Had an awesome time celebrating Dads yesterday at NLC! Thanks for all the folks who served food, manned the games, and helped out in tons of ways. My assessment - our church knows how to have fun but we need to work on our three-point shooting!
It was week three of The Bigger Picture and we focused on the famous Daniel 3 story of the fiery furnace.
Because Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to worship the king's statue - a false god - they were thrown into an insanely hot, blazing furnace by the King. Rather than being killed, however, they were joined by a fourth man in the furnace and were unscathed. We saw that the entire chapter turns on the identity of the fourth man in the furnace.
This fourth man is the person known in the Old Testament as the "angel of the Lord". He is unlike any other angel in the Bible in that he allows himself to be worshipped. This means his identity must be God himself. In fact, the angel of the Lord - the fourth man in the furnace - is the Son of God, who took human form as Jesus Christ.
The Christian faith is the only one in which God meets us in the furnace of our lives - those times when something we value greatly is being taken away. Jesus himself endured the ultimate fiery furnace (Matthew 13), which was God's wrath at human sin poured out on him on the Cross.
Because of this, we can say that Jesus was thrown into the furnace FOR you so that he can walk through the furnace WITH you.
If you are suffering this means that God will never leave you, because he himself has suffered the ultimate pain - out of love for you. He may not save you from your suffering - even Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego did not know if God would spare their lives - but he will meet you there and walk with you in the fire.
There is no other God like this one - even the most powerful king on earth had to acknowledge that!