Rev. Stephen P. "Gutty" Gutridge

Rev. Stephen P. "Gutty" Gutridge
This blog is my comments on current cultural and church happenings along with answers to your questions. I will make an honest effort to answer everything you ever wanted to ask about God, faith, the Bible, Jesus Christ, etc.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

WHAT DO I BELIEVE? Conversely, WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE?

WHAT DO I BELIEVE? Conversely, WHAT DO YOU BELIEVE?

I believe in God. He is everything and essentially nothing matters but God and His Word.

I believe that all people are separated from God by sin. The essential definition of sin is; the pursuit of and ranking of one’s own will over anything else, most particularly over God’s will.

I believe that people are totally incapable of pleasing God and earning any favor with Him.

I believe that God loves all people. He wants to be with all people and all people to be with Him for all eternity. He has done through Jesus Christ everything that is necessary for any person to be with Him. Sadly, few will receive His offer.

I believe that people are irreparably flawed and incapable of any good. Apart from Jesus Christ the future for mankind is desperately bleak.

I believe that there are many people in this world that will do anything to destroy everything that is good.

I believe that every person born-again of God is responsible to proclaim the good news of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.

I believe that most Americans love their families and their country and will do anything to defend both.

I believe that the free enterprise system is a gift from God.

I believe in limited government.

I believe that problems are simply an opportunity to work harder and solve them with God’s guidance.

I believe that the ability to forgive and forget will set you free.

I believe that the harder you work the luckier you get.

I believe in choosing to be happy.

I believe in taking responsibility for my every action. I believe in taking responsibility for everything that happens to me.

I believe that every obstacle is an opportunity to become a better person.

I believe that life is tough and that at the end of the day life is what you make of it.

I believe that no one has the right to take from me and give it to someone else. Generosity is a choice I make in response to God's generosity.

I believe in my family.

I believe that I have a responsibility to care for others.

I believe that evil exists and it is my responsibility to protect all that is good from all that is bad.

I believe in preparing for the worst while expecting the best.

I believe in the natural born and inalienable right to liberty.

I believe that anyone who shirks their responsibility to defend and protect simply does not understand their responsibility as a Christ follower and an American.

I believe in myself as I rely totally upon the power of God indwelling me as Holy Spirit.

This is a working list. I'll add more later.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

We Take Ourselves Too Seriously

Sunday was my birthday! I try not to give much attention to them anymore, but this was a big one. My wife, Paula, and I took our children and grandchildren to Texas Road House for steak and ribs. Paula bought a wonderful chocolate on chocolate cake and asked the restaurant staff to serve it when our meal was complete. We were just finishing up when the excitement began. The staff arrived at our table to sing a Happy Birthday Yee Haw song and put me on the portable saddle for pictures.

My son, who will have a birthday next Sunday (maybe he will want to go to the Texas Roadhouse also, not!), and my grandchildren were mortified as I climbed into the saddle and did a rousing Yee Haw! Things eventually quieted down and I cut the cake and served everyone at our table. I then took hold of the cake tray and reached up to put it on the shelf of the divider between booths. Just as my hand reached the divider the cake plate broke in the middle and I firmly planted the cake on the side of the wooden divider icing side first. Before sliding to the floor it hung for a long moment  mocking me. I turned to the two young ladies in the next booth and asked if I had gotten cake on them. "No," they replied, "but we sure have had great entertainment, Happy Birthday!"

What could be better, people all around being entertained at my expense and seeing my grandchildren getting embarrassed? I trust all will look back on this and conclude, it's alright to be a bit silly.

CERTAINLY MY GREATEST BIRTHDAY TO DATE!!!

Saturday, February 02, 2013

Gun Control Means Hitting What You are Aiming At

There is quite a debate raging theses days regarding gun control. Many, with the best intentions believe that stricter gun control will make our country safer. If that is true then Chicago and Washington, D.C. should be safest cities in the U.S. They have the strictest gun controls. The debate rages and no one seems to be really thinking about the real issues, the real problem.

 Gun control is a private property issue not an answer to reducing violence. Is it gun control we want or less violence? We want less violence of course. Is anyone really thinking about why we have such a violent society? I would like to suggest some causes for a violent society. In 1973 the Supreme Court of the United States of America legalized abortion. Many at the time suggested we were headed down a long slippery slope that leads where no one wants to go. Since 1973 55 million babies have been aborted in this country. What kind of society allows that to happen? Obviously a society that has lost all respect for the value of human life.

 Consider the kinds of movies we watch and the kind of television we watch. It is violent. Gun violence is shown daily. The kind of violence that seldom really happens, but is celebrated as normative on film. We have grown insensitive to such violence and how it indicates our society's devaluing of human life. What kind of video games do your children play. I have watched my grandchildren play some games where the object is to kill as many people as possible before they kill you. Oh, its make-believe we tell ourselves. Yet, I wonder if children are just being numbed to the reality of violence.

 School shootings have challenged our culture on a whole new level. Children are bullied until they can take no more and they go on a rampage. Bullies don't just happen. They are produced by other bullies. Those bullies may be a parent, a sibling, a neighbor, or television, movies, and video games to mention a few. 

Where are the bullies' parents? Where are the parents of children being bullied? How about teachers, where are they when children are bullied? I remember how bullies were dealt with in my school days. The principle had a big paddle that he displayed prominently in his office. When he used it he kept his door open and the sound echoed down the halls. Oh what needless violence! No one was ever shot by another student in my schools. Interesting.

 We have the Affordable Health Care Act that is slowly unfolding in this nation. We are beginning to see that there is simply not enough money to take care of everyone as they want to be cared for. The day will come when a panel will decide who has a valuable life and who does not. Older Americans will ultimately be denied extensive health care because we just cannot justify the cost. Profoundly disabled will also come under scrutiny and will simply be denied costly care because of the expense. Look at who we have become in the guise of personal choice.

Younger people cannot distinguish between make believe violence and real violence. Our urban centers are so violent that children see murders every day. They are so desensitized that they commit violent acts against their own peers and wonder what is wrong with it. Abortion is so commonplace that women are told it is their "right." Forget the "rights" of the baby. Unborn babies are not real people they are just fetuses.

Where did all of this begin and when will it end? It began with "the fall" recorded in Genesis 3, the first book of the Bible, and will end when Jesus returns, the final promise of the Bible. In the meantime maybe some common sense can be applied.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Exasperation of Job Hunting

I have always fancied myself as one with an entrepreneurial spirit. I concert with my wife, Paula, we have started two successful businesses; founded together a religious not for profit ministry, Living Christ Ministries, Inc.; and co-hosted a widely heard Christian live phone-in counseling and teaching radio program. I left the business world for seminary when our children were young and Paula went back to college. Neither of us has ever been shy of about hard work and risk taking.

Sadly, over the years I have become comfortable in the institution of the church. I have 15 years experience as a solo pastor and a Senior Pastor (Head of Staff) coupled with another 15 years of experience as an interim pastor. All of this time was in the Presbyterian Church (USA). My previous interim ended successfully January 15, 2012. I have not landed another interim contract just yet though I have made multiple applications.

I am not quite ready for retirement and still need full-time employment. As a result, I have been thrust into the secular job market. Wow, what an eye opener. We hear so much in the media about the high unemployment rate. We do not hear about how difficult it is to navigate the job search waters. Job searching is difficult enough for someone with advanced education, marketable skills, and computer/internet experience. I cannot imagine how daunting it is for those that have very little education, limited skills, and no computer/internet access and/or experience.

The day of going business to business and completing hand-written job applications is nearly gone. Nearly every business I have visited has told me to go on-line and apply. They will call if interested. I am now just an application among thousands without my personality and charm (sic) to highlight my skills and experience. It is easy to become discouraged in this environment. I spend quality time with the Lord every day and study His Word. I could not survive this season without Him.

Are you in this same boat? Are you seeking a job or a better job with limited success? Turn to the Lord Jesus Christ and His word. I suggest concentrating on the Psalms. They are filled with shared thoughts and feelings of saints with similar experiences. It is good to be reminded of God’s faithfulness over and over. It is good to know you are not alone. Seek His face, meditate on His word, and He will lift you up!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Why You Must Read God's Word

God loves the world and its people so much that He gave us an owner's manual, the Bible. People normally view the world through the prism of their own lives, own needs, own wants, own desires, and own capabilities. The world revolves around the individual. Seldom do people consider they are players in a much larger story.

It is a story not written by us, but by God. Reading the Bible helps one see that God is not some distant capricious despot that cares little for His creation. Rather, He loves people and takes a very active personal role in their lives. He instructs people through the Bible by telling true-life stories about how He relates with people, how people relate with Him, and how people relate with each other. The uniqueness of His story, He is not trying to convince us of anything. He does not sugar-coat the stories or embellish them with only successes. When one reads through the Bible one discovers that even God's favorite people are deeply flawed. He chooses to love them, forgive them, bless them, and use them regardless of their flaws, misbehavior, and failures.

Reading through the Bible is not like reading a dry instruction manual, but it is more like reading a great epic adventure. The best part is that each reader discovers they have a unique role in this adventure. A good story causes the reader to identify with one of the characters in the story. A simple study of the Bible shows us that we can identify with many of the characters in the story, but more important, it is an ongoing story in which we play a vital role.

The great God-man epic is not complete. One needs to study the Bible and discover their part in God's great story. Every person deep down longs to be part of something bigger than themselves. Most feel trapped in a life they did not chose and one they feel they cannot escape. Why else would television, movies, and novels be so wildly popular. They provide a constant stream of stories that allows one to escape the mundane of life if only for a few minutes. While one is engaged in the show, movie, or book they are involved in something bigger than themselves. Alas, it is all “make-believe” and ultimately one must abandon the story and re-enter real life.

Suppose it were possible to be part of something really big? Imagine an adventure greater than any one person, something bigger than anything one can even imagine. Now, that is something to capture the imagination! If it were possible to be part of something bigger than one ever imagined, most would want to know HOW?! Reading the Bible and studying the Bible quickly catches one up in the living story or epic God is authoring. One first identifies with a character or with several characters. Additional study shows us that we have a role in this epic as well. This is not a make-believe story, but a real-life adventure and each person has his or her role to play. Interestingly, the end has already been written. The greatest of adventure is discovering how each role plays a vital part in leading to the conclusion of God’s epic live adventure.


Do you want to know your role in God’s epic? Read and study the Bible. Now do it again and again. Hang around others that are on the same quest. Talk about God’s Word and this extraordinary living adventure in which you live. God talk is always more exciting and more fulfilling than any other conversation. Are you a protagonist or an antagonist? Are you a hero? You can be of course. Ask Him and He will show you your role and how to play it. Remember, wherever you go, God is sending you. Wherever you are, God has put you there; He has a purpose in your being there. Jesus Christ who indwells you has something He wants to do through you right there. Believe this and live confidently in His grace, love, power, and ever developing epic adventure.