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The NewLife Blog

July 6, 2021 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The church that cannot be stopped

In Acts 5, Peter and the other apostles are spreading the good news about Jesus through preaching and miraculous deeds. The Jewish high court arrests them and forbids them to speak in Jesus’ name. Peter boldly refuses to comply with their demands, and as a result, the religious leaders want to put them to death. But a Pharisee named Gamaliel addresses the assembly, advising them to leave the men alone. He tells them that “if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” (Acts 5:38-39)...Keep Reading

Tags: Church, Prayer

June 29, 2021 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

What kind of church will we be?

In John 8, Jesus is put to the test by a group of Jewish religious leaders. A number of teachers of the law and Pharisees drag before Jesus a woman caught in adultery and ask Jesus whether or not she should be stoned, as the law of Moses commands. This is most certainly a trap set for Jesus, as you will notice the adulterous man is nowhere to be found. The trap is this: if Jesus upholds the law, all of the outcasts who have been drawn to him will desert him, but if he lets her go, then he will be guilty of breaking God’s law and discredit himself as a man of God....Keep Reading

Tags: Jesus, Church, John 8

June 22, 2021 by Eric Stillman 2 comments

Watch your life and doctrine closely

Another day, another report of a pastor behaving badly, ruining his reputation, disillusioning his flock, and shipwrecking the witness of Christ’s church. While I know that “there but for the grace of God go I,” I am also resolute in my heartfelt desire to bring God the maximum amount of glory possible through my life. In Paul’s first letter to his protégé Timothy, he tells him to watch his life and doctrine closely....Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship

June 15, 2021 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Two little words that can have a huge impact on your prayers

I was challenged recently by something I heard in a video by Dennis Fuqua, a pastor and leader of a prayer ministry called International Renewal Ministries. He was addressing the question of how to handle prayer requests that may have little relevance to your personal situation ...Keep Reading

Tags: Prayer

June 8, 2021 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Envy rots the bones

There are few activities that are as dangerous to my spirit as looking at the websites of other churches. Far from being a neutral exercise, this endeavor typically ends with either despair, as I compare myself and our church and feel inadequate, or disdain, as I smugly criticize what I am seeing. Lord, have mercy....Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship, Envy, Contentment

June 2, 2021 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The power and importance of corporate prayer

We all read the Bible with our own cultural filters, lenses to which we are often blind. One of the most glaring filters in our culture is how individualistic we are, while the world Jesus inhabited was much more communal. Case in point: I read recently that 33 out of 37 verses on prayer that are found in the gospels are commands given not to individuals but to groups of people. Verses such as “Ask and it will be given to you (plural), seek and you (plural) will find, knock and the door will be opened to you (plural)” (Matthew 7:7) assume that prayer will be a corporate affair, where believers seek God together. And yet I would dare to say that most of us operate in the American church as if God’s primary concern is our personal prayer life, not the prayer life of our faith community....Keep Reading

Tags: community, Prayer

May 25, 2021 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Lounging through the battle

2 Samuel 11 marks a turning point in David’s life. Up until this point, God has brought him from the anonymity of a shepherd boy, to the courts of King Saul, and eventually to the throne of Israel. David is a courageous warrior, an inspirational poet, a leader of a nation, and, most importantly, a man after God’s heart (Acts 13:22). But by the end of 2 Samuel 11, David will have become guilty of adultery with Bathsheba, and of causing the murder of her husband Uriah. ...Keep Reading

Tags: Prayer, Spiritual Warfare, David

May 18, 2021 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Don't live a powerless life

This Sunday is Pentecost, the day which commemorates the events recorded in Acts 2, when God poured out His Holy Spirit into the hearts of His people, empowering them to launch the new Christ-centered community that would become known as the church. Before Jesus had ascended to heaven, he had promised to his disciples this gift: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8). And as the disciples waited in prayer, this world-changing event happened: “Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them” (Acts 2:2-4). ...Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship, Holy Spirit, Pentecost

May 11, 2021 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

To whom do you compare yourself?

One of the podcasts I have listened to on occasion over the past few years is called The Happiness Lab. In this podcast, a Yale professor named Dr. Laurie Santos looks at the science of happiness, often exposing how our minds are lying to us about what will really make us happy. One of the memorable episodes, called “A Silver Lining,” examined why it is that Olympians who come in third place tend to happier about their finish than those who come in second place. The reason, according to Dr. Santos, is that our perspective on life is largely affected by what we are comparing our situation to. Those who win silver medals look at how close they came to winning gold, and come away disappointed. Those who win bronze medals, by and large, are just happy to have won a medal, as they compare themselves to everyone behind them who missed out....Keep Reading

Tags: Grace, Discipleship, perspective

May 4, 2021 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Developing a faith that is both childlike and mature

In the Christian faith, there are many seemingly contradictory things that must be held in tension. God is three yet one. Jesus is fully man yet fully God. The Bible is God’s Word yet written by humans. When it comes to our walk with God, there is another important tension we must hold: our God is so approachable and accessible that even a four-year-old can have a genuine saving relationship with Him, yet He is so far beyond our human comprehension that even the wisest theologian or holiest person of God can never come close to plumbing the depths of who He is. As Paul put it in Romans 11:33-34, “Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?”...Keep Reading

Tags: Prayer, Faith