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Posts tagged with Grace

March 5, 2019 by Eric Stillman 2 comments

Would you go to church if you were struggling?

This past year, I finished my Master’s of Professional Counseling degree through Liberty University. One of the classes I took was on substance abuse counseling, and one of the assignments was to visit a couple of AA, NA, and Al-Anon meetings. I had always heard that these groups often succeed in creating the kind of atmosphere and community that the church is meant to display. My experience proved this to be correct, especially in one important way that I think is worthy of consideration....Keep Reading

Tags: Church, Grace

November 27, 2018 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Judgment and grace

In the spring of 2009, I enrolled in my first Masters of Professional Counseling course through Liberty University Online. At the time, I was three years into pastoring NewLife, and it had not been an easy road. I was only 30 years old when I was hired, immature and inexperienced in so many ways. By the spring of 2009, Michele and I were raising a 3 year-old, 2 year-old, and 8 month-old, and I was struggling to pastor the church in a way that was healthy for my family or was life-giving to those who were leading alongside of me. Michele and I decided that it would be wise for me to begin working towards another degree, one class at a time, something that would benefit my ministry if I continued as a pastor, or would serve as a backup plan in case things did not work out at NewLife....Keep Reading

Tags: Relationships, Grace

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

November 14, 2017 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

How to raise a hypocrite

A couple of weeks ago, I was listening to a well-meaning pastor teaching on parenting. He was explaining how he and his wife teach their four pre-teen children to obey right away, all the way, and with enthusiasm. He then went on to declare, “Obedience is so important. After all, the gospel is all about obedience.” Objection, your honor! The gospel is NOT all about obedience....Keep Reading

Tags: Grace, Parenting

April 26, 2016 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Raising little hypocrites

A couple of weeks ago, I was listening to a well-meaning pastor teaching on parenting. He was explaining how he and his wife teach their four pre-teen children to obey right away, all the way, and with enthusiasm. He then went on to declare, “Obedience is so important. After all, the gospel is all about obedience.” Objection, your honor!...Keep Reading

Posted in: Grace Tags: Parenting, Grace

May 12, 2015 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

You don't where I've come from

This morning, I was watching a video in which a couple of counselors were teaching a unique way of doing premarital counseling. Their approach was focused on helping a couple understand each other’s stories, so that they might love and support each other better. As I observed the couple who was being counseled, I immediately noticed that the woman was wearing a lot of makeup and seemed to have given a lot of attention to her looks. As I followed along with the session, the counselor asked each individual to share a scene from their story that stands out to them as particularly influential in their lives. The woman shared about a scene from health class in elementary school. The teacher had each of the girls get on the scale to be weighed, and the woman shared about how she was the heaviest girl in the class. Later that day, during recess, she asked to get on a merry-go-round with some of the boys. They refused to let her on, and when she said, “But I’m only a girl,” one of them replied, “Yeah, you’re the fattest girl in the class.” The woman proceeded to share how that scene had shaped her life from that point forward, from self-loathing, to eating disorders, to eventually finding some healing in Christ that has allowed her to minister to other women struggling with body image....Keep Reading

Posted in: Grace Tags: Grace, compassion

July 15, 2014 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The gift of a clean slate

Brennan Manning‘s The Ragamuffin Gospel is one of those books that I try to read on a regular basis, at least once every year or two. Manning‘s story-telling, and the way he brings the grace of God to life, has always ministered deeply to me. One of my favorite stories he tells in his book is this one: Four years ago in a large city in the far West, rumors spread that a certain Catholic woman was having visions of Jesus. The reports reached the archbishop. He decided to check her out. There is always a fine line between the authentic mystic and the lunatic fringe....Keep Reading

Posted in: Grace Tags: Forgiveness, Grace

May 20, 2014 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

God's humbling grace

As we‘™ve been working through Philippians on Sunday mornings, it has been clear that much of the emphasis of Paul‘™s letter to the church in Philippi is unity. He loves his church dearly, and sincerely wants them to love each other with a humble love, showing each other the same grace that they have received from Jesus. In keeping with that theme, I wish to share an excerpt from a Charles Spurgeon sermon that I read today and found especially encouraging and challenging:...Keep Reading

Posted in: Grace Tags: Grace, humility

July 16, 2013 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Two ways of responding to accusations

Lately I have found that when I am accused of wrongdoing, I have two potential responses competing in my mind. The first is to defend myself, to give all the reasons the accuser is wrong, and to point out all the way my accuser is just as guilty as I am. My second response is to not only agree with my accuser but to add to my accuser‘s list with all the other ways they neglected to mention in which I am guilty. The first response feels like the right way to go. After all, I am standing up for myself and declaring that I am not such a bad person after all, nor am I alone in being imperfect. The second response, however, is both humble and brutally honest about who I am. It is like the response given by the famous 18th century English evangelist George Whitefield upon receiving a vicious letter accusing him of wrongdoing: ‘œI thank you heartily for your letter. As for what you and my other enemies are saying against me, I know worse things about myself than you will ever say about me. With love in Christ, George Whitefield.‘...Keep Reading

Posted in: Grace Tags: Grace, accusation

April 30, 2013 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

By what standard do you measure yourself?

As I‘ve been preaching through the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) on Sundays at NewLife, one of the repeating themes has been how the Pharisees interpreted the law in such a way that they found themselves on the ‘œrighteous‘ side of the bar. ‘œDo not murder‘ meant don‘t kill anyone, ‘œDo not commit adultery‘ meant don‘t have sex with someone who is not your spouse, and their laws on divorce came to mean ‘œAs long as you give your wife a certificate of divorce, it‘s okay to divorce her.‘ In each case, the Pharisees looked at the law and felt righteous. But one of the things Jesus does in the Sermon on the Mount is to explain the spirit and truth behind each of those laws, and in the process raises the bar to such a height that no one - not even the Pharisees - can end up on the righteous side of the bar on their own merits....Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Grace, Sin, Jesus

April 23, 2013 by Eric Stillman 1 comments

Remembering Brennan Manning

Brennan Manning, one of my favorite authors and speakers, died on April 12th at the age of 78. His book The Ragamuffin Gospel, written in 1990, is still probably my favorite book outside of the Bible. His ability to communicate the grace and love of God for those of us who are completely undeserving and struggle daily to follow God and trust in His love for us was simply incredible, and his ability to quote books and plays and stories that gave life to his point of view was fascinating....Keep Reading

Posted in: Grace Tags: Grace, Brennan Manning

March 26, 2013 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Amazing Grace

‘œYou see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him! For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!‘ (Romans 5:6-10)...Keep Reading

Posted in: Gospel Tags: Gospel, Grace

December 4, 2012 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

All is Grace

“Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:25-26)...Keep Reading

Tags: Grace

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