Gutsy is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as “showing courage, determination, and
spirit.” Related words are brave, courageous, bold, daring, fearless, heroic,
lionhearted, undaunted, unflinching, unshrinking, and unafraid. Those describe Chris Stull!
On this Valentine’s Day I want to do a quick shared reflection on the gutsy
ways of this guy of mine…
• He got up at 1:00 a.m. to start a 5,000+’ grueling hike to the top of 14,259’
Longs Peak…13 hours…just because his sons wanted to do it. Gutsy.
• He took on a “leftover players” little league baseball team in which most of the
boys were afraid of the ball. By the end of the season they were champions.
• He stepped in to lead a church with amazing wisdom, peace, purpose and clarity
when the senior pastor felt called to another place. Gutsy.
• He walked away from a great job with a large staff at a big church in a wonderful
city near extended family to move and plant a church in Phoenix, not
knowing where that church would meet or what that church would be called.
• He chose to go from a place of full resource closets, pews and paid staff to “I
guess we should order some chairs so people can sit,” and “Would anyone
like to volunteer to help?” Gutsy.
• He has handled hundreds of difficult human resource incidents with truth and
• He has shared truth patiently, honestly and lovingly with irate people who were
pouring their anger out on him because they were mad at God. Gutsy.
• He has preached God’s Word truthfully when he knew he would not win any
popularity contest. Gutsy.
• In the midst of taking almost a half cut pay in salary to plant a church, he
adopted two children internationally from a country that was rampant with
Ebola at the time of travel. Gutsy.
• He bravely navigates and provides for the needs of 7 children — car insurance,
car payments, cell phone payments, FAFSA apps, etc. Gutsy.
• While suffering with malaria when on a Zambian mission, he preached a full
sermon at a church that was a mile away from running water or any
• In South Africa, though no one would go near the village witch doctor’s home, he
entered, laid hands on the woman’s sick son, and he was healed. (And the
witch doctor surrendered her life to Christ!) Gutsy.
• He has given probably 100 off-the-cuff messages or impromptu prayers at
unexpected times. Gutsy.
• He helped lead and guide people with wisdom in the horror of a Rockies
• Although a “detail guy” with an MBA in finance, he bravely has led his family to
follow the Lord when feeling the call to give to the Lord well above and
beyond anything that worked on paper. Gutsy.
• His encounters with wildlife deserve a section all their own…
⁃ He was once walking over a log and encountered a rattle snake zinging
with feet on both sides of the log and snake in between.
⁃ He sat down in a boat next to a rattlesnake – not a good fishing partner.
⁃ He was walking through a creek and encountered a moose – both ran the
fastest 40 yards that day.
⁃ He was fishing and ended up in the stream with a mama bear and two
cubs walking the bank.
⁃ He was sitting on the ground with his back against a log when an elk
climbed over the log.
⁃ He was walking in the middle of an open meadow in the pitch black when
he heard breathing and snorting all around him. The elk herd starting
running in that field as he stood in the middle of shaking ground,
thinking he would surely be trampled.
• He has completed over a dozen triathlons — swimming, biking, and running —
some in the heat and humidity, or close to freezing conditions. Gutsy.
• He sat with white knuckles in the passenger seat of a van on the Road to Hana
with his nervous wife at the wheel maneuvering 500+ hairpin turns and 500+
one-lane bridges on the sides of cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Gutsy.
(He won’t forget his driver’s license next time we go to Maui.)
• He has often folded laundry for this family of 7+ (depending on who is home at
the time), having done as much as 6-7 loads in the time of one ballgame or
• He has done middle-of-the-night clean up on carpets and beds when little
children got sick. Gutsy!
• He has gotten up almost every morning without fail to read the Bible and seek
the Lord in prayer, even when he didn’t feel like it. Gutsy.
If you are wondering how my guy got so gutsy, the answer lies in that last
reflection. He surrendered his life to Christ and is filled with the Spirit of the living
God. Every day for decades now he has been seeking the Lord as his source of
strength and direction. It’s not that he never feels fear. He just doesn’t let fear stop
him. His boldness comes from a deep confidence in God. I have often heard
friends talk about Chris’s “Joshua” spirit, and that’s what I’m writing about. Joshua
1:9 says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for
the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Living with him is an
adventure, and I’m thankful to be by his side every step along the way. Happy
Valentine’s Day, my love. You will always be my hero.