Don't worry about it so much. Stay focused on the harvest. It'll get sorted out in the end.
It's a big, huge trick of the devil to get you all worked up on the people that are trying to drag you down, pull you into conversations you have no place being, and get so concerned about why is that person so bad and what's going on in my life. I'll try to deal with that, and I think God's saying, stay focused on the harvest. Don't worry about it so much.
Stay focused on the harvest. It'll get sorted out in the end. It'll get sorted out in the end. It'll get sorted out in the end. More on that later in the program. But now, let's get started with today's teaching.
Here is Alan Wright. What that means is that kings, like other people, when they're paying and have servants that they anticipate being of service to them, it's not customary that you come in and air your problems and grievances and sadnesses. You know, much in the way that, oh, there may be times in which there's some place there's somebody serving you, and you're called upon to become their pastor for that moment, but most of the time, that's not the appropriate thing, right? You don't want somebody to come over, and they're serving the table for your dinner, and they come over, and they're just all sad and just want to tell you all the story.
You know, that's not the place for that, right? He said, I've never been sad like that before. There's stories in antiquity of kings that executed servants who were sad in their presence.
So this is a risky thing in the first place. He is overwhelmed under the conviction of the Holy Spirit, and he cannot hide it that his heart has become so burdened. He comes into the king's presence, and the king said, verse two, why is your face sad, seeing you're not sick?
This is nothing but sadness of the heart. And he said, and I was very much afraid. So Nehemiah, it brings real truth to the adage, just do it afraid, you know?
If you're called to it, you might be afraid, so what? He was afraid, but he goes on, and he says, let the king live forever. Why should not my face be sad when the city, the place of my father's graves, lies in ruins, and the gates have been destroyed by fire? And the king said to me, what are you requesting? What do you want? So I prayed to the God of heaven.
What do you want? I struggled, you've heard me talk about this before, I've struggled with that, and I think that I'm not alone in that. I think that we get a false sense of humility, and sometimes it's shame or what it might be that says there's something wrong about wanting something deeply. Aren't we glad that Nehemiah wanted deeply to see these walls rebuilt?
Aren't we glad that he believed that it was a great work? You know, I've just messed up in this. I was in seminary, and my senior year I preached where I was interning at First Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, and afterwards a man came up to me. And, you know, now looking back on it, I recognized what was happening. I recognized there was, he was being moved by the Holy Spirit. But he came to me and he said, I want to take you to lunch, I want to talk to you.
And I said, okay, and we talked. He said that he had helped another young man many years earlier get launched in ministry, and he really wanted to help me. That he felt like God had some special things to do in my life. And he'd actually helped a man, a Presbyterian pastor out of Tennessee named Ben Hayden. Who, you can still, Ben's in heaven now, but you can still hear him on weekends on American Family Radio Network. And they launched a TV ministry and a radio ministry, and he pastored for many years and had a big influence. Ben Hayden, he used to be a lawyer, and he'd step out around that big pulpit, and he'd kind of look down at his fingers, and he'd talk like this.
And he'd make a real case for Jesus, and he was really a wonderful guy. And I didn't know what this man was saying to me. He said, I want to help you.
And I just had this, like, more false humility. But also, I didn't even know what to ask. I had no idea what to even ask him for. You know, he's kind of saying, what do you aspire to? Because I'd really like to help you. I'd like to help launch a ministry. And I'm like, well, I want to be a pastor. And essentially, I pushed him away.
And my wife wasn't like that. She's like, why are you pushing? What are you doing? This man wants to really help. And he said, well, at least let me, you know, even my clothes didn't look too good. He said, can I at least send you? So he sent me to, like, the nicest men's clothing store in Atlanta. He wanted to get me some clothes. And he said, get a whole wardrobe.
I got a sport coat, you know. I'm just glad Nehemiah didn't do that. When the king said, what are you requesting? Nehemiah's big dream came out, and he told the king. And he asked him for resources for it, because it's a great work. And now I'm much more in touch with what I want.
Much more. Many years ago, I was at a conference being led by Rick Warren, famous author of The Purpose Driven Life. And he just said offhandedly at one moment, talking about why he believed so much and what he was doing and the way that he believed ministry should be structured to reach the loss. And he said, tonight there will be thousands and thousands of people that will go to their death and a Christless eternity because they have never been told about Jesus. And he said, the thought of that is unbearable to me. He said, that's why I do what I do. I remember when I was writing the book on the healing of shame, Shame Off You, and I was talking to the president of that publishing company and he was like, why do you want to write it?
And I said, well, when I think about people trying to bear their own shame and thinking that somehow it's up to them to make themselves acceptable and to live with that sort of anxiety, the thought of people living like that when they could discover the grace of Jesus, the thought of them living in their own shame is unbearable to me. That's Alan Wright, and we'll have more teaching in a moment from today's important series. God's love. You've heard about it with your ears.
You believed it in your mind. Now experience it in your heart with Alan Wright's beloved book, Lover of My Soul. The Bible is a love story from beginning to end. You are the spiritual bride of Christ, the perfect bridegroom. The Bible tells about a God who has gone to unimaginable lengths to woo you, to win you, and to walk with you hand in hand. For any man who has fallen in love with a woman, you've tasted the sweetness of what God's love for you is like. For any woman who has searched for true love, which you long for can only be found fully in God. Gary Chapman, renowned author of the five love languages, says, the incredible reality that God pursues us in love comes to life in Lover of My Soul. Ancient biblical accounts explode in the heart. Accept Christ's proposal, enjoy His embrace, revel in His love.
After all, it's a match made in heaven. It's Lover of My Soul by Alan Wright. 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. Now we are in our final days of offering this special product. 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. I saw a mother and a three-year-old in a public place the other day, a few days ago. And the three-year-old was being a three-year-old, like giggling and swirling around, and like I wanted to go over and scoop up the three-year-old and kiss her little face and bless her life. And actually, I wish I could go swirl around with her a little bit.
Everybody's so depressed, we're in such a malaise, and we're in a pandemic, and here somebody's got some joy. And instead, the mother went over and said some demeaning words and spanked her. And my wife just looked at me. She said, children just get what they get, don't they?
And I said, yeah. They get curse of blessing and the thought of children being raised with no sound of blessing over their life. That feels unbearable to me, unacceptable. Somewhere in life, you start realizing that you see some walls that are broken down and it's too important to just leave them broken. And whatever God gives you to do, I'm just telling you, it doesn't mean it's going to be easy. Nehemiah just faced opposition all along the way, and somehow God, if he puts enough of the sense of the greatness of that work inside of you, will give you a capacity to ignore the distractions and stay on task. It's really hard to do, isn't it?
Especially when it just seems like so many, many different ways that life is tugging at us. I'm doing a great work and I can't come. Why should I stop, Nehemiah said, while I leave it?
Why should I get distracted from what I'm supposed to be doing and come down and talk to you? James Dobson years ago wrote a book called Straight Talk to Men and Their Wives. It's got one of the funniest stories ever in there. He tells about a pediatrician friend of his, Dr. William Sloniker, who had a patient, a 10 year old terror named Robert, who would just come in every time he came to the doctor's office and just run around, grab files, instruments, telephones. It just was a terror. And during an exam one time realized that Robert's teeth had some problems, and so he needed to refer them to a dentist. But Sloniker said, which dentist should he give the privilege of Robert? So he settled on a dentist that had a real reputation for being good with kids.
The scene that followed is timeless. Robert comes to the dentist, his mother brings him, get into the chair, young man, said the dentist. No chance, replied the boy.
I'm reading from the book now. Son, I told you climb in that chair and that's what I intend for you to do, said the dentist. Robert stared at his opponent for a moment and replied, if you make me get in that chair, I will take off all my clothes. The dentist calmly said, okay son, take them off. So the boy took off his shirt, his undershirt, his shoes and socks and looked up in defiance. All right, son, the dentist said, now get in the chair.
You didn't hear me, sputtered Robert. I said, if you make me get in that chair, I'll take off all my clothes. Dentist said, okay son, take them off. Robert proceeded to remove his pants and shorts, finally standing totally naked before the dentist and the assistant. The dentist said, okay, now get in the chair.
So Robert did as he was told, sat there cooperatively, totally naked throughout the entire procedure. The cavities were drilled and filled and the dentist said, okay, you can step down. And the boy said, okay, give me my clothes. And the dentist said, I'm sorry.
He said, tell your mother she can come by tomorrow and pick them up. So imagine the shock that Robert's mother received when the door to the waiting room opened. And there stood her son, naked as the day he was born, a room filled with patients. Robert and his mom walked past them into the hall, down to the public elevator and into the parking lot, ignoring the snickers of onlookers. And the next day Robert's mother returned to retrieve the clothes. She asked to see the dentist.
However, she did not come to protest. These were her sentiments. You don't know how much I appreciate what happened here yesterday. You see, Robert had been blackmailing me about his clothes for years. Whenever we're in a public place, such as a grocery store, he makes unreasonable demands on me. And if I don't immediately buy him what he wants, he threatens to take off all his clothes.
You're the first person who has called his bluff and the impact has been incredible. I've got a job to do and that is to fill these cavities in your teeth. If you want to do it while you're naked, do it while you're naked. I'm not going to get distracted by that. If you want to do that, do that, but sit in this chair and let me do my job. I'm not even going to get into a conversation with you about that because I've got a great work to do. I'm doing great work and I can't come down. Why should I come down there and talk to you about something unimportant? Knowing all along it was really just a trap.
I think that we pay too much attention to the distractions. Jesus told this interesting parable in Matthew 13. The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field, but while his men were sleeping, this enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat and went away. And when the plants came up and bore grain and the weeds appeared also, the servants of the master of the house came and said to the master, did you not sow good seed in your field?
How then does it have weeds? And he said to them, an enemy has done this. So the servant said to him, then do you want us to go and gather them? And he said, do you want us to go pull up all the weeds? But he said, no, less than gathering the weeds, you root up the wheat along with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. And at harvest time, I'll tell the reapers, gather the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my barn. Agrarian experts tell us, especially in the kind of wheat that Jesus is referring to, that there is a weed that grows and the initial stages looks very much like the wheat.
You almost could just pull up the wrong thing. And also they'd be growing so closely together that if you focus on pulling up all those weeds, you'll inadvertently pull up the wheat along with it. He said, don't worry about it so much, stay focused on the harvest, stay focused on the wheat. It'll get sorted out in the end.
It's a big, huge trick of the devil to get you all worked up on the people that are trying to drag you down, pull you into conversations you have no place being, and get so concerned about why is that person so bad and what's going on, I'm going to try to deal with that. And I think God's saying, stay focused on the harvest. This is a spiritual battle. I wish we had time to look all through Nehemiah to see it.
There's just so many, so many points along the way. But it's noted here, Nehemiah 4 verse 16. From that day on, half my servants worked on construction and half held the spears, shields, bows, and coats of mail. And the leader stood behind the whole house of Judah who were building on the wall. Those who carried burdens were loaded in such a way that each labored on work with one hand and held his weapon with the other.
Got a, got a trowel in one hand to work on the mortar and got a sword in the other hand to defend it. It's a battle ground that we're in and often the tactic of the enemy is more subtle to just draw us away. But Nehemiah said, I'm doing a great work.
I just can't come down. So as a process, this passion, the deepest feeling of what's important in your life is the secret to perseverance. And here's, here's what I've been saying. We do what we want. That means we prioritize whether we do it consciously or not, we are. And we want what we deem to be important.
That's what we want. So whatever we're deeming important, that just is defining what we want and we tend to do what we want. But what's important is God's call. So being attuned to the call of the Holy Spirit is ultimately the key to perseverance. And when you get connected with that and you appreciate the greatness of what it is that God's given you to do, that fuels great perseverance. Nehemiah is a tremendous resource to look at, to understand and learn about leadership and to learn about principles of perseverance and to watch all of that. It's a fantastic, fantastic study for vision, for facing all the tests of ministry and all.
It's fantastic for all that. But it would be missing the larger point to say that's primarily what Nehemiah's story is about. Nehemiah's story is about a passionate call that gets born in his heart to see a work of restoration for people who had been in exile. To see mended what's been broken, to be restored what has been lost for a people. In that sense, it's a rebuilding of a kingdom. And all of the old is pointing us in one way or another to Jesus.
And as we come to the Lord's table today, I remind you that Jesus is the better Nehemiah. He came to restore what has been broken and lost. He came with a ruling passion in his heart for the mission for which he was sent to lay down his life for you and for me. He was tempted every step of the way, starting at the inauguration of his ministry, where he was directly tempted by the devil for 40 days in the wilderness. But he was tempted all along the way. And there were moments where he sweat blood and wish that he didn't have to carry out his mission.
But he did. Even when he was on the cross, they said, look, if you're really the son of God, come down here, save yourself. He might as well have said, I'm doing a great work. I can't come down.
I can't stop. Because there is something too important that's happening here. You are part of a great work. It might not be great in the world's eyes. It might not make you a lot of money.
It might not get you any notoriety. But what God gives you to do, if it's just loving and helping one person, but that's what he's given you to do, is great work. And the more that you allow your soul to be in touch with how important that work is, the less likely all the distractions will overtake you. It's an invitation to keep your eyes not on Nehemiah, but on Jesus, who's the author and finisher of our faith, who said the kingdom of God is at hand. And we're all a part of it.
You're doing a great work. Keep going and ask the gospel. Allen Wright. Today's good news message, passion to persevere, in our series, Second Wind. Pastor Alan is back with us in the studio as he shares his parting good news thought for the day in just a moment. God's love. You've heard about it with your ears.
You've believed it in your mind. Now experience it in your heart with Allen Wright's beloved book, Lover of My Soul. The Bible is a love story from beginning to end. You are the spiritual bride of Christ, the perfect bridegroom. The Bible tells about a God who has gone to unimaginable lengths to woo you, to win you, and to walk with you hand in hand. For any man who has fallen in love with a woman, you've tasted the sweetness of what God's love for you is like. For any woman who has searched for true love, what you long for can only be found fully in God. Gary Chapman, renowned author of the five love languages, says, The incredible reality that God pursues us in love comes to life in Lover of My Soul. Ancient biblical accounts explode in the heart. Accept Christ's proposal, enjoy His embrace, revel in His love.
After all, it's a match made in heaven. It's Lover of My Soul by Allen Wright. The gospel is shared when you give to Allen 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 Allen Wright Ministries. Now we are in our final days of offering this special product. Call us at 877-544-4860.
That's 877-544-4860. Or come to our website, PastorAllen.org. Back now in the studio to share Pastor Alan's parting good news thoughts for the day. So, passion to persevere. Is it okay to pray for passion?
Yes, it is. Lord, help me care about what you care about. Help me to love what you love. I like to start the day really, Daniel, not by saying, Lord, I'm going to do some important things today. Will you please bless it? It's better to say, Lord, you're doing some important things today and I want to be a part of it.
Keep my heart very near that. And be aware, listeners, that there is a spiritual battle. As surely as Nehemiah faced it, we're going to face it too. Whatever it is that you're facing today, it may be that you're going to have a hammer in one hand and a sword in the other. I mean, you're going to have the mission of God in your heart, and you're also going to have the Word of God that is mighty, mighty power in the spiritual battle against all the accusations of the enemy. So, don't be discouraged if you're facing a spiritual battle. It probably means that you're right smack dab in the middle of the will of God. Today's Good News message is a listener-supported production of Allen Wright Ministries.
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