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The NewLife Blog

May 17, 2022 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

I know the plans I have for you... slavery

In last week’s Pulse, I talked about Romans 8:28 and what happens when we read God’s Word out of context and place unwarranted expectations on God. The Old Testament counterpart to Romans 8:28 has to be Jeremiah 29:11, which reads “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” When you hear that verse, what do you think God is communicating? I would argue that most modern Christians believe that it means God is going to bring good things into your life and will protect you from harm. In fact, this is how one well-known Christian author, Joyce Meyer, interprets this verse: “I prosper in everything I put my hand to. I have prosperity in all areas of my life–spiritually, financially, mentally, and socially.”...Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Jeremiah 29:11, God's plan

May 10, 2022 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Disillusionment with God

Expectations are a tricky thing. On the one hand, they can help us live life with purpose, goals, and hope for the future. But when we stop and reflect, we often find that so much of our bitterness and disillusionment in life has come because of expectations we placed on others – spouses, parents, friends, coworkers – that they did not meet. And this is just as true of our relationship with God. If we’re not careful, we can end up bitter at God because of expectations that we put on Him to do something that He has never promised. One of the clearest ways this is true is in our belief that if God is a good God who loves us, then He will certainly bring about good things in our lives, like NOW....Keep Reading

Posted in: God's character Tags: God's love, God's goodness, bitterness, disillusionment

May 3, 2022 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Freedom: It's not what you think it is

We live in the land of the free, the land of “you do you,” the land of NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO TELL ME WHAT I CAN AND CAN NOT DO. This is why it is so essential to understand that “freedom” as our culture teaches it is a fallacy. There is no such thing as freedom. In the end, you are either a slave to God or a slave to sin (Romans 6:16). The choice is not between following God and living free to do as you please. The choice is between serving God, which leads to eternal life, or serving sin, which leads to death....Keep Reading

Posted in: Culture Tags: Discipleship, Freedom

April 26, 2022 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

We will do greater things than Jesus?

As you read through the Bible, every once in awhile you find a promise like the one Jesus gives to His disciples in John 14:11-14 that demands explanation. In the midst of giving a departing discourse to His disciples before His arrest and crucifixion, Jesus promises that those who have faith in Him will do even greater things than what He has been doing. He also promises that He will do whatever they ask in His name, because He will have ascended to the Father’s presence, with authority over everything....Keep Reading

Posted in: Prayer Tags: Jesus, Discipleship

April 19, 2022 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Watch out for the spiritual crash

This past Sunday was a wonderful time in the life of our church. We enjoyed an Easter breakfast for the first time since 2019, we saw people return to church for the first time since before COVID, and most importantly, we lifted up the name of Jesus, who died and rose again to give us eternal life. But after Sunday, inevitably, comes Monday....Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Discipleship, Spiritual Warfare

April 12, 2022 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Don't cry for Jesus this Easter

Eighteen years ago, Mel Gibson’s movie, The Passion of the Christ hit movie theaters. Many movies have been made about the life and death of Jesus, but Passion undoubtedly contained the most intense and visceral depiction of Jesus’ suffering and death. Many moviegoers – perhaps even you – were moved to tears as they watched the violent and unjust suffering of the innocent Son of God. But imagine for a moment if Jesus, up on the screen, turned to face the audience in the theater and said, “Do not weep for me. Weep for yourselves.”...Keep Reading

Posted in: Jesus Tags: Jesus, Cross

April 5, 2022 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

A demonstration of the Spirit's power

Since the beginning of 2022, we have been focusing on prayer and revival at NewLife. Revival, simply put, is an increase in the presence and power of God in the church and in the community. Listen to how J.D. Greear explained it in his book Jesus Continued: Why the Spirit Inside You is Better than Jesus Beside You: “In an awakening, the Spirit of God does not typically do a ‘new’ thing; he simply pours greater power upon the ‘normal’ things faithful Christians are already doing. Prayers become more intense; worship becomes more joyous; repentance becomes more sorrowful; and the preached Word yields greater effect. The Spirit of God multiplies the effectiveness of our ‘normal’ work of seed-planting, bringing a bountiful harvest. And he does more in a moment than we can accomplish in a lifetime.”...Keep Reading

Posted in: Prayer Tags: Prayer, D.L. Moody, Holy Spirit

March 29, 2022 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Master's level praying

One of the tensions of the Christian life is that while salvation is so simple that even a five-year-old can have genuine saving faith, discipleship is so sophisticated that even the most devoted Christian will never arrive at perfection this side of heaven. While “faith like a child” brings us into a genuine relationship with God (Matthew 18:3-5), we will never come close to plumbing the depths of the wisdom and knowledge of God (Romans 11:33). In the same way, while it is accurate to say that on the one hand, prayer is as simple as “talking to God,” there are also heights and depths of prayer that are so much more advanced that than simple definition....Keep Reading

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

March 22, 2022 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

We are hard-pressed, but not crushed

During the last days of Jesus’ life, two of his disciples were guilty of terrible offenses against him. As Jesus was being brought before the high priest for questioning, Peter denied knowing him three times, despite boasting to Jesus hours earlier that even if he had to die with him, he would never deny him. And Judas was even worse. He betrayed Jesus, selling him out to the Jewish religious leaders for thirty pieces of silver. Both men were utterly devastated when they came to terms with what they had done. Peter went back to fishing, the one thing he was still confident in. Judas, sadly, could not get over his guilt and hung himself....Keep Reading

Posted in: Suffering Tags: Jesus, Suffering, Suicide

March 15, 2022 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Where is God in my mess?

Life is hard, and we can not always figure out what God is up to, or what good He could possibly bring through the difficult situations in which we often find ourselves. One of the surest anchors for our soul when we feel unmoored is to look to the cross. From an earthly perspective, God never seemed more absent or unloving then He did on that day, as Jesus, His innocent Son, hung on that cross. The disciples were having the ground pulled out from under them as they watched the one to whom they had dedicated their life for the past three years dying on the cross, while God did nothing about it. They must have wondered what kind of Father would let His innocent Son die an unjust death like that without rising to His defense? God never seemed more absent or unloving than He did on that day....Keep Reading

Posted in: Suffering Tags: Suffering, hope, Cross