Long Road Ahead - Travel update from Pastor Randy

Grace Church Family,

It’s with a heart of gratitude that I look at the months ahead. Your support and the work of various ministry teams makes my time away from Grace possible. I’ve always said that ministry is only fun if you can do it with friends, and that is certainly true of my life!

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On January 24th, I take my sweetheart to London. I’ve been planning this trip for some time, and I’m excited to get some quality time with Dottie before we dive into another busy time of ministry.

After that, I’ll begin a series of tours in the Middle East and the Mediterranean. For those of you that are new to Grace, half of my year is spent in ministry abroad. I teach the Scriptures on location to scores of pastors, missionaries, and growing believers. I’m passionate about seeing people connect the Scriptures to real places, cultures and ideas. You can follow my tour schedule here.

I’m excited that this year I will be able to spend the Easter season with you. I’m working with the team in Sebring to plan an excited Easter weekend, and I hope you’ll be able to join us.

I will return to spend most of the remainder of 2019 in Highlands county on July 14th, just a few weeks before we welcome a whole new group of students to GCBI in August.

In the meantime, I’m excited about what will transpire. We’ve got a great team of staff and lay leaders that I’m confident will continue to lead this congregation deeper into the Word, and most importantly, closer to the God who revealed it. I will miss you all greatly, and look forward to being with you again, should the Lord tarry, this summer.

Until He Returns,

Pastor Randy

Tips for Scripture memorization

Scripture memory has a long history. Before the printing press, it was one of the only ways most Christians could have the Word as their own. It still is important for believers today, especially as we battle the constant stream of spiritually draining media content.  

I think all believers should be memorizing Scripture as a part of their devotional life, and I have a few tips. I'm no expert, but these have worked for others in the past.

1. Make a plan: If you want to memorize a large chunk of Scripture, it's key to have some kind of strategy to make sure you don't get discouraged or bogged down. It's important that you balance progress with your schedule: making a plan to memorize 5 verses per day may not be sustainable. I recommend memorizing a verse or two every couple of days. It's difficult to memorize anything in a day, but working on a small section every day will pay off with lots of progress over time.

2. Find accountability: It can be very helpful to find someone to memorize with. It's not so much about studying together, thought that can help. Accountability keeps you honest and helps you not quit when things get tough. 

3. Establish a routine: We all know that regularity is key to changing our behavior patterns, and Scripture memory is no exception. If you've already got a daily devotional or quiet time, I recommend adding 10-15 minutes of drill time to that. Don't feel bad if that cuts into your usual Scripture reading time. Think of Scripture reading and memory as exercising different spiritual muscle groups. Just like at the gym, some times you focus on one area to the neglect of others, that that is okay as long at it is done with balance and with prayer.

4. Use tools available: You know from your school days that there are many memorize material: listening, writing, flash cards, etc. It may take time to find what works for you. I encourage those who are technologically inclined to try an app I've found called Verses. It uses different kinds of drills in one easy interface.

Of course this whole process ought to be bathed in prayer. I believe the Holy Spirit helps us memorize Scripture in a way that is beyond our actually abilities. This is a difficult task, but it's ability to transform our lives is well worth the effort.