Thriving in Babylon

Daniel sets a good example of how to deal with suffering.

Larry Osborne
Feb 18, 2018    37m
This sermon by Pastor Larry Osborne dives deep into the book of Daniel. Daniel is a good example of how to deal with suffering. He was kidnapped and brought to Babylon, the most evil of all places. There he faced many perils using the gifts of hope, courage, humility and respect. He acted in accordance to how God would want him to be to all people despite of how poorly they were treating him. Thus he was able to thrive in a godless environment. Video recorded at Chandler, Arizona.

messageRegarding Grammar:

This is a transcription of the sermon. People speak differently than they write, and there are common colloquialisms in this transcript that sound good when spoken, and look like bad grammar when written.

Speaker 1: 00:00 Today we welcome guest speaker Larry Osborne, Larry's the senior pastor at North Coast church in Vista, California. North Coast is a vibrant church that has been recognized as one of the 10 most influential churches in America. Larry's an acclaimed author and speaker, and is a mentor to our own church leadership. Cornerstone, help us welcome this morning. Speaker Larry Osborne.

Pastor Osborne: 00:00 Thank you.

Pastor Osborne: 00:32 My buddies and I knew his story inside out. You see we'd heard it a million times, because our Sunday school teachers considered it the ideal Sunday school curriculum. It really worked with young boys because it was full of adventure and exciting things. And whether it was long ago, far away, in another galaxy when they were using flannel boards or they're using videos, it doesn't really matter because it's got some pretty cool stuff in it. It's got a story about a guy being thrown to a bunch of lions and they suddenly decided to go on a high carb low protein diet. It's got a story about three of his friends who were ordered to bow down before a golden idol and they absolutely refuse, and then they were thrown into a fiery furnace and they walk out unscathed. Now, I have to admit, by the time I was fifth, sixth, seventh grade, I was pretty tired of the story; but along the way I'd gotten to know it so well, I probably could have taught some of those Sunday school classes. But there was an unfortunate thing that happened as well, and the unfortunate thing was, because of my exposure to it as a kid. That for me, and for pretty much all my Sunday school teachers, and a whole lot of folks I know who had the privilege of growing up in a Christian home, this guy's book in the Bible is relegated to being an adventure story for kids.

Pastor Osborne: 02:03 His name is Daniel, and his book is not an adventure story for kids. In fact, it doesn't even carry the theme that I thought it carried. You see, I'd picked up this idea and, my teachers had taught it to me well intended, but still wrong. I walked out with the idea that if I am bold and courageous for God, if I will just stand my ground, nothing could hurt me. But here's the problem. How many people have been thrown to hungry lions, and the lions suddenly went on a diet. Help me out. How many people have been burned at the stake, thrown into a fiery furnace for their faith and walk out untouched?

Pastor Osborne: 02:50 Three.

Pastor Osborne: 02:52 So if the message of Daniel is, if you're bold and courageous nothing will happen to you, God will protect you. Then God has a lot of explaining to do. Would you agree with me? You see, Daniel was never meant to be a children's curriculum. It was never meant to be an adventure story. It's an adult primer for how to thrive in the most godless of environments.

Pastor Osborne: 03:17 There was no Sunday school back when Daniel was put into our Bible. There were just adult gathering. All scripture is given to us for review, correction, instruction, and training in righteousness. And what we're going to do today, is we're going to take a look at his book in the Old Testament The book of Daniel. We're going to look just at one chapter, the first chapter, but I'm going to give you an assignment. I'm going to ask you to be sure to read through the rest of this book, and see if the principals we talk about are repeated over and over and over again. So whether you're here at this campus, you're at San Tan, you're at Scottsdale. I would encourage you to do more than listening and to take a few notes, but to turn this into something that you'll go back and look at later on because it was written for us.

Pastor Osborne: 04:05 Now, if you've got a Bible with you, I invite you to open it up so you might mark it up at times, whether it's a paper Bible or Digital Bible. I know we'll have the verses up here as well. And what I'm going to do is I'm going to walk us through this first chapter, pointing out a few things that we miss when we read it today, that a Hebrew reading it in the early centuries would never have missed. Then we'll circle back, point out how deep the weeds Daniel was in. How deep they were, and then I'm going to share with you history secrets for not just surviving, but thriving in the most difficult and dark of places. And these principles will apply wherever we live. For some of us our extended family, or even our nuclear family, there can be some real darkness in there and we're wondering how do I live for God in this situation? For some it's a workplace, for some it's our neighborhood, maybe a sports league you're in. It might be a region, it might be politics, it might be national. The same principles apply each and every time.

Pastor Osborne: 05:03 So ready? Here we go, Daniel Chapter 1, the stuff my Sunday school teachers never taught me. In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim, King of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and he besieged it. Now the next phrase is very important, help me out and the, talk to me who? Lord. Did what? Delivered it. If you treat your bibles like a textbook, and I sure hope you do, it's not meant just to keep the coffee table from floating away. You know, it's a book to teach us how to live. I want to encourage you to underline that phrase, and the Lord delivered. Jehoiakim, the King of Judah, Jerusalem into his hand along with some articles from the temple of God. And these he carried off the temple of his God in Babylonia, and put them in the treasure house of his God.

Pastor Osborne: 06:00 Well, because I always saw Daniel is an adventure story, and by the way, there's a little prophetic section at the end and maybe some prophecy. And missed that it was a primer on how to live in a godless environment. I never caught these first few verses. And what Daniel is doing here, he's writing an autobiography and his life story doesn't include everything. It's not a diary, a journal. It's a look back at the end of his life to what God did. So he does what any author would do at the beginning of a biography or autobiography. He tells us the most important things we need to understand right at the get go. It's the foundation, if you will, upon which is life is built.

Pastor Osborne: 06:37 And in verse two, we have the cornerstone of that foundation. Daniel is telling us this, he said, even though I was kidnapped at 16 years old, taken off to Babylon, even though the bad guys won. Even though a bunch of horrific things are about to happen, from the get go, you need to understand that I knew that God's in control of who's in control. And everything I thought, everything I did, and every response I had is built on those first few words in verse two. And the who? Lord delivered.

Pastor Osborne: 07:17 Now for us today, we just kind of read those things. But I want you to catch how a Hebrew would have looked at it. They would've been absolutely amazed because what he's saying is the Lord gave Evil Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians victory over Israel. But also the Lord allowed them to go into the temple of God. To raid it, to take things that were devoted to God. Carry them back to his temple and what they would've known that we might not realize is that his temple was the temple that worshiped Baal, the demon God. So the Lord not only allowed the Israelites to be defeated, their city to be destroyed, their cream of the crop to be kidnapped and taken back to Babylon. He actually allowed them to raid the temple, take things devoted to God, put them in a demon Gods Temple as a mockery of the God most high.

Pastor Osborne: 08:07 And Daniel says, I want you to remember it because it's going to become so important, and the Lord is the one who delivered it. Well the story goes on. We pick it up in verse three now. Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king's service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility. So not everyone was taken back to Babylon. Just the cream of the crop. Young ladies for his Harem and the cream of the crop, young nobles to serve in his kingdom. And I love the way Daniel describes, so humbly, himself and his friends. Young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand and qualified to serve in the king's palace if I say so myself. Don't you love that? And he was to teach them the language and the literature of the Babylonians. This is another phrase we can miss because they would have understood the language and the literature of the Babylonians isn't just their language in their history. That is code for Astrology and the occult, which both originated in Babylon, and the Israelites of course were forbidden to ever practice. So he's taken back and he's put into see into, as we're going to see, a three year graduate study of evil astrology and the occult. So that he can serve in the administration of a damnable, godless, demon worshiping king, who mocks his God, destroyed his city and kidnapped him.

Pastor Osborne: 09:42 We read on, verse five, the king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king's table, which was not kosher. And they were trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king's service. Among those who were chosen were some from Judah; Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, and the chief official gave them new names. For Daniel, the name Belshazzar. Now Daniel means God is my judge. Belshazzar means Baal, the demon god, Baal's prince. It's like you're a Jesus follower and you have the name Christian and someone changes your name to Satan's prince. That's what happened. And now his other buddies got new names too. To Hananiah, Shadrach, to Mishael Meshach, and Azariah Abednego. Or as my kids learned it, when they heard this story, Shadrach, Meshach to bed we go. It was one of my favorites.

Pastor Osborne: 10:39 But Daniel, we're told, resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine. And he, what's that next word talk to me, he asked. He didn't resolve, no I'm not going to do this I'm a good Jew our diet isn't the junk you guys eat. No copping of an attitude and as you hear the rest of the story in chapter one, and as you read it through it the rest of the week, you will find he never ever cops an attitude. He is incredibly respectful and polite over and over again. So he simply asked if there's any way he could have another diet. So he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion for Daniel. But the official told Daniel, listen, you don't know how bloodthirsty our king is in and this place is. I am afraid. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would have my head because of you. So Daniel had a conniption fit. No, I'm sorry, wrong Bible.

Pastor Osborne: 11:44 Notice here. He doesn't go off. He doesn't tell the guy off or anything. He just quietly says, okay, if the top guy won't let me, maybe my own guard will. And instead of asking for such a big thing, I'm going to, ask for a very simple thing. And he goes on, verse 11, Daniel then said to the guard, whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah (please you ought to circle that in your Bible, please simply circle) test your servants for just 10 days. Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink, and then compare our appearance with that of the younger men who eat the royal food and we will accept whatever the consequences are. Treat your servants in accordance to what you see. Well, that's no big deal. So he agreed to this and tested them for 10 days. Well at the end of the 10 days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the other young men who ate the royal foods. So the guard took away their choice food and wine that they were drinking, and gave them vegetables instead. Now in verse 15, this is one of my favorite verses in the Bible because the actual Hebrew that this was written in does not say they looked healthier and better nourished, it actually says they looked fatter.

Pastor Osborne: 12:53 Put that on your Jesus junk your little cup he drank with. You know that verse, because think about it back in those days, who were the skinny people? The skinny people were the, do you have a clue, the poor people. That's right. You know, it's not like today, if you got bucks, you have time in your schedule, and money to get a gym membership buff out and all that. Well back then the only reason you'd be skinny was if you were poor. And so when Daniel went on this diet, he didn't suddenly get in shape and get a six pack, he got six pounds. You know, kind of like grandma, you know the cheeks of a chubby little kid. So the guy looked at him and says, man, that guy's packing it on. It's going to be pretty good. I don't know, he might have looked like a sumo wrestler at the end. But the guard said, wow, you look well fed, so we'll go ahead and do this now.

Pastor Osborne: 13:40 Pick it up in verse 17, to these four young men, God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. Now again, remember the literature and learning God helped them to understand was astrology and the occult and their three year training. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds. At the end of the time set, the three years, set by the king to bring them into his service. The chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar and the king talked with them and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. They were the Valedictorians of their class, so they enter the king's service. That means they joined Nebuchadnezzar, this damnable, demon worshiping king. Who had destroyed their city, kidnapped them, drug them across, forced them to study astrology, and the occult, changed their name to honor a demon god. He's entering now that King's administration with the assignment to help that king succeed. Verse Twenty, in every manner of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them 10 times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his kingdom, and Daniel remained there until the first year of King Cyrus.

Pastor Osborne: 14:55 Now, there's a couple of things I want to just circle back and highlight that we've seen in this passage. The first one was the nation of Babylon and how dark it was. Because we can find ourselves in situations where you go, man, God, where are you? Or how in the world can I ever be expected to live for you? Or what do you want me to do? Or we hunker down and try to just survive, when God's plan for us is to thrive, and to have impact, and to influence. And so when we look at those things, part of the problem is we don't understand that this book was written to show us what to do; and that the problems Daniel had were far deeper than anything we will ever face.

Pastor Osborne: 15:33 Let me just talk for a moment about the nation, Babylon. How wicked was Babylon? Did you know it is perhaps the most wicked nation that has ever existed? I say that because I know something. I know that in heaven to this very day when the angels are discussing evil, they say it's Babylonian, like. Because the Babylon is a personification, the word picture in heaven, for the worst of the worst. Now, how do I know that? Not because I've been to heaven, but I read my Bible. In a book called Revelation we are told that when the angels in and those heaven realize today is the day that Jesus is returning. They high five, they shout out Hallelujah, and then they say, some of you might know? Fallen, fallen is what? Babylon. They don't say fallen, fallen is Nazi Germany, fallen, fallen is ISIS, fallen, fallen is, fill in the blank. No. Their word picture of the greatest evil nation ever is Babylon. And Babylon won't exist when Jesus returns, because it was destroyed later on after this story in Daniel and a prophecy was made that it would never, ever be rebuilt again.

Pastor Osborne: 16:49 How bad was the king? Well he destroyed God's Temple, God's city. He stole things from it and he set them up as a trophy piece to display the power of his demon god, and to mock the true God. And how bad was the culture? I live in California, raising my kids there. They went to the public schools there. And well let's just say every now and then I shake my head like, what are they smoking? I know what they're smoking, but you know, like what's going on here? You know? But I want to tell you in the worst day, of the worst school, with the worst teacher, having the worst mood, it never was to the point where you had to have a three year graduate degree in astrology and the occult to get a real job. We're not even within shouting distance of the evil of Babylon. Whatever environment you're in is not even within shouting distance of the culture or the situation that Daniel found himself in. And yet, he just didn't hunker down in a little holy huddle with his buddies and survive. He thrived.

Pastor Osborne: 18:01 So what were his secrets? There are three key secrets to his success,. Which we saw glimpses of in the chapter that I walked you through. And you will see them repeating themselves over and over and over through the rest of Daniel as you read it later this week. And I want to share them with you. Because they're the same secrets for our success, no matter where we are or how ungodly a workplace, a family, a region and environment, anything we're in.

Pastor Osborne: 18:29 So here's the first one. Daniel was a man of incredible hope and optimism. That was the cornerstone of the foundation of his life. Even as a 16 year old, completely confused by what in the world is happening, as the bad guys are winning. Completely confused as he is, as he is kidnapped and taken there forced to do all kinds of things. I'm sure he was hurt. He was distressed and all of that, but he understood in the core of his being that God is in control of who's in control. And that gave him great hope and optimism. As believers in Jesus, there's plenty of room for doubt, there's plenty of room for discouragement, there's plenty of room for even depression and struggling with things. Even our Lord didn't like his father's plan A. Three times in what's known as the (inaudible) . He went to the cross. He said, how about plan B? How about plan B? How about plan B? I love one story in Corinthians where the apostle Paul, who wrote much of our new testament, talks about being depressed and then he talks about getting out of his depression. It wasn't because he realized the Bible verse or the Glory of God or the sovereignty of God. What happened is a guy named Titus came and told him all the things you're worried about, they're all fixed. And so he felt good. I go, well gee, I can relate to that. You know, I'm all depressed, I win the lottery. Oh, I guess things are okay. But in the midst of that, here's something that's very important, if we're a genuine Jesus follower, even in confusion, hurt and suffering, we never forget God's in control of who's in control. Because a despairing, completely discouraged Christian is an oxymoron. And we cannot influence the world we live in and the people we rub shoulders with, when we find ourselves pessimistic. Hey man I'm on the losing team, nothing's going right in the world. Do you ever feel like the world's going to hell in a hand basket at warp speed? And I'm just losing here and there. By the way, do you want to join my losing team,? Right? Never happens.

Pastor Osborne: 20:36 At North Coast, where I have the privilege of serving as one of the pastors, people are always asking me and a guy named Chris Brown the other teaching pastor the main teaching pastor actually there's three of us, but they ask us would you teach the book of revelation? Now they don't really want us to teach the book of revelation. I promise you. They just want to know who the Antichrist is and when Jesus is coming back. Now the problem is I don't know the answer to either of those questions because I'm on the welcoming committee, not the programming committee. But I have read the book. I don't know about you, but I peaked at the end. Did you know we win, are you aware of that? We win. And if I know how the game ends, why am I worried about the score in the third quarter?

Pastor Osborne: 21:36 I want to tell your story to help illustrate this, but before I do I know where I'm speaking today. So I need to ask you promise you will give me grace before I tell this story. That was a weak yeah. Do you promise? Okay, good. All right I'm telling this story because I realize I'm in Arizona State, Arizona region. Okay? Because it's my dad's fault, but I grew up a USC football fan. Thank you, and you promised you'd give me grace. Come on cool it. Now if you're a USC football fan, the biggest game of the year is not what most people think on the outside the UCLA game. It's actually the Notre Dame game. Two storied programs, national championships, Heisman trophy winners. That's the big game. Not a lot of trash talk, a lot of respect that that's the one you want to win. A number of years ago it looked like USC was on its way to three straight national championships and they're playing about mid-season Notre Dame at Notre Dame. And now Notre Dame came into the game undefeated, but they didn't have as much horsepower as USC did then. And all the pundits were saying USC was going to win. And I knew if God was watching USC would win. But what Notre Dame did, USC's team was built on speed that year, and so they did was literally grew the grass this high. Which will slow down speed, you know, and you couldn't even see the shoes of runners. And I'm watching this game alone at home. And sure enough, USC squanders opportunity after opportunity. Nothing's going right, and if you know much about sports, if you're the superior team and you don't take advantage of the opportunity to squish your opponent; bad things are going happen. And sure enough, with two minutes left in the game, Notre Dame marches all the way down the stinking field and scores the go ahead touchdown. Now, I'm not too worried now because I know God's in control of who's in control. And USC will probably return the kickoff for a touchdown and win. Not! What happens is it goes out of bounds. So now it's first and eighty yards, the clocks running down quickly, a play happens. Second down, USC's quarterback fades back, looks for a receiver, a Notre Dame guy breaks through, throws them for a 13 yard loss. Now there are seconds left in this stinking game. They've got eighty seven yards ago. The crowd is going absolutely nuts. The announcers were saying the winning streak is over. The fans are high fiving, the players on Notre Dame are chest bumping, the stupid little leprechaun's going across the field and I lose my sanctification. We have a Saturday night service. I'm scheduled to preach that night and I'm ready to throw something at the TV and then I realize new big screen, plan B. The next play, a couple of yards, and now there's only seconds left to the game. The place was so noisy you can't even hear a play call. It's fourth and a gazillion. The quarterback fades back. He throws kind of a desperation pass down the sideline. He just gets over the fingertips of the defensive back, nestles into the hands of the receiver who runs all the way down the field, to the one yard line. And on the final play of the game order is restored in the universe and I'm ready to go preach my Saturday night service. Now I have a video of that game. I watch it daily. No, I watch it occasionally. Now, every time I watch it and I come to the play where all is lost that 13 yard tackle, the place going nuts. What do I do? I play it again. I play it in slow motion with a big smile on my face. I watch the fans. I watch the players chest bump, I watch the stupid little Leprechaun. Now, I'm watching the exact same thing on the exact same TV. There's only one difference, what is that difference? I know the ending. It changes everything.

Pastor Osborne: 25:42 Men and women. That is the most important thing to hold onto. If we want to live for Jesus and we want to survive and thrive wherever it is, he places us, to know that God's in control of who's in control and know how the game ends. And it's because he knew that so deeply and so strongly, Daniel was able to not only live with hope and optimism. He was therefore able to do something you and I can't do if we don't know how it ends, and that is to treat people as Jesus wants us to treat people.

Pastor Osborne: 26:13 Daniel also with this hope and optimism had incredible humility, and if you're a note taker write next to the word humility, respect. Because humility isn't having a low view of yourself. It's not being the fastest fifth grader, and you know somebody says are you fast? And you go yeah, I'm the fastest in the school. Then mom or dad goes oh that's prideful. No, that's not prideful, that's fact. Biblical humility is not a low view of yourself. It's an accurate view of yourself, but it's treating others as if they were more important than you whether or not they are. And you saw that when Daniel asked okay, you saw that when Daniel said, will you test me? You saw that in Daniel saying, please. You will read that throughout the entire book of Daniel and every incidence where he deals with people. God's enemies, his own enemies, his own tormentors, he is respectful and that is why he kept rising up in the administration of this damnable king.

Pastor Osborne: 27:12 How many of you I wonder are in management or own a company or something where you like give people promotions or raises? Have you ever given a raise to somebody who like cops an attitude? Hey, you don't like me, you don't respect me, I think I'll promote you. It doesn't happen. Whenever people have a sense that we look down on them, we don't like them, we don't respect them, whenever they have that. Immediately the wall comes up and they become defensive, just like you and I do. If you don't respect me, you give off that vibe, you act like your superior, you know whatever it would be. I'm going to get defensive towards you. And Daniel was 100 percent always a man who treated even God's enemies, even his enemies with respect. Therefore he kept getting promoted to higher and higher positions, so he had greater and greater influence. I know in my flesh, if I'm serving and Nebuchadnezzar's administration, he says, Hey, I want some coffee. I'm spitting in that coffee on the way. But Daniel, so opposite all throughout the book. Later on when you read it this week, you will see that there's a time where Nebuchadnezzar gets his. He stands on his panel and says, "Oh, wonderful Babylon that I have made for my glory by my power and my might."

Pastor Osborne: 28:32 And God says, done! God is going to strike him with mental illness for one year. Where he's going to live as a wild animal in his own palace and guess who gets to deliver the message? Daniel. Now I don't know about you, but I know how I deliver this message. Hey Neb baby, I got some good news and some bad news. Good news for me. Not so good news for you. But Daniel says, now think about this with all Nebuchadnezzar did, oh King I wish it was anybody but you. No wonder he was listened to. Well his hope and his optimism, because he knew how it ended, allowed him not to in his own flesh decide how to treat people, but to treat them as God wanted because he knows how it ends. But he also had one other piece that's very, very important to thrive in our Babylon's and that is he had the wisdom to pick his battles well. You see, I think often, I have a problem distinguishing between what God forbids and what I don't like.

Pastor Osborne: 29:40 Daniel very politely and respectfully said, no, I'm not going to eat that. His buddy says no, we're not going to bow down to the idol. We'll accept what the consequences are. But I'm also amazed at what Daniel didn't fight about. Asked to study the astrology and the occult for three years. He didn't say, I'm copping out. I'm gone, or he didn't sit in the back with an attitude. He sat in the front row, took copious notes, and with the help of God graduated top of his class. Which is by the way why he was able to speak later on with authority to Nebuchadnezzar and say, this is all bunk. Let me tell you about the God most high. Who has the power to proclaim the future. He could have never had that. Or his name change, apparently he didn't you know go God is my judge to Satan's friends, he goes I don't care. call me whatever you want as long as it's not late to dinner. Over and over, we see that.

Pastor Osborne: 30:35 I don't know if you're like me but I often, when I confuse these things, end up wanting to clean up the way a non-Christian is living rather than bring them to Jesus. Try to make non-Christians live like Christians rather than letting Jesus do that. Because I don't like some things. I remember when I was going through school, I was a journeyman retail clerk in the grocery business, and I thought I'd heard it all. I played some sports, been lots of locker rooms, but I want to tell you a night crew in the grocery business beats the locker room big time. And there was a guy next to me who, his favorite thing when he was disgusted, was the cry out the name of my Lord as a swear word. I did not like that. But truth be told, it wasn't my job to clean up his mouth and his language. It was my job to lead him to Jesus and let him do that. And what Daniel would've done is he would've just shook his head. He would have looked for an opportunity to tell them who Jesus was, but he would've picked his battles. There's a huge difference between what God forbids and what we don't like; and when we don't know the difference, we picked battles we should not pick. Hope leads to humility and respect, and out of that we pick the battles God calls us to pick. Not the battles we want to pick, as if he needs our help.

Pastor Osborne: 32:00 I don't know if you sometimes feel like well yeah, but this situation I'm in is too tough. Or I don't really know how to make a difference for God in this one. Maybe you're more introverted. You go well, I don't even know if I feel comfortable speaking out. Or maybe you don't think well on your feet and you go oh man, every time I try to speak up for Jesus, something really goes wrong. I get that, because Jesus is not talking and asking you to be a bull dog for Jesus. He's not asking you to be a watchdog for Jesus. He's not asking you to be the most articulate person, know the answer to everything. He's just asking you will you build your life on the optimism of what you know to be true? Will you treat others with the kind of respect I've asked? And will you live with wisdom? And the darker it gets, the more powerful that will become.

Pastor Osborne: 32:52 I learned this many years ago when my family went on a vacation. Have any of you ever been to Carlsbad Caverns? Help me out those of you who have been there. Well, we went to Carlsbad Caverns on this family vacation. But to understand the story you have to know one thing about my wife, Nancy is claustrophobic. Now she's not crazy claustrophobic, but you can see crazy from where she is. And so we were sure she would just stay up in the visitor's center while we went down to the little tour and all that. But as she's up there, she sees the pictures of the big cavern, she sees the huge elevator. Some of you remember being there, so she goes, I'll go down with you. Cool. She goes down. Then she says, you know, I think I'll go on the tour. I'm like, how cool is that? I never expected it. Thank you Jesus. So we're waiting in line to get our tickets and as we're waiting in line to get our tickets two guys walk out and one says the other, that was so cool when they turn the lights out. Now I've got a moral dilemma. Do I tell her or not? So I didn't.

Pastor Osborne: 32:52 But she heard, so she goes, "They turn the lights out?"

Pastor Osborne: 34:06 I said, "Honey, it's only like a second or two. Don't worry."

Pastor Osborne: 34:06 "Are you sure?"

Pastor Osborne: 34:11 "Trust me. I'm a pastor."

Pastor Osborne: 34:14 So we go on the tour. If you've been on it, you know how it goes. Everything's great. At the very end, they set you on logs and then to show you how pitch dark it is in a cave, you can't even see the movement of your hand in front of your face, they unplug it. No problem. One thousand, one thousand thousand eleven, one thousand twelve and then a bat bit me. Like real, like ugh. And I could feel the blood and then the bat spoke, it said, "I will never trust you again."

Pastor Osborne: 34:52 Now I'm like in my job, that's a big deal. And I'm sitting there thinking like, what do I do, what do I do? Counselors, who do I know, who I know, and then I remembered my son over here had one of those new Timex Indi-glow watches, first generation. And that stupid nightlight was so lame that when he got it and took it home, in Oceanside one night tried to push the button to see what time it was, he couldn't tell what time we had to get a flashlight. Lame is lame could be. But I'm desperate, so I say Nathan push the button on your watch. He does. Suddenly, you could see the ground and feet.

Pastor Osborne: 35:30 Some guy over here goes, "Turn that of."

Pastor Osborne: 35:32 I said, "I'll kill you if you do."

Pastor Osborne: 35:38 The bat let go, my marriage was saved, and I learned an incredibly important lesson. The darker it gets, the brighter the tiniest of lights shines. A lame little light that couldn't tell him what time it was at night in Oceanside, could've led us out of that cave. That's all God is asking of you, Is to shine your light, but shine it his way. To push the button of holding onto the hope and optimism, you know here, get it here. To treat people as he told us to treat them whether or not we want to, or it makes sense. And to pick the battles he calls us to pick, not the battles we want to pick. And when we do, like Daniel, we will not just survive, we will thrive and we will leave a mark and an impact. That's why God put this book in here. Not for our Sunday school teachers, but for you and for me.

Pastor Osborne: 36:51 Father, I ask you to take the things that we have had the privilege of looking at today and help us to see how they apply to us, not how they apply to others. Or use this as a mirror, not binoculars. That we might be the men and women you've called us to be for your fame, for your honor, and your glory in Jesus' name. Amen.

Recorded in Chandler, Arizona.
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Cornerstone Church
1595 S Alma School Road
Chandler, Arizona 85286