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The NewLife Blog

November 6, 2018 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The faith of demons

One of the most fascinating/scary verses in the Bible is James 2:19: “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that-- and shudder.” These confrontational words of James let us know that the word “faith” must mean something more than intellectual assent; true saving faith manifests itself in obedience. The demons of Hell believe that Jesus is the eternal Son of God ...Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship, Bible study

October 30, 2018 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Every Christian is a minister

In chapter 4 of his letter to the Ephesian church, Paul explains that God raises up certain people to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. Their role, however, is not to be the trained professionals who do all of the ministry work. Rather, their primary role is, according to verse 12-13, “to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” God’s vision for the church, in other words, is that every member would be a minister, using the gifts God has given them to serve each other, love their neighbor, and to build up the church....Keep Reading

Tags: Church, Discipleship

October 23, 2018 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Why don't we pray how we ought to?

I can’t say that I was surprised to read in chapter 3 of The Kingdom Unleashed that one of the biggest differences between the church in the Global North and the Global South is our attitude towards prayer. I have personally walked through too many days spending minimal time in prayer before God, and I have presided over too many sparsely attended prayer meetings, to know that this description is sad but true. Trousdale and Sunshine argue that not only do we not pray enough in the Global North, but when we do pray, our priorities tend to not be the same as God’s priorities. According to Jesus’ answer to his disciples in Matthew 6 when they asked him how to pray, our priorities should be...Keep Reading

Tags: Prayer, Discipleship

October 16, 2018 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The growing church and the expanding Kingdom

The kingdom of God is the central theme of Jesus’ teaching; yet, in classic Jesus fashion, He never defines just what the kingdom of God is! Instead, he speaks in parables, comparing the kingdom of God to a mustard seed, to a treasure hidden in a field, to a man sowing seed, and to so many other images. Since Jesus’ day, theologians throughout the centuries have tried to define what Jesus meant by the kingdom of God. Trousdale and Sunshine define it as “any place where the king’s authority is recognized and obeyed.”...Keep Reading

Tags: Missions, Kingdom of God

October 9, 2018 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The growing church in the global south

Next March, a team from our church will be joining with a team from First Church of Wethersfield to travel to Peru to minister at a Compassion International site in the town of Barranca. When we discuss missions in our American churches, I think our assumption is that we American Christians need to bring the gospel, as well as tangible ministry work like building houses, digging wells, and sharing resources, to the developing world in order to help them. However, it is becoming more and more apparent that while the church seems to be shrinking in power, influence, and spiritual vitality in America, it is growing exponentially on all fronts in the Global South. The fact is that we may end up learning more about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus from our brothers and sisters in Peru than they may learn from us!...Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship, Missions

October 2, 2018 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Looking for someone willing to play the part of the preacher

A recent unique posting on churchstaffing.com (since deleted) was making the rounds in articles on Christian websites this past week. Apparently, a newer church in Colorado was looking for a pastor willing to memorize the sermons of certain megachurch pastors and preach them to their congregation every Sunday. The reasoning went like this: if worship teams learn and play Chris Tomlin or David Crowder songs for worship, adding in their own personal contributions, why not do the same with preaching? Why settle for listening to Joe Pastor when you can listen to Joe Pastor preaching a Steven Furtick or Andy Stanley sermon?...Keep Reading

Tags: Church, Preaching

September 25, 2018 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

There are no easy answers in suffering

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

Tags: Suffering, Death

September 18, 2018 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

If I could go back to college...

In the years after I graduated from UConn, I found myself wishing that I could go back to some of my classes and defend my faith against some of the messages I heard from my professors. I became a follower of Jesus right at the beginning of my freshman year at UConn, and although I was an eager learner when it came to my newfound faith, I had no idea how to answer many of the criticisms of Christianity I heard in my classes. For example: “Missionaries are arrogant, evil, and ethnocentric.”...Keep Reading

Tags: College, Apologetics

September 11, 2018 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

What vows would you make to God?

AW Tozer was a prominent American pastor and author in the early to mid-20th century, best known for his enduring works The Pursuit of God and The Knowledge of the Holy. I wanted to share a summary of a short treatise he wrote called “Five Vows for Spiritual Power,” which can be read in its entirety here. His approach in this treatise is to argue that if you are truly concerned about growing spiritually, then you should make vows and keep them. If you fail to keep them, don’t give up, but confess, repent, and start over. Don’t let the possibility of failure keep you from making vows that point your heart in the direction of God and holiness....Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship, Vows

September 4, 2018 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

How often do you think about 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

Tags: Death, Heaven