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The NewLife Blog

April 4, 2017 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. Not a mother or father. Not a husband or wife. Not a teacher or carpenter. Not an athlete or an artist. Not a good person or a screw-up. Not even a Christian, or one who loves God. I am the one that Jesus loves....Keep Reading

Posted in: God's love Tags: Identity, God's love

March 28, 2017 by Rob Freyer 0 comments

Guest blogger: Rob Freyer

Jesus speaks these words to his disciples and the rest of the population surrounding him, and it can be understood as both a challenge and a command for those who at this point still aren't sure who he is ... a prophet, John the Baptist, or some other figure of importance. This statement is a make or break ultimatum. Will these people follow, and what are they willing to give up to do so?...Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Gospel, Discipleship

March 21, 2017 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

There is no fear in love

I am a very fearful person. I often feel as if anxiety is my predominant emotion, as I walk through my life avoiding conflict and difficult situations that, for some unknown reason, I fear will be the death of me. Never mind, of course, that typically when I have to face one of those situations, I find myself surviving unscathed, and even grateful that I went through it instead of working so hard to avoid it. Nevertheless, the bottom line is that I struggle with fear and anxiety on a daily basis. In the apostle John’s first letter, he has many beautifully profound things to say about love, both the love we have received from God and the love we are to display towards one another. My favorite line...Keep Reading

Posted in: God's love Tags: Fear, God's love

March 14, 2017 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Somebody scratch my itching ears

In Paul’s second letter to his protégé Timothy, he warns him that the time will come when people will seek out teachers who “say what their itching ears want to hear.” I imagine there have always been teachers like this throughout the history of the church, but this warning is undoubtedly prophetic today. But rather than point the fingers at others, we would be prudent to consider where it is that we are most tempted as Americans to have our itching ears scratched....Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Preaching, Discipleship

March 7, 2017 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Does putting God first cause you to love others better or worse?

When I was a youth pastor, I remember engaging in a conversation with a friend of one of my youth group kids who was questioning whether or not God was real. At one point, as I was sharing with her how God was the most important person in my life, she asked the question, “Isn’t that offensive to your wife?” It’s an understandable question. After all, I know that there are non-Christian spouses who are bitter about their significant other’s devotion to Christ, because they feel that their marriage takes second place. My answer,...Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: God, Discipleship

February 28, 2017 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

You're not as free as you think you are

This past Sunday, I preached from Romans 6-7 about the question of motivation: If I am saved by faith in Jesus, not by my good works, then what is my motivation to “be good” or follow God? Why not just live however I please if God has already saved me? One of the reasons given in Romans 6 is that “freedom” as our culture teaches it is a fallacy. In the end, you are either a slave to God or a slave to sin (Romans 6:16). The choice is not between following God and living free to do as you please. The choice is between serving God, which leads to eternal life, or serving sin, which leads to death....Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Discipleship, Freedom

February 21, 2017 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

This life feels like one long race

I love sports, but I hate running. During my high school career, I played soccer, basketball, and baseball for four years, but I could not stand running just for the sake of running. When I tried to run in my first 5K, in college, I discovered quickly that I completely lacked the mental toughness necessary to overcome the physical pain and mental monotony that for me accompanied running long distances. Unfortunately, I have found that much of life is similar to running a long race. ...Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Discipleship, Running

February 14, 2017 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

You don't have to change the world

One of the best Christian speakers I ever heard was a missionary named David Pierce, who travels around the world with his band, No Longer Music, bringing the message of Jesus to Satanist clubs, anarchy festivals, and anywhere you wouldn’t normally expect to find Christians. Pierce wrote an incredibly unique book called Dancing with Skinheads and other Bible Study Topics, and one thing he wrote in there that I’ve never forgotten is this: “Do something small for God.” He said that so many people want to do something big for God, to do something that really changes the world. But often it’s the small, overlooked, seemingly insignificant things that are the biggest steps of obedience to God....Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Discipleship, Service

February 7, 2017 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Think twice before you buy that Christian book

One of my favorite things about seminary was the library. I love to read, so you can imagine my delight at finding a place that housed what seemed like every Christian book ever written. There was even a shelf made up entirely of Max Lucado books! As much as I loved my seminary library, and as passionate as I am about reading good books, I am more cautious when it comes to the average Christian book store, or Christian book distributor. I think the average Christian assumes that there is a correlation between “best-selling,” “theologically precise,” and “spiritually edifying.” Unfortunately, that is not always the case....Keep Reading

Posted in: Discernment Tags: Discernment, Christian publishing

January 31, 2017 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Who do you blame for your suffering?

Soon after the Holocaust, an East German pastor by the name of Guenter Rutenborn wrote a play called The Sign of Jonah, in his attempt to make sense of all the horror had transpired in his country. In his play, a group of German people attempt to come to terms with the atrocities that had been committed on their soil, asking who was to blame for the Holocaust. Some blamed Hitler. Others blamed the munitions manufacturers. Still more blamed the German people in their apathy. Finally, the people realized that above all the others, that God was to blame. After all, God had created this world. God had placed all of this power in such unworthy hands. And God had for some unknown reason allowed all of these tragedies to happen. As the group of people come to this conclusion, God’s punishment is considered, and this sentence is pronounced:...Keep Reading

Posted in: Gospel Tags: Gospel, Suffering