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The NewLife Blog

June 6, 2023 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Who are you, really?

One of the mysteries of the gospel of John is that one of the disciples is referred to as “the disciple Jesus loved” (John 13:23, 19:26, 20:2, 21:7, 21:20). 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 “the one that Jesus loves” as your primary identity, the way you viewed yourself....Keep Reading

Posted in: Identity Tags: Identity, the one Jesus loves

May 30, 2023 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

In your struggle against sin...

Hebrews 11 is one of the most fascinating chapters in the Bible. The writer of Hebrews recounts numerous displays of faith by the men and women of the Old Testament, some which resulted in God doing miraculous things, and others that ended up in suffering or death this side of eternity but glory thereafter. The writer follows up in the beginning of chapter 12 by encouraging us that, since we are surrounded by these great examples, we should cast aside every hindrance and sin and “run with perseverance the race marked out for us,” fixing our eyes on Jesus, who endured all the way to the cross out of His love for us (Hebrews 12:1-2). Soon after that encouragement comes this incredible verse:...Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Jesus, Discipleship, Sin

May 23, 2023 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Remembering Tim Keller

I first heard the name Tim Keller in the spring of my senior year at UConn, 29 years ago. My friend Christie shared with me that her father had been attending a men’s Bible study where they were listening to sermons by Tim Keller, the pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan. She knew that I was working as the youth pastor of NewLife, and thought I would enjoy his sermons. She gave me two tapes which contained four sermons on the final week of Jesus’ life. I was blown away...Keep Reading

Posted in: Preaching Tags: Gospel, Preaching, Tim Keller

May 9, 2023 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Remembering Gaia

On January 3rd, 2018, I received an inquiry email to our website from a woman named Gaia that read: How do you feel about skeptics? I’m working on talking with Christians about why they believe what they believe. Would you like to discuss over coffee at NewLife? This was certainly a unique email, the only time in 17 years of pastoring NewLife that an atheist reached out because they wanted to understand my beliefs....Keep Reading

Posted in: Death Tags: Death, Friendship, Gaia McDermott

May 2, 2023 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Master's level prayer

This Thursday is the National Day of Prayer, and we will be hosting the Wethersfield prayer meeting from 12-1 on that day. Prayer, like many elements of the Christian faith, is on the one hand so simple that even a toddler can do it (as we saw this past Sunday when Grace Collibee prayed out loud during the opening prayer time!). On the other hand, however, there are heights and depths of prayer that would take a lifetime of devotion to learn. When you read Jesus’ promises that He will do whatever we ask in His name, and then experience how often our prayers go unanswered, the conclusion is either (a) God is a liar, or (b) there is a level of prayer that we have yet to reach. Jesus often speaks of Master’s level praying, while our prayer life is often still stuck in grade school....Keep Reading

Posted in: Prayer Tags: Prayer, Discipleship, E.M. Bounds

April 25, 2023 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Immanuel in our suffering

This past Sunday, Annmarie Boulay, co-founder and executive director of the Underground New England, spoke at NewLife. The Underground, according to their website, “is a grass-roots, faith-based initiative dedicated to ending sex trafficking and sexual exploitation throughout Connecticut and New England.” The work that Annmarie and her team does is vital, Christ-like, and heartbreaking. It is horrible to think of what so many children and young adults go through at the hands of people who think nothing of exploiting their bodies and souls for profit....Keep Reading

Posted in: Suffering Tags: Suffering, Immanuel, Injustice, The Underground, Sex Trafficking

April 11, 2023 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Faithful no matter the result

There are few things as inspiring as someone sharing a testimony of God’s miraculous work in their life: a disease healed, a marriage restored, a wayward child brought to faith. We love to hear the stories of God’s intimate activity in the lives of those He loves. But if we’re honest, those testimonies can often be painful to hear for those whose diseases have not been healed, whose marriage has fallen apart, or whose wayward child never returned to God. For those people, hearing testimonies of God’s saving activity can lead to two difficult questions: Has God forgotten me? Or: What am I doing wrong?...Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Discipleship, Faith, Hebrews 11

April 4, 2023 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Where is God when I am suffering?

One of the biggest reasons that people stop believing in God or calling themselves Christians is experiencing a tragedy and feeling like God was silent and did not answer prayers. The death of a child, the dissolution of a marriage, being the victim of a terrible crime – these and many other events can cause even the most fervent believer to ask “why, God?” So, what are we to believe when we find ourselves in that place, or what do we say when listening to someone who is going through this kind of crisis?...Keep Reading

Posted in: Suffering Tags: Jesus, Gospel, Suffering, Trust, Cross

March 28, 2023 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Immortal horrors or everlasting splendors

The Bible is full of hard sayings, and perhaps none is harder than John 3:36. The assertion made here, and echoed throughout the New Testament, is that a person’s eternal destiny depends upon whether or not they believe in Jesus. It is not hard to comprehend the logic of the argument; rather, what is hard is allowing the full weight of this statement to impact our hearts. If these words are true, then every day we are interacting with people who, unless they repent of their sin and trust in Jesus, are headed for an eternity separate from the God who created them, experiencing forever the just wrath of a holy God. It is not a pleasant thought, but it demands our attention, careful consideration, and compassionate action....Keep Reading

Posted in: Evangelism Tags: Evangelism, Heaven, Hell, C.S. Lewis

March 21, 2023 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

There are no easy answers in suffering

As a preacher, I often quote from C.S. Lewis, because, well, that’s what evangelical preachers do. I must confess, however, that as quotable as he is, I have only actually finished two of his books, because I find his style difficult to read. One of those books is Mere Christianity, a classic and one of the first books I ever read as a Christian. The second is called A Grief Observed, and contains his journals and reflections after losing his wife, Joy Davidman, to cancer. One of the amazing things about A Grief Observed is that it is the personal reflection on deep suffering written by the same man who wrote The Problem of Pain, one of the enduring Christian classics on suffering. ...Keep Reading

Posted in: Suffering Tags: God, Suffering, C.S. Lewis