Living in Christ's Presence
Dallas teamed up with John Ortberg in February 2013 for the Dallas Willard Center’s inaugural conference in Santa Barbara, California. John and Dallas have been ministry partners for decades, which was quite evident as they taught together and shared insights into living more fully in the presence of Christ daily. The primary passion for the conference was to provide an overview of Dallas’s writings and ministry. His most impassioned ideas. The conference was built around the theme “Knowing Christ Today” and as a way to present the golden thread that runs through all of his primary writing: that it is possible to know the Trinity intimately and to step into their glorious kingdom.
Throughout the conference John and Dallas explored what it means to live well now in light of God’s kingdom. They reflected on the power of the Trinity in our lives, the meaning of knowledge, the state of the university, the importance of spiritual disciplines and much more. Dallas also offered poignant thoughts about what it will be like to transition into the very presence of Christ in heaven. At the end of each session John moderated a wonderful dialogue with Dallas, teasing out further insight and clarity about the topics at hand. Three of the sessions were taught by Dallas and three by John, followed by a final session with the theme of offering a blessing to one another and learning to receive blessing from others.
The talks at the conference by Dallas and John have been edited just a bit to make the transition to create this book, but they retain their conversational feel. At the start of each chapter is one of the prayers that was prayed during the conference. A Discussion Guide written by Gary Moon is included with the book.
“Living in Christ’s Presence is a superb discussion of the many issues surrounding the reality of life in the kingdom of God here and now. I recommend it highly.”
“John Ortberg was one of numerous people who were shaped by Dallas’s life, writings and witness. Through both the book and the DVD titled Living in Christ’s Presence we see their relationship in action, and we encounter their razor-sharp, wise guidance on how we, too, can be transformed and live in Christ’s presence, where peace, wholeness, purpose and hope are found.”
“Willard shares insights about the process of transforming a person into Christlikeness, the gift of stepping into the kingdom, the challenge to become a person of blessing, and more. Ortberg discusses the primacy of learning from Jesus how to live in the kingdom, the connection between the Trinity and community, the distinction between training and trying in regard to spiritual disciplines, and more. Their talks complement and build on each other.”
“Touching on many topics . . . Willard and Ortberg’s collaboration here is devotional gift. It is also a compass for finding one’s way through the shadows to a life lived in the kingdom with God. An essential for your library, liberally furnishing inspiration for pastors, teachers, and songwriters.”
(Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2014), 220 pp, ISBN: 0830835849.
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Additional Living in Christ's Presence Resources:
This series of seven one-hour talks conveys the sweet spirit of Dallas’s final conference, as he and John Ortberg gathered with hundreds of friends to discuss and experience a deepening knowledge of Christ. There are some very tender moments as Dallas, weakened by his battle with pancreatic cancer but strong in the Lord, shares his deep love for Christ and his church. His description of the way he expects Christians to experience death is particularly touching, and then causes the whole room to burst into laughter as he says... Well, we won’t spoil the moment for you!
A complimentary group discussion Leader’s Guide is available to download from the IVP website.