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)

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The Open Kitchen Ministry

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I remember the first time I saw an open kitchen in a fancy restaurant. You could reserve a table right beside the kitchen and spend your evening watching the chef cook, talking to him, and even sampling some of his work if you were lucky. An article in Time describes what's happened:

In the past, restaurant customers may have preferred food to magically appear out from behind closed doors, with no indication whatsoever about how the sausage is made—figuratively or literally. After years of hearing Big Food and fast food horror stories that’ll turn your stomach, however, the prototypical modern diner seems to want transparency rather than mystery.

For maximum transparency, restaurants ranging from fast-casual superstar Chipotle, to indie eateries favored by foodies, to massive fast-food chains like Domino’s are all turning to the open kitchen.

The open kitchen trend seems to have been born in big cities such as New York, where chefs cooked within view of diners largely due to space constraints. Getting in the habit of watching chefs do their thing on TV has obviously boosted the fascination with what goes on in restaurant kitchens. As diners grew obsessed with celebrity chefs and the creative ways fresh and exotic ingredients were being combined, consumers increasingly came to view the flames and steam and clattering in the kitchen as part of the “show” of dining out.

It's not just the casual restaurants, either. The nicest restaurant we've enjoyed in Toronto has an open kitchen.

I'm wondering if there's something to learn here for the church — not that it's part of the "show" but that it becomes the very fabric of what it means to be the church.

I remember the days when the inner workings of church would be hidden behind closed doors. How the sermons, music, programs, and vision of the church came to be was a complete mystery. The pastor was someone who emerged once a week, but then disappeared until the next meal appeared. They dished it up, and we enjoyed it.

Perhaps there's a better way. Paul writes:

So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God but also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.

For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. You are witnesses, and God also, how holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers. For you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory. (1 Thessalonians 2:8-12 ESV)

Paul went beyond sharing the gospel. He shared his own life. People saw his work, the quality of his life, and his relationships. He exhorted and encouraged them as a father does his children.

There's a place in preaching to share the process of moving from text to sermon, and one's own wrestling with the text, so that people know what went on in the kitchen, and how they can do it themselves.

There's a place for opening up the leadership process of a church, so that people understand who leads, and how decisions are made.

Mostly, there's a place for opening up our lives so that people can see the quality of our lives and closest relationships, so that there's no real place to hide, and so that we can get close enough to exhort and encourage each other — not for show or faux vulnerability, but for the sake of sharing our lives as Paul did.

There's nowhere to hide in an open kitchen, and maybe that's a good thing.

Saturday Links

Links for your weekend reading:

Why I'm Not Completely Certain Christianity is True

No, I am not completely (indubitably) certain that Christianity is true. I am not indubitably certain of anything. However, I am sufficiently certain that it is true. So certain that any other choice would be irrational.

If All Religions Are True, Then God Is Cruel

If Islam, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, and all the other world religions are true paths to God, then why did God kill his Son, Jesus, in order to make a way for men to come to him? The very notion is absurd and insulting to God.

One Sure Way to Kill Your Church (or Church Plant)

Trying to please people in order to get them to stay will kill your Church Plant.

Pastors, Preach the WHY Before the WHAT

Plans are good. Programs are good. But the why behind the plan and the why behind the program is even better.

Seven Habits of Highly Effective Preachers

Aa number of preachers I have observed are incredible in explaining and applying the Word. As a consequence, God changes lives and saves people ... I regularly ask these preachers about the way they go about preparing, preaching, and evaluating their messages.

8 Causes of Spiritual Depression

Most of us go through real times of spiritual melancholy in the Christian life. These are eight of the most common causes.

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

Saturday Links

Links for your weekend reading:

How to Break Free from the Numbers Leash and Cultivate Gardens

Numbers tell us very little about the DNA of Discipleship, Neighborhood Rootedness and Relational Tethering. These things mattered in the 1st Century Church. What if we reoriented around their vitality?

Planned Spontaneity in Our Ministry of the Word

One of the signs of a healthy Christian (indeed a healthy church) is that this ‘Word ministry’ is operating at a number of different levels and in different contexts on a regular basis.

Idolatry in Corporate Worship

What are some of the idols we might battle on Sundays? Here are a few that come to mind.

Gospel-Centered Reduction: Slighting The Spirit

If what we are saying really is gospel-centered, people will be able to tell. And if it is really “gospel-centered” it is ultimately “God-centered.”

3 Reasons We Should Stop Calling People Heretics ... Unless They Are

Calling something a heresy when it isn’t contributes to other serious problems for the church today.

The 30 second habit with a lifelong impact

Immediately after every lecture, meeting, or any significant experience, take 30 seconds — no more, no less — to write down the most important points.

8 Ways to Get More Done This Week

Here are 8 ways to take control and get more done this week (and every week).