Do you believe God’s Word has power to change lives today? This past weekend I spoke at the annual conference of Faith Alive, a lay witness ministry committed to spiritual renewal in the Episcopal Church. It was a wonderful opportunity to share my vision for church-based Bible reading revival. But the best thing about the weekend was not my messages. Rather, it was was the testimonies from Faith Alive leaders on the impact of reading the Bible.
One attendee shared that for the first half of his life he was afflicted with a debilitating stutter; it was so bad that he carefully planned his education, career and entire lifestyle around one anxious thought: I will never, ever be put in a position to speak in public. Then at age 24, as a Peace Corps volunteer in Africa, he attended a local church and to his shock was asked to read the Scripture passage out loud to the congregation.
The pastor, not knowing about the stutter, pressured him to read. As he stood in front of the church, he braced himself for yet another embarrassing struggle with his stutter. But to his amazement, as he began reading Ezekiel 37 about the Valley of the Dry Bones, his stutter disappeared! He was able to read the whole chapter with perfect clarity…and the stutter never returned. Today, the former stutterer is a parish priest who regularly reads, speaks and preaches in public with great effectiveness.
This weekend reminded me that Bible reading revival is not “my” vision. Rather, it’s a reality and a spiritual power that has been alive among God’s people for a long, long time. Let’s pray that God causes it to spread like wildfire in our day.