And to me, there’s just so much hope when the answer to that question . . . There’s variety. One might want to be a teacher. One might want to be a businessman. One might want to be a mom. All those different things. But the underlying goal behind it all was, “I just want to do whatever I can to glorify the Lord and make Him known.”

There are different talents that the Lord has given them and different interests that they have. But to see the underlying theme among all the alumni—as the Lord has changed their heart—is that they just want to use what God has given them to make Him known. That’s the mission of the Bible Bee: to know God’s Word and make Him known. 

And to me, it’s just so exciting to see that being lived out. It gives you hope and excitement for the future when you know that there are young people out there whom you know have that mission for their lives!

Nancy: It really does! Anything any of you, Brian or any of you parents, would want to add?

Brian: I would just like to say that for parents who are considering the next step for you: How do you get involved? How can I start down the path? You may have heard these kids and been inspired and said, “Wow! I wish we could do that!” Well, you can; you can do it. The way The National Bible Bee is set up. The summer study program is set up to be able to engage wherever you are.

So if it’s your first step, it’s your opportunity. We’re actually right in the middle of the registration window. You can go to BibleBee.org. You can read about the organization, read about some details regarding what the summer study encompasses, and you can sign up and get started. 

That’s the most important thing. How do you take the longest journey? You just make the first step, and so I’d encourage you to make that first step. Begin to engage with Scripture. Begin to instill that importance into your children’s lives, and you will definitely see and reap the results of that!

Nancy: This is a great time to register your children for the summer study. You will not regret getting them involved. Revive Our Hearts is thrilled to partner with the Bible Bee in promoting this study. You may see some fruit this summer, but I guarantee you will see fruit long term and for eternity.

The passage that keeps running through my head as we’re talking—and I know you parents are familiar with it—is from Psalm 78: “Give ear, O my people, to my teaching; incline your ears to the words of my mouth! I will open my mouth in a parable; I will utter dark sayings from of old” (vv. 1–2). 

Some of the Scriptures, by the way, are hard to understand at first hearing. They don’t make sense to natural ears. But he says, “I’m going to incline my ears to these. I’m going to listen to these teachings. I’m going to tell you what they are.” This is a dad talking to the next generation. 

[I’ll say] things that we have heard and known, that our fathers have told us. [So this is the passing of the baton.] We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.

He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God.” (Ps. 78:3–7).

I’m realizing that my ministry day after day of opening God’s Word and teaching to women who listen to Revive Our Hearts, this is the fruit of parents (my dad in heaven now for almost forty years) my dad and mom together. They said, “We’re going to make sure that the priority is that you get God’s Word into you! If we skip some other things of your upbringing, we’re not going to skip this thing.” 

And so, today, I have the joy now, decades later, of reproducing in the next generation. And my hope is that by this kind of program and this kind of ministry—The National Bible Bee—that we can get a whole other generation of children—and their children—coming up to love Christ, to put their hope in God, to make Christ known to our world!

So I want to say thank you to you parents who are making the sacrifices and paying the price and investing your time, your effort, in getting the Word of God into your children and encouraging others to do the same. I’m hoping there are going to be hundreds, maybe thousands—I don’t know how many more—who will register for this summer study and say, “This is what we want to do with our family!” Thank you for helping encourage them to do that!

Dannah: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has been reminding us of the value of hiding God’s Word in our hearts. She’s been talking to Harold and Lisa Ross from California, Abey Matthew from New York, Beverly Moss from Tennessee, Brian Mullins from Texas, and Hannah Leary from New York.

All of them have participated in The National Bible Bee summer study, and some of their children have gone on to compete in the Bible Bee competition, as well. The 2020 Bible Bee summer study will go on for ten weeks, from June 1 through August 6. If you want to join the challenge, you’ll need to register.

They encourage participants to memorize and study Scripture for about twenty minutes a day. Of course, you can always spend more time if you want. For more information about The National Bible Bee summer study, just go to ReviveOurHearts.com, or call us at 1–800–569–5959. 

Tomorrow, we’re going to talk about something that most of us know all too well: fear of the future. Nancy’s going to share why we don’t have to be afraid, no matter what we’re facing. I’m Dannah Gresh, saying, “Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.” 

Reminding you that the best things in life take time and effort, Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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About the Speaker

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love …

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