BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (BP)–Finish this Bible verse: “Be still and … .”
Most people answer, “know that I am God,” and they’re partially right. The rest of Psalm 46:10 says, “I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
That verse is an example of how many modern Christians only know about half of the Bible, says Bob Sjogren, a missions mobilizer. And the half they know, he adds, is about God’s promises to bless them, not about God’s expectations of them.
Most Christians have a “bias toward looking at themselves in the Bible. They’re so focused on God’s desire to bless them, they don’t see their responsibility to bless the nations,” Sjogren teaches in “Unveiled: God’s Heart for His People,” a new video series from New Hope Publishers, the general trade imprint of Woman’s Missionary Union, SBC.
The desire to be blessed rather than to be a blessing makes church ministries an end in themselves, Sjogren says. Instead, church ministries should draw believers to the Great Commission or non-believers to the gospel.
Sjogren has lived and worked among Muslims in North Africa. He is now president of Unveilingglory, a ministry dedicated to increasing awareness of God’s glory, based in Mechanicsville, Va.
The video series includes eight sessions, each approximately 30 minutes. A participant’s workbook and leader’s guide make the material user-friendly for small groups.
Response to the material released last fall has been “nothing but positive,” Sjogren says.
One church that used the material reports that members’ prayer requests are totally different afterward. Now members request prayer for world events and people groups rather than only personal issues.
Sjogren suggests that Christians should read the Bible with an eye for God’s expectations of them as well as God’s promises to them. He also recommends that Christians pray for opportunities to be involved in being a blessing to other people groups.
Sjogren also stresses that the Bible is one book with an introduction, a story and a conclusion. It is not a collection of 66 books to be studied independently, he says. The theme of the entire Bible is that God wants to bless his people so they can be a blessing.
Sjogren’s approach to Bible study is refreshing, says Evelyn Blount, executive director/treasurer of the WMU auxiliary of the South Carolina Baptist Convention. Blount consistently urges churches to use the Unveiled material.
“We study the Bible in bits and pieces rather than as a whole,” she says. Looking at the Bible as one book makes it clear that God expects Christians to be a blessing to others. “It’s really the only imperative we’ve been given from the beginning until now,” she concludes.
To receive a free introductory video, call WMU’s customer service at 1-800-968-7301 and ask for item N015020. The video package may be purchased through WMU or by visiting www.newhopepubl.com. LifeWay Christian Stores also carries the series.
Zimmerman is a freelance writer from Lawrenceville, Ga. (BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: UNVEILED: GOD’S HEART FOR HIS PEOPLE.