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The NewLife Blog

January 24, 2023 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Lord, show me the impact of my sin

In the recovery movement, step 4 is daunting yet potentially life-altering one: “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.” In this step, the individual in recovery usually works with a sponsor to examine their past substance abuse or other sins and how they have affected themselves or others, resisting the desire to blame anyone else. I have been thinking about this step lately as our church has been taking part in a 21-day fast....Keep Reading

Posted in: Sin Tags: Discipleship, Sin

January 17, 2023 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

I don't know what to do

In 2 Chronicles 20, we read a story of an army from Edom that was attacking Judah, the southern kingdom of Israel, and its king, Jehoshaphat. In response to the threat, Jehoshaphat proclaims a fast, and people from all over gather at the temple to ask God for help. Jehoshaphat prays, recounting how God has come through in the past for His people. And then, in verse 12, he says, “O our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.” As the people pray, God’s Spirit comes upon a man named Jahaziel, who prophesies and tells them to go out to fight the army and to not be afraid, for the Lord will be with them. Jehoshaphat sends out the army, but incredibly, at the head of the army he places not the strongest fighting men, but rather a group of men worshiping the Lord. And in verse 21, we read “As they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.”...Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: God, Prayer

January 10, 2023 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Lord, you are more satisfying than chocolate (2022)

I still remember one of the lessons I taught to the NewLife Junior High kids way back when I was the youth pastor of the church. I played for them one of the simplest worship songs, and then encouraged them to change the words to make it more true to their heart and experience. The original song goes like this: Lord, you are more precious than silver...Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Discipleship, God's love, Fasting

January 10, 2023 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Lord, you are more satisfying than chocolate

I still remember one of the lessons I taught to the NewLife Junior High kids way back when I was the youth pastor of the church. I played for them one of the simplest worship songs, and then encouraged them to change the words to make it more true to their heart and experience. The original song goes like this: Lord, you are more precious than silver Lord, you are more costly than gold Lord, you are more beautiful than diamonds And nothing I desire compares with you...Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Fasting, God, desire

January 3, 2023 by Joe Barone 0 comments

Guest blogger: Joe Barone - What, me worry?

Worry. It’s a word that brings to mind skipped meals, knotted stomachs, cold sweats and sleepless nights. Worry is a heavy burden to carry. For something that causes our minds and bodies to endure so much distress, why do we do so much of it? No worry, no headaches. Easy, right? So will all those who don’t worry please step forward. We want to hear about your success in letting everything go. Umm! Not one? Max Lucado was right when he penned, “Do you worry? I worry about you if you don’t’ worry! All of us worry, but we shouldn’t. Jesus commands us a half a dozen times, ‘Do not worry’.” ...Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Trust, worry

December 27, 2022 by Anonymous 0 comments

The joy of Christmas

The following Christmas story is a bit long, but well worth it. It took place in the Central African Republic, in one of the languages where I trained national translators from 2008-2011. Last Christmas, Mrs. Logne was worrying about what to do at the Bible college wives’ Christmas celebration. Everyone had to do something in their own language, but here she was, almost at the last minute, and she had nothing to share in her native language, Nzakara. ...Keep Reading

Posted in: Missions Tags: Jesus, Christmas, Central African Republic

December 20, 2022 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

I've been there - let me help you get back on track

If you have ever been a part of a recovery group like AA, NA, or Celebrate Recovery, you know that these groups often succeed in creating the kind of atmosphere and community that the church is meant to display. One of the ways the church can go wrong, especially with young people, is by preaching the “gospel of sin management” (Dr. Kara Powell’s book “The sticky faith guide for your family” explains this well). This kind of teaching and witness leads young people to see the Christian faith as a collection of do’s and don’t’s: to be a Christian means that you go to church, don’t swear, don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t sleep around, etc. One of the main problems with this understanding is that when the young person inevitably breaks those rules, their response is often “I can’t go back to church, because I would just be judged and condemned.”...Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Sin, recovery, addiction

December 13, 2022 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Christian privilege

Our culture has become obsessed over the past few years with the concept of privilege: white privilege, male privilege, Christian privilege, and so on. The idea makes some sense: in any culture, there are benefits and advantages that come with belonging to a specific (usually the majority) social group. But the concept is also used to argue that those on the other side are the oppressed, and that everyone should work to try to make the system more equitable. I’ve been reflecting lately on the concept of privilege in light of the Bible, and how Christianity turns the concept of privilege on its head....Keep Reading

Posted in: Culture Tags: Jesus, Christian privilege

December 6, 2022 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The challenge of anonymous giving

In the spirit of Jesus’ words in Matthew 6, I want you to try an experiment this week: do something anonymously for another person. Give a gift, send a note, do an act of service, or find some other way of blessing another person. It could be a family member, a church member, a neighbor, or even a complete stranger. But here’s the catch: don’t tell anyone that you did it – not even your closest friend or family member....Keep Reading

Posted in: Service Tags: Service, Giving

November 29, 2022 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Where is God when tragedy strikes

Yesterday I had the privilege of leading the memorial service for Elizabeth Wong, mother of Alan Wong, mother-in-law of Evelyn, and grandmother of Tyler, Christian and Kaylee, who are all a part of our church. In moments like this, the two passages I am most often drawn to are Ecclesiastes 7:2, which reads “It is better to go to a house of mourning that to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart,” and the story of Jesus at the tomb of Lazarus in John 11. The Ecclesiastes verse reminds us that as painful as it is to be at a funeral, it can have a profound perspective-altering effect if we will pay attention....Keep Reading

Posted in: Death Tags: Jesus, Death, Resurrection