A NOTE FROM DONNIE
Dear One Harbor Church,
We’ve enjoyed thirteen years of unified partnering together to see Jesus glorified in and through our church. However, never has there been a year where it would have been easier for us to go our separate ways than in 2021. Harsh lines have been drawn in our country that threatened to make the most important thing about each one of us something drastically different than the gospel of Jesus. They threatened to make us hateful or spiteful towards those with whom we live out the “one another’s” of scripture.
Thankfully, God has kept us unified and moving forward. In this, however, I hope all of us have learned some important things about our partnership. Unity isn’t something that comes naturally; division is. We have to fight for the unity we have or we will lose it. God commands a blessing when we dwell together in unity (Psalm 133), and the devil constantly tries to divide any semblance of Christian unity. With that in mind, I want to charge us out of the last few verses in the book of Jude.
“But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, ‘In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.’ It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh. Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.” – Jude 17–25 ESV
One Harbor Church, Keep Remembering The Road Is Difficult
Jude says, “you must remember…” and I think this is a good word for us. Not because we don’t know things can get difficult, we’ve certainly learned that. However, I think it would be easy for us to assume that on the other side of these last two years it will be smooth sailing. It hopefully will be for a while, but we need to remember that it will eventually get difficult again. Jesus said in John 16:33a, “In this world you will have tribulation…”
One Harbor Church, Keep Holding Onto Jesus
Jude says, “building yourselves up…keep yourselves in the love of God.” This is not the season to phone in our relationship with the Lord. We aren’t just called to endure; we are called to keep ourselves in God’s love. In John 15, Jesus said that we can do “nothing” without abiding in Him. All the resources that God has blessed us with aren’t enough to do anything worth doing if we aren’t connected to Him.
One Harbor Church, Keep Holding Onto Each Other
Jude says, “yourselves.” The Greek word here means, “y’all.” It’s wrong to read these charges as directed solely to individuals. The writers of the New Testament imagined us contending for the faith together. This has been so tested in the last two years. It’s easier than ever for Sunday gatherings and Community Groups to be viewed as optional extras. We need each other and we are needed.
One Harbor Church, Keep Holding Out Jesus To A Hurting World
Jude mentions doubters, those who need mercy and those whose lives are burning down. The last couple of years can make us want to focus on individual survival, but we are surrounded by hurting people who desperately need Jesus. Jude calls us to, “snatch them out of the fire.” That’s a vivid description of the people of God acting like first responders to the sin and sadness around us.
One Harbor Church, Keep Remembering It’s Jesus Who Keeps Us
Jude ends with, “To him who is able to keep you.” Friends, it’s not up to us to keep us, it’s up to Jesus. Jesus keeps us. We are to keep remembering the road is difficult, keep holding onto Jesus, keep holding onto each other and to keep holding out Jesus to a hurting world. However, while we keep on…we are being kept. We are kept by the one who said, “I’ve lost none the Father has given me.” (John 18:9). We are being kept by the one who said, “…take heart I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33b).
One Harbor, we are living in tough times, but we are in really good hands. May God bless us and keep us, may his face shine upon us in 2022 as we continue to partner together for the gospel.
For the Elders,