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What's So Amazing About Grace? by Philip Yancey is a must-read for those wanting to know the reality of the grace of Jesus Christ. Yancey exposes the lack of grace sometimes found in the church and then paints a picture of true grace using compelling stories, personal examples, and biblical insights. Each of us is on a quest for grace, and this book offers a light illuminating the path to its discover.

On the first day of our small-group study, I read a true story from the first page of the book. In it, a friend of Yancey's recounts the day a prostitute confessed to him that she had been renting out her two-year-old daughter for sex to support her own drug habit. Having no idea what to say to this woman, Yancey's friend asked if she had ever thought of going to a church for help.

"I will never forget the look of pure, naive shock that crossed her face. 'Church!' she cried. 'Why would I ever go there? I was already feeling terrible about myself. They'd just make me feel worse!'"

After reading this story to my group, I asked what they would have done if the woman had come to them. Their answers included evidence of shock, anger, disbelief, and shame -- everything except grace.

For the next 12 weeks, we tagged along as Yancey placed grace in the settings of life's starkest images of ungrace, shame, and scandal. Throughout the book, he enticed us to take an honest look at the current condition of the church and the ill-effects of harshness, unforgiveness, rigidity, and revenge. He encouraged us by shedding light on the miracle of grace's survival in the world and the definition of true love.

Our group members read each chapter beforehand. During the meetings, we discussed the issues revealed in the text and held up the light of God's Word to our own experiences of grace and ungrace. Our discussions were revealing and healing.

I ended the study by again asking the group members what they would do if the woman in the story had come to them. Their answers were unanimously grace-filled. Thoughts from this study continue to come up in our discussion as we study other books and issues. We learned that grace touches everything that touches us.

    -Sue Skalicky
    From Discipleship Journal, Issue 129
    May/June 2002, page 70