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The NewLife Blog

August 16, 2016 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Judge not...

This past Sunday, I preached on pride, humility, and wisdom. I joked about it from the pulpit, but for most of us (including me), I would bet that as we listened, we had someone else in mind that we were hoping was listening or that should have been there listening. Because, after all, THAT PERSON has an issue with pride, not us. Hopefully as the sermon went on, we all realized just how much of a problem we all have with pride. In keeping with the theme of pride, I want to share an excerpt from a Charles Spurgeon sermon that I read recently and found especially encouraging and challenging:...Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: pride, humility

August 9, 2016 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

I want your life

I wish I had their house. I wish I drove that car. I wish I could go on a vacation like that. I wish I grew up with parents like that. I wish my boss were more like that. I wish my spouse were more like that. I wish I had a spouse. I wish I looked like her. I wish I had his life. “Do not let your heart envy sinners,” the writer of Proverbs tells us in chapter 23, verse 17. Maybe you read through that first paragraph and did not resonate with any of those wishes, but more than likely, you have said one or more of those things, maybe even today. To envy someone is to notice something that is good about someone else, but instead of rejoicing over the good they have, you weep over the fact that you don’t have it (Facebook, anyone?)....Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Envy, Contentment

August 2, 2016 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Pokemon Go and the discipline of silence

I’ve been leading a book study this summer through Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline, a classic book on the central spiritual practices of the Christian faith: prayer, meditation, fasting, confession, worship, etc. This past week, one of the chapters we read was on the discipline of solitude, sometimes known as the discipline of silence. This practice is essentially about listening: having an inward attentiveness to God, even in the midst of noise and confusion. Which naturally makes me think about Pokemon Go....Keep Reading

Posted in: Culture Tags: Discipleship, Pokemon Go

July 26, 2016 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

So many people, so little time

One of the challenges of pastoral ministry is that there are very few aspects of the job that can be checked off as complete. There is a sermon to preach every Sunday, and a newsletter to put out every Tuesday, but most of the work is ongoing: discipling people, training leaders, caring for struggling people, and so on. When there are 150-200 people who call NewLife their home, and only 7 days in a week, clearly decisions need to be made and priorities need to be set, because you can not give everyone all the time you would like to give. One of the statements I heard early in my ministry, which has helped me tremendously, was by Mike Yaconelli, a pioneer in youth ministry....Keep Reading

Posted in: Love Tags: Love, Friendship

July 19, 2016 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Being fully present to the moment

This past Sunday before the benediction, I referenced an older pastor in my life who has the distinct ability to make me feel like he has nowhere else to be and all the time in the world whenever I see him. I have always been touched by his ability to be present with me, to listen well, and to show genuine care for me, without ever feeling like I am interrupting him or holding him up from something more important. I hope and pray that I will be able to be more like him someday....Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Discipleship, Rest

July 12, 2016 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Love your neighbors

The first time I heard Jesus’ great commandment, which is found in Matthew 22:34-40, my seven year-old brain assumed that “love your neighbor” meant to love the Heaths and the Blooms, the two families who lived next door to us. Eventually, of course, I came to understand that Jesus’ exhortation was not meant to be taken literally, but that my neighbor was any other human being (even our enemies, as Jesus illustrates in the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:29-37). But what if Jesus really did mean to truly focus on loving our actual neighbors, the ones that live around us? ...Keep Reading

Posted in: Love Tags: Outreach, Love

July 5, 2016 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

What comes out when you are under stress?

When you are under pressure, when the stress levels are rising, what comes out of you? How do you instinctively respond? In Mark 7:20-23, Jesus makes the point to his disciples that it isn’t the external things that defile a person. No, Jesus says: there is more than enough evil in our own hearts to defile us ten times over....Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Discipleship, Stress

June 28, 2016 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Singing the gospel over you

There is a popular expression in evangelical circles called “preaching the gospel to yourself.” Essentially, this saying acknowledges that we often forget the truth of who God is and who we are in Christ and choose instead to live according to lies. We forget that our self-worth is not a matter of what we do or do not do, but is found in the reality that God loves us so much that His Son Jesus willingly gave His life to save us. We forget how loved we are, choosing instead to listen to the evaluations of other people. We beat ourselves up over our sins and shortcomings, forgetting that all of our sins were nailed to the cross when Jesus died, so that God sees us as perfect in Christ. We mistakenly think that we are independent creatures who can do whatever we please, forgetting that when Christ saved us, He called us to die to ourselves and to live for Him....Keep Reading

Posted in: Gospel Tags: Gospel, Music

June 21, 2016 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Keeping the faith when God seems absent

There is a popular saying that goes like this: “God works in mysterious ways.” Which is another way of saying, “GOD, I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU ARE DOING!!!” Can anyone relate? We believe that God is sovereign, that He is good, and that He loves us. And we like to believe that if we were a good, sovereign, loving Father/Deity, we would know how to treat our children. And so, naturally, when we suffer in ways we can not understand, we question the character of our God who seems to so often enjoy working in “mysterious” ways....Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Suffering, Discipleship

June 14, 2016 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

That could have been you in Orlando

As we gathered for church this past Sunday, most of us were unaware of the tragedy in Orlando, or at least the terrible extent of it. Now that we know how awful it was, our prayers go out to the families of the victims as they grieve, and we pray for the church in Orlando, that they might be a light in the darkness in the way they respond to this tragedy. As we consider the terrible hatred and deception that could cause someone to open fire on a crowd of people, I want to share a story with you that I recently heard...Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Sin, Orlando