Danny and the Shacks

Danny and the shacks graphicAll eyes were focused on one child or another of the 100+ children singing from the stage at last night’s performance of “Danny and the Shacks.” Relatives and friends filled the room to enjoy their own little star of the show – me and Angie included! Our youngest son, Colt has been looking forward to singing and fulfilling his role in this children’s musical for months. All of the children gave their best before an audience that was more captive than when they listen to any sermon of mine. There is something innocently captivating about children presenting truth.
That’s the very message of “Danny and the Shacks” – speaking and standing for truth in a culture that attacks truth and truth-speakers. If you don’t believe the Bible speaks timely truth, go read the short Old Testament book of Daniel. As the children presented the story of Daniel, I was reminded of the culture shock many Christians are experiencing in today’s challenging milieu.
Culture shock was introduced for the first time in 1958 to describe the anxiety produced when a person moves to a completely new environment. This term expresses the lack of direction, the feeling of not knowing what to do or how to do things in a new environment, and not knowing what is appropriate or inappropriate. The feeling of culture shock generally sets in after the first few weeks of coming to a new place. Often, the way that we lived before is not accepted as or considered as normal in the new place. Everything is different. Although, one can experience real pain from culture shock; it is also an opportunity for redefining one’s life objectives.
Daniel is the story of a young man who suddenly finds himself in a situation in which he has no control. He had been taken from everything he had known in his Judeo culture in Judah to the foreign, pagan culture of Babylon.
He was living in a world he didn’t understand with a real job and real problems. He was surrounded by people who were intolerant of his spiritual beliefs and were actually hostile toward him. He was surrounded by loose women and plenty of alcohol. His bosses were taking credit for other people’s work, and everyone was trying to get ahead of the next person.
Daniel’s experience could easily mirror our own. What Daniel helps us understand today is the tension that exists between Christians and non-Christians. His advice will help us answer: “Where to draw the lines?” “What lines should we never cross?” and even “What lines should we cross?”
But what Daniel and his friends teach us most comes down to this: beliefs determine behavior. It does matter what you believe. It maters what you believe because your beliefs determine your behavior. Daniel didn’t compromise, because his convictions were uncompromising. The 3 Hebrew men didn’t cower, because their God doesn’t cower. In a time where tolerance has replaced truth as a key virtue, my prayer is that the children in our homes and church today will follow the example of Daniel, speaking and standing for truth. “If the God we serve exists, then he can rescue us from the furnace of blazing fire, and he can rescue us from the power of you, the king. But even if he does not rescue us, we want you as king to know that we will not serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up” (Daniel 3:17-18 CSB).

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