Giving God Our Whole Hearts: A Challenge to Commitment
By Kay Rollings
Secrets to Surrender: Living Wholeheartedly, by Debby Akerman, helps us examine our commitment to God. Through Scripture and examples from both biblical and more recent times, Akerman encourages us to strive for All-for-You living. This short but meaningful work also includes thought-provoking questions that will help us apply biblical concepts in daily wholehearted living.
Planning Your Study
- Audience—Decide whether to invite adults only, adults and students, students only, Women on Mission®, etc.
- Time frame—Since this is a relatively short book, the primary ideas can be studied in a single session, and each approach is geared for this. Ideally, the session would be an overview, and then those who attend can use the book as a 19-day devotional guide.
- Publicity—Make a bulletin board and flyers to advertise this study. Along with essential information, use the words “Divided heart or wholehearted surrender?” Decorate with hearts and hearts that have been cut in half.
- Refreshment idea—Serve cupcakes that say All-4-U, or make heart-shaped cookies. Before baking the cookies, cut some of the hearts in half.
Blindfold one person and ask him or her to draw a heart on the board using only one hand. Let several people attempt it. After the group observes the efforts, say, Sometimes giving our whole hearts to Jesus can be challenging, like our blindfold drawing.
Approach 1—The Illustrated Book
Materials needed: eight copies of the book, eight sheets of poster board, markers
After the introductory activity, tell the group a little about the book; then say, People say a picture is worth a thousand words. Today we’re going to illustrate some important images in our book. Working with the others in your small group, study your assigned chapter and illustrate important ideas on your poster board with both pictures and words. Then you’ll share what you’ve discovered. Please don’t worry if your group doesn’t contain a great artist; just do your best with your illustrations.
Divide into eight groups. Assignments: the world (chapter 1), fisherman shoes and nets (5), taking up cross (8), divided heart (10), treasure (13), missionary parents (14), servant hearts (17), and intercessory prayer (18).
Ask each group to share its poster. Discuss ways each one relates to the title of the book.
Concluding activity—On a piece of poster board, draw the outline of a person. Say, If someone were wholeheartedly surrendered, what would he or she be like? Write their ideas on top of the outline with a marker.
Closing—Have everyone stand in a circle around a Bible with a ribbon on top that reads, All for You. Sing “I Have Decided to Follow Jesus” as your closing prayer.
Approach 2—All for You on Parade
Materials needed: a sheet of paper for each person present
At the top of each sheet, write, “My name is _______________ (chapter __), and I chose All-for-You living.” On each sheet, fill in the blanks with one of the people listed below, along with the chapter in the book in which he or she appears. Each attendee needs access to a copy of the book. Here are names that you may want to include:
- Chapter 2: Moses, David (also chapter 13), John the Baptist, and the Apostle John
- Chapter 3: Caleb (also chapter 4) and Sue and Bob Brindle
- Chapter 4: Corrie ten Boom
- Chapter 5: Judson W. Van DeVenter, Doug and Darla Millar, and “Pastor Tank”
- Chapter 7: King Asa and Good King Wenceslaus
- Chapter 8: young woman of Muslim background
- Chapter 10: John and Cheryl Derbyshire
- Chapter 11: Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jim Elliot, and Dr. Martha Myers
- Chapter 12: Gloria and Bill
- Chapter 13: Melissa and Fitz Fitzwater and Kate Ellen Gruver
- Chapter 14: Mary, missionary mother of today
- Chapter 16: King Hezekiah and Peter
- Chapter 17: Billy Graham and Scott Wesley Brown
- Chapter 18: King Solomon and Mary Slessor
- Chapter 19: Annie Armstrong, Fannie E. S. Heck, the Apostle Paul, and Alma Hunt
After the introductory activity, give each person one of the papers. Say, We are on a quest for biblical and more recent people who believed in All-for-You living. Find information about your person and then write about his or her life as if that person were telling his or her story in the form of a monologue. Then we will share our findings with the group.
After everyone has finished, have a monologue parade as each person shares what he or she has written.
See Approach 1 for concluding activity and closing.
Approach 3—Panel Discussion
Choose a moderator and four people for the panel, all of whom will need to read the book ahead of time. Provide them with the questions/topics below. Meet with them to rehearse so that they can plan what each person will discuss.
- Chapter 1—How does God show us even in the beginning chapters of Genesis that He had a plan for our redemption?
- Chapter 6 talks about “refining fire.” Explain this concept. Who were some people who experienced this in the past? How does refining fire impact our lives today?
- Chapter 9 discusses the four ways that Jesus viewed the world. How can those ways help us in our relationships?
- Tell about a person from the Bible who illustrates wholehearted surrender.
- Explain how a person from more recent times modeled All-for-You living.
- Jonah is a person who ran from God. What personal experience of running from God’s call to serve Him have you had? What was the outcome?
- Chapter 13, titled “Heart of Gold,” deals with material possessions and treasure in our lives. How does the way we use our resources indicate a wholehearted surrender to God?
- What would be your reaction if your child or grandchild told you that God was calling him or her to international missions? How does your reaction reflect your own surrender to God’s will?
- Chapter 16 discusses Peter’s four Ins. Tell about one of those. How can it help us follow Jesus?
- Chapter 17 talks about Billy Graham and his ability to be untouched by the admiration of others. How did he keep his servant’s heart?
At your meeting, direct the introductory activity and introduce the book. Present the moderator and panelists for the discussion.
After the panel discussion, use the concluding activity and closing from Approach 1.
Kay Rollings, who lives in Irmo, South Carolina, has been a GA® for most of her life as a member, leader, or coordinator.