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Posts tagged with Jesus

December 1, 2020 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Whac-a-Mole discipleship

This past Sunday, I preached on the first chapter of Malachi, a confrontational passage that raises the important question of whether we prioritize God with our time, talent, and treasure, or whether we give Him our leftovers. I have found the passage to be potentially life-changing as I experienced God’s conviction and responded in repentance and obedience. I hope it was the same for you, and if you have not listened to the sermon, I encourage you to listen to it on our website or watch it on our YouTube page. I believe that if you prioritize God, you will experience the power and presence of God in your life, because God will bless those who honor Him....Keep Reading

Tags: Jesus, Discipleship

November 3, 2020 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Jesus for President

By the time you read this, you have probably already cast your ballot, and the United States may have already chosen a new President. In the spirit of this political season, allow me to take a moment to remind you about how Jesus and the early church subverted the politics of their era, and the lessons we can learn from that today. Consider the language used by the politicians of Jesus’ day, and how Jesus and His followers confronted that worldview, co-opted that language and gave it a completely different meaning (taken from Shane Claiborne’s Jesus for President):...Keep Reading

Tags: Jesus, Politics, Kingdom of God

July 28, 2020 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Counting the cost of following Jesus

This past Sunday, I looked at the parable of the treasure hidden in the field and the parable of the pearl of great price in Matthew 13:44-46. These short parables illustrate how knowing and following God is worth giving up all that we have, that the rewards of discipleship far outweigh the cost. I spent some time in my sermon trying to clearly outline why it is that knowing God is such a treasure, including such benefits as eternal life, complete forgiveness, meaning in suffering, and a joy and peace that is not contingent upon our circumstances....Keep Reading

Tags: Jesus, Suffering, Discipleship

May 12, 2020 by Amy Swanson 1 comments

Guest blogger: Amy Swanson

Pastor Eric recently made a request for testimonies of learning to trust God through suffering and loss. A hard ask, but one I hope we can rise to because the faithfulness of God appears in so many forms and fashions. And I believe it is through the telling of these stories, even the ones longed to be forgotten, that others can find comfort, assurance, and maybe even a step towards healing. That is my prayer, anyways, and what leads me to share my story. ...Keep Reading

Tags: Jesus, Suffering, hope

March 31, 2020 by Gordon Lawrence 0 comments

Jesus in prison

Today’s guest writer is Gordon Lawrence. Jesus encouraged his followers to visit those in prison. Jesus said in Matt 5:36 when talking about the coming of the Son of Man and the separation of the sheep and the goats, ‘I was in prison and you came to visit me’; and in Hebrews 13:3 it says ‘remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison.’ Visiting those in prison is therefore something that the church should be involved in....Keep Reading

Tags: Jesus, Prison ministry

March 24, 2020 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The God who adopts

Flash back with me to November of 2008. Our youngest son, Nate, was three months old. Ryan and Will, our two oldest boys, were three and two years old. I was two years into pastoring NewLife, and my wife Michele was working as she was able to help make ends meet. Naturally, Michele told me that she thought that the time was right for us to go through training to become licensed foster and adoptive parents through the state of Connecticut. Over eleven years later, we have had the privilege of providing a temporary home for hundreds of children in the foster care system. ...Keep Reading

Tags: Jesus, Gospel, Adoption, foster care

February 25, 2020 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Our great political hope

The theory undergirding David Zahl’s book Seculosity is that as our culture looks less and less to God’s saving grace as our source of self-worth and justification (or “enoughness,” as Zahl calls it), we inevitably look to the good things of this world for that which only God can give us. Some turn to a romantic partner, others to a career, still others to parenting or technology. And some, as chapter 8 outlines, put their hope in politics....Keep Reading

Tags: Jesus, Politics, Seculosity

December 24, 2019 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The Savior has come

In lieu of my own words this Christmas Eve, let us instead listen to Luke’s account of the entrance of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, into our world....Keep Reading

Tags: Jesus, Christmas

August 28, 2018 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

How do you see yourself?

One of the mysteries of the gospel of John is that one of the disciples is referred to as “the disciple Jesus loved.” According to church history, this disciple is none other than John himself, the author of the book. Consider what you would be like if you saw that as your primary identity, the way you viewed yourself....Keep Reading

Tags: Jesus, Identity

October 10, 2017 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Jesus and our trauma (2017)

In my spare time, I have been taking a class at a time towards a degree in counseling. My current class is called Crisis Counseling, and so much of my reading lately has been on the subject of trauma. As a Christian who knows apologetics, I am well-versed in how to answer the question “How can a good God let bad things happen?” But having the intellectual answers doesn’t change the fact that those “bad things” that happen to people so often take my breath away and bring me to tears at the depth of the horror some people are forced to endure. In Luke 22, we read about Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, turning to his heavenly Father in prayer before he is arrested and crucified...Keep Reading

Tags: Jesus, Suffering

December 6, 2016 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

What is Christmas spirit, really?

My favorite Christmas movie is probably Elf, the 2003 movie starring Will Ferrell. One of the obstacles in the movie that has to be overcome in order for there to be a happy ending is the decline of Christmas spirit in the world. Christmas spirit, if you watch closely, seems to be defined as having a childlike faith and wonder, especially as it comes to believing in Santa Claus. Now, (spoiler alert!) anyone who can read this article knows that Santa isn’t real. But the idea of Christmas spirit still perseveres in our culture. What is Christmas spirit? Consider, if you will, these challenging words from J.I. Packer’s book Knowing God about this thing we call “Christmas spirit”:...Keep Reading

Posted in: Christmas Tags: Jesus, Christmas

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

March 3, 2015 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Who is the hero of your story?

As we enter the third month of 2015, one thing has been clear this year for me: it has been the year of the funeral. In January, I performed the celebration of life service for Phil Vaglica, the first member (although not the first person) of our church to pass away while I’ve been the pastor. A few weeks later I was attending Wes Feshler’s funeral, remembering another man who had been a part of our church and a wonderful brother in Christ over the past few years. Last week, I found myself performing a funeral for another woman, the mother of a good friend who had recently visited our church. And I know that other church members have lost close family members and friends already in 2015 as well. One of the most meaningful moments for me of Phil’s celebration of life service was ...Keep Reading

Posted in: Jesus Tags: Jesus, Death

May 13, 2014 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

What's your reputation?

I used the New King James Version translation of the passage above because of the way it translates verse 6: when Jesus was on this earth, He made Himself ‘œof no reputation.‘ I find that to be a fascinating translation, more descriptive than the New International Version‘™s ‘œHe made Himself nothing.‘ For many of us, our reputation is something we closely guard, even if we are not aware that we are doing it. We want to be seen as intelligent, or hard-working, or moral, or cool, or successful, or attractive, and so we carefully screen out that which we want the world to see and that which we wish to hide from others....Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Jesus, Reputation

November 19, 2013 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The Ragman

As I prepared for this past Sunday‘s sermon on the parable of the Good Samaritan, and especially how Jesus showed us mercy when we were in need, I was reminded of a short story/drama called The Ragman by Walter Wangerin. I‘ve reprinted it below: I saw a strange sight. I stumbled upon a story most strange, like nothing my life, my street sense, my sly tongue had ever prepared me for. Hush, child. Hush, now, and I will tell it to you....Keep Reading

Posted in: Jesus Tags: Jesus, The Ragman

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

January 8, 2013 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The Bible is not about you (2013)

“You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” (John 5:39-40)...Keep Reading

Tags: Jesus, Bible

October 30, 2012 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

President Jesus

After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:14-15)...Keep Reading

Tags: Jesus, Politics

September 11, 2012 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

So What?

Sixteen years ago, in June of 1996, I began my first assignment in ministry, as the summer Youth Programs Coordinator at South United Methodist of Manchester. I had absolutely no clue what I was doing, and I’m quite sure that none of those kids remember much of what I had to say. But as I fumbled around in my attempts to get through to a bunch of distracted teens with glazed-over eyes, I found that there was one question that was absolutely essential to answer:...Keep Reading

Tags: Jesus

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

April 3, 2012 by Allie LaCroix 0 comments

Guest Blogger: Allie Dunn (April 3, 2012)

This week’s post is a Palm Sunday reflection written by Allie Dunn, one of the singers on our worship team....Keep Reading

Tags: Jesus, Guest Blogger

June 1, 2010 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Returning to Jesus

Whenever I am reading through the Bible, I always experience a sense of welcome familiarity upon returning to the Gospels - Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John - that feels like returning home after a long trip. As rich as many of the Old Testament books can be, they often require an understanding of the history and key people of Israel, as well as familiarity with the general scope of the Bible. But the Gospels are familiar ground, the stories of Jesus’ life both beautiful and easier to relate to....Keep Reading

Tags: Jesus, NewLife

March 23, 2010 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Why did Jesus die? pt. 2

They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, ‘œSit here while I pray.‘ He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. ‘œMy soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,‘ he said to them. ‘œStay here and keep watch.‘ Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. ‘œAbba, Father,‘ he said, ‘œeverything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.‘ Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. ‘œSimon,‘ he said to Peter, ‘œare you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.‘ Once more he went away and prayed the same thing. When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him. Returning the third time, he said to them, ‘œAre you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!‘ (Mark 14:32-42)...Keep Reading

Tags: Jesus, Salvation

March 17, 2010 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Why did Jesus die?

Isaiah 53:5-6 - He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all....Keep Reading

Tags: Jesus, Salvation

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