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The NewLife Blog

September 15, 2020 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

What influences are you allowing to shape your heart?

In Proverbs 4:20-23, the heart is depicted as both the receptacle of external influences, as well as the place from which action originates. In order that his son might experience life and health, the writer of Proverbs implores him to guard his heart, and particularly to keep his father’s words within his heart. The writer of Proverbs is communicating a fundamental principle to life: the influences we allow into our lives have a huge impact on what comes out of our lives. Consider for a moment what influences you have allowed into your life already this week....Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship, Influences

September 8, 2020 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

If God is so forgiving, then why not sin?

This past Sunday, I preached on the greatest of all Jesus’ stories in my opinion, the parable of the prodigal son. This story, of a rebellious younger son, an offended older son, and a father who displays extravagant grace, reveals our God to be more loving and forgiving than we could have ever imagined. The danger of displaying such lavish grace, of course, is that people may come to the conclusion that “I can live however I want and confess later, because God always forgives.” This is what Dietrich Bonhoeffer labeled “cheap grace” ...Keep Reading

Tags: Grace, Sin, Repentance

September 1, 2020 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Our country is divided. Where will unity be found?

2020 has been a tough years in many ways, but one of the most recent causes for dismay has been the civil unrest we see all around us. Between politics, race relations, the relationship of citizens to the police and government, and many other arenas, there just seems to be division and strife everywhere we look. What should the church’s response be?...Keep Reading

Tags: Church, Unity, division

August 25, 2020 by Eric Stillman 1 comments

I am not a cool pastor

I recently enjoyed an article on the Gospel Coalition website called “Cool Christianity is (still) a bad idea” by Brett McCracken (https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/cool-christianity-still-bad-idea/). Fourteen long years ago, I began serving as the pastor of NewLife, and yes, I wanted to be a cool pastor. In those days, “relevant” was a buzzword among churches (and even the name of a new Christian magazine), as we all tried to find ways to reach people by speaking the cultural language. The emergent church was in its heyday, a movement that saw itself as a postmodern answer to the church of our parents and grandparents, complete with candles, liturgy, skinny jeans, and tattoos. I tried hard to be a cool pastor:...Keep Reading

Tags: Cool, relevant, pastor

August 11, 2020 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

You are the one that Jesus loves

One of the mysteries of the gospel of John is that one of the disciples is referred to as “the disciple Jesus loved.” According to church history, this disciple is none other than John himself, the author of the book. Consider what you would be like if you saw that as your primary identity, the way you viewed yourself. ...Keep Reading

Tags: Identity, God's love

August 4, 2020 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Rest in peace Pastor Justo

This past weekend, Pastor Justo of the church in Barranca where NewLife sent a mission team last March passed away from COVID-19. He leaves behind a wife, Janeth, three boys, and a thriving church. Iglesia Evangelica Pentecostal Misionera Barranca....Keep Reading

Tags: Death, Peru, Lament

July 28, 2020 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Counting the cost of following Jesus

This past Sunday, I looked at the parable of the treasure hidden in the field and the parable of the pearl of great price in Matthew 13:44-46. These short parables illustrate how knowing and following God is worth giving up all that we have, that the rewards of discipleship far outweigh the cost. I spent some time in my sermon trying to clearly outline why it is that knowing God is such a treasure, including such benefits as eternal life, complete forgiveness, meaning in suffering, and a joy and peace that is not contingent upon our circumstances....Keep Reading

Tags: Jesus, Suffering, Discipleship

July 21, 2020 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Does God really love you?

A popular line that I have often heard used in evangelism is “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.” I believe that these words usually come from a well-intentioned place. The Christian who is speaking this line genuinely wants the one who does not believe in Jesus to know that God loves them, and that knowing and following God is far better than anything the world has to offer. The problem is, the line is only partially true. And this partial truth is more likely to lead someone to Hell than it is to a saving relationship with God. ...Keep Reading

Tags: Evangelism, God's love

July 14, 2020 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The God who takes your burdens

This past Sunday, I preached on the parable of the Good Samaritan, a story that points to the sacrificial love and mercy that Jesus showed us when we were broken by our sin and headed towards eternal separation from God. This story always reminds me of a short story/drama which I read soon after I became a believer, called The Ragman by Walter Wangerin. I’ve reprinted it below:...Keep Reading

Tags: Gospel, Salvation, God's love

July 7, 2020 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

You've been canceled

In the beginning, they came for the perpetrators of sexual assault. One by one, the women came forward and named their assailants, the ones who had violated them against their will. And giving them our support, we pronounced those men guilty, and canceled them. Next up were the racists....Keep Reading

Tags: Sin, cancel culture, redemption