The Role of the Listener

Monday, November 30, 2009

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The well-prepared singer understands the importance of making his music beautiful, full of meaning, and having a depth of communication capable of reaching into the listener's soul to clearly present a powerful message. But what should be the response of the listener? What responsibilities does he have?

Take a look at this interesting passage in the book of Ezekiel which references the fact that Ezekiel's congregation refused to be moved to action:
    "Also, thou son of man, the children of thy people still are talking against thee by the walls and in the doors of the houses, and speak one to another, every one to his brother, saying, Come, I pray you, and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the LORD. And they come unto thee as the people cometh, and they sit before thee as my people, and they hear thy words, but they will not do them: for with their mouth they shew much love, but their heart goeth after their covetousness. And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not. And when this cometh to pass, (lo, it will come,) then shall they know that a prophet hath been among them." (Ezekiel 33:30-33)
Bible preaching, Bible teaching, and Bible music for that matter, calls for a changed life. Listeners who refuse to conform their lives to the truth contained in God's Word can never experience the blessings of God.

Our passage here in Ezekiel condemns the children of Israel for their lack of action. They were willing to listen, to attend, to observe, to appreciate, to "consume," to hear, to enjoy the preaching of Ezekiel. However, they missed the critical step of actually applying the Word of God to their lives. There was no life-change.

And they lived to regret their disobedience.

As a musician, concerned with presenting a clear picture of truth through their music, we must do our part to adequately prepare, to sing or play with energy, directness, and passion.

Ultimately, however, the responsibility for life change lies with the audience. Each individual listening to and absorbing true teaching based upon Biblical principles, must personally take the steps necessary for implementing the truths learned.

I am reminded of the song "Stirred but not Changed" by Lanny Wolfe:
    Have I heard it for so long that Heís just another song?
    Has the story lost its thrill that I once knew?
    Lord, give me a burden thatís so strong,
    That it will last when my tears are gone.
    Iím tired of what Iíve been. Lord, make me over again.

    Iím so tired of being stirred about the lost who need to hear.
    Iím so tired of being stirred that His coming is so near;
    Iím so tired of being stirred till I cry bitter tears.
    Iím so tired of being stirred but not being changed.
The words to this song are, in reality, a condemnation of the singer for failing to do what he knows he ought to do. James put it this way:
    "Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." (James 4:17)
We find this important principle all throughout Scripture. Many of the great prophets, preachers and teachers in the Bible reiterated this vital doctrine. We must go beyond hearing truth to living truth!

Moses:

    "And Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and keep, and do them." (Deuteronomy 5:1)

Jeremiah:

    "Then the LORD said unto me, Proclaim all these words in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, saying, Hear ye the words of this covenant, and do them." (Jeremiah 11:6)

Jesus:

    "And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it." (Luke 8:21)

James:

    "But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, decei


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Curtis Hollembeak


Curtis holds a bachelor's degree in Bible with a music minor, as well as a master's degree in Sacred Music, having studied under Dr. Frank Garlock, president of Majesty Music, and Ray and Ann Gibbs, well-known Christian singers. He has served as music director and jr. high/high school supervisor at Grace Baptist Church of Mankato, Minnesota; school music director at the Franklin Road Christian School in Murfreesboro, Tennessee; media engineer for the Sword of the Lord in Murfreesboro, Tennessee; and, full-time music director at Second Baptist Church and Twin City Christian Academy in Festus, Missouri. He is currently self-employed and serves in the music ministry of the Berean Baptist Church in Rockford, IL. Curtis is co-founder and President of the Asaph Music Co. He regularly sings bass with the Bible Truth Chorale on recordings produced by Bible Truth Music at Faith Music Missions.

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  Oh, Lord, Make Me More Like Asaph!
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