Dallas Willard

A Conversational Relationship with God

“Spiritual formation into Christlikeness – true change of character – comes from living in relationship with God.” These words express a simple but deep conviction by Dallas Willard in the first chapter of his book, Hearing God. The statement seems simple and obvious but throughout the book he unpacks the meaning of it with great insight and wisdom.

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A Perfectly Safe Place

“With this magnificent God positioned among us, Jesus brings assurance that our universe is a perfectly safe place for us to be.”  The first time I read this in The Divine Conspiracy (cht. 3, p 66).  I wrote “WOW!”  in the margin.  And then I heard Dallas lecture on this at the Renovare Institute and I thought, “Hmmmm… Can this truly be?  Dallas, what do you do with all the ‘injuries’ that come to people on this earth?  Specifically, what do you do with all of my life experiences?”

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Growth Through Dallas Willard

I’ve learned so many deep and wonderful facts and ideas from Dallas.  Writing the study guide for The Divine Conspiracy was one of the most interesting and fun projects I’ve ever done.  But here I’ll write about what I’ve learned from him as a person.  I’m not sure I’ve learned these things, but I’ve seen them in him and am growing in them.

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Life Changing Ideas

“You should look at the beam in your own eye before you try to point out the splinter in someone else’s eye”, was the misapplied quote by a Pastor using an  excerpt from “The Divine Conspiracy” to address a concern I had asked advice about.  That was my first introduction to the writing of Dallas Willard.

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Willard on Being Church

Living in Southern California has given me many opportunities to learn from Dallas Willard’s teaching in person over the last 20 years. I have often blogged my notes from those occasions.

About a year ago, Dallas preached at an Orange county church on the theme, “Being Church.” Below are a few of the notes I wrote as I listened to Dallas that morning. You’ll hear plenty of “Dallas-isms”:

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God Doesn’t Mumble

As twenty-somethings are apt to do, I was contemplating my future.  I had recently discerned that it was time for me to leave my role as a small groups pastor to head back to school and pursue a PhD.  In recent weeks I’d been extended offers from two of my top schools, and the time was fast-approaching when I would have to made a decision.  Thus, when the opportunity arose to volunteer to be Dallas Willard’s ride back to San Jose Airport, I seized it.  (Sometimes service is pure selfishness.)  

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Learning to Hear

Haunted by the verse in John where Jesus says, “my sheep hear my voice,” I have spent years searching for his voice in the evangelical and charismatic streams.  Unfortunately I did not have a very good picture of God or myself.  I thought if I could find out what God wanted and obey then my life would go well.

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Walking the Talk

While Dallas Willard’s writings are powerful and will continue to have a major impact on generations of Christ-followers, I find myself thinking about who he is as a person for this blog assignment. I have been privileged to hear Dallas speak several times and it is obvious that his words come from a deep center. The man walks his talk.

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A Moment Together
I was one of the “business guys” in the first Renovare cohort. It would be easy to be intimidated and feel out of place around so many industry professionals, amazing faculty, and the king of them all Dallas Willard. But Dallas made me feel like I belonged.
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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.

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