Monday, January 27, 2014

Why I'm Doing the Jesus Project 2014

There are a multitude of projects going on in my life at this moment. Balls in the air. Plates spinning. Cats I’m herding. I have a fondness for starting things (perhaps not as much traction in finishing, but I’m working on that), so embarking on new adventures is a fun thing.

Any excuse to share my handsome husband
My online writing group is about to launch again. In fact, sign ups begin today over at the (in)courage site. I’ll segue briefly and mention that these aren’t groups for just writers, but for women in all ages, stages, and areas of life. Single moms, working women, empty nesters, military spouses … there’s sure to be a group for you to connect with. But I digress ….

I’m working with another group; supporting a favorite author as she prepares to launch a new book. I can’t say much now, but I’m looking forward to sharing more when it’s closer to publishing time.

At the beginning of the year, I always get bit by the crafting bug, and have already churned out a new hat, a luxuriously large washcloth, several pieces of jewelry, and a scarf that I’ve been working on for my husband for the past three years (that part about no good traction in finishing).

A small taste of what I'm reading
I have stacks of new books (if a book can be called a project) that I’m tearing through with delighted abandon. And my online community has launched a new venue for encouragement that has some of us writing snail mail letters to each other throughout the week.

There are work projects and family projects galore. Something is always going on. And then there’s this new thing called The Jesus Project (or sometimes The Memory Project 2014 – both hash-tagged for ease of following) that I’m looking forward to.

Ann Voskamp has introduced an annual project for scripture memorization. She’s done this for several years now; previously taking on sections of Colossians, Matthew, and the Romans project last year. This year, the focus is on words of Christ from the book of John; on beautifully illustrated printables with ideas for sharing them with your family and getting everyone involved.

As I made a space in our hallway and hung the printed squares with the verses, I anticipated the joy of doing this together as a family. While there has been resistance to this project in some circles, and enough questioning and vitriol against it, and the author, to make the space behind my right eye hurt, I believe this is going to be a good thing.

Squares from The Jesus Project in our hall
Despite what detractors say, this is not a works-based project. No one is saying memorize enough of this stuff and you’ll get in to heaven. Not that I saw at any rate. Just following some words of wisdom that have been set down from ages past – some from the mouth of Christ himself – that encourage us to take this word into our heart and keep it there.

I don’t generally identify myself with a particular denomination anymore – I’ve been part of too many churches to feel like I need to cling to one name only. Raised Baptist. Visited Foursquare. Turned to Episcopalian. Then Anglican. Became a Lutheran. Then a Presbyterian. We’re going to an entirely different church now; one where the teaching lines up with the Bible, and we feel confident in their statement of beliefs.

One consistent thing I saw in all these churches and congregations was the support and encouragement of scripture memorization. Not as a measuring stick. But as a tool in the arsenal of the Christian life.

In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. Ephesians 6: 16-17 ESV

I have stored up your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. Psalm 119:11 ESV

We’re not always going to have our Bible with us. We may not always have access to the handy app on our phone that pulls the scripture right up out of the ether. But you will always have access to words that you have tucked away, hidden in your heart, and let become a cherished part of who you are.

If you want to participate in the Jesus Project – great. Visit the website, print out the squares, hang the up, and memorize along. But don’t make it a comparison. Don’t kick yourself if you don’t keep up (exactly what I did for a while when I got off course on the Romans project). There is no "project police" waiting to drop the hammer if you’re not right in synch with the schedule. And trust me; God’s not waiting to smack you if you don’t. That’s just not His style. Do it because you want more of Him. Do it because you know you need more of Jesus in your life. Do it because you understand that having those verses accessible to you in a moment of weakness or need may be the saving words that help you hang on or go on.  Do it because He said:

If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.  John 8: 31-32 ESV

I'd love to connect with you some more - stop on by the Three Bees Facebook Page or connect with me on Twitter @3BeesBlueBonnet. Let's continue the conversation!

I'm joining Ann Voskamp and friends for Multitudes on Mondays. You can find her writings and the other links here. Be encouraged.


  1. Hi Rebekah! (My daughter's name is Rebekah.) You encouraged me today! My son and I are memorizing the Jesus Project verses together. It's been easier that way. Maybe we'll be able to complete it this year, but no kicking myself if we don't. ;)

  2. Well I'm checking this out. I'd love to have God's word hanging throughout my home. Thanks my friend for sharing.


Thank you for the kindess of your comment. I pray your patience with the word verification. I've had such troubles with spammers lately. Thank you for grace. I look forward to reading all the comments and responding. I appreciate you!