Pastor, author, and Bible teacher, Alan Wright. One dark night, my mom got down on her knees next to her bed and she crawled out to God. She said, if you're real, I need you to show me, because I think I'm going to sink down. I don't think I'm going to make it.
And if I go down, I'll probably take these three boys with me. 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 called Providence as presented at Granola Church in North Carolina. If you're not able to stay with us throughout today's entire program, I want to make sure you know how to get our special resource right now. It can be yours for your donation this month to Alan Wright Ministries. So as you listen to today's message, go deeper in your study 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 that later in the program. But now let's get started with today's teaching.
Here is Alan Wright. And so what that hate then does is wants to bring others down so that then at least you feel like you're on the same level. That's the way it works, and that's what's happening here. Let's try to control the situation ourselves. Here comes the truth. Let's kill them.
Throw them in one of the pits. So verse 23, when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe. It's a theme of this, the robe, the garment that would signify who Joseph was. And they think if we can remove the sign of favor on his life, then we'll feel better. They took him, they threw him a pit.
They're going to kill him. But at verse 26, and this is important to the story. I'm going to come back to this figure, Judah. Judah said to his brothers, what profit is it if we kill our brother and conceal his blood? Come, let us sell him to the Ishmaelites, and let not our hand be upon him, for he is our brother, our own flesh. And they listened to him, and Midianite traders passed by, and they drew up Joseph and lifted him out of the pit and sold him to the Ishmaelites for 20 shekels of silver. And they took Joseph to Egypt. And it's because Joseph went to Egypt that he was in Potiphar's household where his master's wife falsely accused him, and they put Joseph into prison where the favor of the Lord was on him. And he would meet the former cup bearer to Pharaoh, who later would be restored to Pharaoh. And then two years later, when Pharaoh would have a dream, the cup bearer would remember that Joseph could interpret dreams, and Joseph would come and interpret Pharaoh's dream.
And in so doing, Pharaoh would promote him to be second in command in Egypt to oversee the season of plenty as they got ready for a season of famine. And all of that began and was moved by this horrid sin. One of the most important stories in the Bible that explains not only the picture of lavish forgiveness in Joseph, but explains how it is that the people of God, the Hebrew people, were in Egypt, and why it is that eventually they were enslaved there, and why it is that Moses would be brought forth as a deliverer that would shape the whole history of Israel as they escaped through a Passover and through a Red Sea.
All of that is dependent upon fatherly favoritism, jealousy, hatred, near murder, human trafficking, verbal and physical abuse, false accusation, and unjust persecution. One of the greatest stories in the Bible, one of the greatest stories of God. Isn't that something? And I want today to ask you, have you ever thought about your own story deep enough? I mean, tracing it deep enough, like when you think about why are you here? And why have you tasted of the goodness of God? And when you think of the good things in your life and you go back and trace it to its earliest root, have you ever done that deep enough that you uncover not only the good people that helped you along the way, but how God might have actually used sin somewhere in the world?
It's an interesting thought. It made me think of this years ago when I heard Tim Keller, thank God for Tim Keller, right, who is one of the few authors, I'd say anything that he's written, I would read it. He pastored for a long time the church plant called Redeemer in New York that planted other churches there. Well, he, one night years ago, I heard this talk where he was giving a talk on a Wednesday night to Redeemer Church.
And he said on that night, I just quote him, he said, you know why we're here tonight? He said, it's because, Tim Keller said, because we came to New York years ago to plant this church. He said, but you got to ask the question, why did we plant this church? And he said, the reason that we came to plant this church is I was in a Presbyterian denomination that emphasized church planting. And he said, so you're going to ask them the question, but why was I in that denomination?
And he said, because in my last semester of seminary, I took two courses, he said, from a professor who convinced me that theologically I was Presbyterian. And he said, but then you got to ask the question, why was that professor at the seminary? He said, the reason was he was a visiting professor whose visa had hit a snag and he wasn't going to be able to come, but at the last second it worked out.
Why was the visa snag worked out? He said, well, the dean of theology at his seminary was praying there'd be some way that it could possibly work out for this professor to come. And then it was discovered there was a very good option because one of the students at the seminary was Mike Ford, whose father was the sitting president, Gerald Ford. And he said, I've got a good connection. And so president Ford made a phone call, which of course cleared up the visa snag and the professor was allowed to come and teach. And Tim Keller took two courses from him and realized that's my theology, this theology of grace, this theology of the grace of God.
And he realized I'm Presbyterian. And so that's why he said, but then you got to ask the question, why was Gerald Ford the president? And the reason is that Richard Nixon had resigned. And then you go, well, why did he resign? He said, because of Watergate. Well, why was Watergate exposed?
Well, because the guys that were bugging one of the offices in the Watergate building in Washington, DC left a door open, cracked two inches and a night watchman saw that cracked door and told someone about it. And that began the uncovering of the whole Watergate scandal. And so he said, Tim Keller said, so that two inch cracked door is really why we're all at Redeemer Church tonight. And then he made a great theological point. He said, so by Providence, even Watergate's working for you.
Have you ever thought of your story like that? That's Alan Wright, and we'll have more teaching in a moment from today's important series. Unlock the power of blessing your life. Discover God's grace-filled vision for your life by signing up for Alan Wright's free daily blessing. If you want to fill your heart with grace and encouragement, get Alan Wright's daily blessing.
It's free and just a click away at pastorallen.org. 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 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, 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 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. 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. I started thinking about my story again this week. I was just thinking, everybody asked me all the time, how did you come to Rinaldo?
Well, I came to Rinaldo in a supernatural way. I was riding down the road and I was in the car with Gladys Keating, who I didn't know would end up being a colleague of ours, worked here for a better part of two decades with us. But at the time, we were working on a committee together for a conference called the Christian Life Conference that we met up in Montreat.
It was the national conference for what was called Presbyterian for Renewal. And I was dropping her off and I said, how is Rinaldo? I didn't know anything about the church. And she said, oh, it's a great church. She said, you know, the senior pastor, Dick Little, just retired. And when she said those words, God spoke to my heart.
I've had this happen about three or four times in my life. It was almost audible to me. He said, because you're going there, Alan. I came and told Ann, I told one other person. She said, what are you going to do about it?
I said, nothing. Five months later, five months later, I heard back from, no, several weeks later, I heard from them and I sent back these forms. They said, would you interview with us? Then five months later, I heard from them and we met the committee and we fell in love with them.
That's how we came. But you got to ask the question, how did they even get my name? Well, they spent months just praying before they started their search. And during that period of time, they called up a man who was a missionary in Burlington that had related with our church before and said, do you know anybody? He said, I don't. He said, but I'll call my friend, Dr. Bill Wilson, and I'll ask him if he knows anybody. Well, Bill Wilson was the former head of psychiatry at Duke Medical Center, who at some point in his life had this huge conversion experience and this big spirit and filling experience.
He left, he started a private practice, but he also became a Bible teacher and he traveled and he spoke at conferences. And I knew of Bill Wilson because we were both in Durham at the time, but also just knew of Bill Wilson. I read some of his stuff, I heard some of his talks.
I love Bill and he was such a unique, he was, he's in heaven now, he was a unique man of God. And I invited him to come be a speaker at the Christian Life Conference in Montreat, which you got to ask the question, well, why was I inviting him? Because I had been asked to lead the conference.
Why as such a young man was I leading this big national conference? It's because a pastor named Bill Dudley asked me to. Why Bill Dudley asked me to lead it? Well, it's because I met Bill because he interviewed candidates for associate pastor positions at his big church in Signal Mountain by coming to my seminary because he went to my seminary in Atlanta. And so I met Bill and he became a mentor to me. And so even though I was young, he asked me to lead this conference.
And that's why I was in a position to ask Bill Wilson to come speak. And so you got to ask a question then, why was I at that seminary? Because I didn't wasn't raised Presbyterian at all. In fact, I was non-denominational and I started dating my wife and she'd been Presbyterian, lifelong Presbyterian. And she said, I'm looking forward to being a pastor's wife, but whatever you do, don't be a Presbyterian. And I was like, there are all kinds of Presbyterians, different kinds. And so I wouldn't plan on being Presbyterian. So why was I at a Presbyterian seminary? Well, the reason was in my senior year, my roommate, David Lambert, his dad was an official within the Presbyterian church and what we call a presbytery. And I was wanting to do youth ministry for maybe a couple of years before going to seminary. And David knew this and he said, there's a new program in the Presbyterian church called the Tithe of Life. I'm always joking, it's called Tithe of Life because you only made 10% of what it took to live on. And, but for two years you'd be, and I got into the Tithe of Life and they put me in a Presbyterian church and I got in with a wonderful pastor and I met others that were wonderful.
And I thought, I really liked this and this is me. And at that same time, we were going to go to a different seminary, but they changed the rules of the Presbyterian church and said, if you're going to be a Presbyterian, you got to go to the Presbyterian seminary. So I chose and went to the seminary in Atlanta. And that's why I met Bill Dudley. And that's why Bill Dudley asked me to lead the conference, even though I was so young. And that's how I got to know Bill Wilson so that when the committee called, Bill Wilson said, yeah, I know a guy. But you got to ask the question, why was I at the University of North Carolina where I would meet my roommate who would introduce me to this program in the Presbyterian church?
Well, that's obvious. I grew up watching Carolina basketball. I didn't even know what they studied at Carolina. I mean, this is all about the basketball. Well, why did I like Carolina basketball so much? Well, because my mother did. My mother loved basketball and my dad liked basketball some, but he loved football. But my mom, she was basketball. She played basketball. She loved basketball. And so I spent hours and hours watching every Carolina basketball game that would come on TV, sometimes just me and mom. And there was this guy that played for them named Phil Ford. He had the sweetest jump shot of anybody ever seen. I went to Carolina because of Phil Ford's jump shot.
So if you've ever been blessed by anything I've said, thank God, but thank Phil Ford. But then you got this question, why am I spending time alone with my mother watching basketball? It's because my dad left.
And my older brothers at some point, they were gone lots of times. It was just mom and me watching basketball and Kojak. We watched Kojak. She loved Kojak.
You got to go way back before you know what Kojak is. And when he left, it was the saddest thing in my life. And it was sin that had him leave. But when he did leave, one dark night my mom got down on her knees next to her bed and she crawled out to God. She said, if you're real, I need you to show me because I think I'm gonna sink down.
I don't think I'm gonna make it. And if I go down, I'll probably take these three boys with me. And that night, an acquaintance who lived two or three neighborhoods away was awakened at that hour with mom on her heart to pray for her. And the next day she came and knocked on my mother's door and said, Marianne, I haven't seen you in a long time, but I was awakened in the middle of the night with you on my heart and I've prayed for you.
And I was wondering, do you need something? And my mother said, oh, yes, I do. And that lady came in and told her of Jesus. And my mom became wrapped up in the love of God and Jesus Christ. And the lady invited us to her wonderful gospel centered church with this incredible preacher that ended up shaping my life. But she brought my two brothers and I into the den not long thereafter. And she said, I have found out that Jesus is real, that the Bible is true and God can save us all. And I and my brothers believed her. So Tim Keller might say, thank God for Watergate.
And in that sense, I'd have to say, thank God my dad left home, which was the saddest thing in my life. Who is this God of ours? Who is this God of ours who can take Joseph's brother's egregious sin and use it to save the known world? In the middle of Joseph's story, there comes this fascinating series of interactions that Joseph has when the brothers realize that they have to go to Egypt to get grain. And they appear before Joseph and he recognizes them, but they don't recognize him.
And the sheer beauty and pathos and just waves of emotion that follow this, if you would just immerse yourself in this story and let your soul feel it, it shapes you to read the story. And in the middle of all of that, these interactions, Joseph has this strange sort of testing of his brother, sort of finding out if they've changed. And he begins interacting with them, though they don't know who he is, that he gives them grain and he returns all their money secretly into their sacks of grain.
They don't know that. But he also learns of this brother, Benjamin, that was born after Joseph had been sold into slavery. And Benjamin is the only other brother that is born to Joseph's mother, Rachel. So he has a baby brother born by his own mother that he's never met.
The thought of this is overwhelmingly joyous to him, but also a huge worry because he knows how his brothers treated him. Are they treating Benjamin the same way? So Joseph says to them, he's going to send them back, but he has to keep someone.
So he keeps Simeon. And he says to them, when you come back, you have to come back with Benjamin. And when they return and tell Jacob of all of this, and they say that we have to take Benjamin back, Jacob is overwrought with grief and says, I've lost my beloved Joseph. I cannot lose my beloved Benjamin. They eventually persuade him that they will starve unless they go back and get more grain and get Simeon, and they have to take Benjamin.
And so they do. And if you can just imagine when Joseph first sees his baby brother that he'd never met before, you just got to think about the goodness of God. You know, those days that you never thought that you'd be able to see. I guess heaven will just be like this just one day after the other, after the other, after the other of revelatory experiences of the goodness of God.
Maybe heaven is just one endless experience of seeing the evidences of God's goodness that we hadn't seen before. Alan Wright, our Good News message from the series Providence. It's the message good, bad, best.
They stick with us. Pastor Alan is back in the studio sharing his parting good news thought with all of us in just a moment. Unlock the power of blessing your life. Discover God's grace-filled vision for your life by signing up for Alan Wright's free daily blessing. If you want to fill your heart with grace and encouragement, get Alan Wright's daily blessing.
It's free and just a click away at pastoralan.org. 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, 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 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. 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. Back here now with Pastor Alan, sharing a parting good news thought for the day. I wonder if it's just human to do this, but no matter how many times I've heard the beginning and to the end of these stories and these accounts in Scripture, sometimes in the middle of it, you still find yourself rooting, no, that shouldn't happen that way. And you're like, no, it shouldn't go, you know, and you're torn up. And you know at the end, God's going to use it for good. But when you read the Scriptures, and I think this is an important way of studying the Scripture, is you try to come at it fresh every time. Let your soul experience it again. And I think that's part of the reason the Joseph story is so important and so powerful is that we at first take offense at it.
We, our sensibilities are bothered. Everything about it is so unfair. And always when I see the Bible pointing to something that's unfair, I know it's pointing us to the gospel, because nothing's more unfair than the grace of God. And so when you look back over your life, and you know, I share in this sermon about how like I wound up at the church where I've now been serving for 26 years, but every one of us can do that.
You can trace like Joseph would have to go back and all these things had to happen in order for him to be placed second in charge of Egypt. Well, every listener, I encourage you to take time and draw the thread of God's providence back through your life to the blessings that you have now and realize how it wouldn't have been possible except for connecting so many dots. These providential dot-to-dot stories of our lives are the stories of God's grace. Thanks for listening today. Visit us online at pastorallen.org or call 877-544-4860.
That's 877-544-4860. If you only caught part of today's teaching, not only can you listen again online, but also get a daily email devotional that matches today's teaching, delivered right to your email inbox free. Find out more about these and other resources at pastorallen.org. That's pastorallen.org. Today's good news message is a listener supported production of Allen Wright Ministries.
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