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The NewLife Blog

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

May 2, 2017 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The battle is real

This past Sunday, I preached on Romans 13:8-14, and noted how in verse 12, Paul tells his listeners to get up and put on their armor. It’s a curious and striking exhortation, given that most people don’t get up in the morning and change out of their pajamas into a suit of armor! But Paul’s words reinforce what he says more directly in Ephesians 6:11-12, where he tells his listeners to “put on the full armor of God,” because our fight is not against flesh and blood but against the spiritual forces of evil. The Christian life is not a walk in the park, but is rather a fight against a tenacious and terrible opposition, led by the devil himself....Keep Reading

Posted in: Leadership Tags: Leadership, Spiritual Warfare

April 25, 2017 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

Posted in: Evangelism Tags: Evangelism, Apologetics

April 18, 2017 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Live like you were dying

I work best with a deadline. In college, I was notorious for knowing how long it would take to write a paper, and then waiting until the last possible moment to start the paper. Inevitably, I would finish with minutes to spare. Even when it comes to preparing sermons, I do a lot of work during the week, but it’s when I sit down with my draft on Saturday evening that my brain kicks into high gear and everything comes together. For some reason, it’s the pressure that brings out the best in me. But the truth is that I, along with you, and everyone else, have the ultimate deadline looming....Keep Reading

Posted in: Death Tags: Discipleship, Death

April 11, 2017 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

God, the master storyteller

In Donald Miller’s book A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, he writes about what he learned about his life and God’s grand story while the screenwriters “edited his life” for the movie version of his book “Blue Like Jazz.” As he reflected upon his boring, uninspired life and contrasted it with the ways in which his life was being made more interesting for the movie, it got him thinking about the grand story of risk and adventure that he believed God was calling him to live. Let me share a few quotes from the book that really challenged me:...Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Discipleship, Story

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