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The NewLife Blog

December 5, 2017 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

If you were struggling in life, would you go to church?

I have been taking a class on substance abuse counseling this fall, 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. One of the ways the church goes wrong, especially with young people, is by preaching the “gospel of sin management” ...Keep Reading

Tags: Church, fellowship

November 28, 2017 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Is your church healthy?

One of the first questions that pastors tend to ask each other when they get together is, “How big is your church?” As pastors, it can be hard not to evaluate the job we are doing by the numbers ...Keep Reading

Tags: Church, Discipleship

November 21, 2017 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Helping without hurting

Over the next few weeks, our church will join with other area churches in collecting new, unwrapped toys for the Hartford City Mission Noah Christmas Store. The Noah Christmas Store is a store for parents of children in Hartford City Mission programs, where they can buy toys at a minimal “suggested donation” cost for their children for Christmas. In the Hartford City Mission flyer promoting this event to churches, they use the word “dignity” in describing what this opportunity affords low-income parents. It is worth reflecting on what that means....Keep Reading

Tags: Christmas, Service

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

October 31, 2017 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Learning from the past

Today is the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. One of the benefits of anniversaries such as these is the reminder that there is so much wisdom to be gained from people who have been dead and gone a long time. Christian booksellers are concerned with making money, and so they are always pushing the latest and greatest books on us. But a reasoned reflection ...Keep Reading

Tags: Prayer, History

October 24, 2017 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Don't waste your life

Taken out of context, the passage above is a stirring charge from Paul to the believer to spend your time living and working for the Lord. Paul’s words are an inspiring challenge, a reminder that while there are many ways we can waste our time in this world, when we serve the Lord, it all matters. But when you put the verse back in its context, the meaning becomes even more profound...Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship, eternity

October 10, 2017 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Jesus and our trauma

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

October 3, 2017 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Las Vegas, sin, and grace

On Sunday night, yet another mass murder occurred in our country. The lives of innumerable people have been profoundly shaken by this terrible tragedy, and so let us lift them up in our prayers, asking that God would bring them His comfort and that He would turn all of our hearts to Him, so that we would walk accordingly to His will for our lives. Much has been said and written this week about what happened in Las Vegas. I just wanted to take this opportunity to reflect upon Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:21-22...Keep Reading

Tags: Sin, Las Vegas

September 26, 2017 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Is that really what the Bible teaches?

Five hundred years ago, reportedly on October 31st, 1517, a 33 year-old monk, priest, and professor named Martin Luther posted what came to be known as the 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany. The door was used as a sort of church bulletin board for church and academic announcements, and Luther used it to call into question the Roman Catholic practice of selling indulgences. Indulgences were essentially orders given by the pope that forgave sins in exchange for financial donations, which were used to build St. Peter’s in Rome. As Luther read the Bible, he rightly concluded that this practice was not only an egregious scam, but completely against the teaching of Scripture, that forgiveness of sins comes by repentance and faith in Jesus’ death on the cross. This past week, Christianity Today published an article written by Costi Hinn, the nephew of the modern-day prosperity preacher Benny Hinn, about his experience working with his uncle....Keep Reading

Tags: Bible, false teaching

September 19, 2017 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Who is walking alongside you in your life?

There is a dangerous myth floating around our culture that the healthier you are, the more you do not need anyone. In counseling circles, therapists use words like “codependent” and “enmeshed” to negatively label people who are too reliant on others for their own functioning. While there are certainly ways we can negatively relate to and need others, the truth is that a stubborn independence is just as unhealthy. We were created for relationship, and we need others if we are going to live a healthy and fulfilled life....Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship, Friendship