Continuing on the theme of hearing and listening from my last post A Hearing Problem or Listening Problem?…on our girls weekend, not only did we spend lots of time laughing at my “hearing”, but once again we each brought an activity for us all to do together. The water color exercise from last year (see Invited In) had really set the bar high, but in no way was I disappointed this year. We made hand-painted clocks (LOVED THIS!) and sock snow men (LOVED THIS TOO!):
For those of you who know I am not crafty, my snow couple and clock face are in the bottom left-hand corner…proof that miracles still happen today! For the record, I was so pleased with my snow couple that they are on prominent display in my living room on the TV stand, not in the bottom of my sock drawer.
Back to hearing and listening…on Sunday morning though we had a very different activity. My closest friend for over 20 years shared about how God has been transforming her spiritual walk simply by LISTENING to His Word read aloud to her by an app on her iPhone on the way to work every day. She is so excited about what God has been doing in her life that she wanted us to experience it as well.
For the most part, when God’s Word was given it was read aloud to the people. Paper was not readily available and even if it were, for a long period of history only certain segments of the population could read and write which necessitated the Scriptures being read to people. Most of the New Testament was recorded in the form of letters that were circulated and read aloud to churches in different communities. All that to say, God’s Word was initially recorded in order to be HEARD by most, not read by most.
Here’s how this went down: we listened to the entire book of First John from beginning to end without our Bibles in front of us, without paper to take notes on, without stopping and rewinding, without talking. We just listened. It only took about 15 or 20 minutes. Then we listened to First John 3, but this time we had paper to jot down anything that seemed to jump out at us. Then we listened to First John 3 one more time. Once we had listened we discussed what spoke to our hearts.
As a Precept Bible study leader, as a visual learner, as someone who does not process a single thought without somehow writing it, typing it, or discussing it, THIS WAS STRANGE and very difficult. It demonstrated to me just how hard it is to really listen. Not just hear words, but listen to the message, understand the heart of what is being communicated. It was interesting that all six of us heard things that we had not seen before when we read it. It was also interesting that different parts of chapter three spoke to each one of us, but once we started discussing it we found how it was all related.
A+ on this activity! It got bonus points not only for content, but because my sweet friend invited us into a special part of her life she wanted us to share in.
The following week as
my partner in crime my teaching comrade and I prepared for our Jeremiah lesson we decided to give the listening exercise a spin with Jeremiah 7 – 9. What a huge difference it made. After having done all the homework for the lesson, to listen to it read aloud to me really helped me to HEAR God’s heart in the message. It’s very easy to get caught up in all the details of the message (what are the key words? who is speaking to whom? what are the repeated words or phrases?) but to listen to it as a whole brought into focus the main point – yes He’s telling them all the ways they’ve sinned, but His heart is that they Know Him. I’m not ready to trade in my colored pens and pencils for ear phones, but I am grateful to add this dimension to my time in God’s Word each day!
Romans 10:17 – “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.”
John 10:27 – “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”
Deuteronomy 6:4 – “Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one!”
If you would like to give it a try, Youversion has a Bible app for both iPhone and Droid that allows you to choose your version (I use NASB and ESV) and reads it aloud.
Also, just in case you are interested, the place we stay on our weekend getaway is Riverbend in Sparta, NC. It’s amazing – peaceful, beautiful, serene, even inspiring. Love it!