Monday, August 8, 2011

Dallas Willard in Birmingham, Alabama

   We are back again from a wonderful weekend in Birmingham, Alabama, where we attended a Dallas Willard conference.  It was so inspirational and encouraging!  Dallas has such a fine mind and such a clear, concise way of describing what he believes that it makes the complex seem simple.  That's the way it is with truth, isn't it?  When the Lord quickens a truth to me in the Bible it seems as if it is so simple that everyone surely already knows it, and I am only now realizing the significance.  I love it when that happens!  There were so many times that happened this weekend!
       The underlying theme of Dallas' ministry is that the Christian life is to be a life of discipleship--we are learning to live as Christ lived through His power as He lives in us.  Christianity is not just a way to get to heaven when we die, but a way of life.  He continuously reminded us that Jesus came to give us "eternal life", but a better way of looking at that term is to translate it "eternal living."  We are learning skills here on earth that will help us when we go to heaven.  He suggested that we tell ourselves that "I am an unceasing spiritual being with an eternal destiny in God's great universe," therefore Jesus' companionship and instruction are standard and necessary.  It is all about relationship with Jesus.  It is walking and talking and living with Him as reality, not just thinking He is our ticket to Heaven.
   Another "gem" from Dallas' teaching was the statement, "Don't try to keep the law--try to become the kind of person who keeps the law."  It is an internal affair, not externally trying to implement rules and restrictions.
    He said, "God's intent for each of us is that we would grow in character and calling so that He can empower us to do what we want to do."  (When we take on His character, we become the kind of person who wants what He wants.  We want to do what He wants to do.)
    I  purchased another Dallas Willard book, Renovation of the Heart, which I am eager to begin reading.  I have learned so much from The Divine Conspiracy, I know I will delight in this one, too.
    Not only did we get to participate in a wonderful conference, and attend an Anglican church service which we had never done, but enjoyed very much, but we got to spend time with friends.  Our friends, Lonnie & Debbie, went with us so we had lots of time for long conversations on the drive down and back, and then while we were there we had dinner with two other couples who have been dear friends since the days of Tommy Tyson's Aqueduct Board--the Terrys and the Hutchesons.  It was so good to see them again and to catch up on what has happened since we last met.
    It was an all around perfect trip!

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