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The NewLife Blog

May 11, 2010 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

What’s your motivation?

I was reading John Shore’s conversion story the other day on The Huffington Post, and as I was glancing through some of the comments, I saw one that read: “It seems as if this is virtually the same conversion story that I’ve heard from so many Christians. It is primarily based on fear. What a sad reason to change your life as there are so many other ways. Fear, as a motivator, doesn’t seem like a very nice reason to embrace a religion, but it seems as if it is the main reason that so many people do. Just because you are filled with fear about death or your own failings as a person, that doesn’t validate a religion or God...”...Keep Reading

Tags: Gospel, Discipleship

May 4, 2010 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Is it wrong to be rich?

One of the most powerful and challenging books I have ever read is Dietrich Bonhoeffer‘s The Cost of Discipleship. Bonhoeffer was a German pastor during the reign of Adolf Hitler who participated in the German Resistance movement against Hitler and was eventually imprisoned and executed in 1945 at the age of 39 for this act of treason. As I prepare to preach on how the gospel transforms our approach to money this coming Sunday, I wanted to share with you a very challenging (and humorous, ironically) passage from The Cost of Discipleship regarding Jesus‘ interaction with the man who has come to be known as the Rich Young Ruler:...Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship, Money

April 27, 2010 by Anthony Varesio 0 comments

Guest Blogger: Anthony Varesio (April 27, 2010)

This week‘s guest blogger is Anthony Varesio. Anthony and his family have been a part of NewLife for a little less than a year, and Anthony was recently baptized. Anthony will be contributing to the NewLife blog once a month with his, as he puts it, ‘œunfiltered and in-progress diary of the personal challenges and revelations that come with my pursuit of becoming a better person and living ‘The Way‘.‘...Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship, Guest Blogger

April 20, 2010 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Adoption

‘œYet to all who received [Jesus], to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God - children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband‘s will, but born of God.‘ (John 1:12-13)...Keep Reading

Tags: Gospel

April 13, 2010 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

What style of preaching is best?

For this week‘s post, I wanted to turn things around on you and ask your opinion on something: What do you think of topical sermons?...Keep Reading

Tags: NewLife, Preaching

April 6, 2010 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Practical Christianity

Jerry Bridges, in his book The Gospel for Real Life, tells a story about a Southern plantation owner who left a $50,000 inheritance (equivalent to about $500,000 today) to a former slave who had served him faithfully all his life. The lawyer for the estate duly notified the former slave of his inheritance and told him that the money had been deposited for him at the local bank. However, weeks went by, and the former slave never called for his inheritance, and so that banker called again to tell him that he had $50,000 to draw on at any time. The former slave replied, ‘œDo you think I can have fifty cents to buy a sack of cornmeal?‘...Keep Reading

Tags: NewLife, Salvation

March 30, 2010 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

My baptism story

This past Sunday, we celebrated a baptism service as one of our newest members, Anthony Varesio, was baptized. Many people come from traditions where infants are baptized, and then confirm their baptismal vows in their teenage years. In our tradition, as we understand the Bible, we believe that baptism is a public expression of an inward reality, that an individual has died to his or her old self, been washed of his or her sins, and has been raised to new life in Christ. Consider Romans 6:3-4 - ‘œDon‘t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.‘ Baptism is a way of identifying oneself with Jesus in His death and resurrection, and therefore something we believe should be experienced by those who can consciously make such a profession of faith. Finally, it is also an act of obedience, keeping in mind that Jesus, who himself was baptized in Matthew 3:13-17, commanded us in his Great Commission to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything He had commanded us....Keep Reading

Tags: NewLife, Salvation

March 23, 2010 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Why did Jesus die? pt. 2

They went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, ‘œSit here while I pray.‘ He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. ‘œMy soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,‘ he said to them. ‘œStay here and keep watch.‘ Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. ‘œAbba, Father,‘ he said, ‘œeverything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.‘ Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. ‘œSimon,‘ he said to Peter, ‘œare you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak.‘ Once more he went away and prayed the same thing. When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. They did not know what to say to him. Returning the third time, he said to them, ‘œAre you still sleeping and resting? Enough! The hour has come. Look, the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!‘ (Mark 14:32-42)...Keep Reading

Tags: Jesus, Salvation

March 17, 2010 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Why did Jesus die?

Isaiah 53:5-6 - He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all....Keep Reading

Tags: Jesus, Salvation

March 10, 2010 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Kill it now!

This past Sunday, I preached on one of the most stunning passages in the whole Bible, the story of how King David, the man after God‘s own heart, slept with Bathsheba, the wife of one of his best friends, and then had his friend killed to cover it up. That passage, in 2 Samuel 11, begins famously with these words: ‘œIn the spring, at the time when kings go off to war, David sent Joab out with the king‘s men and the whole Israelite army... But David remained in Jerusalem.‘ As the narrator makes clear, if David were only where he should have been, none of this would have happened. But instead, we find David arising from a late afternoon nap, wandering up to the roof of his palace, and seeing Bathsheba bathing naked nearby. One thing leads to another, and soon David has broken almost half of the Ten Commandments in an incredibly thoughtless escapade....Keep Reading

Tags: Sin