Divine Conspiracy Teaching Series

July 12-13, 2004
Kairos Church, Hollywood, CA

This 12-part teaching series, sponsored by Excelsis, is a wonderful opportunity to go deeper into the issues raised by Dallas in The Divine Conspiracy.

The lectures include the following:

  1. Jesus and Culture
  2. What Is a Human Being?
  3. Ministry in the Kingdom of God
  4. Kingdom Gospel
  5. Salvation Confusion
  6. Kingdom Salvation
  7. The Beatitudes
  8. Transformation
  9. Church Communities
  10. Kingdom Living
  11. Living without Anger
  12. Non-Condemning Community Of Prayer

 

Resources

1: Jesus and Culture

The Divine Conspiracy is God's plan and process of overcoming evil with good in human history. In this first of twelve sessions, Dallas discusses the reality of Christ and the Cross in human history as what brings us into the flow of the single greatest force in human life. 

2: What Is a Human Being?

Some of the biggest battles of our time involve trying to understand what a human being is. In this session, Dallas explains the unavoidable truth of human nature, walks us through the dimensions of the person (spirit/heart, mind, body social context, soul), and explains our role in the cosmos as part of God's Divine Conspiracy to develop a community of people who have the character and power of Jesus Christ Himself. 

3: Ministry in the Kingdom of God

Dallas shares his life-changing discovery that the more he tried to make things happen as a minister the less effect he had. The Parable of the growing seed (Mark 4:26-29) showed him, "That what I had to do was to learn to speak the word and live in the kingdom, and let the results take care of themselves. And that when I would do that, I would begin to see change in the people I was ministering to. But I had to get out of God's way and let the kingdom work and count on the life that is in the word of the kingdom." 

4: Kingdom Gospel

Dallas uses the Sermon on the Mount to clarify what the Kingdom of God is and how it works, why and how we can "be anxious for nothing," and how to be a good person. You'll also learn how to make disciples by ravishing people with the reality of the Kingdom and gain a deeper understanding of the unsearchable riches of Christ. 

5: Salvation Confusion

The gospel we hear in church might not be exactly what we'll find in the Bible. Dallas explains this with an instructive reading of Titus 2:11-3:7 followed by a description of what discipleship should look like, how this fits into the Great Commission, and how to preach a gospel that produces disciples. The central issue is transformation into Christlikeness (discipleship). One primary aspect of discipleship is intention, a second is being immersed in God’s life and honoring Christ. Then, after these things, we can be taught how to do what Jesus said to do. 

6: Kingdom Salvation

Dallas talks about the gospel of the kingdom of God. What is the gospel? The gospel is you can trust Jesus. You can trust Jesus, not just with what he said, or what he did, although those are in there. You can trust him for everything. Dallas goes deep into what it means to put your confidence in Jesus and become his student in Kingdom living.

7: The Beatitudes

Dallas lays the foundation for transformation in the Kingdom of God. He begins with a discussion of the Beatitudes, and moves into the difference between Pharisaical righteousness and the way of Jesus as inner transformation resulting in outward action. In the process, he works through two of the Four Great Questions: “Who is well off?” and “Who is a good person?” 

8: Transformation

Dallas sheds light on the intricate relationship between human effort, grace, and spiritual transformation. He explores how grace is not merely God's unmerited favor, but a dynamic force enabling what we cannot achieve on our own. This talk is a profound exploration of how effort and grace coexist in the Christian journey towards Christlikeness, challenging believers to engage actively in their spiritual growth while depending on the action of God.

9: Church Communities

Dallas outlines what the church could and should look like as a disciple-making body. He utilizes Eph. 4 and Mt. 28:18-20 to detail a discussion about the process of a church moving from a consumer-orientated church to a disciple-making church. He presents how churches typically function in American culture in comparison with the vision of a discipling church, working through the VIM principle in relation to church bodies.

 

10: Kingdom Living

Dallas gives a bird’s eye view of the Sermon on the Mount in relation to Kingdom living, beginning with making a case for why the Sermon on the Mount must be lived out in real, everyday life by working through Matthew 7:20-25. He then outlines Mt. 5:21-7:27 from a perspective of “The Heart that Jesus Gives.” Dallas returns to Mt. 5 to detail the sermon, with an emphasis on Jesus’ order found within the sermon. He focuses on Mt. 5:13-16 and the Christian’s ordinary life. 

11: Living without Anger

Dallas performs a deep study and philosophical analysis of anger, contempt, and cultivated lusting. He provides definitions, illustrations from daily life, positive illustrations of what it means to live without anger, contempt, and lust, and suggestions for transformative growth in Christ. "Stepping out of anger presupposes that you have surrendered your will to God. It means that you have already accepted the fact that you do not have to have your way." 

12: Non-Condemning Community Of Prayer

Dallas explores the intricate relationship between our daily actions, the teachings of Jesus, and the practice of prayer. Prayer is not merely about making requests to God, but about engaging in a continuous, collaborative relationship with the divine, aligning our actions with God's kingdom. Dallas discusses how prayer can transform a community by fostering a culture of love and non-judgment, where a community of individuals support and uplift each other in the journey toward a deeper life in the kingdom.

Jesus and Culture

Highlights:

  • Intellectual Christ:  Dallas begins by challenging the common perception of Jesus as merely benevolent rather than intellectual. He emphasizes the historical alignment of Jesus' teachings with the profound philosophical inquiries of the past, asserting that the gospel answers many questions that have puzzled philosophers for centuries.
  • Culture and Perception: Dallas points out the modern tendency to sideline Jesus in discussions of intelligence and wisdom. He stresses the need to shift this perception and recognize the depth and relevance of Jesus' teachings in contemporary intellectual discourse.
  • Kingdom and Creation: Expanding on the Apostle Paul's writings, Dallas discusses the comprehensive sovereignty of Christ over all creation. He elucidates how Christ's role as the creator and sustainer of all aligns with the concept of the Kingdom of God, emphasizing the cosmic and inclusive scope of Christ's authority.
  • Humility of Christ: Dallas reflects on the humility of Christ, who, despite being in divine form, chose to empty Himself and take on human likeness. This act of humility and its implications for understanding the divine nature and human history are deeply explored.
  • Cross and Its Meaning: The discussion turns poignant as Dallas examines the cross as the ultimate expression of divine love and the central point of Christian faith. He provocatively links this to contemporary cultural interpretations, suggesting a transformative understanding of Jesus' sacrifice.
  • Parables and the Kingdom: Dallas interprets the use of parables by Jesus as a method to communicate profound truths about the Kingdom of God in a way that engages the willing and obscures understanding from the unwilling, reflecting the strategic and inclusive nature of divine teaching.
  • Role of Knowledge: Highlighting the essential role of knowledge in Christian doctrine, Dallas challenges the audience to recognize the depth of true knowledge that comes from God and its power to transform lives and societies when properly understood and applied.
  • Divine Conspiracy Revealed: Dallas concludes with a powerful articulation of the 'divine conspiracy,' a term he uses to describe God's subtle and overarching plan to redeem the world through Christ. He calls for a reassessment of the gospel's role in providing profound truths necessary for personal and communal transformation.

 

Major texts: Col 1:13-20, Phil 2:5-11, Matthew 13

What Is a Human Being?

Highlights:

  • Understanding Human Nature: Dallas begins by questioning the very existence of a human nature, pointing out that modern views often reject its existence to promote total liberty. He connects this trend to societal shifts in understanding democracy and personal freedom: human desires become paramount, blurring lines between natural law and societal whims.
  • Loss of Natural Law: Dallas discusses the consequences of discarding natural law in legal systems, citing cases where public sentiment replaces traditional moral guidelines. This shift, he argues, leaves society without a stable foundation for justice and ethics, relying instead on fluctuating public opinions.
  • True Meaning of Love: Dallas explores the concept of love, defining it as desiring good for others rather than merely fulfilling personal desires. This challenges common misunderstandings of love and freedom, emphasizing benevolence over desire.
  • Role of Desire and Regret: Dallas critiques the modern obsession with fulfilling desires. He explains how societal encouragement to pursue every whim leads to deeper issues of dissatisfaction and moral confusion, contrasting this with a biblical understanding of love and restraint.
  • Power and Pitfalls of Self-Will: Dallas reflects on the dangers of an unchecked will. He discusses how self-centeredness can lead to societal and moral decay, arguing for the necessity of divine guidance in understanding and managing human desires.
  • Humanity and the Divine Plan: Dallas ties human nature to a divine destiny, emphasizing that true understanding and fulfillment come from aligning with God's purposes. He challenges listeners to consider their role in a grand cosmic plan that involves stewardship and moral responsibility.
  • Ultimate Authority and Human Responsibility: Dallas revisits the concept of ruling and responsibility as central to human nature. He argues that true authority and freedom come from recognizing and fulfilling our responsibilities under God’s guidance, not from mere autonomy.
  • Implications for Legal and Social Norms: Dallas concludes by discussing how the rejection of a defined human nature affects legal and societal norms. Without a foundational belief in a natural order, he warns, society risks descending into chaos, guided only by fleeting desires and the will of the powerful.
  • Aim of the Divine Conspiracy: "The Divine conspiracy is God's aim to defeat this dreadful decline from God's world and God's kingdom by bringing out a world and history wide community of people who have the character and power of Christ himself." 

 

Major texts: Romans 1; Psalm 2; Eph. 4:17-24; Gen. 1:26; Isa 63; Luke 16; Heb. 2; Rev. 22:1-5

Ministry in the Kingdom of God

Highlights:

  • Getting Out of God’s Way/Letting the Kingdom Do Its Work: Dallas begins by describing how the concept of the Kingdom of God, akin to seeds growing independently of human effort in soil (Mark 4:26-29), revolutionized his faith/ministry: "Now what that meant to me was, as a minister, and as a Christian, I do not have to make it happen. I do not have to make it happen. And in fact, I learned that the more I tried to make it happen, the less it would work. That what I had to do was to learn to speak the word and live in the kingdom, and let the results take care of themselves. And that when I would do that, I would begin to see change in the people I was ministering to. But I had to get out of God's way and let the kingdom work and count on the life that is in the word of the kingdom." 
  • Threefold Ministry of Jesus: The threefold ministry of Jesus was to preach the Kingdom, teach the Kingdom, and to manifest the Kingdom.
  • Emphasizing Jesus in Ministry: Dallas emphasizes the importance of presenting Jesus Christ to those seeking the Kingdom of God. He discusses his strategy of lifting up Christ’s virtues and promises, aiming to prepare hearts to enter the spiritual realm that Jesus constantly taught about: This approach pivots from traditional evangelism to a deeper, relational and Christ-centric method.
  • Understanding God as Spirit: Dallas explores the nature of God as a self-sufficient spirit, a concept crucial for understanding the Kingdom of God. He explains that God’s independence from the physical universe sets the divine apart as the source of all life, influencing how we should perceive our own spirit and freedom: This insight challenges listeners to rethink their relationship with God, emphasizing a connection through the will and heart.
  • Power of 'Withness': Dallas speaks about the concept of 'withness' as a central theme in God’s relationship with humanity. This starts with the narrative of God wanting to dwell among His people and extends to how Jesus redefined access to God’s Kingdom through personal relationship rather than cultural or institutional mediation: He highlights the progression from God's covenant with Israel to the new covenant through Christ.
  • Role of the Church and the Kingdom: Dallas clarifies the relationship between the church and the Kingdom of God, stressing that the Kingdom is not limited to church practices but is about righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit. He asserts that the true essence of the church should reflect these qualities, which are marks of the Kingdom present within its community.
     

Major texts: Mt 6:33; Ex 3:14; John 6; John 17:20-26; Eph. 3:1-10; Rev. 22:5; Mt 3, 4:17, 5, 21:43; John 3:5cf; Rom 14:17. 

Kingdom Gospel

Highlights:

  • Unsearchable Riches of Christ: There are four dimensions of the unsearchable riches of Christ: the physical cosmos belongs to Christ and is totally at his disposal, Christ is the master of the moral life, the security and glorious future of the individual human being in Christ, and the future of the created cosmos. 
  • Four Great Questions: Dallas outlines the Four Great Questions: “What is real?” “Who is blessed?” “Who is a good person?” and “How do you become a good person?”
  • Understanding the Kingdom: Dallas discusses the common misinterpretations of the Kingdom of God, stressing that it is not merely a political or social domain but a profound spiritual reality. He clarifies that the Kingdom encompasses God's dynamic rule over all aspects of life, encouraging listeners to rethink their perspectives on power and governance.
  • Essence of the Gospel: He articulates the core of Jesus' message, not just as a proclamation of the Kingdom's existence but as an invitation to enter into it. Dallas highlights the various means through which God governs, including His word, spirit, and the community of believers, thereby painting a holistic picture of divine authority.
  • Living the Teachings of Christ: Dallas explores practical aspects of living out the teachings of Christ, using scriptural references to emphasize the importance of embodying divine love, mercy, and humility in daily interactions. He underscores the transformational nature of practicing these virtues, which solidify the believer's place within the Kingdom of God.
  • Facing Life's Realities with Faith: He reassures listeners about the safety and security found in living under God's rule, despite outward circumstances. Dallas discusses how an understanding of the Kingdom can alter one's approach to life's challenges and uncertainties, offering a perspective that transcends earthly concerns.
  • Future of God’s Kingdom: Dallas concludes with a forward-looking view, discussing the ongoing and future expansion of God's Kingdom. He calls for a recommitment to living out the gospel in a way that not only anticipates the eschatological fulfillment but also enacts the Kingdom's values here and now.

 

Major texts: Col 3:12-17; Mt. 6:25-34; Eph. 3:8; Mk 6:30-52; Mt. 5:19-20; Mt 18; Jn 8:51-52; Mt 28:18-20. 

Salvation Confusion

Highlights:

  • Defining Salvation: Dallas begins by questioning the traditional interpretations of salvation, suggesting it's more than just an afterlife assurance. He emphasizes the transformative aspect of salvation that occurs in this life: it’s about living in accordance with God's grace and teachings now. That is, salvation is being caught up in the life that Jesus is now living on Earth.
  • Misconceptions About Grace: He addresses common misunderstandings around the concept of grace, pointing out that grace is not merely for avoiding punishment but for empowering a godly life. Dallas stresses that many Christians have mistaken grace for passivity and have, thus, become passive. Grace is God acting with us, assuming our action working in concert with God's action.
  • Role of Discipleship: Dallas argues against the prevalent belief that one can be a Christian without being a disciple. He challenges listeners to embrace discipleship as an essential, active part of faith, not just an optional add-on for the particularly devout.
  • Consumer Christianity: He critiques the modern approach to faith that treats church services and spiritual growth as products to be consumed rather than participated in, highlighting the pitfalls of a passive faith that expects to be served rather than to serve.
  • Impact of Faith on Character: Dallas discusses how true faith is meant to transform one's character, making them more Christ-like, rather than merely changing one's status before God. He emphasizes transformation over mere transaction.
  • Salvation and the Kingdom of God: Dallas invites listeners to view salvation as living under God’s reign here and now, not just securing a place in the afterlife. This involves a radical reorientation of our lives and priorities.
  • Importance of Intention in Discipleship: He speaks on the necessity of intentionality in discipleship, arguing that discipleship must be a deliberate path pursued with conscious effort and dedication to truly follow Christ’s teachings and way of life.
  • Discipleship to Jesus Simply Put: A disciple is one who is with Jesus, learning to be like Him. The disciple participates in interactive relationship with Jesus. As a disciple of Jesus, “I am learning from Him how to lead my life as He would lead my life if He were I.”

 

Major texts: Titus 2:11-3:7; Mt 28:18-20; Mt 11:28-30.

Kingdom Salvation

Highlights:

  • Essence of the Gospel: Dallas begins by clarifying that the gospel is fundamentally about trusting Jesus, not merely securing forgiveness or addressing social evils. He emphasizes the importance of living under God's rule, experiencing His transformative work in our lives: "The gospel is you can trust Jesus."
  • Living by the Spirit: Dallas discusses Romans 8, explaining the shift from living according to the flesh to living by the Spirit. He emphasizes that Christian life is about more than avoiding condemnation; it's about active participation in a spiritual life that delivers from sin and embodies the law's righteousness.
  • Shocking Message of John 3:16: Contrary to common interpretations that focus solely on forgiveness, Dallas highlights that John 3:16 is about living a transformative, eternal life now, not just after death. He ties this life to the empowerment of the Spirit, which transcends mere survival of death.
  • Participatory Salvation: He redefines salvation as an active participation in the life Jesus is currently living on Earth, rather than viewing it solely as preparation for heaven. This participation involves a dynamic engagement with scriptural truths and living out the realities of faith.
  • True Cost of Discipleship: Dallas challenges listeners to compare the cost of discipleship with the cost of non-discipleship.
    Kingdom-Centered Gospel: He laments the frequent omission of the kingdom of God from modern preaching, referencing his book The Divine Conspiracy to underline that Jesus’ message was about the immediate availability of God's kingdom, not just abstract spiritual truths.
  • Life Beyond Explicit Commands: Dallas discusses the challenge of living out one's faith in areas where Jesus gave no explicit commands, emphasizing the need to develop discernment and sensitivity to the Spirit's guidance in everyday decisions and actions.
  • Inversion of Worldly Values: Dallas explores how Jesus' teachings often invert worldly values, particularly in the Beatitudes. He stresses that kingdom blessings are available to all, regardless of societal status, which radically redefines concepts of worth and success.

 

Major texts: Romans 8:1-14; John 3:16; Col 3:1-4; Acts 8:12; Phil. 3:4-10; Luke 6:20; Luke 14; Matthew 5:1-17; Daniel 2:44. 

The Beatitudes

Highlights:

  • Defining Reality: Dallas starts his talk by posing one of life's great questions: "What is reality?" He argues that Jesus answers this with the concept of God and His kingdom, stating that everything aligns under this reality. He stresses that straying from this understanding leads us away from what is truly real.
  • Who is Truly Well-off?: Discussing the concept of well-being, Dallas explains that it is not about material wealth or status but is found in the kingdom of God. He uses the story of Jacob's dream to illustrate that the presence of God in our current location is what truly matters.
  • Invitation to Write Beatitudes: Dallas encourages the audience to write their own Beatitudes based on their understanding of the Kingdom of God. He challenges them to consider who in society is viewed as unblessed and to see these individuals through the lens of God’s available kingdom.
  • Blessing the "Unblessable" - Key to the Kingdom: Dallas proclaims, "Blessing is not in the condition, but in the Kingdom. That's the key. That's how it works. If you have trouble with going to people who are considered unblessable, and pronouncing their blessing in the Kingdom, you haven't gotten the message yet."
  • Addressing the Pharisees: Dallas critiques the righteousness of the Pharisees, emphasizing that their legalistic approach to religion focuses on actions rather than heart and character. He argues that true righteousness comes from internal transformation, not merely adhering to external laws.
  • Transforming the Self: Discussing personal transformation, Dallas insists that change must occur at a deeper level within us—our thoughts, feelings, and character—rather than just our actions. This transformation aligns us more closely with God's kingdom.
  • Role of Grace: Dallas discusses the role of grace in Christian life, highlighting that it operates not just outwardly but deeply within us, enabling a genuine transformation that aligns us with the life and character of Jesus.
  • Character and Actions: He concludes by linking character to consistent actions, explaining that a well-formed character naturally results in actions that reflect God’s love and kingdom. This internal change is crucial for living out the teachings of Christ in everyday life.

 

Major texts: Matthew 5:1-20; Matthew 23; Luke 14 

Transformation

Highlights:

  • Dynamics of Grace and Effort: Dallas begins his talk by addressing the crucial balance between divine grace and human effort in spiritual transformation. He emphasizes that grace is not about passive reception but involves active human engagement. Dallas insists that while grace is a divine gift, it requires human effort to be activated and fruitful.
  • Understanding Grace Beyond Favor: Dallas stresses that grace is more than just unmerited favor. It is God's active involvement in our lives to accomplish what we cannot do on our own. He explains that grace supports not just forgiveness but empowers living a life of spiritual abundance and effectiveness.
  • Role of Grace in Ministry: Dallas discusses how grace played a vital role in Apostle Paul's ministry, enabling him to preach the "unfathomable riches of Christ" despite his past as a persecutor of the church. He illustrates grace as a transformative power that amplifies human effort rather than replacing it.
  • Consuming Grace in Daily Life: Dallas reflects on the constant need for grace in a believer's life, comparing it to fuel consumed by a plane during takeoff: He highlights that grace is essential not only for overcoming guilt but for empowering daily Christian living and service.
  • Power of Weakness and Grace: Dallas explores the paradox of strength in weakness, where limitations become opportunities for divine strength to manifest. He encourages embracing weaknesses as they lead to a greater experience of God's power, transforming setbacks into spiritual victories.
  • Role of Spiritual Disciplines: Dallas shifts focus to spiritual disciplines, explaining how they prepare us to receive grace and grow in Christlikeness. He describes disciplines as intentional practices that align our lives with God's will, enhancing our receptivity to grace.
  • Solitude and Sabbath: Dallas advocates for practices like solitude and Sabbath as essential for deep spiritual renewal and connection with God. He argues that these practices help believers escape the busyness of life to focus on their relationship with God and internal transformation.
  • Vision, Intention, and Means (VIM Model) in Spiritual Growth: Dallas elaborates on the necessity of having a vision of the goodness of our spiritual goals, forming intentions to pursue them, and using appropriate means to achieve them: He ties these elements together to illustrate a comprehensive approach to spiritual growth and transformation.

 

Major texts: John 15; Eph. 3:8; 1 Cor 15:10; 2 Cor 9:8, 12:19-20, 15:30. 

Church Communities

Highlights:

  • Community and Unity: Dallas discusses the role of church gatherings not just as a routine but as a critical space for fostering unity and spiritual competence among believers, aligning closely with the practices of the early church as described in the New Testament.
  • Gifts and Roles within the Church: He explains the significance of spiritual gifts, noting that they are for equipping others rather than serving oneself, thereby promoting a community-focused growth and unity.
  • Addressing Church and Cultural Shifts: Dallas reflects on the vast changes in church demographics and community structures over the years, urging a thoughtful consideration of how churches need to adapt to remain relevant and effective.
  • Importance of Vision in Church Leadership: He stresses that church leaders need to have a clear and transformative vision that goes beyond mere attendance and financial growth, focusing instead on the spiritual maturation and discipleship of its members.
  • Revisiting the Great Commission: Dallas revisits the core of the Great Commission, advocating for a radical realignment of church activities to focus on making true disciples who live out the teachings of Jesus in every aspect of their lives.
  • Challenges of Discipleship: Dallas tackles the practical challenges of implementing discipleship within modern churches, discussing the potential resistance and the transformative impact it can have on individuals and communities alike.
  • Re-thinking Church Growth: Rather than defining church growth in terms of increasing numbers of congregants, Dallas advocates for a view of growth as the spiritual maturing of individual believers. This kind of growth leads to a community that embodies the characteristics and love of Christ more profoundly.
  • Mortification: Dallas uses this term to describe the process of putting to death the old self, which involves eliminating desires and behaviors that are contrary to the spirit of Christlikeness. He connects this to the broader theme of transformation that is essential for true discipleship.

 

Major texts: Eph 4; Col 3; 2 Cor. 4:7; John 14; Mt 5:37

Additional Assets

Kingdom Living

Highlights:

  • Essence of Obedience: Dallas clarifies that entering the kingdom of heaven requires more than saying "Lord, Lord." True entry comes from becoming the kind of person who naturally performs God’s will through deep internal change. Dallas adds, "...the engine that pulls the train of Christian spiritual formation is obedience to Christ." He explains further, "You aim at obedience to Christ by inward transformation. You aim at inward transformation, and obedience to Christ is the result."  
  • Kingdom of God/Kingdom of the Heavens: The kingdom of God is something that is actively present in the lives of believers and not just a future promise. Dallas emphasizes that living in accordance with the kingdom involves obeying Jesus' teachings and experiencing transformation that aligns with God's will.
  • Historical Reflections on Community Effectiveness: Dallas discusses the past effectiveness of Christian communities focused on Christ's teachings/making disciples. He stresses the need to change the community's understanding/vision of church rather than merely copying past models/perpetuating the way things have always been done.
  • Character Versus Deeds: He points out that significant achievements, even in Christ’s name, don’t equate to spiritual maturity. True Christian life is about inward transformation, not just external deeds.
  • Role of Spiritual Gifts: Dallas warns that the presence of spiritual gifts do not necessarily indicate Christlike behavior. He emphasizes the importance of developing character in conjunction with spiritual capabilities, highlighting that gifts can be present without corresponding spiritual maturity.
  • Heart Jesus Cultivates: Dallas explains the Sermon on the Mount, focusing on how it shapes a heart free from negative impulses like anger and deceit, thereby fostering a lifestyle that genuinely reflects the kingdom of God.
  • Beyond Human Approval: He critiques the pursuit of human approval through visible religious acts and advocates for a genuine faith that trusts in God over material or social accolades.
  • Active Discipleship: Dallas stresses the importance of not just hearing Jesus' words, but actively living them out. He challenges cultural norms of passive faith, advocating for proactive discipleship that visibly demonstrates the kingdom of God.

 

Major text: Matthew 5-7

Living without Anger

Highlights:

  • Fundamental Problem of Anger: Dallas begins his discourse by emphasizing why Jesus starts his teachings with anger: because it is a foundational issue in transforming human behavior. Anger, which Dallas defines as "will to harm," must be addressed first in the journey of personal transformation.
  • Consequences of Unchecked Anger: He explores the effects of uncontrolled anger, pointing out how it can lead to destructive actions and harm to others. Dallas stresses the importance of understanding and managing anger to prevent it from escalating into violence or other harmful behaviors.
  • Scriptural Advice on Anger Management: Dallas references biblical teachings, like those from Paul, about the dangers of quick anger and its prohibition for leaders, highlighting its inconsistency with Christian virtues such as the love described in 1 Corinthians 13.
  • Anger as a Signal: Dallas compares anger to physical pain—it signals that something in our lives needs to change. This analogy helps frame anger as a natural, though uncomfortable, emotional response that requires attention and management.
  • Living Without Anger: He provides practical guidance on living without anger, such as responding to offenses with understanding rather than retaliation, emphasizing the power of this approach to transform relationships and social interactions.
  • Anger's Close Companion – Contempt: Dallas discusses how contempt and anger are interlinked, often exacerbating each other. He argues for the elimination of contempt as a way to fundamentally reduce anger and improve interpersonal relations.
  • Anger's Righteous Façade: Highlighting the self-justifying nature of anger, Dallas points out that anger often feels righteous in the moment, making it a tricky emotion to critically assess and manage effectively.
  • The Cross and Anger Management: Dallas ties the concept of anger management to spiritual growth and the Christian understanding of the cross, advocating for a life that mirrors the sacrificial love and patience exemplified by Jesus.

 

Major text: Matthew 5:21-28, 38-48

Non-Condemning Community Of Prayer

Highlights:

  • Responding to Needs - Beyond the Script: Dallas highlights Jesus' radical approach to human interactions, especially in giving and responding to others' needs without pretense or manipulation, thereby rewriting the social scripts we follow.
  • Problem with Performance - Church as Theater: Dallas critiques the modern church's focus on performance, stressing that the true purpose of gatherings should be spiritual growth and connection with God, rather than merely pleasing the audience.
  • Secret Acts of Righteousness - Cultivating Secrecy: Emphasizing the discipline of secrecy, Dallas explains its role in breaking the habit of seeking approval through visible acts of righteousness, thus fostering a genuine relationship with God.
  • Fasting as Alignment: Dallas redefines fasting not as a show of piety but as a means to align oneself more closely with God's purposes, contrasting it with public perceptions of religious practices.
  • Trust in God vs. Trust in People: Dallas discusses the spiritual and practical implications of placing trust in God over humans, especially in the context of financial and material support.
  • Prayer as Divine Alignment: Dallas articulates the profound purpose of prayer in aligning our desires with God's will, stressing that prayer is much more than a ritual; it's a dynamic engagement with the divine.
  • Prayer Beyond Requests: Prayer is not merely about making requests to God, but about engaging in a continuous, collaborative relationship with the divine, aligning our actions with God's kingdom.
  • Persistent Engagement in Prayer: Dallas recommends persistence in prayer, where prayer mirrors relationships rather than transactions. Dallas encourages believers to stay involved and responsive rather than simply 'dropping prayers' and walking away. 
  • Asking as a Divine Principle: Dallas delves into the powerful simplicity of asking in prayer, likening it to a child's trust and openness with their parents. He illustrates how this simple act is a fundamental principle that God honors and responds to in the fabric of the universe.

 

Major texts: Matthew 6:1-7:11; Luke 22:1-4, 31-32