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: Life

A Year of Precision Nutrition

Charlene and I have been clients of Precision Nutrition's coaching program over the past year. Charlene actually qualified as a finalist. I wasn't a finalist, but I experienced some great changes.

I didn't start off impressed - in fact I was fairly cynical about this program when I first heard about it. Charlene joined PN in a support role, which didn't make me any less suspicious. I was wrong: I'm now impressed.

Some things I've been learning over the past year:

  • I love working out with my wife. It's a marriage builder. Why didn't I start years ago?
  • Restriction doesn't work. Not only isn't it fun, but it backfires. So much for most of the approaches to weight loss out there!
  • There's a lot more to this subject than eating and exercise. There's a huge emotional and cognitive component. Health is about more than food. It's about mindset.
  • Food is a gift. I think we eat less food overall, but much better food, and we're also more thankful for it.
  • Habit-based approaches, using small habits, work a lot better than trying to change through willpower or by making sweeping changes.
  • Common grace is amazing. We have lots to learn from others.

The program caps off with an optional photo session. We were surprised how much we enjoyed it. Here's a sample of one of the over 500 (!) pictures we had taken.

This isn't an ad; I get nothing for it. But I am grateful that we went through their coaching. I highly recommend the program, or something like it. It's been good for our marriage and our health. Check it out if you're interested.

If you want to do something on your own without signing up for their coaching program, you can check out their Precision Nutrition System (a book) for a fairly low cost. I also found a few other books helpful in the past year as well:  Foodist and two Michael Pollan books (The Omnivore's Dilemma and Food Rules).

Busyness — Dangerous or Necessary?

I've been busy lately, much too busy. I've had a succession of weeks that have been barely manageable, but each time I've consoled myself that next week would be better. Of course, the next week never is, and the cycle goes on.

As I've thought about this, a couple of things have come to mind. I'm thinking through what I'm doing, and whether my pace is sustainable or not. I'm not one of those people who believe it's better to wear out than rust out; isn't there a third way? I'm thinking through articles like this one and I'm resolutely taking my Sabbath this week.

But I'm not completely sorry that I'm busy.

I've talked to a couple of small business owners in Liberty Village recently. One left a prestigious position to start his own business. He's worked seven days a week to get things going, and hasn't taken a vacation since he's started. It gave me some perspective. Yes, I still need to examine my priorities and act wisely, but why shouldn't I work as hard as him? Paul tells Timothy to work as hard as a hardworking farmer whose work finally pays off (2 Timothy 2:6), so maybe I'm on to something.

I talked to a church planter yesterday who admitted that he's had a run of busy weeks like I have, and that it's a necessary part of what it means to start a church.

Perhaps Kevin DeYoung was right in his book Crazy Busy:

It’s not wrong to be tired. It’s not wrong to feel overwhelmed. It’s not wrong to go through seasons of complete chaos. What is wrong— and heartbreakingly foolish and wonderfully avoidable— is to live a life with more craziness than we want because we have less Jesus than we   need.

Hard work isn't a bad thing. While busyness can be a danger, it can also be a necessary part of what God has called us to do. I need, as they say, the wisdom to know the difference.

I'm Publishing a Photobook

Well, this is different. I'm Kickstarting a photobook on Liberty Village. This is fun. Check out the video, and then I'll give you a bit of the story.

We moved into Liberty Village to plant Liberty Grace Church in late December 2012. A week after moving in, I started a photoblog called Liberty Village 365. It's a creative and technological community, and I thought it could be a way to connect with people here. It was: I made at least one great contact through the photoblog.

I soon discovered a lot of other benefits. I enjoy it; it provides me with a hobby and a creative outlet. It helps me improve my photography skills. It gets me into the community regularly, and helps me observe what's going on around me.

I've long been inspired by Sam Javanrouh, the photographer behind A Daily Dose of Imagery. He posted a photo a day for ten years, and his work is amazing. It was fun to take a course with him last year on street photography.

This week, I'm at the Liberty Village Art Crawl with some of my pictures, and I've launched a Kickstarter.

It's been a blast. Check it out. If you're interested, you can follow Liberty Village 365 by RSS, Facebook, or Twitter. It could be a prompt for you to pray for us, for this great community, and for Liberty Grace Church.

Rethinking Failure

Some quotes from the chapter on failure in Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration that apply to life and ministry as well as business:

Be careful! when you don’t face problems. “It’s really strange,” I told him. “We haven’t had a single big problem on this film.” Many people would have been happy with this news. Not Steve [Jobs]. “Watch out,” he said. “That’s a dangerous place to be.” (Kindle Locations 1697-1699)

Reframe mistakes. “Mistakes aren’t a necessary evil. They aren’t evil at all. They are an inevitable consequence of doing something new (and, as such, should be seen as valuable; without them, we’d have no originality).” (Kindle Locations 1717-1718)

Fail early, fail fast. Quoting Andrew Stanton: “fail early and fail fast” and “be wrong as fast as you can.” (Kindle Location 1723)

Avoiding failure is failure. “Failure is a manifestation of learning and exploration. If you aren’t experiencing failure, then you are making a far worse mistake: You are being driven by the desire to avoid it. And, for leaders especially, this strategy— trying to avoid failure by out-thinking it— dooms you to fail.” (Kindle Locations 1733-1735)

Leaders set the pace. “If we as leaders can talk about our mistakes and our part in them, then we make it safe for others.” (Kindle Locations 1757-1758).

Playing it safe leads to death. "Being too risk-averse causes many companies to stop innovating and to reject new ideas, which is the first step on the path to irrelevance…To be a truly creative company, you must start things that might fail." (Kindle Locations 1870-1873).

Make it less expensive to fail. “To be sure, failure can be expensive. Making a bad product or suffering a major public setback damages your company’s reputation and, often, your employees’ morale. So we try to make it less expensive to fail, thereby taking some of the onus off it.” (Kindle Locations 1822-1824).

Rest With Purpose

Work is never done, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't rest. In fact, the busier we get, and the more demands there are, the more we need to pause and rest in the fact that the work is ultimately God's, and the world can go on without us for a day.

I take each Friday as my sabbath. It's a discipline because there's always more work to do. But it's also a joy because I get to stop and enjoy God and his gifts for a day independent of what's left on the to-do list.

Phil Caravaggio, CEO of Precision Nutrition, had a good series of tweets the other day that helped me think about how to rest. (I've found that pastors are sometimes the worst at knowing how to do this.) Here they are. They don't say everything that needs to be said, but I found them helpful. I hope they help you prepare for your next Sabbath, and I hope that's soon.

He then lists them:

  1. Physically vitality & restoration. E.g., going snowboarding or bouldering; getting a massage, etc.
  2. Connectedness & lasting moments with loved ones. E.g., making a big dinner for friends and family.
  3. Disconnection from work and “striving.” No email, business reading, social media, etc.
  4. Immersion in excellence. I love just seeing awesome stuff for inspiration. Art, literature, film, especially architecture.
  5. Engage non-work passions and interests. I’ll read about carpentry, tune my snowboard, play my guitar, etc.

He concludes:

Good advice!