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My Greatest Desire

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“I always thought that following Christ would make me irrelevant and nerdy. I never saw any energetic believers my age living out their faith in our small farming community of Ralston, Oklahoma. I wanted no part of being sentenced to a life of boredom.” – Robbie Rice

“I always thought that following Christ would make me irrelevant and nerdy,” said Robbie Rice. “I never saw any energetic believers my age living out their faith in our small farming community of Ralston, Oklahoma. I wanted no part of being sentenced to a life of boredom.

“It’s not that I didn’t know the Lord. When I was 10, my mom explained that I was a sinner separated from God, and it was only through the finished work of Christ that I could spend eternity with God in heaven. I said a prayer expressing my faith in the free gift of grace available to me in Christ. During that time, a revival came to our church and my dad began to pursue Christ as well. My father, who remains my hero, instilled character and values in me, and gave me a lot of responsibilities around our farm. He’s still farming and ranching at age 75.

“In my hometown, basketball was king so I poured myself into it. Looking like the All-American kid, I led a double life, sometimes doing Christian-looking things, but also drinking and partying with my friends. Part of me wanted to take God seriously, but I thought He would take all the fun out of my life, so I ran from Him.

“I decided to sow some wild oats when I went to college at Oklahoma State. I drank, pursued women, and pushed boundaries I never thought I would test. I was in a dark, narcissistic place when abortion became part of my story. I wanted to walk with God after that, but I couldn’t pull myself out of the pit.

“In the summer of 1989, my sister encouraged me to join her as a counselor at Kanakuk, a Christian camp in Missouri. For the first time, I was in an environment with faithful guys who were anything but boring and irrelevant. I started exploring the truth of God’s Word and who I am in Christ. I also learned about the Holy Spirit who would empower me to lead the Christian life.

“My wild ride with Jesus began that summer. After spending years on a dead end road carrying a lot of guilt, shame, and insecurity, I asked the Lord to take the driver’s seat of my life. Much like Isaiah 6, I said, ‘God, if you can forgive me, take my mess, and use it in someone else’s life, I’m willing. Send me.’ That is when the adventure began.

“When God took the weight of sin off of me, I wanted to tell everyone about Him and help others avoid the pitfalls I’d been in. I wanted guys like me to know that you could walk with Jesus and still have friends, be fun, have godly relationships and live an exciting life. I wanted to model that for the people around me.

“I began coaching basketball at a school in Copperas Cove, Texas, where I had the privilege of seeing several players give their lives to the Lord. My faith grew, and I discovered I had a real passion for influencing kids for Jesus. My greatest desire was to share Him with other people.

“Later, I moved on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ. I thought I’d do it for a year or two, but that turned into 15 years of working with students at TCU, Texas A&M and SMU. I met my wife, Robin, along the way, and she became my partner in ministry. Today, we have three kids, and I’m now on staff here at Watermark.

“In early November 2010, fifty days before the New Year, God gave me a heart to reach out to friends who were not believers. I brainstormed 50 names and made it my goal to have a spiritual conversation with each of those guys by the end of that year. I called it 50 in 50. Some ended up being phone calls and others were gatherings or golf outings. At my age, most people have learned the value of relationships, so it was worth it to push through any awkwardness so my friends would know I care about them. I ended up sharing my faith with 43 of the guys, and the response was extremely positive.

“Sharing my faith is a lot like being a witness to an event – it’s simply explaining what I’ve seen and experienced. In addition to knowing God’s Word, the key to success for me has been having the willingness to start a spiritual conversation and leaving the results to God.

“When I think about the exciting adventure I’ve had following Christ, I think of King David. He was a shepherd boy from humble beginnings, yet God chose to use him. I often say to God what David did in 2 Samuel 7:18, ‘Who am I and who is my family, that you have brought me this far?’ I don’t know what God has in store next, but I’m glad to be along for the ride.”