Three years ago, a crazy idea was born in the shape of a moleskine notebook. It was a simple way for one pastor to memorize the book of Ephesians before the end of the year. He called it a "memory moleskine."
Over 4,000 people joined him, with a number of them desiring to do it again.
The overwhelming response gave him another idea.
At the start of 2011, Pastor Tim Brister of Grace Baptist Church began a new project called P2R (Partnering to Remember), hoping to "deepen the work of God's word" in every believer's life. The goal is to memorize the entire book of Philippians – all four chapters and 104 verses – by Easter Sunday.
"In our fast-paced lives of multi-tasking with any number of things vying for our attention, there is a real danger for the word of God to get squeezed out of our daily lives," Brister says on his blog.
"More than any other time, Christians need to partner together for the purpose of internalizing Scripture, encouraging one another to abide in the words of Christ, and remembering the weighty truths that center us in God's work in our lives."
He urges everyone to partner to remember. Currently, over 26,700 others are onboard and enthusiastic about the challenge. Through social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, believers from all over the world have the opportunity to network together and encourage one another to read the word.
Through collaboration with The Resurgence – a movement that provides resources to help Christians effectively reach their cities with the Gospel "by staying culturally accessible and biblically faithful" – Brister has made a customized PDF available to download, with a week-by-week outline for memorizing the book of Philippians in 16 weeks using the English Standard Version of the Bible.
Participants are encouraged to paste onto one side of a Moleskine Cahier the week's verses to memorize, and then to reflect on the verses and indicate how many times the verses were rehearsed each day on the other side of the notebook.
Brister's hope is that many Christians will establish a rhythm of remembering God's word together through a system that helps them access Scripture wherever they are.
Why memorize Scripture? The Cape Coral, Fla., pastor cites theologian John Piper: "Bible memorization has the effect of making our gaze on Jesus steadier and clearer."
Already onto the third week now (Philippians 1:12-18), Brister continues to blog about the verses each week as a means of encouragement, post helpful tips on memorizing, and provide clips from pastors like Piper who continually stress the importance of memorizing Scripture.
He also shares reports on the success of the project: husbands and wives are building their marriage and strengthening their love for God and His word, while pastors are bringing this challenge before their entire congregations.
On the Web: www.theresurgence.com