Renovaré Institute Series

October 12-15, 2010
Renovaré Institute - Denver Cohort - Residency 1

The Renovaré Institute for Christian Spiritual Formation is a two-year online and in-person school that provides students with a solid framework for understanding and living out Christian Spiritual Formation. For the first 3 years of the Institute, Dallas was able to teach 2 residency weeks per year. This series was recorded during the first residency week of the second cohort in October 2010. The sessions include the following:

  1. The Theology of Spiritual Formation in Christ (parts 1, 2, 3)
  2. Why Am I Here? The Four Great Questions In Life (parts 1, 2, 3)
  3. Steps Forward With Grace & Into Real Progress In Christlikeness In Real Life (parts 1, 2, 3)
  4. What Is The Kingdom Of God? (parts 1, 2, 3)
  5. The Sermon On The Mount (parts 1, 2)
  6. Discipleship As Life In The Kingdom (parts 1, 2, 3)
  7. The Parts of the Human Being (parts 1, 2, 3)

     

Please refer to the “Hearing God at the Renovaré Institute” playlist for Dallas's teaching in the next residency week, March 2011.

We are grateful to our friends at Renovaré for allowing us to post this series on our website. To learn more about the Institute, please visit the Renovaré website.

Resources

1: The Theology of Spiritual Formation (session 1, part 1)

Dallas unpacks Paul's theology of formation in a study of 2 Corinthians 4, with an emphasis on how the "knowledge of God" leads to strength, power and goodness in our lives. Other topics include the hiddenness of the spiritual life, the distinction between our mortal vessels and the eternal treasure, and momentary afflictions as paving the way to an eternal weight of glory. 

3: The Theology of Spiritual Formation (session 1, part 3)

We have been invited to make ourselves a part of what God is doing on earth, as opposed to just "getting saved." Because God is hidden, Dallas stresses the vital importance of gaining knowledge through an interactive relationship. 

4: Why Am I Here? - The Four Great Questions of Life (session 2, part 1)

Dallas calls us to kingdom living, using the story of creation to teach us why we are here. He challenges us to rethink our roles in the universe through the lenses of labor, love, desire, and responsibility, providing a fresh perspective on how to navigate life's complexities with grace and wisdom. Discover how embracing our eternal nature can transform our understanding of work, relationships, and spiritual fulfillment.

5: Why Am I Here - The Four Great Questions of Life (session 2, part 2)

Dallas addresses the 4 great questions that underpin all human behavior, emphasizing the necessity of understanding what one can truly rely on—God and His kingdom. Through a thoughtful examination of idolatry, the virtue of temperance, and the transformative practice of spiritual disciplines like fasting, Dallas offers deep insights into how misplaced trust leads to spiritual pitfalls. This presentation equips you to cultivate a life of responsible reign and influence within God’s kingdom.

6: Why Am I Here - The Four Great Questions of Life (session 2, part 3)

Dallas expounds the role of the human will in spiritual growth and the transformative power of aligning with God's will. He explores the spirituality of work, emphasizing how everyday labor can become an act of worship and a critical facet of discipleship. Dallas encourages the church to foster a more holistic form of discipleship, one that permeates every aspect of life and reshapes our community interactions. 

7: Steps Forward with Grace (session 3, part 1)

Dallas examines salvation, emphasizing its role in reshaping not only our inner selves but also how we live out every moment. He explains how embracing discipleship and integrating the grace of God into our ordinary lives enables us to reflect Christ's character naturally and effortlessly. This session offers essential insights for anyone seeking to deepen their spiritual life and experience the fullness of salvation in practical, tangible ways.

8: Steps Forward with Grace (session 3, part 2)

One popular version of salvation is that we are merely forgiven and that we get a ticket to heaven. Dallas unpacks various passages in Romans to help us understand salvation, redemption, deliverance, and grace. "Faith does not just get us forgiveness, but throws our life into God's life in the kingdom of God." 

9: Steps Forward with Grace (session 3, part 3)

Romans 8 promises a life united with Christ through the Spirit. It's a life of freedom where nothing can separate us from God's love. We don't have to live in the broken state dominated by our flesh that Paul describes in Romans 7. Romans 8:2 - For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death.

10: What Is the Kingdom of God? (session 4, part 1)

Dallas connects the depth of traditional hymns to the magnificence of God, setting a reflective tone that underscores the entire session. Dallas emphasizes the need for inward transformation rather than mere adherence to spiritual practices, advocating for a life lived in true alignment with Christ’s character. He challenges listeners to rethink modern spiritual disciplines, focusing instead on the transformative power of the Holy Spirit. 

11: What Is the Kingdom of God? (session 4, part 2)

Discover the significant role each of us plays in the intersection of divine and human kingdoms, as Dallas explores the central message of repentance echoed by John the Baptist and Jesus Christ. Learn about the dynamic conflicts between various kingdoms—divine, satanic, and personal—and how these conflicts manifest in everyday life. Dallas illuminates how the Kingdom of God operates subtly yet powerfully, like leaven in dough, transforming society from within. 

12: What Is the Kingdom of God? (session 4, part 3)

Questions during this Q&A session include... Can you define the power of the kingdom? Would you explain, “The people of Christ have always accomplished the most when they have had the least.”? How should we approach a curriculum for Christlikeness in regards to money?  In light of how the kingdom works, how will that change my strategy as an educator in terms of lesson plans and goals? Is your message about the kingdom redefining the Gospel or expanding it?

13: The Sermon on the Mount (session 5, part 1)

"The Kingdom stuff is the heart of everything. We need to teach it, talk it, live it, and let that be our message. That is the gospel: The kingdom of God is at hand."  
Explore the timeless wisdom of the Kingdom of God with Dallas. He unpacks the enduring relevance of Jesus’ teachings, highlighting how the Kingdom does not simply begin or end but is made vividly present through Christ. He discusses the core attributes of the Kingdom—righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.

14: The Sermon on the Mount (session 5, part 2)

Jesus comes with the kingdom of God and redefines goodness in human terms for you. Matthew 5:20 is the key to everything that follows, “Unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees...” In Part 2, Dallas gets into the meat of the Sermon.

15: Discipleship as Life in the Kingdom (session 6, part 1)

There has never been a movement in history that says, "Come and be a nominal Christian." Jesus has invited us to make disciples who live daily in God's presence experiencing God's great Kingdom. It's here that you can learn to lead your life as Jesus would lead your life if He were you.

16: Discipleship as Life in the Kingdom of God (session 6, part 2)

How can one live daily life within the principles and power of God’s kingdom? Dallas offers a refreshing perspective on how ordinary events can be transformed by spiritual wisdom, emphasizing the role of the church as a beacon of transformation and the importance of discipleship in everyday situations. He challenges listeners to rethink the integration of faith into every aspect of life, from business to personal relationships, urging a deeper reliance on the teachings of Jesus to navigate life's complexities. 

18: The Parts of a Human Being (session 7, part 1)

The only thing that prevents Christ-followers from overwhelming our communities and our world with the glory of Christ and the power of God is that we do not intend to do what Jesus told us to do. The primary reason for this lies in our lack of knowledge as the basis of our faith and commitment. In part 1 of this session, Dallas explains the difference between knowledge, belief, commitment, faith and profession. 

19: The Parts of a Human Being (session 7, part 2)

Dallas explains why the Great Commandment (Mark 12:29-31) is central to restoring the parts of a human being, and uses Psalm 1 to highlight the beauty and importance of the Law of God. Jesus tells us that the secret of the blessed life is to orient the various essential parts of the human being in such a way that they walk into the fullness of life in the kingdom of God. Dallas explains why the order is important: to love the Lord first and then love your neighbor.

20: The Parts of a Human Being (session 7, part 3)

Dallas gets into the details of the various parts of the human being and explains how the whole person is turned back to God and restored. He carefully explains the dimensions of the human person using the circle diagram of Renovation of the Heart, but wants to be sure we understand that the "unit of analysis" being discussed is always the whole person. If we are living the Great Commandment, everything about us will be oriented toward God.

The Theology of Spiritual Formation (session 1, part 1)

Highlights:

  • Essential Nature of Spiritual Renewal: Dallas begins by emphasizing the significance of spiritual renewal, describing it as a transformation of the human self into a state of strength, joy, love, and goodness derived from God. This renewal is crucial for achieving a deeply fulfilling life, grounded in the teachings of Apostle Paul about the transformative power of spiritual insights and God's glory.
  • Knowledge as the Foundation of Faith: Dallas challenges the conventional reliance on faith alone by arguing that true spiritual depth requires knowledge. He quotes Paul to highlight that an understanding of God's glory and how to live according to spiritual principles is essential. This knowledge isn't merely academic but is deeply practical, offering a blueprint for living a life enriched by divine truth and connection.
  • Hidden Life of Spiritual Richness: He discusses the concept of a hidden spiritual life that is intertwined with Christ, a theme drawn from Colossians 3. This hiddenness is temporary and will eventually culminate in a glorious revelation alongside Christ. He emphasizes that our lives, though currently veiled, are filled with the 'effulgence'—a brilliant, radiant display—of divine strength and goodness, which will one day be fully revealed.
  • Contrasting the Vessel and the Treasure: Dallas delves into the metaphor of our physical bodies as vessels containing a treasure—the power and life of Christ within us. He articulates the ongoing struggle between our mortal weaknesses and the divine strength residing within us, urging listeners to focus more on the treasure (divine presence) rather than the vessel (earthly body), which is subject to decay and suffering.
  • Eternal Weight of Glory Through Affliction: Dallas reflects on the paradox that our momentary afflictions are preparing us for an eternal weight of glory, a concept that profoundly illustrates the Christian promise of transcendence over earthly struggles. He reassures that despite physical decay and challenges, the inner spiritual self is continually renewed, preparing us for an unfathomable future with God.

The Theology of Spiritual Formation (session 1, part 2)

Highlights:

  • Understanding the Concept of Spirit: Dallas begins his talk by addressing the complex concept of the spirit, emphasizing the need to define "spirit" accurately for effective teaching and practice. He connects the spiritual definition directly to God, who is described as spirit in the scriptures, setting a foundational context for his discussion on the spiritual aspects of religious beliefs and practices. 
  • Impact of Idolatry on Spiritual Perception: Dallas explains how the first three commandments focus on perceiving God correctly and avoiding idolatry. He discusses the dangers of physical representations in understanding God, as these can lead to a misinterpretation of His essence, which is purely spiritual. This idolatrous approach shifts focus from the immaterial to the material, undermining the true nature of spiritual engagement.
  • Identity and Power: All the spiritualities promise you two things: identity and power. 
  • Power of Expectation in Spiritual Life: Dallas discusses the transformative power of expecting God's presence and action in everyday life. He emphasizes that spiritual growth involves more than following religious doctrines—it requires a personal and expectant relationship with God.
  • God’s Nature as Communal Love: Dallas delves into the theological concept of the Trinity, illustrating God's nature as a perfect community of love. Understanding this aspect of God’s nature is crucial for comprehending how love and trust operate within the divine relationship and how this can be a model for human relationships and spiritual unity.

The Theology of Spiritual Formation (session 1, part 3)

Highlights:

  • Eternal Living Over Eternal Life: Dallas emphasizes the shift from the concept of 'eternal life' to 'eternal living'. He explains that 'eternal living' is an active participation in the eternal processes initiated by God. This perspective reframes the Christian spiritual journey not just as a future promise but as an ongoing, present reality that individuals engage with continuously.
  • Redefining Salvation: Dallas challenges traditional notions of salvation by describing it as being caught up in the ongoing work of Jesus on earth. This view aligns the concept of being saved with active participation in divine activities rather than seeing it as merely securing a heavenly future. 
  • Spiritual Transformation as Participation: He discusses the concept of spiritual transformation as a process of increasingly aligning with God’s actions on Earth. Dallas suggests that true transformation involves a collaborative effort with the divine, emphasizing the active role that believers play in their spiritual growth and the transformation of their lives into eternal significance.
  • Knowledge vs. Belief in Spiritual Matters: Dallas distinguishes between knowledge and belief, asserting that true spiritual understanding requires a knowledge that is deeply interactive and experiential, rather than passive or merely doctrinal. He advocates for a spirituality that is informed by a profound and practical knowledge of God's reality, which empowers believers to live out their faith effectively.
  • Human Quest for Control and Its Spiritual Implications: Dallas reflects on the human tendency to control and how this impacts spiritual life and societal norms. He warns of the dangers of reducing spiritual truths to human control mechanisms, which can lead to a superficial religious life that lacks genuine transformation and freedom in God’s grace. 

Why Am I Here? - The Four Great Questions of Life (session 2, part 1)

Highlights:

  • Human Identity and the Spiritual Nature: Dallas begins by discussing how dogs are considered part of the family, suggesting this reflects on human needs for connection and the role pets play in our lives. He highlights the spiritual dimension of human beings, emphasizing that the body is central to our identity and should be seen as a vessel for spiritual expression and growth.
  • Glow of Innocence and the Fall: Dallas interprets the story of Adam and Eve, suggesting that they were unaware of their nakedness because they glowed with the divine presence, symbolizing innocence and purity. He explains that their loss of this glow represents the separation from God, which led to a newfound awareness of vulnerability and the human tendency to hide our true selves.
  • Eternal Living and the Fear of Death: The talk shifts to the concept of eternal life and how contemporary society's fear of death influences media and culture. Dallas argues that understanding eternal life through the teachings of Jesus allows us to view death not as an end, but as a continuation of life in a spiritual realm, fundamentally altering our approach to mortality and existence.
  • Role of Desire and Will in Spiritual Formation: Dallas explores the distinction between desire and will, arguing that spiritual maturity involves mastering desires through the exercise of will aligned with goodness. He explains that while desires are natural and necessary, they can become obsessive and destructive if not governed by a will committed to good outcomes. This understanding is crucial for personal spiritual growth and managing the conflicts that arise from unchecked desires.
  • Continuity of Life and the Resurrection: In discussing the concept of resurrection, Dallas emphasizes the continuity of personal identity through the body, even in the afterlife. He argues that this continuity is essential to understanding our eternal nature and the significance of bodily resurrection. By maintaining our identities, we carry forward our relationships and responsibilities, which underscores the importance of living a life that honors those relationships and responsibilities in preparation for eternity.
  • Love and Creation: Dallas concludes by emphasizing the centrality of love in creation, stating that God's creation of the world was an act of love, and everything created was deemed good. He challenges listeners to embrace responsibility for the world, a task originally given to humanity, which involves nurturing and preserving life, thereby fulfilling our divine purpose to promote goodness through love and responsible stewardship.

Additional Assets

Why Am I Here - The Four Great Questions of Life (session 2, part 2)

Highlights:

  • Understanding the Fundamental Questions: Dallas begins his talk by discussing the four great questions of life that guide all human actions. He emphasizes that every great teacher has to address these questions, and all humans answer them through their actions, consciously or unconsciously.
         1. What is reality? 
         2. Who is well-off? 
         3. Who is a really good person? 
         4. How do I become a really good person? 
  • Reality Question: Trust and Reality: Dallas delves into the "reality question," which concerns what one can count on and the consequences of misunderstanding reality. He explains that the ultimate reality is God and His kingdom, which are reliable and inescapable, and mistakes in understanding this lead to painful consequences.
  • Problem of Idolatry: Dallas describes idolatry as a misunderstanding of what can be trusted. He points out that people often place their trust in unreliable things, equating this with idol worship. Idolatry is a critical mistake about the nature of reality and leads to misplaced trust.
  • Importance of Fasting: Dallas discusses fasting, particularly from food, as a vital spiritual discipline. He argues that fasting teaches temperance and helps one avoid becoming a "belly worshiper"—a person dominated by their desires rather than disciplined moderation.
  • Virtue and Self-Control: Expanding on the virtues necessary to handle desires, Dallas talks about the importance of temperance, which is the ability to control one's desires and impulses. He connects this with character development, suggesting that temperance is foundational to building a strong moral character.
  • Training for Reigning: Finally, Dallas concludes with the concept of "training to reign," which involves aligning one's actions with the reality of God's kingdom. This training is about making judicious decisions that are in harmony with divine reality and prepares individuals to responsibly manage their influence and authority.

Additional Assets

Why Am I Here - The Four Great Questions of Life (session 2, part 3)

Highlights:

  • Purpose of Our Will: Dallas explores the significance of aligning one's will with God's will. He emphasizes that achieving "routine easy obedience to Christ" is not merely an act of willpower but involves a deep alignment with God. This alignment is essential for spiritual growth and transformation.
  • Role of Work in Spiritual Transformation: Work is not just about producing value but is deeply spiritual. All work, when done in a holy manner before God, becomes a form of worship and a critical element of one’s spiritual life. This perspective shifts the concept of work from a secular activity to an integral part of discipleship.
  • Comprehensive Discipleship: Dallas stresses the importance of the church's role in forming disciples who live out the teachings of Christ in every aspect of life. He talks about a discipleship that transcends conventional religious activities and permeates every part of a believer's life, emphasizing the Trinitarian reality that surrounds and empowers disciples.
  • Spiritual Formation through Community: He articulates the transformative power of community and the Trinitarian relationship in spiritual formation. Dallas points out that community is vital for spiritual growth, allowing individuals to internalize and practice the teachings of Jesus, leading to significant changes in thoughts, feelings, and actions.
  • Submission to God Across All Life Aspects: Dallas highlights the necessity of total submission to God in every aspect of life, from work to personal decisions. He discusses the concept of "hallowing" God's name in every action and decision, advocating for a life where God's presence guides and shapes every aspect of one's existence.

Additional Assets

Steps Forward with Grace (session 3, part 1)

Highlights:

  • Embracing Grace in Ordinary Life: Dallas opens by emphasizing the importance of integrating the grace of God into everyday life. He describes this integration as essential for genuine spiritual growth and character development, highlighting that real life experiences are the primary arenas for learning and becoming virtuous.
  • Spiritual Formation Defined: Dallas delves into the concept of spiritual formation, defining it as the process of reshaping one's inner world, including thoughts, emotions, and will, to align more closely with Christ's character. He explains how the body becomes an instrument of either vice or virtue.
  • Role of Discipleship in Transformation: He discusses the relationship between discipleship and spiritual formation, noting that while many seek spiritual growth, few embrace the full disciple status necessary for deep transformation. Dallas stresses the need for an ordered approach to becoming virtuous and happy through intelligent and sustained effort.
  • Practical Outcomes of Spiritual Growth: Dallas outlines the practical implications of spiritual formation, suggesting that it leads to routine, easy obedience to God’s will, evidenced in one’s ability to act rightly without conscious effort. He uses driving as an analogy, where practiced actions become second nature, mirroring how spiritual practices should evolve.
  • Integration of Spiritual and Mundane Aspects: He further explores how spiritual formation integrates with mundane aspects of life, insisting that a transformed life manifests in everyday actions and interactions. Dallas encourages viewing life’s ordinary moments as opportunities for practicing godliness and kindness, thereby progressively reflecting Christ in one’s life.
  • Essence of Salvation: Dallas discusses salvation as more than a mere event; it is a transformative process that involves putting off the old self and embracing a new life in Christ. He highlights that this process is continual and requires active participation, where one must engage with God's grace to undergo a profound internal change that leads to living righteously and godly in the present world.
  • Salvation as Life Itself: He articulates that salvation should be understood as a holistic and dynamic life received from Christ, which impacts every aspect of one’s being and actions. Dallas stresses that this life of salvation is self-sustaining, self-directing, and initiated by God himself, bringing about a new nature in believers that allows them to live out the realities of God's kingdom here and now.

Steps Forward with Grace (session 3, part 2)

Highlights:

  • Misunderstood Gospel: Dallas begins by addressing the common interpretation of the Gospel according to the book of Romans, emphasizing that many view it solely as a path to salvation through grace without works, focusing narrowly on the forgiveness of sins. He suggests that this overlooks the transformational aspect of the Gospel.
  • Power of the Gospel: He discusses Romans 1:16-17, where Paul speaks about the Gospel as the "power of God unto salvation." Dallas argues that the true power of the Gospel is not just about securing a place in heaven but transforming lives here and now through the understanding and application of Jesus' teachings.
  • Different Versions of the Gospel: Dallas points out the diversity in understanding the Gospel. Some view it as a call to social justice and care for the needy while others see it only in terms of the forgiveness of sins. He underscores the importance of these interpretations but clarifies that each is part of a broader narrative of the availability of life in the Kingdom here and now.
  • Righteousness of God: A significant portion of his talk explores the concept of "the righteousness of God" revealed through the Gospel. Dallas explains this not just as divine retribution but as God’s way of restoring righteousness through faith in Christ, which brings new life to believers.
  • Role of Paul's Weakness: Dallas delves into Paul's self-description of his weaknesses, highlighting how Paul's reliance on God's strength, rather than his own capabilities, served to spread the Gospel more effectively. This reliance on divine power over human strength is a central theme in understanding the effectiveness of the Gospel.
  • Salvation as Deliverance: He interprets salvation as a form of deliverance, which involves not only forgiveness but also the breaking of sin's power over us. Dallas emphasizes the active presence of the Trinity in believers' lives as a transformative force.
  • Living the Gospel Daily: Towards the end, Dallas stresses the practical application of the Gospel in daily life, advocating for a Christianity that does not just wait for afterlife rewards but seeks to transform actively and continually through a deep, personal relationship with God. This transformation is seen as the essence of living out the Gospel, where believers experience and demonstrate God's righteousness in everyday actions.

Steps Forward with Grace (session 3, part 3)

Highlights: 

  • Understanding Condemnation and Freedom in Christ: Dallas begins by discussing the freedom from condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, as outlined in Romans 8. He explains that this freedom is not just about salvation from hell but about liberation from the patterns of sin that trap us in daily life.
  • Role of God's Actions in Scripture: Dallas emphasizes the active nature of God throughout the Bible, using stories from the Old Testament like the burning bush with Moses. He points out that understanding God’s active presence helps us recognize how God works with us today.
  • Concept of Spiritual Growth: He talks about spiritual growth as a process, highlighting Apostle Paul's own journey of re-education and preparation before beginning his ministry. Dallas points out that spiritual maturity involves a progression from initial conversion to deeper understanding and living out of one's faith.
  • Practical Living by the Spirit: Dallas discusses the practical implications of living by the spirit rather than the flesh. He emphasizes how the Holy Spirit influences thoughts, feelings, and decisions, fostering a life that reflects God’s desires rather than just human impulse.
  • Grace as God's Enabling Presence: Grace is presented not just as a theological concept but as God actively working in our lives to achieve what we cannot do by ourselves. Dallas challenges the traditional notion of grace as merely unmerited favor, instead highlighting its role in empowering believers in their daily challenges and spiritual growth.
  • Power of Jesus' Sacrifice and Example: Dallas argues that the significance of Jesus’ life and sacrifice isn’t just about atonement but about demonstrating how to live in God’s kingdom here and now. He emphasizes that being a disciple of Christ means learning how to live our own lives as Jesus would if he were in our place.
  • Integrating Faith in Everyday Life: Dallas stresses the importance of integrating faith into every aspect of life, not just the spiritual or religious compartments. He speaks about the challenges and opportunities of living out one's faith in all areas, including work, community, and personal relationships.

What Is the Kingdom of God? (session 4, part 1)

Highlights:

  • Magnificent Thoughts on God: Dallas opens his talk by integrating the themes of the hymn Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise into his discussion, emphasizing the importance of thinking magnificently about God. He suggests that the hymn helps to set the stage for a deeper understanding of God’s nature, which is central to his message about the kingdom of God.
  • Living the Kingdom: He transitions from singing to speaking about the omnipresence and the kingdom of God, noting how God exists in all life, permeating everything with His true life. Dallas points out that the recognition of God’s omnipresence invites us to live our lives with a kingdom-focused perspective.
  • Spiritual Formation vs. Inward Transformation: Dallas critiques contemporary approaches to spiritual formation, stressing that true spiritual development is not about outward practices but inward transformation into Christlikeness. He explains that the essence of spiritual growth is the formation of the will and character, not merely adherence to rituals.
  • Role of Spiritual Disciplines: Dallas discusses the essential role of spiritual disciplines in shaping character. He argues that character change leads to behavioral change, asserting that disciplines are vital for developing a life that reflects Christ's character.
  • Impact of Spiritual Formation: Dallas describes how spiritual formation for Christians should be a process facilitated by the Holy Spirit, which not only modifies internal states like thoughts and feelings but also influences actions and interactions in the social realm.
  • Philosophical Reflections on Human History: Dallas ponders the purpose of human history and the role of human beings within God's broader cosmological plan. He questions what is meant to emerge from human history, suggesting that the answer lies in understanding the kingdom of God and our role within it.
  • Power of Knowledge and Teaching: Dallas emphasizes the importance of reclaiming the role of Christian teaching as a source of vital knowledge. He challenges his audience to reconsider the value of biblical knowledge in addressing life's big questions, thereby restoring the church's authority in societal discourse.

What Is the Kingdom of God? (session 4, part 2)

Highlights:

  • Introduction to the Kingdom Concept: Dallas begins by questioning the purpose of human history, suggesting that God has a special plan involving the integration of human and divine kingdoms. He emphasizes that our personal kingdoms often run counter to God's, indicating a need for alignment.
  • Central Message of Repentance: Dallas discusses the consistent message of repentance found in the teachings of John the Baptist and Jesus Christ. This theme of turning away from self-centric governance to embrace God’s kingdom highlights the transformative call in their teachings.
  • Kingdoms in Conflict: Dallas explores the concept of multiple kingdoms—human, divine, and satanic—clashing in various spheres of life. He elaborates on how personal and societal conflicts are manifestations of these kingdom clashes, suggesting that understanding and realigning our wills to God's can resolve these issues.
  • Mechanism of Kingdoms: He describes how kingdoms operate through words and personal interactions, using the metaphor of leaven to illustrate how the Kingdom of God subtly but profoundly transforms society. Dallas stresses the personal nature of such kingdoms, impacting the world one word at a time.
  • Practical Examples of Kingdom Principles: Dallas uses biblical parables to explain the principles of the Kingdom of God, like the parable of workers in the vineyard which teaches about divine justice surpassing human expectations and emphasizing mercy and grace over mere equity.
  • Misunderstanding the Kingdom: He notes common misconceptions about the Kingdom of God, clarifying that it is not a political or earthly kingdom but a spiritual reign that intersects with earthly affairs. Dallas argues that true power in God's kingdom comes not from human positions but from divine authority.
  • Application of Kingdom Teachings: Dallas concludes with practical applications of Kingdom principles, encouraging believers to live out the teachings of Jesus. He stresses the presence of the Kingdom of God among us today, urging an active and conscious participation in its expansion through our lives and actions.

What Is the Kingdom of God? (session 4, part 3)

Highlights:

  • Defining Power: Dallas explains power as the capacity to effect change, clarifying that it is not synonymous with force. He uses biblical references to emphasize that true power, like that which raised Christ from the dead, should be influential and transformative rather than coercive, teaching that influence often accomplishes more than force.
  • Necessity of Power: Dallas goes deeper into the nature of power, contrasting human tendencies to exert force with God's method of pulling and influencing. He discusses the role of prayer not as a means to impose one's will but as a way to align with God's gentle influence, underlining the nuanced understanding of power in personal and spiritual contexts.
  • Strength in Weakness: Dallas remarks on the paradoxical strength found in apparent weakness, using historical and biblical examples like the early Christian church as well as the current situation in China. He articulates that real power and progress often stem from places of need and dependency on God, rather than abundance.
  • Misplaced Trust: Discussing the spiritual and practical implications of misplaced trust, Dallas highlights the historical consequences for Israel when they chose to trust in kings and institutions over God. He uses this to illustrate broader spiritual lessons about reliance on divine rather than human structures.
  • Rethinking Education: Dallas addresses challenges within theological education, stressing the need for realignment of educational objectives towards discipleship and genuine Christ-like transformation. He criticizes traditional academic goals that prioritize scholarship over spiritual growth and real-world application.
  • Practical Theology of Money: In a response about the practical implications of money in spiritual life, Dallas underscores the importance of using money as a tool within God's kingdom rather than an object of trust or affection. He elaborates on how money should extend one's capacity to enact God's will, rather than merely securing personal comfort.
  • Essence of the Cross: Towards the end of the talk, Dallas explores the profound theological implications of the cross, emphasizing its central role in Christian doctrine and personal spirituality. He challenges common theological misunderstandings and calls for a deeper appreciation of the cross's role in personal transformation and the broader divine economy.

The Sermon on the Mount (session 5, part 1)

Highlights:

  • Everlasting Kingdom: Dallas emphasizes that the Kingdom of God is eternal, predating and outlasting human history. Jesus did not initiate it; rather, he made it accessible beyond the structures and systems devised by humans. 
  • Kingdom's Nature of Righteousness, Peace, and Joy: The essence of the Kingdom of God is encapsulated in righteousness, peace, and joy through the Holy Spirit. These qualities are unattainable without the Holy Spirit's presence, indicating that true discipleship is evidenced by love, which is intrinsically linked to knowing God.
  • Role of the Law in the Kingdom: Dallas discusses the function of the law as a guide rather than a means of salvation. The law acts as a teacher, leading individuals to recognize their dependence on God's mercy. True adherence to Jesus' teachings, including the commandments, pushes one towards the Kingdom, as it reveals our own limitations and need for divine intervention.
  • Inversion of Worldly Values: In the Kingdom of God, societal norms and values are flipped. Dallas highlights how Jesus, particularly in the Beatitudes, declares blessed those whom the world typically overlooks or dismisses. This inversion challenges conventional views on wealth, happiness, and success.
  • Children and the Kingdom: Dallas notes the intuitive grasp children have of the Kingdom concept, comparing it to their personal domains like lockers or backpacks. Teaching about the Kingdom in relatable terms helps young people understand and embrace its principles from an early age.
  • Kingdom's Comprehensive Doctrine: The Sermon on the Mount, as Dallas explains, is a comprehensive doctrine where Jesus outlines the nature of reality and the Kingdom of God. This sermon isn't just theological teaching but a practical guide on how to live within the reality of God's rule, offering a revolutionary perspective on being and wellness.
  • Modern Beatitudes and Real-Life Application: Dallas urges the audience to contemplate and compose contemporary Beatitudes that resonate with today’s societal contexts. This exercise is meant to reflect how the principles of the Kingdom of God apply universally, across all times and cultures, addressing the real conditions and challenges people face.

The Sermon on the Mount (session 5, part 2)

Highlights:

  • Understanding Blessedness Before Goodness: Dallas emphasizes the importance of understanding what it means to be 'blessed' before contemplating what it means to be 'good.' He explains that recognizing who is 'well off' according to spiritual standards is crucial for personal morality and resistance to temptation.
  • Identity as Light and Salt of the Earth: Dallas recounts Jesus’s declaration to his followers that they are "the light of the world" and "the salt of the earth," highlighting the surprising and empowering nature of these assertions. This shifts the listener's self-perception from insignificance to being central in spreading goodness and light.
  • Role of Dominion and Responsibility: He explains that humanity's purpose is to reign alongside Christ, exercising dominion with love. This involves creating goodness in everyday environments beyond church settings, illustrating a practical application of spiritual principles in daily life.
  • Addressing Revolutionary Ideas: Dallas links Jesus’s teachings to revolutionary ideas, comparing them to historical shifts in governance and societal structure. He outlines how Jesus reframed the concept of law to prevent revolutions, which often rely on force rather than genuine power.
  • Righteousness Beyond Actions: True righteousness in the kingdom of God is not about mere compliance with laws but about transforming the heart's intentions. Dallas discusses the importance of spiritual disciplines not as behavior modification tools but as ways to realign with God’s kingdom.
  • Transforming Attitudes of Anger and Contempt: Dallas discusses how Jesus moved deeper than the old laws, such as those prohibiting murder, to address the underlying attitudes of anger and contempt. He emphasizes that these attitudes are more destructive than the actions they might lead to, stressing the need for internal transformation.
  • Practicality of Nonviolence and Love in Conflict: In the Q&A section, Dallas speaks on the practical applications of nonviolence, highlighting that it should not compromise love. He discusses the nuanced decisions involved in handling aggressive situations with a focus on the overall well-being of all parties involved, guided by love.

Discipleship as Life in the Kingdom (session 6, part 1)

Highlights:

  • Overlooked Message of the Kingdom: Dallas begins his talk by addressing the surprising rarity of sermons on the kingdom of God, despite its central role in Jesus' teachings. He references Peter Wagner's astonishment at the lack of emphasis on the kingdom in his own sermons and in broader church teachings.
  • Essence of Discipleship: In discussing the Great Commission, Dallas emphasizes that Jesus' command was not merely to convert followers but to make disciples—"apprentices" of all nations. He interprets the mission as deeply relational, involving submerging disciples in the life of the Trinitarian God and teaching them to obey Jesus' teachings fully.
  • Cure for Church Ills: Dallas argues that many of the problems within modern churches could be remedied by a renewed focus on discipleship. He criticizes superficial changes and emphasizes that without genuine discipleship, any new church initiatives are doomed to repeat the failures of the past.
  • Historical Impact of Discipleship: Reflecting on the historical success of discipleship movements, Dallas points to examples like the Wesleyan movement and other transformative Christian waves. He notes how these movements have sustained influence due to their focus on deep, personal transformation and community impact rather than institutional growth.
  • Who is a Disciple? Dallas delves into the identity of a disciple, describing them as individuals who live in close proximity to their teacher—Jesus—and follow his lifestyle and teachings. He extends this to a spiritual proximity in the modern context, where disciples strive to embody Jesus' actions and character in their daily lives.
  • Learning to Live in the Kingdom: He discusses the practical aspects of discipleship, where learning to live as Jesus would involves more than intellectual acceptance but a transformation of lifestyle and habits. Dallas suggests that this learning is an ongoing process of engagement with God's presence in everyday life.
  • Teaching and Living the Commandments: Dallas addresses the practical outworking of discipleship in teaching others to follow Jesus' commandments. He critiques churches for not having actionable plans to teach adherence to Jesus' teachings, suggesting that a true disciple-making process would involve practical, transformative education.

Discipleship as Life in the Kingdom of God (session 6, part 2)

Highlights:

  • Kingdom Living Through Ordinary Events: Dallas discusses the significance of managing daily events within the realm of God's kingdom. He emphasizes that while Jesus might not have commented on every mundane aspect of life, such as obeying speed limits, the principles he taught cover these areas implicitly. 
  • Role of the Church: The church is depicted not as the kingdom of God itself but as an outpost that extends God’s kingdom through its influence. Dallas points out the importance of the church focusing on the transformation of its members, rather than being overly concerned with external numbers or appearances.
  • Power and Prayer: Dallas elaborates on the concept of prayer as a "power-sharing device" meant for "recovering sinners." He stresses the need for character development alongside the acquisition of divine power, cautioning against the dangers of possessing power without sufficient moral integrity.
  • Discipleship in Daily Life: Dallas emphasizes that discipleship should permeate every aspect of life, not just during explicitly spiritual activities. He argues that the real classroom for discipleship is in the day-to-day interactions and decisions, where one can ask, "How would Jesus handle this?"
  • Gospel That Transforms: Dallas critiques superficial forms of Christianity that foster dependency on religious structures rather than on personal growth in Christ. He advocates for a gospel that naturally produces disciples rather than mere consumers of religious services.
  • Integration of Faith and Life: The discussion highlights the importance of integrating faith into every facet of life, underlining the idea that all actions, whether in work or personal dealings, should be done in the name of Jesus. This holistic approach ensures that faith influences real-world decisions and behaviors.
  • Challenges to Spiritual Transformation: Dallas warns against the challenges to spiritual transformation, particularly the distractions and demands of institutional roles that may stray from the core mission of spiritual growth and discipleship.

Discipleship as Life in the Kingdom (session 6, part 3)

Highlights:

  • Golden Triangle of  Spiritual Growth: Dallas introduces his Golden Triangle of Spiritual Growth. The corners include: 
    1.    The Action of the Holy Spirit
    2.    Ordinary Events of Life: “Temptaions”
    3.    Planned Discipline to Put on a New Heart
    “Centered in the Mind of Christ” lies at the center of the triangle 
  • VIM Diagram: Dallas utilizes another triangle to help explain spiritual growth. The corners of the VIM Diagram include:
    1. Vision: of the Kingdom of God; Character goals; Power – your empowerment 
    2. Intention: to actually fulfill the vision
    3. Means: for realizing the vision; Spiritual disciplines effectively implemented
  • Learning from Life's Challenges: Dallas discusses how ordinary life events, which often test us, play a significant role in our spiritual growth. He points out that these events, while challenging, help us see the Kingdom of God at work, leading to deeper understanding and growth.
  • Importance of Disciplines: Dallas underlines the importance of planned spiritual disciplines, which he explains are not just religious practices but also include everyday activities that can foster spiritual growth, like solitude, silence, and worship.
  • Engaging the Scriptures and Traditions: He encourages deep engagement with the scriptures and spiritual traditions to aid transformation. Dallas provides examples of biblical passages and church practices that support spiritual growth and character formation.
  • Power of Intention and Vision: Dallas speaks about the power of having a clear vision and intention in spiritual life. He explains that a strong vision helps form intentions, which are crucial for making decisions that align with our spiritual goals.
  • Utilizing Spiritual Means: He explains that spiritual practices like attending church or fasting are means to an end—not just rituals but pathways to achieving deeper spiritual states and community bonds.
  • Responding to Life's Darkness: In response to a question, Dallas reflects on the importance of acknowledging the darker emotions and periods in life, as seen in the Psalms. He emphasizes that joy and peace come not through forced happiness but through recognizing and navigating through life's inevitable challenges with a spiritual perspective.

The Parts of a Human Being (session 7, part 1)

Highlights:

  • Persistence in Following Jesus's Commands: Dallas emphasizes the simplicity of following Jesus's instructions despite the challenges perceived. He argues that the failure to impact communities with Christ's glory isn't due to lack of resources but rather a lack of obedience to Jesus’s teachings, highlighting that this requires no extraordinary human resources, just the intention and persistence to obey.
  • Knowledge: True knowledge involves an interactive relationship with God, influencing our ability to accurately represent and handle life's challenges. Dallas distinguishes this from mere 'head knowledge', which doesn't engage the whole person.
  • Power of Knowledge in Faith: Dallas criticizes the modern misunderstanding of faith as mere commitment without understanding, advocating instead for a faith rooted in knowledge. He illustrates this with the biblical example of Abraham, whose faith was guided by his knowledge of God’s presence, thus making his commitments and actions more meaningful and directed.
  • Barriers to Spiritual Effectiveness: He discusses the common barriers to spiritual effectiveness, such as the conflict between what is known and what is believed. Dallas points out that often people reject knowledge which leads to ineffective spiritual lives.
  • Role of a Spiritual Leader: Dallas reflects on the role of spiritual leaders, emphasizing that their primary task is not to coerce action but to impart knowledge of God. 
  • Encouragement for Honest Skepticism: Dallas encourages an honest engagement with skepticism towards spiritual truths as a starting point for deeper understanding. He believes that beginning with doubts or disagreements can lead to a more solid and refined faith, as individuals work through their misconceptions and come to realize the coherence and truth of biblical teachings.

The Parts of a Human Being (session 7, part 2)

Highlights:

  • Understanding Transformation: Dallas begins by emphasizing that spiritual transformation requires changing every essential dimension of a human into Christlikeness. This transformation isn't about willpower or mere effort; rather, it involves surrendering the will to God and receiving grace in various forms.
  • Role of Grace and Effort: Dallas points out that grace complements effort rather than opposes it. While spiritual growth isn't achieved by simply "trying harder," it does necessitate diligent effort and a proactive approach to understanding and fulfilling God's will.
  • The Commandment That Covers Everything: In a discussion about the greatest commandment, Dallas highlights Jesus’s response to a scribe's question, which encapsulates the whole law: Love God and love your neighbor. This principle forms the foundation of ethical and spiritual life, guiding how individuals should live.
  • Loving God With All Your Parts: Dallas argues that loving God involves more than just emotions; it includes the will or the "executive center" of oneself. Understanding and distinguishing between feelings and the will is crucial for genuine spiritual growth and avoiding misguided efforts.
  • Indirection as Path to Christlikeness: Instead of forcing oneself to be Christlike, Dallas suggests focusing on the factors that enable Christlikeness. Intelligent effort, informed by a deep understanding of human nature and spiritual truths, is essential for true transformation.
  • Embracing and Understanding the Law: Dallas describes the law not as a burdensome set of rules but as a beautiful expression of God’s ways. Delighting in the law comes from recognizing its role as a guide to living in accordance with God's desires, which ultimately leads to a blessed life.
  • Integrating Love for God and Neighbor: Highlighting the inseparable link between loving God and loving one’s neighbor, Dallas explores the deeper implications of these commandments. He stresses that true adherence to these commandments requires an understanding that extends beyond superficial practice, involving a genuine embrace of communal and divine love.

The Parts of a Human Being (session 7, part 3)

Highlights:

  • Integral Nature of the Self (Total Human Self Circle Diagram): Dallas emphasizes that our various aspects—mind, body, soul, and spirit—are not separate entities to be developed in isolation. He stresses that all these components are intrinsically linked, forming the whole person. This unity is essential for living in relation to God and others, underscoring the holistic approach to spiritual development.
  • Transformative Power of Desire: Dallas discusses how desires fundamentally shape our lives. He points out that desires are not merely individual impulses but orientations of the whole person that can lead to ruin if not aligned with God's goodness.
  • Dangers of Rejecting Knowledge: In his exploration of Romans 1, Dallas warns about the consequences of rejecting the knowledge of God. He argues that such rejection leads to a suppression of truth, resulting in futile thoughts and darkened hearts.
  • Role of the Will in Spiritual Life: Dallas identifies the will, or spirit, as the "executive center" of the self, where decisions are made. He suggests that the will's capacity to initiate action makes it a crucial part of our resemblance to God.
  • Impact of the Mind on Spiritual Health: Dallas underscores the significant role of the mind in spiritual and emotional health. He argues that how we think about God is foundational to all aspects of life. Misconceptions about God lead to spiritual ruin, while correct understanding can bring about transformation through the renewal of the mind.
  • Physical and Social Manifestation of Beliefs: Dallas explores how our bodies and social interactions are extensions of our spiritual and mental states. He discusses how habits formed in these areas can either support or hinder our spiritual growth, depending on whether they are aligned with God's truth or marred by false beliefs.
  • Brokenness and Healing of the Soul: Finally, Dallas talks about the soul as the integrator of all other parts of the self. He describes how a broken soul fails to align intentions with actions, leading to destructive behaviors. He stresses the need for a holistic healing that allows the soul to mend, realigning desires and actions with divine truth to overcome the dissonance within.