Risk or Rust

“Risk or rust,” wrote Jack Miller, one of my heroes of the faith. In his letters, he wrote:

Be daring. Take risks. God be with you.

At the time the Spirit of God sheds abroad the love of God in our hearts, we begin life as a new adventure but an adventure with dangers and risks.

Good advice from Sprin

Miller wasn’t advocating for foolish risk-taking, or being motivated by presumption rather than faith. He was concerned about our tendency to stop risking, and to prioritize fear over obedience. He didn’t coast in his own ministry, and his legacy continues.

Risk is part of the Christian life. Owen Strachan puts it well:

We’re saved to plunge headlong into a life of God-inspired, Christ-centered, gospel-driven risk. We don’t know when the Master is returning; we don’t know what may come of our efforts. We’re not guaranteed any earthly results.

But we are called to work while there is still time.

I’ve reached the age that people stop taking risks and begin to coast. I get it. I’m fighting that impulse. I hope you are too.

William Wilberforce worked for over four decades to abolish the slave trade. Opponents complained that he “jumped up whenever they knocked him down.” His friend, John Wesley, warned that he would be worn down “unless God has raised you up for this very thing.” He was slandered, and faced almost impossible odds. His wife struggled emotionally and physically. His son departed the faith, and his daughter died. Wilberforce’s own health suffered.

When, after decades of hardship, the abolition bill passed in 1807, Wilberforce said to his friend Henry Thornton, "Well, Henry, what shall we abolish next?"

Wilberforce pursued what was right, not what was easy. He paid the price. He was relentless in his risk-taking.

Risk. Dare. Pursue what will glorify God most, not what will make you most comfortable. Don’t be foolish or presumptuous, but default to taking the bold action. Risking is way better than rusting.

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Darryl Dash

Darryl Dash is a graduate of the University of Waterloo, Heritage Theological Seminary, and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He’s married to Charlene, and has two children, Christina and Josiah. Darryl is currently planting Liberty Grace Church in Liberty Village, Toronto. He previously served as pastor of Richview Baptist Church and Park Lawn Baptist Church, both in west Toronto.

Saturday Links

Links for your weekend reading:

Sexual Struggles & The Great Commission

Is it possible to overstate the impact that pornography, sexual sin, and sexual addiction have on the work of Christ’s church on earth?

Preach the Word. Build the Church.

When it comes to preaching, we show what we believe about the Bible by how we use the Bible in the pulpit.

Preacher, Teacher, Sunday Entertainer?

You are boring. The Bible is not.

Five Questions Prospective Pastors Rarely Ask Search Committees (But Should)

These questions could be key toward avoiding some of the unpleasant surprises many pastors encounter.

The Most Important Part of The Creative Process That Everyone Misses: A Draw-Down Period

This is the most private and lonely of all the creative phases.

Working To Our Capacity Not Others’ Needs

If we plan according to other people’s needs, we will never satisfy everyone, we will never feel satisfied ourselves, and will eventually burn out.

When in Doubt, Don’t Quit

Buck the trend in our flighty society, and stay with it, for the long haul, in the strength God supplies.

Comment

Darryl Dash

Darryl Dash is a graduate of the University of Waterloo, Heritage Theological Seminary, and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He’s married to Charlene, and has two children, Christina and Josiah. Darryl is currently planting Liberty Grace Church in Liberty Village, Toronto. He previously served as pastor of Richview Baptist Church and Park Lawn Baptist Church, both in west Toronto.

God Met Me in My Discouragement

I battled discouragement on Tuesday. I don't get discouraged often, so when I do, it comes as a surprise. It colored everything. It was ugly.

Life can be hard. Ministry can be hard. Most days, I hold onto hope in the middle of difficulty, but occasionally I go under. I'm not alone. "There comes a time in most of our lives in which we no longer have the strength to lift ourselves out or to pretend ourselves strong," writes Zack Eswine. "Sometimes our minds want to break because life stomped on us and God didn’t stop it."

Or, as Scott Thomas has said, "Church planters live in a constant state of being either angry, depressed or delusional." I wasn't angry or delusional. That leaves one option.

I once tried to explain to Haddon Robinson, my preaching professor, that a certain kind of preaching can help preachers avoid discouragement. "There's no kind of preaching that can prevent discouragement," Haddon replied. "Discouragement is part of preaching." He's right, and it applies to more than preaching.

Tell me what you'd like about church planting and pastoral ministry, and I'll you: discouragement is part of life and ministry. You may avoid it most of the time, but sometimes you'll get discouraged.

I'm not discouraged now. As I look back, God helped me in three ways.

I journaled. I pulled out a notebook and began to untangle my anxieties. As long as they remained unnamed, they remained powerful. I quickly jotted down three or four items that were on my mind. I was able to identify actions that I could take for each item. I noticed and named. I prayed.

I spent time with others. I happened to be in a meeting on Tuesday. As the day progressed, I found myself feeling better. Discouragement feeds on isolation.

I reflected on the past and the future. During the meeting, we were given two assignments. One assignment asked us to look back on the past two years and reflect on what God had taught us. The other asked us to look ahead ten years, and describe our hopes for the churches we've planted. As I looked to the past and future, my mood brightened.

I didn't plan this. God met me in my discouragement, and gave me exactly what I needed.

You, too, will get discouraged. I pray that God will meet you. He's equal to your worst day. He is a gracious God who meets us in our discouragement, and gives us what we need.

 

Comment

Darryl Dash

Darryl Dash is a graduate of the University of Waterloo, Heritage Theological Seminary, and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He’s married to Charlene, and has two children, Christina and Josiah. Darryl is currently planting Liberty Grace Church in Liberty Village, Toronto. He previously served as pastor of Richview Baptist Church and Park Lawn Baptist Church, both in west Toronto.

Circle: A Review

Porn is everywhere. It's damaging, and, according to statistics, something that is a temptation for everyone, including pastors. It's important to take steps to protect ourselves, and our families, from this danger.

For years, I've used OpenDNS, a service that provides faster Internet, as well as filtering and identity theft protection. It's affordable and easy. I've now added a second layer of protection called Circle. It's easy to set up and use, and I'm finding it to be a great solution.

Setup is simple. Circle looks like it was designed by Apple. You simply plug it in, and open the app, and follow simple instructions. After connecting to your network and downloading updates, it asks you to set up an account. Then you have two steps left: to add an account for each person, and to assign devices on your network to each person. You can customize settings for each person using presets, and adjust settings for filtered content, time limits, and bedtimes.

The trickiest part is figuring out what each device is, but Circle helps you with that too.

Once setup is complete, Circle works in the background. You won't even notice it's there. If you browse to a filtered site, you get a message that says, "Looks like you've been filtered." It gives you a summary of your time online that day, as well as other content from Disney.

Using the app, you can adjust settings. You can also view reports for each user, including time spent online, browser history, and blocked sites.

Circle is easy to set up and customize, and it just works. The reporting is helpful, and it works on every connected device. You can also block restricted videos on YouTube, enforce Google Safe Search, and block ads.

I have only two complaints. First: Circle only ships to the United States. I hope this will change soon. Second: I hope they improve the page that's served when filtered. The page is attractive, but I doubt I'll get much use from the Disney content. I won't complain much, though, since their partnership with Disney probably means it comes at a cheaper price.

Everyone needs to take action to protect themselves from porn. Circle is a great product, and I'd recommend it to anyone who wants an effective and easy solution in their home.

More from Amazon.com | MeetCircle.com

Comment

Darryl Dash

Darryl Dash is a graduate of the University of Waterloo, Heritage Theological Seminary, and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He’s married to Charlene, and has two children, Christina and Josiah. Darryl is currently planting Liberty Grace Church in Liberty Village, Toronto. He previously served as pastor of Richview Baptist Church and Park Lawn Baptist Church, both in west Toronto.