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The NewLife Blog

March 14, 2023 by Eric Stillman 1 comments

Praying the gospel

I have mentioned before in this blog the incredible book of Puritan prayers known as The Valley of Vision. There is something about the combination of 17th-19th century language (complete with many SAT words) and the gospel declaration of the depth of our sin and the beauty of God’s love for sinners that speaks to me in a way that is very different than today’s average Christian book or devotional. Below are snippets from some of the prayers that are particularly meaningful to me. May these words humble you and lift you up as you meditate on the gospel of Jesus’ death for you:...Keep Reading

Posted in: Gospel Tags: Gospel, Prayer, Valley of Vision

March 7, 2023 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Offering our imperfect worship

It is probably impossible to truly understand the motivations and desires that operate within us at any given time as we go about our daily life. This past Sunday, for instance, I led the music at church. During communion, we sang a new song called “Glory, Honor, Power” that begins with the line “Most worthy, worthy of praise.” That line, of course, is meant to be a declaration to God that He is the one who deserves the highest glory and praise. And, in my head, I believe that to be true. But if I’m being honest, there is a part of me that is singing that line to myself....Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Worship, Gospel, Discipleship

February 28, 2023 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The faith that is not naive

I was listening recently to a YouTube video of a talk by the psychologist and media personality Jordan Peterson on the story of Abraham and the importance of responsibility ( He was expounding upon a lesson he observed in the Genesis story, that if you give yourself fully to that which God has called you to, then all things are possible. Peterson followed up on that point to acknowledge that some people think that such an outlook on life is naïve, and consequently dispense with that idea. But then he argued that if you would stop being the sort of person who dispenses with ideas and, in a more mature way, once again give yourself fully to the responsibility to which God has called you, then you truly don’t know what God might do in and through your life. He then made this powerful statement, which resonated with me:...Keep Reading

Posted in: Faith Tags: Faith, Optimism, Jordan Peterson

February 21, 2023 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Look to the interests of others on Sunday morning

In Philippians 2, Paul exhorts the Philippian church to strive for loving unity by putting the interests of others above their own and following Jesus’ example of sacrificial service. While this mindset translates to every possible situation in which we might find ourselves, let me share eight practical ways that you can put your neighbor’s interests above your own on Sunday morning at NewLife, or at whatever church you attend:...Keep Reading

Posted in: Church life Tags: Discipleship, Love, Church life

February 14, 2023 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Who are you when no one is looking?

In chapter 6 of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells the listening crowd that the religiosity they see on display in many of their spiritual leaders is not genuine, but fraudulent. He uses the Greek word for an actor on a stage – hypocrite – a word that has come down through the ages to refer to anyone who is pretending to be something that they are not. Jesus tells the crowd not to be like the hypocrites, who give and pray and fast in a showy way in order to curate public perception of themselves as godly people. Jesus tells his audience instead to give in secret, to pray to God where no one else can see, and to not make it obvious when they are fasting. This kind of secret devotion, He says, reveals that you are truly living for an audience of One, not for the applause of the watching world. And God will honor and reward that kind of devotion....Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Discipleship, Hypocrisy

February 7, 2023 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Longing for a phone that never becomes outdated

In 2004, I bought my first cell phone. It was a Samsung flip phone, and it was amazing. For the first time, I could call people from my car or the store. I could even send text messages. That is, as long as I had enough patience to press the numbers multiple times in order to eventually get to the letters I wanted. And if the Wi-Fi was right, I could even slowly surf the internet. I had truly arrived....Keep Reading

Posted in: Heaven Tags: Heaven, Technology, Longing

January 31, 2023 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Do something small for God (2014)

One of the best Christian speakers I ever heard was a missionary named David Pierce, who travels around the world with his band, No Longer Music, bringing the message of Jesus to Satanist clubs, anarchy festivals, and anywhere you wouldn‘t normally expect to find Christians. Pierce wrote an incredibly unique book called Dancing with Skinheads and other Bible Study Topics, and one thing he wrote in there that I‘ve never forgotten is this: ‘œDo something small for God.‘ He said that so many people want to do something big for God, to do something that really changes the world. But often it‘s the small, overlooked, seemingly insignificant things that are the biggest steps of obedience to God....Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Discipleship, Service

January 31, 2023 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Do something small for God

The Apostle Paul spent a great deal of his Christian life traveling around the Roman Empire, starting churches, raising up leaders, and sharing the gospel with whoever would listen. But as we found out this past Sunday as we were reading through Philippians 1, he also spent significant time in prison, unjustly persecuted for his devotion to Jesus. Incredibly, however, Paul would not even let prison stop him from sharing the gospel to the limited audience he had. He told the palace guard about Jesus, and wrote letters to the churches that he could no longer visit. Paul may have felt like his audience had shrunk, but he was always going to be faithful to serve Jesus with whatever influence he might have....Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Discipleship, faithfulness

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