Confidence in God

June 12-14, 1987
Men’s Retreat - Valley Vista Community Church

In 1987, Dallas had the unique blessing of leading both the men’s retreat and the women’s retreat for Valley Vista Community Church, his home church. Both retreats were small and intimate, and it often seems like we’re listening in as a father or older brother talks with his family. This is very practical advice on living as a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven, including working on our plans for how we follow Christ with all the spiritual and the practical aspects of our lives.

The theme of the men's retreat was "Confidence in God" and it included the following sessions:

  1. Confidence in God
  2. Confidence in God in our Work
  3. Discussion: Confidence in God in Work
  4. Confidence in Love
  5. Discussion: Confidence in Love
  6. Confidence with Children
  7. Discussion: Confidence with Children

Resources

1: Confidence in God

Dallas explores confidence in God, showing confidence and faith to be intrinsically linked. He guides us through the Apostle Paul's transition from self-reliance to an unwavering trust in God. This talk promises to reshape our perspective on spiritual confidence, urging us towards a life deeply anchored in the unseen reality of God's enduring presence and power.

2: Confidence in God in Work

Dallas invites us to rediscover our identity as citizens of heaven, challenging us to rethink our approach to work. He unveils how desiring the kingdom of God above all else ignites a powerful change within us, leading to a life where every action is an act of worship. 

3: Discussion: Confidence in God in Work

This Q & A session challenges us to rethink our approach to work, family, and service, inviting us to envision our roles in the world as co-creators with God, laying up treasures in heaven through acts of goodness on Earth. Whether you're washing cars, crafting policies, or nurturing relationships, discover how every aspect of life can be lived in devotion to God.

4: Confidence in God in Love

Dallas discusses common pitfalls in relationships between the sexes, stressing the importance of metaphysical realities and scriptural wisdom to understand the true meaning of love. He addresses trust, commitment, and the sanctity of marriage. Dallas explores the significance of common work, shared experiences, and spiritual growth in building confidence in love. Fulfilling relationships should be grounded in mutual respect, understanding, and a deep connection with God's purpose for love and companionship.

5: Discussion: Confidence in Love

Dallas delves into the misconceptions surrounding the will of God in our personal lives, emphasizing that not all decisions are dictated by a singular divine command, including the choosing of a life partner. This conversation traverses the complexities of marital roles, submission, and the essence of true companionship grounded in mutual respect and understanding. His discusses adultery, the real dangers of heart infidelity, and the paramount importance of nurturing a spiritually and emotionally fulfilling marriage. 

6: Confidence in God with Children

Dallas discusses the significance of children obeying and honoring their parents, and the reciprocal responsibility of parents to foster an environment of love, guidance, and nurturing admonition in the Lord. He addresses the divine care for children, highlighting their special place before God and the importance of their humble, trusting nature. He highlights the challenges of parenting, advocating for a balance of discipline and freedom that respects the child's individuality and promotes a deep-seated honor and gratitude towards parents. 

7: Discussion: Confidence with Children

Dallas sheds light on the delicate balance of guiding children towards independence while ensuring they understand the boundaries set by love and reason. He advocates for a more thoughtful approach to parenting that values the child's interests and freedoms, tempered by the wisdom and oversight of caring adults. Dallas's perspective is not just theoretical but deeply practical, addressing real-world concerns such as the impact of societal dangers on childhood freedoms and the essential role of trust and dignity in the parent-child relationship. This talk is an essential resource for anyone involved in counseling, parenting, or who holds a vested interest in fostering an environment where children can grow with confidence and dignity.

Confidence in God

Highlights:

  • Deepening Faith Beyond Motivation: Dallas opens with a focus on deepening faith rather than just motivating or cheering on the group. He emphasizes the importance of digging deeper into one’s faith and providing a space for meaningful interaction and questioning.
  • Concept of Confidence: The talk pivots to the idea of confidence, linking it closely with faith. Dallas suggests using "confidence" as a lens to better understand faith, pointing out its scriptural roots and importance in spiritual life.
  • Confidence in God as Foundational: He establishes confidence in God as the foundational aspect of spiritual growth and teaching. Exploring 2 Corinthians, Dallas discusses the Apostle Paul's journey from self-confidence to God-confidence, illustrating how true confidence stems from recognizing one’s place in relation to God and His kingdom.
  • Nature of Heaven: Dallas delves into the concept of heaven, not as a physical space but as a spiritual realm that intersects with our physical world. This challenges common perceptions and invites listeners to think of heaven as an immediate, present reality that influences our lives.
  • Role of Angels and Spiritual Beings: The discussion of angels and their ministering role to believers serves to underscore the tangible aspects of the spiritual realm. Dallas emphasizes the reality of angels' presence in our lives, encouraging a broader acceptance of their role within the Christian faith.
  • Human Initiative in God’s Kingdom: Highlighting the balance between divine sovereignty and human initiative, Dallas points out the importance of human action and decision-making within the framework of God's kingdom. This includes a call to recognize and seize one’s place and worth as part of God’s creation.
  • The Spiritual Reality of Confidence: Through biblical examples, including Elijah and Elisha, Dallas illustrates how confidence rooted in an understanding of the spiritual realm leads to profound faith and trust in God’s power and provision.
  • Journey of Seeking and Growing: Dallas acknowledges the challenges and the individual paths believers take towards deepening their faith. He emphasizes the ongoing process of growth, seeking, and learning to live confidently in the reality of God’s kingdom.

Confidence in God in Work

Highlights:

  • Desiring the Kingdom of God: Dallas emphasizes that understanding and desiring the Kingdom of God is foundational for discipleship. Without a genuine desire for the Kingdom, seeking it becomes meaningless. 
  • Citizenship in Heaven and Eccentric Living: He speaks to our identity as citizens of heaven, suggesting that this identity may cause us to appear eccentric or strange to the world. This heavenly citizenship shifts our center from earthly concerns to heavenly ones, fundamentally changing our understanding and interaction with the world.
  • Necessity of Planning in Spiritual Life: Dallas argues that a lack of planning signifies a lack of confidence. He ties planning closely to prayer, stating that our prayer life suffers without clear goals and plans. 
  • Redefining Work Beyond Jobs: He challenges the conventional division of work into 'spiritual' and 'non-spiritual' categories. For Dallas, all legitimate work is spiritual when done in service to God. This redefinition encourages a holistic view of our lives and tasks as integral to our spiritual journey and service to the Kingdom of God.
  • Creating Enduring Value: Dallas defines work as the effort to create enduring value, contrasting it with play or inactivity. He urges individuals to consider what enduring value they are called to create in their lives, emphasizing that work is not limited to one's job but encompasses all efforts to contribute lasting value to the world.
  • Investment and Stewardship of Resources: Dallas addresses the practical aspects of living out our heavenly citizenship, including the stewardship of money and resources. He encourages thoughtful investment and resource management as a means of extending one's influence and ability to do good, aligning with God's will and contributing to the enduring value we are called to create.
  • Integration of Faith and Daily Life: Dallas stresses the importance of integrating our faith with every aspect of daily life, including our professional work and personal goals. He challenges the dichotomy often perceived between 'secular' and 'sacred' activities, advocating for a life where faith permeates all we do. 
  • Call to Redeem Time and Embrace Rest: Dallas discusses the balance between work and rest, emphasizing the biblical principle of Sabbath. He argues that modern Christians struggle with truly resting because they are caught in cycles of busyness and productivity that disregard God's design for rest and rejuvenation. By redeeming time—planning wisely and embracing periods of rest—we align more closely with God's intentions, allowing us to be more effective in our work for the Kingdom and to live in the peace that God offers. 

Discussion: Confidence in God in Work

Highlights:

  • Value of Work in God's Eyes: Dallas emphasizes that all work, regardless of its nature or societal status, has the potential to create enduring value when done for the glory of God. 
  • Enduring Values Beyond Work: Dallas extends the concept of enduring values beyond professional work to include personal and spiritual achievements such as fostering enduring relationships, creating a welcoming home, securing financial stability with understanding, and pursuing knowledge and health.
  • Responsibility of Teachers and Religious Leaders: Dallas criticizes the contemporary devaluation of teaching and underscores the responsibility of educators and religious leaders to model and teach the creation of enduring values. He advocates for a broader, more inclusive teaching ministry that encourages individuals to see their roles in the world as part of God's plan, highlighting the need for guidance in distinguishing good from evil.
  • Integrating Job and Work with Faith: Dallas differentiates between 'job' and 'work,' suggesting that our 'work' in life encompasses more than our occupations—it's about our overall contribution to God's kingdom and the creation of enduring value. 
  • Personal and Financial Planning as an Aspect of Faith: Lastly, Dallas touches on personal and financial planning as components of living faithfully. He encourages listeners to plan for different stages of life with a spiritual perspective, to prioritize truth, goodness, and beauty, and to approach financial planning as a means to support one's family and contribute to God's kingdom, rather than for selfish gain.
  • Laying up Treasures in Heaven Through Earthly Work: Dallas elaborates on the biblical principle of storing up treasures in heaven, clarifying that it's not the nature of the treasure that matters but the intention behind it. He emphasizes that true treasures in heaven are accumulated through acts of goodness to others, suggesting that even mundane tasks, when done with the intention of serving and benefiting others, contribute to our heavenly treasures.
  • Confidence in Prayer and Planning: Dallas suggests that successful experiences in prayer build confidence, which in turn empowers individuals to make godly plans and take decisive actions towards achieving their spiritual and worldly goals. 
  • Balancing Family, Work, and Ministry: Dallas navigates the delicate balance between family, work, and ministry, challenging the notion that one's family should be seen as their only or primary work. He argues that while family is crucial, individuals should have a broader sense of purpose that encompasses but is not limited to family responsibilities. This perspective encourages a holistic approach to life where personal, familial, and spiritual goals are pursued in harmony, each enriching the other.

Confidence in God in Love

Highlights:

  • Foundation of Love in Common Work Under God: Dallas emphasizes that the foundation of confidence in love, particularly in marriage, is rooted in common work under God. He asserts that when a man and woman engage in shared goals and purposes, it deepens their bond and understanding, moving beyond the superficial aspects of a relationship to create a more profound union.
  • Significance of 'One Flesh': The concept of 'one flesh' is discussed not just in the context of sexual union but as a deeper unity achieved through shared life experiences, work, and spiritual growth. This unity is described as the coming together of two sets of unified powers in a common activity with a common result, reflecting God's design for marriage to be a partnership in every aspect of life.
  • Role of Metaphysics and Reality in Relationships: Dallas begins his discussion with a focus on understanding the metaphysical realities that underpin relationships, specifically the designed complementarity between men and women. 
  • Challenges in Love and the Importance of Singleness: Addressing the difficulties faced in relationships and the significance of singleness, Dallas suggests that those who are single must embrace it as a gift from God, finding fulfillment and purpose outside of marriage. 
  • Trust, Appreciation, and Common Experiences as Building Blocks: Trust and appreciation are highlighted as critical components of a strong relationship, built through common experiences and shared perspectives. These elements contribute to a sense of unity and depth in the relationship, fostering an environment where love can thrive.
  • Challenge of Sexual Fulfillment within Marriage: Dallas addresses the complexities of sexual fulfillment within marriage, emphasizing the need for it to occur within the context of a loving, committed relationship. He critiques the distortion of sexuality and love in modern culture and advocates for a return to a more integrated and holistic understanding of sexual union.
  • Healing and Forgiveness in Marriage: The talk touches on the inevitable hurts that occur within a marriage and the importance of healing and forgiveness. Dallas shares personal anecdotes to illustrate how overcoming these challenges can strengthen a relationship and lead to a deeper, more resilient love.
  • Spiritual Growth and the 'One Flesh' Unity: Dallas concludes by discussing how spiritual growth within a marriage can reinforce the 'one flesh' unity. He underscores the transformative power of shared spiritual experiences and the grace of life in forging a bond that is not only emotionally and physically intimate but also deeply spiritual.

Discussion: Confidence in Love

Highlights:

  • Challenging the Soul Mate Concept: Dallas contests the idea of a singular, divinely appointed soulmate, advocating instead for the view that relationships are built through mutual effort and development between partners.
  • Critique of the "One Perfect Person" Teaching: Dallas addresses the teaching that suggests there's only one perfect person for everyone, calling it a misunderstanding of God's will in personal matters, especially in love and marriage.
  • Mutual Submission in Marriage: He emphasizes the importance of mutual submission within marriage, challenging traditional interpretations that advocate for one-sided submission, and highlights the biblical context of mutual love and respect.
  • Understanding Adultery and Sexual Misconduct: Discussing the dangers of adultery and sexual misconduct, Dallas offers a nuanced perspective on the internal actions that lead to sin, focusing on the intentions and desires that drive individuals away from the sanctity of marriage.
  • Divorce and the Church's Response: Dallas passionately argues against the notion of divorce as an unforgivable sin within the church, advocating for compassion and understanding towards those undergoing such trials, emphasizing forgiveness and the potential for recovery.
  • Church's Role in Marital Issues: The conversation delves into the role of the church in addressing marital issues, critiquing the tendency of churches to avoid dealing with 'failures' and encouraging a more proactive and supportive approach to help struggling couples.
  • Economic Considerations in Marriage Decisions: Highlighting the significance of economic considerations in the decision to stay married, Dallas challenges the modern dismissal of such practicalities in favor of a purely love-centered rationale for marriage and divorce.
  • A Compassionate View on Relationship Complexities: Through personal anecdotes and biblical wisdom, Dallas provides a compassionate yet realistic view on the complexities of human relationships, calling for a deeper understanding of love, commitment, and divine guidance in the journey of marriage.

Confidence in God with Children

Highlights:

  • Embracing the Spiritual Foundation of Family: Dallas emphasizes the importance of grounding family relationships in the spiritual principles found in Ephesians, highlighting how the love and unity between man and wife under God's kingdom set the stage for a flourishing family.
  • Power of Love in Answering Prayers: He speaks to the extraordinary power of love within the family, illustrating how living wisely under God leads to answered prayers and an abundance of grace, reflecting the profound impact of spiritual alignment on family dynamics.
  • Children and Parents: A Biblical Perspective: Dallas explores the biblical injunctions for children to obey and honor their parents, framing this within the larger context of familial harmony and the spiritual development of children within the Christian faith.
  • Special Place of Children Before God: Highlighting the unique and precious nature of children in the eyes of God, Dallas discusses the inherent value and care God has for the youngest among us, urging parents to recognize and nurture this divine significance.
  • Role of Discipline and Freedom in Parenting: He navigates the delicate balance between discipline and freedom, advising parents on fostering an environment where children are allowed to grow into their individuality while being guided by the wisdom and admonition of the Lord.
  • Avoiding Wrath and Fostering Respect: Dallas cautions against actions that provoke children to wrath, advocating instead for approaches that build respect, understanding, and mutual honor within the family.
  • Instilling Honor and Gratitude: The talk underscores the importance of cultivating a sense of honor and gratitude in children towards their parents, describing how these values secure a child's sense of place and belonging within the family and the larger community.
  • Confidence in Children Through Divine Trust: Dallas concludes with a powerful message of placing confidence in children, rooted in a trust in God's care and guidance. He encourages parents to never withdraw their confidence, highlighting how such faith supports a child's journey towards spiritual and personal maturity.

Discussion: Confidence with Children

Highlights:

  • Empowering Children: Dallas advocates for presuming in favor of the child's choices, suggesting that children should be allowed to pursue their interests unless there's a significant reason against it.
  • Reason Over Restriction: Emphasizing the importance of explaining the 'why' behind parental decisions, Dallas encourages communication that builds trust rather than imposing blind restrictions.
  • Navigating Modern Dangers: Addressing concerns about safety in today's world, Dallas sympathizes with the challenges parents face and stresses the need for judicious oversight and prayer for protection.
  • Dignity in Work: Dallas discusses the importance of instilling a sense of dignity and flexibility in work within children, suggesting that how adults handle job loss can profoundly impact a child's perspective on work and self-worth.
  • Gratitude and Honor: Differentiating between gratitude for what parents do versus gratitude for their existence, Dallas touches on the deep concept of honoring parents, which transcends their actions.
  • Sibling Rivalry and Fairness: Dallas offers insights into handling sibling rivalry and the perception of fairness, advocating for sufficiency and individual recognition over equality.
  • Role of Sunday School: Questioning the traditional role and effectiveness of Sunday School, Dallas invites a discussion on its purpose, whether for education or containment.
  • Fostering Love for Church: Highlighting the importance of children learning to enjoy and partake in church services, Dallas challenges the notion of church as a place solely for adults, advocating for inclusive worship experiences.