Contemplations

What I've been thinking and what I've been reading for you to compare notes.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Amazing grace played out in an amazing life.

Haven't been blogging much lately because I have been doing a lot of reading. Summer is a good time to read. I won't try to catch up on all the books I've been reading but today I finished "Amazing Grace, The Story of America's Most Beloved Song," by Steve Turner.

Enjoyed the biographical portion of the book more than the history of how the song became so famous.

I received the book as a gift from Bristol Bay Productions and Walden Media for submitting a sermon to Sermon Central with "Amazing Grace" in the title. I did this in February but the books about the song and John Newton, the songwriter, arrived only recently.

I will write a sermon for books any day. And, of course, the sermon was shared with my church.

It was entitled, "Amazing Grace in Simple Terms."

The book's first half chronicles the adventures (and misadventures) of John Newton. It truly is "amazing" to see how God's grace touched this man's life and changed his character so drastically. One thing that really stood out to me was Newton's total disregard and concern for his spiritual state early in life. At times he mentions having gone years without suffering the pangs of conscience for his sins. It was even in his later years that he came to admit to the horrible perversity of transporting slaves across the Atlantic Ocean as a ship captain.

Somehow that encourages me to have hope about some of the men to whom I share the Good News about Jesus. There may come a time when their attitude will change. I must be patient. God's grace is persistent!

I was also arrested by the humility of the man in later life. Even after his song became popular, both in England and America (more so in the United States, in fact), he seemed to remain acutely aware of his total need of Christ. I admire that. It is so refreshingly antithetic to "celebrity" Christianity today.

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