Dear Mariners Family,
God’s grace is a powerful thing.
I don’t deserve to be the senior pastor of Mariners Church. I don’t deserve the love and the kindness you have expressed toward me and my family. I don’t deserve the prayers you have prayed on our behalf, the encouragement that Kenton and Laurie have been, or this incredible opportunity. I am not trying to get you to feel sorry for me or to say that I do deserve it. I really don’t. I don’t deserve my wife and my kids either. And I definitely don’t deserve to be a Christian.
It is only by the grace of God.
The apostle Paul reminded a group of Christians that lived in the city of Corinth that everything they had was from the Lord, not something they had earned or deserved. He wrote, “For who makes you so superior? What do you have that you didn’t receive? If, in fact, you did receive it, why do you boast as if you hadn’t received it?” (1 Corinthians 4:7).
Life is so much fuller when we remember that all we have is a gift from our good and perfect Father. Coming to Mariners has been good for my soul because it has been a fresh reminder of God’s grace.
Since we are teaching through the book of Joshua, I have been reading through it the last several months in preparation. Joshua 24 has been a gift to me—a word to me from the Lord. I will get to teach it at our weekend services soon, but for now, let me give you a preview…
In Joshua’s last speech, he reminds the people that everything they have in the land is from the Lord. They are living in houses they did not build and eating from trees they did not plant (Joshua 24:13). Everything they have they received.
The passage has not only made me thankful for the Lord’s grace, but also thankful for you.
I am fully aware that I am leading from a place I did not build—a church I did not build. I am not referring to the building, but the healthy church we enjoy. I am fully aware that I am enjoying the fruit of others’ labor—not only Kenton and Laurie’s faithfulness, but also yours. I am so thankful for those of you who are reading this, and for those who have served, given to, and loved this church so faithfully over the years. You have made an eternal impact, and I am so grateful. By God’s grace, you planted and built something that can also be enjoyed by future generations and others within our community.
For those of us who are new to Mariners, like my own family, may we remember to thank God for the courageous faith of those who have been here before us. They have given sacrificially, served our community faithfully, and made every effort to keep unity for the sake of Christ and His Church.
Today is a day the Lord has given us. We receive it. We do not deserve it. It is only by His grace.