What’s your favorite M&M’S candy? Young or old, this candy has been beloved since the 1940s. It was the first candy eaten in outer space and was dubbed the official candy of the new millennium. No matter your generation, chances are you’ve eaten M&M’S. My favorite is peanut M&M’S!
Speaking of generations, “next generation” normally evokes a picture of children who sleep under our roof. But there are two kinds of generations from a biblical viewpoint: biological and spiritual. Paul refers to Timothy as his son (2 Timothy 2:1); John addresses his readers as “my little children” (1 John 2:1). Either way, the challenge is this: to pass the faith on to new generations, preparing them to resist the world’s pull and to raise healthy spiritual descendants of their own.
Passing on the faith is always a challenge. It’s basically “get the kids before the devil does.” After Joshua’s generation died, their descendants wandered away. Five of the seven Revelation churches were already plagued by waning first love. Apparently passing on love of M&M’S is easier than passing on love of God.
Who’s to blame? The world cleverly lures the unchurched into the growing “none” religion demographic. Believers morph into feel-good church hoppers. The list goes on. But the fact is, real transformation begins with personal choices. A house stands when people hear, understand, and apply the Scriptures (Matthew 7:24-27). One proven solution utilizes three spiritual disciplines: memorize, meditate, and activate God’s Word.
Memorize the Word (First M in M&M’S)
Dallas Willard wrote,
Bible memorization is absolutely fundamental to spiritual formation. If I had to choose between all the disciplines of the spiritual life, I would choose Bible memorization, because it is a fundamental way of filling our minds with what it needs. “This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth.” That’s where you need it! How does it get in your mouth? Memorization.1
How hard is it to memorize? Motivation helps. An elderly man said, “I cannot do Scripture memory.” Another responded, “What if I give you $1,000 for each two verses you memorize in the next two weeks? How do you think you will do?”
Helpful tips include:
- Association, get a mental picture, “I’ve hidden Your word in my heart” (picture a Bible in a heart);
- Review, review, review (daily for 60 days and you’ll nail it);
- “Let it pass through your lips and fingertips.” Speak it out loud and write it down.
Why go to such trouble? What God says is more valuable than anything else. A man needed to call his wife in an emergency, but he had mislaid his cell phone. After that he memorized her number. The Holy Spirit brings to mind Scripture that is stored in our hearts (John 14:26).
Meditate on the Word (Second M in M&M’S)
Christian meditation takes memorization a step deeper. It differs from Eastern meditation because it has a Bible in hand. It is the biblical practice of pondering something in the mind. We quiet our hearts to take a deep look at God’s Word, making God’s thoughts our thoughts.
The rewards are immense. Meditation on Scripture is a key to knowing God, success in life, and Christian endeavors (Psalm 1:2-3; Joshua 1:8; 2 Timothy 4:15). Mary meditated: “But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart” (Luke 2:19, 51). Her ponderings are the source for our dearest nativity stories.
Most people already meditate by another name.
- If you sat and read a Scripture and mulled it over to understand each word, you meditated.
- If you were tempted and brought a Scripture to mind, seeking God’s victory, you meditated.
- Worry is negative meditation. Better to muse on God’s Word. As we learn to think differently we begin to act differently.
Activate the Word (The A in M&M’S)
Activate is the “A” in M&M’S (& in Latin means and). Great-commission disciplemaking involves training people to “obey everything” Jesus taught (Matthew 28:19). Without this the Great Commission devolves into the Great Omission, i.e., hearing without doing, information without transformation (Hebrews 5:12-15).
Notice when the Bible mentions meditation it often mentions obedience. “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it” (Joshua 1:8, emphasis added).
ZOOM ROOM Accountability – (Multiplying M&M’S)
Here is a model to multiply M&M’S practitioners. Launch a Scripture memory group using ZOOM. Begin with a core of F.A.I.T.H. believers (Faithful, Available, Initiative to grow, Teachable, and Heart for God). Need to sync busy schedules? Meet bi-weekly, and keep it simple. Veteran memorizers can make their own. Rookies and intermediates can use resources like Growing in Christ or the Topical Memory System. Use breakout groups and the chat function. Above all, shoot for reproduction from the start, training participants to lead their own groups.
It helps greatly to have partners on our journey. The richest blessings begin with humility, i.e., I cannot do this without God’s grace and help from brothers and sisters in Christ. Navigators Church Ministries (NCM) emphasizes cultures of disciplemaking. Triads and small groups nurture behaviors and values that eventually leaven the congregation.
The Bottom Line – Healthy Spiritual Descendants
As future generations go deep in God’s Word, churches and families become platforms for mission and a refuge for the little lambs. “You shall raise up the foundations of many generations, you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to walk in” (Isaiah 58:12). Like Nehemiah, we build up the “walls of Jerusalem.” Wolves cannot creep in nor lambs wander out by night. God honors all who treasure His Word (Psalm 119:11).
1“Spiritual Formation in Christ for the Whole Life and Whole Person” in Vocatio, Vol. 12, no. 2, Spring, 2001, p. 7.
About the Author
One way we at Navigators Church Ministries are helping with disciplemaking challenges is by sponsoring “The Practitioner’s Podcast: Applying Jesus-style Disciplemaking to Everyday Life.”
Want to learn more about how disciplemaking is an invitation to walking? Don’t miss the webinar, register at http://www.navigatorschurchministries.org/.
The decision of what to do with a disciple is vitally important. In fact, since disciple making is generational, what you do with a disciple will probably be what he does with someone else. In other words, what you model both explicitly and implicitly will be reproduced.