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The NewLife Blog

January 29, 2019 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

True self-esteem

This past Sunday, after I preached on confession and forgiveness, we read in unison a prayer from a book called The Valley of Vision: a collection of Puritan prayers and devotions. If you have never read this book, it is a unique and fascinating read, full of rarely used SAT words but also with a theological and devotional depth unmatched by modern-day prayer and devotional books. Below is the prayer we read on Sunday, entitled Continual Repentance: ...Keep Reading

Tags: Prayer, Self-Image

January 22, 2019 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Step into the light

In Matthew 7:24-29, Jesus tells his listeners that the difference between the wise and foolish person is whether or not they put into practice His words. James, in his letter, says something similar, that it is of no value to hear the word and not act on it, but that the power lies in doing what the word says (James 1:22-25). There are some times in which the important thing is not to tell eloquent stories that move or inspire you, but to simply challenge you towards obedience. This is one of those times....Keep Reading

Tags: Sin, Confession

January 15, 2019 by Eric Stillman 1 comments

A prayer answered

One of my favorite stories of answered prayer from my own life came when I was 23 and the youth pastor of NewLife. Our growing youth group of about 20-25 senior high students had been meeting at my apartment in Manchester. Things were going great, but the bad part was that the walls were paper thin, and my neighbors could hear every screaming teen, every beat of the conga drum, and every song being sung, and I felt horrible about it. When the lease year was nearing the end, I began praying that God would provide a house where we could meet. I had two friends who lived in the same apartment complex as me, and we decided that together we would look for a house to rent. ...Keep Reading

Tags: Prayer, Faith

January 8, 2019 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Who are you really???

Who are you when no one is watching? What do you do, and where does your mind go, when there is no audience? Jesus’ words in Matthew 6 are most likely directed at the Pharisees, the religious leaders who loved to show off how religious they were through their public displays of giving, praying, and fasting (Matthew 6:16-18). Jesus boldly calls them hypocrites. In Jesus’ day, the Greek word “hypokrites” was the word for actor, someone who is playing a part for an audience. By using this term, Jesus tells us to resist the urge to give, pray, fast, or do any other good works in order to receive the applause of the crowd. In our day of social media, this admonition is more timely than ever, as we are regularly attempted to live for the “likes.”...Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship, Integrity

January 2, 2019 by Eric Stillman 1 comments

Pray boldly

If I could only listen to one sermon for the rest of my life it would be a message Jim Cymbala gave at a praise gathering called “My house shall be called a house of prayer” (you can watch it on YouTube here . Cymbala references the episode where Jesus clears the money changers out of the temple in order to drive home the point that God’s house is meant to be a house of prayer above all other things ...Keep Reading

Tags: Prayer, Faith

December 18, 2018 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Be quick to listen, slow to speak

This past Friday, nine years after I began, I completed my Masters of Professional Counseling. Three weeks ago, I shared one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from my internship: everyone has a story, so take the time to listen before you judge them. Two weeks, I shared another important lesson I have learned from my internship: Clear is kind. Unclear is unkind. Last week, the lesson I discussed was: Show up with a plan. Today, the lesson is straight out of the Bible: Be quick to listen, slow to speak (James 1:19)....Keep Reading

Tags: Relationships, Counseling

December 11, 2018 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Show up with a plan

As I write this article, I am three days away from finishing my counseling internship and graduating with my Masters of Professional Counseling. Two weeks ago, I shared one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from my internship: everyone has a story, so take the time to listen before you judge them. Last week, I shared another important lesson I have learned from my internship: Clear is kind. Unclear is unkind. This week, I wanted to share one more lesson: Show up with a plan....Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship, Counseling

December 4, 2018 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Clear is kind. Unclear is unkind.

As I write this Pulse, I am ten days away from finishing my counseling internship and graduating with my Masters of Professional Counseling. Last week, I shared one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from my internship: everyone has a story, so take the time to listen before you judge them. This week, I wanted to share another important lesson I have learned from my internship. As the author and speaker Brene Brown puts it: Clear is kind. Unclear is unkind....Keep Reading

Tags: Relationship, communication

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

November 20, 2018 by Eric Stillman 1 comments

Help without hurting this Christmas

During November and the first week of December, our church is joining 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: Outreach, Service