Summary: Make a difference in people’s lives! Help someone make that transformational experience of "I once was lost, but now am found"

Amazing Grace

- Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me

- I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see

- Can you see the pattern?

- John Newton, the author of the lyrics to Amazing Grace, was born in 1725 in Wapping, London, United Kingdom. After a brief time in the Royal Navy, Newton began his career in slave trading. The turning point in Newton’s spiritual life was a violent storm that occurred one night while at sea. Moments after he left the deck, the crewman who had taken his place was swept overboard. Although he manned the vessel for the remainder of the tempest, he later commented that, throughout the tumult, he realized his helplessness and concluded that only the grace of God could save him. These incidents and his 1750 marriage to Mary Catlett changed Newton significantly. On his slave voyages, he encouraged the sailors under his charge to pray. He also began to ensure that every member of his crew treated their human cargo with gentleness and concern. Nevertheless, it would be another 40 years until Newton openly challenged the trafficking of slaves.

I once was lost

- "1You were dead through the trespasses and sins 2in which you once lived"

- "3we were by nature children of wrath, like everyone else"

- Slave Trader

- Hubris: Can overcome any obstacle

- Relationship or lack thereof

- "We don’t learn anything but the hard way"

But now I’m found

- "5by grace you have been saved"

- Turning Point

- Quote: "Some people come into our lives, leave footprints in our hearts and we are never ever the same."

- Baptism

- Footwashing

- Twelve Steps as published by Alcoholics Anonymous: 1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable. 2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. 3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

- Gold’s Gym: "Change your body, change your life"

- Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32): Asked for his inheritance, booze and hookers, sits among pigs, there he comes to his senses, returns home and his father lovingly accepts him

- Finding a church, where there is love and acceptance

Grace is free

- "8For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God— 9not the result of works, so that no one may boast."

- nothing to be earned

- nothing to be added

- no upgrade available for the hard-working

- that’s not fair, that’s free

- God is smart, because he knows otherwise we would be boasting

Give faithfully

- We are "10created in Christ Jesus for good works"

- Not to earn salvation or anything, but as our grateful response

- Once you really made that transformational experience of "I once was lost, but now am found" you cannot help but be grateful and act upon it

- Like the 12th step of AA: "Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs."

- One Great Hour of Sharing changing lives

- In 2005, a grant was provided to the Ikengo Agriculture and Training Center in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. What began with the purchase of 20 pigs has resulted in 305 pigs in 2 years time. Teach a family how to raise pigs and change their lives.

- In Mindanao in the Philippines families are supported to allow their kids to go to school instead of working

- The United Church of Christ Refugee Ministries helped an evacuee family from Louisiana, survivors of the Gulf Coast Hurricane. The family has decided to make Chicago their new home.

- Make a difference in people’s lives!

- Help someone make that transformational experience of "I once was lost, but now am found". Amen.

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