A Recipe for a Boring Marriage

Posted: February 13th, 2017 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Fitness, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

appetite 1238251 1920 760x496 A Recipe for a Boring Marriage

On Thursday nights, I help lead a Young Life small group of college guys. Last week, we talked about marriage and I gave them the opportunity to ask questions. “Does marriage get boring?” was one of them. When I asked them what they thought, most of them seemed to think that it did.

How would you answer?

As I write this, Robyn and I are a little over 24 hours from hitting our one-billionth second of marriage. It’s fun that it just happens to fall on Valentine’s Day. (A billion seconds is about four months shy of 32 years for those keeping score.) So here’s what I can say about marriage becoming boring…if there’s some set period of time after which it happens, we’re not there yet.

Fortunately, our marriage is more fun and exciting and purposeful than it’s ever been. But can marriage get boring?

Absolutely. Here’s a recipe for growing a boring one…

Stop growing. Don’t read. Don’t listen to podcasts. Don’t expose yourself to new ideas.

Have no goals and pursue no desires.

Put yourself first and only meet your spouse’s needs if yours are met first.

Keep your focus on how bad your circumstances are and all the things that are wrong in your life and your marriage.

Constantly compare your spouse to others.

Go to any lengths to make your spouse understand you, but don’t try to first understand.

Live for small things like money, not great things like the Kingdom of God.

Let your appearance go.

Don’t seek help for the same negative emotions you’ve battled all your life.

If you must have sex… (CLICK HERE TO READ THE REST OF THIS POST ON MY NEW SITE)


Anticipation

Posted: December 22nd, 2015 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Fitness, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Do you have a favorite day of the year? Your birthday? Valentine’s Day? Your anniversary? Thanksgiving or Christmas? The opening day of deer season?

My favorite day of the year is December 23rd.

Why December 23rd?

It’s because of the anticipation. It’s all those magical moments leading up to being together as a family and opening those mysterious presents under the tree. I love the anticipation, the mystery and the surprises.

There’s something very powerful about anticipation. When we anticipate something bad happening, we call that worry or fear. When we anticipate something good and right happening, we call that faith.

So what are you anticipating for 2016?

To experience the best year ever in your life and in your marriage, it’s critical to begin anticipating it.

Now I’m not suggesting that we can simply create a new reality with our thoughts…however, it’s entirely possible that whatever we’re anticipating is what we’ll see occur. There’s something powerful about what we choose to think about and dwell on. Our thoughts fuel our emotions and desires. Our words and actions flow from what we’re thinking and feeling.

And before you know it, what we anticipated becomes our reality.

So what are you anticipating? What are you looking forward to in 2016? What are your thoughts already beginning to shape for you? Are you thinking about…

Getting in better shape? Growing your business? Getting a promotion? Growing closer to God? Building a better marriage?

My passion is to help you believe God and enjoy an amazing marriage. It’s what I want for myself and it’s what I want for you.

I’m 100% convinced that as you believe God’s Word and intentionally invest in your marriage, 2016 will become your best year ever.

Do you believe it?

If you do, then you’re who I created the 25-session video course, “How to Understand Your Spouse and Transform Your Marriage” for. It’s designed to help you experience a passionate and purposeful marriage. One that’s exciting and fulfilling…and full of adventure.

Currently, the price is $97, but if you order this week, you’ll pay just $48.50 now. I’ll bill you for the other $48.50 on January 15th. You’ll get instant access to all the content NOW though. This is a special offer just for my subscribers. CLICK HERE to learn more or purchase the course.

As an added bonus, I’ll also send you the paperback edition of “The Marriage Experiment: a 30-day intimate adventure” when it releases next month.

If your marriage isn’t everything you’d like it to be…if it feels like you’re lacking passion and purpose…if it feels like you’re stuck and things aren’t getting better…or even if your marriage is good and you want it to be amazing…let me encourage you to work through this course. The sessions are short and highly practical. You and your spouse can start 2016 with your marriage better than its ever been.

Last thing…if you’re looking for something fun to read over the next week or so, I’m offering the first two books in The Lakeside series for just $4.99 this week. CLICK HERE to get immediate access to The Lakeside Conspiracy and The Lakeside Confession in either the iBooks or Kindle versions. If you enjoy mysteries with a romantic twist, then you’ll enjoy these books. Book 3 is coming soon!

Merry Christmas!


Thankful

Posted: December 22nd, 2015 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Fitness, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

 Thankful

20 Days of Believing God (Day 18)

I wouldn’t consider myself to be someone who is ungrateful.

But then I realized that I often focus on what I don’t have. What I’m lacking. What I still want.

And so I feel discontent. Disappointed. Sometimes like I’m failing.

So today I thought I’d turn it around…for once…and focus on what I do have to be thankful for. Both big and small. Here’s just a partial list…

Jesus. He loves me. He’s forgiven me. He’s for me. He’s committed to me. He died in my place.

Robyn. She’s amazing. An off-the-charts blessing. I hope I get to be married to her for another 30 years.

Rachel, Erica, Amy and Rob. My kids are such a blessing to me. They’re walking with God and making good choices.

Richard and Ross. My sons-in-law serve their country and my daughters well.

Wes and Tyler. My two grandsons are a great joy.

My health. Other than an occasional cold or headache, I’ve rarely been sick.

My friends. The ones I grew up with, the ones I have now, the ones I rarely see…

My sister. Who doesn’t think like me or vote like me!

The ministry of Young Life.

A house to live in and cars to drive.

Air conditioning in the summer and heat in the winter.

A pocket-sized computer I carry around that also functions as a phone, a camera and video-recorder.

Football. The opportunity I had to play it and now only watch it. What a great game!

The opportunity to write books and create courses.

Parents who loved me, supported me and encouraged me.

Readers who like my books and ask for more.

The Bible, through which God speaks, leads, convicts and encourages.

My MacBook Pro.

Snow. I love it.

The beach.

Hawaii.

The opportunity to have visited 49 of the 50 states so far. I’m coming for you one day, Nevada.

Pie. Oh, I love pie. Pecan. Pumpkin. Blueberry. Coconut Cream.

Ice Cream. Especially when it’s really hard and has some crunch to it.

Naps.

Couples who’ve entrusted me with their pre-marital counseling.

Books.

Did I mention my wife? And kids?

God’s faithfulness. Even when I doubt.

And His patience. Boy, do I need that!

The backyard swimming pool we had when I was a kid.

Getting to go to the Razorback basketball game tonight with Robyn and Rob.

God’s provision for me and my family.

Beautiful sunsets.

The aroma of fresh, hot cinnamon rolls.

Music.

Hearing my grandsons laugh.

Sex.

The anticipation of heaven.

Meaningful work to do.

So many wonderful memories.

Young Life camps.

A fire in the fireplace on a cold night.

Cold water after a run on a hot day.

The smell of freshly cut grass, which always reminds me of football.

I’ll stop there for now. I’m sure there’s a lot more I could add. So thank you, Lord, for Your love and faithfulness and kindness toward me. You’ve been way better to me than I deserve.

So what are a few things on your list?


Reflections From a Road Trip

Posted: August 15th, 2013 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Fitness, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Several days ago, I flew to Seattle, so I could make the drive back to Northwest Arkansas with my daughter, Erica. She’s going to live with us for a month or so while her husband is in Army Ranger training at Ft. Benning. Our drive took 37 hours over three days and covered over 2,300 miles. And we had a great time!

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One of my goals on the trip was to visit Montana and North Dakota–two of the three remaining states I’d never been to. We hit Montana on day 1 and North Dakota on day 2. You can see on the map that we only briefly visited North Dakota. The original plan was to cross the entire state before heading south, but somewhere out in Montana, Erica asked how close we were to Mt. Rushmore.

That question changed everything. We scrapped our original plan and started heading south, but we did make it into the southwest corner of North Dakota so I could check off my 49th state! The only remaining state is Nevada.

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We arrived at Mt. Rushmore late in the afternoon. Because they don’t allow dogs in the memorial area, Erica and I took turns waiting in the car with Titan. Yes, we had Erica’s German Shepherd along for the trip. As you can see, he was not a fan of the backseat.

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Prior to a couple days ago, I would have said I’d like to see Mt. Rushmore some day, but honestly, it was not high on my list. I don’t feel that way now. It was awe inspiring. The pictures don’t really do it justice. To give you some context–George Washington’s eyes are 11 feet across. Each of their faces are as tall as a six-story building. If you’ve never been–I highly recommend you go.

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It was a reminder that it’s good to have a plan, but it’s better to know when to flex. Had we been unwilling to change the plan and head south–we would have missed seeing Mt. Rushmore.

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One of the things I couldn’t help noticing was all the broken rock below their faces. Most of the pictures I’ve seen of Mt. Rushmore are close ups so I never noticed all the rock that was blasted away to create what we see today.

That got me thinking about our lives. God is in the process of making us the people He already sees us to be. The sculptor of Mt. Rushmore could see the image of Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln. His task was to remove enough rock so we could see it too.

God’s doing that in our lives. He sees who we really are. He sees us as “holy and blameless in His sight.” (Ephesians 1:4) He’s slowly, patiently, lovingly removing the stuff from our lives that hide the real us.

After we left Mt. Rushmore, we still had a five hour drive to get to Sioux Falls for the night. As we were heading east on I-90, this storm was closing in on us:

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That little blue circle just west of Wall was our location at the time. We made it out of that area right before the storm crossed I-90.

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We out ran our storm, but you might be in the midst of one. See if this has ever happened to you…

You’re on a particular course in your life when you sense God leading you in a new direction. So you step out in faith toward this new adventure…and that’s when the storm hits. Maybe you accepted a new job, but discovered your new boss is horrible. Maybe you moved to a new city, but after arriving you learn the job you had lined up fell through. Maybe you were convinced this was the right person to marry, but six months into marriage it feels like the biggest mistake of your life.

I’ve noticed a pattern when it comes to experiencing God’s will. It doesn’t happen every time, but I’ve seen it often enough to recognize it. Sometimes we find ourselves in circumstances we’d like to see changed and so we pray and seek God…and then we see Him open a door to something different, something new, something better.

Then things take a turn for the worse and we wonder what’s happening. We wonder if we heard God wrong or if we’ve made a terrible mistake. Sometimes we begin doubting God’s love and goodness. We reason that if we were in God’s will and He was a good God, then we wouldn’t be in the midst of whatever storm we’re facing. So either we made a mistake or God isn’t all that good.

That’s not true though. Deuteronomy 8:2-3 says…

Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.

Call it a desert or call it storm–there are some things we only learn when the pressure is on, when our circumstances are making us uncomfortable. Don’t give up. Don’t give into discouragement. Press on through the storm. God is using it to humble you and teach you. He knows what He’s doing.

Well, we made it home safely on day 3. As I write this (day 4), my daughter is driving another 700 miles to Ft. Benning in Georgia, so she can see her husband for a few days. She will have covered 3,000 miles in four days!

A few final thoughts from the trip…

Shared experiences create powerful bonds. I’ll always remember and treasure the three days Erica and I shared together.

Being in a place where you can see the horizon in all directions helps put things in perspective. It reminds you how small you are and how big God is.

Lastly, I’m not really a “pet person”, but I find it doesn’t take me long to get attached to a good dog.

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The Vine and the Branch

Posted: April 11th, 2013 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Fitness, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Yesterday, we talked about taking a spiritual fitness test. If we’re honest, most of us would say we’re not doing as well as we’d like to do. At least that’s what I’d say. I’d always like to be further along. I’d like to bear more fruit. I’d like to be less tempted by the same old sins. I’d like to know God better than I do.

Can you relate?

Today, let’s look at the only way we’ll ever truly make progress in the Christian life. The “secret” is found in John 15. You can read the whole chapter here. We’re just going to look at one verse though. Verse 5 says:

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

It’s really that simple. Remaining in Jesus results in a life that bears much fruit.

The secret isn’t working harder or longer. It’s not trying harder. It’s not following a list of rules.

The secret is to remain in Jesus. So how do we do that?

Let’s take a look at a few passages that might help…

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness… (Matthew 6:33)

When asked which commandment was the most important, Jesus said:

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

Let’s not ever lose sight of this very simple truth: God is a person who wants to be loved and sought after.

He doesn’t need our love or attention. He doesn’t need us for anything. But He does want us. He wants us to love Him and seek Him and make Him our top priority. He wants us to surrender total control of our lives to Him. That’s what it means to remain in Him–surrendering to Him and loving and seeking Him.

Then as we remain in Him, we bear much fruit as He produces His life in us and through us and we become more like Him.

Apart from Him, we can do nothing.

It’s a very simple concept. It’s just not easy to practice. Naturally, we don’t want to surrender. We want to maintain control over our lives. We think we know what’s best for us. We’re not always convinced God is looking out for us. And so we assume control and go our own way…which always results in less fruit, less of the life we really want.

If you’re not happy with where you are, if you’re continuing to struggle with sin, if life seems void of joy and peace and purpose…then it’s time to get reattached to the vine. And then remain there by seeking Him. Remain there by making your love relationship with Christ more important than anything else.

The branch just remains and bears whatever fruit the vine produces.


Fitness Test

Posted: April 10th, 2013 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Fitness, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Yesterday, my 17-year-old son and I took a fitness test. It’s the first step in the 60-day Insanity workout program. We’ll repeat the test every two weeks so we can chart our progress.

I thought the test was hard! My son outscored me on every exercise. My wife and daughter also took the test and I’m not sure I want to know how I compared to them. I’m okay coming in second, but I don’t want to be fourth! Of course the object of the test isn’t to compare myself to others. It’s to set a benchmark so I can see my own progress.

So this test got me thinking about spiritual fitness. What would it be like to take a spiritual fitness test? Not to compare myself to others, but to simply chart my own progress. Is their such a test? Does God give tests?

Yes, God does give tests. Here are a few examples…

Genesis 22:1-2 says:

Some time later God tested Abraham. He said to him, “Abraham!”

“Here I am,” he replied.

Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”

Deuteronomy 8:2 says:

Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.

John 6:5-6 says:

When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.

I Thessalonians 2:3-4 says:

For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.

Clearly, God tests us. And 2 Corinthians 13:5-6 says we’re also to test ourselves:

Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test.

So if our goal is to become more and more like Christ, it shouldn’t be too hard to measure our progress, right? Let’s take a look at Philippians 2:3-8…

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!

When it comes to your relationships–how are you doing compared to a year ago? If you’re married, are you becoming less selfish? Are you valuing your spouse above yourself more than you used to? Do your interests come first or do your spouse’s interests more often come first? Do you look out for your own advantage or do you serve your spouse by meeting his or her needs?

When it comes to your character and your emotions–how are you doing? In Galatians 5, we see:

The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Which are more evident in you–the acts of the flesh or the fruit of the Spirit? Would your spouse agree? Would your children? Your roommate? Your friends or co-workers?

If you test yourself and aren’t happy with your grade–hold on until tomorrow. There’s a very simple way to start improving your “score.”

I didn’t say it’ll be easy. Just simple.


The Pace of Life

Posted: February 28th, 2012 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Fitness, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

I love NASCAR races and last night was the biggest one of the year–the Daytona 500

When that green flag waved, there were forty-three cars racing around a 2.5 mile tri-oval at 200 miles per hour. There were about ten yellow caution flags during the race, which slowed their speed to 55 miles per hour. And there was also one red flag, which completely stopped the cars until the track could be cleaned up after a particularly bad wreck.

200 miles per hour under green. 55 miles per hour under yellow. And zero miles per hour under red.

Which of those would best describe the pace of your life right now?

Between work or school (or both) and activities you’ve committed to and maintaining all of your relationships–does it feel like life is passing by in a blur? Does the fact that it’s almost March surprise you? Are you wondering where the last two months…or two years have gone?

I suspect most of us feel like we’re racing through life at 200 miles per hour. No time to slow down. No time to relax. No margin for error. We’re running under a green flag week after week, month after month, year after year.

There’s just too much to do. There are deadlines to meet. People are counting on us. We’re needed. Know one else can do what we do. And besides, even if we do slow down, it doesn’t mean everyone else will slow down with us. And you know what that means. We’re behind now.

And we can’t have that. Especially if we’re measuring our worth in comparison to others.

When the yellow flag comes out at a race, the pace car enters the track and the cars fall in line behind. The pace car does exactly what it says–it sets the pace.

You and I aren’t very good at setting our own pace. Sometimes we’re too slow, but most often, we’re too fast. Too busy. Over-committed and frenzied.

What would happen though if we not only slowed down and let God set our pace, but actually stopped once in awhile, as well? No running around. Nothing on the schedule. No place to be.

Just time to be.

Time to be alone. With God.

Time to listen. Time to reflect. Time to re-evaluate. To re-charge. And re-focus. On what matters.

It won’t be easy. It’ll mean turning off the phone. And computer. And television. And video games. And whatever other distractions we’ve allowed to rule our lives.

This is the season of Lent. A time of reflection and preparation leading up to Easter. We typically think of Lent as a time “to give something up.”

Well, what if we gave up our addiction to distraction? Even just a couple hours a week?

Will you commit to it? Will you get your calendar out right now and block of an hour or two?

If you’re not sure where to even begin, let me suggest you start with your Bible and a notebook. Read a few Psalms. Read a few chapters from one of the gospels. Ask the Holy Spirit to meet with you.

Maybe a few of these questions will help also help get you started:

  • Is Jesus my first love or is it something or someone else? Money? Work? My grades? A relationship?
  • Is there something in my life God has put His finger on, but I’ve ignored?
  • Am I passionate about the things God is passionate about? Do I know what God is passionate about?
  • Am I seeking the God “who is” or the God “I want him to be?”
  • What do I think God is teaching me in my current circumstances?
  • What negative emotions (fear, anger, worry, anxiety, etc.) am I experiencing? What lies am I believing that produce these feelings?
  • Do I have a secret life that if I exposed would bring shame to me or my family?
  • Am I a difficult person to live with? Do I regularly experience conflict with family members or c0-workers?

Maybe it’s time to throw yourself a red flag, so you can stop long enough to examine the life you’re living. No one else will do it for you. It’s up to you.

Why not do it now before you wreck or run out of gas?

The Daytona 500 is meant to be run at 200 mile per hour, but life isn’t.


Cancer of the Heart

Posted: February 1st, 2012 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Fitness, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Have you ever heard of someone having heart cancer? I haven’t.

Lung cancer. Prostate cancer. Breast cancer. All kinds of cancer, but not heart cancer.

In a review of 12,000 autopsies, only seven people were found to have had a cardiac tumor. The Mayo Clinic only sees about one case a year. So it’s a very rare cancer, at least medically. But spiritually, I think it’s a different story. Spiritual heart cancer is pretty common. It’s called pride. And I have it.

I really didn’t think I had it, but I do. The symptoms tend to mask themselves as other things that actually look healthy. On the surface, everything might look good. Underneath though, when we start to examine motives and hidden thoughts, we find this deadly spiritual cancer wreaking havoc.

I don’t know how it might show up in your life, but I’ll give you some examples of how it does in mine.

My pride, this spiritual heart cancer, causes me to fear others more than I fear God. It makes me to want to look better than I actually am. It causes me to value my reputation–what others think and know about me–more than I value what God thinks and knows about me.

In essence, my reputation is my idol. It’s what I worship. It’s what I have to preserve. It’s what comes before everything else.

So how does all that play out in my life?

Well, because I want to be thought well of and to be liked, I will hold back from being honest. Why tell you what I really think and cause tension or conflict? Rather than speaking the truth in love, I won’t speak at all or I’ll tell you what you want to hear. And that’s neither truthful nor loving.

When it comes to my desire for a strong marriage and family–is it because it pleases God or because I want to look good to others? And what is my reason for working out? To be healthy or to simply look better? When I give to others–is it because I’m being generous or because I want to be liked?

The truth is that nothing we do is from a totally pure heart. I’m not talking about that though. I’m talking about pride that has begun to rule in my heart, not just taint my motives a little.

This morning, I was reading in Mark 2 and 3. Jesus has entered the town of Capernaum and experiences some confrontations with the Pharisees. I encourage you to read the passage. It’s very fascinating to note the reaction the Pharisees have to what Jesus is doing.

The Pharisees are watching Jesus closely, waiting to catch Him breaking the law. Every time He does something they don’t approve of–they confront Him either directly or indirectly. And each time they confront Him, they become more bold in how they do it until Jesus turns the tables and confronts them. When He does, it says:

He looked around at them in anger and, deeply distressed at their stubborn hearts, said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was completely restored. Then the Pharisees went out and began to plot with the Herodians how they might kill Jesus.

The more I think about the Pharisees, the more I identify with them. These were guys who were trying to do the right thing. They were trying to please God. Outwardly, everything seemed fine. But the problem was their motives were all wrong. Their hearts were far from God. They did things to be noticed by others, not to genuinely please God.

They were filled with a spiritual cancer of the heart. Pride was killing them and they didn’t even know it.

Maybe pride manifests itself differently in your life than it does in mine.

Maybe you always have to have things your way. And so you manipulate. And complain. And criticize.

Maybe your pride causes you to think too highly of yourself. You overestimate your strengths. You don’t listen to others. You don’t solicit feedback. And if others give it, you dismiss it. They really don’t know what they’re talking about, right?

Or maybe you have to be in control. You have a plan for your life and you’re going to see it through. God is mainly here to help you accomplish your goals. It doesn’t occur to you that God isn’t interested in your plans or your goals. He’s interested in you living in submission to Him and doing whatever He calls you to do.

If you’re like me, your first thought is that pride really isn’t a problem for you. And that’s what I would have said a week ago. But my heart is not only prideful, it’s also deceitful. “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

I wish I could say I have three action steps to deal with a prideful heart. But I don’t. I need the Great Physician to heal me, but I just don’t know what the course of treatment will look like yet.

Pride is like a cancer that has spread to multiple organs, so I don’t think there’s a quick fix.

Stay tuned.


The Biggest Troublemaker

Posted: January 18th, 2012 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Fitness, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Who is causing you the most trouble right now?

Is it your boss? Unreasonable deadlines? Micromanaging? Lack of encouragement?

Is it a friend or roommate who’s acting selfishly?

Is it a family member? A child who won’t listen? A spouse who doesn’t understand?

So who is it? Right now, who in your life is causing you the most trouble?

I don’t know who it is for you, but I’ll tell you who it is in my life. It’s me. There’s no one else in my life who even comes close to causing me the problems and trouble that I do.

If there’s tension in a relationship, it’s because I chose to act selfishly or respond poorly. If there’s stress, it’s because I procrastinated or over-committed. If there’s debt, it’s because I bought something I shouldn’t have. If I have a migraine, it’s because I’ve chosen to worry myself into one.

And what’s at the root of my problem-causing?

I don’t believe God. It’s that simple. Rather than trusting Him, I assume I’m going to have to take care of myself because He’s not going to come through. Or I believe I know what’s better for me. So I do what I want. What will give me pleasure. Or make me happy. Or comfortable.

Maybe you can relate. Think about it…

No one else puts unhealthy food in your mouth. No one else makes you look at pornography. No one else turns on the TV and compels you to watch it instead of exercising. No one else stands over you until you’ve put in an hour on Facebook instead of reading your Bible. No one else forces you to make credit card purchases you can’t really afford.

You get to choose. And so do I. No one else.

That means that we have tremendous power to help ourselves…or hurt ourselves. And what I find is that when I make choices that don’t line up with God’s way of doing life, I hurt myself. I get into trouble. I dig myself a hole.

And for me, it all comes down to whether or not I will believe Him. Will I trust that He knows what is best for me? That He has my best in mind? That when He gives a command that it’s meant to protect me and provide for me?

Our problems aren’t caused by a lack of money or someone else treating us poorly or bad weather or the policeman who pulls us over for speeding. Our biggest problems are caused by us.

Again, we get to choose. That means we can’t ever say things like, “She just makes me so angry!”

She can’t MAKE you do anything. You get to CHOOSE how you will respond to whatever she does. You can choose to trust God in the heat of the moment. You can trust God to defend you so you don’t have to defend yourself. You can choose to trust God so you don’t say things that will make the situation worse.

But we won’t trust God if we don’t know Him. And we won’t know Him unless we commit to spend time with Him.

And we won’t even commit to spend time with Him if we continue to insist that the problem is someone or something else.


Christmas Spirit

Posted: December 12th, 2011 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Difficulties, Fitness, Other, Relationships, Truth | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

It’s less than two weeks until Christmas. So how’s your Christmas spirit holding up? Do you feel connected to God? Or has the busyness of the season already robbed you of what little joy and peace you had?

Sometimes I think the root of our problem is the simple fact that we practically live like atheists or agnostics. And I’ll be honest, I don’t know how atheists and agnostics do it. How do they keep going? Even more, why do they keep going?

If you’re convinced there is no God (atheism) or you neither believe nor disbelieve in God (agnosticism), what’s the point? Of anything?

Why go to work? Why try to do the right thing? Why help someone less fortunate? Why tell the truth? Why remain faithful to your spouse? Why keep living?

Why? Why? Why?

What’s the point if there is no God?

If you believe there is no God and that the theory of evolution explains our existence, then there is no meaning or purpose or point to anything in the universe. If everything that exists came from nothing, then everything is an accident. Pure, random chance. And there can be no point to an accident. By definition, an accident lacks intention or purpose.

But if there is a God, then there is a point. Our lives do have meaning and purpose. We were created with intentionality. There’s a reason we’re here.

And if there’s a reason, then is there anything more important than understanding what it is?

In other words, if you exist for a reason, if there’s a God who created you with a purpose in mind, then it would seem like the wise thing to do to discover what it is and then live according to it.

I believe the Bible provides the answers to those questions. In it, we discover the One who created the universe. He has revealed Himself to us. He has shown us what He’s like and what’s important to Him.

“In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.” (Hebrews 1:1-3)

Jesus is “the exact representation of his being.” In other words, Jesus is God.

In the first couple of chapters of Luke, we find the story of Jesus’ birth. For many of us, it’s a familiar story. Mary is virgin and gets a visit from an angel who tells her that she’s going to give birth. He tells her that God Himself will be the child’s father.

Do those last few sentences amaze you? Or has the familiar become boring and almost meaningless? If it has, maybe it’s time to stop what you’re doing and re-visit the story.

Think about it, God made the conscious decision to step out of heaven and become one of us. He was born to a virgin in the town of Bethlehem, just as it had been prophesied. He came to reveal to us what He’s like and to pay our penalty for sin.

It really is an amazing story.

Do you believe it though? Do you really believe it? Will it effect how you live today? How you speak? How you spend your time? How you spend your money?

It just doesn’t make sense to believe God stepped into human history and then live as if He doesn’t even exist. He wants us to know Him and experience His love for us. And He wants us to love Him in return.

It’s what God has always wanted. Friendship. With you.

That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.