Grace and peace to you
from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 I thank my God every time I remember you.
4 In all my prayers for all of you,
I always pray with joy
5 because of your partnership in the gospel
from the first day until now,
6 being confident of this,
that he who began a good work in you
will carry it on to completion
until the day of Christ Jesus.
When I first started Anchor I was very excited and very nervous. Eventually the excitement mellowed out, but the nervousness/worry/fear/anxiety continued to go up. My insecurities and lack of experience were overwhelming my confidence. I constantly was asking "What if..." questions from a negative point of view. What if no one comes? What if no one's life is changed? What if I'm a failure, etc.
A couple of weeks ago, while reflecting on some Jesus-wisdom, I was convicted of my worry/fear. I was so afraid of failing at Anchor that all the fun was sucked out of it. I read the part where Jesus gives permission to his followers to not worry. He says: Do not worry! Instead of worry, seek God's kingdom - with confidence. It's been a huge release to not worry/be afraid about how my work will turn out. It's alot more fun to have confidence in God's work in and through us.
Paul is very confident - based on his trust in God, his belief about Jesus, and his experience in the past - that the good work God has begun in the world will not be in vain. Paul is confident because he knows what kind of failure he was - despite his best efforts to do good; but the LORD got a hold of him and began using him for good. Our worst failures are still capable of being used by God to further his good work in this world.
Paul reminds us that the good news is this: Grace and Peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the gospel, this is the good news, the good work that God is up to in the world by Jesus through his Spirit. If crucifixion of His Son can be used for good, if God can give grace to the soldiers and citizens who crucified his son, if God can make peace with rebel on a cross, then he is definitely willing to give you grace, to make peace with you.
And odds are that he is wanting to give others grace and peace through you. Which is one of the best attributes of a church: a community of people giving and receiving grace from one another - and having that grace and peace overflow into their homes, school, work, the neighborhood.
Are you afraid of how your life is turning out? Worried about how your marriage, kids, job, schooling, neighborhood etc. is going? Jesus gives you an invitation: don't worry about it. Instead, trust God to help you figure out what is the next best step to take. This way of dealing with the problem makes possible some confidence that God will give you some grace - open some doors of opportunity, and give you some peace - a way for things to work out "all right".
When enough people start seeking grace and peace from God so that it affects their everyday life, it will be alot easier for more people to see God at work in the world. I don't know about you - but I'd really like to see more of God's grace and peace at work in this crazy, violent, beautiful world.