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Posts tagged with Love

May 22, 2018 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

None of us are as we should be

I recently read Brennan Manning’s autobiography, All is Grace. Manning is a former Catholic priest and traveling speaker, best known for his book The Ragamuffin Gospel, which is still my favorite book outside of the Bible. I heard him speak in 1995, when I was a new believer and he “opened” for Rich Mullins at South United Methodist Church in Manchester, and have read most of his books. Manning has an ability to communicate the love and grace of God in a way that is profoundly beautiful and always reminds me that “Jesus loves me just as I am, not as I should be, since none of us are as we should be.”...Keep Reading

Tags: Grace, Love

April 10, 2018 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Your presence matters

There may be no more poignant reminder that Jesus was not only fully God but fully man than this passage from the last days of Jesus’ life. Facing an impending betrayal and certain death, Jesus walks into the Garden of Gethsemane to be with his Father, and says to Peter, James, and John, “stay with me.” In this moment of incredible agony, where he will be confronted by the temptation to give up his march to the cross, Jesus does not want to be alone, but asks his friends to remain with him....Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship, Love

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

July 26, 2016 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

So many people, so little time

One of the challenges of pastoral ministry is that there are very few aspects of the job that can be checked off as complete. There is a sermon to preach every Sunday, and a newsletter to put out every Tuesday, but most of the work is ongoing: discipling people, training leaders, caring for struggling people, and so on. When there are 150-200 people who call NewLife their home, and only 7 days in a week, clearly decisions need to be made and priorities need to be set, because you can not give everyone all the time you would like to give. One of the statements I heard early in my ministry, which has helped me tremendously, was by Mike Yaconelli, a pioneer in youth ministry....Keep Reading

Posted in: Love Tags: Love, Friendship

July 12, 2016 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Love your neighbors

The first time I heard Jesus’ great commandment, which is found in Matthew 22:34-40, my seven year-old brain assumed that “love your neighbor” meant to love the Heaths and the Blooms, the two families who lived next door to us. Eventually, of course, I came to understand that Jesus’ exhortation was not meant to be taken literally, but that my neighbor was any other human being (even our enemies, as Jesus illustrates in the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:29-37). But what if Jesus really did mean to truly focus on loving our actual neighbors, the ones that live around us? ...Keep Reading

Posted in: Love Tags: Outreach, Love

May 24, 2016 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The gift of your presence

There may be no more poignant reminder that Jesus was not only fully God but fully man than this passage from the last days of Jesus’ life. Facing an impending betrayal and certain death, Jesus walks into the Garden of Gethsemane to be with his Father, and says to Peter, James, and John, “stay with me.” In this moment of incredible agony, where he will be confronted by the temptation to give up his march to the cross, Jesus does not want to be alone, but asks his friends to remain with him. Many of us have found ourselves watching a loved one facing a time of intense suffering, wishing that there was something we could do to make it all better. ...Keep Reading

Posted in: Love Tags: Suffering, Love

April 19, 2016 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Marketing the Church

When I was a youth pastor, I went to a training once that was led by a high profile youth ministry organization. With great enthusiasm, they challenged us to do a “Great Commission Competition” in our youth group. Basically, this competition would include dividing the youth group into 3-4 groups, and then giving them a challenge: whichever group could invite the most friends to youth group over the next three months would get a free trip to Six Flags (sponsored by the adults in the church, naturally). The person pitching this event to us raved about how our youth group could grow significantly through this challenge, and bring many people to Christ....Keep Reading

Posted in: Love Tags: Love, Marketing

March 15, 2016 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Love in action on a Sunday morning

Love, as DC Talk put it so many years ago, is a verb. Loving your neighbor, therefore, is not primarily a matter of emotion, but shows itself in practical ways. With that in mind, consider these eight practical ways that you can love your neighbor on Sunday morning at NewLife, or at whatever church you attend:...Keep Reading

Posted in: Church life Tags: Church, Love

February 16, 2016 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

True love is more than flowers and candy

In light of the recently passed Hallmark holiday celebrating romantic love, let me share one of my favorite passages from one of my favorite authors, Brennan Manning, from his book The Signature of Jesus, on what real love looks like: “On the night of December 13, during what began as a long and lonely hour or prayer, I heard in faith Jesus Christ say, ‘For love of you I left my Father’s side. I came to you who ran from me, fled me, who did not want to hear my name. For love of you I was covered with spit, punched, beaten, and affixed to the wood of the cross.’...Keep Reading

Posted in: Love Tags: Jesus, Love

June 30, 2015 by Eric Stillman 1 comments

Same-sex marriage and the church

This past Friday, the Supreme Court ruled that “same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry.” On Sunday, I was reading the editorial page of the Hartford Courant and couldn’t help but notice the juxtaposition of two starkly different articles. The first, written by Susan Campbell, a longtime Courant religion writer, celebrated the Supreme Court ruling. The second, by Russell Moore, a prominent Southern Baptist leader, was against the ruling and gave advice on how the church should respond. But as I read through both articles, I found myself shaking my head and embarrassed. Let me explain....Keep Reading

Posted in: Love Tags: Love, Same-sex marriage

March 17, 2015 by Jessica Wojcik 0 comments

Guest blogger: Jessica Wojcik

In the 1960’s the Beatles came out with a song entitled, “All you need is Love”. Now I wasn’t alive during that time, but I believe they were truly onto something there with their message! John Lennon said in a later interview (before he died), that with that song they were trying to send a message to the world and I think it’s a message that we still need to hear today! All you need is love! Now I could get super spiritual here and point to the fact that God is love and therefore the actual message is that all you really need is Him, which I absolutely believe to be true, but I think there’s more to it than just that. I think when we really understand the love of God….the love He has for the world and for us as individuals….it changes everything! When the love of Christ infiltrates your heart, you can’t help but see the world differently, to see yourself differently, and to see others differently!...Keep Reading

Posted in: God's love Tags: God's love, Love

December 9, 2014 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Adopted

One of the greatest realities of the gospel, the good news of Jesus Christ, is that those who trust in Him and have been saved are adopted into the family of God, becoming children of the Heavenly Father, full heirs of all that belongs to Him. Consequently, one of the greatest ways we can preach the gospel to the world is through following our Father‘s example and becoming people and families who adopt others. There are certainly formal ways to do this, by adopting or fostering children who have been abused or neglected or have no parents, but there are many other ways to have an adoptive attitude towards the world. For example:...Keep Reading

Posted in: God's love Tags: Adoption, Love

February 18, 2014 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The gift of your presence (2014)

There may be no more poignant reminder that Jesus was not only fully God but fully man than this passage from the last days of Jesus‘ life. Facing an impending betrayal and certain death, Jesus walks into the Garden of Gethsemane to be with his Father, and says to Peter, James, and John, ‘œstay with me.‘ In this moment of incredible agony, where he will be confronted by the temptation to give up his march to the cross, Jesus does not want to be alone, but asks his friends to remain with him....Keep Reading

Posted in: Love Tags: Service, Love