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College students told to ‘memorize to evangelize’

DALLAS (BP)–A student evangelism expert told collegians to have the Word of God “ready and hidden in your hearts” in order to be ready to answer others who ask questions about God or who challenge their beliefs.

Rollin DeLap, national missionary for student evangelism with the North American Mission Board, spoke to approximately 300 college students during a seminar in connection with the DestiNATIONS conference.

DestiNATIONS, meeting in Dallas Jan. 4-7, 2001, was a Southern Baptist missions conference jointly sponsored by the state Baptist conventions, LifeWay Christian Resources, the International and North American mission boards and Woman’s Missionary Union. Approximately 2,700 people attended the four-day event.

Quoting Scripture passages to make his points, DeLap told students that memorizing Scripture is something God told us to do, not something He suggested we do.

“God said to hide the Scripture in your heart,” DeLap said. “Memorizing is how we do that.”

He asked the college students how many of them could quote 15 Scripture verses from memory, including book, chapter and verse references. He said, “If you have been a Christian five years, that would just be memorizing three Scriptures a year … three a year!”

He challenged the collegians to begin memorizing one verse a week. “That’s not hard to do. It doesn’t take long to memorize a verse.” He said the key to remembering a verse is reviewing the verse repeatedly.

With a box of 2×3-inch cards DeLap showed the students the verses he has memorized over the past 15 years.

“This is one verse a week, 52 weeks a year, for the past 15 years.”

He told the students he was sure most of them had higher IQs than he did, so intelligence is not the most important thing. Rather, he said, most important are the desire to do it and the commitment to follow through.

“My wife started out memorizing six verses a week, one every day except Sunday, while I was working on three. She is smarter than I am, though. She graduated from college magna cum laude, but I graduated ‘Lordy, how come!'”

He said by the time his daughter left home for college, she had memorized more than 300 verses. “She had the truth hidden in her heart. She knew what was real. So when her professors started telling her lies about God and faith, she could just let them fly right past her, because she had the truth in her heart.”

He told the students, “We hear on our college campuses that everything is relative. Nothing is absolute. Listen to that statement. It sounds pretty absolute to me!”

People have to decide what they will believe, DeLap said. “You have the Word of God, the absolute truth, available to you.”

“If nothing new is coming into our lives,” he said, “that’s why we will have empty hearts. There’s nothing new and dynamic coming in. That’s why we need to always be adding Scripture to our hearts. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, more dynamic than God’s Word.”

During their college years, he told the group, “You’re either building your life on the philosophies of men and the books they’ve written, or you’re building your life on the Word of God and Jesus Christ. Let the Word of God be dynamic in your life.”

He said that most Christians he knows want to memorize Scripture, but they fail to do so because they don’t have a plan for following through.

He showed the group a small leather card case with 30 cards that he has carried with him for several years. “This case holds 30 cards. I have the verse I’m working on this week, and the rest are ones for review.” He said he carries the case in his pocket and when he has a spare minute, he’ll take the case out, look over a verse or two and review.

“This gives you a plan and the means to carry it out,” DeLap said. “It’s a system that works.”

The case, including a set of cards, is available from LifeWay at (800) 458-2772.
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at www.bpnews.net. Photo title: ROLLIN DELAP.

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  • Polly House