by Nathan Turner, Assistant Director of High School Ministries

   Our hope and goal with the youth is that they will grow rooted deeply in their faith and bear fruit. For this reason, four of our teens recited the Sermon on the Mount in its entirety on May 20th, followed by breaking bread with their families in celebration.

   When I was a high school senior, I memorized the book of James for youth group. This formative experience shaped my faith, and even today – 15 years later – many of those passages affect how I see my life and live out my beliefs. Memorizing scripture is one of the best ways to allow the Word to move from my head to my heart; and, I’m so glad the students were willing to take up the challenge. In their own words, read their responses to the experience:

   Allison Hartsell: Doing the verse memorization made me realize how many parts of the Bible apply to my life. The part about worrying and stress helped me realize that even stressing about the things that matter like food is unnecessary because God knows that we need them. Memorizing this big section really helps when you’re struggling; the most important parts will come to mind when you need them most.

   Susannah Ellis: By pushing myself to keep working hard on memorization, my eyes were opened in terms of how to discipline myself in my faith and complete a challenge I set my mind to. Some of the passages pop up in my brain because I know them so well. I’m so glad I decided to follow through with memorization of the Sermon on the Mount, and would encourage everyone to challenge themselves in the same way.

   Esther Dolan: Memorizing this passage has been life-changing and eye-opening in my walk with Christ. This scripture has given me so much more hope and reassurance in my faith and in God’s authority and justice over his creation. This challenge has made me reconsider how I live and how I treat people. I constantly have pieces of the sermon popping up in my head and reminding me of how God want his people to live. It has made me reconsider and reflect on my actions, leading me in the direction of becoming the best version of myself and the woman God has planned for me to be. This challenge has showed me the everlasting mercy and powers of the Lord. I encourage more disciples of Christ to take up the challenge of memorizing scripture and see how it will impact their lives.