Archives For Willard

Yesterday we learned that Dallas Willard passed away from cancer. While Willard’s day job was as a professor of philosophy at USC, he will be remembered for his writings on spiritual formation and discipleship. For those who met him, he will also be remembered for living up to what he taught.

I first encountered Willard’s writings in 2005, while I was undergoing that great personal transformation that most recent college graduates must endure. I was asked to help a church better understand the tangible ideas of discipleship that he expresses in The Spirit of the Disciplines. I went on to devour Renovation of the Heart and eventually The Divine Conspiracy. I now try to read one of them once a year.

I never had the chance to meet Dr. WIllard in person. It was heartbreaking to find out he wouldn’t be joining us at Missio Alliance this past month. Now we understand why. However, everyone who did meet him mentioned that he seemed just like he did in his writings, brilliant yet approachable, even grandfatherly.

This blog, in many ways, is inspired by his writings.

Here are five life shaping ideas I learned from Dallas.

Continue Reading…

Prayer is God’s arrangement for a safe power sharing with us in his intention to bless the world through us.

The Divine Conspiracy
Yesterday, Willard’s family announced he has Stage 4 cancer. Thank you for praying for his healing.

Pray For and With Dallas Willard

It is a tragic error to think that Jesus was telling us, as he left, to start churches, as that is understood today. From time to time, starting a church may be appropriate. But his aim for us is much greater than that. He wants us to establish “beachheads” or bases of operation for the Kingdom of God wherever we are. In this way God’s promise to Abraham—that in him and in his seed all peoples of the earth would be blessed (Genesis 12:3)—is carried forward toward its realization. The outward effect of this life in Christ is perpetual moral revolution, until the purpose of humanity on earth is completed.

Dallas WIllard, The Great Omission.
Read as part of the MAGL.

Dallas Willard doesn’t want us to Plant Churches

While I was meeting with my MAGL cohort in Colorado Springs, we talked a lot about books.  Since books and audiobooks are such a big part of my life, a classmate suggested I create a reading list.  This series will tackle that question.

If you could read only one book about Jesus, it should be The Divine Conspiracy. Dallas Willard masterfully explains the core topic of Jesus teachings, The Kingdom of God, and how we are to respond to them.

The book begins with a discussion of the very idea of a kingdom, how we each have our own, and what it means for God to have one.  At it’s most basic, the Kingdom of God is “the dome under which God is King.”  He then goes on to explain that if Jesus is God, he is also the smartest person that ever lived.  He also explains that Jesus teachings were meant to be taken as serious ethical directions for individuals and societies.  The majority of the book works through Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount.

What makes Willard’s writing so meaningful is that he is a foremost a highly astute philosopher.  Yet despite his intellectual prowess, the majority of his teaching is based in the belief that we can, and should do what Jesus said. He shows how very simple, yet difficult, it is to live in the kingdom of God.

Divine Conspiracy is on my vert short list of almost yearly reads.  When I read it, I feel like I am finally seeing who Jesus is, and how his teachings were meant to change our lives and the world.

You can find The Divine Conspiracy here in paperback, digital, and audio.


I’m halfway through my first week of Character, Community and Leadership, the first on campus course for my Master’s of Arts of Global Leadership.  The class takes place in Colorado Springs, within walking distance of the Garden of the Gods.  The other members of my cohort are men and women from over a dozen countries on every continent.

This course is structured around a few principles.  One is that we must learn from our journeys.  The other is that adults learn the best when they are self directed.  Practically, this means that much of our first week is spent hearing each others stories.  These are amazing, since many of the participants are people who have experienced powerful callings.  They have given up much, and gained much in return.  They are also practitioners, with hands on experience living out the way of Christ in places like Liberia, Thailand, Florida and D.C.  We also spend a lot of time unpacking our experiences of reading various leadership and character related texts, my favorite being Willard’s Renovation of the Heart.

I have high hopes that big things are happening here, for all of us.  I would like to ask your prayers that this will be a watershed experience for me, where I will learn a lot about who I am, and what God has in mind for me.