Pastors love to preach about grace. The essence of the Good News, grace is unmerited favor from the all-powerful Creator of the world. There is perhaps no more satisfying message to deliver.
But does the average churchgoer really understand what grace means for them? Is it just another “Christianese” term that fails to resonate?
Bill Thomas’ Surrounded by Grace: A Bible Study for Lent is a tool based on the Gospel of John to help pastors, small groups and congregations answer the question of what grace is in a modern context. From the story of Jesus turning water into wine at the wedding in Cana to his conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well, Thomas uses John’s words to affirm that the Lord’s favor extends to all no matter how insignificant we see ourselves or our problems.
Written to be utilized for individual or group study, or for worship services during the Lenten season,Surrounded by Grace encourages the imagination to ponder that there is no storm so great the Lord cannot overcome it; no pain so deep he will not sustain us through it; no death so final he will fail to resurrect us from it.
- “Grace for Those Awkward Moments” (John 2:1-11)
- “Grace for the Broken Heart” (John 11:17-44)
- “Grace When Things Are Chaotic” (John 16:17-33)
Bill Thomas is an associate pastor at First Christian Church of Washington, Missouri. Previously he has served as a minister at Northridge Church of Christ in Circleville, Ohio, and as pastor of Stony Point Christian Church in Kansas City, Kansas. Bill received a B.S. in Education from the University of Kansas, a Bachelor of Theology from Manhattan Christian College, and a Master of Arts from Johnson Bible College. His previously published works include The Road to Victory: A Pre-Easter Home Study and The Critical Questions … And More: Three Pre-Easter Bible Studies (CSS Publishing). An avid sports fan who referees football and basketball, he is also the author of two young adult Christian books with a sports theme: Pete Thompson and the Long Road Home, and Pete Thompson and the Last Out (Publish America, 2004).
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite Surrounded by Grace: A Bible Study for Lent is a nonfiction Christian study/devotionals book written by Bill Thomas. Thomas is a minister as well as a religious studies instructor. His book contains seven lessons which are particularly appropriate for study during the Lenten season, and are designed for use by individuals as well as in a classroom or group study setting. They can also form the basis for sermons. Each lesson contains an introductory statement about its objective; gives a focus for prayer; includes a reading from Scripture; provides a discussion of the text and its relevance to modern life; and concludes with discussion questions and suggested hymns. I wasn’t sure what I expected from Bill Thomas’ nonfiction Christian study/devotionals book, Surrounded by Grace: A Bible Study for Lent, but I was most agreeably impressed as I began reading the first lesson. I love the way Thomas organizes each lesson. His introductions gave me some guidance in understanding his choice of Scripture, and the way he integrates that quote with what matters in people’s lives right here and now is inspired. At no time is the author heavy-handed or didactic in imposing his own brand of faith on the reader; rather, he chooses to let the Bible speak for itself and to integrate his sense of its relevance in a thoughtful and introspective way. The questions he concludes each lesson with are thought-provoking and apt to help readers continue thinking about the subject covered for some time after reading. Thomas’ writing style is conversational in manner and makes his work on devotionals both a pleasurable and spiritual activity. Surrounded by Grace: A Bible Study for Lent is most highly recommended.