• The Map is Not the Journey: Faith Renewed While Hiking the Alps

The Map is Not the Journey: Faith Renewed While Hiking the Alps

$ 14.99

by Richard Dahlstrom


Replace weariness with refreshment, obligations with passion, and staleness with joy.

Twenty years of working the same job had created weariness. When a close friend died, weariness led to questions about faith, meaning, work, and life. Seeking answers, Richard hiked four hundred kilometers through the Alps in forty days.

The profoundly shaping experiences in our lives are often born out of the mundane rather than the spectacular, yet there is also great value in stepping away from “normal” life for a period of time. This is especially true for developing companionship with God, which is less about prescribed practices imposed by religious institutions, and more about being open to what God has to reveal through the beauty of creation, the challenge of trials, and the joy of companions. Richard’s experiences and discoveries illustrate that we were all created for beauty, and opening ourselves to it every day is vital to keeping our faith fresh and alive.


Richard Dahlstrom studied architecture, had a God encounter and changed his major to music, and then God “tricked” him into becoming a pastor in 1984. He has run a ministry for interpreting faith with outdoor experiences, along with other ministries, and has led Bethany Community Church in Seattle since 1996. He teaches with Torchbearers Missionary Fellowship and is the author of O2: Breathing New Life into Faith and The Colors of Hope. He and his wife have three grown children and live in the mountains east of Seattle where they ski, hike, climb, and read books by the fire. www.richarddahlstrom.com

“If your spirit is weary or your faith is running dry, this book is like a refreshing drink from an alpine spring. It will take you above the tree line of discouragement and help you renew your enthusiasm and rekindle your joy. You’ll find yourself walking in Richard’s boots as he paints incredible word pictures and takes you on a compelling journey of transformation. Breath deep and take it in. A truly inspiring book for everyone who seeks renewed motivation and deeper meaning.”

—Les Parrott, PhD, New York Times bestselling author of The Good Fight


“I’m deeply grateful for Richard’s musings on the journey of life. It’s as if he was writing directly to me, talking about how journeys define our lives, warning about the dangers of success, reminding that our packs can get too full, that control is an illusion, and how the greater dangers are usually the subtle ones. And then to hit us with, ‘God. Is. Enough.’ Impactful!”

—Mike Romberger, President/CEO, Mount Hermon Christian Conference Center


“Richard Dahlstrom’s travels and adventures in the Alps aren’t just good stories of adventure in far-away places. Though told well enough to bring me right into the Alps with him, they’re also instructive on how unexpected everyday experiences can shape us to become better people. Those looking to find God in the commonplace will benefit from this book.”

—Jim Zorn, long-time NFL player and coach. “Go Hawks.” Proverbs 22:1


“Richard Dahlstrom is a Seattle pastor who has impacted the city including many of my friends. After twenty years, Richard and his wife took a sabbatical ‘to walk with God’ and decided to literally do that by hiking for forty days through the Alps. This experience and what they learned is worth sharing! For those feeling fatigue after years of faithfully doing the same thing, for those looking for new eyes to see what God is doing and has on his mind, and for those who need a jolt of adventure, this is the book to read.”

—Denny Rydberg, President Emeritus, Young Life


“Whenever I can, I sneak over to Richard Dahlstrom’s church, where I am not a member, just to hear his amazing insights. He writes in this book about the burnout that can come after a long obedience in the same direction. He speaks to the ‘world worn’ and the weary. But if you trek with Richard through these chapters, you might rediscover the joy of serving God afresh.”

—Richard Stearns, President of World Vision U.S. and author of The Hole in Our Gospel and Unfinished


“I like this book! I like the way Richard, with considerable input from his wife Donna, has told a story about the day-by-day experience of an alpine trek. The fifteen chapters are a mixture; first describing all important details that I know from my own, more limited alpine trips which are absolutely essential for the realistic telling of a mountain adventure, along with inner soul reflections, mainly by Richard about his personal faith journey, favorite texts from the Bible, his pastoral mandate, and his, sometimes self-punishing, reflections. The narrative is believable, the people they meet are sensitively described, and there is the scenery of the Alps too. I liked this book very much.”

—Earl F. Palmer, former Senior Pastor, University Presbyterian Church in Seattle and Director, Earl Palmer Ministries


“Richard guides us through his journey in the Alps and opens our eyes to God’s heart for all of us. I couldn’t wait to be brought into the next scene and hear how God had transformed his earthly adventure into a eternal truth. This book gave insight into my personal journey as well as how I lead those traveling with me.”

—Mike Gaffney, Vice President, YoungLife College and University Ministry


“I have been deeply encouraged by Richard’s thoughts in this book. Leading groups through the Austrian Alps myself, I know what it’s like to make frequent decisions without knowing the outcome. Circumstances are not always on our side. After the death of my former boss and director of the Torchbearer Center Tauernhof – Austria, I was taken to a personal crossroad. Do I stay, or do I go? Do I take on the responsibilities of leadership, or remain in what I know? The Map Is Not the Journey is a wonderful reminder that God will never lead us where the Grace of God will not keep us. It’s a great encouraged to be more adventurous with our Lord Jesus and enjoy the journey with him, no matter where he is going to leads us. Thank you Richard.”

—Martin Buchsteiner, Director of Tauernhof – Austria, Member of Torchbearers International


ISBN: 9780891125266

Pages: 224

Dimensions (inches): 8.25 x 5.5

Weight (pounds): 0.5


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