Monday, December 23, 2013

Grace Alone - Part I

My brother’s brother-in-law, John Mehrling, is a friend who serves in many ways in their church.  One of his privileges is to teach Reformation history to 5th & 6th graders.  
What follows is an email John sent in response to a sermon I’d preached on grace:
Many years ago, I had a student who had a difficult family situation and some developmental problems.  He craved to be part of the class, either walking or bicycling to church.  I'd meet with him on Saturday morning to help him do his memory work for Sunday School.  
After that year, his family moved away with no forwarding address.   Some 15 years later, one of our Pastors was doing visitation at the prison in Riverhead.  He saw Pastor Hoefler and recognized him.  He told his story: loneness, alcohol, striking back at tormentors, murder. 
He told Pastor that he remembered a verse from Sunday School, which he recited.  Eph 2: 8-9.  He wanted to know if it was true, was it true even for him?  Pastor talked and prayed with him, visited with him several more times. 
A short while later he was tried and convicted of murder and sent to Sing Sing.  Less than a year later he was killed by a fellow prisoner. 
We failed him.  But God's Word came through to him and His Grace remained with him to the end.
Grace remained; and if that’s all that remains, that’s enough!


Upon which side of grace are you standing?
      Need – do you feel all that weight of the burden of your sins?  Need God’s grace to forgive?

Or is it that you need to extend grace?  Is there someone who is broken and needs your forgiveness?

God's grace is sufficient for all your needs.
Tomorrow - the rest of this story

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