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The NewLife Blog

November 16, 2021 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Thank God I'm not like THAT guy!

You know when you’re sitting in church, listening to the sermon, and you find yourself saying, “I really hope my spouse/child/friend is hearing this,” or “I really wish so-and-so were here to listen to this”? I know I often have those moments, when I am sure that someone I know needs to hear the message, while I sit there oblivious to the fact that I probably need to hear it just as much as they do....Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Discipleship, Judgment

November 9, 2021 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Tribalism and propaganda are tearing us apart

One of the more concerning realities of our American culture is the increasing polarity between groups of people. This phenomenon is most obvious in politics, where Republicans and Democrats are convinced that the other is either seriously deluded or the spawn of Satan. But many of today’s social justice movements are also doubling down on human differences such as gender, skin color, sexual preference, and religion, labeling one group the oppressors or privileged group and the other the oppressed or targeted groups. The result, as I’ve reiterated throughout my current sermon series, is not increased justice and unity in our world, but increased division, mistrust, and hatred....Keep Reading

Posted in: Culture Tags: Jesus, Social justice, tribalism

November 2, 2021 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

It's not all about power

One of the misguided tenets of many modern social justice movements is that relational dynamics are best interpreted primarily through the lens of power differential. We can’t just have men and women who relate to each other in various ways; one group (men) must be the oppressor group, and the other group (women) the oppressed group. Same with differences in race, class, sexual preference, and so on: everyone is assumed to be locked in a power struggle, with one group of people the eternal victims in need of justice....Keep Reading

Posted in: Culture Tags: Power, Critical Race Theory

October 26, 2021 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

You are no better than anyone else

In this past Sunday’s sermon on justice and community, I challenged people that any ideology that seeks justice by dividing people into groups instead of emphasizing what unites us is not of God. As Christians, we believe that in two main things that unite all humans: first, that we are all created in the image of God and worthy of dignity and respect, and second, that we are all sinners, rebels against a holy God, out of step with His design for us and in need of salvation. With these two truths framing the way we see each other, we can avoid much of the pride, anger, and division found in cultural conceptions of justice. One of the most powerful stories I have heard regarding the second truth, that we are all sinners, was something I heard in a Tim Keller sermon. ...Keep Reading

Posted in: Sin Tags: Sin, Justice, evil

October 19, 2021 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Would you help someone in need, or walk on by?

One of the all-time genius psychology studies was conducted by John Darley and Daniel Batson in the 1970’s at Princeton Theological Seminary. Darley and Batson were studying the psychology of prosocial behavior – why people do good things for others. Specifically, they wanted to examine whether acts of kindness are due more to innate qualities or to situational factors....Keep Reading

Posted in: Love Tags: Love, Good Samaritan

October 12, 2021 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The lonely, thankless, dangerous job of the prophet

It is a lonely, thankless, and sometimes dangerous business to be a prophet of God. While for many, the term prophet may conjure up images of anointed Christian celebrities with the gift of telling the future or “reading people’s mail,” the life of the Biblical prophet was much different. The prophet was typically seen by his contemporaries as the bearer of bad news, calling rebellious and self-assured people to repent, stop what they were doing, and turn back to God. They were often reviled, persecuted, and killed for their services....Keep Reading

Posted in: Culture Tags: Culture, Prophet

October 5, 2021 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

What kingdom is our technology serving?

Before the resurrected Jesus ascended to heaven, he told his disciples that they were to be his witnesses “in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). But by Acts 7, we find a rapidly growing church that has yet to leave Jerusalem to fulfill Jesus’ mandate. One of the early church leaders, Stephen, is martyred in chapter 7, and following that, a great persecution breaks out against the church, scattering much of the church throughout Judea and Samaria. While the text does not explicitly say this, it seems as if God uses this persecution in order to push His people out of their comfort zone and out into the world to fulfill the Great Commission. I have thought of this passage often over the past year and a half. ...Keep Reading

Posted in: Church life Tags: Church, Technology

September 28, 2021 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The whole Old Testament points to Jesus

Many individuals in our church have been reading through the Bible in 2021 in conjunction with listening to a daily podcast called The Bible Recap, which offers a seven-ish minute summary of the day’s reading. I first discovered this podcast in August of last year, and began listening to it daily while reading the Bible. I still remember the moment I came to believe that it would be meaningful to get our whole church involved in this daily endeavor....Keep Reading

Posted in: Bible Tags: Bible, Old Testament, Zechariah

September 21, 2021 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

You do not have because you do not ask God

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 unfortunately 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 terrible 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

Posted in: Faith Tags: Prayer, Faith

September 14, 2021 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Don't bow the knee to the world's ideologies

This past Sunday, I began a new sermon series entitled “Justice,” looking at what the Bible has to say about justice, a subject that is a big focus in today’s culture. The deeper you dive into today’s literature on justice, the more you find that there are some glaring discrepancies between the Bible’s conception of justice and our culture’s conception of justice. And increasingly, schools and corporations are bending their knee to the culture’s conception of justice, while those who disagree are singled out for shame or punishment....Keep Reading

Posted in: Culture Tags: idols, Courage, Ideologies