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This past weekend, we had an amazing online experience with you! We went to the Lord together in worship, we enjoyed a powerful and timely teaching, and we experienced a refreshing time of community as we had conversations, prayed together, built one another up, and shared in the Word of God through online groups.
Wrapping up our “Revealer of Mysteries” series through the Book of Daniel, Pastor Doug Sauder taught from Daniel 12. We learned how having confidence in eternal life allows us to live differently in the here and now, while also being encouraged to shine like stars in the world in this season of uncertainty and darkness.
Dive deeper into this teaching on your own, with your family, or in your online group! Watch the video below to see a recap of this weekend’s teaching. You can also scroll down to check out expanded notes and summaries from the teaching, reflect on some great questions, and get informed on some of the great resources available to you.
To watch the message in its entirety, click here.
Let’s recap some of the key talking points from Pastor Doug’s message this weekend:
If We Really Believed We Would Live Forever, It Would Change Everything (Daniel 12:1–3): Throughout the entire Book of Daniel, one thing that’s very clear to us is that no matter which administration he served under, Daniel engaged wisely because his perspective was eternal. That’s why he is such a great mentor for us!
In Daniel 12, a time of tribulation and great trouble is described, but we also see that this trouble won’t last forever. You see, for Daniel, just like for all believers, the times of trial experienced were temporary. In fact, for believers, this world is as close to hell as we’re ever going to get. We have a Savior who conquered sin and death so we may have eternal life in heaven, where there is no more suffering or sorrows, no more tears or trials, and no more pain—only paradise in the presence of God for all time.
This is the free gift Jesus offers us for the future, but it doesn’t stop there. Not only has He overcome the barrier between us and eternity, but He’s also overcome this world and all the troubles in it. Through Jesus, we have all we need to experience joy, hope, peace, freedom, satisfaction, and purpose here and now.
And because of this, the way we think, speak, and live today should be different; the way we treat others should be different; the way we approach seasons of uncertainty, stormy seasons, and global pandemics should be different! Having the Holy Spirit of God—our comforter and helper—in us should activate us, fuel us, and drive us to be the hands and feet of Jesus to a world that desperately needs the hope and help of Jesus.
Friends, what can you do today to bring the hope of the gospel and the love of Jesus into the life of someone around you—a family member who is filled with anxiety, a coworker who needs help, a friend who lost his or her job, an elderly neighbor who could use a helping hand? There are people all around us who are looking for something to hold on to. You can be the one God uses to bring that person to salvation; to give them security for eternity and the peace for today!
This Is Our Time in the Story (Daniel 12:3–13): Daniel (and his friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego) made the most of his opportunity. And listen . . . because of his testimony and the work God did in and through him during his time serving the Babylonian and Medo-Persian empires, we see a rich history and legacy of impact. How so? Well, many scholars believe that it is because of Daniel’s legacy and his time serving as one of the wise men of Babylon, and because of all that God did, that 500 years later the magi followed the star and brought gifts to the prophesied newborn king and Savior!
You see, tests are temporary, but a testimony lasts forever. And God wants to use your testimony, your life, your story right now in this unique moment in our lifetime and history to change lives; to bring about revival in our homes, our neighborhoods, our cities, and our world; to break down walls, open eyes, heal hurting hearts, and restore that which is broken!
In Daniel 12:3 (NIV), it says, “Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.” Similarly, in Philippians 2:14 (NKJV), the apostle Paul exhorts believers to “Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.”
Church, now is our time to shine! And in our shining, many will be “turned to righteousness.” We should be safe, practice good hygiene, social distancing, and take precautions to avoid spreading the sickness (this is certainly a manner of loving our neighbors and an ethic of service to the people around us), but we must also take heed of Martin Luther’s words to Christians in response to the plague of his day: “Christian doctors cannot abandon their hospitals, Christian governors cannot flee their districts, Christian pastors cannot abandon their congregations. The plague does not dissolve our duties: It turns them to crosses, on which we must be prepared to die.” Serve well, care for others well, and shine the light of Jesus and preach the name of Jesus as you “look after orphans and widows in their distress and [keep yourself] from being polluted by the world” (James 1:27 NIV).
Quote to Remember: The Resurrection is ultimate hope for God’s people.—Pastor Doug Sauder
As you think about this weekend’s teaching, here are a few questions to reflect on and consider on your own, with your family, or in your group.
1. Share a time when you witnessed or got through the other side of suffering and could begin to see some of the good that came from it.
2. What is your response when life gets hard and there seems to be no end to the suffering?
3. Throughout the Bible we see people asking questions of God when they don’t understand. When you are confused about what is going on in your life what do you do?
4. If you knew exactly how many days we had left until the end of days would your life look different? Why or why not?
Reminder: Our allegiance is first to the kingdom of heaven, but held in tension with the fact that we are called to love this world and those who live in it. Total disconnection and self-preservation is not the answer. Instead we must find a way to help those in need and serve without fear while also being responsible and taking care of our neighbors by doing our part to stop the spread of the disease.
Time of Prayer: We’re called to live in such a way that others see Jesus through our lives, especially in times of crisis. Take a few minutes and pray for the wisdom and strength to follow Daniel’s example of serving faithfully and showing the love and hope of Jesus in this season.
As we continue to track the news and information about COVID-19 and its effects both worldwide and right here in our surrounding cities, this week we will continue to hold services ONLINE ONLY.
Join us online this Wednesday as Pastor Doug and others lead us in a special time of prayer, devotion, and worship. Then on the weekend, we’ll kick off “The Miracles of Jesus,” a special nine-part series where we’ll see the power, character, and nature of the Lord Jesus Christ as we explore some of the miracles recorded in the Gospels. Find out what each miracle points to, what the greater message is behind it, and what it means for us today. Throughout the series, we’ll also see that miracles still happen today all around us!
We also want to let you know about some great opportunities available for you to remain connected to the body of Christ during this time of social distancing and precaution:
If you aren’t already, follow us on social media!
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.