The Word . . . power in your pocket
word – well said, true, agreed (as in hip-hop lingo).
Word – document and word-processing software (as in computer language).
word – the Bible, Jesus, the Word of God (as in eternal life).
April 2013 – A picture may be worth a thousand of them – words, that is – on the plain of mortal man. But when it comes to the Word, the Word of God, not even a Michelangelo masterpiece nor a Fanny Crosby hymn nor a Billy Graham sermon measures up. For the Word has inherent eternal value.
The Psalmist set a good example when he wrote, “Thy Word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against Thee” (Psalm 119:11, KJV). But there is also value in having the written Word at your fingertips as well – how about in your pocket or your lunch box?
“Just having a Bible verse in your pocket gives you a feeling of God’s nearness and gives His Holy Spirit a chance to work,” Charles White told AFA Journal. White is project facilitator of Christian Child Care Coalition. He doesn’t suggest that a Scripture verse printed on paper has magical properties, but he does believe there is power in the Word of God.
White is resolute in his belief that it is the parents’ responsibility to make sure the Bible becomes an integral part of their children’s lives. His Topeka, Kansas, activist group emerged 30 years ago as a small band of Christian day care providers with two primary goals: 1) help parents find time to share God’s Word with their children; and 2) provide in-service training for Christian child care providers in their pursuit of meeting licensing requirements, something they face in all 50 states.
CCCC created Pocket Scriptures as an extension of the group’s belief that carrying God’s written Word – even a little piece of it – with you everywhere you go is a practice that reinforces the importance and the power of the Word present in the believer’s life. Pocket Scriptures are Bible verses on strips that can be printed from their website (www.bibleparent.com).
Adam Wilson recently began using Pocket Scriptures. Ruth, his mother, said the Scripture strips are a gentle reminder that Jesus is with us, even during a busy day.
“One of these Scriptures goes into Adam’s lunch box each day,” she told AFA Journal. “And this was his idea. It gives [him] a chance for sharing what he knows about Jesus. It also gives him something to focus on when he gets upset about something.”
The resources are of greater value today than when the project was born three decades ago. Many major Christian and denominational publishing houses once offered a variety of Scripture cards – one or two verses printed on a small card that slipped easily into a pocket or wallet. Sunday school teachers and parents urged children to use them. However, White said such Scripture cards have pretty much disappeared from the scene. He finds that alarming, and he is determined more than ever to fill that gap.
In addition to Pocket Scriptures, the Bible Parent website offers other materials – coloring pages, parent guides, bulletin inserts and other creative suggestions adults will find helpful in teaching children the importance of God’s Word in our lives.
CCCC receives frequent letters commending the ministry for its resources. For example, a spokesman for Prison Fellowship of Missouri wrote White: “The coloring books you have provided for our projects are very well done and so inviting to a child. Our plan is to distribute these books to children across Missouri who are being served by Angel Tree.”
In 2008, Moody Bible Institute’s Don Martindell told White, “We are in the process of getting the 3,000 coloring books into the hands of our undergraduates and through them to the churches with whom they are serving their internship.”
Everything the group offers is based on the Word of God. A Salvation Army representative once expressed gratitude for the coloring books because they can distribute the books without overstepping bounds sometimes set by secular groups or donors.
“Today, we host 11 websites,” White said, “one of which is the only website in the world offering free printable daily individual Bible verses.”
Pocket Scriptures, CCCC’s signature product, are available weekly by email subscription. They come in a strip of six verses, one strip a week every week of the year. Everything is free and everything about Pocket Scriptures sticks to basic common doctrines so that all orthodox Christian denominations will find the materials useful. More than 1,000 churches worldwide have subscribed to the weekly email.
White said, “Our goal is not Bible memory, but it is providing God’s word in family friendly form.” The verses come grouped around four basic themes: correction, comfort, character development and protection. A sister website, www.bibleparent.org, offers verses in Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch, French and Spanish.
“The heart of our dream is that every child in the world start the day with a Bible verse in his or her pocket,” White concluded.
Train them up … Simple suggestions adapted from “A Bible Quiz for Parents”
• Over Sunday lunch, talk about the Bible verses your children brought home from Sunday school.
• Explain to your children that God gave us the Bible to help us know Him better and to trust His love.
• Tuck a verse or two in your pocket, then let your children see you using them.
• When you pray with your child ask God, through the Holy Spirit, to help you rightly understand and apply His Word.
• In your daily life, look for opportunities to share with your child passages that you are studying and that are helping you to grow in Christ.
• Make a flip calendar for your child’s room that includes Bible verses.
• Make a plaque with an appropriate verse near an entrance that your child often uses.
• Display a verse on the dashboard of your car.
• Be ready to use Scripture passages to comfort, correct and encourage your children.
• Put a bowl of verses on your dining table. Take turns pulling out a verse and reading it aloud.
• Prepare a Bible trivia game for long trips in the car.
• If you are a single parent, tell other adults in your child’s life about your efforts to keep the Scripture in front of your child daily. Ask for their support.