Christ-life Is A Spiritual Adventure

Christ-life Is A Spiritual Adventure

Rick Odden

United States

Dreams are often Gods way of speaking to us through the night, but he also speaks to us through dreams of the heart. As a young child, I would sit and listen to my father tell us tales of his travels, which included riding on trains and flying on planes. I silently prayed that someday I would be able to travel like my father.

After cramming a four-year college degree into six years, I graduated and spent two years hitch hiking across the United States. I worked at a ski resort for a season, as white-water rafting guide for a season, and lived as a homeless bum for a season. Surprising to many, this was a choice.

During my wonderful adventures, I saw people, cultures, and my country at its best. However, as my childhood desires became my reality, my heart and soul weren’t at peace. I wasn’t a Christian during this stage of my life. I sought peace and joy through fun and adventure, but it wasn’t until God grabbed my attention that I began to understand his purpose for my life.

Over the course of five weeks, I was in three car accidents and two vehicles were totaled. Miraculously, I walked away without a scratch and yet it still had a way of waking me up. I realized something was missing in my life. God!

God called me home, both literally and figuratively. I moved from California to live with my parents in Michigan. Within the first month, I gave my life to Jesus Christ and a total transformation took place.

I no longer wanted the pleasures of the world and began to look at others as God would. It was at this time I met my best friend and wife of 32 years, Teresa. With no job or prospects of a job, I asked her to marry me. I knew God had a plan for my life and apparently, she did too. Psalms 32:8

Four months after our engagement, I received a job offer and seven months later, September 7, 1985, we were married.

I never intentionally sought out for jobs or a career where travel was involved; however, God heard my prayer as a young child and granted me the desires of my heart. Psalm 37:4-5

I traveled across the country and around the world for the first 25 years of our marriage. All this time thanking God for his blessings, but knowing deep down I truly wanted to live and work overseas; especially Europe.

I often prayed “God, not my desires but yours,” and I was willing to continue my occasional travels as a way to meet my love of adventure. Thankfully, God’s dreams for us are larger than we can imagine. Two decades later, after a six-month work assignment in Germany, God opened the door for Teresa and me to move to Germany; I was offered a permanent job. 

When the offer came, my first reaction was that it would be best to stay in the states and for Teresa and me to finish out our careers in Michigan, but when Teresa picked me up at the Detroit airport we knew within the first fifteen minutes of our drive home that God wanted us to move. It was unclear if I should go alone or if we should sell our home and move together, but what was clear was God’s voice telling us to do life differently.

Living in Europe was a dream of mine and when I had finally given up on this desire, God opened the door and began orchestrating things. I had peace.

Immediately upon arriving in Stuttgart, Germany, it felt like home. We knew this was God’s plan for us even though we didn’t know what was in store for us.

Over the next 5-1/2 years, God opened the door for us to minister to people from multiple nations, with different religious beliefs. We did our best for God to speak through us and into the lives of those who crossed our paths. Among our group of friends, who blessed us daily, we saw God answer prayers, perform miracles, and change lives.

God taught us simple ways of ministering and what it can look like to “go into the world and preach the gospel.” Not everyone we ministered to accepted the message of Jesus Christ, but we have no doubt the seeds that were sown, God will continue to water.

My eyes were opened to my narrow, western Christianity. People are searching for more. “More” of something, but unclear what or who that something is. There are people who have never seen a Bible or heard the name of a man called Jesus.

I can’t begin to express the joy that comes when someone sits across the table and says, “I want to know why you believe Jesus is God.” Or, “Tell me about this Jesus.” “What’s the Trinity?” Those are just a few of the questions that opened my eyes to see a lost world and why Jesus told us to “go.”

Our timing is not God's timing. God used my childhood desires and dreams to travel the world, which put me in a place to minister and love on people who in turn loved on me. I arrived in Germany one way and returned another. I was changed forever.

We never know the path God has prepared for us. Sometimes we discover God’s purpose immediately and like this dream, some don’t unfold for years. My first step in California to follow God’s path is when God began making the crooked roads straight. He put me on His path to be used for his glory.

When we let God, he will orchestrate what is best and in turn, what he can do through each of us. My words to you today, “let God ….” Let God fill in the blanks and expect the ride of your life. God’s vocabulary doesn’t include boring. He’s adventurous, fun, and to be enjoyed.

A great life is the Christ-life; a never-ending spiritual adventure.

 Rick, Ram, and Shahfir celebrating Deutschland's World Cup victory.

Rick, Ram, and Shahfir celebrating Deutschland's World Cup victory.

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