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Posts Tagged ‘Bible out-loud’

Make a Sound 11: Debriefing

10/24/2011 1 comment

The “Bible Out-Loud” event has come and gone. I had not asked people to report in but several reported Friday that they were ready to begin. (Then I lost the internet connection). I am in a place where internet is down most of the time so I have not been able to respond and check other posts. Lynda and I are in West Broylston, Mass in ministry during the day every day and most nights for two weekends and the week between.

It was my intention to post several times during the day Saturday to encourage and remind people of the event. I actually composed a post just before the internet connection went off again. Perhaps it is a good thing. If anyone actually did it, it is because they were prompted by our Father, not by me.

As I have time and as internet is available I will respond to whatever has been posted. Lynda and I read from Mark in the morning Saturday and later in the day with others from the Freedom Worship Center where we are ministering. We know that the results of the reading may not come until later. It is also possible that some will not connect the act of reading to the results when things begin to change.

I would like to take this time to commend those of you who participated in the “Bible Out-Loud” event. You have been a part of a new thing that has not yet broken through to the surface. It is like a seed sown in the soil. It is underground at this time. It will break forth as we continue to water it. We can water it by doing it again with others during the course of the coming year.

To my knowledge this is the first time this has ever been done in this way, that is, as an effort to promote unity and intimacy under the Word. Lynda and I actually felt a connection to others who were reading at the same time even though we did not know who they might be. It was like we were there ‘in spirit’ with those who were doing the same thing at the same time – but in a different location.

We may plan another “Bible Out-Loud” event about the same time next year about the same time. But we have plenty of time to think about that and discern if our Father is leading us to do that.

For now, we speak a hearty “thank you” to those of you who participated. May you all experience a new and improved level of intimacy with our Father.

Looking Forward,
Fount Shults

Make a Sound 10: Tone of Voice

The countdown for the “Bible Out-Loud” has begun. Japan just reported in and they are ready to start. They will be among the first since the International Date Line is just east of them. Some from New Zealand and Australia have agreed to participate but I have not yet heard from them.

We have recommended reading from the Gospels or the book of Acts since the theme is “Declaring His Mighty Deeds.” However, we have allowed each leader to choose the text to be read. Some may read a full Gospel while others may only read short portions. The main thing is to try to have an atmosphere of family reading and hearing the word.

One final word as the reading begins. Focus on the tone of voice.

As you read, listen for the voice of the Lord. As your human voice articulates the words, try to reflect Jesus’ tone of voice. Allow him to speak through the reading of his word. Some may hear a different tone of voice from others. That is okay because each person is in a different place with God. He may even be communicating something different to each individual present.

The tone of voice communicates meaning beyond the words. Sometimes the tone of voice can change the effect of the word. For example, Jesus said, “Woe to you scribes, Pharisees….” You can read those words with anger and judgment in your voice. But the word woe is a word of lamentation. The tone of voice should carry the grieving of the Father’s heart for those people. That tone totally changes the way one hears the words.

When it is your turn to listen to the reading, try to focus on the Holy Spirit’s tone rather than the tone of the reader. This is not a time to judge the reader. If their tone is different from what you hear, let it be. It’s a time of hearing from God and relating to your brothers and sisters in Christ. Use this time to increase unity and practice unconditional love.

Well, Japan may have already begun. The event is happening. Join the world in reading God’s word out-loud.

May the Lord bless the reading of his word and draw us all into a closer relationship.

Fount Shults

Make a Sound 9: Learning to Hear 2

10/19/2011 1 comment

The “Bible Out-Loud” event is this Saturday, October 22. Find a friend to read with you and let’s do this. People from at least 36 nations are on board with this event.

We have considered the significance of the human voice and the effect of sound waves on our environment. In our last blog we shifted the focus to our need to listen. We spoke of listening with our spirit by allowing Father to dig us an ear. In this blog we will take that thought one step farther.

Jesus said, “Take care then how you hear, for the to one who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he thinks that he has will be taken away” (Lk. 8:18). Notice the word HOW. This statement is in the context of Jesus explaining the parable of the sower and the seed. The seed is the word of proclamation that comes to the ear through the human voice. Remember Jesus was human as well as divine. The Pharisees heard Jesus’ words as the words of a man, not as the word of God.

There is a way of hearing the word that increases your ability to receive more word. That is a good thing. But there is also a way of hearing that will remove the word you think you have received. Most people assume that they have the word when they hear it or read it. However, many have even memorized Scriptures but only have it in their minds. The word that affects our life is the one that’s in our heart (Prov. 4:23).

Paul helps us here. He was thankful that the believers had received the word of God he (a man) had spoken to them. “You accepted it not as the word of man but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers” (I Thess. 2:13). Notice, Paul says the word does the work. When we hear the word of God as a word of man, we must work into our own lives apart from the Holy Spirit Helper. It will not be an effective word. It can at best be a word of man that brings legalistic bondage.

When we are listening to the reading while our own or another’s interpretation is in our mind, we are listening to the word of man rather than the word of God. Our interpretation may even be accurate and our thoughts may be good thoughts. But there is no power to work it into our lives if we don’t hear it as what it really is, the word of God.

“Take care HOW you hear.” The voices of a men or women will be articulating the word as they read. But that word will only change your life if you are hearing it as a word from our Father by the Holy Spirit. The word of God has the ability to transform you; the word of man does not. Our own thoughts about the word are not the word of God. The words in our mind are the words of man unless the Holy Spirit quickens those words.

Here we can simply repeat what we said in the last blog: listen with your spirit to the reading of God’s word.

http://www.readthebibleoutloud.org

Fount Shults

Make a Sound 8: Learning to Listen

We have considered the voice and the significance of sound for several weeks. The sound of heaven can be re-sounded here as we use our voice to proclaim the mighty acts of God. The atmosphere changes when his word goes forth. This week we will shift the emphasis from speaking to hearing, from the mouth to the ear. It is as important to hear the word of God as it is to speak it.

As small groups gather to read the Bible out-loud, some will be reading and others will be listening. The reader is voicing the words Scripture, and the words are carried by the movement of the spirit (breath) of the man or woman who reads. The Holy Spirit works with the human spirit to empower the words.

Faith comes by hearing the word of God. When Jesus spoke, he often followed up with the admonition, “He who has an ear, let him hear.” It is possible to be in the presence of the spoken word with ears that do not hear. What keeps the ear from hearing? What can we do to insure that the hearing causes faith to rise?

One thing that keeps the ear from hearing is the habit of assuming you already know what is going to be said. This habit causes much conflict in marriages. We are especially inclined to do this when the Bible is being read. We think we already know the stories and the statements. We are actually hearing our interpretation of the verses rather than the verses themselves.

A second thing that can keep us from hearing is analyzing the words as they come. Recently my friend and I read the Psalms out-loud together. It took us about five hours. In the first few Psalms I caught myself analyzing the verses rather than simply hearing. I realized I was so caught up in my analysis that I was missing the potential impact of the words that were issuing from my friends mouth.

I had ears, but I was not “hearing” anything other than my own thoughts about what was being read. I was listening to myself teach on choice verses in the Psalms and totally missing the rest of the reading. I had to repent and start listening.

So, what needs to happen for us to hear in a way that faith can rise up? David has an answerer for us. He realized sacrifices and offerings could never heal the breach between himself and God his sin with Bathsheba had caused. But he rejoiced that God had given him an open ear to hear the words of the prophet Nathan who spoke to him about his sin (Ps. 40:6). We need our Father to “dig us an ear.”

We are not able to process everything with our natural mind when someone is reading. Yet we can receive the benefit of the reading even though we are not able to consciously process what is being read. Our natural mind was not designed to receive the word of God. Receiving the word of God is a function of our spirit, or the heart.

We must learn to listen with our spirit. Paul prayed that the Ephesians might have the eyes of their hearts enlightened (Eph. 1:18). Just as we have spiritual eyes, so also we have spiritual ears. If we only see with our natural eyes, we will never receive a spirit of wisdom and of revelation. In like manner, if we only hear with our natural ears faith will never rise up in response to the word. To listen with your spirit means to quiet your natural mind and let the words soak in.

The Living Word of God is quite capable of interpreting itself once it soaks into your spirit. Training in the academic world built in me a structure of thinking that blocked the entrance of the Living Word because I thought I had to analyze it. I wanted to “rightly divide” the word. But one day the Living Word turned on me and began to divide me and lay me bare before our Father (Heb. 4:12).

It is a battle for me to listen with my spirit, but I win the battle more often than I lose it, especially now that I understand the principle. As we join to read the Bible out-loud on October 22, let us open ourselves to allow the word to transform us as it changes the atmosphere.

http://www.readthebibleoutloud.org

Looking Forward,
Fount Shults