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Posts tagged with Discipleship

November 28, 2017 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Is your church healthy?

One of the first questions that pastors tend to ask each other when they get together is, “How big is your church?” As pastors, it can be hard not to evaluate the job we are doing by the numbers ...Keep Reading

Tags: Church, Discipleship

October 24, 2017 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Don't waste your life

Taken out of context, the passage above is a stirring charge from Paul to the believer to spend your time living and working for the Lord. Paul’s words are an inspiring challenge, a reminder that while there are many ways we can waste our time in this world, when we serve the Lord, it all matters. But when you put the verse back in its context, the meaning becomes even more profound...Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship, eternity

September 19, 2017 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Who is walking alongside you in your life?

There is a dangerous myth floating around our culture that the healthier you are, the more you do not need anyone. In counseling circles, therapists use words like “codependent” and “enmeshed” to negatively label people who are too reliant on others for their own functioning. While there are certainly ways we can negatively relate to and need others, the truth is that a stubborn independence is just as unhealthy. We were created for relationship, and we need others if we are going to live a healthy and fulfilled life....Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship, Friendship

September 12, 2017 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

God uses imperfect people

This past Sunday, I shared a quote from Bob Pierce, the founder of World Vision and one of the men responsible for Samaritan’s Purse, two of the leading Christian relief organizations in the world. The quote, which was so true in his ministry, was “Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.” With a resume like that, you probably envision a passionate man of God, giving his all to share the love of Christ with all who came across his path. And you would be correct to a large extent. But there was much more to the story of Bob Pierce....Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship, Bob Pierce

June 6, 2017 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Painfully sculpting a masterpiece

If there is no God, suffering has no ultimate meaning, since we all will die and cease to exist. But even with a belief in God, suffering can feel meaningless, as we wonder what possible good can come out of terrorist attacks, crippling depression, mental illness, or the death of a child. There are many reasons the Bible gives for why suffering exists, chiefly that we live in a fallen world that is the product of humanity’s rebellion against God. But God is still sovereign over it all, always working even the worst events in the world for His ultimate good purposes (Romans 8:28), and so we trust that there will be meaning in the suffering. Remember John 9:2-3, where Jesus’ disciples see a blind man and ask him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus replies, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.”...Keep Reading

Posted in: Suffering Tags: Suffering, Discipleship

May 9, 2017 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

What were you created to do?

What were you created for? What is the work that energizes you, that gives you life, that makes you sing? And are you doing that work? Or have you even figured out what that work is?...Keep Reading

Posted in: Service Tags: Discipleship, Service

April 18, 2017 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Live like you were dying

I work best with a deadline. In college, I was notorious for knowing how long it would take to write a paper, and then waiting until the last possible moment to start the paper. Inevitably, I would finish with minutes to spare. Even when it comes to preparing sermons, I do a lot of work during the week, but it’s when I sit down with my draft on Saturday evening that my brain kicks into high gear and everything comes together. For some reason, it’s the pressure that brings out the best in me. But the truth is that I, along with you, and everyone else, have the ultimate deadline looming....Keep Reading

Posted in: Death Tags: Discipleship, Death

April 11, 2017 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

God, the master storyteller

In Donald Miller’s book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, he writes about what he learned about his life and God’s grand story while the screenwriters “edited his life” for the movie version of his book “Blue Like Jazz.” As he reflected upon his boring, uninspired life and contrasted it with the ways in which his life was being made more interesting for the movie, it got him thinking about the grand story of risk and adventure that he believed God was calling him to live. Let me share a few quotes from the book that really challenged me:...Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Discipleship, Story

March 28, 2017 by Rob Freyer 0 comments

Guest blogger: Rob Freyer

Jesus speaks these words to his disciples and the rest of the population surrounding him, and it can be understood as both a challenge and a command for those who at this point still aren't sure who he is ... a prophet, John the Baptist, or some other figure of importance. This statement is a make or break ultimatum. Will these people follow, and what are they willing to give up to do so?...Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Gospel, Discipleship

March 14, 2017 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Somebody scratch my itching ears

In Paul’s second letter to his protégé Timothy, he warns him that the time will come when people will seek out teachers who “say what their itching ears want to hear.” I imagine there have always been teachers like this throughout the history of the church, but this warning is undoubtedly prophetic today. But rather than point the fingers at others, we would be prudent to consider where it is that we are most tempted as Americans to have our itching ears scratched....Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Preaching, Discipleship

March 7, 2017 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Does putting God first cause you to love others better or worse?

When I was a youth pastor, I remember engaging in a conversation with a friend of one of my youth group kids who was questioning whether or not God was real. At one point, as I was sharing with her how God was the most important person in my life, she asked the question, “Isn’t that offensive to your wife?” It’s an understandable question. After all, I know that there are non-Christian spouses who are bitter about their significant other’s devotion to Christ, because they feel that their marriage takes second place. My answer,...Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: God, Discipleship

February 28, 2017 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

You're not as free as you think you are

This past Sunday, I preached from Romans 6-7 about the question of motivation: If I am saved by faith in Jesus, not by my good works, then what is my motivation to “be good” or follow God? Why not just live however I please if God has already saved me? One of the reasons given in Romans 6 is that “freedom” as our culture teaches it is a fallacy. In the end, you are either a slave to God or a slave to sin (Romans 6:16). The choice is not between following God and living free to do as you please. The choice is between serving God, which leads to eternal life, or serving sin, which leads to death....Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Discipleship, Freedom

February 21, 2017 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

This life feels like one long race

I love sports, but I hate running. During my high school career, I played soccer, basketball, and baseball for four years, but I could not stand running just for the sake of running. When I tried to run in my first 5K, in college, I discovered quickly that I completely lacked the mental toughness necessary to overcome the physical pain and mental monotony that for me accompanied running long distances. Unfortunately, I have found that much of life is similar to running a long race. ...Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Discipleship, Running

February 14, 2017 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

You don't have to change the world

One of the best Christian speakers I ever heard was a missionary named David Pierce, who travels around the world with his band, No Longer Music, bringing the message of Jesus to Satanist clubs, anarchy festivals, and anywhere you wouldn’t normally expect to find Christians. Pierce wrote an incredibly unique book called Dancing with Skinheads and other Bible Study Topics, and one thing he wrote in there that I’ve never forgotten is this: “Do something small for God.” He said that so many people want to do something big for God, to do something that really changes the world. But often it’s the small, overlooked, seemingly insignificant things that are the biggest steps of obedience to God....Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Discipleship, Service

December 20, 2016 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

THIS IS THE BEST POST EVER!!!

I read a number of blogs by pastors and theologians, and one pastor I used to read regularly always promoted his upcoming Sunday service as “the best one ever!!!” or one “you have to bring all your friends to!!!” or one that “God is going to do AMAZING things at so you have to be there!!!!!!!” I never got the sense that the pastor was just trying to artificially sell his church; it truly seemed that he loved his church and believed that God was going to do great things every Sunday. But still, after a while the message began to lose its ability to inspire anticipation. I’ve been thinking about that pastor recently, and reflecting upon how opposite my approach, as well as our church’s approach, can be....Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Passion, Discipleship

December 13, 2016 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Rest in peace, Nancy Butler

This past Saturday, I attended the funeral service for Nancy Butler, a pastoral colleague who pastored Riverfront Family Church, a church which was recently located in Glastonbury but now meets in Hartford. I first met Nancy in 1999, when I was the youth pastor at NewLife and she was looking for a youth group for her daughter, Liza. Our paths crossed again in 2005, when she hosted a regional Emergent conversation (for those who remember the Emergent movement). Soon after that meeting, she started Riverfront Family Church, and on occasion we would meet for coffee and to catch up. While we had our theological differences, I appreciated Nancy’s love for Jesus and enthusiasm for building a church community that would be welcoming to everyone....Keep Reading

Posted in: Death Tags: Discipleship, Death, Nancy Butler

November 29, 2016 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

A home for the homeless

For the past eight years, my wife Michele and I have been licensed foster parents. We began this journey by taking in one teenage girl at a time for as long as DCF would keep them with us, and as the needs of our children increased, we eventually transitioned into becoming an emergency placement home, providing a home for a night, a weekend, or sometimes as long as a week to a child of any age who had been removed from their home for abuse, neglect, or during a time of transition. Like any ministry or service, it is not always easy, often disruptive and stressful, but also very rewarding and transformative, not just for us but for our children as well. Given that background, I was intrigued when an online article came across my screen this morning entitled “Why you should let complete strangers stay in your home.”...Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Discipleship, Hospitality

November 15, 2016 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Stop listening to yourself and start talking to yourself!

Most of the Psalms are directed towards the community of believers, encouraging them towards praise and communion with God. Other Psalms are directed towards God, expressions of worship or lament. But some Psalms, like Psalm 42, are directed inwardly. They are much needed reminders that often our biggest enemy in our life and faith is ourselves, and the messages we are telling ourselves. Listen to how the great Welsh preacher Martyn Lloyd-Jones put it: Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself? ...Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Gospel, Discipleship

November 1, 2016 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

How do you develop a LOVE for God?

It is worth noting that Jesus, when asked what the greatest commandment was, did not say “BELIEVE in God.” He said “LOVE God.” I know many people who have a hard enough time believing in God, and others who would point to their belief that God is real as evidence of their faith. But Jesus has the audacity to say that we are not just to believe in God, but to love God. In fact, James goes as far as to say that belief in God puts us on par with the demons of hell, for even they believe in God (and probably with greater certainty than we do!) (James 2:19)....Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Discipleship, Love

October 18, 2016 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Is your Bible more like a fortune cookie or a sword?

A common approach to reading the Bible is what you might call the fortune cookie approach: search for inspirational sayings or insightful aphorisms that will help you face the challenges of your day. That isn’t always a bad thing; often we genuinely want to know what the Bible has to say to help us in our fears or anxieties, or to find hope for our future in a dark time. And the Bible has plenty to say to encourage us in those seasons. But that can’t be the only approach....Keep Reading

Posted in: Bible Tags: Bible, Discipleship

October 11, 2016 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

What makes you happy?

It seems so obvious, doesn’t it? If I could only spend my time doing the things that I really enjoy, then I would be truly happy. If I could just eat doughnuts for breakfast and have a big bowl of ice cream (or two bowls) every night, I would be happy. If I could just spend my days watching the shows I like and playing the games I like and avoiding those things that I don’t like, then my life would be great. But Jesus dares to disagree....Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Discipleship, Happiness

October 4, 2016 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Playing Whac-a-Mole with your struggles

I became a follower of Jesus as a college freshman at age 18. After a couple of years of learning what it meant to follow Jesus, and developing some close friendships with my Christian friends, I started to understand the importance of accountability, of having someone that I trusted enough to confess my sins too, someone who would ask me the tough questions about my walk with the Lord. For the past 20 years, I have always had at least someone that I talk with regularly so that I stay sharp in my discipleship. As Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” But here’s the thing about accountability and the sincere desire to avoid sin....Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: accountability, Discipleship

September 20, 2016 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Overcoming anxiety

Although I may hide it well, I am often an anxious person. At times, my anxiety overwhelms me so quickly that I respond out of my fear without even thinking. My anxiety has caused me to lie, to avoid stressful situations, and at times to act with a lack of integrity and courage, all out of a desire to stuff down my anxious feelings and regain the peace I so desperately desire. I hate the way my anxiety affects me. What is beneath my anxiety? If I stop and think about it, it is often one of two related reasons:...Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Discipleship, Anxiety

September 13, 2016 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Not everybody grows in the same way

In John Ortberg’s book, The Me I Want To Be, the author talks about the unique ways God grows each of us spiritually into the people we were created to be. One of the parts that really spoke to me was where Ortberg said this: “The Bible does not say you are God’s appliance; it says you are his masterpiece (Eph 2:10, NLT). Appliances get mass-produced. Masterpieces get hand-crafted. God did not make you exactly like anyone else. Therefore, his plan for shaping you will not look like his plan for shaping anyone else. If you try to find a generic plan for spiritual growth, it will only frustrate you.” (Can anyone say journaling?)...Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: God, Discipleship

September 6, 2016 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The world doesn't revolve around you

I still remember where I was the day I realized that the world did not revolve around me. I was in Washington D.C., 21 years old, sitting in the top section of RFK Stadium at a Promise Keepers conference. All around me, thousands of men from all over the country stood, many with their arms raised to the sky, worshiping their God. As the swell of their voices echoed around the stadium, a sweet sound in our Lord’s ears, I suddenly realized that I was not the center of the universe. I was just one among many who had gathered that day to worship God and to commit our lives to His service....Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: God, Discipleship

August 30, 2016 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Stop wasting your time and money

What are you pursuing? What do you instinctively look to in order to fill you up or give you life, or to escape from the pain? And is it working? Is it filling you up? Giving you life? Removing the pain? In Isaiah 55:1-3, God speaks through the prophet Isaiah to his people, and he asks them why they are spending their time, energy, and money on things which can not satisfy them. He goes on to invite them to come to him, to experience His covenantal love, to find true life for their souls....Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Discipleship, God

August 2, 2016 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Pokemon Go and the discipline of silence

I’ve been leading a book study this summer through Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline, a classic book on the central spiritual practices of the Christian faith: prayer, meditation, fasting, confession, worship, etc. This past week, one of the chapters we read was on the discipline of solitude, sometimes known as the discipline of silence. This practice is essentially about listening: having an inward attentiveness to God, even in the midst of noise and confusion. Which naturally makes me think about Pokemon Go....Keep Reading

Posted in: Culture Tags: Discipleship, Pokemon Go

July 19, 2016 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Being fully present to the moment

This past Sunday before the benediction, I referenced an older pastor in my life who has the distinct ability to make me feel like he has nowhere else to be and all the time in the world whenever I see him. I have always been touched by his ability to be present with me, to listen well, and to show genuine care for me, without ever feeling like I am interrupting him or holding him up from something more important. I hope and pray that I will be able to be more like him someday....Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Discipleship, Rest

July 5, 2016 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

What comes out when you are under stress?

When you are under pressure, when the stress levels are rising, what comes out of you? How do you instinctively respond? In Mark 7:20-23, Jesus makes the point to his disciples that it isn’t the external things that defile a person. No, Jesus says: there is more than enough evil in our own hearts to defile us ten times over....Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Discipleship, Stress

June 21, 2016 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Keeping the faith when God seems absent

There is a popular saying that goes like this: “God works in mysterious ways.” Which is another way of saying, “GOD, I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU ARE DOING!!!” Can anyone relate? We believe that God is sovereign, that He is good, and that He loves us. And we like to believe that if we were a good, sovereign, loving Father/Deity, we would know how to treat our children. And so, naturally, when we suffer in ways we can not understand, we question the character of our God who seems to so often enjoy working in “mysterious” ways....Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Suffering, Discipleship

June 7, 2016 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Are you really free?

Here in the United States, we pride ourselves on our freedom. We believe that our country stands as a beacon of freedom to this world, as evidenced by the Preamble to our Declaration of Independence, which testifies to our belief that we have all been given unalienable rights, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. But just what is freedom, really?...Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Discipleship, Freedom

April 12, 2016 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Jesus is life. Everything else is just skubalon.

Skubalon. In Philippians 3:8, Paul uses this Greek word, which the New International Version translates as “rubbish,” to describe all the things in his life that he once boasted of but that now mean nothing compared to knowing Christ. When you consult a Greek lexicon, you find that the word skubalon was the word commonly used not just for garbage but for animal excrement. You know, that stuff in your yard that you step in and proceed to track into your house until you realize what you’ve done and gag from the stench. Animal excrement. That’s a little more evocative than rubbish, don’t you think? Paul emphatically states that his desire to know Jesus, to know his power, to share in his suffering, to look and act like Him in every way, was such an all-consuming passion that all of his earthly awards, noble qualities, and previous reasons for pride meant as much to him as a hot, steaming pile of skubalon....Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Suffering, Discipleship

March 29, 2016 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

"What if you only had one month to live?" is the wrong question

What if you only had one month to live? It’s a common question these days, showing up everywhere from songs (“Live like you were dying”) to books (One Month to Live: Thirty Days to a No-Regrets Life) to YouTube videos (“The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch). It’s a powerful question that has the ability to inspire, to bring life into focus, and to help us take risks that are in line with what we really want. It’s also a misleading question. The better, more accurate question, is this: What if you will live forever?...Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Discipleship, eternal life

February 9, 2016 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

I don't understand why I do what I do

In my opinion, Romans 8 the greatest chapter in the whole Bible. Filled with promises about the love of God and His commitment to us, it builds from verse 1’s declaration that “there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” to the crescendo of verse 35-39, where we are exhorted that NOTHING can separate us from God’s love. Hallelujah! But perhaps just as important as Romans 8 is the end of the preceding chapter, Romans 7. After all, Romans 8:1 begins with “therefore,” which should prompt us to ask what it is “there for.” Romans 8, the passionate declaration of God’s great love for sinful, undeserving humans, follows Paul’s most candid confession of his complete inability to live up to not only God’s standards, but even his own. Listen to these words:...Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Discipleship, Sin

December 1, 2015 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

God is in heaven and you are on earth... so shut up and listen!

I am by nature an introvert, a pretty quiet person. I enjoy extended times of silence, and don’t have an overwhelming need to get together with other people. In some ways, then, the above passage from Ecclesiastes is right up my alley, and has long been one of my favorites. The writer of Ecclesiastes exhorts his listeners to be careful in the words they speak and the vows they make before God, and instead come inclined to listen to God....Keep Reading

Posted in: Prayer Tags: Prayer, Discipleship

September 29, 2015 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

not a fan.

This past weekend was our annual men’s conference at NewLife. On Friday night, I shared about the gospel of Jesus, and contrasted it with two tendencies we have in our Christian walk: legalism and antinomianism. The main belief of the legalist is “If I perform well, God will accept or bless me.” The legalist tends to believe that if he is praying regularly, having his quiet time, and living victoriously over sin, that God loves him more. But if he is falling to temptation and not spending much time in prayer or devotion, that God is angry or disappointed with him. The antinomian, on the other hand,...Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Gospel, Discipleship

September 15, 2015 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The Cost of Discipleship

One of the books that has been most challenging and influential in my faith has been Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s classic book The Cost of Discipleship, published in 1937. There are many Christian books out there, but few carry the weight and integrity behind them that this book does. Bonhoeffer was a German pastor who actively opposed Adolf Hitler, even to the point of returning from England to Germany in order to stand in solidarity with his countrymen who were suffering under Hitler’s reign. At age 37, he was arrested, and at 39, he was killed for his resistance. As Bonhoeffer wrote before returning to Germany:...Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Discipleship, Bonhoeffer

August 11, 2015 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

When God seems cruel and uncaring

Psalm 23 is probably the most widely read and beloved of all the Psalms. Its picture of God as a tender, gentle, and loving shepherd who cares for us like sheep evokes images of peace and rest. But anyone who knows what actually goes into caring for sheep ...Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Suffering, Discipleship

June 16, 2015 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Remembering Elisabeth Elliot

On Monday, June 15th, the world lost a spiritual giant as Elisabeth Elliot passed away at the age of 88. Elliot was a prolific author and speaker, perhaps best known for two of her books. The first, Through Gates of Splendor, recounted the story of the martyrdom of her husband, Jim Elliot, along with four other missionaries, at the hands of the Auca people in the Amazonian rainforests of Ecuador as they sought to bring the gospel to them (the 2005 movie End of the Spear also told the story, from another family’s perspective). The second, Passion and Purity, was about honoring God with one’s love life. The only fictional novel Elliot ever wrote, No Graven Image, was written in 1966 and was loosely based on her experiences as a young missionary to Ecuador. Of all her books, this book is noteworthy because it is so unlike the majority of Christian fictional books and movies. ...Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Discipleship, Elisabeth Elliot

May 19, 2015 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

What is influencing you?

In Proverbs 4:20-23, the heart is depicted as both the receptacle of external influences, as well as the place from which action originates. In order that his son might experience life and health, the writer of Proverbs implores him to guard his heart, and particularly to keep his father’s words within his heart. The writer of Proverbs is communicating a fundamental principle to life: the influences we allow into our lives have a great impact on what comes out of our lives. Consider for a moment what influences you have allowed into your life already this week....Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Discipleship, Influences

April 21, 2015 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The Bible is not about you

So, how is your New Year’s resolution going? It is probably a safe bet that many of you made a resolution that had something to do with the Bible ...Keep Reading

Posted in: Bible Tags: Bible, Discipleship

April 14, 2015 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Somebody scratch my itching ears!

“In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage-- with great patience and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” (2 Timothy 4:1-4) In the above passage, Paul is writing to his protégé Timothy, the pastor of the church in Ephesus. Paul tells Timothy that he needs to take care in preaching God’s Word accurately, because there are people who, rather than listen to what the Word of God says, prefer to find teachers who tell them what they want to hear....Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Discipleship, Truth

February 17, 2015 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Don't give up reading through the Bible this year!

So, how is that “read through the Bible in a year” plan going? Okay, so I’m sure not all of you set that as a goal, but for those who did, I am guessing that you have been slogging through Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers for some time now, struggling to find the relevance of tabernacle dimensions and animal sacrifices to your 21st century life. I can say this confidently because I have also been (unsuccessfully) reading through Leviticus for going on two weeks now. Can I offer some advice?...Keep Reading

Posted in: Bible Tags: Bible, Discipleship

January 20, 2015 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

When a day feels like a thousand years...

For those suffering from physical pain, unemployment, relational stress, or any other number of heartaches, the well-known phrase “with the Lord, a day is like a thousand years” is hardly comforting. In its original context, Peter speaks these words in response to the belief of some in his day that God’s refusal to judge the wicked during their earthly life proves that we can live however we please without fear of God’s judgment. Peter rebukes such people, telling them that God withholds judgment because He wants to give everyone a chance to repent of their sin, but that one day He will return and judge everyone, and then it will be too late for the wicked. But back to the whole “day=thousand years” thing. Peter’s point in using that phrase is to make it clear that what seems like a long time to us is like a blink of an eye to God. Certainly those of us accustomed to microwave dinners, high-speed internet, and everything “on demand” should take this to heart. As Peter writes, God keeps His promises ...Keep Reading

Posted in: Suffering Tags: Suffering, Discipleship

January 6, 2015 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Food that truly satisfies

“Meanwhile his disciples urged him, ‘Rabbi, eat something.’ But he said to them, ‘I have food to eat that you know nothing about.’ Then his disciples said to each other, ‘Could someone have brought him food?’ ‘My food,’ said Jesus, ‘is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.’” (John 4:30-34) What were you created for? What is the work that energizes you, that gives you life, that makes you sing? And are you doing that work? Or have you even figured out what that work is?...Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Discipleship, Spiritual Gifts

December 16, 2014 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

How will you grow in 2015?

With this in mind, look back over the past year. Where have you seen God‘s purifying work in your life? How are you different in December 2014 than you were in December 2013? Are you more like Jesus? And as you look ahead to 2015, where can you make an intentional effort to grow in your faith? As you reflect upon that question over the next few weeks, consider some of the following possibilities:...Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: New Year, Discipleship

November 14, 2014 by Lynne Pleau 0 comments

Guest blogger: Lynne Pleau - "Facets of Glory"

Imagine: what if God were a diamond the size of the Earth -"internally flawless and burning with a fire infinitely brighter than the sun, rotating through space and shooting spectrums of light, through billions of facets, into every galaxy of the universe? And what if we were the facets? What if we were facets cut exquisitely into the surface of God‘s Being: shaped for overall symmetry, placed where we are with precision, and designed to radiate His light at a specific wavelength, in a specific direction, for a specific time?...Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Discipleship, Service

October 28, 2014 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Do not let yourself be mastered by anything

One of the most neglected spiritual disciplines is the discipline of fasting. While typically thought of in connection to food, the discipline of fasting is a way of setting aside something that is not necessarily a bad thing in favor of an even better thing, namely seeking God in a more fervent manner. Sometimes we fast because we are facing a big decision and want to seek God in a more determined way. Other times we fast because we are struggling through a difficult time and need to depend on Him in a greater way. But other times, fasting ‘" whether from food or something else ‘" can be a way of ensuring that we are not being mastered by anything, as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:12....Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Discipleship, Fasting

October 14, 2014 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

I'm not as busy as I claim to be

“Every day is a journal page, every man holds a quill and ink And there's plenty of room for writing in all we do is believe and think So will you compose a curse or will today bring the blessing? Fill the page with rhyming verse or some random sketching? One of the songs that inspires me, whose lyrics are in italics in this article, is Chris Rice’s Life Means so Much. One of my continual struggles is to make the most of my time, to spend each moment doing things that matter, and prioritizing those things that are most important. This song is one of those voices in my life that encourage and inspire me to live my life for the Lord....Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Discipleship, time management

September 23, 2014 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Some day the house will be clean...

It is a continual struggle around our house to keep things clean and in order. As you can imagine, four young children and a few pets wreak their fair share of chaos on a daily basis, and do precious little to repair the damage. Every night, once the kids finally fall asleep, we find ourselves amazed again at the amount of work that goes into simply maintaining some semblance of order. There exists, more so in my wife but still to some extent in me, a desire that everything would be in its right place. Every room would be neat, every chore finished, every crumb off the floor, and every piece of clothing folded neatly in its drawer. Every item on the to-do list would be crossed off, and there would be true rest from the constant work. But such a state of order is always and forever just out of reach....Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Discipleship, Heaven

September 9, 2014 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

What righteousness really is

The first seminary class I ever took was New Testament Greek. One of the insights that I have never forgotten was when the professor told us that the Greek word ‘œdiakosune,‘ commonly translated as righteousness, is best thought of Biblically as ‘œright-relatedness,‘ i.e. related rightly to God. I have always appreciated that nuance, as righteousness is a word that tends to conjure up images of moral perfection in my mind. In other words, a righteous person is someone who does not sin, who does what is right and does not do what is wrong. But thinking of ‘œdiakosune‘ as more than just moral perfection, but as being rightly related to God, introduces a whole other element. ...Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Discipleship, Righteousness

August 12, 2014 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Do something small for God

One of the best Christian speakers I ever heard was a missionary named David Pierce, who travels around the world with his band, No Longer Music, bringing the message of Jesus to Satanist clubs, anarchy festivals, and anywhere you wouldn‘t normally expect to find Christians. Pierce wrote an incredibly unique book called Dancing with Skinheads and other Bible Study Topics, and one thing he wrote in there that I‘ve never forgotten is this: ‘œDo something small for God.‘ He said that so many people want to do something big for God, to do something that really changes the world. But often it‘s the small, overlooked, seemingly insignificant things that are the biggest steps of obedience to God....Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Discipleship, Service

July 22, 2014 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Your labor is not in vain

Back in 1921, a missionary couple named David and Svea Flood went with their two year-old son from Sweden to the heart of Africa ��" to what was then called the Belgian Congo. They met up with another young Scandinavian couple, the Ericksons, and the four of them sought God for direction. In those days of much tenderness and devotion and sacrifice, they felt led of the Lord to set out from the main mission station and take the gospel to a remote area....Keep Reading

Posted in: Missions Tags: Discipleship, Missions

June 24, 2014 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Your spiritual growth will not look like mine

I‘ve recently been enjoying John Ortberg‘s new book, The Me I Want To Be, in which the author talks about the unique ways God grows each of us spiritually into the people we were created to be. One of the parts that really spoke to me was where Ortberg said this: ‘œThe Bible does not say you are God‘s appliance; it says you are his masterpiece (Eph 2:10, NLT). Appliances get mass-produced. Masterpieces get hand-crafted. God did not make you exactly like anyone else. Therefore, his plan for shaping you will not look like his plan for shaping anyone else. If you try to find a generic plan for spiritual growth, it will only frustrate you.‘...Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Discipleship, Spiritual growth

June 3, 2014 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Profit and loss

In Philippians 3, Paul uses an accounting metaphor to describe how his attitude changed when he met Jesus. Before knowing Jesus, his profit column was filled with all the things that gave him status and worth: his lineage, his morality, his involvement with the religious elite. But after Jesus, all that was in the profit column was moved to the loss column, as Jesus alone occupied the profit column. As I reflected on this, I began to realize how true this is. Whether or not we are aware of it, we spend so much of our lives trying to convince ourselves and others that we are worth something....Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Discipleship, idols

April 29, 2014 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Thoughts as I waste away...

Tomorrow I head in to the hospital for back surgery. Naturally, the verse that has been going through my head is the one listed above: ‘œThough outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.‘ As we age, it becomes more and more obvious that our health, vitality, and youthful appearance are slowly slipping away, never again to be recovered. And not only that, but all else in this world is receding from us like a wave washing back out to sea. Our relationships will eventually come to an end. Our influence on this world will wane. Our finances will be drained. If we live long enough, most of us will one day end up losing even our independence, as we are forced to rely on the hands of strangers to feed and clothe us....Keep Reading

Posted in: Suffering Tags: Suffering, Discipleship

April 22, 2014 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Are you heading in the right direction?

One of my favorite places in the world is the Center for Retreat and Renewal in Simsbury. This retreat center, located behind Covenant Presbyterian Church, has proved to be an invaluable place in my spiritual journey, as once every month I get away from the office, unplug from the internet and cell phone, and spend an uninterrupted work day before the Lord. I typically devote the first half of the day to personal reflection and planning: I sing, I pray, I read, I journal, I look back on lessons I am supposed to be learning, and I organize and make plans regarding where I and my family need to go. After lunch, I spend the second half of the day on church work: planning an upcoming sermon series, doing long-range planning, or thinking through deeper issues and plans that require uninterrupted time. I always leave feeling like I have a plan moving forward, and wishing I could come back more often....Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Discipleship, Reflection

April 8, 2014 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

UConn basketball and the grueling climb to glory

Allow me, if you will, to theologically reflect upon a subject that is admittedly not overtly theological, but is certainly a love of mine: UConn basketball. On Monday night, the UConn men defeated the University of Kentucky 60-54 in order to win their fourth NCAA championship. As wonderful as the other three championships were, there was something especially precious about this one, especially for the seniors, Shabazz Napier, Tyler Olander, and Niels Giffey. After their sophomore year, they endured three tremendous blows from a basketball perspective. Their coach, Jim Calhoun, the man who recruited and mentored them, retired. Their conference, the Big East, broke apart, and UConn ended up a year later in a lesser conference, the American Athletic Conference. And thirdly, the NCAA banned the team from postseason competition for one year because of the poor graduation rates of the basketball players who attended a few years before those three stepped on campus....Keep Reading

Posted in: Suffering Tags: Suffering, Discipleship, UConn basketball

March 11, 2014 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Christ in you, the hope of glory

As I prepared for the current sermon series on suffering, one particularly moving passage I read was this one from Joni Eareckson Tada‘s ‘œWhen God Weeps: Why Our Sufferings Matter to the Almighty‘: Suffering fashions us into a ‘œholy and blameless‘ image of Christ (Ephesians 1: 4), much like a figure sculpted out of marble. An artist in Florence, Italy once asked the great Renaissance sculptor Michelangelo what he saw when he approached a huge block of marble. ‘œI see a beautiful form trapped inside,‘ he replied, ‘œand it is simply my responsibility to take my mallet and chisel and chip away until the figure is set free.‘ The beautiful form, the visible expression of ‘œChrist in you, the hope of glory‘ is inside Christians like a possibility, a potential. The idea is there, and God uses affliction like a hammer and chisel, chipping and cutting to reveal his image in you. God chooses as his model his Son, Jesus Christ, ‘œFor those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son‘ (Romans 8: 29)....Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Suffering, Discipleship

January 28, 2014 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Suffering and the single-minded desire

Skubalon. In Philippians 3:8, Paul uses this Greek word, which the New International Version translates as ‘œrubbish,‘ to describe all the things in his life that he once boasted of but that now mean nothing compared to knowing Christ. When you consult a Greek lexicon, you find that the word skubalon was the word commonly used not just for garbage but for animal excrement. You know, that stuff in your yard that you step in and proceed to track into your house until you realize what you‘ve done and gag from the stench. Animal excrement. That‘s a little more evocative than rubbish, don‘t you think? Paul emphatically states that his desire to know Jesus, to know his power, to share in his suffering, to look and act like Him in every way, was such an all-consuming passion that all of his earthly awards, noble qualities, and previous reasons for pride meant as much to him as a hot, steaming pile of skubalon....Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Suffering, Discipleship

January 21, 2014 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

When God takes away the things you love

As I was in preparation for the current sermon series on suffering, I heard the following in a Tim Keller sermon (parphrased): ‘œIf your ultimate love and joy is found in the treasures of this world, then suffering will rob you of your joy and make you sadder and madder. But if your ultimate love and joy is found in God, then suffering will drive you deeper into the source of that joy.‘ Carefully consider those words....Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Suffering, Discipleship

January 14, 2014 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The world does not revolve around you

I still remember where I was the day I realized that the world did not revolve around me. I was in Washington D.C., 21 years old, sitting in the top section of RFK Stadium at a Promise Keepers conference. All around me, thousands of men from all over the country stood, many with their arms raised to the sky, worshiping their God. As the swell of their voices echoed around the stadium, a sweet sound in our Lord‘s ears, I suddenly realized that I was not the center of the universe. I was just one among many who had gathered that day to worship God and commit our lives to His service....Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Discipleship, Purpose

January 7, 2014 by Jessica Wojcik 0 comments

Guest blogger: Jessica Wojcik

In the first chapter of the book of Luke, an angel of the Lord appears to Mary, and after informing her that she is highly favored of the Lord, announces that she will give birth to a son who will be the savior of the world! Upon hearing this, Mary has questions. She wonders, ‘œHow can this be?‘ since she is a virgin, but she listens to the rest of what the angel has to say. And he tells her it‘s by the Holy Spirit that this will all come to pass. Then Mary says something amazing. In verse 38 she says ‘œI am the Lord‘s servant, may your word to me be fulfilled‘, the equivalent of a ‘œYes‘ to God. A lot of people admire Mary. I do as well, but I think what I admire most about her is her quiet strength....Keep Reading

Posted in: Missions Tags: Discipleship, Missions

October 15, 2013 by Mac Beaulieu 0 comments

Guest blogger: Mac Beaulieu

Do you irritate God? We spend much of our lives getting irritated by others because they don't do things the way we wish they would. Is their failure to meet our personal preferences a valid reason for our losing patience with them? That's a rhetorical question because we know that it is not (as it says in 1 Corinthians 13:5, love is ‘œnot rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs‘). We know that it's very unreasonable for us to hold people accountable to our whims and demands. God doesn't even do this, so how arrogant it is for us to do so! We can be very thankful that God doesn't sport our attitudes. We can be thankful that God doesn't get irritated by our tendency to do things our way instead of his way....Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Discipleship, Guest Blogger, Mac Beaulieu

September 24, 2013 by Eric Stillman 1 comments

God takes the scenic route

This past Sunday we experienced an incredible and unique time of worship as we joined together with three other Wethersfield churches for a time or prayer, worship, and the Word in Wethersfield Cove Park. It almost never happened, of course ‘" all week long, the weather forecast was predicting torrential downpours overnight on Saturday night and a miserable Sunday morning. But as we prayed and talked about it on Saturday, the other pastors and I felt that this was such a unique and special opportunity that we wanted to go ahead with the time of worship and pray that God would clear up the skies, relying on a 10:30 indoors service at First Church of Wethersfield as the backup plan. But God didn‘t need a backup plan....Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Discipleship, Faith

September 17, 2013 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

I do not understand what I do

In my opinion, Romans 8 the greatest chapter in the whole Bible. Filled with promises about the love of God and His commitment to us, it builds from verse 1‘s declaration that ‘œthere is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus‘ to the crescendo of verse 35-39, where we are exhorted that NOTHING can separate us from God‘s love. Hallelujah! But perhaps just as important as Romans 8 is the end of the preceding chapter, Romans 7. After all, Romans 8:1 begins with ‘œtherefore,‘ which means that we should ask what it is ‘œthere for.‘ Romans 8, the passionate declaration of God‘s great love for sinful, undeserving humans, follows Paul‘s most candid confession of his complete inability to live up to not only God‘s standards, but even his own. Listen to these words:...Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Discipleship, Sin

June 18, 2013 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Leave a legacy

There aren‘t many people who could tell you the historical significance of Edward Kimball. After all, he is so un-famous that he doesn‘t even have his own Wikipedia page. But through his simple service to God, he has had a worldwide impact. In 1854, Kimball was a Sunday School teacher in Detroit, and one day he went to visit a 17 year-old boy who was in his Sunday School class who had little interest in God or religion. During his visit with this young man at his job in a shoe shop, he led the boy into a relationship with Christ. That young man was D.L. Moody, who went on to become one of the greatest evangelists in the world, sharing the gospel with 100 million people, as well as founding Moody Bible Institute and The Moody Church in Chicago. But the story doesn‘t end there....Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: NewLife, Discipleship

April 16, 2013 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Salt and light, on a deathbed or on the basketball court

This past Sunday, Jim Quigley preached from Matthew 5:13-16 on how Jesus calls his disciples the salt and light of the world. The implication is that wherever there is darkness and decay, Jesus‘ followers should be there, acting as a preservative and purifier like salt, and shining the light of Christ through word and deed. I was reminded of this truth recently during of all things, a college basketball game......Keep Reading

Posted in: Evangelism Tags: Outreach, Discipleship

April 9, 2013 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Don't give up

‘œElijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day's journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. "I have had enough, LORD," he said. ‘˜Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.‘™ Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep.‘ (1 Kings 19:3-5)...Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Discipleship, Faith, hope

April 2, 2013 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Watch your step!

‘œSo, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.‘ (1 Corinthians 10:12-13) Paul‘™s words in 1 Corinthians 10:12 have been words I have never forgotten since that day back in 1997 when I first heard it shared from a small group leader in my college Christian fellowship group. The leader was talking about how we all struggle with sins, but that sometimes we can get to the point where we have experienced some degree of victory, and no longer feel like it is a struggle. However, she said, that is precisely when our sin can often sneak up on us and cause us to fall to it once again, because we have grown confident and let down our guard. The moment you think you are standing firm, watch out - you just might fall....Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Discipleship, temptation

November 27, 2012 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Cracked Pots

“To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ”s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)...Keep Reading

Tags: Grace, Discipleship

October 16, 2012 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

What is your battle?

Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. (1 Timothy 6:12)...Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship

October 9, 2012 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Who were you carrying the stone for?

“Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.” (1 Corinthians 4:5)...Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship

October 2, 2012 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Thank You (2012)

“Now on his way to Jerusalem, Jesus traveled along the border between Samaria and Galilee. As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, ‘Jesus, Master, have pity on us!’ When he saw them, he said, ‘Go, show yourselves to the priests.’ And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him” and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?’ Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.’” (Luke 17:11-19)...Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship

September 25, 2012 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Football and ice cream and Jesus

“Everything is permissible for me” but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me” but I will not be mastered by anything. (1 Corinthians 6:12)...Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship

July 10, 2012 by Cathy Eldridge 0 comments

Guest blogger: Cathy Eldridge (July 10, 2012)

During our July and August Sunday morning worship gatherings, I will be preaching through selected Psalms, using that section of the Bible in order to help us connect in deeper ways to God. During that time, I will be using the NewLife blog as a platform for the people of our church the opportunity to share about particular songs that help them connect to God....Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship, Guest Blogger

June 12, 2012 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Sowing, reaping, and the mercy of God

This past Sunday, I spent a good portion of my sermon looking at Galatians 6:7-9, where Paul outlines the law of sowing and reaping. As he writes, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” As I prepared to preach on this passage, I focused mainly on the “sowing” part, challenging everyone to sow to please the Spirit instead of the sinful nature....Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship

June 5, 2012 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Facebook and the comparison game

This past Sunday, I preached on Galatians 5:26-6:10, focusing to a large extent on 5:26, which reads: “Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.” Paul was reminding the Christians in Galatia that because they were justified (made right with God, given eternal worth, deemed important and valuable) by faith in Jesus and not on the basis of their performance, they were now free from the comparison game. In other words, they no longer needed to base their self-worth on whether they were better or worse than other people. It no longer mattered if they were more religious, or more successful, or a better parent, or had more money, or were better looking than those around them; they no longer needed to look to those things to justify themselves, because they were already justified. Conversely, it no longer mattered if they were less religious, less successful, a worse parent, had less money, or were uglier than those around them; they no longer needed to look to those things to condemn themselves, because they had already been justified by God. And as a result, they no longer needed to be conceited" to think of themselves more highly than they ought" or provoke or envy each other, looking down in superiority or looking up in anger at others....Keep Reading

Tags: American Culture, Discipleship

May 29, 2012 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Not a religion, but a relationship

Consider this quote, which I heard recently: “Christianity is not primarily a teaching nor a philosophy nor even a way of life. It is before everything else a relationship to a person. The New Testament in a sense will not even discuss with us the kind of life we are going to live until we have come to a satisfactory answer about him. All along the bible shuts us down to this one matter and holds us up against this one thing. It refuses to even discuss our questions and our problems with us. Before we can discuss how to live, what have you made of Him?”...Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship

May 8, 2012 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Begin the day with God, or begin the day with your idols

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)...Keep Reading

Tags: God, Discipleship

May 1, 2012 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Remembering Rich Mullins

“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’” (Matthew 25:40)...Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship, Missions

April 24, 2012 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Remembering Chuck Colson

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)...Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship

April 17, 2012 by Anthony Varesio 0 comments

Guest blogger: Anthony Varesio (April 17, 2012)

Today’s Pulse article is written by Anthony Varesio, in another installment of his Imperfekt Chronicles. “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know Him.” (1 John 3:1)...Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship, Guest Blogger

April 10, 2012 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

I am the one Jesus loves

“Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed.” (John 20:1-8)...Keep Reading

Tags: Jesus, Discipleship

March 6, 2012 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Are you an unintentional Pharisee?

“Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” (James 3:1) As I’ve been reading and preaching through the Gospel of John, I have been struck again by how severe Jesus’ words are for the Pharisees, the religious leaders of his day. We don’t know much about individual Pharisees just by reading the Gospels, but I would have to imagine that many of them had a genuine desire to know God and to see Israel, God’s people, become great again. The Pharisees were so devoted to the law of God that they added even more laws on top of God’s law, just to make sure they were doing all they could to honor God with their lives....Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship

February 21, 2012 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Lent and self-sacrifice

Today’s Pulse is a Lenten reflection reprinted from the March 8th, 2011 Pulse....Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship

February 14, 2012 by James Prignano 0 comments

Guest blogger: James Prignano (February 14, 2012)

Today’s Pulse is written by James Prignano. James, his wife Marcia, and their children Selah, Jonah, and Talia have been coming to NewLife for a few months. This is called “A Midnight Prayer.”...Keep Reading

Tags: Prayer, Discipleship

January 31, 2012 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Don’t let your worship become meaningless

“The Lord says: ‘These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.” (Isaiah 29:13)...Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship

January 17, 2012 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Who are you when no one is watching?

“Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven. So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you... When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18)...Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship

January 10, 2012 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

What holds you back?

“Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14)...Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship

January 3, 2012 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The New Year’s Do-Over

“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times” (Matthew 18:21-22)....Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship

December 6, 2011 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

If I don’t look at it, is it really there?

“The wicked man flees though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.” (Proverbs 28:1)...Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship

November 15, 2011 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The first thing on the to-do list

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?...Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship

November 8, 2011 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The Penn State scandal and the idols of the heart

As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one” (Romans 3:10) It’s been a rough year for college football, as scandal after scandal has rocked many of the elite programs around the country. In 2011 alone, Ohio State’s football coach, Jim Tressel, resigned after he was found to have hidden violations from the NCAA, the University of Miami football team was found to have committed numerous violations so heinous that it could lead to the program being shut down, and this past week, Penn State has been under the microscope after it was discovered that one of its assistant coaches had been sexually molesting boys for years, often at the team practice facility, and that school officials, including the head coach Joe Paterno, had done very little to bring the abuse into the light. Now, the Miami scandals were not much of a surprise, given the tawdry history of the program, but the Ohio State and Penn State scandals were shocking precisely because the head coaches of both schools had been held up as models of integrity. Now, sadly, they find their reputations crumbling around them as it became clear that neither man was as he was portrayed to be....Keep Reading

Tags: American Culture, Discipleship

October 18, 2011 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Depression

“Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. ‘˜Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.’ Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep.” (1 Kings 19:3-5)...Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship

October 11, 2011 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

You’re my hero, Eric Stillman

In December of 1997, I sat down with a small group of teenagers from NewLife at Mike and Melissa Smith’s house in Glastonbury. A 21 year-old senior at UConn, I had just recently been hired as the youth pastor at NewLife, and this sit-down was my first “meet-and-greet” with the teens of the church. I remember telling them about some of the people I regularly ate meals with in the UConn cafeteria, and the daydreams I had about challenging the smart atheists to consider the reality of Jesus Christ. In my daydream, I would clearly and cleverly outline the truth of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, and skillfully answer every argument thrown my way. Soon, it became clear that the whole cafeteria was listening intently to our conversation. And so, in my daydream, I would stand up and tell all who were listening about the gospel of Jesus Christ. And as the crowd responded in affirmation, I would leave the cafeteria, leading the hungry-for-God crowd up the hill to where our Christian fellowship met. And as person after person committed their life to Jesus, the prettiest girl in the Christian fellowship would come up to me and say admiringly, “you’re my hero, Eric Stillman.”...Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship

September 27, 2011 by Jim Quigley 0 comments

Guest blogger: Jim Quigley (September 27, 2011)

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)...Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship, Guest Blogger

September 20, 2011 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

God stories

“We live by faith, not by sight.” (2 Corinthians 5:7) As a preacher, I have learned that one of the best ways to connect a message to a listener is to tell a personal story. As I prepare a sermon, my first priorities are to try to faithfully communicate the intent of the original author, as well as to discern what the text means for us in 21st century America. Then, after I have accomplished those goals, I try to make the message more interesting and memorable by adding personal stories, analogies, quotes, and so on....Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship

July 19, 2011 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Confession

“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word has no place in our lives.” (1 John 1:5-10)...Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship, Sin

July 12, 2011 by Brad Brinkley 0 comments

Guest Blogger: Brad Brinkley (July 12, 2011)

Today’s guest blogger is Brad Brinkley. Brad and his wife Taylor have been a part of NewLife since last November....Keep Reading

Tags: NewLife, Discipleship

July 5, 2011 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The pursuit of pleasure

I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor. Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun. (Ecclesiastes 2:10-11)...Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship

May 31, 2011 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Spiritual discernment

“Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.” (1 Thessalonians 5:19-22)...Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship

May 24, 2011 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Even if you touch just one life...

“Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” (1 Corinthians 15:58)...Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship, Missions

May 17, 2011 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

When spiritual disciplines seem meaningless

The boy Samuel ministered before the LORD under Eli. In those days the word of the LORD was rare; there were not many visions. One night Eli, whose eyes were becoming so weak that he could barely see, was lying down in his usual place. The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the LORD, where the ark of God was. Then the LORD called Samuel. Samuel answered, “Here I am.” And he ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” But Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down. Again the LORD called, “Samuel!” And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” “My son,” Eli said, “I did not call; go back and lie down.” Now Samuel did not yet know the LORD: The word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him. The LORD called Samuel a third time, and Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” Then Eli realized that the LORD was calling the boy. So Eli told Samuel, “Go and lie down, and if he calls you, say, ‘Speak, LORD, for your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” (1 Samuel 3:1-10)...Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship

April 26, 2011 by Anthony Varesio 0 comments

Guest Blogger: Anthony Varesio (April 26, 2011)

Today’s guest writer is Anthony Varesio, a member of NewLife. This is another entry out of his Imperfekt Chronicles....Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship

April 19, 2011 by Steve Hoyt 0 comments

Guest blogger: Steve Hoyt (April 19, 2011)

Today’s post comes courtesy of an email update by Steve Hoyt, a missionary with Engineering Ministries International in Uganda, who preached at NewLife in October 2009. Steve is also the cousin of John & Tammy Choleva. With our focus this year on “Blessed to be a blessing,” I found Steve’s letter particularly meaningful and challenging....Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship, Guest Blogger

April 5, 2011 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

What UConn basketball teaches me about Jesus

I am a huge UConn basketball fan. I attended UConn many years ago, and during my time as a student, I attended every home game, often waiting in line for hours in order to be as close as possible to the court. This past Monday night culminated a few months of great excitement as the UConn men won the national championship. Having followed the team for years, I was amazed that they pulled it off" after all, they weren’t even picked to make the NCAA tournament in most preseason publications, let alone compete for the title. But under the leadership of Jim Calhoun, and guided by the play of Kemba Walker and his supporting cast, they shocked even this diehard fan....Keep Reading

Tags: Evangelism, Discipleship

March 29, 2011 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Jesus and the problem of evil

Last week, I discussed possible philosophical answers to the problem of evil. The problem, however, with approaching the question of how a good and all-powerful God could allow suffering and evil from a philosophical perspective is that philosophical answers rarely touch the raw places in people’s lives, where deep pain and injustice has left indelible wounds. Most people who ask “Why, God?” out of rage and despair need more than to be told “God may have reasons that just don’t make sense to your limited mind at this time.” So what are the more personal responses to the problem of evil? Where is God when you are suffering?...Keep Reading

Tags: Suffering, Discipleship

March 9, 2011 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The pursuit of happiness

“Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?’” (Mark 8:34-36)...Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship

March 1, 2011 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Wonder

“As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him” (Mark 9:15)....Keep Reading

Tags: Gospel, Discipleship

February 15, 2011 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Keeping your faith during the hardest trials

“Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time.” - Oswald Chambers...Keep Reading

Tags: God, Discipleship

February 8, 2011 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

God will routinely give you more than you can handle

Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” (Mark 10:21)...Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship, Missions

February 1, 2011 by Jim Quigley 0 comments

Guest blogger: Jim Quigley (February 1, 2011)

Today’s guest blogger is Jim Quigley. “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’ “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’” (Luke 15:28-32)...Keep Reading

Tags: NewLife, Discipleship

January 11, 2011 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Don’t go it alone

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16) “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)...Keep Reading

Tags: NewLife, Discipleship

December 14, 2010 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

What would you like me to write about?

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is" his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2)....Keep Reading

Tags: NewLife, Discipleship

December 7, 2010 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Do you love God?

“One of them, an expert in the law, tested him with this question: ‘Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.’ (Matthew 22:35-38)...Keep Reading

Tags: God, Discipleship

October 26, 2010 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The slippery slope into conflict... or reconciliation

This past Sunday, I finished up the sermon series on Biblical communication and conflict resolution. One of the foundational verses on conflict is James 4:1-2: “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it.” That passage reveals a simple yet profound truth - conflict usually happens when we do not get what we want. And more than that, conflict gets worse when our desires turn into demands....Keep Reading

Tags: Relationships, Discipleship

October 19, 2010 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The freedom of forgiveness

“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13)...Keep Reading

Tags: Relationships, Discipleship

October 12, 2010 by Jim Quigley 0 comments

Guest Blogger: Jim Quigley (October 12, 2010)

This week’s guest blogger is Jim Quigley. Jim has been a part of NewLife since last August, after moving up from New Jersey, and is an engineer who also works with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at Trinity College. The word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” But Jonah ran away from the LORD and headed for Tarshish. -Jonah 1:1-3...Keep Reading

Tags: Relationships, Discipleship, Guest Blogger

October 5, 2010 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Shrugging off a punch in the face

A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense. (Proverbs 19:11)...Keep Reading

Tags: Relationships, Discipleship

September 14, 2010 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Self-discipline and “other”-discipline

Embarrassing story time: I sucked my thumb at night until I was in third grade. Do you know why I finally stopped? My parents took video of my brothers and me sleeping at night on Christmas Eve, and when they showed it the next day, there I was: eight year-old Eric, curled up with my thumb in my mouth. Needless to say, I was mortified, and never sucked my thumb again....Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship, Sin

September 1, 2010 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

I am not like you

I’ve recently been enjoying John Ortberg’s new book, The me I want to be, in which the author talks about the unique ways God grows each of us spiritually into the people we were created to be. One of the parts that really spoke to me was where Ortberg said this:...Keep Reading

Tags: God, Discipleship

August 10, 2010 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things. (Philippians 4:4-8)...Keep Reading

Tags: God, Discipleship

July 27, 2010 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The curse of the intelligent man

Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed. (Proverbs 15:22)...Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship

July 13, 2010 by Jim Quigley 0 comments

Guest Blogger: Jim Quigley (July 13, 2010)

This week’s guest blogger is Jim Quigley. Jim has been a part of NewLife since last August, after moving up from New Jersey, and is an engineer who also works with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at Trinity College. “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11-12)...Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship, Guest Blogger

June 15, 2010 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Glastonbury Fight Club

One of the highlights of my week this past month has proven to be Fight Club, the new men’s group that began meeting on Wednesday nights in May. What a privilege it has been to see men sharing their lives and struggles with each other, encouraging each other with Scripture and from personal experience, and forming real friendships. I have found that while there is a place for Bible study, there is also great benefit to beginning with our issues and struggles and then bringing Biblical wisdom into those specific situations. One passage in particular that has ministered to our group has been Micah 7:8-9, which reads:...Keep Reading

Tags: NewLife, Discipleship

June 8, 2010 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

How do people change?

This past Sunday, I preached about the gospel and personal growth, and how the deeper our belief in the good news of Jesus Christ’s death for our sins is, and the more we look to Him for our hope, peace, love, significance, and life, the more we have the power to overcome the challenges we face. During the sermon, I briefly mentioned my lifelong struggle with time management and prioritizing. I’ve tried every different system under the sun, put up motivational quotes and sticky note reminders, sought out accountability, installed deadlines - all with limited progress. Why is this the case? Do I just need to find a doctor who will prescribe me with a pill? Have I just not found the right system?...Keep Reading

Tags: Gospel, Discipleship

May 11, 2010 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

What’s your motivation?

I was reading John Shore’s conversion story the other day on The Huffington Post, and as I was glancing through some of the comments, I saw one that read: “It seems as if this is virtually the same conversion story that I’ve heard from so many Christians. It is primarily based on fear. What a sad reason to change your life as there are so many other ways. Fear, as a motivator, doesn’t seem like a very nice reason to embrace a religion, but it seems as if it is the main reason that so many people do. Just because you are filled with fear about death or your own failings as a person, that doesn’t validate a religion or God...”...Keep Reading

Tags: Gospel, Discipleship

May 4, 2010 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Is it wrong to be rich?

One of the most powerful and challenging books I have ever read is Dietrich Bonhoeffer‘s The Cost of Discipleship. Bonhoeffer was a German pastor during the reign of Adolf Hitler who participated in the German Resistance movement against Hitler and was eventually imprisoned and executed in 1945 at the age of 39 for this act of treason. As I prepare to preach on how the gospel transforms our approach to money this coming Sunday, I wanted to share with you a very challenging (and humorous, ironically) passage from The Cost of Discipleship regarding Jesus‘ interaction with the man who has come to be known as the Rich Young Ruler:...Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship, Money

April 27, 2010 by Anthony Varesio 0 comments

Guest Blogger: Anthony Varesio (April 27, 2010)

This week‘s guest blogger is Anthony Varesio. Anthony and his family have been a part of NewLife for a little less than a year, and Anthony was recently baptized. Anthony will be contributing to the NewLife blog once a month with his, as he puts it, ‘œunfiltered and in-progress diary of the personal challenges and revelations that come with my pursuit of becoming a better person and living ‘The Way‘.‘...Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship, Guest Blogger

February 9, 2010 by Jim Quigley 0 comments

Guest Blogger: Jim Quigley - Know your enemy

Today‘s guest blogger is Jim Quigley. Jim has been a part of NewLife since August, after moving up from New Jersey. He is an engineer who also works with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. As we focus on spiritual warfare with our memory verses for February, Jim will share on ‘œknowing your enemy.‘...Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship, Spiritual Warfare

January 26, 2010 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

I am the greatest!

‘œEarly in the morning Samuel got up and went to meet Saul, but he was told, ‘Saul has gone to Carmel. There he has set up a monument in his own honor and has turned and gone on down to Gilgal.‘‘ (1 Samuel 15:12)...Keep Reading

Tags: God, Discipleship

December 15, 2009 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Tolerance, high standards, and amazing grace

But Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, ‘œTeacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?‘ They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, ‘œIf any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.‘ Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, ‘œWoman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?‘ ‘œNo one, sir,‘ she said. ‘œThen neither do I condemn you,‘ Jesus declared. ‘œGo now and leave your life of sin.‘ (John 8:1-11)...Keep Reading

Tags: Jesus, Discipleship

December 8, 2009 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Looking for a good funeral to attend‘¦

It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart. (Ecclesiastes 7:2)...Keep Reading

Tags: Death, Discipleship

November 17, 2009 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

A story worth living

One of my favorite authors is a man named Donald Miller, who is best known for his 2003 book Blue Like Jazz. Miller writes with wit, creativity, and disarming honesty in the style of a memoir, reflecting on his life and what he has learned about God and himself through his experiences. Blue Like Jazz is currently in the process of being made into a movie, and Miller‘s most recent book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, is about what he learned about his life and God‘s grand story while the screenwriters ‘œedited his life‘ for the big screen. His reflections on the boring, uninspired story he was living and the grand story of risk and adventure that God was calling him to live were fascinating to read, and really challenged me to reflect on the story I find myself in and to walk with faith and courage. Let me share a few quotes from the book that really spoke to me:...Keep Reading

Tags: God, Discipleship

October 27, 2009 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

A.W. Tozer‘s Five Vows for Spiritual Strength

Today‘s post comes courtesy of my friend Ben Dubow, who blogs over at www.faithautopsy.com. In one of his latest posts, he referenced A.W. Tozer‘s Five Spiritual Vows. Tozer was a 20th century Christian & Missionary Alliance preacher and author who died in 1963, and whose words are incredibly challenging. You can read Tozer‘s whole discourse at http://www.neve-family.com/books/tozer/FiveVows.html; Ben‘s well-done summary is below:...Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship, Guest Blogger

September 22, 2009 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

When a day feels like a thousand years

This past Sunday I preached on the fact that God is eternal, that He exists outside of time and is fully present to every moment of time at once. He is the Alpha and Omega, the one who was there in the beginning and will be there in the end. He is the unchanging one, who because He exists outside of time does not change in His character, His truth, His promises, or His purposes. He is the Rock upon which we stand in our faith....Keep Reading

Tags: God, Discipleship

July 28, 2009 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

And God said‘¦ "choose the Cocoa Puffs‘¦ with soy milk"

Somewhere in this great land of ours, there stands a man who has yet to leave his closet. He is a very spiritual man, but he is not in the closet because he has come to spend time with the Lord in prayer. No - he went in to get a shirt to wear that day. However, after a couple of hours he is still in his closet, because he has been waiting on God to clarify whether he should choose the navy and gray striped button down or the green polo shirt....Keep Reading

Tags: NewLife, Discipleship