Pastor, author, and Bible teacher, Alan Wright.
The real key to ultimate life and fulfillment is not all these many choices and keep your options open, but instead it is to go all in. 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 Reynolda 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? Beloved, fulfillment, joy, peace, all the stuff that makes life abundant does not come to us by keeping our options open, but by going all in. We're in a new series that's called Story Wars because the real competition is not over little individual hot button items that people argue about, but the real story, the narrative behind life itself. And today, we are going to come to this passage in the Sermon on the Mount at Matthew 6 and talk about the narrative of culture.
Do you find life by keeping all your options open or by going deeper in commitment? We're going to see some treasures today in Matthew 6. Starting verse 25, Jesus says, Therefore, I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you'll put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air. They neither sow, nor reap, nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to a span of life?
And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow. They neither toil nor spin. Yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore, do not be anxious, saying, What shall we eat, or what shall we drink, or what shall we wear? For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore, do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. You ever wonder if you could somehow quantify happiness? Years ago, researchers in Great Britain did a very interesting study that was essentially asking the question, if money can make you a little bit happier, how much more money would you have to have to be the equivalent of other things that make us happy? And it was quite interesting what they found out, according to their study, that an individual who only sees his friends or his or her friends or relatives once a month or hardly ever at all, compared to someone who sees in a social way friends and family almost every day.
So a person who doesn't have much time for relationships versus the one who has a lot of time for relationship. How much more money does the person who is not having much social interaction, how much more money do they need in order to make them as happy as the person who has more social relationships? And anyway, in a complicated study by their algorithms and all their interviews, they decided that it would require an extra $97,000 a year for the person who has less social interaction to be as happy as the one who has plenty.
And this was years ago, so you've got to add in inflation. They found also that a healthy marriage, that's worth $105,000. And interesting, and some of you could attest to this, a marital separation, that costs you $255,000 in happiness dollars. It's not that money is bad, money is good. And this sermon is not about money, but it is to say that why do we think sometimes that money could get us happiness? It's not the money itself, it's what we think we could do with it. In other words, money means more choices.
And in Jesus's words, food and clothing and the thoughts of tomorrow, of security. We tend to think that if we have more choices, which maybe more money gives us a chance to have more choices, that we'll be more happy. And in today's culture, there is a narrative, a story that seems to be always brewing around us.
We see it in media, we see it in the commercials, we see it through a lot of our interactions on social media. That if you could just have more choices and make sure that you make the right choice, that that's the avenue by which you'll really be fulfilled. And yet in to that narrative, when we come with this word from Jesus, Matthew 6, seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these other things will be added unto you, you see a different story. This story says, no, the real key to ultimate life and fulfillment is not all these many choices and keep your options open, but instead it is to go all in. I think it was in 2013, the Oxford English Dictionary officially added the word to the English language, FOMO, which stands for fear of missing out and is defined as the vague anxiety of worrying that you might be missing a better option. And I want to talk for a few moments and then have campus pastors expand this further, the principle of the kingdom that is about going all in rather than keeping your options open for fear of missing out.
Two narratives, it's a story war, may the best story win. First, let me mention this, the problem that really sociologists have discovered and I think you can identify in your own life the problem that comes with so many choices that we have today. Our staff coaches have been studying a book together called Faith for the Exiles and one of the continuing discussion points that we keep having is about the levels of anxiety in our culture today. And I looked it up to see if indeed what we all suspect to be true that anxiety is on the increase and indeed it is. A couple of statistics, anxiety disorders affect about one in five adults in America.
It's the most common psychological disorder. About 20% of people have anxiety in some disorder form. Citizens of wealthier countries, this is interesting, are over three times more likely to suffer from generalized anxiety disorder than those in low-income countries. People that have more seem to be suffering from anxiety more. The American Psychiatric Association ran a poll in 2017 found nearly two-thirds of people were either quote extremely or somewhat anxious about health and safety for themselves.
All of this is pre-COVID which has added to our anxiety. Millennials, the young generation, have the most anxiety. Barna research has shown that three out of five young adults identify as quote stressed out. You say are you stressed out?
Three out of five young adults do they say yes and seven out of ten young adults say they're concerned about the future. Anxiety, here's how one person anonymously described their chronic anxiety. I have a list of possible problems in my head. If all real problems are solved I turn another one into a problem so I can worry about it. These are constant facts of life. It's not increasing.
It's always been like this. And so interesting that in our culture where we have so many more choices which we think would bring us more happiness has sociology has shown us actually brought us more anxiety. It's a famous study that a professor from Columbia University held in some years ago in which they went into a gourmet grocery store in California and set up booths with samples of Wilkin and Sons jams, different jams. And every few hours they switched from offering a selection of 24 different kinds of jam and they'd sometimes then switch it out to just having six different kinds and they discovered something interesting. On average customers decided to taste two jams regardless of the size of the assortment and everybody would receive a coupon good for one dollar off a jar of jam.
But here's the interesting part. 60% of customers were drawn to the large assortment. So if they're in the grocery store and they saw all these choices of jam, 60% of people came over to take a look and maybe try it out. But and only 40% would come by and check out the smaller assortment of jams. But 30% of the people who had sampled from the small assortment had only six choices. 30% of them decided to buy some jam.
While those that looked at 24 choices only 3% decided to buy some. It was a groundbreaking study because it raised the possibility that more choice in some way is paralyzing, anxiety producing and debilitating. 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 pastorallen.org. Today's teaching now continues. Here once again is Alan Wright. You've probably experienced this in your own life. Part of our anxiety is that we have so many choices that you couldn't possibly exhaust and research them all. So you get anxious about making sure you've chosen the right school and chosen the right mate or shoot you could get anxious about making sure you got the right cell phone provider.
There's so much information and so many many choices. And Jesus is saying in the Sermon on the Mount you feel anxious about all of these options and you feel like that if I had more options of clothing and more to provide for more food and more if you had more of all this then you would be less anxious. And what Jesus is saying is getting more is not the solution to anxiety. In fact what we've learned from sociology is that it actually produces anxiety.
It's interesting. So in conflict in contrast with the message of the world that says keep your options open and makes us have a fear of missing out like something better could be going on some better opportunity some better product something that causes a real anxiety in us. What Jesus says is that there is a power in commitment a real power a real power and an unveiling of greater wonders that come by being all in. Seek first the kingdom of God. Make make one passionate ruling priority become the center of your heart and and this Jesus is saying actually lifts your anxiety. Don't worry about all these other choices and all these options you have in life. You get this one thing right the power of commitment is actually what's going to bring you more life. If you were to ask me Pastor Alan what causes you the greatest sense of joy and fulfillment in life I would I would without thinking without blinking I'd say my marriage my kids my my my grown kids and my my daughter-in-law and and and and a grandbaby on the way and and then I would say and ministry ministry helping people preaching the gospel healing souls that's it and and then somewhere down the line golf and maybe guitar you know piano I mean it so those those are the things and then if you were to say tell me Pastor Alan what to what are you most committed and do you invest most of your time energy and sacrifice I'd say my marriage kids ministry golf guitar in other words and you could think this way about your own life couldn't you the things that actually end up bringing you the greatest sense of life joy and fulfillment are the things that you actually have had to go all in maybe the key Jesus is saying Jesus is saying is not that you examine all the choices and find the perfect choice and make sure you postpone making a decision or a commitment until you get the perfect choice maybe it is that you get this central priority in your life and it opens up a whole world to you well when you begin to see that principle then you can understand the gospel the good news of Jesus demanding all of asking for our all and David Kenneman's book Faith for the Exiles he says this it's powerful I want to put it before you we've been complicit in presenting a Jesus to compete at the same level as other affiliations and affinities Jesus is your cool BFF your partner in adventure who wants to be tagged in your selfies and help you live your best life and he can be co-branded with just about anything being a Christian is not meaningfully different from participating in the branded culture of our times it is a transaction equivalent to following a band on Instagram attending concerts and wearing the swag Jesus is just one more brand competing for our loyalty what this is saying is that is that in the proclamation of the gospel and and what I want to be about with you and and what I want our and what I want our church mission to be about and what I want to be able to say the world is that the invitation to know and follow Jesus Christ and to receive the gospel is one that is all all powerfully consuming of every priority of your life the weighty glory of God that comes into your life and the glories of the gospel and this good news changes everything on your life and this this isn't new the famous Hebrew Shema hear O Israel Deuteronomy 6 4 hear O Israel the Lord our God the Lord is one you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might I've told it before but it's such a beautiful illustration of the student Hebrew student a Jewish boy who comes to the rabbi and says rabbi good rabbi tell me what does it mean to love God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength and without saying anything the rabbi took a young student down to the river waded into the water with him and without saying anything took and thrust his head the student's head under the water and held him there what seemed like too long and then allowed the student to come up and as the student was gasping for breath the rabbi said when you were under the water what did you want more than anything else and the student said air and the rabbi said when you want God the way your lungs wanted air when your heart wants God that way then you will have come to know the meaning of what it means to love God with all your heart and soul and mind and strength what Jesus is saying is that the answer to joy peace and fulfillment the answer to dissolving anxiety of melting away fear and bringing in peace and joy in our lives is not by you looking around at what everyone has and what everyone has and looking at all the opportunities and seeing so many choices and trying to keep your options open so that you can do it all have it all be it all and make sure you know no he says it's much simpler than that he says here's what it is forget all of that and seek God with all your heart the gospel the good news of what God's done for you in Jesus Christ and his kingdom that has inaugurated by Jesus is coming seek God seek his will seek his goodness seek the gospel truth seek the word seek the life of the Holy Spirit flowing in you seek out everything that comprises the kingdom of God and all his joy and peace and righteousness in the Holy Spirit seek that first and then other things get added unto you not that the other things don't matter not that good choices don't matter not that good options can't be a wonderful blessing but it'll never ever give you peace there are two stories that are going on FOMO versus all in keep your options open versus give your whole heart and life to God in gratitude for what he's done for you in Christ and then it opens up the world to you the real narrative is not FOMO but going all in allen wright and our good news message today FOMO versus all in it's from our series called story wars and hey Pastor Alan's back in the studio here in just a moment sharing his parting good news thought for the day stick with us unlock the power of blessing your life discover God's grace-filled vision for your life by signing up for allen wright's free daily blessing if you want to fill your heart with grace and encouragement get allen wright's daily blessing it's free and just a click away at pastorallen.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 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 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 call us at 877-544-4860 that's 877-544-4860 or come to our website pastorallen.org okay Pastor Alan uh fomo i'm glad you explained what that means but it's a good thought because that is the way the world is thinking uh the fear of missing out it's hard to get anybody to rsvp it's hard to get anybody to i feel it myself sometimes there's so many choices that we feel like that the best thing to do is to keep all your choices open right and don't make any commitment so we are talking about story wars and the battle that we're talking about is a narrative that says the way to abundance is to have more choices and to always keep your options open and don't get too committed versus the biblical narrative that says seek first the kingdom of god and his righteousness focus in all of your life on one central commitment don't spend all of your time trying to do it all and have it all and be it all but get so centrally focused on christ that then he opens up all of this so it's very important i want to say to listeners that when you are sifting through the cultural message whether you're watching a tv show or hearing uh someone sharing in a conversation or you're thinking about this that from the biblical perspective you have the giant secret of abundant life and that is not by always getting more and doing more but by focusing in upon christ and the good news of what he's done for you so go all in love god with all your heart soul mind and strength and through that you have it all today's good news message is a listener supported production of allen wright ministries
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-19 15:10:05 / 2023-01-19 15:18:20 / 8