John Ortberg is interviewing Dallas Willard (author and philosophy prof at USC) as I write. Here are a few ideas Willard has shared:

  • God doesn't have to be mean to run the world.
  • The idea of following Jesus that too many have = Get saved...stay out of trouble...die and go to heaven.
  • No ego in God. God isn't an egomaniac that needs praises and swelling up like a tick on a dog about to burst.
  • God wants us to glorify him because he wants us to align our lives with reality. Only he is worthy of receiving all glory and he doesn't want us to waste our lives on all the other stuff.
  • Desire is good, but not a life ruled by our desires.
  • Most of life is run by habits (and it has to). The problem is our habits run in the wrong direction.
  • People who hate church should take some time off because they're a plague on the place and critics of the performance they didn't want to attend anyway. Stay home until you miss church and figure out a good reason to go.
  • It's not about just not doing wrong. It's about becoming the kind of person who does what's right.
  • "Should" is not a bad thing unless you try to build your life around it.
  • Jesus said where two or three are gathered he's there with them. We usually only quote that when not many people show up.
  • After denying Jesus, Peter wept bitterly. Not because he did that thing he said he wouldn't do but because he realized he was that kind of person. We are that kind of person in need of a renovation of the heart.
  • Saints burn more grace than sinners. Grace isn't just for forgiveness. It should accompany everything we do.

John Ortberg's book The Life You Always Wanted is one of my all-time favorites on spiritual formation and I'm not alone. Very influencial book. It's a great way to access Dallas Willard. Some people call it Willard for Dummies in the best sense of that phrase. Ortberg is a master story-teller and great communicator, so it's always a great pleasure to read his books.