By Matt Robinson
November 2012 – At age 28, while pastoring a church, George Muller (1805-1898) founded an orphanage in Bristol, England. During his lifetime, he cared for over 10,000 orphans without ever making a public appeal for money. At 70, he passed the care of the orphanage to his son-in-law and began a new phase of ministry. For the next 17 years he traveled to 42 countries preaching the gospel an average of once a day.
Where did Muller find the spiritual resources for such a life of sacrifice? The roots of his labors were recorded in his journal. After a profound conversion at the age of 20, he devoted himself to the gospel ministry. Four years later he became ill and was forced to rest for a number of months in the south of England. While recovering, he went to a local Bible study. The truths taught there about God offended Muller, exposing his inadequate views of God’s majesty.
During the following months, as he was confined to his bed, Muller studied the Bible from cover to cover. He came to the conclusion that he had held wrong views of God. By re-thinking God through constant Bible study throughout his life (reading the entire Bible over 200 times), George Muller became an extraordinary servant of Christ.
It is this same re-introduction to God that AFA hopes to promote through a new DVD study titled Behold Your God.
The plan, the people
Behold Your God is a 12-week study produced over the past year by American Family Studios. The study contains 12 DVD sessions that are reinforced by a 12-week daily workbook. Each week’s lesson is preceded by a brief historical profile of a notable man or woman of God such as George Muller, A. W. Tozer, Samuel Rutherford, Charles Spurgeon or Amy Carmichael. The video portions were filmed on location in the United States and the United Kingdom.
The heart of each DVD is a 30-minute lesson on one aspect of the Christian life and how it is affected by a biblical rethinking of God’s character. The teaching sessions are led by Dr. John Snyder, pastor of Christ Church in New Albany, Mississippi.
Following each teaching session is a collection of comments from interviews with contemporary Christian leaders who explain how a biblical appreciation of God’s character has affected their own lives and ministries. Among these men are Richard Owen Roberts, Conrad Mbewe and Paul Washer.
The truths, the treasure
Two truths underpin Behold Your God: 1) A vital knowledge of God is the treasure of the Christian life and not merely a tool to reach something more significant. 2) The believer’s view of God is the most distinguishing and influential factor in his or her life.
“While many of our brothers and sisters around the world are subjected to severe persecution for their faith,” Snyder said, “in the United States, Christianity faces a different obstacle – indifference. People hear sermons, nod their heads in polite agreement and walk away unaffected. Why is this? Clearly ‘God’ has become a weightless idea, an insignificant religious term that only has meaning within the four walls of a church. It isn’t that America is full of irreligious men and women. In fact many hold to a set of moralistic precepts and are active in local churches; but they have views of God which are so far from His own self-descriptions that they are worshipping an idol unawares – a ‘God’ of their own imagination.”
Recalling the words of well-known author A. W. Tozer, Snyder says that many church members live their entire lives without being confronted with the glory of God. In light of this, the greatest need of the church and of the world is to be re-introduced to the One who cannot give us anything better than Himself.
The problem, the hope
Dr. Snyder has observed that earnest churches seeking to grow in godliness often devote their time to answering the question: “What do we need to be doing?” While external problems in the church and culture are addressed, the deeper problem of an inadequate view of God is frequently neglected.
“It’s like cutting off dandelion heads,” he said. “If the root system isn’t dealt with, the weed will return. What we believe about the character of God is the ‘root system’ from which everything else grows.”
Behold Your God looks to the Bible to answer questions such as: “What is God like?” “What does He want believers to know about Him?” These self-descriptions form the foundation for the whole of Christian faith and duty.
“I believe that as a Christian begins to focus on who God is, he will be enticed and enamored by His majesty.” Snyder said. “Growth in love and obedience will certainly follow.”
• Behold Your God DVD study available for shipping January 21, 2013.
• Visit www.beholdyourgod.org for more information including a video trailer.
• Behold Your God Conference will be held January 21-23 at the Landers Center (Southhaven, Mississippi) near the Memphis International Airport. For information, visit the website or call 800-FAMILIES, x335.