Green Hearts

“This book is rare. It never suggests Christians can sidestep life’s toughest issues. But there’s warmth, hope, insight, and reassurance of God’s love and support through the darkest times. Every chapter moved me and helped me. Green Hearts is a book for those who face struggles, which is all of us.”

Dr. Alistair Brown, Oxford, England
Retired President of Northern Seminary | Lisle, IL

“For forty plus years I have practiced medicine/surgery. During that time I have seen hundreds and thousands of people experience tragedy, grief, and sorrow. True healing, whether physical or spiritual, is a continual process. There will always be a scar. Green Hearts reminds me that Jesus indeed calmed the Sea of Galilee, and there is no storm in our hearts that He cannot calm or heal.”

Randy W. Cooper, MD, Chief of Surgery
University Hospital | Augusta, GA


Life is not skipping from mountain peak to mountain peak. Everyone experiences pain. It is the common ground on which all humanity stands. This book presents some of the most tragic and painful situations of life and answers the hard question of “why” from a Christian perspective. The inspiration for this book comes from the sudden death of one of the co-author’s ten-year-old daughter, Ella, who loved “Green Hearts.” In addition to real-life stories of God’s goodness in the worst of times, topics include:

  • Understanding and dealing with grief
  • Questioning God during difficult times
  • Helping someone who is grieving
  • Surprising things God does during tragedy
  • Answering the problem of pain, evil, and suffering
  • Forgiving a person who has hurt you


“I was president at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary when several of our students were killed in the Wedgwood Baptist Church shootings. During the community-wide service honoring the lives of the students, one of the clergy prayed a simple prayer: ‘Father, thank You that You waste nothing. Amen.’ With honesty and transparency, Jeff Bumgardner and Stephen Cutchins share personal stories of grief and give comfort by reminding us that ‘God never wastes a hurt.’ He is still good in the worst of times. Green Hearts is help for those who are hurting.”

Dr. Ken Hemphill, Special Assistant to the President
North Greenville University | Tigerville, SC

“A mentor told me years ago to never speak beyond my own experiences. I have not known the depths of this kind of pain and grief in my own life but have watched others walk through it. Jeff and Stephen write from a perspective of walking through their personal losses and struggles. Green Hearts is the kind of book I want to share with those around me who are walking their own difficult journeys.”

Denise Jones, Christian Music Artist
Point of Grace | Brentwood, TN

“In writing Green Hearts, Jeff Bumgardner and Dr. Stephen Cutchins have rendered a great service to the body of Christ. In my more than half-century of ministry, one of the most persistent questions I have been asked is, “Why do terrible things happen to Christians, and what do you do when it happens to you?” Green Hearts answers these questions in inspiring, yet easy to understand ways. Putting a human face on the problem of grief by using the testimonies of real people who have experi- enced terrible tragedy gives Green Hearts even greater impact. I am ordering a steady supply of Green Hearts to share with people who are dealing with grief.”

Dr. Richard Land, president
Southern Evangelical Seminary | Charlotte, NC

“Dr. Cutchins and Jeff Bumgardner have provided a book that contains some of the best of truths about some of the worst of times. Those who do not read it will miss experiencing the utmost about His highest in their lowest moments of life.”

Dr. Norman Geisler, Distinguished Senior Professor of Theology and Apologetics
Southern Evangelical Seminary | Charlotte, NC

“Green Hearts” on the shelf at Barnes and Noble

“I am honored to commend and encourage this book to all who read it. The authors are men of God whose faith and character have been hammered out upon the anvil of heartbreak and hardship. They write not as theorists, but practitioners. They do not provide philosophies of suffering, but the reality of it. Suffering and death exert life-altering impact on all of us—our faith, our relationships, our future. You may not want to read this book, but you cannot avoid the need for its message and ministry to help provide a hope and a future beyond your present suffering. I recommend you read it.”

Dr. David H. McKinley, Pastor-Teacher
Warren Baptist Church | Augusta, GA

“Green Hearts describes grief and loss with stunning clarity. If you have experienced grief, you will see yourself in the thoughts and actions, fears and pain, and feel to the depths of your soul the reality of loss on this messy planet. But you will also experience the hope of these who have walked in the darkest of days and can still say, ‘Though he slay me, yet will I trust in Him’ (Job 13:15). That is the hope we have in Christ—’God did this so that . . . we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure’ (Hebrews 6:18-19b NIV).”

Dr. Norma Hedin, Provost
Dallas Baptist University | Dallas, TX

“What do you do when you are in the presence of God and wor- ship will not come? As you read this compelling book, you will discover the stories of many who have been in that exact spot. There is tremendous help in the pages that are in front of you. As you consider the reality you face, you will also encounter a God who is big enough to redeem any situation!”

Dr. David B. Horton, President
Fruitland Baptist Bible College | Hendersonville, NC

“Have you ever noticed how a broken arm is easier to heal than a broken heart, a shattered dream, or a splintered life? In Green Hearts, Dr. Stephen Cutchins and Jeff Bumgardner offer help and hope for those whose emotional pain and grief is real and raw. They share from the depths of their own experiences of personal, painful loss, and they give a voice to others who share their own stories of hurt and recovery as well. The spot-on scriptural insights, combined with the testimonies, remind us that God is always incredibly good, even if life is sometimes terribly bad. There’s healing here. I recommend this book.”

Dr. J. Kie Bowman, Senior Pastor
Hyde Park Baptist/The Quarries Church | Austin, TX

“The longer I serve in ministry, the more I’m convinced that most of us don’t know how to deal with pain. Stephen Cutchins and Jeff Bumgardner reminded me of my own times of heartbreak; but they also reminded me that God is infinitely good, even in the darkest moments of life. The stories in this book will break your heart, but they will also point to the comfort that broken hearts long for.”

Ryan Rush, Senior Pastor
Kingsland Baptist Church | Katy, TX

“Whether asking why or how questions in the darkness of grief, Green Hearts shares light and hope. The reader will experience authentic empathy and help from fellow strugglers who have experienced the goodness of God in their darkest hours.”

Dr. Steve Cloud, President
Vision Ventures | Columbia, SC

“Bumgardner and Cutchins share with every reader how to get help from God and His people to handle the emotional journey we all take sooner or later—the journey through grief. I was moved, blessed, and helped practically, and you will be too.”

Dr. Dick Lincoln, Retired Pastor
Shandon Baptist Church | Columbia, SC

“Everyone has experienced, or will experience, grief and pain as we go through life. This collection of testimonies, words of explanation and counsel, and appropriate Bible passages should help every reader. Hearts that are ‘green’ with bitterness and disappointment can become ‘green’ with new vitality by reading this book.”

Dr. Thomas L. Constable, Senior Professor Emeritus of Bible Exposition
Dallas Theological Seminary | Dallas, TX

“Grief is both universal and unique. We all face it, but the circumstances surrounding each loss and the relationships involved make it something hard to pin down when trying to comfort those in need of comforting. What I love about this book is that it doesn’t try to give one definitive answer for the grieving, but it shows that loss and grief do not have to define you and that there will be a tomorrow when the sun will actually shine again. For those of us who have walked through these dark valleys, Green Hearts is a comforting recollection of where we’ve been. And for those who have yet to journey to that unfortunate place, it is a refreshing map to show the way across and through.”

Joel Lindsey, Christian Music Songwriter and Publisher | Santa Barbara, CA


Recent Posts

Spiritual Narcissism

Have you ever met a spiritual narcissist?

Narcissism is the pursuit of gratification from vanity or egotistic admiration of one’s idealized self-image and attributes. The term originated from Greek mythology, where the young Narcissus fell in love with his own image reflected in a pool of water.

Doing all the religious and right things often gives us a feeling of self-importance. As a result, all the praise and the admiration from others can spin out of control very quickly if we aren’t walking in humility. As Christians, we are IN CHRIST!

It’s not about us … but sometimes we like to make it all about US.

When we do that, we trick ourselves into thinking that we don’t need God’s grace and that we can do it without God’s help. This is called works-based salvation. Works-based salvation is a type of spiritual narcissism that can lead to anxiety, loss of important relationships, and eventually lead to burnout.

Narcissism is the reliance on self or knowledge rather than reliance on God and the Holy Spirit.

Self-righteousness is like a bottomless cup; you can pour and pour, you will never be able to fill it. Why? Because pouring yourself into yourself adds nothing to you.


Instead, we should accept God’s righteousness rather than trying to accumulate our own. 2 Corinthians 3:18 tell us, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”

If we are to be transformed into Christ’s image we have to take off the mask of self-righteousness and allow the Spirit to lead us.

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” ~Paul~

Ephesians 2:8-10 is one of my favorite passages in the Bible. In just three verses, Paul delivers a powerful message in eleven keywords and phrases. Let’s break it down together:

1. GRACE: By grace, we have the riches of His grace that we could never earn or keep. His Grace is His free gift and His free power available to you as heirs to the Kingdom. So, REJOICE in that!

2. FAITH: The way we receive our salvation is through faith. Faith is not a “work”, it could never be a “work.” It does not merit salvation; it is only the means by which one accepts God’s free gift of salvation.

3. NOT US: There is nothing we could have done or ever could do to receive Him. We need Jesus, even to accept Jesus. He pursues us and calls to us and at the divine moment He set for us, we hear his call and even then we rely on Him to hear about His gift and promise for us.

4. GOD’S GIFT: When a person puts out their hand to take a gift someone else offers, they are doing nothing to earn or deserve that gift. The giver gets credit for the gift, not the receiver. Likewise, faith is the same way.

5. NOT WORKS: Are you trying to work your way into God’s favor, or worse, a never-ending cycle of approval from people? You may even try to stay busy to avoid having to deal with some areas of healing God wants to walk you through. You can do a lot of “right” things, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s THE “God thing” for your life.

6. NO ONE CAN BOAST: All the glory will go to God for accomplishing salvation. As Jesus so graciously reminds us in John 14:6, “I am THE WAY, THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE. No one comes to the Father except through me.” It’s impossible for anyone else to be able to provide salvation.

7. HIS ARTWORK: Rather than salvation being a masterpiece that we have produced, believers are a masterpiece that God has produced. Even though we are all being conformed to His image and walking the same journey through sanctification, we are all different works of art.

8. CREATED IN CHRIST: As a master worker, God has created us in Christ Jesus. It is the kind of work only HE can do. “In Christ alone my hope is found. He is my light, my strength, my song.”

9. FOR GOOD WORKS: Good works are not the roots from which salvation grows but the fruit God intends it to bear. When you are led by the Spirit, your tree will be filled with good fruit. 

10. GOD PREPARED WORKS: God knew the plans for our life before the creation of the Earth. Nothing surprises Him, even when we try to take matters into our own hands.

11. WALK IN THEM: God orders our steps and has prepared them beforehand. We should go to Him and seeking His plan for our works. Everything we do for the Kingdom should be us walking out God’s plan for our lives, rather than the works we think we should do.


  • Are you trying to do it by yourself? 
  • Have you allowed spiritual narcissism to drive your motivation?

If you have, it’s ok, there is a solution. Seek His face, spend some time in the Secret Place with the Father and ask Him to show you what He wants you doing.

Don’t become a spiritual narcissist!

Let Jesus drive!

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