There’s more to Scripture memory than just personal devotion, and Dr. Larry Dinkins joins us again to discuss practical ways to incorporate what you memorize into conversations with friends, family members and those you meet on the street.
Or you can listen to the Memorize What Matters podcast on your favorite player:Listen to “How to Actually USE Scripture Memory in Daily Life (w/ Dr. Larry Dinkins)” on Spreaker.
Resources mentioned in this interview:
- Simply the Story: https://www.simplythestory.org
- 100 Stories Download: https://www.biblememorygoal.com/stories/
- More conversations with Larry: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLTE-Iz5WIJOulOelpgNUdPlyAlrxbxoMA
Dr. Larry Dinkins Interview transcript:
What does it look like to practically use what you’re memorizing, whether that’s individual verses or stories? How do you go about practically using what you’ve memorized as part of evangelism or just as part of, I don’t know…anything else?
Dr. Larry Dinkins:
From all the videos that I’ve watched, Josh, you put together fantastic stuff. And I think it underlines just what you said. Psalm one would say, meditate on the word of God. Yeah, day and night. So you’re trying to really get closer to God, and when you have absorbed a lot of scripture than that gives you a lot of fuel for that purpose. And then a lot of what I see too is people that are so good at it that they have a chance to bless the body of Christ, and they’re very good presenters. In fact, many actors get into this and often in churches and then going through the us, going through the book of Revelation, you know how impressive that is. And it’s blessing the body of Christ. But I’m a missionary here. This is my 43rd year. And I think memory for me is something that I want to see on the ground actually impacting at the practical level. And I think that’s a contribution that I can make because that’s the way God guided me in morality is the real practical side of it. And I’ve been able to prove that out. This is close to my 20th year as a coordinator with simply the story, and that’s been my heart and my desire for this.
Yeah, I think you bring up a good point because I, it feels like there’s only two extremes. You either memorize and you’re just in your room by yourself, and that’s what you do it for, or you present in front of churches. And that’s something that I haven’t presented in front of any big audience before. I’ve just, I was even at the international school here and I just chaired a chapter, but even that was out of the normal me. I don’t normally do that. And I think that it’s not something that most people have an opportunity to do, but all of us do have interactions throughout the day when we’re meeting somebody. Or I’ve had moments, and this is an example for me, I have had moments where somebody asks for prayer, and I don’t know if you’ve ever had this before, but sometimes, especially if it’s like they’re going through something that I have I no experience with.
I don’t like I sympathize, but I cannot empathize fully with what you’re doing or what you’re going through. And in those moments, there’ve been a couple times where I’ve actually prayed a psalm over them and I’ve used something that I’ve memorized in that way. And it’s like, I don’t know what to say, Lord, but I know that this is something that is spoken to my heart. And so that’s one way that I’ve practically used scripture memory. What’s something else that, you know, meet somebody in the street or you, you’re talking with somebody at the pool. You seem to meet a lot of people at the pool. Yeah, I do.
Dr. Larry Dinkins:
I think I told you that I’ve had a chance to do the Jonah story because I’m talking to a lifeguard and I said, I got a story from the Bible about swimming. And Jonah doesn’t swim very far. No, but it does give you a chance to start a conversation with someone who’s involved with swimming. And yesterday I was at the swimming pool and I met a missionary who was trying to get away from his family and have quiet time, and they had wifi. And so he’s sitting there and I just greeted him and turns out to be a missionary that’s worked with the Jesus Film Project. And I told him, this is the Passion week. And what I do on Friday of Good Friday is every year that my church asks me to go through about 13 to 14 stories from Sunday to Sunday. And just quickly, that’s the triumphal entry, the temple cleansing, last supper, prayed, betrayed, tried, denied, crucified, buried, resurrected. And then he appears to the apostles, to the disciples. And out of those, he said, do you know the Emmaus Road story? I do know that story. And so just sitting there in the swimming pool in my swimming trunks, I told him that story from the Emmaus Road and we had a little chat. So that was just, and it didn’t seem religious, it didn’t seem like I’m trying to teach him as Dr. Larry bringing in theology or something. It was just a relaxed sharing at a table story from the scriptures.
Do you find that people, because he’s a missionary, and so even if he wasn’t that interested out of respect, he would hopefully just listen. Right. Do you find that when you present a story to somebody that isn’t a believer, whether that’s a tie or a foreigner, when you present it as a story, do most people or do all people, are they willing to listen to that?
Dr. Larry Dinkins:
Just to give you an example, last week we had a three day STS training with about 20 tie
Dr. Larry Dinkins:
Simply the story, simply the story. And one of our trainings after we do the formal type training, which is a five step, very kind of formal, you’d use it in a small group, you might preach, we talk about a five minute mainly because from experience, if you’re talking with somebody and you say, do you have five minutes? And they’ll say, yes, usually. And for our trainees, we say, just tell ’em you have homework and you’ve been working on a seminar. And part of the homework is to tell a story. And what we do is we put ’em in a lineup. So there’s 10 people on one side, 10 on another. We give them a situation in a coffee shop or whatever, one person, and then the other person has a story. But that story has to be shared in five minutes. So you’re taking just a small part of the story.
You give a little intro to what Jesus has done. He’s been doing miracles, and then he encounters Bartamaeus, let’s say. Yeah. And then that I think is the bread and butter of this practical aspect is tell someone you have a story and would you like to listen to it? And I don’t want to take more than five minutes. And what happens often that you get into five minutes and they want to extend it. One time I told the guy, I just need five minutes of your time, and I was still talking to him after two hours.
So that kind of entree, building a bridge through a short story and making it maybe connected to the felt need or to the situation you’re in. Yeah, you’re waiting in a dental shop and it’s looking at pain. And so you could just give a part of job’s story, let’s say. Oh, so when you have a database of stories, then the sensitivity needs to be where is that person at? And do I have a story that can connect with his situation? And yesterday, it’s Passion Week with his missionary, so when I bring up the Amaz Road story, then it’s really close to home because he’s going to be thinking about what Jesus went through this whole week. Yeah,
I, I’d love to hear some other examples. I mean, obviously we’ve heard Jonah connected with the pool. I love that job connected with somebody that’s maybe going through something that’s painful. Can you provide some other examples when you’re matching up a situation or a felt need with a story? What are some other ideas?
Dr. Larry Dinkins:
Yeah. One of the freshest opportunities was I went to Israel and I’ve done 40 videos in Israel in different places, and I had a few that I hadn’t done. And since this is my second trip, I went to Jerusalem and I set up my video camera. And as I’m doing one of my stories, a young man, a teenager, was behind my camera and he was curious looking, and he threw me off and I had to start over. His name was Benny, and he was a reformed Jew from Manhattan who was studying Hebrew in Jerusalem. And my man I was with spoke Hebrew, so he made a little connection since he was studying Hebrew. And then since I was working on a story related to the resurrection, he said, is it true that Yeshua actually made people raise from the dead? And we mentioned the three opportunities that are in the scripture that talk about those experiences.
And the one that he actually knew about was Lazarus’s story, and that’s in John chapter 11. And that’s a story I knew, and they’re on the sidewalk. I told not just a portion of it, I told the whole chapter 11 of Lazaruth to this young man, and I didn’t have a chance to tie the bow and really pinpoint where he stood spiritually, but we told him where it was in the New Testament and how I could follow up on it. Actually, there were three of them. I was thinking of my time with you today. The next one is I went up to the Acropolis and there’s called Mars Hill, and that is where Paul gave his Act 17. And I actually worked on it very hard because I had to do it in Thai and English. And I had a friend that actually did a video of me doing it at the top.
And the Acropolis is in the background. It’s just a iconic type Kodak moment to do a story on top of Marce. When I’m coming down and we’re walking down to our hotel, I lit. I’m walking behind three men and they’re speaking Thai, and I couldn’t believe it. I started to talk with them, and they were working in Germany, and they had a vacation in Athens, and I asked ’em, where are you going tomorrow to Mars Hill? So what did I tell them in Ty? I told them the story of Act 17 and told you, this is what you’re going to encounter. There’s a big plaque in the Greek language of that entire sermon. And I said, look at the plaque, but go up there and realize there was this man, Paul, and interesting that was really special. The next day, someone who had been 50 years as a missionary in Greece took us to Corinth.
And if I ever had an archeological type experience, it was going through the STO and the actual area of Corinth, and here, this man, like a tour director, tell us all the different places. I set up my camera to do the story from Corinth because Paul was in Corinth for a year and a half. And as I was doing that, once again, somebody was very curious behind my camera throwing me off. And he was an African American man from the States. Well, we talked and he heard my story, and when it was over, we asked him, well, are you a believer? Yes. Well, would you pray for us? Well, turns out he was a very powerful black pastor Wow. From North Carolina, and his prayer wasn’t a typical prayer, and we said, it’s a powerful story. What do you do? He goes, well, I’m a pastor. But those were wonderful experiences of telling stories in the context of Greece and Israel.
Yeah. So I mean, that sounds like then you can take and make practical use of stories based on the situation. What is somebody really happy? Are they going through pain or even geographic, it sounds like,
Dr. Larry Dinkins:
Or demonic, you’ve got stories on demons. Yeah. Yeah. So you need two or three good stories in Thailand because people are encountering that world.
That Yeah, I didn’t even think about that. I was even thinking you could, based on somebody’s name, they tell your name. You, oh, did you know that there’s a person in the Bible who has that same name? Have you ever heard that story? Sure. I think the thing is, and as I’m thinking about this, it’s as long as you’ve got a database to draw from, you could probably find a connection if you’re open and looking for it. And that’s the thing that I’ve always noticed, even with evangelism in general, if you just go about your life, the opportunities seldom just fall in your lap. But if it’s your prayer and it’s something that you’re actually looking for, then those opportunities are much more available because you’re actually looking for them. And I think that’s something that I personally haven’t done well is that I haven’t been looking for opportunities to naturally use something that I’ve memorized, whether that’s with my family, my kids, or whether that’s with people that I meet out in the public, what you’re talking about.
Dr. Larry Dinkins:
Yeah. I think part of that is we often memorize from the epistles and the epistles are very meaty, extremely helpful, but when you’re in a life and blood situation with someone, you’re trying to size up their felt need, you’re going to have to really dig deep back and figure out how’s the best way to take a portion of Ephesians and relate it to that. But there’s a thousand stories in the Bible, and I think they meet the gamut of life experience. I don’t care what culture you’re in. And that’s why I love the idea that people are going through the same things that were in the scriptures. And so you have someone who lost an ax head, well, we would just buy another ax head, but he said, my master that was borrowed, we’ve all encountered people borrowing from us and not returning. And you could talk to somebody, he said, I’m here in Ace Hardware and I’m buying an A head.
And then suddenly you’ve got a connection. There’s actually a story about somebody who lost, actually had to get another one or get it back. So the word that I hear all the time in our circles is it’s flesh and blood life experience that people can identify easily with, and that’s what you really want. It’s not something that’s kind of artificial or religious or church religiosity is something that this country is covered over with. And Thai people can sniff out a discussion that is trying to use an apologetic to maybe compare Buddhism with Christianity. I think you tear down those barriers when you just say, I have a story, and suddenly they’re relaxed and the lesson or the principle of that story can be brought in at the end. And the word of God is two edges, sword, and it’s sharp, and God can use it in amazing ways.
Yeah. Now, I love that point as well, where I think there’s a lot of times when you’re telling a story, you’re actually allowing them to interpret in a way. Because instead of me saying, here’s what you need to know, it’s the story. And I wonder, once you do that, how do you then end that? Do you ask them, Hey, what did you hear from that? Or How do you follow up that story that actually allows for more interpretation?
Dr. Larry Dinkins:
The five minute model, and once again, I’m getting back to a way that you can approach using story is to take a section of a story. For instance, Baram Mais, you’ll remember, he cries out, have mercy on me, son of David. And the people say, shut up. And then he cries out even louder. So Jesus stops and tells the people, call that man to me. And when he does that, the crowd changes and says, arise, take heart. Jesus is calling you. So I tell that part of the story. I’ve done an intro into it, and then I’ve just told by the Bible, I’ve told that section. And then I ask him, what are you seeing or learning about the crowd from how they respond? And most often they say, well, they’re very fickle. They change quickly. They say, shut up. And then amazingly, in a few brief moments, they’re saying, take heart, arise.
Yeah, what’s going on there? And you don’t have to be a scholar to pick up on. There’s something unique going on with the crowd. So they make that observation, and I’ll ask ’em two or three other questions. My main goal is to just draw them out and ask them some natural questions from the story. I always kind of end with one application. If you have more time, you can make multiple applications from a story. But in a five minute model, you got precious little time. So with that one today, do you see people changing quickly? Do you see fashion trends? And he’ll go, yeah, I only use my mobile for two years, and then I buy another one. And politics, my goodness, all the changes, quick changes that you have in politics, it’s just a common discussion point. And if it allows further discussion or the chance to say, this is in the Bible and it’s on your mobile phone, this is where you can read up more on it.
So I used to be more of a campus crusade. I want to tie the bow, I want to really get to the heart of it, but I trust that most people, I’ve heard that people need 19 different exposure to the gospel before they believe. So I hope to be a step to draw them closer to the Lord, which is a new one for me because I was trying to take ’em from zero to a hundred. And often in Thailand, they’re very gracious people. So you can lead them very far. You think you’re leading them very far, but that’s just because they’re very polite. Yeah.
Maybe an America not quite the same, who knows.
Dr. Larry Dinkins:
No, no, maybe
Not. Yeah, I, I’ve heard it said, and I like this analogy where I just want to be able to put a pebble in their shoe, something that as they’re walking around, they just, what? It’s kind of sitting there and it’s forcing them to think about, somebody just told me a story randomly on the street today. Yeah.
Dr. Larry Dinkins:
I think many of the people listening have a target group, and there’ll be missionaries that are be listening to this. And there’s also ministers and just common lay people. But you need to know your target group. Is it the business group you’re with? Is it the Buddhist people? Is it Hindu people? What culture you are in? And what I’ve done is I’ve tried to designate about eight different key aspects of Thai life. And for instance, for people dealing with the demonic, I might have two or three stories, not just one story, but I might need two or three suffering. My goodness. You need two or three stories for Buddhist people that would speak to this whole issue of suffering, because Buddhism in one word is suffering and how to get out of suffering. So that’s my encouragement is to get a database, understand your people, and then may maybe write out, these are the 10 topics that I deal with constantly. And then ask God, what are the best optimum stories that fit with those? And invariably, you’re going to encounter that quite a bit. Yeah. So I’m telling certain stories over and over again to the tie because I know it resonates with them.
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