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The NewLife Blog

January 13, 2021 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

In memoriam: Shirley Prey

I was pushing my grocery cart down the frozen food aisle this past weekend when I caught a glimpse of an Edwards key lime pie to my right and felt a sharp pang of sadness. For the past seven years of shopping, I have always checked to see if the key lime pie was on sale, because sharing that pie with Bill and Shirley Prey was a part of our monthly ritual. Bill and Shirley moved to Glastonbury in 2012 and began attending NewLife soon after settling in. Shortly after their arrival, we began meeting for lunch on the 2nd Wednesday of the month, after I finished leading a worship service at Glastonbury Health Care Center; first at Piatti’s Restaurant, and then, when they moved into assisted living, in their room at The Hearth in Glastonbury. For the last few years, I would always show up at their door with General Tso’s chicken and the Edwards key lime pie....Keep Reading

Tags: Shirley Prey

January 6, 2021 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

In memoriam: Eva Say

In September of 1997, I found myself on a Sunday morning in a Glastonbury church that was meeting at Academy School on Main Street. I was there as part of a parachurch youth ministry called Musicon, a ministry made up a number of junior high students from around the state, along with eight staff members, including me. That weekend we were on tour, performing a musical that we had learned over the summer. And by God's providence, that morning our tour led us to NewLife Christian Fellowship, a young church whose friendliness left an indelible impression on me. Four months later, I began working there as the youth pastor, a position I served in for four and a half years. And 24 years later, I am still blessed to be a part of this wonderful church. One of the things I learned early on at NewLife was that about a quarter of the people there belonged to one family....Keep Reading

Posted in: Death

December 15, 2020 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Seized by the power of a great affection

If you were able to hook up a secret camera in the church sanctuary and watch me in my morning prayer time on some weekday mornings, I swear that you would think a crazy person had entered the building. It’s hard for me to put into words what happens to me in those moments. On most Sundays, or when I am worshiping with others, I am fairly reserved, often preferring silence and introspection to loud music or many voices. I do not find inspiration in stadiums filled with dancing Christians or at large conferences. But get me alone in the sanctuary with God, and my spirit comes alive, with an insatiable hunger and thirst for Him, an other-worldly desire that completely transforms me into a charismatic Christian. I yell, I run, I cry, and I fall to the ground, unable to get low enough before my great God....Keep Reading

Tags: Prayer, Discipleship, devotion

December 8, 2020 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

And they lived disappointedly ever after

In 2001, Judith Wallerstein, Julia Lewis, and Sandra Blakeslee wrote a New York Times bestselling book called The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce: The 25 Year Landmark Study. Their study was groundbreaking in that it studied the children of divorce over a 25-year span, describing how a couple’s decision to divorce affects their children not just when they are young, but more conspicuously as they grow up and enter romantic relationships of their own. I read the book about five years ago and found it fascinating. One of the lines that has always stuck with me is this one: “If parenting has been good, children stand to lose enormously from divorce. Clearly they are better off if the unhappy parents stay married and learn to accept their mutual disappointment.”...Keep Reading

Tags: Relationships, Marriage, divorce

December 1, 2020 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Whac-a-Mole discipleship

This past Sunday, I preached on the first chapter of Malachi, a confrontational passage that raises the important question of whether we prioritize God with our time, talent, and treasure, or whether we give Him our leftovers. I have found the passage to be potentially life-changing as I experienced God’s conviction and responded in repentance and obedience. I hope it was the same for you, and if you have not listened to the sermon, I encourage you to listen to it on our website or watch it on our YouTube page. I believe that if you prioritize God, you will experience the power and presence of God in your life, because God will bless those who honor Him....Keep Reading

Tags: Jesus, Discipleship

November 17, 2020 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Helping without hurting this Christmas

During November and the first week of December, our church is joining with other area churches in collecting new, unwrapped toys for the Hartford City Mission Noah Christmas Store. The Noah Christmas Store is a store for parents of children in Hartford City Mission programs, where they can buy toys at a minimal “suggested donation” cost for their children for Christmas. In the Hartford City Mission flyer promoting this event to churches, they use the word “dignity” in describing what this opportunity affords low-income parents. It is worth reflecting on what that means....Keep Reading

Tags: Christmas, Giving, Hartford City Mission

November 10, 2020 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Glory days

Raise your hand if you’re old enough to remember Bruce Springsteen’s song “Glory Days.” Glory days, well they’ll pass you by Glory days, in the wink of a young girl’s eye Glory days, glory days Now that I have two boys playing high school soccer, I find myself more nostalgic than ever before about my own high school days. ...Keep Reading

Tags: Heaven, C.S. Lewis, nostalgia, glory days

November 3, 2020 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Jesus for President

By the time you read this, you have probably already cast your ballot, and the United States may have already chosen a new President. In the spirit of this political season, allow me to take a moment to remind you about how Jesus and the early church subverted the politics of their era, and the lessons we can learn from that today. Consider the language used by the politicians of Jesus’ day, and how Jesus and His followers confronted that worldview, co-opted that language and gave it a completely different meaning (taken from Shane Claiborne’s Jesus for President):...Keep Reading

Tags: Jesus, Politics, Kingdom of God

October 27, 2020 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Run the race - and watch out for the snipers

The longer I am in pastoral ministry, the more I feel like I am running a marathon with snipers hidden along the path. I have been pastoring NewLife for 14 years, and during that time I have painfully watched many of my pastoral colleagues leave the ministry ...Keep Reading

Tags: Spiritual Warfare, Encouragement, Pastoral ministry

October 20, 2020 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Your spouse is not the enemy

I have the privilege of doing marriage counseling on occasion with couples going through difficult times. One of the resources that has really helped me is Sue Johnson’s book “Hold Me Tight” (she has a more explicitly Christian version called “Created for Connection”). Johnson talks about a pattern of communication that couples often get into called “Find the Bad Guy” (otherwise known as “It’s not me, it’s you”), where the husband and wife go back and forth blaming each other for whatever the problem is. I’m sure many of you are painfully familiar with this dance: “I hate when you do this…”; “Well I do this because you do that!” “Well, I only do that because you are like THAT!” And round and round they go, blaming each other for everything that is wrong....Keep Reading

Tags: Spiritual Warfare, Marriage