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The NewLife Blog

June 27, 2023 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The insatiable need for affirmation

In a few days, we will be coming to an end of the monthlong affirmation party that is Pride Month. There are many things that could be written about this cultural celebration. But if I might dare to dip my toes into these shark-infested waters that can cause a person to get torn to pieces if he or she says the wrong thing, I believe we would all benefit from Paul’s perspective in 1 Corinthians 4:3-4. In this passage, he writes, “I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me.”...Keep Reading

Posted in: Culture Tags: Identity, Affirmation, Pride Month, Self-Worth

June 22, 2023 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Tear down all the statues

In the wake of George Floyd’s death in May of 2020 and the Black Lives Matter protests of the past few years, one ongoing result has been the evaluation of statues, buildings, roads, and even holidays named after historical figures. In our capital city of Hartford, a statue of Christopher Columbus that had stood for 94 years was removed one month after Floyd’s death. In my hometown of Windsor, the statue of John Mason, the town’s founder, was vandalized. The statue, which had been erected in 1889, commemorated “the heroic achievement of Major John Mason and his comrades, who near this spot in 1637, overthrew the Pequot Indians and preserved the settlements from destruction.” Despite plans by the historical society to relocate the statue to a museum, it has yet to happen....Keep Reading

Posted in: Culture Tags: idolatry, Statues

June 13, 2023 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Everything is a gift

In Paul’s first letter to the church of Corinth, he takes great pains in the opening chapters to confront their pride and boasting, which seem to have resulted in all kinds of division in the church. In verse 7 of chapter 4, he challenges the Corinthian Christians to realize that there is nothing good which they possess that is not a gift from God. And since it is all a gift, it would be foolish to boast about it as if it were something they had earned. Instead of boasting in the gift, they would be wise to boast in the Giver: “Let him who boasts boast in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:30)....Keep Reading

Posted in: Grace Tags: Grace, gratitude

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 1 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