What's So Amazing About Grace? 
Part One chapters 1-5 What's So Amazing About Grace? 
What's Grace? Luke 15:1-7
 Part Two chapters 6-10 What's So Amazing About Grace?
Ungrace Colossians 3:12-17
Part Three Chapters 11-14
 A Place for All John 8:1-11
Part Four chapters 16-20
Grace in the World Isaiah 43:19 & 19; Matthew 21:12-16

WEEK ONE:  Grace

Daily Devotionals 

reading one
"Christians have spent enormous energy over the years debating and decreeing truth; every church defends its particular version.  But what about grace?  How rare to find a church competing to "out-grace" its rivals. (Yancy What's so Amazing About Grace p. 29-20)

John 18 records Jesus exchange with Pilate.
37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate.
Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.”
38 “What is truth?” retorted Pilate...

We have to ask then what does Jesus mean by the truth?  As God Christ certainly knew all truths but what specifically is he speaking to here?  That he was setup?  That God is God?  That He is God?  He knows the answers to all this and more so is he just speaking broadly?  Well the author of this Gospel wants us to consider the prayer in John 17 that came before.  In that prayer the truth is spelled out in detail.

He is from God.  God desires relationship with us.  A relationship so deep and intimate it reflects and is bound with the relationship between the Father and the Son.  That relationship we learn is bound together by love!  

This is our truth with which we are to hit people over the head.  
This is the truth with which we are to badger them night and day.
With this truth we are to topple their defenses and make foolish their arguments.  The truth of love.  And the most brilliant display of this love is Christ upon the cross uttering, "Father forgive them..."  Yeah that's what you are to hit those nasty old non-believers over the head with...sacrificial love.  A truth like Christ so grad he opened his arms and declared "I cam not to judge you but to set you free...bind my hands or enter my embrace either way my arms will remain open to you."

This world needs far less of our imperfect sufferable truths and a lot more of his truth.

Jesus today let me know only the truth of Christ and him crucified.
The grace given to me may I give it to others.
And if I am worthy today Lord, give me the chance to die to self for someone today who totally does not deserve it.

reading two
"Ask people what they must do to get to heaven and most reply, 'Be good.'  Jesus' stories contradict that answer.  All we must do is cry, 'Help!'" (Yancy What's so Amazing About Grace p. 54)

That's it?  That's all I have to do?  Say help?  No there must be more.  

Luke 23
39 One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!”

40 But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? 41 We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”

43 Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

All that prisoner knew was he was getting what he deserved and Jesus wasn't.  In response to that reality he makes a simple request...remember me.  It has a profound effect personal invitation from God himself to join him.  Whatever that man did it was bad enough that he himself did not deny his deserving of death.  This isn't Jean Val Jean from Les Mis stealing a loaf of bread to feed his sister.  Is he a Killer?  An abuser? Worse? What? I don't know and that's the point.  Few of us would readily say , "Yeah I deserve the death penalty," but this dude did!  
Do we really believe we can't out bad God's grace?  
You are free!  Free indeed!

Oh how Amazing is your Grace, God!
The hurt I have given
and the hurt I've received
wash them away by the tidal wave of grace
Crumbled like a child's construction they are no more
Now may the drippings of grace
that splatter from my soaked form
illumine the potential beauty
beneath so many dust covered forms.

Reading Three
God loves people because of who God is, not because of who we are. (Yancy What's So Amazing About Grace p. 67)
Grace means there is nothing we can do to make God love us more...And grace means there is nothing we can do to make God love us less..." (Yancy What's So Amazing About Grace p. 70)

After washing the disciples feet in the Upper Room and just before his arrest Jesus told the 12... “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am.  Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet." (John 13:13-14)

If Jesus has loved us in this way then how are we called to love one another?  If Jesus served in everyway then how are we to serve our neighbor.

You know the Gospel isn't hard to understand as so many like to say who study God's word in the church. No no I think its simplicity slips past us because it is simply profound!  And the profound truth is that it asks A LOT of us.  This foot washing did not happen after Judas his betrayer left but before.  Think on that for a bit.

Lord let me accept your grace
Help me not to measure its limits by my own but by your boundless love.
And having received it more may I offer it all the more to others.

WEEK TWO:  UnGrace

Part Two chapters 6-10 What's So Amazing About Grace?
UnGrace Colossians 3:12-17

Reading 1
Let's face it grace is an unnatural act.  Yancy titles the seventh chapter of his book just that An Unnatural Act.  Grace stretches us in all sorts of uncomfortable ways!  Our sense of justice, even right and wrong.  As Helmut Thielicke said of the horrors in Nazi Germany he lived through, "I am always on the point of forgiving...but I never forgive.  I am far to just." (Yancy p.91)

Yet God is both Just and Merciful!  God full of Grace and Justice.  Seems just as difficult to sort as being both God and man right?

Psalm 85:10 Steadfast love and faithfulness will meet; righteousness and peace will kiss each other.

How can justice and grace meet?  Only in the cross.  Only in God as man offering himself to us for acceptance or rejection.  Arms wide open in a posture of grace and justice.

Jesus I thank you for the un justice way you have treated me.
You have forgiven what I could not make amends for.
You have undone all my graceless doing.
Forgive me I pray and thank for the Justice and Grace that met in you upon the cross for me.

Reading 2
If grace is so hard why bother?  there are plenty of other options right?  Cut a person off and just end relationship with them.  Yancy does a great job unpacking this by giving three reasons I'll share with you here but encourage you to go and read for yourself.

First, forgiveness alone can halt the cycle of blame and pain, breaking the chain of ungrace.
The second great power of forgiveness is that it can loosen the stranglehold of guilt in the perpetrator.
Forgiveness breaks the cycle of blame...

So not real compelling huh?  Blame feels like the right attitude to hold towards the one who has hurt me.  IAnd why would I want them to be freed from guilt.  I want them to wallow in it.  Take yourself a big O'l guilt bath all lukewarm and overflowing and just roll around its acidic waters if you'd please.  And I do blame them for my hurt!  So what's in it for me?  Well that's what is so tough.  What is in it for you is a cross.  I wish I had a way out of this cleaver little hole we have dug for ourselves but I don't.  All we have is the hope of a miracle called resurrection that tells you and me its worth it.  Its unpleasant as it comes but on the other side is a new life free of timbers of hate to carry and nails of grief to perpetually hammer.

Lord, forgive me
and as you forgive me may I forgive others their trespasses.
Give me that strength today.
I don't have it but in the cross it can be found.

Reading 3
In a world of unspeakable atrocity, forgiveness indeed seems unjust, unfair, irrational...The strongest argument in favor of grace is the alternative, a world of ungrace. (Yancy p. 112 & 114)

Imagine that world were forgiveness is absent and eye for an eye a tooth for a tooth rules supreme.  Soon we would all be blind and sipping our dinner through a straw.  As unnational as forgiveness maybe be its the only rational response.   Or like a perpetual atom bomb atom after atom is split unit the whole world burns.  

We are a people set apart and holy.  We are to set the example the world cannot discern for itself.  A life of grace.

Lord, I thank you for the calling though it is hard.
The calling to be a person of grace.
A person who picks up their cross and follows your lead.
Its not easy but I know its how you have changed me.
So I know it is how I will change the world for you.
I pray for the strength Lord.