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Jesus for Our Cities [Part 2]

Alan Wright Ministries / Alan Wright
The Truth Network Radio
February 1, 2023 5:00 am

Jesus for Our Cities [Part 2]

Alan Wright Ministries / Alan Wright

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Pastor, author, and Bible teacher, Alan Wright. Everything that has been made has been made through Jesus.

And so when he looks at our cities, he sees them for what they were made to be. 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. 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. 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 wear 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 like not only affection for Wake Forest, but also just for the city where you drive in.

And I remember just having good feelings about it. I remember also as a kid that there was this occasion where, you know, 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. It's called a salad bar, a big food bar, multi-item, multi-item, you know, spread of things.

You can go and you can just pick up whatever you want, you know. We're talking pre-Golden Corral, pre all that, you know. And it's called Sam's Gourmet. Anybody remember Sam's Gourmet? 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.

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 or, but I said, it's a place called Sam's Gourmet. I think I heard some snickering in the background, you know.

She laughs 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 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 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. 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. Ever feel like something's holding you back, as if you lack an important key that could change everything?

Is there someone you love who seems stuck? You'd like to help them, but how? What's missing might be the timeless power of blessing. We all need a positive, faith-filled vision spoken over our lives. Without it, we'll never rise to our God-given potential.

With it, we can let go of the past and move forward confidently under the favor of God. If you'd like to replace every curse with blessing in your life, and if you'd like to learn how to speak life and empower the people you love, contact us today to get Pastor Alan Wright's new Amazon bestselling book, The Power to Bless. And when you do, for a limited time, we'd like to send you four additional life-changing resources to help you discover the power to bless. We'll send you Pastor Alan's video masterclass and study guide called Speak Life, and we'll also include Pastor Alan's new video course, The Power to Bless, perfect for small groups or individual devotions.

It also comes with a study guide. Contact us today to get Alan Wright's beautiful hardcover book, The Power to Bless, and receive the four additional life-enriching resources. It's time to learn how blessed you are in Christ and to discover the power to bless. Learn more at PastorAlan.org. That's PastorAlan.org, or call 877-544-4860. Today's teaching now continues.

Here once again is Alan Wright. 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.

It 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 Streets, 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, it quickly became a hub for agriculture and industry. Stagecoach lines ran through Clemens on a regular basis.

Idyl's power station provided electric power generators, and it propelled the village into the industrial age. 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. 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 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. So that's why, if you look again at verse 42 of Luke 19, when he says, Would that you, even you, had known on the day the things that make for peace. And he sees the city in that way, and he weeps over the city. It's because he's mourning the senseless loss of the world as it was created to be. He was crying rather than pointing fingers because it was his. And everything that has been made has been made through Jesus. And so when he looks at our cities, he sees them for what they were made to be. That's why he has such love, and that's where his grief is.

It's his. When I was in second grade, I, for Christmas, got a brand new leather peewee football. And I just loved it. I loved it.

I loved the feel of it and the smell of it. And so the day after Christmas, I rounded up a game of three on three at Bob's house across the street in his front yard. And we used my new football, and everybody was excited about it. But in the middle of the game, a receiver bobbled a pass, and the ball rebounded out into the usually quiet pinetop road. And with horrible, unfortunate timing, a car passed by at that exact moment as the ball bounced onto the asphalt. And the car hit it squarely with its right front tire, causing a sound like a firecracker, like a loud pop. And almost immediately with the loud pop, there was another loud noise. It was me yelping. You would have thought I had been run over by the car. And after the car went by, we went into the street and retrieved the flattened ball.

It was odd as we stood there looking at it in silence. The ball was unmarred, except one of its seams had split wide open. It was irreparable. The laces were still intact.

The leather looked good, but it was useless. And so all of my friends stood around quietly for a moment and said, Sorry about that, Alan. And someone said, I wish we could fix it.

But they went on to a game of kick the can, and I slinked back home, went to my room, and cried. Because the more you feel ownership of a thing, the more you grieve when it's damaged. That's why Jesus was weeping. Long before innate sin, there was the innate goodness of the world. Everything was made beautiful. I know a Sunday school teacher who asked his elementary age Sunday school children to draw a picture of creation. And one kid drew a picture that had a strip of green grass at the bottom, a strip of blue sky at the top, a tree on the right-hand side, and a rudimentary stick figure representing God in the middle. And the call-out balloon, representing what God was saying, said simply, Nailed it.

Indeed, he did. If you look at the world through Jesus' eyes, you see that he made it, and he made it to be beautiful. And so everything that has gone wrong is grievous. He wept also, I think, because he knew the complexity of the brokenness of our cities. As he approached the city that would slay him, he was not pointing fingers nearly so much as he was weeping, perhaps because he knew that the tragedy of it all was bigger than could be blamed on any one individual organization or entity. It was bigger than a few jealous Pharisees. It was bigger than a squad of Roman centurions. It was bigger than a betraying disciple. The problem was bigger.

It was a disrepair of a world that had been broken by sin. You know, the day that my football died, I'd like to be mad at somebody, but who? Mad at the receiver who bobbled the pass, or the quarterback who shouldn't have thrown it near the road in the first place, or mad at myself. Why do we have to use my brand-new football?

Why didn't we use Bob's? Part of the problem of being mad at the world is it's hard to know who to be mad at. Something in our flesh wants to be angry, but it's more complex than that. What I'm saying is I think when you look at the city the way Jesus does, what you see is something that's not so simple. You know, Jesus never misplaced his anger. He did get angry, but have you ever noticed that his wrath, his anger, was normally directed at religious hypocrites who tied heavy yokes around people? But you never see in the Gospels Jesus getting angry at the sinners. In fact, he was called the friend of sinners. He wept over the sin of Jerusalem. He wept over the sin of a city that would slay him, but he didn't rage against it.

Isn't that interesting? Psychologist Larry Crabbe has asserted that anger arises when we confuse desires and goals. Desires are deep and legitimate and often godly.

Husband might desire his wife's affection. Parent might desire that her children flourish. Desires aren't bad, they just aren't within our control. So Larry Crabbe says, he writes this, A desire is an objective that I may legitimately and fervently want, but cannot reach through my efforts alone. A goal, on the other hand, he writes, is an objective that is under my control. Goals are objectives that we can do something about. So I might desire a healthy body, I might desire to live a long life, but that's a goal. I mean, that's a desire.

The goal would be eat the right food, exercise, you can control those things. So we pray about our desires and we take responsibility for our goals. And what Crabbe says is that anger, one of the main sources of anger, that arises when we confuse a desire for a goal. When our goals are blocked, we get mad.

So remember, a goal by definition is something within our control. So if a wife, for example, makes it her goal to have an emotionally sensitive husband, she'll be mad at him when he's insensitive. Wanting a sensitive husband is a wonderful desire, but an illegitimate goal. No wife can control whether her husband is sensitive. It might be healing for her to share her desires.

It might be a wonderful thing to even have counseling together. But if she feels mad, the anger is misplaced. The appropriate response to an unfulfilled desire is grief. What I'm saying is that people who are mad at the world when it doesn't match their dreams have misplaced their anger. The appropriate response when you have a desire for the world to be better is not anger.

It is tears. 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. Learn about our 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. Ever feel like something's holding you back, as if you lack an important key that could change everything?

Is there someone you love who seems stuck? You'd like to help them, but how? What's missing might be the timeless power of blessing. We all need a positive faith-filled vision spoken over our lives. Without it, we'll never rise to our God-given potential.

With it, we can let go of the past and move forward confidently under the favor of God. If you'd like to replace every curse with blessing in your life, and if you'd like to learn how to speak life and empower the people you love, contact us today to get Pastor Alan Wright's new Amazon bestselling book, The Power to Bless. And when you do, for a limited time, we'd like to send you four additional life-changing resources to help you discover the power to bless. We'll send you Pastor Alan's video masterclass and study guide called Speak Life, and we'll also include Pastor Alan's new video course, The Power to Bless, perfect for small groups or individual devotions.

It also comes with a study guide. Contact us today to get Alan Wright's beautiful hardcover book, The Power to Bless, and receive the four additional life-enriching resources. It's time to learn how blessed you are in Christ and to discover the power to bless. Learn more at PastorAlan.org.

That's PastorAlan.org, or call 877-544-4860. Back here in the studio to share Pastor Alan's parting good news thought for the day. Would you say that in a message like this, we're talking about maybe how the providence of God places you at a particular place to adapt to that situation insofar as you're the man for the job, you're the woman for the job right now to present the good news of the gospel? And as you think about standing with Jesus and looking over a city, and you say, let me see as you see, and let me, by your providence, be used of you in this place, well, you can begin to have his kind of compassion. And I just think, Daniel, this is, you know, I know our listeners can identify with this when it's just there's so much that's happened in our culture so quickly become antagonistic to Christianity.

And so much misunderstanding and so much unrest that it can leave us just frustrated and mad or just almost wanting to give up. And yet here comes this invitation to weep with Jesus over the city. God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son. That's what he did. He loved.

So can we. 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.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-01 09:52:05 / 2023-02-01 10:01:43 / 10

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