Memorize the 1st Section of the Navigator’s Topical Memory System with a Friend
Memorize the verses for the first topic 'Christ the Center': 2 Cor. 5:17 and Gal. 2:20.
Men, if we are going to develop into spiritual leaders we need to have spiritual friends. How do you develop such friends? Spiritual friendship is the by-product of doing spiritual activities together - Bible study, mission work, service projects, prayer, Scripture memorization. Spiritual friendship is unlike any other form of friendship for one reason: the goal is union with Christ. We don't hang out simply to have fun or get stuff done. Like athletes training for a prize, we journey together in hopes of drawing ever closer to the wellspring of living water, Jesus Christ himself.
You will need to keep two things in mind as we step into a new challenge for the Decathlon. First, the end, or aim, of this challenge is to strengthen your friendship with another Christian man. This could be anyone: a dad, a son, a brother, a guy at church, a friend at work, etc. The key point is that we will not be memorizing verses individually over the next month. You will need to find a workout buddy.
Second, the means of strengthening friendship will be by memorizing verses and meeting weekly (either in person or over Skype/Facetime) to quiz one another on the homework. The TMS is a proven way to add horsepower to your walk with Christ. I guarantee that, if you are willing to put in the time, you will not be disappointed by the results of this challenge.
This week's assignment: memorize the verses for the first topic ('Christ the Center') of the TMS: 2 Cor. 5:17 and Gal. 2:20.
But wait! Some of you might be asking, What is the TMS system? The Topical Memory System is a well-worn road that has helped thousands of men develop the spiritual discipline of Scripture memorization. The full program consists of 5 sections, 60 verses in all, that give an overview of Christian discipleship.
What is distinctive about the TMS is that the verses are arranged by topic. It is imperative that you memorize the topic along with the verses and that you use a fixed routine for memorizing the verses and quizzing one another. The routine is as follows:
Step 1: Name the Topic (for example: 'Christ the Center')
Step 2: Name the Reference (for example: '2 Corinthians 5:17')
Step 3: Recite the Verse - no sloppiness permitted; word perfect. How you practice is how you perform.
Step 4: Name the Reference again - this will help drive the chapter and verse into your memory
Memorize the Verses under the Topic 'Obedience to Christ':
Romans 12:1 and John 14:21
You are probably asking yourself, how on earth am I supposed to memorize two more verses this week, while reviewing the two from last week? The answer is by dedicating 15 minutes a day to memory work. My encouragement would be to find these minutes, not by setting a specific time aside, but by using time that otherwise would be wasted. Cut out Facebook and Instagram for a month. Do memory work while you are waiting for a co-worker to show up for a meeting. Mature men of God find time by redeeming time. Identify the spare change of your day that is not being used for anything productive and begin to make a habit of filling these minutes with a spiritual exercize.
Also, keep in mind that the goal of the Topical Memory System is retention, not evaporation. That means that you need to be reviewing the verses from prior weeks while memorizing new verses.
Memorize the Verses under the Topic 'The Word':
2 Timothy 3:16 and Joshua 1:8
I saw a sign at Starbucks a while ago that said something like the following: 'The number of people that regret having donated their time to a charity - zero.' One could say with equal frankness, 'The number of Christians that regret having memorized Scripture - zero.' Scripture memory is hard work and requires patience and discipline. Yet, the dividends are life-long payments of wisdom, comfort, and support. Men, heed the following words of the Charles Spurgeon: 'To understand the Bible should be our ambition; we should be familiar with it, as familiar as the housewife with her needle, the merchant with his ledger, the mariner with the ship. We ought to know its general run, the contents of each book, the details of its histories, its doctrines, its precepts, and everything about it.' And, yes, we ought also to memorize as much of it as we can so that, if for no other reason, the words of Psalm 1 might be proved true in our lives.
Memorize the Verses under the Topic 'Prayer':
John 15:6 and Phil. 4:6-7
Let me ask you an honest question: how much time does it actually take to memorize a verse? Think about this for a minute. If you choose a time when your mind is not already exhausted (i.e. not at the end of the day), when you are able to focus and free from distraction (i.e. not with the TV on in the background), and if you don't try to cram at the end of the week, but select a few isolated time slots over 2 or more days (remember retention requires repetition over a prolonged space of time)? Some men might be able to do it in 10 minutes. Others might take 30 or more. Regardless, for the vast majority of men this week's assignment will take less than an hour. Do the math and that's less than 10 minutes each day. Men, this task is achieveable. Get it done.