Key Ideas We Can Learn from the Life & Writing of Dallas Willard
Dallas Willard’s ideas have and are being used by Jesus to reframe discipleship in ways that have dramatically changed my life and many others. Let’s explore how he interacted with people and those intriguing ideas: How would Jesus live my life if he were me?; the inner life of the soul is what we aim to transform; when we pray, we enter another world; consumer Christianity; contempt withers the soul; trying, not training; training for reigning! (Also: Dallas Willard and The Divine Conspiracy)
Spiritual Disciplines Coach
Maybe you like the idea of seeing transformation in your life, but spiritual “disciplines” make you cringe? Or you’ve tried them and they just don’t work for you? After exploring what they are and what makes them succeed, we’ll discuss case studies of people just like you who need transformation and brainstorm together which practices make room for the Spirit to work.
Practicing God’s Presence All day Long
Humans were built to live an interactive life with God in everyday life. We do this as learn to pay attention to God in down-to-earth ways. In doing so, we cooperate with God in changing us from within.
(Alternate version: Practicing God’s Presence in Ministry Madness)
Anger Thrives When Buried Alive
Let’s get real — didn’t Jesus get angry and want to strangle the Pharisees? We’ll look at how Jesus handled frustrating situations and then how we can process anger and frustration with God (instead of hiding it from God) as well as how to become the kind of person who “speaks the truth in love.”
Scripture Meditation: Experiencing Jesus
Studying Scripture is familiar to many, but not so familiar is the natural step 2: meditation on Scripture. Instead of dissecting the text, we enter into it and savor it so that it penetrates the depths of ourselves and shows itself in our behavior. The exercise includes an introduction to several kinds of meditation, usually entering into a gospel scene with Jesus and experiencing him as most people have not done before.
Abundant Simplicity: Unhurried Rhythms of Grace
Abundant Simplicity is about choosing the engaging, relational life we were meant to live. By shedding self-indulgence and pretension, we can become intentional about what we do and how we live. This allows God’s power to move through us and bless others because we have more time, love and space to do good.
Saying Yes to God
God puts within each of us a passion to make a difference in this world. Jan explores how these God-given purposes are developed and nurtured so that what breaks God’s heart also breaks our heart.
Growing Compassionate Kids
In our violent, affluent society, children need to develop empathy and practice compassion. Kids can respond in faith to heartbreak and poverty in simple, relational ways (alongside wise adults) and see that God so loves this world.
The Compassionate Lifestyle of Jesus
Distracted with buying things and chasing leisure, we don’t realize how people nearby and in developing countries struggle. But Jesus ventured beyond his backyard and related to people, seeing the hearts of those we might ignore. As our life in Christ grows, we learn from Jesus how to do this.
Caring for the Voiceless (or Christians and Social Justice)
Ministering to the marginalized, the forgotten and the abandoned is a major theme in Scripture. Serving them helps Christians puts into practice the method of Jesus (showing God’s love in compassionate acts) as well as teaching his message. Such service showcases the goodness of God to the world and teaches us to be compassionate people.
How God Transforms Us
How do people really change? By gaining a vision of what life in God can be like, we pursue an interactive life with God through spiritual practices and become a very different person.
Imitating Jesus in People-Centered Ministry
Jesus’ relational style clashes with our product-driven culture. How do we move from being a developer of programs to a discipler of people? From being a leader who’s always out in front to one that’s hidden in Christ? (for leaders)
The Interior Life Of The Ministry Leader
How are people transformed into Christlikeness and how do we arrange our life to help that happen to us? We explore spiritual disciplines that help individuals best connect with God.
Contemplative Retreats, Silent Retreats, Guided Retreats and Interactive Retreats
These retreats follow the 400 year historic purpose of retreats: to get away to connect with God. At the end of such retreats, participants usually return home fully rested. For these retreats I provide talks and exercises to help participants explore ways of connecting with God through spiritual disciplines such as scripture meditation, journaling, solitude, confession, community, and practicing God’s presence. I also provide guidance for event planners. At the moment, the four presentations are:
- How God Transforms Us
- Hearing From God in Scripture
- Hearing God in Different Kinds of Prayer
- Interacting with God All day Long
These work best in a setting in which participants can walk or sit outdoors to do exercises if they wish.
Extended Prayer Workshops
I offer sessions that teach folks to pray Scripture, practice the presence of God (developing breath prayers), meditate on Scripture (several methods taught), crabgrass contemplation, praying for enemies, resolving issues by railing through imprecatory psalms, intercessory prayer as Jesus practiced for Peter, walking prayer, festooning Scripture (C. S. Lewis’ method), listening prayer.