I was scrolling through my Facebook feed the other day when I should really have been doing other more productive things, when a post caught my attention.
My friend Joel, a worship leader and talented musician has just launched a new website intriguingly called Stop Rest Listen. This struck a chord. A lot of people around me recently have been talking about stress and anxiety, and the need we all have for quiet and re-charging.
I began exploring the links Joel had posted and discovered that this really is a gem of a project. Stop Rest Listen collects scriptures grouped around a certain theme and creates audio tracks with the words read out over original music. He explains it all in this short video:
In a blog post on the site Joel says that he created these tracks originally for his own use. Reading the Bible had not come easily for him and he had often felt stuck, but when he began recording the scriptures and listening back to them throughout the day they took on new life. In his own words he says:
‘I found that by listening to the scriptures, I was able to access the bible in the car, on the train, on a run, basically anywhere! The music makes the scriptures come alive for me, it creates a great atmosphere behind the spoken word. I’ve never been great at reading and retaining information and I often beat myself up if I forgot what I had read in the bible that morning. What I found is that I could retain and recite a lot more scripture by reading and listening to it.’ (Read the full story behind the project here)
I think this highlights an important truth. Not all of us learn the same way, not all of us connect with God in the same way, not all of us access the Bible in the same way. When we push everyone to approach the Bible in one way we leave people feeling frustrated and inadequate.Which is why I love projects like this that opens up a new path for people to know God.
Stop Rest Listen now have an EP available to download on itunes with five tracks in total. Each one with scriptures on a different theme. There is something very special about hearing the word against music, I think it helps to express the beauty, passion and strength of feeling there is in the word.
On top of this they also are producing podcasts that begin with a ‘scripture track’ before moving on to interviews and discussions with special guests. I have listened to the first two today, one after the other. They talk with sincerity and passion but the feeling is very relaxed and natural, like you are overhearing some friends catch up in a coffee shop. The Mark Stevens interview is especially worth a listen.
Anyway, I am excited about this and am looking forward to seeing what they do next. In the meantime you should go and check out their stuff!