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The NewLife Blog

June 28, 2022 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The depth and maturity of long-term relationships

On September 20th, 1998, a new family arrived at NewLife. They were the Fearons, consisting of a father, Brian; a mother, Laurie; and four children in tow: Arlene, Sarah, Mary, and Brian. Arlene was in high school, and everyone else was in elementary school or younger. I was the youth pastor of NewLife at the time, and Arlene soon became a part of the youth group I was leading. Eventually Sarah joined as well. The first wedding I ever officiated was Arlene’s wedding to Gordon Hood, another youth group graduate. And this past Saturday, June 25th, I had the privilege of officiating Sarah’s wedding to Joel Yudt....Keep Reading

Posted in: Relatonships Tags: Church, Relationships, Commitment

June 21, 2022 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Happy heavenly birthday Gino

I met Gino Marozzi in the fall of 1998. I was the 22-year-old youth pastor of NewLife Christian Fellowship, and his twin daughters, Nikki & Tori, had just started attending my youth group. Soon, they began attending NewLife on Sundays, and Tori expressed an interest in singing on the worship team. Gino joined her, eager to support his daughter as the loving father he was. In the summer of 1999, the youth group I led, which included Nikki & Tori, led a Vacation Bible School for the church and area kids....Keep Reading

Posted in: Church life Tags: Death, Gino Marozzi

June 14, 2022 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Give us this day our daily (spiritual) bread

When the Israelites were traveling through the wilderness after their exodus from Egypt, God provided for them by causing a bread-like substance called manna to appear every morning on the ground. Moses instructed the people to gather as much as they needed for the day, with two caveats: they could not save any manna overnight, because it would rot, and on the day before the Sabbath, they had to gather enough for two days, so that they could rest on that holy day. And for 40 years, God’s provision of daily bread sustained them through the wilderness....Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Discipleship, Bible reading

June 7, 2022 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

A lament for Uvalde and our violent world

It is hard to know how to best respond to the ongoing tragedies in our country and world. On May 24th, an 18-year-old gunman tragically took the lives of 19 children and 2 teachers at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, TX. Despite the horror of that day, it was sadly just another in a long line of mass shootings. And despite the tragedy of these mass shootings, they are only part of a larger spike recently in our country of “deaths of despair,” including suicides, drug overdoses, and alcohol-related deaths. And, if that is not depressing enough, a survey of the global scene shows the continued ravages of war, poverty, slavery, and other atrocities....Keep Reading

Posted in: Suffering Tags: Suffering, Lament, Uvalde, violence

May 31, 2022 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Drowning out the cries of the suffering

As I was reading Diane Langberg’s Suffering and the Heart of God last week, I came across this devastating story that is worth sober reflection: “While I was in Ghana a couple of years ago for a conference on violence against women and children, we visited Cape Coast Castle. Hundreds of thousands of Africans were forced through its dungeons and through the door of no return onto slave ships. There were five dungeon chambers for males, and descending into the darkness of one of those dungeons felt claustrophobic. 200 men shackled and chained together lived in that dungeon for about three months before being shipped across the Atlantic. We stood in one of the male dungeons listening in the darkness to the whole horrific story, when our guide said this: “Do you know what is above this dungeon?”...Keep Reading

Posted in: Suffering Tags: Worship, Suffering, Cape Coast Castle

May 24, 2022 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Living with humble confidence

One of my favorite books of prayer is The Valley of Vision: a collection of Puritan prayers and devotions. If you have never read this book, it is a unique and fascinating read, full of rarely used SAT words but also with a theological and devotional depth unmatched by modern-day prayer and devotional books. Below is a prayer entitled Continual Repentance. I encourage you to read it slowly and carefully. ...Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: humility, Confidence, Valley of Vision

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