Whatever Became of Grace
Stories of Hope for Preaching and Teaching In a Graceless World
John Pennington

Price: $13.95

ISBN: 0788030051
Size: 5.5x8.5
Pages: 104
“Those who have received grace are meant to be bearers of grace when it is needed most” (40). Many Christians attending church have noticed a decline of grace in churches, seeing them more as stages upon which the sinners are shamed for their deeds. Rev. John Pennington has realized something similar and takes the opportunity to reintroduce God’s disciples to the revolutionary concept of grace, freely given by God our Father.

Despite the freely given idea of grace introduced with the coming of Jesus Christ and the New Testament, many churches and even some preachers have unknowingly convinced their congregations that they must live a certain way or serve God in exactly the right way to earn his love and forgiveness, and to enter into heaven. However, Pennington argues that this is not the case. With Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, each one of us has received God’s grace, no matter what kind of life we lead. It is our duty to share that grace with others, with those who need it most. If God were mad at his people, he would have sent Jesus with a mission to whip humans into shape. Instead, God sent his son to preach the good news, to heal the sick and suffering, and to ultimately die on the cross for all.

Through various stories and examples, Pennington proves how grace is always active in our world; we just need to open our eyes to recognize and accept it. Those with grace should be willing to grant it to others, especially in their hardest hours. No matter who you are or what you have done, God loves and forgives you. Despite what you may hear in more traditional places of worship, God is not ashamed of any of his children, nor does he seek to punish them. “How can we change that connotation of preaching after people grew up hearing negative stuff? I think the clue can be found in the gospel according to Matthew where the Sermon on the Mount told us how Jesus preached…Jesus didn’t come to fuss at people. He came to bless them, and only when preachers follow his example are they preaching the gospel” (58).

Preacher or not, each one of us has been marked as God’s children through baptism and the death of Jesus. Despite what you may believe about yourself and your actions, God loves us all equally, regardless of our lives. If God can sacrifice Jesus for our sake, we can reach out and share God's grace with those around us.

As we have already received the grace of God through the death of his son, all we have to do is share it with others, as Pennington does through Whatever Became of Grace?, using stories of his own experiences as well as those from across the world.

Sermon Titles include:
  • “Times When Grace is Needed Most”
  • “Recognizing Grace”
  • “Never Be Ashamed of Grace”

John (Jack) Pennington is the retired Pastor Emeritus of First Baptist Church Middlesboro, Kentucky, having served churches in Tennessee, Kentucky, and North Carolina, with forty years of experience. John is a graduate of Hiwassee College, in Madisonville, Tennessee, the University of Tennessee, in Knoxville, Tennessee, and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina. In addition to serving as pastor, Pennington served on the adjunct religion faculty of Hiwassee College and Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee.