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The NewLife Blog

July 18, 2017 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

A song in my despair

Music has a way of helping us express ourselves in ways that we might not be able to do on our own. When it comes to my worship of God, music often helps me enter into His presence and express whatever emotions are on my heart. There are songs that remind me to trust in God, others that give expression to the joy I feel in knowing Him, and still others that express the deep longing of my heart to know Him more. But the song I want to share about today is one that touches me at a depth that no other song has ever reached....Keep Reading

Tags: Music, Despair

July 11, 2017 by Anonymous 0 comments

Guest blogger: Anonymous

When I read Pastor Eric's request for people to write in and share about songs that have impacted them, I felt a nudge in my spirit. It was the kind of nudge that makes my heart race, my hands grow sweaty, and makes my mind flood with foreboding thoughts that if I were to follow through then surely I will embarrass myself. It's safer to close off my heart to avoid the hurt that transparency can welcome. I thought, “No thanks, Lord. I don't want to.” Then felt His reply, “You don't have to... but this is a good thing.” I started to reflect and write and make the connections that those two things sometimes bring about. In the end I came up with the following:...Keep Reading

Tags: Music, healing

July 4, 2017 by Carrie Campbell 0 comments

Guest blogger: Carrie Campbell

I don’t remember where I heard it, but I will always remember how awestruck I felt when I first heard that music is one of the very few things we have in this life that will not pass away. In Revelation, all of God’s creation is worshipping Him, and I have since often imagined myself joining in the chorus of voices singing praises to our Lord. Though we can only imagine what that will look and sound like in heaven, I do believe that God gives us a small glimpse of this through the music we have here on earth. Music is eternal. This realization confirms the countless experiences I’ve had as music gave melody, lyrics, and rhythms to the highs and lows of my life over the years....Keep Reading

Tags: Worship, Music

June 27, 2017 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The hope of heaven

In a book I read recently, an American Christian interacted with a seminary student from Africa. The man from Africa expressed his amazement at how little Americans speak of heaven in church. In his country, he said, they talk about heaven all the time. But, he realized, Americans don’t talk about it as much here because we have everything we think we want in this life. We are so comfortable that we don’t need to look ahead to heaven. Perhaps there is some truth to this...Keep Reading

Posted in: Heaven Tags: God, Heaven

June 20, 2017 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Holy.

Way back in the 1980’s, there was an HBO show called Not Necessarily the News, which sometimes included a segment by the comedian Rich Hall called sniglets. Hall defined a sniglet as “any word that should be in the dictionary, but isn’t” ...Keep Reading

Posted in: God's character Tags: God's character, holiness

June 13, 2017 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

What is the soundtrack of your life?

This summer, I am preaching through selected Psalms, looking at how the Psalms help us to bring all of our emotions to God so that He can help us make sense of our life. Looking back on my life, if I listen closely I can hear a soundtrack playing in the background, like a movie, marking so many key points along my journey. I can see a very young Eric, listening to the Ghostbusters record, the first one I remember asking for and enjoying. I can see middle school Eric, staying up late on New Year’s Eve to listen to Casey Kasem’s countdown of the year’s top songs on the radio. I can see high school Eric, listening to Alice in Chains and Metallica on his Walkman on the bus on the way to basketball games, trying to get himself psyched up for the big game. ...Keep Reading

Posted in: Worship Tags: Worship, Music

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 23, 2017 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Rest in peace, Beverly Winful

I first met Beverly Winful in the summer of 1996. I had been hired by South United Methodist Church in Manchester to be their Summer Youth Director, and that July I was taking six junior high students to Camp Aldersgate in North Scituate, Rhode Island. All of the youth leaders and teens had climbed into the 15 passenger van when all of a sudden a woman I did not know climbed into the van. She announced to me that she was Carl’s mother, and that she would be coming on the trip too. As a 20 year-old, newly hired youth director, I didn’t think it was my place to object....Keep Reading

Posted in: Death Tags: Death, Family

May 16, 2017 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

When suffering seems meaningless

As a preacher, I often quote from C.S. Lewis, because, well, that’s what evangelical preachers do. I must confess, however, that as quotable as he is, I have only actually finished two of his books, because I find his style difficult to read. One of those books is Mere Christianity, a classic and one of the first books I ever read as a Christian. The second is called A Grief Observed, and contains his journals and reflections after losing his wife, Joy Davidman, to cancer. One of the amazing things about A Grief Observed is that it is the personal reflection on deep suffering written by the same man who wrote The Problem of Pain, one of the enduring Christian classics on suffering....Keep Reading

Posted in: Suffering Tags: Suffering, Ministry

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