Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Grace of God

Before I begin this review, I must confess my bias…I am a huge Andy Stanley fan.  Almost ten years ago, JJ and I went to a conference at his church in Alpharetta, Georgia and "discovered" him.  Ever since then, we have soaked up every opportunity  to learn from him through his books and sermons.  He is a gifted communicator that is able to take topics that you have heard countless sermons on and somehow give fresh insight every time.  I was sure that The Grace of God would be no exception.  So to say I was eager for the opportunity to get my hands on this book before its release is a huge understatement.
So on with the review!  The topic of The Grace of God seems like a topic too broad to cover in only 217 pages…I mean, where do you start?!  Well, I'm so glad Andy Stanley chose to start at the very beginning.  When speaking or writing on the topic of grace, authors and speakers often skip straight to stories of the New Testament where the redemption of mankind unfolds in the person of Jesus.  But Andy starts instead with the gritty stories from the Old Testament, showing that “from the very beginning God has responded to the sin of humanity with…well…amazing grace.”  He writes of the many facets of God’s grace, by retelling the stories of Abraham, Judah, Rahab, David, and Jonah, then moving on to the New Testament stories of Matthew, Nicodemus, the woman at the well, and the Prodigal Son.  And while many of these stories were familiar, he still manages to shine a light on something fresh and show how amazing God’s grace truly is.   And throughout each story, the constant theme is that of the God of all creation reaching out to fallen man with a love that defies logic.  And then he challenges the church in a chapter titled "Commissioned for Grace", and cites Acts 15:19, reminding us that we "should not make it difficult for people who are turning to God".  When confronted with the Grace of God, the only appropriate response is to celebrate what He has done and to demonstrate His grace to others.  All of these stories are really God's story, where His love is not earned, but given...not because of anything you've done, but simply because of who He could we not want to share that?  For that is the gospel!

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