Teacher of the Kingdom

I was first introduced to Dallas Willard through a Masters program for Spiritual Formation in 2008. He was the speaker at our first residency. I was impressed with his vision of the Kingdom and that he seemed so different than any one else I’d ever met. He was so open and available to us as his students. He was “with” us at meals and available to talk should we need it.

Never one to ‘push in’ I had not talked personally with Dallas. The final morning, I was woken from a sound sleep by a voice in my head (God?!) that said “Wake Up! You’re having breakfast with Dallas Willard!”  I lept out of bed and rushed through my morning ritual, curious to see what would happen.

At breakfast I found my good friend Beth and told her we were having breakfast with Dallas. Logically, she asked if I’d made an appointment with him. I said no, and confessed my morning “wake up” call. Beth humored me and we saved a seat for Dallas…..by faith. Breakfast was almost over but no Dallas. I began to wonder if I’d gotten it right and Beth was getting ready to leave when he saw him. In amazement we watched him walk to our table and sit down right next to Beth.

Thinking I would direct the conversation I began asking him questions about what I thought our meeting was to be about. However, soon into our discussion it became very apparent God had another agenda. The question came up as to how one knows what one is to do to follow God. Suddenly the atmosphere changed and Dallas looked directly at Beth, like there was no one else at the table, and said: “Every morning when I wake up I ask the Lord what he wants me to do or learn that day. I am his student and he is my teacher and we converse like that. This morning I asked him that question and (looking into Beth’s eyes) I saw your face….and I don’t even know your name, and now here we are!

Tears filled Beth’s eyes and it was a moment where time stood still. Heaven and earth had met. I was amazed, humbled and drawn into something far greater than myself. That was the day I became a fan of Dallas Willard, a man who actually lives in and works for the Kingdom of God!

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How has Dallas Willard influenced your view of the Kingdom of God?

How is God a teacher figure in your daily life?


Jeanie Hoover:
Jeanie Hoover lives with her husband Dave in the Chicago, with him she's had the humbling privilege of raising three children. She currently enjoys being a spiritual director as it involves listening to others and looking for God within in their daily lives. She is the founder and director of the Transformational Listening Center an eighteen month program that trains individuals how to listen to God, to themselves and to others. (http://tlcchicago.com).
    • I first was introduced to Dallas at the 2003 AACC (Assoc of Christian Counselors) conference. He quoted a phrase from something George Mueller wrote in 1841 that seemed inconsistent with what I believed at that moment. I came home from that conference and tracked down that phrase and the whole of Mueller’s writing – and it led me back to listen to what Dallas had said — now probably some 400 or 500 times. God used it to encourage my opening myself more and more to ask God what Dallas said that day to “want to want what I don’t want now”.
      In those nine years God has blessed me to fill in the questions in the vision He gave me years ago and to live it out day by day in the unique role of Marriage Pastor at Scottsdale Bible Church.

      Tonight we launch Larry Crabb’s “Soul Care Experience” study for those on our Marriage Ministry team and I know that the words of Dallas that day, and in his books, DVD’s and radio interviews that I’ve repeatedly listened to these past nine years continue to help me open myself to God’s refining work in my soul. I thank God for Dallas, and hope that one day we can bring him to SBC for a weekend to share with our whole congregation.

      • Don,
        You mention two pillars of the faith whose books and tapes have mentored myself and my husband, Larry Crabb and Dallas Willard. Although very different they sing melody and harmony of the gospel message that can easily get lost in our Western cultures version of Christianity light! I for one love Larry Crabb’s book Soul Talk and hope your launch of the valuable tool is well received.
        I know exactly what you mean by having to think about something Dallas Willard has said over and over. I’ve listened to a CD series that he did on the Kingdom of God so many times I’ve lost count. Every time I hear them I hear something new, or I hear the same thing with a deeper meaning. I am grateful for the gift of these two men to the Christian community.

    • Jeannie,
      I was sitting next to you that morning (I remember your excitement!) and I remember his words so well. I was so impressed at his movement in the Spirit. It made not only an impact on Beth…but on me.

    • Oh Gail thanks for remembering with me. Honestly I couldn’t remember anyone else at the table but Beth, myself and Dallas. It was one of those Hollywood moments where the camera zero’s in on the person. Here it zero’d in on Beth and Dallas and it was like no one else was in the room!