Category Archives: John Newton (Hymn Writer)

Who is Seeking Who Here?


Heard any good 7/11 songs lately?

The People seek:

Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice. – 1 Chronicles 16:10 & Psalm 105:3
Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always. – 1 Chronicles 16:11
Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, O God of Jacob. Selah – Psalm 24:6
One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. – Psalm 27:4
My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, LORD, I will seek. – Psalm 27:8
But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation always say, “The LORD be exalted!” – Psalm 40:16
O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water. – Psalm 63:1
Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always. – Psalm 105:4
I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. – Psalm 119:10

God Seeks:

For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” – Luke 19:10
Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. – John 4:23

Does God want us to seek him?:

Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you. – Psalm 9:10
The LORD looks down from heaven on the sons of men to see if there are any who understand, any who seek God. – Psalm 14:2 & Psalm 53:2
I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me. – Proverbs 8:17
The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; – Lamentations 3:25
And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. – Hebrews 11:6
Blessed are they who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart. – Psalm 119:2
But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. – Matthew 6:33
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. – Matthew 7:7
For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. – Matthew 7:8

Indeed we should be seeking God; and yes, he seeks us as well; as a matter of fact – He seeks us from birth, while we are being formed in the womb.

God found me…

I once was lost, but not am found, was blind but now I see. – John Newton

Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version, Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society.  Used by permission of International Bible Society

Amazing Grace Intro Reading


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This is an introduction to be read by the worship leader prior to singing the hymn.

John Newton, the writer of the hymn “Amazing Grace” was, at one point in his life, “the worst of sinners.”  He personally ruined over 20,000 lives selling 20,000 young Africans; that’s 20,000 people created by God, in His image, and Newton sold them like cattle into a life of unending slavery.  He never knew their names, never cared to know their names, in fact history tells us that Newton simply referred to them all as “grunts.”  Newton was guilty for grievous crimes against humanity.  But God used this man to change the course of History.  John Newton was lost; but now He’s found, He was blind; but now He sees.  Newton was writing about himself.  Newton was the wretch.  He came full circle.  This is a story of one man coming to faith, renouncing the life that he once served.

 

You may have come here this morning thinking that you’re sins are unforgivable.  This may be the first time that you’ve been in a church for over 10 years.  On Good Friday, some 2000 years ago, a Roman soldier plunged a sword into the side of a dying innocent man.  In fact, this innocent man was God himself.  Quite a sin you must be thinking, right?  But guess what covered that sharp tipped sword when it was removed from Jesus’ side.  It was literally covered by the blood of Jesus.  I don’t know if that Roman soldier ever came to faith in Jesus; but if He did, that sin was covered and paid for in full.  It’s amazing grace!

 

My chains are gone.  I’ve been set free.  My God, my Savior has ransomed me.  And like a flood, His mercy reigns, unending love, amazing grace.  (Chris Tomlin; lyrics to “Amazing Grace – My Chains are Gone)

Some of the text in this reading are from the major motion picture “Amazing Grace”.

Psalm 107 / John Newton (Amazing Grace) Experience


A Responsive Reading

Based on Palms 107:23 – 32

Background Information:

John Newton, the writer of the hymn “Amazing Grace”, had received some early religious instruction from his mother, who had died when he was a child, but he had long since given up any religious convictions.  However, on a homeward voyage, while he was attempting to steer the ship through a violent storm, he experienced what he was to refer to later as his “great deliverance.”  He recorded in his journal that when all seemed lost and the ship would surely sink, he exclaimed, “Lord, have mercy upon us.” Later in his cabin he reflected on what he had said and began to believe that God had addressed him through the storm and that grace had begun to work for him.

Pastor:              Others went out on the sea in ships;
Congr:              they were merchants on the mighty waters.

Pastor:              They saw the works of the LORD,
Congr:              his wonderful deeds in the deep.

Pastor:              For he spoke and stirred up a tempest
Congr:              that lifted high the waves.

Words of John Newton:

I went to bed that night in my usual security and indifference: but was awaked from a sound sleep by the force of a violent sea, which broke on board us.  So much of it came down below as filled the cabin I lay in with water.  This alarm was followed by a cry from the deck, that the ship was going down, or sinking.  The sea had torn away the upper timbers on one side, and made the ship a mere wreck in a few minutes.

 Pastor:              They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths;
Congr:              in their peril their courage melted away.

Pastor:              They reeled and staggered like drunken men;
Congr:              they were at their wits’ end.

Words of John Newton:

I was obliged to return to the pump, and there I continued till noon, almost every passing wave breaking over my head; but we made ourselves fast with ropes, that we might not be washed away.  Indeed I expected that every time the vessel descended in the sea, she would rise no more.  About nine o’clock, being almost spent with cold and labour, I went to speak with the captain.

 Pastor:              Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble,
Congr:              and he brought them out of their distress.

Pastor:              He stilled the storm to a whisper;
Congr:              the waves of the sea were hushed.

Words of John Newton:

Just as I was returning from him, I said, almost without any meaning, “If this will not do, the Lord have mercy on us!”  I was instantly struck with my own words, and as Jehu said once, What hast thou to do with peace, so it directly occurred, What mercy can there be for me?   I concluded at first; that my sins were too great to be forgiven.  

When I saw beyond all probability, there was still hope of respite, and heard about six in the evening that the ship was freed from water, there arose a gleam of hope; I thought I saw the hand of God displayed in our favour: I began to pray.  I could not utter the prayer of faith: I could not draw near to a reconciled God, and call him Father.  My prayer was like the cry of the ravens, which yet the Lord does not disdain to hear.  I now began to think of that Jesus whom I had so often derided: I recollected the particulars of his life, and of his death:- a death for sins not his own, but, as I remembered, for the sake of those who in their distress should put their trust in Him. 

Pastor:              They were glad when it grew calm,
Congr:              and he guided them to their desired haven.

Pastor:              Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love
Congr:              and his wonderful deeds for men.

Pastor:              Let them exalt him in the assembly of the people
Congr:              and praise him in the council of the elders.

Words of John Newton:

When we came into port, our very last victuals were boiling in the pot; and before we had been there two hours, the wind, which seemed to have been providentially restrained till we were in a place of safety, began to blow with great violence; so that, if we had continued at sea that night in our shattered enfeebled condition, we must, in all human appearance, have gone to the bottom.

 About this time I began to know that there is a God that hears and answers prayer.

 

While Amazing Grace has a reference to 1Chronicles 17:16-17 in the Onley hymnal, it is more likely to be based on Ephesians 2:4-9, Paul’s great treatise on Grace, which says:

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. [NIV]

 Sources:

1. Scripture text is from the NIV (Zondervan Publishing)

2.  http://www.johnnewton.org/Mobile/default.aspx?article_id=72948 – modifed and adapted by S. Brown.