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DANIEL: CHAPTER 4 (WEEK 5) READ THE SCRIPTURE HERE

Today we’re in week 5 of the book of Daniel so if you would, go ahead and turn to Daniel chapter 4 or [2]go to auburncstone.info to follow along with sermon notes. So this morning I want you to think of the person that others most love to hate right now. Don’t say any names out loud. But as I say that, I know there are faces that pop into your mind. Now, I want to ask, how do you think that God feels about them? Go ahead and keep that person in mind as we listen to God’s word today and I hope that maybe you’ll be  prompted to reevaluate the way you view them. Let’s pray and then let’s read God’s word.[

BACKGROUND: In chapter 2, Early on in King Nebuchadnezzar’s reign God had sent him a dream, showing him that at some point his kingdom would pass away and would be replaced by other kingdoms that would also pass away and be smashed and turned to dust and be replaced by an eternal Kingdom. God uses Daniel to tell the King what God wanted him to hear and he did this because God loved Nebuchadnezzar and wanted him to repent and quit acting like he was God. Nebuchadnezzar is amazed by the wisdom that Daniel has and says is from the God. He verbally blesses God and he promotes Daniel and his buddies.

Best guess is that about 19 years later King Nebuchadnezzar builds a giant statue and commands that everyone bow down and pledge allegiance to him, his kingdom, and the Gods that he worshipped. Daniels buddies, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refuse to and the King tosses them in a blazing hot furnace. But God steps into the fire to save them and the King sees it. And Nebuchadnezzar ends up amazed by the power of their God. He once again verbally blesses God promotes them.

By the time that we get to Chapter 4, Daniel has been in Babylon serving the King for about 30 years. And over that time Nebuchadnezzar has become the most powerful person on the planet. He has conquered the known world at that time. He was not only powerful, but he was rich. He had taken the wealth of every group of people he had conquered and brought much of it back to Babylon. He was also incredibly accomplished. He had spent years building water systems, walls, temples. He was Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, accomplished, Amazon Rich, and Beatles Famous. He had reached the top like no one else had. [15]And after all these years and after God showed his wisdom over all, and showed his power over life and death, Nebuchadnezzar BLESSED GOD WITH HIS MOUTH, but never BOWED TO GOD WITH HIS HEART.  Here’s one of the major things I want you to take away today…[16]

  • GOD IS INCREDIBLY PATIENT BECAUSE HE LOVES EVERYONE! Even though by every earthly perspective Nebuchadnezzar succeeded at life, he had failed in the most important area, acknowledging God as King of his life.He had killed thousands upon thousands, he had destroyed cities, and families, and had carried thousands off as slaves. He was arrogant, angry, power hungry, and impulsive. And yet God still loved him, spoke to him, and was patient and gave him multiple opportunities to change. In Chapter 4 we see God giving him even more chances to surrender. So, before we even get into the dream that Nebuchadnezzar had, please hear this, the people you are most likely to hate, the people who we think God could never want, those are the very people that God will go to extraordinary lengths to reach with his love! We see this in the dream that God gave to Nebuchadnezzar. He’s trying to get his attention and tells his that his greatest danger is his…
    • [17]PRIDE: We see that Nebuchadnezzar sees himself as this great tree that stretches from the earth all the way up to the heavens. It doesn’t need God, it can reach up and be like God. And it’s so grand that it can be seen throughout the entire planet. And it’s powerful, and beautiful, and full of good. And it’s a blessing to the whole world. It provides comfort through its shade and it provides shelter under its branches. This is pride on display at its most blatant. The 10 commandments start with you shall have no other God before me. Pride says, “There is no other God like me or but me.”
      • [18]Pride is the universal problem of humanity and the root of all sin. Want proof? Look at social media. The place where the point is to be the tallest tree, that the whole world looks at and sees how beautiful, strong, productive we are. Look at me! Like Me! Share Me! Agree with me! If you don’t I banish you from my friends list, I troll your comments. I was watching a documentary on Netflix called the Social Dilemma and they said suicide has risen exponentially, anxiety and addiction has risen, you know when this happened? After the iphone became widespread and social media became a central fixture in our lives. Millions of Nebuchadnezzars building digital Babylon’s! And when we don’t get the attention we’re seeking, or someone is hateful or rejects us online, it affects us in real life because our pride gets hurt and affects our sense of value. Social Media is not evil, it’s simply a place for prideful people, which is all of us, to socially and acceptably look for affirmation and value. Now take that attitude and give it immense power and wealth, and you are able to bully, silence, and kill those who won’t treat you like god, and the ability to try to build your own version of heaven on earth and we all have the danger of becoming Nebuchadnezzar.
        • But just like it never truly filled him, it never truly fills us. There aren’t enough likes, shares, and subscribes to fill the massive appetite inside us. No matter how great we become, how many followers we gather, how many possessions we amass, how much pleasure we pursue, [19]God created a massive hunger for eternity that will never be satisfied by anything on this earth. But we still cling on to our desire to be the center of the world. So God shows Nebuchadnezzar that unless things change, he’ll experience…[20]
      • HUMILIATION: In the dream the tree is cut down and falls down to where the animals are. Instead of being glorious and exalted, it ends up living among the animals. Here’s what happens, when people turn backs on God and refuse to acknowledge him as King, and try to take his place will result in devolving. Instead of becoming divine, we become even less human. [21]HUMANS BECOME LIKE ANIMALS WHEN THEY TRY TO TAKE GOD’S PLACE. We become driven by meeting our desires, whatever we’re hungry for at the moment becomes our primary focus. Satisfying whatever our eyes want, your hearts want, our bellies want, or our sexual appetites want. No self-control, we’re driven by impulse and passion. We also become like animals in the way we treat others, growling and defending our territory and then clawing, biting, and devouring anyone who dares cross us. God loves Nebuchadnezzar and is warning him one last time of where his pride is leading him and wants to give him a chance to turn back to him. That’s exactly what Daniel tells the King! This is what is going to happen to you if you continue to deny God as ruler in your life. But if you don’t, God is going to let you feel the axe. [22]
    • YES,GOD IS LOVING & PATIENT BUT HE IS ALSO JUST: [23-30][Dan. 4:19-27] Some people might struggle with this idea of God allowing people to suffer. Why would a loving God do that? Let me give you two reasons. [31]The first is that God knows there is something worse coming for Nebuchadnezzar if he doesn’t repent. As Jesus says “what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?”[Matt. 16:25-27] Who cares if you rule on earth only to suffer in hell! God wants to humble him so that he can heal him and save him. [32]The second reason I believe God is warning the King is because he is oppressing the people he rules. Yes, God loves the King, but he also loves the people that are being crushed into the ground by taxes and poverty, those who are forced to build his city. The King in once sense has already become an animal that lives by destroying others and pursues his own appetites. He is both loving of all and must also step in on the behalf of those who are being hurt and bring justice. So, God’s intention is to save the King from eternal destruction as well care for the people he oppresses.Unfortunately, the King doesn’t heed the warning, doesn’t quit oppressing his people. God patiently even gives him 12 more months. Then God allows the King to go crazy and live among the animals for a season. He temporarily loses everything. Then it says [33-35][Dan 4:34-37] In his humiliation, he lifts his eyes up to the true King and God restores his sanity and his kingdom. Now this might look like a happy ending. It might look like He’s a changed man and has given his life to God. But…[36]
      • SORROW ISN’T THE SAME AS SALVATION, BLESSING ISN’T THE SAME AS BOWING, CONVICTION ISN’T THE SAME AS CONVERSION: After all of God’s patience, after loving him, and restoring him, he ends his account with “when MY sanity returned to ME, so did MY honor and glory and kingdom. MY advisors and nobles sought ME out, and I was restored as head of MY kingdom, with even greater honor than before.” It’s all about him. He’s still acting and talking like he’s the great tree in the center of the universe. [37]

(APP) HOW TO RESPOND TO NEBUCHADNEZZARS

I want to tell you something that was uncomfortable for me this week. I had a hard time writing this sermon. You know why? Because I DON’T LIKE NEBUCHADNEZZAR! I wrote a completely different sermon than this earlier in the week. It wasn’t a good one. You know why? It was judgmental, and condescending. When we look down on others and dislike them or hate them, it’s because we’re the placing ourselves as the giant tree in the middle that looks down on everyone else. I’m no different than Nebuchadnezzar. We’re all Nebuchadnezzars. And God loves us, and is patient with us, and from time to time he needs to humble us. Not to destroy, but to keep us from being ultimately destroyed. So, here is a principal I think we can learn from the way Daniel dealt with Nebuchadnezzar. I believe it’s the way God deals with us, and also calls us to deal with others. When it comes to dealing with others, especially those we have reason to struggle with…[38]

  • COMPASSION & CONNECTION, THEN CORRECTION: Daniel was genuinely upset when he heard about what was going to happen to the King. He said, I wish this was going to happen to your enemies and not you. Daniel over the years has come to care deeply about this king. Think about that. The person that every other Jewish person had probably felt hatred towards and wanted to see him suffer is the very person God placed Daniel next to. Next Daniel spent time serving the king well. He developed a reputation for being someone the King could count on. If we want to earn the right to speak to anyone about the Kindness of God, the love of God, and the patience of God we have to show them personally what that God looks like through our actions before we can tell them with our words. And the reason we do that is because [Rom 5:8] while we were still sinners Christ died for us. We tell others not how awesome we are, but how awesome Jesus has been to us. Instead of telling our story with us as the hero, we talk about…[39]

(JESUS) OUR TESTIMONY: JESUS IS THE TRUE TREE

I’m not the great tree! Jesus is the great tree. Jesus is the one who joins heaven and earth together. Jesus is the one person who stands at the center of humanity and is visible above anyone else. Jesus’ life is good and beautiful and abundant. If you go running towards Jesus, you’ll find rest and shade from the heat of this world, you’ll find protection from the storms of life in the branches of his arms. Jesus will provide for us all the things we can possibly need.

And Jesus, the great tree at the center of humanity, was cut down by the God the Father. Instead of God the father cutting me down and every other single tree of humanity for seeking to be the greatest, He allowed Jesus to feel the axe of humiliation. Jesus was brutally beaten down and cut off from this earth so that we would not have to experience judgement for our pride and rebellion. But just like the stump that was left, the body of Jesus that was in the ground burst forth with new life. The resurrection of Jesus was the day that the great tree of humanity rose above all the others! He truly stands at the center of human history as the bridge between heaven and earth. He makes it possible for human beings to experience true abundance, true rest, true community. A testimony is when someone looks at their life and says Jesus is my hero! He loves me! He took my punishment. He’s my everything. I find my hope, my rest, my strength, my peace, in Jesus Christ alone! Jesus deserves the praise, the glory, the honor! He is the God above all!

 

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:

  • Who is someone you have a hard time loving? Do you think that God loves them? What is one way you can show them God loves them?
  • Who is the person that everyone seems to hate? If they were to suffer would you celebrate, or would it cause you sorrow?
  • Maybe you feel like God could never love you or forgive you. How does God’s approach to Nebuchadnezzar help you see his love for you?

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Nic Cook Home Group
This group meets in the home of Nic and Susan Cook. They meet on Wednesday nights @ 6:30 – 8:00 PM. There is childcare available. Home group discussions are based around the topics and scriptures that are discussed in the previous Sunday sermon.
Lori Minks Home Group

This group meets in the home of Shawn and Lori Minks. They meet on Monday nights @ 6:30 – 8:00 PM. There is childcare available. Home group discussions are based around the topics and scriptures that are discussed in the previous Sunday sermon.

Jeff Millsap Home Group

This group meets in the home of Jeff and Jennifer Millsap. They meet on Wednesday nights @ 6:30 – 8:00 PM. There is childcare available. Home group discussions are based around the topics and scriptures that are discussed in the previous Sunday sermon.

Jennifer Millsap Sunday Group

This group meets in the kitchen at Cornerstone. They meet on Sunday mornings @ 9:00 – 10:00 AM (during 1st service). There is childcare available. Home group discussions are based around the topics and scriptures that are discussed n the previous Sunday sermon.

Ed Gerken & Ken Allen Sunday Group

This group meets in the High School room at Cornerstone. They meet on Sunday mornings @ 10:30 – 11:30 AM (during 2st service). There is children’s programming available. Sunday group discussions are based around the topics and books of the bible of the teachers choosing.

Ed Gerken Men's Group

This group meets in the kitchen at Cornerstone. They meet on Monday evenings @ 7:00 – 8:30 PM There is no childcare provided. The Men’s group discussions are based around the topics and books of the bible of the teachers choosing.

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NURSERY l SUNDAYS from 9-11:30 AM

On Sunday mornings from 9-11:30 AM, infants and toddlers are cared for in our nursery area. The children are being cared for during our adult worship and Sunday group gatherings.

KIDS GROUPS l SUNDAYS at 9:00 AM

On Sunday mornings our kids, Pre-K – 5TH grade, will enjoy age appropriate creative and interactive bible teaching, fun activities and crafts. It’s a great chance to make friends as they learn more about Jesus.

KIDS WORSHIP l SUNDAYS at 10:30 AM

On Sunday mornings our kids, Pre-K – 5TH grade, will worship together by singing and dancing to songs with biblical truth. Each week, kids will participate in large and small group activities to discover who Jesus was and continue to build their faith.

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C-KIDS l MONTHLY

Once a month during the school year, kid’s K – 5th grade will participate in a fun activity or service project. We encourage kids to participate with their parents in Showing Jesus to the community around us through serving him and his mission.

UPCOMING EVENTS

 

Every week we have a video that summarizes our Sermon for our kids and our kids at heart. Check out our video with our family Pastor Joe as he has some wild and crazy adventures and lessons for us!

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JR. HIGH GROUP | SUNDAYS AT 9:00 AM

On Sunday mornings, our Jr. High students gather to learn, and build friendships with each other during our Sunday groups. There also might be doughnuts involved.

CSM (CORNERSTONE STUDENT MINISTRY) | SUNDAYS EVENINGS

Our Cornerstone Student Ministry meets on Sunday evenings for games, worship, shenanigans, teaching, small groups, food, and more shenanigans.

Jr. High students meet from 4:00-6:00pm.

High School students meet from 5:30-7:30pm.

UPCOMING EVENTS

Follow Cornerstone Student Ministry on social media for more updates!

CIY: Move July 24th through 26th

Register Here

CIY Move is a 3-day retreat for our High School students, where they get to learn about their faith and experience it in a real way. They experience amazing worship and speakers while signing up for workshops to develop knowledge and discipleship, all while growing in relationship to their peers who are walking in the same journey of developing their faith.

The cost for this retreat is $75.00 with a minimum deposit of $50.00. Registration deadline is JULY 10TH

COVID-19 Update: Where we are not going to Anderson, IN as we had planned in June, we are going to have our retreat, in a differently. As a way of keeping ourselves safe CIY organization has released all of their media as a digital content. We are going to be hosting the retreat at Cornerstone over the course of 3-days. We will be watching the sessions, having small group activites and conversations just like we are at CIY but we are going to stay local. 

Questions? Talk to  Joe Shepherd (Joe@auburncornerstone.org)

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Youtube Live Stream

During this time stay safe and at home. Just because we are at home does not mean we cannot still engage in community and in God's word with our students. Every Sunday night we will be live streaming our youth nights for your student to learn and engage with God's word as well as experience a community of their peers online.

Zoom Meet-ups

Throughout this time in-person meetings are well.....not happening so we still want to see your lovely face! Sign up for Zoom, its FREE! Students can meet up with small group leaders and student pastor to maintain relationships, hang out, play games and open the communication for discipleship!

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