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The NewLife Blog

April 14, 2020 by Andy Hood 0 comments

Guest blogger: Andy Hood

On Sunday April 5th, during our streaming NewLife worship service, Pastor Eric led us in reading together Psalm 23. This is one of my “go to” Psalms during times of uncertainty and difficulties. For me, however, there is an added dimension to reading this Psalm. It serves as a stark reminder of the fact that many millions of people (including many believers) do not have this Psalm (or any Scripture for that matter) in their “heart” language (heart language is simply the language first spoken to you as a child). Imagine life without Psalm 23!...Keep Reading

Tags: Missions, JAARS, Bible translation

April 7, 2020 by Stephanie Johnson 0 comments

Guest blogger: Stephanie Johnson

Today’s guest writer is Stephanie Johnson. “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” (Psalm 119:105) I have been participating in Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) for the past 4 years. During my time with BSF, I have developed a greater understanding of the Bible, as well as acquired training that I have been able to apply at NewLife with The Connect, our Tuesday night women’s group....Keep Reading

Tags: Bible study fellowship

March 31, 2020 by Gordon Lawrence 0 comments

Jesus in prison

Today’s guest writer is Gordon Lawrence. Jesus encouraged his followers to visit those in prison. Jesus said in Matt 5:36 when talking about the coming of the Son of Man and the separation of the sheep and the goats, ‘I was in prison and you came to visit me’; and in Hebrews 13:3 it says ‘remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison.’ Visiting those in prison is therefore something that the church should be involved in....Keep Reading

Tags: Jesus, Prison ministry

March 24, 2020 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The God who adopts

Flash back with me to November of 2008. Our youngest son, Nate, was three months old. Ryan and Will, our two oldest boys, were three and two years old. I was two years into pastoring NewLife, and my wife Michele was working as she was able to help make ends meet. Naturally, Michele told me that she thought that the time was right for us to go through training to become licensed foster and adoptive parents through the state of Connecticut. Over eleven years later, we have had the privilege of providing a temporary home for hundreds of children in the foster care system. ...Keep Reading

Tags: Jesus, Gospel, Adoption, foster care

March 17, 2020 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Don't stop "gathering" together

Let us not give up meeting together, the writer of Hebrews tells us. Unless, of course, a massive virus breaks out and the government limits public gatherings to the size of two basketball teams. We are in unprecedented times. Earlier today I was listening to a pastor talking about how the last time his church closed its doors on a Sunday was during the Spanish flu of 1918, when the local government asked every church to shutter its doors in order to help prevent the contagion from spreading and the death toll from rising. I suppose as long as this sort of thing only happens once every century, we can manage....Keep Reading

Tags: Church, fellowship, Coronavirus

March 10, 2020 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Distracting ourselves to death

One of the greatest book titles ever was the 1985 Neil Postman book Amusing Ourselves to Death. Postman’s groundbreaking book was an insightful look at the corrosive effect that television was having on our politics, journalism, education, and even religion. I’ve been thinking about that book title lately, as it feels like it’s time to write a similar book for 2020. I call it Distracting Ourselves to Death....Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship, Technology

March 3, 2020 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

You are enough

I have a love/hate relationship with a lot of church advice and church growth gurus out there. One particular strategy that I am torn on is the idea of giving people “next steps” at the end of a sermon. This often takes the form of a bulletin insert with a sermon outline that ends with a few “next steps,” such as “I will memorize Romans 8:38,” “I will pray for my next door neighbors,” or “I will tithe next month.” What I love about this approach is the practical call to discipleship and transformation, in that it challenges us to not just be hearers of the word but doers of the word. But what bothers me about this approach is how easily it can turn the faith into a religion of law: “do more and you will be accepted and feel like a better Christian,” instead of “truly realize how you have been accepted in Christ despite what you have NOT done, despite your failures as a Christian, and you will find yourself doing more in response to His love and grace.” ...Keep Reading

Tags: Church, Gospel, Seculosity

February 25, 2020 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Our great political hope

The theory undergirding David Zahl’s book Seculosity is that as our culture looks less and less to God’s saving grace as our source of self-worth and justification (or “enoughness,” as Zahl calls it), we inevitably look to the good things of this world for that which only God can give us. Some turn to a romantic partner, others to a career, still others to parenting or technology. And some, as chapter 8 outlines, put their hope in politics....Keep Reading

Tags: Jesus, Politics, Seculosity

February 18, 2020 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Searching for that elusive rest

As a parent to four children, I have noticed that one thing that has clearly changed over the generations has been play and leisure time. With every generation, it feels as if play has become less free and more structured. Instead of sending your children out to do whatever with their neighborhood friends and expecting them home by supper, now almost every activity is scheduled, with any downtime becoming increasing tethered to an electronic device. When children are finally faced with real downtime without electronics, you can almost guarantee that the first words out of their mouth will be, “I’m bored.” But children are not the only ones who have experienced a change in play and leisure time. ...Keep Reading

Tags: Culture, Seculosity, Play

February 11, 2020 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Work hard and rest easy

I think that one of the most humorous things in the Bible is that the all-powerful, holy and mighty God of the universe, after creating the world, rested on day seven. Was He really worn out from shaping all those llamas and aardvarks and mountains and stars and oceans? Or was there another reason behind that act?...Keep Reading

Tags: Culture, Work, Sabbath, Discipleship