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NBC announces sequel to ‘The Bible’

Dr. Jim Denison is a cultural apologist who helps people respond biblically and redemptively to the vital issues of our day. He is also the co-founder and Chief Vision Officer of the Denison Forum, a Dallas-based nonprofit that comments on current issues through a biblical lens.

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Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, executive producers of The Bible miniseries on The History Channel go over changes on the set (Credit: Lightworkers Media/Joe Alblas)

“The Bible” was the number one new cable series in 2013.  In its first week of home video release, it became the top-selling miniseries of all time.  It is also the number one television series on DVD and Blu-Ray in the past five years, passing one million units sold in the first three months after release.  Now NBC has announced that it will partner with Mark Burnett and Roma Downey to air the sequel, “A.D.: Beyond the Bible.”

Mark Burnett is one of the most successful television producers in history, with $63 million in earnings so far this year.  He has won five Emmy Awards and four People’s Choice Awards for his work on Survivor, Celebrity Apprentice, The Voice, Shark Tank, and other projects.  All told, he has produced more than 1,200 hours of television programming which airs regularly in over 70 countries worldwide.  His wife, Roma Downey, has starred in 25 different television movies and shows, including the long-running “Touched By An Angel.”

Burnett and Downey have experienced remarkable secular success.  It was this success which God then used in calling them to make “The Bible” and now its sequel.  Their credibility and connections in Hollywood enabled them to raise $22 million to fund “The Bible” and enlist its actors and crew.  NBC cites Burnett’s success with The Voice as one reason it will air the sequel.  God used their success in television to prepare them for a ministry through television they could never have anticipated.

As we continue our series on heroes, let’s think today about those who have the faith to follow God’s surprising call on their lives.  All across Scripture, God asks his people to do things they didn’t expect, from building an ark to confronting Pharaoh to facing lions to preaching at Pentecost.  Can you think of a single biblical hero whose life turned out the way he or she would have imagined?

Are your plans limiting God’s purpose today, or are you open to anything he might call you to do?  A mentor once advised me: “Always be obedient to the last word you heard from God and open to the next.”  Your unconditional surrender to your King is all he requires to use your life in changing your world.  Anthropologist Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Burnett and Downey testify, “We have both been very blessed to have achieved success in our careers.  But while working on The Bible, we have experienced a different kind of success and prosperity.  It is the success of accomplishing something that God has led us to do.  And it is the prosperity of knowing that accomplishing the things God calls us to do results in deep satisfaction and fulfillment that worldly success and prosperity can never bring.”

It always does.