The Guy I Don’t Want to Be

Posted: February 26th, 2010 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Truth | Tags: , , | 2 Comments »

Yesterday, I met with a friend I used to work with and hadn’t seen in a couple years. As our meeting was ending, he asked how he could pray for me. I told him I’d been reading Isaiah and Jeremiah recently and was struck with how often it was said that people were honoring God with their lips, but their hearts were far from Him.

I told my friend I didn’t want to be that guy. I didn’t want to be the guy who talks a good game, but isn’t living it.

I find it too easy to be that guy. Maybe you do, too.

For me, it happens when I don’t believe God. It happens when I place my desire for comfort and pleasure ahead of my desire to be holy. It happens when God reveals truth to me, but I forget it.

It helps me to write this blog. It helps me to put it out there publicly. It helps me to remind myself of what I believe. It makes it harder to go my own way when I’m encouraging everyone else to go God’s way.

So I want to thank you for reading. I don’t know if I’d quit writing if no one was reading, but I might. Actually, I probably would. Thank you for allowing me to share what God is teaching me. Thank you for the comments, emails and Facebook messages I get from some of you. It encourages me to keep writing.

Thank you for sharing the journey with me.

Now if you’ll allow me to, I’d like to change direction for a moment and ask for your help…

I mentioned a few times that my wife, Robyn, is the area director of a non-profit ministry here in Fayetteville called Young Life. You can check out the local ministry here or the larger ministry of Young Life here.

As the area director, Robyn’s responsibilities include developing and training leaders, teaching/speaking, administrative functions and raising the budget. Because the budget has not been fully raised, her salary was reduced by 50% last fall and remains at that level. Her commitment level and the time she’s giving remain at 100% though. And the results show it.

She and her 27 trained volunteer leaders her having a significant impact in the lives of many students at the University of Arkansas and in the Fayetteville public schools. And they’ve just launched a new outreach to pregnant teens and teen mothers.

All but just a few of the volunteer leaders are college students, students who could be doing a lot of other things, but choose to give a significant amount of their time to loving and serving others. Honestly, their commitment humbles me. Robyn and I both consider it a privilege to build into them, to encourage them and to help them grow in their faith.

On Saturday, March 6th, Young Life Fayetteville will sponsor a walk-a-thon to try and raise $15,000. That was the amount raised last year. If they can hit that amount again, then it looks like the budget will be fully funded this year, Robyn will return to full salary and ministry can be expanded.

I will be participating in the “Not Quite 5k Walk-a-thon” and my goal is to raise at least $1,000.

Last year, it snowed the morning of the walk-a-thon and there was a bitterly cold wind blowing. I’m hoping it’s a little warmer this year.

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Would you be willing to make a small (or large if you can!) tax deductible donation? Maybe you can do $15. Or maybe $500. Any amount will be a great help.

If you’d like to donate, you can click here to make a secure online donation. If you’d prefer to donate with a check, you can make it payable to “Young Life” and mail it to:

Young Life
PO Box 1325
Fayetteville, AR 72702

Thank you for whatever you may be able to do. I’ll report back on the results after the event.


5 Wrong Ways to Wait on God

Posted: August 28th, 2009 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Other | Tags: , , | 5 Comments »

You have a need. God promises to meet that need…but nothing happens. So you wait. Then you wait some more. And you keep waiting…and waiting…and waiting. Until you’re tired of waiting. So tired.

After God promised Abraham and Sarah they would have a son, they waited 25 years for his birth. David waited 14 years to become king after being anointed by Samuel and he spent much of that time running for his life. A Savior was promised thousands of years before Jesus finally came on the scene.

We might have to wait a week for the results of a biopsy, fifteen months to sell a house (or longer these days) or a few years for a start-up business to become profitable. Maybe for you it’s waiting for God to provide a spouse or a child.

Waiting is a mega-theme in the Bible. It’s something we have to learn to do well.

Let’s quickly look at a few ways to NOT wait well. I’ve tried each of them.

1. Anger. God doesn’t behave like I want Him to. He doesn’t come through for me, at least not the way I wanted. So I conclude He’s not good after all. He’s not loving or kind like He says He is. He’s just not worth trusting. After all, I did my best to obey Him and now He’s treating me unfairly.

Then I think I have every right in the world to be mad at Him. Soon, my anger turns to bitterness and cynicism. It’s a downward spiral from there. I’ve been in that spiral. It’s not pretty.

2. Discouragement. The waiting seems endless. Things aren’t getting better, they’re only getting worse. In fact, just when it seems things can’t get any worse, sure enough, they do. My circumstances can look so overwhelming that I lose hope. I can get to a place where I cannot even see how things will ever get any better. I’ve been there, too.

3. Feeling sorry for myself. This is a subtle one to fall into. It’s a victim mentality. I did what God wanted, but I guess He’s just against me. It’s also a twisted way of trying to manipulate God. I don’t know about you, but I haven’t had much success with that.

4. Manipulating my circumstances. Abraham and Sarah tried this one. When Sarah couldn’t get pregnant, she suggested Abraham sleep with one of her servants. Being the unselfish, man-of-faith he was, Abraham went right along with her plan. When God has me in a season of waiting, it’s best to not take things into my own hands. Nothing good can come of that. It’s also a good idea to be sure you’re getting wise counsel, even if it’s coming from your spouse.

5. Lowering my expectations of God. This may be the worst of the five, but I was guilty of this for a number of years. After living through the first four, I figured the safest bet was to just lower my expectations of God. I just wouldn’t expect him to do anything for me. If I didn’t expect Him to answer prayers, bless me or help me out of difficult situations, then I wouldn’t be disappointed. If He did do something then it would be a nice surprise. I guess it’s kind of like the person who gets burned in a relationship and vows to never fall in love again.

I don’t know if there’s a more offensive way to view God than as someone who really can’t be counted on. Someone who won’t come through and therefore shouldn’t be trusted. It’s a total lack of faith and reflects a terrible view of God.

So those are the wrong ways, but how do we respond when the need is unmet and God doesn’t seem to be in a hurry?

We actively wait.

A doctor I saw in Little Rock (before we moved) was an ultra-marathon runner. Those are the 100-mile races. He and I got into a fitness discussion one day and he was explaining his workout schedule to me. There didn’t appear to be any rest days, so I asked him about it.

He said his rest days consisted of going to the athletic club and riding a stationary bike. He called it “active rest.” He and I had different definitions of “rest.”

Waiting on God is kind of like that though–it’s active. We pray. We read His word. We seek counsel. We worship. We serve. We live in community with others who are believing God. We continue doing the last thing He showed us to do.

We actively wait.

My wife, Robyn, is a great example. She is doing an awesome job leading the Young Life ministry in Fayetteville, Arkansas. She has an incredible team of committed college student leaders. Ministry is occurring on the University of Arkansas campus, at Fayetteville High School and at the middle school level.

The budget is lagging behind though…to the point that her salary was cut until adequate funds are raised. She isn’t waiting passively, she’s waiting actively for God to work. She is continuing to do ministry: coach leaders, plan retreats, hold events, etc. She’s also actively working to raise the funds to meet her budget. She is active while she waits on God to lead her to the people He has called to help support the ministry.

Your circumstances are different.

You’re trying to repair a broken relationship.

Medical test after medical test hasn’t revealed the cause of your symptoms.

You’ve tried to sell your house, but the offers aren’t coming.

Active waiting is refusing to give into the five destructive waiting behaviors while continuing to pursue and believe God. I know it’s not easy. I’ve failed many, many times. I’m getting better at it, but I still fail. A lot.

God is at work in your circumstances. Right now. He has a purpose behind the waiting. When the time is right, the waiting will end. In the meantime, wait for Him…actively.

(By the way, if you or someone you know wants to invest in a strategic, life-changing ministry to middle school through college students, email Robyn at: robynstutts@gmail.com)


Delight Yourself in the Lord

Posted: June 8th, 2009 | Author: Gregg Stutts | Filed under: Truth | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments »

One of my favorite Bible verses has always been Psalm 37:4:

“Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.”

I mean, how can you not like getting “the desires of your heart”?

Of course, there’s the utterly selfish way of interpreting that verse. It goes like this: Do whatever you feel like and He will give you the desires of your heart.

That doesn’t work. I tried it. You probably have too. But God is too good to work that way. First of all, God wants us seeking and delighting in Him. He’s a jealous God. He’s not into sharing us. What He said to Moses still applies today: no other Gods, no idols. Period.

Second, to give us the desires of our heart, God must first give us His desires. He’s not in the business of giving us whatever we can dream up, but as we delight in Him, He gives us His desires, which He then graciously fulfills.

To delight in the Lord simply means to find pleasure and enjoyment in Him. To be honest, that’s not easy, at least for me. My life can easily be filled with many other delights. Some are really wonderful. Some are merely distractions.

Delighting in the Lord begins with a choice. It’s a decision to put away our lesser gods and idols. It’s an intentional decision to seek God and delight in Him more than we delight in our other pursuits…work, hobbies, relationships, food, sex, movies, the internet and any number of things. None of these things are necessarily sinful…just distractions if we let them be. Lesser gods. Idols that call us to delight in them. These things are gifts to enjoy, not idols to worship or gods to serve.

All of that brings me to a desire God gave and fulfilled twenty-four years ago today. On this day in 1985 in south Louisiana, God gave me a wife who has been, continues to be and will always be the desire of my heart. She is the greatest earthly blessing in my life. Robyn is my counselor, my partner, my friend, my lover, my playmate. She’s an amazing wife and an awesome mother to our four children. She’s a gifted leader and communicator. I am encouraged and challenged by her life.

If I’d never read the Bible and knew nothing about God, but had to tell you what I thought He was like based only on the wife He has given me…I would tell you He is good. He is kind. He is loving. He is gracious. He desires only good for me. He enjoys laughter and pleasure and fun. He wants more for us than we can even comprehend.

I would tell you I believe God gives us the desires of our hearts when we delight in Him.

Happy anniversary, Robyn. May there be many, many more…