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Jesus for Our Cities [Part 1]

Alan Wright Ministries / Alan Wright
The Truth Network Radio
January 31, 2023 5:00 am

Jesus for Our Cities [Part 1]

Alan Wright Ministries / Alan Wright

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Pastor, author, and Bible teacher, Alan Wright.

Anger and worry and despair tends to be the default posture of our hearts when we think about the condition of our cities. But how does Jesus feel? 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. More on that later in the program. But now, let's get started with today's teaching.

Here is Alan Wright. We've been talking about providence, which is to say God provides. He sees ahead of time. And the reason that you can trust His providence is that you can trust His very nature is to be 100% for you. And today, I want to talk about how much Jesus is for, not just us, but for you.

For us, but for our communities, for our cities in which we live. I finished a manuscript a few weeks ago on a book that's going to come out called Seeing as Jesus Sees. How a new perspective can defeat the darkness and awaken joy. Because the way that we see determines how we think and how we feel and what we do. And I've just become increasingly convinced that instead of trying to will ourselves into being more godly, instead of saying what would Jesus do and let me try harder to be like that, what we really need is revelation. What we really need is to be able to see as He sees.

Because haven't we all experienced it where you were seeing something incorrectly and it affected everything in your way of thinking and then when new light came upon it, it changed you in a moment. We've all experienced that. I was in the men's room somewhere public place not terribly long ago and I was getting ready to wash my hands at a sink. There were multiple sinks there. And as I was approaching the sink, a man rudely starts coming right towards my sink. Just like he's going to edge me out. There were like two or three other sinks. He could have easily just walked around me.

Only a few steps further, go to another sink, man. And he's about to nudge me out of my place. And I'm thinking, see, that's the whole problem. Just rudeness, you know, narcissism. All anybody cares about is their space.

They don't care about your space. Just thoughts are just going like that. Isn't it amazing how your thoughts can just a thousand in a minute. And then all of a sudden I hear him say, excuse me, is there a soap dispenser to your right? And I thought, well, that's an odd question. Duh, there's a soap dispenser to my right and at the other sinks, which by the way, you know, you could be using. But when he asked the question, I glanced over my shoulder to look and I saw that he had a long white cane in front of him tapping at the ground. And so in a matter of a half of a second, I had a complete change of attitude. Yes, sir, there's a soap dispenser to my right. And there are several sinks here.

Is there anything that I could do to help you? Because when you don't see something accurately, then everything else within you, your feelings, your thoughts and behaviors that follow would be built upon a deception. And the devil is a liar from the beginning, who Jesus called the father of lies, and darkness is the veiling of truth such that when the light of Christ shines, everything changes. So in researching and thinking for the manuscript I was writing, I thought about how Jesus sees us and sees others and also how he sees the world. And I spent some time thinking about how does Jesus see our cities? We've got a big day to everyone serve on November 19th in some way, and I'm thinking about our cities. We're in four cities now and how Jesus views our cities.

How does he look on them? And things have been difficult over the last couple of years with pandemic killing over six million people and the contention and hate of society that's polarized over almost everything and racial tensions and political tensions and war and Ukraine and crippling inflation and on top of all of that, just over a couple year period of working on a manuscript about how Jesus sees things. Just in that period of time, I counted up that there were 65 times that we awakened to a news report of another school shooting. And all of this along with so many points of immorality in our culture that make us as Christians wonder what's happening to the world and how do we feel about all of this? And if we're honest, if I'm honest with myself, I think most of the time I just feel frustrated, maybe even angry, sometimes worried and sometimes hopeless. Anger and worry and despair tends to be the default posture of our hearts when we think about the condition of our cities. But how does Jesus feel? If you go and look at the Gospels, what you'll see might surprise you. And I want to just show you three different passages that give you a momentary glimpse into the heart of Jesus as he is looking upon the city. Luke 19, verse 41, on the week of the crucifixion, when he drew near and saw the city, Jerusalem, he wept over it, saying, Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace, but now they're hidden from your eyes. On an earlier occasion, Luke 13, verse 33, he looks over this same city. He comments, I must go on my way today and tomorrow and the day following, for it cannot be that a prophet should perish away from Jerusalem. Oh, Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it.

How often I would have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you are not willing. Matthew 9, verse 35, Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction. And when he saw the crowds, this is what he felt when he saw the crowds of sinners, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd.

He wasn't angry, frustrated, worried, or despaired. He wept, he longed, and he felt for them. 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 PastorAlan.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. Today is the final day we're 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. The Roman world into which Jesus was born was idolatrous to the point of emperor worship. And as Phil Yancey describes it, scarcely a day passed without an execution under Herod's regime. The political climate at the time of Jesus' birth, Yancey writes, resembled that of Russia in the 1930s under Stalin. House excavations from first century Pompeii revealed pornographic art on everyday living room walls.

Adult male sexual abuse of underage boys was acceptable. On and on it goes to make the point that the world into which Jesus entered, that Roman society was by most moral standards far worse than ours. But upon reading the gospels with this one question in mind, how did Jesus see the cities? How did He think and see when He looked out over the immoral and ungodly and rebellious and lost world?

What I see is a Savior who's more sad than He is mad, more longing than raging, and one who is for us, not against us. So I want to look at a few of these verses as we think about if you would be willing to say, Jesus, would you let me see the cities the way you do? Verse 41 again of Luke 19, when He drew near and saw the city, He wept over it. He wept over it as a city as a whole. During my college studies of English literature, I was drawn to a line in Wordsworth's sonnet composed upon Westminster Bridge when the romantic poet was looking over London as if it was a living thing.

He mused, the city now doth like a garment where the beauty of the morning silent bear. And I felt moved because I think God looks on cities like that, that municipalities have personalities, that cities like people have a destiny. And this is why God sent Jonah to an idolatrous Assyrian metropolis saying, should I not pity Nineveh, that great city? He doesn't just pity the individuals.

He doesn't just look upon individuals with mercy in his heart. He looks on whole cities this way. I remember when I was called here 26 years ago, I distinctly, in that supernatural call, I felt not just called to serve you, but to serve this community and to serve a city. I always loved Winston-Salem. I really always loved Winston-Salem. When I was a kid, my best buddy, Bob, lived across the street. His dad was a huge supporter of all things Demon Deacon, and he had 50-yard line football tickets and seats behind the bench. And most of the time, I got to go with them. So I grew up coming to watch the Deacs play and watch them play football and sit behind the bench and watch ACC basketball so many times.

And I remember it just created not only affection for Wake Forest, but also just for the city. We would drive in, and I remember just having good feelings about it. I remember also as a kid that there was this occasion where we didn't go out to eat hardly at all. There were hardly any restaurants. And my mom says that we're going to go over to Winston-Salem and eat at a special restaurant, that it's one of the first places that has this new thing that's called a salad bar, a big food bar, multi-item, multi-item spread of things.

You can go, and you can just pick up whatever you want. We're talking pre-Golden Corral, pre-all that, and it's called Sam's Gourmet. Does anybody remember Sam's Gourmet? Yeah, and we came over to eat my mother and my aunt, and we came to eat at Sam's Gourmet.

I didn't even like salad, but I thought this was the most wonderful thing in the world. It just all just spread out there, and they only had it in Winston-Salem. It was the first thing of its kind in the whole region, Sam's Gourmet. Many, many years later, I fell in love with Ann, and she was from Winston-Salem. And so one of our early dates when I was courting her, I thought, where could I take her to be so special in Winston-Salem? I thought, well, of course the most special place is Sam's Gourmet.

I didn't know that over the decades it had become sort of normal, you know, sort of normal. So I called her up. I said, sweetheart, I said, I'm going to take you somewhere special. And she's thinking, I'm going to say Ryan's, but I said, it's a place called Sam's Gourmet. I think I heard some snickering in the background, you know.

She laughed about that to this day. I liked it. I fell in love with the Moravian sugar cake and the Moravian stars. I fell in love with the beauty of the place and the love for the arts and the school of the arts and the Nutcracker ballet. And when I learned that there was a group of German Christians who had prayed for years for this place and for the settlement here and how that was all settled with a Christ-centered mission, and the very name means peace, I fell in love with the sense of destiny for this city.

And God called me to all of that. And on top of it, it's a beautiful place, isn't it? It's a beautiful place for 26 years. I had offices now here at this village campus.

And the ride in, just Rinaldo Road, one of the Prius Roads, I think, anywhere you'll find. It was so beautiful this fall. I opened the sunroof, put my cell phone out just to show this is the ride that I've had for 26 years coming in.

And in the fall, it becomes a canopy of color. And I think of my wife who says most days, thank you, God, that the boundary lines for us have fallen in such pleasant places. And I think of my missionary friends who work in some of the hardest and poorest lands and how it is that I get to come in every day and to this beautiful scene and this beautiful place and work with you to share the gospel and love this city. And I didn't know that we would end up being in four cities. And who knows, by God's grace, maybe some more cities in the future. Kernersville, after its incorporation in 1871, it grew from 147 to 1,000 people within a couple of years because the residents laid the railroad themselves. There's still a bunch of people in Kernersville with that kind of generous and hardworking spirit that now attracts people who are living in a place that is a bedroom community and yet has its own identity.

One of the first buildings, Dobson's Tavern, what is now near Main and Mountain Street, George Washington had breakfast there. And people are still drawn to the business and arts and eateries and history. We love Kernersville. Clemens, first settled in 1802 by Peter Clemens, originally called Clemensville, quickly became a hub for agriculture and industry. Stagecoach lines ran through Clemens on a regular basis.

Idol's power station provided electric power generators, and it propelled the village into the industrial age. And those who call Clemens home today, they probably can sum it up of the beauty of living with the and, the lively hub for young and growing families, as well as those of all ages, home to a variety of businesses and civic organizations, and access to Winston and a larger, bigger city life. And it's the kind of place you can cross paths with friends and neighbors and people that you know and love, and yet also build new relationships. And I love Clemens, and I love Tanglewood, and one of our own was mayor there for a while, and has prayed over that city forever.

We love Clemens. And now in King. I went up to King a few weeks ago because I hadn't seen yet where we have some office space now in partnership with the Hope Pregnancy Care Center of King, and Pastor Chuck's wife, Julie, has become the executive director of the care center, and it's taken on a whole new life, and I wanted to see it.

It's spread out on about, I think, 10 acres beautiful land there in King. And while we were there at the pregnancy center, it wasn't open, but Pastor Chuck and I were there, but someone saw cars happen upon, and a young woman came in, and she was asking could she get some diapers, and of course Chuck said, well, certainly you can. She said she needed size three, and then it became a spectacle of two men trying to find size three diapers. And of course we couldn't find them anywhere. They were right in front of our nose, but he's calling his wife, where are the size three? Well, honey, look over onto the right.

No, the other, you know. And while we were spending 10 minutes more looking for it, the woman herself found them. And while she was there, she also found an unopened toy for a little boy that she said, could I have this for my little boy? We said, sure. You should see the joy in her face.

She said, I'm just going to wrap it up like a present, just a surprise. And I got in the car with Chuck. I said, drive me around King. I hadn't been up here in a while.

There's a lot of development going on, a lot. King's beautiful, rolling hills, a gateway into the mountains and Pilot Mountain and its landscape. And of course, two hot dogs all the way at Dario. We love King. How Jesus felt about cities, he's thought of them like entities, like organic living things. And he made everything and he made these cities and he sees the city in that way and he weeps over the city. Alan Wright, our good news message from the series Providence, Jesus for our cities. And Pastor Alan is back here in a moment with a parting good news thought for all of us.

I encourage you to 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 dot 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, 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. We are happy to send this to you as our thanks from Alan Wright Ministries. Today is the final day we're offering this special product. Call us at 877-544-4860.

That's 877-544-4860. Or come to our website, PastorAlan.org. Back here now with Pastor Alan in the studio in our parting good news thought for the day. And of course, in the great generality, God loved the world. And in particular, he loves your town. He loves your city.

And that's quite specific. Well, as we continued in learning and growing in Providence, and also turned our attention, Daniel, as a church, turned our attention towards just greater and greater love for our cities. Our church is in four different cities. And I just was looking at how Jesus really viewed this broken world. How does a providential God look at a world that at times is so marred, that seems so distant from everything he ever created it to be? And what you realize when you take a fresh look at the Gospels is that Jesus, though we get so frustrated, Jesus was more sad than mad.

And he longed and he loved. And something can change inside of us when we begin to start seeing more as Jesus does. And I think that's part of recognizing God's providence is he has plans for us, but he has plans for cities, like cities have personalities. And so to our listeners, wherever you live, in the community of which you're a part, there are things that are good about it.

There are things that are really broken about it, I'm sure. And I think Jesus wants you to know he loves your city. 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.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-01-31 10:28:35 / 2023-01-31 10:37:44 / 9

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