Category Archives for "Blog"

called to thrive - hands to heaven
Feb 01

Keys to THRIVE – Expectancy

By Stephen Luther | Blog , Keys to THRIVE , Wellness

hands to heave - called to thrive

God has given us everything we need to live a godly life (I Peter 1:3) and offers us abundant life (John 10:10).  It is our desire to equip you with the keys to unlock this potential and THRIVE in life.

To THRIVE in life we need to have:  Togetherness, Holiness, Relevance, Integration, Vision, Expectancy

 Expectant –

“The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.”  I Thessalonians 5:24

“If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.”  II Timothy 2:13

He has called you, He is faithful, He will do it!  Let that sink in for a moment.  God can’t be unfaithful because he can’t deny Himself.  This means we can expect God to show up and make things happen.  So has God called you to THRIVE in your life?  If you’re not sure, go back and read this series again.  Is He bigger than any of the thing that have been limiting you in your life? 

One of the biggest limitations we have in our culture when it comes to our faith in God is that we don’t expect Him to show up, we don’t expect Him to answer our prayers, and while we know intellectually that He loves us we don’t act as through He really loves us as sons and daughters!  As a foster and adoptive parent I would do anything for my kids but many times they don’t believe it because they have been so damaged and seen the opposite for so long.  We are just like that with God, we have been hurt by this world and lied to by our culture.  Think about it, when you pray do you sit back and expect God to do something or do you move on with life having fulfilled your obligation to pray but not really expecting anything to happen.  If you are one of those people who were brought up expecting God to show up and answer prayers, where is that expectancy end?  Can that be expanded?  Do you need to expect God to show up in even bigger ways?

“But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”  James 1:6

If we pray without expecting anything then we get just that.  So if you are ready begin the journey towards believing that God has called you and that he will show up and make that calling happen in your life we are here for you.  If you are ready to THRIVE in life, we would consider it an honor and a privilege to come along side of you and help you get there!

So here is how we do things at Grace Wellness Center.  God has called us to invest in people in a real, genuine and relational way.  We consider it an honor and a privilege to be invited into people’s journey.  The more you are ready to invest in yourself the more we can invest in you as well.  So if you are ready to begin your journey towards THRIVING then we want to come along side of you and share in that burden.  However, if you are not ready for that then this isn’t for you, but we will be here when you are ready!

map - called to thrive
Feb 01

Keys to THRIVE – Vision

By Stephen Luther | Blog , Keys to THRIVE , Wellness

map - called to thrive

God has given us everything we need to live a godly life (I Peter 1:3) and offers us abundant life (John 10:10).  It is our desire to equip you with the keys to unlock this potential and THRIVE in life.

To THRIVE in life we need to have:  Togetherness, Holiness, Relevance, Integration, Vision, Expectancy

 Vision –

“The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.”  Proverbs 21:5

The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps.”  Proverbs 16:9

We are called to have visions, plans and desires.  Despite what you may have been taught, we are active players in this world and in our own lives.  However, this never minimizes or negates the sovereignty of God.  We are to plan and be visionaries but only in full dependence on God and in submission to his sovereignty!

Do you allow yourself to meditate on what it would like if you could THRIVE!  This is difficult because when we sit down to envision this, all kinds of limitations pop up and get in the way.  What if there were no limitations?  What if God removed those limitations and redeemed you from all of it at the cross!  Well, He did!

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,” Hebrews 12:1

Ok, now is where someone says “yeah but we still have limitations, I couldn’t play in the NFL just because I believe I can!”  And you would be correct, but God DID remove all the limitations to you THRIVING in YOUR life in what YOU are called to do and be.  You are not limited in fulfilling your calling and having the abundant life God came to give you (John 10:10.)  And when you get there you wouldn’t want to be playing in the NFL; in fact you wouldn’t want to be doing anything other than what you are doing.

Jan 31

Keys to THRIVE- Integration

By Stephen Luther | Blog , Keys to THRIVE , Wellness

God has given us everything we need to live a godly life (I Peter 1:3) and offers us abundant life (John 10:10).  It is our desire to equip you with the keys to unlock this potential and THRIVE in life.

To THRIVE in life we need to have:  Togetherness, Holiness, Relevance, Integration, Vision, Expectancy


Integration –

“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”  Hebrews 4:12

 “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  I Thessalonians 5:23

God has created us Body, Soul and Spirit!  We are physical, emotional and spiritual.  We are also made to be relational in all aspects of our being.  These areas of life all work together and affect each other.  Therefore, all approaches to healing and wellness must be integrated to be effective!  We must be willing to look at all areas of our life and not just one area that we see as important. 

Let’s look at the common example of someone trying to lose weight repeatedly unsuccessfully.  They are trying to be healthy in their body but are often blocked because of emotional and spiritual problems.  The harsh reality is that only 2% of people who try to lose weight actually keep it off.  This is because of a lack of integration in the approach to health.  Now broaden this view to all areas of change.  If we take on any process of change but are not using an integrated approach you likely will suffer from frustration and eventually give up.  You’ve experienced this before?  It can be different this time. 

called to thrive - students talking
Jan 31

Keys to THRIVE – Relevance

By Stephen Luther | Blog , Keys to THRIVE , Wellness

called to thrive - students talking

God has given us everything we need to live a godly life (I Peter 1:3) and offers us abundant life (John 10:10).  It is our desire to equip you with the keys to unlock this potential and THRIVE in life.

To THRIVE in life we need to have:  Togetherness, Holiness, Relevance, Integration, Vision, Expectancy

Relevance –

“If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.”  I Corinthians 13:1-3

 “Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible.”  I Corinthians 9:19

Ok so this is super important.  We need to be relevant and to be relevant we need to love!  Love, not just as I understand it but love so that others receive it.  If I love in a way that it is not received, it is irrelevant.  To truly love and receive love we need to have people in our lives who are willing to get to know us and understand how we are wired.  Do you have people like that?  It is our desire, through these “Keys to Thrive,” to meet you where you are and communicate God’s love in a manner that is relevant to your life and your circumstances.  . 

The limitation here for people is perspective.  Through life’s experiences our perspective becomes limited so when we see something that we don’t understand we can’t adapt to it.  When we can’t allow ourselves to see things from the other person’s perspective this becomes very toxic not only for us but to others in our lives.

My friend, we are all damaged.  We all hurt and we all are limited by our perspective.  We suffer loneliness, disconnection, and a lack of satisfying relationship when we don’t truly here others and know how to be truly heard ourselves.  Do you feel like sometimes people don’t understand you and that you are often not on the same wavelength with people?  This could be a problem of not knowing how to be relevant and how to give and receive love in a transformational way.  

called to thrive - cross
Jan 26

Keys To Thrive – Holiness

By Stephen Luther | Blog , Keys to THRIVE , Wellness

called to thrive - cross

God has given us everything we need to live a godly life (I Peter 1:3) and offers us abundant life (John 10:10).  It is our desire to equip you with the keys to unlock this potential and THRIVE in life.

To THRIVE in life we need to have:  Togetherness, Holiness, Relevance, Integration, Vision, Expectancy


“Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord”  Hebrews 12:14

“but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’”  I Peter 1:15-16

God has called us to be holy and without holiness we cannot connect with God or live a godly life.  In a world that is addicted to self and to comfort, we are taught to pursue happiness.  This influence from the world gives us another limitation.  It limits our view of our circumstances and makes us very ego centric.  As we remove this limitation and stand in awe of God’s holiness, our perspective on ourselves, our circumstances and the world we live in completely change.  We become open to a whole new understanding that helps us THRIVE no matter what our circumstances are.  We begin to recognize that we can have something so much better than happiness.  Holiness leads to joy which is not dependent on our circumstances and no manner of suffering can remove joy that comes from God.

Are you ready to shed the limitations that come from the pursuit of happiness and put on the rewards of pursuing holiness?  Where ever you are, God wants to meet you there, embrace you and impart to you His joy.  The more we become consumed by this joy the more we see how lacking the pursuit of happiness was.  This is what Solomon was referring to when he said in Ecclesiastes 1:14, “I have seen everything that is done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind.”  Like trying to catch the wind, all attempts to capture what the world offers only leads to momentary happiness that is gone in an instant.  Even if we could catch it and keep it, it isn’t worth having anyways, it is only vanity.

called to thrive - togetherness
Jan 20

Keys to THRIVE – Togetherness

By Stephen Luther | Blog , Keys to THRIVE , Marriage , Wellness

called to thrive - togetherness

God has given us everything we need to live a godly life (I Peter 1:3) and offers us abundant life (John 10:10).  It is our desire to equip you with the keys to unlock this potential and THRIVE in life.

To THRIVE in life we need to have:  Togetherness, Holiness, Relevance, Integration, Vision, Expectancy


 “that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.”  I John 1:3

God has called us to be in relationship with Him and with others.  The quality of these relationships affects all areas of our lives.  In order to live the life we were called to, if we are to thrive in life, we must connect in healthy ways with God and with others.  What is the quality of your relationships?  If there is some lack there, you can bet it is affecting all other areas of life.  In Godly connectedness, we become available to the will and call of God as well as to others we are in relationship with.   A commitment to Godly togetherness means we need to be willing to be vulnerable or emotionally naked with God and in healthy relationships with others.  

Wow, that sounds scary!  Well it certainly is, but remember that we serve a big and compassionate God who wants what is best for us.  He wants to meet you where you are and help you each step of the way.  Fear is probably the biggest limitation in life.  Removing limitations is one of our core concepts in our THRIVE philosophy.  As you remove the limitation of fear one step at a time, you will be moving closer and closer to your call to THRIVE in life.  When looking at the whole process of overcoming fear and connecting in a vulnerable way it is overwhelming.  But taken one step at a time with a patient God, skilled helper, and quality connections it is very doable.  With God you CAN do it! 

called to thrive - wellness wheel
Aug 28

Wellness Wheel: Family and Friends

By Jonathan Held | Blog , Coaching , Counseling

called to thrive - wellness wheel

Today I wanted to talk about our first category of the wellness wheel (family and friends) and how strengthening relationships in this area of life can contribute to overall wellness. I talked quite a bit in the introductory blog about family, so my goal in today’s writing is to keep it short, and to offer some practical ways to thrive in this category.

Let me begin by discussing balance. I think we all struggle to find balance to a certain degree (especially with our busy lifestyles) however, it is important to find balance in life amongst family, friends, and work. When I was younger, I often struggled to balance family and friends. I’ve said before that I’m far from a perfect person, and certainly I have made many mistakes in this area. 

 When I was first married, my focus was probably more on going out and partying with friends than on strengthening my marriage. Over time, I learned that if my marriage was going to last, I was going to have to shift my priorities. Through the grace of God, and much humility, I was able to turn towards my wife (and young children) and away from the excuses that “allowed” me to turn away. I’m sure most guys have used them: “I need some me time,” “I just worked all day and need to relax,” etc. If we’re not careful, we can fool ourselves into turning away from our spouses and towards things of this world that do not last. 

 Unfortunately, the next phases of life can give birth to a marital enemy that is much more insidious – WORK. Jesus said “you cannot serve both God and money,” yet this is precisely where I found myself. The truth is, the pattern was the same as the one discussed above – I was looking for excuses to not focus on the hard work of pouring into my family because it was easier to be gone all the time. So, using the excuse of needing to pay the bills, I took a job that valued time and commitment to the organization, over what I believe would be God’s will: time and commitment to marriage and family. 

 This is how I found myself at Grace Wellness Center: an organization that believes that family is vital to overall wellness in life!  In the last few months I have strengthened my family relationships and have been able to get to know my children again. So if you’re thinking lucky you, I can’t just up and change jobs, my challenge is this: find small ways to turn towards your spouse and your family. 

 Perhaps finding new employment is the only way to save your marriage or family, but that would be something to prayerfully consider. Instead, my belief is that if you put these steps into action in your life, you will hopefully find healing in your dearest relationships:

 Step 1: find one on one “date” time with your spouse at least once a week.

Step 2: do one activity as a whole family at least once a week.

Step 3: find time to get together with friends (as a couple or family) at least once a month

 I know many people probably feel that they would not have time or space to do the steps listed above, and so part of this challenge is to make it your own.  Sit and talk with your spouse and modify the steps to what works for your family and then stick to them! My wife and I are rarely able to go out on dates, but sometimes will get together after the kids go to bed – and stay up just talking to each other. As a family, we might have family game night once a week – or go out for ice cream in the summer. As far as time with friends, we generally get together with others that have kids, as opposed to finding a sitter. 

 The important thing is that you are carving out time and being intentional about spending that time together. If you can take small steps in these directions, I know your family can thrive! 

   Jonathan Held, LCSW


As always if you are interested in meeting with me or another counselor, either face to face or online you can email me at or call our intake at 724.863.7223

called to thrive - darkness to light
Aug 12

From Darkness into the Light

By LeeAnn Trout | Blog , Marriage , Sex/Porn Addiction , Sexual Addiction Recovery

called to thrive - darkness to light

Being caught in sexual sin/ sexual addiction is often a place filled with fear and self -hatred; much what I would imagine the adulterous woman from the Bible felt like.

Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, 2 but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. 3 As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd.  John 8:1-3

They put her in front of the crowd! She had been found out! I envision her fallen, with her head hanging low; unable to look at Jesus or her accusers in the eye. She had to be terrified and embarrassed as she was probably sitting there naked and fully exposed. How vulnerable it is to be caught! She must have been filled with regret, fear and self-hatred. – Much like the men and women that I work with when treating sex addiction

“Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?”  6 They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. 7 They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” 8 Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust…When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”  John 8:3-10

I love how Jesus handles this! He shows us exactly how we are to treat our brothers and sisters in Christ when they have fallen! He calls off her accusers!  The one who has the right and the power to JUDGE, instead reacts with compassion and mercy! In calling off her accusers he takes her out of her SHAME and gives her DIGNITY! She deserves to be stoned but He chooses to love her and restore her.

10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” 11 “No, Lord,” she said.  And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”  John 8:10-11

He called her out of her sin and asked her to sin no more! If she were filled with shame and condemnation it would have been so difficult for her to turn from her sin. She would have been consumed by it, stuck in it.  But with the way Jesus loved her she would be able to walk in freedom.

This is exactly our mission at Grace Wellness Center – Sex Addiction Program! We want to act in the same manner as Jesus did. We want to give you the place to experience restoration, dignity and self-respect again. We want to help shed light on sin to help you out of the darkness. We want Jesus to be your only Judge and to show you the same mercy that He offers. Let us help you to “Go and sin no more!”

Contact Grace Wellness Center and let us walk with you into freedom.

Phone:  724-863-7332



me looking into the sky - called to thrive
Jul 08

Are You A “Man’s Man” Or A “Man Of God”?

By dougl1kj | Blog , Coaching


me looking into the sky - called to thrive

Are you a “Man’s Man” or a “Man of God”?

Many men are concerned about being what is called a “Man’s Man”. This often consists of descriptions such as being tough, good at “picking up” women, unrealistically physically fit, emotionally shut down, and not requiring help from anyone. We see this image of what men are supposed to be everywhere on television, in movies, in advertisements, even from some of our friends and family. How are we supposed to know what it means to be a man when we consistently get so many differentand often conflicting messages about who and what we are supposed to be?

The issue with the image of men described above is that it does not always match up with what the Bible teaches us about God’s design for men. It usually isn’t even what we value about the important men in our own lives! Working with men in counseling I almost always see that the qualities that they value in their male role models contradict what they believe they are supposed to act like themselves. They believe that men are supposed to have these unrealistic character traits as I’ve listed above, however, they value the fact that the men in their lives are caring, compassionate, good listeners, self-sacrificing, and (the big one) PRESENT. Unfortunately it appears to be a growing trend for many men to leave their families, be involved in affairs, pornography, and other idols that cause them and their families to self-destruct. But the good news is that you did not fall too far from God’s grace and mercy! Christ can take you right where you are, and mold you to become a “Man of God”.

There are many ways to look at how the Bible teaches us to be men, but I would like to start at the beginning. How did God originally design us to be men when He created us? The short answer to that question is that He created us in His image.

“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” (Genesis 1:26, ESV)

We were made in the image of a perfect Creator and I believe He showed us several characteristics through His creation that can help us to do a better job at being more like Him.

1. Working and creating- God worked during creation making everything. He made us to work and create! Working and creating are essential to what it means to be a man made in the image of God. Sometimes we may get lazy, but that is something we need to fight off. Many times this is the source of much of our conflict in our relationships. We simply are just not working hard enough or may have just given up. We are made to go to bed tired from the day!

2. Resting- God rested on the seventh day not because he was tired but to complete his creation. God created rest so that we can stop and take in His Grace and Mercy. Meditate upon His word and rest in Christ! Some of the time our conflicts are not coming from not working hard enough but from being too busy to rest in the peace that Christ promised us in His Grace. Take some time and focus on the Grace and Mercy of Christ and allow that to renew your mind!

3. Caring- Many times we are shown that a “man’s man” doesn’t care or show that he cares. All throughout the account of Creation in Genesis God shows that He cares about His creation even before He created man! It does not make a man weak to care and sometimes that is all others in our lives want. Sometimes we need to show or tell others that we care about them.

Pray today that God guides you and helps you to become the man that He wants you to be. There is hope for all of us. No matter how far we fall, God and OUR FATHER LOVES TO WORK AND CREATE IN YOU, HIS FAVORITE CREATION!

called to thrive - splakna experience
Jun 07

My Splankna Experience

By Stephen Luther | Blog , Counseling , Splankna Healing Ministry , Wellness

called to thrive - splakna experience

What on earth is “Splankna?”  I’m glad you asked.  Let me first tell you my experience and then I will let you know how to find out more about it.
After several years of being involved in Christian ministry I found Splankna healing ministry and it changed my life.  As a Christian counselor, I worked with many people through Biblical counseling and saw a lot of progress but it was limited.  Many people didn’t get well and others got well but never really thrived.

    “and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”  John 8:32 NASB

If the truth is suppose to set us free, why were so many not being set free?  Why was I not being set free?  I found out that it is because lies and agreements made during hurtful experiences were still running in my subconscious and the truth could not take root.  I also learned spiritual warfare, which was mostly ignored during my Christian upbringing, had much more of an impact than I knew.

When I first began training in Splankna healing ministry I saw my connection with God open up as each barrier was removed.  The next thing I noticed was that I began to be more of myself and got back to who God had created me to be.  One of those areas was in physical health.  Over the past 15 years or so I had developed unhealthy eating and lifestyle habits that lead to me putting on 60 pounds and becoming very unhealthy.  This is not who I was, I knew that, but couldn’t get back to the healthy, active and athletic person I use to be.  After having Splankna therapy I began to notice I no longer was drawn to my unhealthy habits and that they were no longer connected to the same emotional needs.  I began to change my lifestyle and over the next couple years I lost 60 pounds and started running marathons.  Now don’t worry, if that isn’t who you are, Splankna won’t make you run marathons!  But, it will allow you to be more you, whoever that is.  Wouldn’t that be awesome?

Well, not only can you experience that for yourself, you can help other people experience it as well by coming to our upcoming training here in Pittsburgh.  Splankna is a mind-body healing ministry that allows you to get directly to the root of persistent problems in your life and heal the brokenness behind those problems.  This is done by utilizing the created mechanism behind mind-body healing and utilizing Christian healing ministry, prayer, forgiveness and techniques to address spiritual warfare.  It is by far the most effective and powerful tool I have ever used in ministry and counseling.

Splankna training is for Christian counselors, pastors and others wanting to help people.  You do not have to be a licensed counselor or ordained minister to take the training and begin helping people heal.  Please contact me directly with any questions or to come to the office and see a live demonstration.  If interested please email me at

Life is a Journey, do more than survive; choose to THRIVE!

By Stephen Luther
Executive Director of Grace Wellness Center
Licensed Professional Counselor, Therapeutic Parent Coach and Splankna Trainer