Pastor, author, and Bible teacher, Alan Wright. All these people are saying all these different things about who I am, but he got real personal. He said, Who do you say that I am? And a sense of what he's saying is that how you see me is going to determine how much you can see yourself.
That's what I think he's saying. 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 our series called Story Wars as presented at Rinaldo Church in North Carolina. Now, 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 today. It can be yours for your donation this month to Alan Wright Ministries. So as you listen to today's teaching, go deeper as we send you today's special offer. Contact us at PastorAlan.org. That's PastorAlan.org or call 877-544-4860.
That's 877-544-4860. More on 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 know who you are and why you're here and what you're supposed to be doing and what life's all about. You can really know your real identity, but it does not come by looking within.
It comes by looking to Christ. We are in a series we've called Story Wars because the real battle isn't over just particular hot button issues over which our society is very polarized, as important as they are. The real contest is about the narrative. Who gets to have the ultimate story that is shaping the way that we think and feel and behave. And today I want to take you to Matthew Chapter 16, where we see Jesus telling Peter who he is. Now, when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, who do people say the son of man is? And they said, some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah and others, Jeremiah, one of the prophets. And he said to them, but who do you say that I am? Simon Peter replied, you're the Christ, the son of the living God. And Jesus answered him, blessed are you Simon Barjona for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my father who's in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter. And on this rock, I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I'll give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven or whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
He strictly charged the disciples, tell no one yet that he was the Christ. Wow. Have I mentioned, I might've mentioned that, uh, I'm going to be a grandfather. Did I mention, I think I might've, I think I might've already mentioned that that might come up from time to time and a sermon.
And here it is again, lo and behold. So I know there are many important decisions that must be made with the advent of this child that is coming into the family. But I know that you're with me on this, that one of the most crucial questions, most important decisions is what shall I be called? Uh, yeah, I'm thinking a lot about this because evidently, you know, I get to decide when there's always the traditional grandfather, granddaddy, grandpa, you know, and then some other popular names, Gramps and pop pop and, and Paul Paul and stuff like that. I looked in, uh, some, uh, various web articles, parade magazine had some, uh, that they listed as kind of cool nonconventional names, um, that, uh, were things like G dog, G dog. I saw another website and talked about Southern grandfather names and it listed Bubba Bubba. I'm not even gonna go for grand Bubba. Um, and, uh, some that I thought were just too modern grand dude, grand dude.
Why that's too hard to even say. And uh, these are just questionable that some grandparent fathers have been called, sir. Yes, sir. Hey, sir.
Um, and, uh, some are just too modern skipper, ACE and big man. I mean, these, no, I've got, so I need, I need to be thinking about what am I going to be called? So evidently, you know, the way it works for the grandparent, you kind of get to be, you know, choosing what you're called, but not so with the child and everything about that, the child comes in and whatever the parents call the child, that's what the child's name is. And for everything else that I have to say to you today, I want you to remember that you did not name yourself. That's why we call your first name, your given name. You were given your identity, like it or not like your name or not. I don't know if I really liked my name. My mom and dad thought for sure that after two boys, they'd have a girl and I was going to be named Allison.
And then here I came a boy and they just shortened it down to Allen and uh, took some letters out, I guess. Um, whether you like it or not, you were, you were named and we have talked about in the series already, some competing narratives is the pathway to abundance through a wide gate or a narrow gate. We've talked about that. Jesus said, you enter through a narrow gate that, that conflicts with the spirit of the age that says, no, you know, don't, don't ever be narrow or exclusive. And Jesus says, no, there is a kind of narrowness of truth that sets you free. We've talked also about what's the pathway to blessedness. Is it through keeping your options open or is it through going all in?
So that's FOMO, fear of missing out versus going all in. And I want to talk to you today about maybe the most important question of all, and that is how do you know who you are? Is it by, as the spirit of the age would say, by looking within yourself and discovering who you are or is it by a voice outside of yourself? And this is a fundamental question and whichever way you go on this is going to determine everything.
Right? Because the cultural, the spirit of the age, and by that I mean the common expressions of culture around us, and I'm speaking about American culture, is whatever you do, don't let anybody tell you who you are because they'll limit you. And we're going to see that there's a biblical view that's very different. So Peter is this fisherman who first, when he meets Jesus, Jesus says, follow me, I'll make you a fisher of people. He would have never known that he was going to be a fisher of people except he was told he was going to be a fisher of people.
That's, that's what, and then we come to this scene at Caesarea Philippi where Jesus speaks to this, this disciple whose name Simon, which means listening or as idea of being able to listen to God. But he says, I'm going to call you Peter because you're a rock. I think if you had met Peter, you would have liked him. I think it was that I think he was the kind of guy that you would be inspiring to be around and you spend some time with him. You just want to fly to the moon with Peter. Uh, but he'd also be the kind of person you'd be so frustrated with that if part of you say anything Peter's doing, I want to do it. And another part of you would say, if Peter's doing it, I don't want to have anything to do with it because he was just, he just, he was, he was, he was inspirational. He was, he was, he was fun.
I think he was full of passion, but one thing he wasn't was reliable. The last thing you probably would call him would be a rock. And that's what Jesus said. This is who you are. It's a story about how a fishermen found out who he really is. And I want to talk to you about, um, how important it is for you to know who you are.
And there's only one way and that's through God. He's one who knows. Well, there's a lot of angst in our culture today. A lot of angst amongst people. One thing that you can see everywhere you look is, um, people are anxious.
Um, in fact, some would say it's epidemic. Um, there's a lot of anxiety and we've talked a little bit about some of the sources of that. I mean, even the, the tons and tons of choices that we have where there's so many choices, it can be, it can be paralyzing. It can, it can cause us and we're afraid we're going to miss out. That can cause some anxiety. But this issue of identity, I think might be the biggest source of anxiety that we're seeing in the world today. Imagine for a moment that you were in some sort of accident and you had a brain injury and when you awoke from a coma, you couldn't remember who you were. Couldn't remember your name, could remember where you were born, could remember who your family is, couldn't remember what it is you do in life, didn't know who your people were. How would you feel? Well, there'd be a lot of things you'd feel, but at the heart of it, wouldn't you mainly feel anxious. In fact, it'd be torturous.
It'd be awful to not have any sense of who you are. And everything that I have to say on this matter of spiritual warfare, the battle for the ideology, the narrative of a whole of a whole people, the whole nation, it revolves around around this assumption I have that the spiritual battle is real. Hell is real.
There's a real devil and that there is a kind of seething hatred that comes out of hell that is impossible almost to describe, but is so cruel that it would want people, children and adults to have no idea who they are so that they would be full of anxiety. 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. We've come to this place where this prevailing message is whatever you do, don't let somebody tell you who you are because it's going to put so many limits on your life.
And you know, it just this message, it comes through in so many different ways. I was thinking about like all the Disney movies, so many of these of these movies and some are really good movies, but so many of you notice that the story revolved around a child whose parents or authorities are too confining, too restricting or not letting the child become who the child really is destined to be. I mean the classic Cinderella who has an evil stepmother who is at first under the guise of saying she's going to love Cinderella when she marries Cinderella's father, but instead when she gets a chance, she becomes oppressive and she's like she's going to hold Cinderella back because Cinderella's really destined to be a princess, but she wants her just in there scrubbing floors, you see. So Cinderella's got to break out of that or I was thinking about in the in the Disney movie Tarzan with Kala the gorilla, she has discovered this little human and she wants to raise Tarzan as her son, even though he's human and a lot of the drama therefore revolves around does Tarzan ever get to be human.
He'll have to leave. He'll have to leave his gorilla parents in order to really be to really be human and Peter Pan. I loved all the Peter Pan stories, but Mr. Darling the father in here is just this gruff guy who's always, you know, kind of like he's going to yell at the kids and refuses for the children to be allowed to really, you know, express themselves and have an adventure and and as we talked not long ago about Frozen, you know, it's unbelievable saying and those parents are basically good parents for Elsa who's has these ice powers, but they're they confine her they make her stay cooped up in her room, which is why she's feels like she's got to get out of there and let it go.
Let it go. And I was thinking also about this movie Coco, which had a lot of good things about a lot of good music in it. And Coco's this child who's who's really musical plays guitar sings dances.
He's really incredible. But but they're this family has a historic hatred of music and the grandmother has banned music and and and so Coco has to leave home in order to go find himself making all kind of bad choices along the way. So when you watch something like that, you see and you're just you're going yeah, that's that's the problem is that there we're we're constrained by these shaming and confining voices around us and and and the reason these make good plots and make good stories is because we quickly identify with that because nobody wants to be held back. There's something within us.
It's like we we need to break out of these limitations that people put on our lives. One of my favorite all time scenes and really one of my favorite all time movies is a scene in a movie 12 years a slave, which tells about an African American free man, Solomon Northup born in New York, but who was based on true story was kidnapped in Washington DC in 1841 and was sold into slavery and he was put to work on plantations in Louisiana for 12 years. It won it won some Academy Award got nominated for about nine of them and a slave trader gave Solomon Northup a slave named Platt and wouldn't let him be called by his real name because that's what oppression wants to do.
It wants to label you in some restricting way. And so 12 years he's a slave even though he's really a free man named Solomon Northup at any time he would ever mentioned that he was really Solomon Northup, he'd get beaten. So he has to just go by the name Platt until there's this incredible moving scene where through a series of events he has dared to ask a white man to send a note up north and one day the sheriff arrives has another man with him and that man was a shopkeeper back from New York named Mr. Parker and the sheriff's there and then the slave owner comes out and there's this incredible scene that is at hand where the sheriff says to Solomon Northup this man has been treated as a slave for 12 years beaten anytime he says his real name.
He said what's your name? And you just can feel the tension of that moment because if he says Solomon Northup it might be that he is going to get beaten by as the slave owner as soon as the sheriff leaves. But if he doesn't say Solomon Northup then his chance at freedom will pass him by. So in this incredibly powerful emotionally tense moment he says I'm Solomon Northup. Slave owners comes running out gets ready to say no he's mine sheriff is intervening and Mr. Parker the shop owner says this is Mr. Solomon Northup grabs him and this emotional scene has taken him away to to be driven away as he looks back he's set free by being properly identified.
I love that scene I love that movie. So when you when you feel the emotions of that and you feel what it's like to have someone who has been mislabeled who then escapes to freedom because they finally are able to be who they really are then you can understand that there is a godly and right and good longing that we have to not be imprisoned by others limited expectations and not to be enslaved by the shame of others whether it be literal or metaphorical. And so this helps explain partly how we can wind up in a in a culture that is saying whatever you do don't let somebody tell you who you are. If you want to understand spiritual battles it's wise to know that the devil the bible says masquerades as an angel of light. I mean there are times in which evil just manifests itself very directly and just says here I am I'm evil I'm black I'm gross terrible dark evil thing and so here I am but that's not normally the way evil manifests.
Normally it tries to look like it's the light like it's something right or something that's good. So so much of what has what happens then is something that is a good thing gets distorted by hell and this is one of them. So if you take it and say well because there's been so much shame and limiting confining restrictive kind of voices in our lives that you should need to just look inside yourself discover yourself and don't let anybody tell you who you are what does it leave you with it leaves you with confusion and that's an a form of enslavement in itself.
The problem the huge problem with the story of culture that says just look within yourself is summed up in a word and that's sin. Alan Wright and today's good news message looking within versus looking to Christ. It's in our series called story Wars and Pastor Alan is back in a moment with a parting good news thought for today stick with us 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 Pastor Alan.org 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 will 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 Pastor Alan.org back here now with Pastor Alan and our parting good news thought today, of course looking within versus looking to Christ. I think we know the Sunday school answer to this but where there is so much depth and good to come from that answer. Well, I think that if listeners if you'll if you'll dig deep into these truths that we're talking about that what you'll see is that there's a cultural narrative battle. There's a story war that's going on and everything in today's culture is in one way or another directly or indirectly saying to people don't let anyone tell you who you are you look inside yourself and discover who you are that the most limiting thing that could ever happen would be have somebody else tell you who you are. Well, it sounds right and all the even the Disney movies reinforce all of that right but in the end the only way that we who were born in sin and spiritually blind could ever really know who we are is for someone who knows the truth to tell us. We live by revelation so it's a voice outside of ourselves ultimately the voice of God himself that tells us our true identity and so no we don't find ourselves by looking within we find ourselves by looking without to Christ himself and the reason this is so important and I'm speaking now in terms of just understanding the culture and a defense of our faith and how to wrestle with all of the crazy talk about gender fluidity and all the stuff that you get so frustrated with as a Christian. The fact of the matter is that the the deeper level is the battle for the story so don't succumb to just the pettiness of the battles and the little the big war is over the story itself and what we have this truth is to say is that God loves us and made us and he's the one who knows who we are and so that's how we get our identity not by looking within but looking to him. 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 PastorAlan.org that's PastorAlan.org today's good news message is a listener supported production of Alan Wright Ministries.
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