Pastor, author, and Bible teacher, Alan Wright. God doesn't like to leave broken things broken. He doesn't like to leave lost things lost. He doesn't like to leave displaced things out of their place. He is a God who brings things together in order. He is a God not of chaos, but of delightful integrity and unity in bringing things together.
That's the Father's blood. That's Pastor Alan Wright. Welcome to another message of good news that will help you see your life in a whole new light. I'm Daniel Britt, excited for you to hear the teaching today in the series we've called Saver as presented at Rinaldo Church in North Carolina. If you're not able to stay with us throughout the entire program, I want to make sure you know how to get our special resource right now, an audio album called Saver. It can be yours for your donation this month to Alan Wright Ministries, either a CD album or a digital download of these audio messages.
So, as you listen in to today's messages, go deeper as we send you today's special offer. Contact us at pastoralan.org. That's pastoralan.org. Or call 877-544-4860.
877-544-4860. More on all of this later in the program. But now, let's get started with today's teaching.
Here is Alan Wright. Are you ready for some good news? You can become a connoisseur of God's grace.
I mean, the one who more than anyone else in the room could savor the textures and the flavors of God's grace, to see the nuances of His goodness, to become an expert in noticing what God's doing, to receive more because you see more. We are in a new series called Saver, and our New Year's blessing was taken from a text in Isaiah chapter 43, starting at verse 16. This is what the Lord says, He who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, who drew out the chariots and horses, the army and reinforcements together, and they lay there never to rise again, extinguished, snuffed out like a wick.
Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past. See, I'm doing a new thing. Now it springs up.
Do you not perceive it? I'm making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls because I provide water in the desert and streams in the wasteland to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself.
They may proclaim my praise. I was in an airport on Thursday evening at 5 45, and airports at about 5 45 PM are dreary places to be if you look at the faces of the travelers. It's at the end of the day, and anybody that's still there is dreading the fact that they got to still travel some more, and they've probably already been traveling, and maybe they're just waiting on a plane, but anyway, I was headed back and I'm making my exit out of the airport, and I looked over all of that glass. You know, the airports have these big panoramic glass windows that, and this particular viewpoint, you could see the sky really broadly, and it was one of the most beautiful sunsets I've seen in years. I mean, one of those sunsets that had vivid, bright colors in it. It wasn't just the soft pink, so that was there, and some peach colored clouds, but it was also some just vivid orange, and there was some deep crimson red and some violet colors, and all this whole spectrum just filled up the sky, and everywhere you looked, it looked different. It was astounding, and so, as I was making my way out, I just stopped, and I went over to the window, almost like a little kid, just looking out the window like this, just to stare at it. That's when I noticed. Guess how many other people were looking at the sunset? Zero. Zero people were looking at the sunset in the airport at 5 45 p.m. on Thursday, and I thought to myself, there's one or two reasons, or both, that they're not looking at the sunset, and one is that most everybody's on their phone, but the other is that their mind wasn't there in that moment, because after a day like that, and you're sitting at airport 5 45, you're either thinking back over the day, and it makes you tired to rethink it all, or you're just thinking, I just can't wait to get home wherever I'm going, and so you're just thinking about getting home, so you can think all about how tired you are from the day, or you can think all about, well, once I get home, then everything will be okay, and if you're in the past thinking, or you're in the future thinking, there's one place you're not, and that's in the moment, and the fact of the matter is that the frustrations of the day might be very real, and a late plane that's making you get home late, and making you long to be home, that longing is very real, but there was something else that was very real also, that sunset, it was just as real, and the thing about sunsets, if you don't behold them when they're in the sky, you blink your eyes just about, and it's gone.
Nobody saw it. What I want to learn, and I'm inviting you to learn, is to savor the moments of life. The secular world is studying this and calls it mindfulness, being mindful of the present moment.
Research has shown that people that get good at this are happier, but it's not a new truth, and it's not rooted in some Eastern meditation. This is God's truth. This is the nature of God and the way that He built us. He designed us to live moment by moment, day by day, and it is a calling upon our lives as we grow in Christ to be less and less ruled by the past with its regrets or even its sentimental joys, and less ruled by the longings of I can't wait until I get past this hurdle, and instead learn to live in this day and to drink in God's mercies every moment. So every year at Rinaldo, we start the year not with ramping up our resolutions, but by fixing our thoughts together on God's promises to us because our life and our energy and our honestly transformation and success in this world is never going to be built on our faithfulness to God.
That's too flimsy. But God's faithfulness to us is true, and when you focus on His faithfulness to you and His Word and His assurances, His promises, that's transforming. And so we start each new year with a new year blessing, this year taken from this beautiful prophetic text in Isaiah 43 that was spoken to those that would be exiled in Babylon. Here's this year's new year's blessing that we've spoken over the congregation yesterday with its joys and sorrows is over.
Tomorrow with its hopes and challenges is yet to exist. But today, right here, right now, God's grace blooms before your very eyes. This is what the Lord says through Isaiah, forget the former things. Do not dwell on the past. See, I'm doing a new thing.
I'm doing a new thing. Now, now it springs up. Led by the Spirit, you can become mindful of every blessing and savor the textures and flavors of God's grace each moment in the moment every day this year. It's a blessing that's rooted in a prophecy that comes from Isaiah who prophesies eight centuries before Christ and speaks of events that are to come. And this is part of a section of Isaiah, Isaiah 40 to 55, in which there is so much consolation and words of comfort and encouragement because God is forecasting the return of His people out of exile.
This is a people who have been away from their homeland and the comfort of the Holy Spirit through the word proclaimed to them is that God is going to restore them. And the invitation of this prophetic text is to not dwell on the past, not be concerned with just longing to get back home so much that you forget to see what God's doing right here, right now. Now, God had in the past opened up the Red Sea and the people of the Exodus came through to safety. And God is a God who can open Red Seas, but now He's going to do something different. He's going to make a way in the wilderness.
He's going to return the people home. God, who did great things yesterday, can do great things in this moment. Watch for it and see it with your own eyes.
That's what it's all about. That's Alan Wright, and we'll have more teaching in a moment from today's important series. With so much worry about yesterday's failures and so much hurry getting ready for tomorrow's tasks, sometimes it's hard to focus on the moment that matters most. Right now, in a hurried, worried season, God invites you into the present.
Modern day life coaches call it mindfulness, but it isn't a new psychological program and it isn't rooted in Eastern religion. Mindfulness, living in the present is God's idea, and the Bible unveils the way. Pastor Alan Wright invites you to savor life each day. When you make your gift today, we'll send you Pastor Alan's eight messages in an attractive CD album or through digital download as our way of saying thanks for your partnership. Make your gift today and learn how to savor the textures and flavors of God's grace each moment, in the moment, every day of your life. The Gospel is shared when you give to Alan Wright Ministries. This broadcast is only possible because of listener financial support. When you give today, we will send you today's special offer. We are happy to send this to you as our thanks from Alan Wright Ministries. Call us at 877-544-4860.
That's 877-544-4860 or come to our website, pastoralan.org. Today's teaching now continues. Here once again is Alan Wright. This image of exile is a prevalent one throughout Scripture. In fact, my Old Testament professor, Walter Brueggemann, said that you could almost understand the whole of the Bible in a rhythm of creation, exile, and restoration.
It's almost like speaking of Christ's birth, His death on a cross, and His resurrection. Because in the beginning, Adam and Eve were put into a paradise in this glorious creation. Everything God made was good. And Adam and Eve were made in His own image. And when they sinned, God put them out of the Garden of Eden because, the text says, lest they take hold of the tree of life, and God doesn't even finish the sentence, because I think He means if they were to take hold of the tree of life in their sin condition, they would eat of eternity in their sin and be lost in sin for eternity. And God said, put them out of the garden so they're exiled from Eden. And God has a heart to restore. And the whole of the Bible in many ways is the story of how God would send a new Adam to restore humanity to what He'd always designed humanity to be.
It is an interweaving of this narrative that seems to happen over and over. The people of God have a kingdom. Under David's leadership, the kingdom was so prosperous. They expanded the borders. Peace was in the land.
Everyone was prospering. But after David and Solomon, there were wicked kings, and the people ran after idols, and the kingdoms became divided, a northern and a southern kingdom. And the northern kingdom was invaded in 722 BC by the Assyrians, and the southern kingdom with its capital in Jerusalem was sacked, overrun by the Babylonians in 587 BC. And the Babylonian Empire exported all the people and took them to Babylon. And there in Babylon, they longed for their homeland, and they just wanted desperately to get home. They were in exile. And God made a promise of restoring them, and that's what this text is all about. He's a God who brings people who have been exiled out of that place.
I think symbolically exile in the Scripture is very simply this. When you're in that place where, yes, you're really going through this, but it's not your ultimate destination, and it's certainly not your ultimate destiny. We all have times like that, exile times, where you realize, I'm having to journey through a wilderness, but I'm not made for this wilderness. I'm going to come through this wilderness. That's what an exile time is like.
Our executive pastor, Chris Lawson, founded and runs a blog and podcast network that they call Everyday Exiles. In a lot of ways, that's a really good title, because in one sense, we're exiles here. We're aliens in this earth all our days until we're home in heaven. But even within this time and in our earth, there are times in which you know everything is well ordered, and it is as it should be, and then there are other times you just feel like this is not what it's ultimately going to be. Sometimes you're just facing an infirmity, and that's not God's will for your life, and it's not the way it's going to be forever, but you're going through it right now. I've known people that were out of work, and they'll go through maybe even a long season of looking for jobs, and it feels like an exile time.
This is not what my ultimate destiny is, but right now, I'm feeling it, and all of us have felt it. But the thing about an exile time is that it is like a wilderness. It is not a definition of who you are.
It's just the place you're passing through. The people of God didn't become Babylonian just because they were in Babylon, and the exile doesn't define you any more than a wilderness does. And I've noticed that there are two things that are wonderful and in some ways beautiful, surprising about the heart of God towards His people in exile. Two really interesting things about the way God intersects and interacts with His people when they're in exile, and the first I notice is very simply this.
God is a Father, and everywhere you see the people in exile, you'll also see the promise of God the Father to restore the people because it's the nature of God because He's a Father who wants to restore people from exile. God doesn't like to leave broken things broken. He doesn't like to leave lost things lost. He doesn't like to leave displaced things out of their place. He is a God who brings things together in order.
He is a God not of chaos but of delightful integrity and unity and bringing things together. That's a Father's heart. Years ago when Bennett was little and we got him a remote control helicopter for Christmas.
I can't remember how old he was, a little guy. And shortly thereafter we went down to the beach and spent the weekend at the beach and Bennett took his helicopter out for its maiden flight. And he was flying that helicopter all up to the sky along the beach. And I just thought it was so cool.
I just loved it. And I said, Bennett, let me have a turn with that remote control. And a little boy said, dad, oh no, I don't really want you to. I said, oh, come on, let me have a turn. He's all, dad, I'm afraid you might lose control of it or something. I said, oh, come on, Bennett, let me have a little turn.
He said, all right. He reluctantly gave me the controls and I got those controls that I don't know what God enemy is. It was awesome. I mean, I was like, that thing got a little higher.
It was like a drug or something. I was like, I want to see how high I can go. And I just go higher and higher and higher until sure enough, it got out of range of the remote control and the winds were stronger up higher. And they just got hold of the helicopter totally out of my control and took it over and slammed it up against the top of a two-story house. And it came crashing down the ground, broken. His new helicopter only lasted for five minutes because his dad broke it. There's not much to say to your son in a moment like that.
He just kind of took the broken helicopter and walked back inside and closed himself off. I finally came back in and I knocked on his door and I said, Bennett, can I come in? He said, yeah. I said two things. Number one, I'm sorry. But you know, the second thing I said was I'm the father.
I said, I'm going to get you another one. I'm going to restore to you what was rightfully yours. Because any loving father wants to restore to his children whatever has been taken from them. It's the heart of God. Even when the people of God were exiled because of the discipline of the Lord for their idolatry, God's heart never left them. He never wanted to leave them there. He doesn't leave people in exile.
He brings them home. And I love it when I watch any movie of any sort that has a family coming back together, I cry. Because I experienced brokenness in my family and everything within me just longs.
I don't care how sappy and cheesy the movie is if they get back together. It just proves things that get broken and separated. There's some force that is wanting to bring them together. And we know it is God. Another thing that you notice that's interesting about God interacting with people in exile is that though God knows that they are in exile and he knows he's going to bring them out of exile, he never says to them, just ignore this period of your life, get past it, and then you can get on to living.
That's not the way he talks. Instead, he says, keep living in the middle of your exile time. This is another word of the Lord that came through the prophet Jeremiah to the exiles in Jeremiah 29 verse four. Thus says the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles who have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon, build houses and live in them, plant gardens and eat their produce. Take wives and have sons and daughters. Take wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage that they may bear sons and daughters. Multiply there and do not decrease, but seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile and pray to the Lord on its behalf for in its welfare, you will find your welfare. In other words, do not postpone living.
Alan Wright. And placing the bookmark here in our series on Savor the Teaching, become a connoisseur of God's grace. Alan is back with us in the studio as he shares his parting good news thought for today here in just a moment.
Stay with us. With so much worry about yesterday's failures and so much hurry getting ready for tomorrow's tasks, sometimes it's hard to focus on the moment that matters most right now. In a hurried, worried season, God invites you into the present.
Modern day life coaches call it mindfulness, but it isn't a new psychological program and it isn't rooted in Eastern religion. Mindfulness living in the present is God's idea and the Bible unveils the way Pastor Alan Wright invites you to savor life each day. When you make your gift today, we'll send you Pastor Alan's eight messages in an attractive CD album or through digital download as our way of saying thanks for your partnership. Make your gift today and learn how to savor the textures and flavors of God's grace each moment in the moment every day of your life. The gospel is shared when you give to Alan Wright Ministries. This broadcast is only possible because of listener financial support. When you give today, we will send you today's special offer. We are happy to send this to you as our thanks from Alan Wright Ministries. Call us at 877-544-4860.
That's 877-544-4860. Or come to our website, pastoralan.org. Alan, back here in the studio, we've got a good news thought for the day as we place this bookmark here, but we really kick off this series on savor.
I'm so excited, Daniel. You know, the whole subject of mindfulness has become, well, one of the most prevalent subjects amongst life coaches and psychologists and sociologists. But mindfulness, the idea of living in the moment and being mindful of each moment is not a new idea.
And it's certainly not as something rooted in Eastern meditation. It is God's idea. God is the ultimate mindful person. He shows us this in the person of Jesus who more than anyone on the face of the earth lived in the moment. So to say to savor is to say, instead of rushing along with the tide of life, where we're either worrying about the past or worrying about the future that we learn to live in the moment. And that's what we're launching today and in coming weeks. And I'm so excited about it. Learning to savor the grace of God. Today's good news message is a listener supported production of Alan Wright Ministries.
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