Step by Step Journey: Writings of Richard Dahlstrom - because there's always a next step

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“Wild Faith” believes that its in the unknown beauties and sufferings that we are most profoundly shaped

“I will go, though I do not know the way” – Frodo

“By faith, Abraham went out, not knowing where he was going.” – Hebrews 11:8

History tells us that life itself is a journey, and that it’s the journey that is vital to our transformation.  Abraham was on a journey.  Moses?  40 years in the wilderness following the flame and the cloud and being transformed in the process.  David?  On the run.  Jesus? 40 days in the wilderness.  Paul?  On the road when he encounters the Christ.

In every instance, the literal journey is the backdrop for the soul journey each of us must take for our transformation.   All of us are invited, even called, to move:  from greed to generosity, lust to love, bitterness to forgiveness, despair to hope… and more.   What steps are we taking towards wholeness?  What steps do we resist?  How do we know when to move and when to stay?   How does money, sexuality, our relationship to our bodies, our vocations, our goals, enhance or impede our journey.

If the journey’s successful, we arrive at our destination wiser than we were back down the road.  If we get stuck wandering aimlessly, we become the embodiment of less desirable things, like boredom, cynicism, enslavement to our appetites, and disengagement from the challenges of our time.

We are, all of us, called to places we’ve never been before, and the sooner we surrender our lust for the illusion of control, the sooner we’ll find courage and adventure, hope and healing, wisdom and love.  But the journey will take, not only to places we’ve never been, but to places’ we’d never choose.  This is what I mean by wild faith.

There’s a hearing.  It comes to us in dreams, or songs, or after a conversation in the corner booth of a Tuesday night with the one we love, or maybe at a graveside or in a hospital, or in the wake of infidelity.  However it comes to us, we hear the voice calling, beckoning:  “Serve.  Give.  Reconcile.  Heal.  Embrace the challenge.  Risk.  Deny yourself.  Rejoice.  Celebrate.  Mourn.  Go. ” 

There’s a wrestling with what we’ve heard.  Was it the wine, or divinity?  The weakness that I’m easily dissatisfied, or the strength that I’m willing to risk it all, to shoot the moon, in pursuit of a better story?  Discerning between the Siren calls of temptation and the tug of the divine; having the courage to say yes, or no.

There’s a response.  Sometimes the response includes the creating of lists, naming the possible rewards and losses should we undertake the journey.  We pray.  We consult.  We listen to our dreams, more intently than ever.  Then we go.  Or stay.  Whichever way we decide, it will make all the difference.

There’s a preparation.  If we’re going, there’ll be things to do, so that already, before we step outside the house, our priorities have changed.  We’re reading up instead of watching TV, saving and buying what we’ll need.  Getting in shape so that we can handle it.  Learning skills, and finding our lives pruned, and richer for the less that it’s become.

There’s a leaving.  At some point, after we’re prepped and packed, there’s nothing left to do except walk out the front door, and whether it’s for a weekend getaway, or for last time, or for God only knows how long in between, this moment, this nano second of turning away from the familiar, is vital necessity, for though we’re told we can have it all, I know now that this is rubbish; know now that I can’t live in the new and hold on to yesterday.

Click.  The door is closed.  The Journey begins.

Visit here and you’ll find posts to equip you for the journey.  You’ll find invitations to adventures, and testimonies of those who’ve gone to wild places – both geographically and spiritually.

You’ll also find stories of my own wild adventures in the Alps, which framed the basis of this book.  In it I cover themes of call, guidance, discernment, decision-making, preparation, focus, endurance, storms, carrying weight, simplicity, encounter, beauty, fear, hope, rest.

25 Comments

  1. Eric Dacus

    October 20, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    Can you please enable full article on your feed? Only getting the summary makes it hard to read in a feed-reader.

    Reply
  2. shannon price

    October 26, 2009 at 2:00 am

    hi richard, i go to bethany, but we have never met. i really enjoy your blog and i have been comforted, inspired, challenged, and encouraged by your words. my husband and i are traveling all over the world, so it helps me feel connected to bethany. i am a words person, so thank you for sharing yours in sermons and your blog. i just linked to you on my own blog where i’m trying out blogging, too. hopefully your words will make it all the way to alabama where my friends and family are. grace and peace. shannon

    Reply
  3. nicanor tamang

    November 3, 2009 at 5:42 am

    Dear Pastor Richard,

    Hope you have not forgotten the Tamangs in the whirwind of blgs, twitter and facebook.
    The simple message is still valid- God loves and wants all know him, repent and come to him.
    It is wonderful to know you are still with Bethany which means commitment to the congregation and toleration of the congregation! To be pastor of one church for a long time means the people there really love you and praise God.

    Be in touch

    Nicanor Tamang

    Reply
  4. Kevin

    January 8, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    Fibonacci Faith? Did you get hacked or are you just on some sort of inexplicable math kick?

    Reply
    • Kevin

      January 8, 2010 at 9:21 pm

      Ah, I get it. The title change came before the explanation. But does this not somewhat infer that transformation is predictable, even rational? I don’t think I completely agree with you on that.

      On another note, I like how you refer to yourself as “The Raincitypastor,” almost like the protagonist from some long bygone radio drama.

      Reply
      • Kevin

        January 8, 2010 at 9:26 pm

        “Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The RainCityPastor knows!”

        Reply
  5. Glenda

    January 8, 2010 at 9:36 pm

    http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/alone.png

    Reply
  6. Sam B.

    January 8, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    I agree. However, I cringe when math professors emphasize how math is so beautiful.

    Reply
    • Glenda

      January 8, 2010 at 11:33 pm

      Not me. I think there there is something glorious in symmetry and precision; I don’t know if I’d go so far as to call it “divine” but glorious, nonetheless.

      Reply
  7. Leif

    February 10, 2010 at 6:05 pm

    Ohhh man. I thought I have been really following what you’ve been preachin’, but now? Hey,…I struggled with Math 099 and your talkin’ Fibonacci? Maybe I’m not gettin’ it?
    All things bright & beautiful brother! Keep preachin’ it!

    Reply
  8. Kevin

    March 23, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkGeOWYOFoA&hl=en_US&fs=1&]

    Reply
  9. Jeff Ensroth

    March 29, 2010 at 11:37 am

    Richard,
    Greetings from Michigan.
    I think you would be interested in the work of an old art teacher of mine, David Barr. http://www.davidbarrart.com/ In addition to his global conceptual pieces, his sculpture and wall reliefs are all based on the Fibonacci series. Beautiful stuff.
    Thanks for the blog. It keeps my heart and memory open to meeting with you for coffee at the Greenlake Starbucks way back when.
    Jeff

    Reply
  10. Katie Haak

    April 11, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    Hey Richard,

    Just wanted to say THANK YOU for introducing yourself to me at church and saying hi. I have been going to Bethany for over a year now, but I am definitely a passive attender. I am a student at UW and I have many other comittments to college ministries and younglife, so I haven’t really invested wholeheartedly in Bethany.

    That being said, I just wanted you to know that your sermons are such a challenging encouragement to me. I am excited at all the ways that I have been invited to be involved at Bethany.

    Your sermon today warning agains “spiritual consumerism” was a good reminder to me to actively seek out time to be in intimacy with Jesus, as well as others who know and love him. I know this can be a conscious choice we make every day, regardless of where we are in life/work/school.

    Thank you!
    In His Love,
    Katie

    Reply
  11. Kristi

    May 19, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    Lovely new theme! Also… tag cloud!

    Reply
  12. Ken Karg

    May 24, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    Richard,
    I’m a past student and now full time staff member of Capernwray Harbour on Thetis Island we met briefly last fall when you taught here. i was the guy who helped you miss the float plane on the friday afternoon you were trying to get back home.
    Just a note to say how much your ministry has been apart of the Christ transforming power in my life. I read your book at christmas and attended bethany a few months ago with a group of Capernwray students on a missions trip. Your sermon was on Romans 8 and was one of the best sermons i’ve heard in years (especially with the hockey analogies). Since then i’ve been downloading the sermon podcasts and listening to them while i work here in the maintenance department.
    Thank you so much for your faithfulness it has been a really blessing and encouragement!

    Reply
  13. Deborah Ferguson

    August 16, 2010 at 8:21 am

    Hi Richard,
    Didn’t know how else to contact you. After hearing your sermon on Aug. 15 about the beauty of Christ, I found this and thought you might be interested. Blessings!

    http://experimentaltheology.blogspot.com/2010/08/thoughts-on-christian-art.html

    Reply
  14. Hannah Lunstrum

    November 3, 2010 at 8:11 am

    Hi Richard, I work with youth in Monroe Wa and I really enjoy your podcasts and blogs. Obviously you dont know who I am but I wanted to ask for your help. We are trying to make Monroe a better place for teens by starting usic programming and we need people to vote for our idea. You can see everything at http://www.refresheverything.com/letteensrock

    Please, please please at least look at it and decide of you can help pass the word from there. Thank you so much for your time and consideration! I dont usually beg people but when its something you are passionate about its funny the things you will do!

    http://pep.si/bTt0lb

    Reply
  15. mrmealor

    November 18, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    Love the site. Just found it tonight.

    Reply
  16. dena dillon

    January 23, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    Hi Pastor – question re: O2. In chapter on the Intimacy Invitation (or Invasion :-)): Prayer, you say that I can find more information on your blog about the practice of “silent” prayer – “focused on silence, sitting with the conscious awareness of Christ’s presence and listening for His voice.” (p169). Perhaps it’s on your blog somewhere, but I can’t locate it. Could you please provide the link or where I can find that resource? BTW – thanks so much for your powerful, timely messages. God has indeed given you a wonderful gift and you are using it to speak to us! Thank you and thank God!

    Reply
    • raincitypastor

      January 24, 2011 at 7:41 pm

      Thanks much for the encouragement and I’m happy to provide the “missing link” (and grateful we’re talking about prayer rather than evolution!). This article covers the essence of the subject well, though I’d suggest starting with five minutes or so, rather than 25! I’d also suggest that it’s possible to use longer prayers or passages of scripture, such as the 22rd Psalm or the Lord’s Prayer, matching phrasing with breathing and repeating.

      I hope this is helpful, and know that the broader American church, distracted as we are with pop stars, loud music, and glitter, desperately needs this simplicity. May you find joy in pursuing Him through this. PS – I’ve a new book coming in May, which I hope you’ll also enjoy.

      Reply
      • Dena

        January 27, 2011 at 11:10 am

        Thank you! – Sorry, I don’t see the link??? Am I not looking in the right place?

        We are on our second read of O2 and are very much looking forward to your next book! Thank again – dena

        Reply
  17. Brian Barnes

    February 2, 2011 at 9:48 am

    Greetings Pastor Richard. Please consider publishing your blog on Kindle. It’s a very simple process that takes about 5 minutes to set up and then you don’t ever have to touch it again. It just picks up the feed from your normal blog and makes it available on Amazon for Kindle e-reader users. The only downside is that Amazon sets the price for the blog subscription ($.99/month), but I would gladly pay that for the convenience of receiving Fibonacci Faith on my Kindle. Here’s the link for setting up your Kindle Publishing account:
    https://kindlepublishing.amazon.com/gp/vendor/sign-in

    Thanks,
    Brian Barnes

    Reply
  18. Diane M. Stemen

    May 2, 2011 at 11:45 am

    Where are you located state wise?….Need to get message out “JESUS is COMING….angel unaware*

    Reply
  19. jon demeter

    May 5, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    Richard,

    We met last summer at Forest Home. I work with Athletes in Action. We hung out a couple times during camp, we talked about ministry and how to be a better communicator. I have a super hot wife and I made fun of those crazy shoes you wore to the pool.

    I just wanted to let you know that I just received a copy of your new book. Thank you so much for thinking of us! I can’t wait to dive into it. I’ve also been listening to you via podcast over the last year. Very encouaraging to my soul.

    I still have you on my radar for people to contact when our football team (U of Arizona) comes up to play the Huskies this fall. Thanks again for the book!

    Reply

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