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SGQ - February 10, 2019

02.10.19 | Small Group Questions | by Jeff Lincicome

SGQ - February 10, 2019

    Psalm 145:8-13


    1. When you hear the song Amazing Grace, what does it make you think of? Why do you think it's become such a powerful anthem of our world?

    2. Psalm 145 is an acrostic--the start of every line being the next letter in the Hebrew alphabet. It was a teaching tool to remind God's people of what was most important. Read Psalm 145 again. What jumps out that you believe God wants you to remember?

    3. The Hymn Amazing Grace was written in late December 1772 by John Newton, a parish pastor in the Church of England. He wrote it as a way to help his congregation filled with simple tradesman and farm workers to remember the main truth of the Gospel--the primacy of grace. How does grace govern the life of the church today (Or does it?)? How do we keep it alive?

    4. Amazing Grace likely also came out of Newton's own life and baggage. As the son of a sea captain, at an early age Newton became the captain of multiple vessels involved in the slave trade. For many years, even after he became a Christian, Newton never considered this part of his past as shameful. And yet, towards the end of his life, he campaigned to end the slave trade and for liberation for all, admitting his own part in the horrific past. There are times when all of us need to hear God's proclamation of grace, especially when we remember what we were like, or the things we have done. How successful are you at hearing of God's Amazing Grace for you? What stands in your way?

    5. As Newton wrote Amazing Grace, along with his congregation, he was also likely thinking of his best friend, William Cowper. Cowper was one of the best poets of his generation, and together with Newton wrote over 300  hymns for their local church to use. Cowper also struggled with severe depression, being hospitalized multiple times for attempting suicide. At the end of 1772, Cowper was gripped with fear and depression, that somehow God would abandon him for all of his doubts and mistakes. It makes sense that Amazing Grace could also have been a message of hope to Newton's best friend and creative partner. Think of a friend today who you think may need God's Amazing Grace today. What can you do to walk along side them?