October 1, 2017
Our world loves to talk about compromise. But when it comes to standing for our convictions, compromise is the furthest thing from God’s plan. Because when we stand for what we believe, the blessings are unbelievable!
In this message, Pastor Ed Young continues his look at the Old Testament prophet Daniel. By studying Daniel’s refusal to compromise what he believed, we discover the focus isn’t about fighting against culture. Rather, it’s about being resolved to focus first and foremost on God. When we do that, we will experience the blessings of God no matter what happens in the world around us.
Thank you, guys, for being here. Cowboys kickoff at noon and you’re at church? Give yourselves a round of applause. Wow. Absolutely amazing. The Dallas Cowboys. You know, I’ve never seen a place like Texas. We love our football, do we not? Also in Florida. You know, this is the scene right now in Florida. And our church is there. Football is absolutely massive. Well, I do want to welcome everyone here today. Thank you guys for being here.
I also want to welcome everyone online. We have a large online audience. We have church online. Now, if you can make it, if you’re physically able to make it to church, show up. Don’t use that as an excuse to go, “You know what? I’m going to go to Bedside Baptist and just watch the church online.” But if you can’t make it, it’s great. But it’s really really good to have everyone here.
Speaking of football, have you noticed that a lot of the announcers always will use this phrase when they’re talking to someone who’s really good, they’ll go, “Wow. He’s a playmaker!” You’ve heard that before. He’s a playmaker. What does that mean? Basically, it means that playmakers position themselves in the right place at the right time to make plays.
There are playmakers in all realms of life, if you think about it. In the business world, you know that lady, she seems to be at the right place at the right time in the right position. You know that guy, don’t you? Who goes to your school, he’s just in the right position and things seem to happen. We say right place, right time. That’s a phrase that we use. Right place, right time. And I want to be at the right place at the right time.
And one of the reasons that I’ve been doing this series called “Know Thyself” is because our great God wants us to be at the right place at the right time. God wants you and me to be at the right place at the right time, hashtag blessed. So if I’m blessed, #blessed, I’m at the right place at the right time. What does it mean to live the blessed life?
Well, I’m afraid a lot of us think in our consumeristic western Christianity that the blessed life is about health and wealth and no sickness or pain or problems or persecution. A lot of people perpetuate that message which is preposterous. The blessed life, yes, it’s an amazing life, yes, it’s a life of adventure and excitement. The blessed life though, is not always the easiest life. It really isn’t. Now ultimately, we win we’re going to heaven, but the blessed life is not easy. It’s the way to live. We’re wired to live the blessed life. Yet we’re going to experience some junk and funk in this world.
Self-awareness, something that we’ve been dealing with and talking about and unpacking, is the result of knowing God intimately. So often people think they know themselves. I would argue based on the Bible that we don’t know ourselves like we think we know ourselves, even though we spend more time with ourselves than anyone else. You are you and I’m me. I would argue that unless we know God intimately we don’t really know who we are. Because God knows us, again, better than we’ll ever know ourselves. Does that make sense? So if I know God, one of the benefits of knowing God is knowing myself.
What does it mean to be self-aware? To be self-aware means I understand my strengths and weaknesses. I have discernment and wisdom to get the context of not only my life but the lives of others. People who are self-aware have something unique about them. Something is different about them. Right place at the right time. They just are in the right position. They’re playmakers. Those people who are self-unaware seem to kinda have a one foot force field in front of them. They just see themselves and it’s all about me and what makes me look good and what makes me feel good and what puts wind in my sail. That’s the difference between being self-aware and self-unaware.
You might be saying to yourself, “Well man, I know somebody who is self-unaware. You’re talking about my manager. You’re talking about my boss. You’re talking about my husband. You’re talking about my father. You’re talking about my coach.”
Yeah. A lot of people are self-unaware. Yet God wants us to be self-aware. That comes from knowing Him.
There’s a guy in the Bible that we’ve been looking at and he was one of the most self-aware people ever and he gives us hints, he gives us some dynamics regarding how to live a life of complete and total self-awareness.
Now, I’m going to warn you. Today’s message is ADD. I’m ADD. And if you’re ADD, if you’re hyperactive, you’ll follow with me, man. You’ll track with me. If you’re not, you might go, “I’m a little confused.” Don’t worry. It’s just part of being ADD. I don’t do a lot of ADD messages but this one, I’m going to kind of skip around.
If you have a Bible, turn to the book of Daniel. Daniel is over in the Old Testament. If you don’t have a Bible, go to one of our bookstores. We have the Source bookstores. We have an array, a plethora, of different Bibles. You know there’s a great Bible that I use a lot. It’s called the Bible for Dummies. Brilliant. Brilliant Bible. It’s just called the Bible for Dummies. I use it a lot. I even enjoy reading children’s bibles. I enjoy the pictures and it gives you an overview of scripture. I’m serious. Yeah, there’s no shame in my game. And then also, too, because I’ve been in seminary, I know a little bit about the Hebrew and the Greek and you know, we can talk about those things as well. But we have all sorts of different Bibles. Bibles for students, bibles for adults. They’re there in our bookstore. And if you can’t afford a bible, I promise you we’ll get you a bible. So make sure you have a bible, okay? It’s God’s word. It’s not just a book that inspired. It’s the word of God. We’re under the authority of the Bible. So make sure you have a bible. If you didn’t bring one today, no problem. We’ve got View a Verse going. See. View a Verse.
This first verse, Daniel 6:6, let’s just check it out. Look View a Verse, see when I do like that, they just know. Look, boom. View a Verse. View a Verse. Alright. Now we’re going to Daniel chapter six. The first six chapters, keep it up there, the first six chapters of Daniel are about Daniel and his cadre of committed and courageous friends. Shadrack, Meshach, and Obednigo.
I’m waiting for some triplets to be named Shadrack, Meshach, and Obednigo. If you have triplet boys, I would suggest those names.
ILLUS: I had the opportunity, speaking of names, a couple of weeks ago I was baptizing and I met these two beautiful girls, they’re probably ten and twelve and they had their name, you know, the little name badge, so we’ll know who we’re baptizing, and I saw “Praise” on one. I’m thinking, “Is that your name, Praise?”
She goes, “Yes sir.”
Oh, that’s cool. Baptized Praise. Then her sister walks up. Worship. I go, “You’ve got to be kidding me. Get out of town. Your name is Worship?”
Praise and Worship? Brilliant!
So, I love names. Shadrack, Meshach, and Obednigo. And Daniel. The first six chapters of Daniel. The other six chapters of Daniel are about prophecies and Daniel predicted some major, major things and that kind of is a unique part of Daniel that relates to the end times, Revelation, etc. But basically, Daniel prophesized “We win.” That’s the bottom line. As we take the Google search approach.
But, I’m a why guy. How in the world did Daniel, how in the world did this guy who was Jewish, who was deported 800 miles away, how did he live this incredible life? Well let’s read Daniel 6:6, shall we? (Cowboys game is played on the side screens) Oh, the Cowboys. Okay. Let’s watch the Cowboys game a little bit. There’s Dak. Whoa. Was that a great play or what. That’s my boy Dez. The X factor. Are those screens awesome?
No, let’s go back. I’m kidding. I’m kidding. We, you know the Cowboys will, I don’t know who did that. It’s crazy. What’s the world coming to? I don’t know if you realize the word Dez in Hebrew is Daniel, did you know that? Maybe instead of Meshach, it’s Me-Dak. I don’t know. That was really funny.
Well, let’s go back to Daniel 6:6. It says, it says this. Now remember, right here, here’s the ADD part, Daniel is in his 80’s now. We’re starting when he’s old. He had spoken to the lives of all of these kings. He had lived a life of integrity, a life of self-awareness, a life like few people have ever lived. He’d gone through persecution. He’d gone through tough times. His life had been threatened. His friends Shadrack, Meshach, and Obednigo had been thrown into the fiery furnace. It was not easy. People were against him. People hated him. People didn’t dig him. And now, King Darius put him in charge of all of these people but all of these people rebel because they were jealous. They were jealous of his giftedness, they were racist, they didn’t like him.
And check out what happened Daniel 6:6. “Then these commissioners and satraps came by agreement to the king, this is nefarious Darius, the king and spoke to him as follows, “King Darius, live forever.”
Write this down if you’re taking notes. One key to being self-unaware, if you want to be self-unaware, I mean if you really want to sign up to be self-unaware, make sure you understand manipulation. Make sure you manipulate people. You manipulate your kids, your spouse, you manipulate if you’re single or in a dating relationship, you manipulate your boss, your coworkers, your clients. Make sure you manipulate people. You know?
And when you manipulate, you have to use different tactics. Sometimes you’re tough, sometimes you play the martyr card. Sometimes you’re like, “Oh yeah, I’m all that.” Sometimes you play the poor boy card. You’ve got to manipulate others. Sometimes you pout. What’s wrong? “Nothing.” Sometimes you have fits of anger. You manipulate.
So Darius, man, he was a manipulator. And not only was he a manipulator, he allowed himself to get manipulated by these people. These people are manipulating him. They don’t give a flying flip about Darius. They just want the competition scrubbed out. They want Daniel killed. They say, King Darius, last part of verse six, live forever. They didn’t want him to live forever.
“All the commissioners…” that’s a lie. That’s your next phase of being self-unaware, exaggeration. Those of us who are self-unaware, we exaggerate. I mean, we don’t really tell the truth.
And here’s what’s so funny. If you’re a Christ follower, when you begin to lie, when you begin to exaggerate, here’s what happens. You begin to fly into a story or say something to someone you’re working with and you know it’s a lie. You say something to your mom or dad in response to your behavior and the Holy Spirit says, “You’re about to exaggerate. You’re about to lie. Don’t do it. Tell the truth.”
If we’re self-aware, we agree with God. We have the mind of Christ. We’re simply putting our yes on Christ’s yes.
“All these commissioners of the kingdom,” which is a lie. They didn’t talk to Daniel about it. “The prefects and the satraps, the high officials and the governors have consulted together,” oh my gosh, they’re voting. Oh wow. Again it’s a lie. “That the king should establish a statute and enforce an injunction that anyone who makes a petition to any god or man besides you, O king, for thirty days…” Thirty days of you Darius, remember that? For thirty days, “shall be cast into the lions’ den.”
Simba is hungry. And if you don’t worship Darius we need to lob people into the lions’ den. Exaggeration. They manipulated him and Darius was so self-unaware he thought it was all about himself he was like, I guess I am great. Oh yeah. And again we know all of this comes from pride being self-unaware. So, manipulation then exaggeration and Darius lived a life of exaggeration himself.
So Darius, with his emotion, you don’t want to make an emotional decision, with his emotion a one foot radius, “Okay, that sounds good to me. Everybody will worship me. Everybody will worship me.” He didn’t think about consulting Daniel. I mean Daniel was the leader. Where’s Daniel? Where’s Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego? He didn’t talk to them.
Manipulation. Exaggeration. It’s amazing how many of us lie. Then you have disassociation. What does disassociation mean? You can jot this down. Mild or severe detachment from reality, from people, from places, from things. Do you know anybody who is detached? Do you know anybody who is clueless who is out to lunch who is removed?
They go, “King, establish the injunction and sign the document so that it may not be changed.” And sure enough he goes, “Okay I’ll do it. I’m going to do it.”
Therefore King Darius signed the document, it went into play. And now when Daniel knew that the document was signed, he’s in his 80’s. I mean he’s been doing this for decades and decades and decades. “He entered his house. He had his windows open toward Jerusalem, J Town. He continued, say it with me, continued, once again, continued kneeling on his knees three times a day. Praying and giving thanks before his God as he had been doing previously.”
Whoa. That verse is packed with some serious stuff. Daniel lived the life. Daniel, persecuted. Daniel, 800 miles away from his hometown. Daniel, in a perverted culture. Daniel, whose name had been changed. Daniel, who had been forced to go to a Master’s program in Babylonian-ness for three years. Daniel, who learned the language. Daniel, who studied the occult. Daniel, this dynamic difference maker whose life was threatened, whose friends were thrown into the fiery furnace, who went from here to there who talked to this king and that king. Yet he still continued, did he not, to walk with God.
How do you live in a perverted place like Babylon? Well, that’s where you live and I live. That’s where you go to school, that’s where you work. That’s the gym where you workout. That’s the country club you’re a member of. Perverted. In many ways. Out of control. People that lead these things are many times totally self-unaware.
Yet Daniel stood for truth. Daniel stood. He was self-aware. And because of his walk with God, because he knew God he knew himself and because he knew himself because he knew God, people knew him and he was able to give people the knowledge of God who would never ever have been open to it had he not lived the life that God had given him.
There are people like that in your life and mine that we can speak into. There are people in your life and mine that we have opportunities to talk with.
See Daniel was in the right position. And because he was in the right position, what happened? He was a playmaker. He was in the right place at the right time because he knew God. If you don’t know God, if you’re not walking with Him, it’s never going to happen.
ILLUS: Hugh Hefner passed away this week and someone said Hefner’s whole philosophy on life is a man’s existence is just for his orgasms and material conquests. Wow. That’s it? That’s what Hugh Hefner said, Recreate, procreate, do deals and die. Hey, Hugh, how’s that working for you right now? Self-unawareness. Self-unawareness. Perversion. Sensuality. Using a God given gift in a God forbidden way. So tragic.
So many of us understand that. So many of us have even lived that. Now, though, many of us know God personally. Maybe you don’t know the Lord personally. I’m here to tell you, to challenge you, you’ve tried this, you’ve tried that. You can know God. And one of the benefits of knowing Him is knowing yourself. One of the benefits of knowing Him is living the #blessed life. It’s being in the right position right place right time to be used by God. That’s why you’re here. That’s why I’m here.
We have a choice, either love God or not. To turn to God or not. Hugh Hefner made the choice, read about his life, as a young man to shake his puny, perverted fist in the face of God and go the other way. And Hell, where he is, is simply a greater measure of what you desired on earth.
Daniel, though, lived the life. He spoke into the life of kings. Daniel was persecuted. This group of people. They wanted Daniel to be lion’s bait. They were setting him up. They knew Daniel prayed three times a day. They knew he sushi sized his prayers. They knew a little prayer here, I need another prayer here I need another prayer here. If you’re living in a situation like Daniel lived, like many of us are, you’ve got to have a walk with God that way.
But the good news is, God will give you the strength, the power, the energy, and the courage to find the Shadrachs, Meshachs, and Abednegos. That group of people. That cadre of committed people so you can be the kind of person God desires you to be. But don’t think living the blessed life is “I’m never sick, I’m never hurt, I’m never persecuted, I’m always healthy, wealthy, and wise.” That’s not always the case. That’s just a perversion of the gospel. That’s the health and wealth gospel that has been perpetuated on our culture that is absolutely preposterous.
Yet, a lot of churches, even in this area in our land they preach this feel good health and wealth gospel. “If you have enough faith, you make God do what you want God to do.”
I’m sorry. That’s not Bible. God is sovereign. God is God. We don’t tell God what to do. We say, “God, I’m in this position. I’m in this stance. You show me the plans for my life that you have.”
I mean, some of the best people I know, who prayed for healing have died. My mother just died. We prayed for her healing for two or three years. She died. Everybody you pray for is not going to get healed. Does that mean we lack faith? Are you kidding me? Are you kidding me? So all of this crap like “Oh man, if I become a Christian I don’t have any more problems, I don’t have any more difficulties,” that’s just not the case.
So I want to keep it real. However, when you know God, you have the source, you have the energy, you have the power, you have the foundation to face anything. And you can come through it, a bigger and better and badder person. And that’s what Daniel did.
So really if you think about this, think about the lion and think about this because basically Daniel should’ve sung this song to these palace plotters. “You can’t hide your lion eyes. And your smile you can’t disguise. I thought by now you’d realize there ain’t no way to hide your lion eyes.”
Some people don’t know that song. It’s my man Don Henley from the Eagles. The guy is an absolute genius. Good night nursery school. Google Don Henley. One of these nights. Livin’ in a bath at the Hotel California. Dirty laundry. I could go on and on Don Henley.
ILLUS: I’ll tell you one of the stupidest things I did in my life about Don Henley. This was so dumb. I hate to confess this but, keeping it real. A friend of mine, I mean, we’re not like great friends but I know this guy and he’s very, very well off. He loves music so, he had a few musicians at his ranch. And he invited a small group of people, and it’s a long story but there were several hundred people there and he had all these great musicians. I mean, I’m not a huge country music fan, but a lot of the country music guys and girls and singers and songwriters and Don Henley.
Some of you who are my age are like “Oh man, that’s huge!” The millennials are like, “What are you talking about?” I’m talking Don Henley. So anyway, Don Henley was performing on this stage intimate stage couple hundred people there. Well, we were kind of near Austin and I was fishing in a tournament starting in two days. Well, you know how much I love fishing.
So, I’m thinking to myself, “Man we’ve got to fly to this destination Lisa was with me because I’ve got to pre-fish the day before the tournament.” I mean, you have to do that.
And Lisa was like, “Well, I’ve checked the flights and we’re going to have to miss Don Henley’s concert and man, Ed, are you sure you want to do this to fish a day before the tournament? I mean, do you have to do this and miss Don Henley?”
I go, “You know how much I love Don, but I love fishing more.”
So, we drove to Austin. Jumped aboard, I’ll never forget it. I felt guilty doing it. Southwest jet flew down to this place. So I’m fishing with my friend, my partner in this tournament and he was like “Man, what have you been doing lately?”
I said “Well, I went to this guy’s ranch…” And I named some of the singers.
He’s like, “They were there?”
I go “Yeah.” I said, “You know who’s performing right now is Don Henley.”
He goes, “You mean you came here to fish with me the day before the tournament and you could’ve hung out with Don Henley?!”
I said “Yes.”
He goes, “You’re an idiot.”
That’s my Don Henley story. You can’t hide your lion eyes. And your smile you can’t disguise. I thought by now you’d realize. There ain’t no way to hide those lion eyes. Self-unawareness eyes. Manipulation eyes. Exaggeration eyes. Disassociation eyes. Humiliation eyes. I’m on a roll with the eyes.
Then, well you know what Daniel did. Daniel made pets out of these lions. He brought in catnip and play toys, scratching their backs. Brushing their teeth. Flossing. The lions loved him.
And then, you know, nefarious Darius after Daniel emerged, God brought him through this situation, threw all of the palace plotters in there and they were ripped to shreds. Oh. Pretty gross. The Old Testament is R rated. I’ll just warn you. When you buy these Bibles, I’m just going to tell you that. But remember, the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed.
Daniel 1:8. Let’s go back ADD. Daniel 1 go quick back. Daniel 1. Check this out. This is a key verse of the first six chapters of Daniel. How did Daniel do it? How was he self-aware? Here’s the answer. The Bible says “Daniel resolved…” say resolved with me. “Resolved.” That means to make up your mind in advance, it’s advanced planning.
So you make up your mind if you’re a believer to tithe, to bring the 10% to the house. You don’t say in the service, “Whoa. The offering bucket is being passed. Oh where’s my wallet, honey?” No, no, no advanced planning. You don’t say, “I’m going to get involved in church. I think I’ll go to church. It’s five minutes before church starts.” Well you might, but advanced planning. Advanced planning in everything we do.
“Daniel resolved not to defile himself.” He had an opportunity to either eat the rich food from the king’s table prepared by Bobby Flay or he could eat vegetables. So he traded in veal for vegetables. He traded in merlot for H-2-O and he got permission to do that and he won the first physique contest ever in scripture. Because after ten days the king and all of his comrades were like “Whoa. Look at these Jewish guys, man. They are eating clean. I mean forks over knives. What the health?” Some of you got that. Now the people that got that were the ones who didn’t sing along with me for Lying Eyes.
So Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine. Advanced decision making. And check out Daniel 1:9. Let me just fly through these. “Now God had brought Daniel into favor and goodwill.” God did. He was in the right position. He’s a playmaker.
Look at Daniel 1:17. God gave them, Shadracch, Meshach, and Abednego knowledge and understanding.
Look at Daniel 1:19. “The king interviewed them and among them all none was found like Daniel, Shadracch, Meshach, and Abednego.”
Look at Daniel 1:20. “And in all matters of wisdom and understanding about which the king examined them he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers who were in all of his realm.”
Whoa. So we’ve got to resolve. We’ve got to make up our mind. You want to be self-aware? “Okay, God I know you. I know you know me. And I agree with what you tell me to do. I’ll put my yes on your yes. I decide in advance.”
That is why Daniel was Daniel. He decided in advance how he was going to live before the dilemma. He made the decision before the dilemma.
ILLUS: I went out Thursday night with some friends. I think it was Thursday. Anyway, to a Mexican restaurant, I love Mexican food. So we walk by this table and these people were like, “Hey, how are you doing?”
And you know I’m so ADD I think they told me their name but I’m like, “Where do I know them?” And obviously they knew about, I guess, Fellowship Church or whatever, and they knew a little bit the people we were with so, “Okay, good to see you, alright.”
We sat down at a table. I asked my friends, “Who are they?” Yeah, ble blah bleh blah bluh, you know. Okay, okay, okay. Alright. Really nice couple. Yeah. She had kids with her and whatever.
So, they pay the bill and this big old dude walks up to me, the guy I met, he goes “Uh, I’m going to tell you something.”
Now that’s always scary. People think I’m naive, hey. Sin is my business. You would not believe what people have told me over the years. One day, I’m going to write a book. People will be like, “I can’t believe it!” It would embarrass any reality show, anything you’ve ever seen some of the stuff people have told me.
Anyway. This guy told me something really good. He goes, “Uh, I want to tell you this, just between you and me,” just whispering in my ear.
I said, “Okay.”
He said, “You did something about five years ago that really changed my life.”
I’m thinking, “Wow okay.”
He said, “I was at a Mavericks game, and I hardly ever go see the Mavericks play. But five years ago I did.” He said, “I was at a Mavericks game and you walked in and you sat a couple of rows in front of me.” He said, “When the Mavericks dancers came out shaking their breasts and their butts gyrating,” he said, “I watched you to see what you would do. I wanted to see if you would look at these girls.”
I’m like, “Whoa.”
He paused. He said, “You turned your head the other way. And talked to the people you were with. I watched you do that. Over and over, you turned your head. And looked the other way.” He goes, “Man, that meant so much to me, you’ll never know.”
Well, I said, “Thank you. I really appreciate that.”
You never know who’s watching, do you? Never know. Obviously if you’re a pastor, people are watching. They’re watching you too.
Lust is something that we all deal with, especially the guys. I know the girls do some, but not like guys. We have to make our minds up do we not in advance to say, “You know what, I’m going to honor this desire that God’s given me.”
I’m not at all saying I’ve never lusted. I’m not at all saying that I have victory over that every moment of every day. No. We’re all fellow strugglers. But I’m telling you I’m better at it now then I was years ago. But we live in Babylon.
Poor, sad, self-unaware Mark Cuban. “Let’s bring out the girls scantily clad and now guys, lust. And while guys are lusting all the women make sure you feel insecure as you watch these girls gyrate.” It’s what it is.
Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders. Oh, we have them come to the church. What’s that about? Lust. If you think it’s not, you’re self-unaware. “Let’s bring out the cheerleaders and lust again.” We have to decide in advance we’re either going to trust God with our stuff, with our finances, with our sexuality, with our families, with our marriage, with our dating relationships. We’re either going to say “God, I want to be in the right position, I want to be a playmaker.” Or a poser. What’s it going to be for you? It’s your choice. It’s your decision. What’s it going to be for you?
Daniel resolved. But, you know there was someone 2000 years ago who resolved who made his mind up, did he not, to live a sinless life, to die a sacrificial death, to rise again. His name is Jesus. He resolved. He made his mind up to take your sins and mine upon himself. When every demon in hell screamed at him on the cross, “It’s not worth it. Jump down.” But he had your sins and mine on his mind. He had your lust and mine. Your anger and mine. Your rebellion and mine. Your materialism and mine. Your greed and mine. Your chicanery and mine. Your pride and mine. Giving us an opportunity to have the position of a follower of Christ and the position to be used mightily. That’s what it means, friends, to be #blessed. Would you pray with me?
[Ed leads in closing prayer.]