transformed BY TOUGH TIMES



A Note from a Fellow Struggler
…from inside the Transformed by Tough Times book

If you are reading this and are as broken as I was the first time I read this book, you may be feeling a resistance welling up in you, saying, “Steve doesn’t understand. My tough times are different. God has abandoned me. I’m in a hopeless situation.” I felt that way, and those feelings so choked my spirit that I almost didn’t read this incredible book. For those of us who are at the bottom of difficult circumstances, we don’t often trust people very well. So allow me a minute to tell you why I think Steve can be trusted to help us be transformed by our tough times.

I have known Steve since 1994, but I didn’t really know him, and he didn’t really know me, until June of 2008, when I was at an all-time low in my life. We had done ministry together for a couple of years in the mid 90’s and had stayed in touch some after that. But when my reality crashed, Steve was one of the few who showed up to be with me.

Now, granted, Steve would like to be seen as the cowboy hero who rides into town on a powerful white stallion, with his six shooters a-blazin’ to save the day. But I see him more like a faith healer. No, not the kind you might see on TV. His faith and his beliefs about people are healing in a different way. He relentlessly trusts that God has created each human being for a unique purpose. No matter what level of suffering, no matter how isolated, stuck, or wounded a person is, Steve will invest time, energy, and resources to invite responsiveness that leads to God’s deep healing. Some might say he’s wasting time. But Steve seems willing to encourage over and over again until God works.

At first, Steve tried to teach, exhort, and cheer me out of my anger and bitterness. In my case, that didn’t work very well. But he didn’t give up on me. As I reflect on what Steve did for me, I think there are some powerful things he did that really helped. First, Steve “let me be.” He accepted me, and that acceptance told me that he loved me. Even when I was angry and bitter, ugly, and full of self-pity, Steve saw me through it. Somehow he seemed to delight in me—seeing me as a masterpiece in progress. In a nutshell, Steve was patient. Steve talks about the body of Christ becoming Jesus with skin on. Well, Steve was Jesus in the flesh to me during those times.

Steve did a second thing for me that was incredibly profound. He became vulnerable and invited me to help him. Though I was consumed by shame, dishonor, and a belief that I had forfeited and given up everything, Steve gave me a chance to get outside of myself and help him. Looking back, Steve trusted me even as I was untrustworthy. While he carried a lot of my burden, he gave me the dignity of helping carry his burden, too. I’m not even sure he was aware of doing that. While I doubted God and didn’t trust Him, God gave Steve the courage to rely on me and let me carry him! Now that’s a crucial issue–allowing someone to carry you.

A third thing I noticed about Steve was his unshakable trust in God and his belief that God had his back. I’ve discovered that when people believe that God has their back, they can trust other people in remarkable ways. Maybe that was why Steve could have the courage to risk relying on a wounded, hurting human being like me. Jesus demonstrated this kind of vulnerability in His ministry. He associated and ministered with some of the most unlikely people. He didn’t flaunt His power and authority. He didn’t start His ministry with a million dollars in the bank and people who had it all together. Jesus was vulnerable. I believe that since Jesus believed God had His back, He could allow the most broken of people to help Him. I have seen that kind of Jesus trust in Steve.

As you read this book, I invite you to invest your time, your self, and your heart–to be vulnerable and allow the Spirit of God to transform you. If you are warring in your heart like I was, I urge you to drop your defenses, lay down your weapons, and invite God to transform you through the pages of this book. When I had my defenses up, love couldn’t get through to me. To overcome my resistance, Steve risked being knocked down, bloodied, and beaten for me to understand that God loves the brokenhearted. Hmm, that too sounds like a Jesus move to me.

Because of my experience with Steve, I believe that he is just beginning to tap into the gifting that God has given him in the area of healing – the healing of souls, the healing of spirits, the healing of the wounded. If you are wounded, or know someone who is, I invite you to experience the truths Steve offers. As you get started, I encourage you to follow Steve’s advice to get a partner to go through this together. Take it from someone who was isolated from people for a long time. Don’t go it alone. Find your Steve. Find your friend to walk with you through your tough times. If you can’t find somebody you know, then I’d suggest you try a homeless shelter, a nursing home, a hospital, or some other likely place to find someone who’s also wounded, and walk through the tough times together with them.

For your own sake, and for the sake of others you might impact down the road, hang on, my friend. Keep reading. Hope could be just a few pages away.

Bill Burrows
Steve’s friend and fellow struggler

What People Are Saying

  • In the aftermath of being stranded for five days following Hurricane Katrina, this book helped me so much that I gave out more than 50 copies to friends and colleagues trying to rebuild shattered lives and broken dreams…

    Jerry Bass
    Chaplain, Interim LSU Public Hospital
    New Orleans, Louisiana
  • As a person new to faith in Jesus, I was trying to lead a Christ-led life. But worry and doubt held me back every step of the way. I was, well, STUCK! When I read Steve’s book, it opened my eyes so that God could change my heart. I finally could let go of all my worry and control that I thought I had. And WOW! God made miracles begin to happen in my life. I have since given this book to friends in my small group and to several others, and they have had such a change in their hearts too. If you are going through tough times, pick up this book. It will help.

    Amanda McCanles-Crable
    Health Services Worker
    Belton, Missouri
  • In light of today’s economic uncertainties and the tough times many are facing, I heartily recommend Steve’s book to Christians and Christian leaders everywhere.

    Paul Powell
    Dean Emeritus
    George W. Truett Theological Seminary
  • Nothing would please me more than to see this book become a best seller. It offers so much help to people who are hurting that it must get into the hands of as many people as possible.

    Steve Harrison
    Bradley Communications and Founder of the Million Dollar Author Club
  • During one of Steve’s down times in ministry, I invited him over to hang around our team during one of our annual leadership summits. It was a joy for us to be able to do that then. But now, it’s an even greater joy to see how God has raised up Steve to help many others. This book offers help and hope to those who are hurting, and it’s offered by someone who has been there.

    Adam Hamilton
    Senior Pastor
    United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, Leawood, Kansas
  • If you have life all together, buy this book by Steve Reed, and put the book away until you do not have life all together. A superb book for any person facing the realities of life and looking for encouragement and practical help. When the going gets tough, the truths in this book will help. Read, understand, practice, and grow to be a stronger leader. READ ON, LEAD ON.

    Charlie Baker
    Internal Coach
    Earnst & Young, Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Soon after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans—leaving hundreds of thousands homeless and destroying entire neighborhoods, thousands of businesses, and many churches—our pastors received a shipment of Steve Reed’s book on overcoming tough times. It could not have been more timely, with its outstanding insights and comforting words of healing and strength. Recently, a leader from one of our denomination’s mission boards was in our city—this is over 3 years after the hurricane—and he remarked at the excellent attitude and good mental health of our pastors. He said, “I was expecting to hear a lot of ‘Woe is me’ and ‘Why me, Lord?’ but got none of that.” I assured him it was because the Lord had provided a number of angels of healing and comfort who kept our people on an even keel. We’re grateful for the strong role Steve’s book played in that healing.

    Joe McKeever
    Retired Director of Missions
    The Baptist Association of Greater New Orleans
  • As a horse trainer and minister to couples who are getting married, I see how the way we deal with adversity can make or break a horse, a marriage, or a life. Steve’s book hit me right where I’m at—especially after I lost my wife to cancer. I heartily recommend this book to anyone who’s hit a rough spell in life or who is wise enough to prepare for the next storm that’s looming on the horizon.

    Gary Snider
    Horse Broker and Cowboy Minister
    Devide, Colorodo
  • I met Steve several years ago at a missionary training event I was leading and was drawn to his passion for church planting movements and to his deep desire to help people deal effectively with suffering. The concepts he mentions in his book are both life changing and grounded in scripture. As a mission strategist, I see people all over the world getting in touch with their “suffering clause” and doing amazing things under extraordinary conditions. Now it’s time for North Americans to get it. I believe Steve can help. Read this and grow.

    Curtis Sergeant
    Vice President, Global Strategies
    e3 Partners Ministry, Plano, Texas
  • Steve does a masterful job at showing us how to embrace what we tend to avoid in order to experience what we deeply desire. His asking of relevant questions coaches us to pursue our calling and at the same time flourish in our souls.

    Rick Olson
    Personal and Leadership Coach
  • Steve is living life to the max, and his insights for outlasting tough times are something I can identify with as a pastor.

    Vernon Armitage
    Former Senior Pastor
    Pleasant Valley Baptist Church, Liberty, Missouri Author of Living Life to the Max
  • As missionary colleagues of Steve’s parents in Peru, we know firsthand some of the stories Steve shares, and we strongly agree with the transformational message he delivers so powerfully in this book.

    Betty and Charles Alexander
    Retired SBC Missionaries to Chile and Peru
    Fort Worth, Texas
  • I’ve known Steve for more than a decade and can affirm that what he talks about in this book, he has lived. Though you could say that suffering has marked Steve’s life and ministry, it has never diminished his spirit or his willingness to pick himself up and joyfully move into the future. When Steve gave me an early copy of the book, I used it as a springboard to a series of messages at our church that were extremely well-received and helpful to many in our congregation. Pastors, you need to teach this to your leaders and folks in your congregation.

    Rick McGinniss
    Senior Pastor
    North Heartland Community Church, Kansas City, Missouri
  • Steve exceeds all expectations with this book as he coaches us to embrace the transforming power of pain, God’s gift to us.

    Linda Olson
    Founder, Professional Speaker
    Made for Something More
    Author of Exceeding Your Expectations
  • In 2010, God directed me to join forces with Steve in the unfolding ministry to the cowboys of Guatemala and Honduras. During the many days spent together in ministry, we have found a common bond in learning the lessons of the cross. In this book, Steve has opened his life and his heart to share a message that is vital for every believer in Jesus Christ to follow.

    Keith Moody
    Cowboy, Sheep Shearer
    Pastor of Calvary Chapel of Colome, South Dakota
  • I have walked with pastors and church leaders for over 40 years and have noticed that those who learned how to positively handle life’s disappointments have been the most fruitful in their ministry. In our state convention, there are many unsung heroes who have faithfully followed God’s call in some obscure and difficult places. I count Steve as one of those unsung heroes whose voice needs to be heard. His book will be helpful for anyone who faces a tough ministry challenge.

    R. Rex Lindsay
    Former Executive Director
    Kansas/Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists
  • When Steve approached me about his book idea, I invited him into our circle of the Heart of America Christian Writers’ Network. In the past couple of years, I’ve seen Steve rise rapidly in his skill as a writer. More than that, I believe he has an important message to bring to the Christian community. This book is one I’m telling people about.

    Mark Littleton
    Heart of America Christian Writers' Network
    Author of over 100 books, including Never Give Up: Seven Principles for Leading in Tough Times
  • I met Steve while I was working in the marketplace and feeling called to start a church. Later, Steve invited me on his staff, and I got to see first-hand how he handled many difficult situations. Now that we’ve started a new church, I realize even more the role that suffering plays in the life of a leader, and I go to Steve often for advice and encouragement. I wish every pastor had a friend and a coach like Steve. Whether you are a pastor, church leader, or business leader, you need to read this book.

    Chris Pinion
    Lead Pastor
    LifeQuest Church, Kansas City, Missouri
    Co-Author of Scars: Life Hurts God Heals
  • If you are looking to find God’s vision for your life while going through a tough time, read this book. Steve is fully engaged in ministry and mission endeavors that place him at the cutting edge of effective ministry to a wide range of cultures and people groups.

    William Tinsley
    Author of Finding God's Mission: Missions and the New Realities
  • I’ve enjoyed working with Steve in ministry in Guatemala and have spent countless hours discussing the topics in this book with him. His heart resonates so strongly with mine that I get excited every time we get to work together and share insights with one another. This book conveys much of what I want my walk with God to be like when I face tough times.

    Ray Gurney
    Cross Creek Baptist Mission, Grain Valley, Missouri
  • In walking through many difficult situations with people in our church, I have noticed that the bigger and uglier the scar, the bigger the opportunity for God to do something amazing. Because Steve has worked in several capacities in our church, I have seen first hand how he’s been a healing agent. But this material is more than just a tool to soothe a painful situation. With this printing our church will begin to use this book and the companion small group Bible study guides to get people together for healing and growing. If you are like us and need help with caring for your congregation, I’d recommend you take a good look at this book and the study guide that is available online.

    Karen Blankenship
    Executive Pastor
    LifeQuest Church, Kansas City, Missouri
    Co-Author of Scars: Life Hurts God Heals
  • Steve knows about tough times, and he has weathered his with grace. As a pastor who helps hurting people, I’m looking for resources like this one that is both informational and inspirational. Read it; you’ll be better prepared for the thunder rumbling in the distance.

    Rod Casey
    Senior Associate Pastor
    Woodcrest Chapel, Columbia, Missouri


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Overland Park, KS 66210

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