DashHouse.com

The Blog of Darryl Dash

This blog is about how Jesus changes everything. He changes:

Our relationship with God

Our relationship with others

Our vocations - how we live and work in this world

Our ministries

This blog exists to explore some of the ways that Jesus changes everything. It provides resources and articles that will help you think about the ways that Jesus can change every part of your life.

The Lord himself invites you to a conference concerning your immediate and endless happiness, and He would not have done this if He did not mean well toward you. Do not refuse the Lord Jesus who knocks at your door; for He knocks with a hand which was nailed to the tree for such as you are. Since His only and sole object is your good, incline your ear and come to Him. Hearken diligently, and let the good word sink into your soul. (C.H. Spurgeon, All of Grace)

Filtering by Category: Events

Tested

The night before he was crucified, Jesus knew that he was about to be betrayed and arrested. It was an intense period of testing for both Jesus and the disciples. In Luke's account, Jesus began and ended by by saying to his disciples, "Pray that you may not enter into temptation" (Luke 22:40, 46). The word "temptation" is a word that's used for testing, for discovering the nature of someone or something. Jesus and the disciples went through a severe period of testing.

This was a watershed moment. This was when we find out what Jesus and the disciples are made of. The consequences are huge. If Jesus didn't pass this test, everything falls apart.

We Fail the Test

What was the test for the disciples?

Jesus gave the disciples one thing to do. He told them to pray that they wouldn't enter into temptation. Jesus recognized that the disciples are not up to what he's about to experience, and he encouraged them to cry out to God to be exempted from this test.

Instead, the disciples slept. Jesus gave them one thing to do — to request an exemption — and they failed at even this. This is the watershed moment, the climatic point in the Gospel of Luke so far, and they fell asleep. The disciples failed the test.

What's true of the disciples is true of us. We don't stand up very well under testing. If there's one thing I've learned, it's that we have a tendency to fail God when it counts. We're incapable of passing the test on our own.

Jesus Passes the Test

What was the test for Jesus? Jesus was abandoned by his closest friends, but that was just the beginning.

Jesus faced a test that nobody else in history has faced. From eternity he had enjoyed perfect communion with the Father, a relationship of absolute intimacy and love. At the cross, Jesus was for the first time cut off from his Father. At the cross, Jesus took on our sin and bore the wrath of God. In the Garden of Gethsemane, he saw what was coming at the cross, and it put him into shock.

New Testament scholar Bill Lane writes, "Jesus came to be with the Father for an interlude before his betrayal, but found hell rather than heaven opened before him, and he staggered."

Centuries ago Jonathan Edwards said:

The thing that Christ's mind was so full of at that time was...the dread which his feeble human nature had of that dreadful cup, which was vastly more terrible than Nebuchadnezzar's fiery furnace. He had then a near view of that furnace of wrath, into which he was to be cast; he was brought to the mouth of the furnace that he might look into it, and stand and view its raging flames, and see the glowings of its heat, that he might know where he was going and what he was about to suffer. This was the thing that filled his soul with sorrow and darkness, this terrible sight as it were overwhelmed him...None of God's children ever had such a cup set before them, as this first being of every creature had.

In the Garden, Jesus had a foretaste of what it would be like to be abandoned by God. He was abandoned by his closest friends, and also began to experience God's abandonment of him.

Incredibly, Jesus passed the test. The disciples failed, yet Jesus passed the most intense test that anyone has faced in history.

David Sunday notes that the story of Scripture can be presented as a tale of two gardens. In the first garden (the Garden of Eden), and in this garden (the Garden of Gethsemane), humanity failed. But in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus passed.

Where we failed the test, Jesus passed.

Jesus' Pass Becomes Ours

This is not just a story of how Jesus passed the test that we failed. Incredibly, his pass became ours. On the cross, Jesus bore the weight of our failure. His obedience was credited to our account, so that we passed through Jesus even though we failed. In the garden, and on the cross, Jesus passed the test on our behalf.

Tim Keller says: "The Bible's purpose is not so much to show you how to live a good life. The Bible's purpose is to show you how God’s grace breaks into your life against your will and saves you from the sin and brokenness otherwise you would never be able to overcome." The Bible is not about our need to pass the test. It is about our failure to do so, and how God has overcome our failure through Jesus Christ, who passed on our behalf. It's a call to turn away from our own failed attempts and to rely on what only Jesus could do.

Come Celebrate What Jesus Did

Good Friday is coming up in a few weeks. It is the day that we mark what Jesus has done for us, remembering that he accomplished what we could never do for ourselves. It's a day that honestly recognizes human failure, but that takes us to Jesus' provision for our failure. He passed the test on our behalf.

If you are in or near the Greater Toronto Area, would you consider joining our church and several other Toronto churches as we celebrate the death of our Savior together? Will you come with all your failures and look at the one who passed on your behalf?

We will gather at Convocation Hall, University of Toronto, on April 18 at 7:00 p.m. I hope to see you there!

adapted from a sermon I preached in 2012

Top 10 Quotes from The Congress

I spent some time this week at The Congress, a Canadian church planting conference.

Here are some of the most tweetable moments from the conference. They lack context, but give a taste of what the conference is like. As you can tell by my selection, I really appreciated the message by Jon Tyson, pastor of Trinity Grace Church in New York.

Lessons from a Conference Twenty Years Later

In February 1992 I attended a conference near the Toronto airport. The conference was called Ministry 2000, and it took place so long ago that I can’t find anything about it on the Internet. It was one of the first ministry conferences I ever attended.

I just came across the notes. It’s like discovering a Christian ministry time capsule twenty years later.

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It’s interesting to reflect on this conference after a couple of decades. Here are some thoughts.

  1. Conferences are ephemeral. It would be difficult to measure the impact of this conference on my life. I remember only three things about the conference, and I’m not sure that the conference made much of a difference in my ministry. I’m guessing most conferences are like this: good at the time, but it’s very difficult to measure the impact.
  2. People remember what excites you. I can’t remember much of what was said at the conference, but I can clearly remember two things. Bill Hybels got down to business right away about the priority of evangelism, and Bruce Wilkinson was very excited about application in sermons. I have mixed feelings at best about Wilkinson’s talk, but it’s true what D.A. Carson says: people don’t remember what you teach; they remember what excites you.
  3. Things haven’t changed as much as we think they have. Twenty years later, I had a hard time finding anything that doesn’t apply to today, whether on evangelism, cultural analysis, or critique of Christian culture. I’m a little surprised, because this was supposed to be a conference addressing the needs of that day. Perhaps the issues and principles don’t change as much as we think they do.
  4. I paid no attention to the speaker I needed to hear the most. I was shocked to come across notes from a session with Dr. James Boice. For the past decade, I’ve wished I could have heard Dr. Boice before he died. It turns out that I did, but had completely forgotten. Reading over my notes, I think I know why. He had nothing to say that was new. What he said, however, has crucial. He spoke of the priority of the Word and the need to resist the pressure to capitulate to our culture of entertainment:
It’s the Word of God that has the power, along with the Spirit....What new tricks will Paul pull out for these troubled days? What he always had: the Word of God. We don’t regard the Word as highly as we should.

It turns out that the session I remember least is the one that I needed to remember the most. I wish I had paid more heed to one of the least novel ideas expressed at that conference, and one of the most important.

Why You Should Attend #GCA2014

I've spent the week in Orlando. Yes, that itself is nice since I am from Toronto, which has dipped well below the freezing mark this week. The highlight of the week has not been the weather, though. It has been the very helpful, practical teaching of the Global Church Advancement Conference, a training event for church planters.

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If you haven't heard of Global Church Advancement, you're not alone. It's not as well known as some of the bigger conferences out there. I wish I had received this training earlier, but I've received it now, and I'm grateful. They run an annual training event that gives you the nuts and bolts of what needs to take place in planting or revitalizing a church.

Here's why I think this is such an important event:

It's theological. I love that this is more than a pragmatic, inspirational conference. I've had my fill of those. This is a group that clearly gets the gospel and how it applies to life and ministry. Everything is grounded in Scripture, and it's also soaked in the beauty and the power of the gospel.

It's practical. I don't think I've ever attended a more practical conference. I'm walking away with a very good understanding of what needs to take place next in order to plant a church. They don't just impose a model; they help you understand the key decisions and steps that need to take place to plant a church faithfully in your context.

It's visionary. I love the quote that appears at the beginning of every module:

Do not pray only for your own spiritual renewal. Pray for a springtime of the Spirit which will enrich the church and the world, an awakening for which all earlier renewal movements have been only rehearsals. (Richard Lovelace)

That's a much bigger endgame than just planting a church.

Steve Childers says that he wants to save us from having puny goals, like merely having a large church. He's much more concerned with a vision for God's glory, expressed through church planting but extending that visibly expresses the Kingdom. The mission is not to have a great church, he says, but to have a great community as the world is changed by the transforming power of the gospel.

I'm grateful that someone (Adam Sinnett) told me about this conference. I'm going home with a much clearer picture of what has to happen next as we plant Liberty Grace Church.

If you are a church planter, or you are investigating church planting, or if you are interested in helping to revitalize a church, then I strongly urge you to consider attending next year's conference (January 28-31). It's one of the most helpful conferences I can imagine for anyone who is involved in church planting or revitalization. Check out the blog by Steve Childers, follow him on Twitter, or read more about GCA at their website.

Liberty Grace Church Information Night

On Saturday, October 13, we’re holding an information meeting for Liberty Grace Church. If you have friends in Toronto who might want to learn more about this new church plant, please share this information with them. If you live in Toronto, we’d love to have you attend this event as well.

Please pray for this meeting!

What is this meeting about?

This is an information meeting for Liberty Grace Church, a new church plant in Liberty Village, Toronto. Come for a time of worship, to hear me share the vision and plan for Liberty Grace, and answer questions about the church. Tom Haines, FEBCentral Director of Church Planting, will also be present to share his vision and to answer questions.

Who should attend?

This is a meeting for people who have already committed to the Liberty Grace Launch Community, people who are considering joining to the Launch Community, and people who simply want to learn more about the church and how to support us relationally, prayerfully, and financially. In other words, everyone is invited. Children are welcome, although there will be no childcare provided.

When is the meeting?

Saturday, October 13 at 6 p.m. Plan on arriving early in order to find parking. The formal part of the meeting will last about an hour. Plan on sticking around for a while so that we can all mingle and get to know each other better and to enjoy the coffee.

Where is the meeting?

The meeting is at danceology, a dance studio in the heart of Liberty Village. It’s located in the Liberty Market building at 171 East Liberty Street, Suite 109. The closest intersection is Hanna Avenue and Liberty Street. The dance studio is on the west side of the building, and faces Hanna Avenue.

There is some parking available at our meeting space, and a Green P parking lot directly across the road.

Please let us know you are coming by registering.