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The NewLife Blog

March 5, 2019 by Eric Stillman 2 comments

Would you go to church if you were struggling?

This past year, I finished my Master’s of Professional Counseling degree through Liberty University. One of the classes I took was on substance abuse counseling, and one of the assignments was to visit a couple of AA, NA, and Al-Anon meetings. I had always heard that these groups often succeed in creating the kind of atmosphere and community that the church is meant to display. My experience proved this to be correct, especially in one important way that I think is worthy of consideration....Keep Reading

Tags: Church, Grace

February 26, 2019 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The friends you need

There is a dangerous myth floating around our culture that the healthier you are, the more you do not need anyone. In counseling circles, therapists use words like “codependent” and “enmeshed” to negatively label people who are too reliant on others for their own functioning. While there are certainly ways we can negatively relate to and need others, the truth is that a stubborn independence is just as unhealthy. We were created for relationship, and we need others if we are going to live a healthy and fulfilled life....Keep Reading

Tags: Friendship, Discipleship

February 19, 2019 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Fear, anxiety, and love

I am a very fearful person. I often feel as if anxiety is my predominant emotion, as I walk through my life avoiding conflict and difficult situations that, for some unknown reason, I fear will be the death of me. Never mind, of course, that typically when I have to face one of those situations, I find myself surviving unscathed, and even grateful that I went through it instead of working so hard to avoid it. Nevertheless, the bottom line is that I struggle with fear and anxiety on a daily basis....Keep Reading

Tags: Fear, Anxiety, Love

February 12, 2019 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The messages we want to hear

In Paul’s second letter to his protégé Timothy, he warns him that the time will come when people will seek out teachers who “say what their itching ears want to hear.” I imagine there have always been teachers like this throughout the history of the church, but this warning is undoubtedly prophetic today. But rather than point the fingers at others, we would be prudent to consider where it is that we are most tempted as American Christians to have our itching ears scratched....Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship, Culture

February 5, 2019 by Joe Barone 0 comments

Guest blogger: Joe Barone - What, me worry?

Worry. It’s a word that brings to mind skipped meals, knotted stomachs, cold sweats and sleepless nights. Worry is a heavy burden to carry. For something that causes our minds and bodies to endure so much distress, why do we do so much of it? No worry, no headaches. Easy, right? So will all those who don’t worry please step forward. We want to hear about your success in letting everything go. Umm! Not one? Max Lucado was right when he penned, “Do you worry? I worry about you if you don’t’ worry! All of us worry, but we shouldn’t. Jesus commands us a half a dozen times, ‘Do not worry’.”...Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship, worry

January 29, 2019 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

True self-esteem

This past Sunday, after I preached on confession and forgiveness, we read in unison a prayer from a book called 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 the prayer we read on Sunday, entitled Continual Repentance: ...Keep Reading

Tags: Prayer, Self-Image

January 22, 2019 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Step into the light

In Matthew 7:24-29, Jesus tells his listeners that the difference between the wise and foolish person is whether or not they put into practice His words. James, in his letter, says something similar, that it is of no value to hear the word and not act on it, but that the power lies in doing what the word says (James 1:22-25). There are some times in which the important thing is not to tell eloquent stories that move or inspire you, but to simply challenge you towards obedience. This is one of those times....Keep Reading

Tags: Sin, Confession

January 15, 2019 by Eric Stillman 1 comments

A prayer answered

One of my favorite stories of answered prayer from my own life came when I was 23 and the youth pastor of NewLife. Our growing youth group of about 20-25 senior high students had been meeting at my apartment in Manchester. Things were going great, but the bad part was that the walls were paper thin, and my neighbors could hear every screaming teen, every beat of the conga drum, and every song being sung, and I felt horrible about it. When the lease year was nearing the end, I began praying that God would provide a house where we could meet. I had two friends who lived in the same apartment complex as me, and we decided that together we would look for a house to rent. ...Keep Reading

Tags: Prayer, Faith

January 8, 2019 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Who are you really???

Who are you when no one is watching? What do you do, and where does your mind go, when there is no audience? Jesus’ words in Matthew 6 are most likely directed at the Pharisees, the religious leaders who loved to show off how religious they were through their public displays of giving, praying, and fasting (Matthew 6:16-18). Jesus boldly calls them hypocrites. In Jesus’ day, the Greek word “hypokrites” was the word for actor, someone who is playing a part for an audience. By using this term, Jesus tells us to resist the urge to give, pray, fast, or do any other good works in order to receive the applause of the crowd. In our day of social media, this admonition is more timely than ever, as we are regularly attempted to live for the “likes.”...Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship, Integrity

January 2, 2019 by Eric Stillman 1 comments

Pray boldly

If I could only listen to one sermon for the rest of my life it would be a message Jim Cymbala gave at a praise gathering called “My house shall be called a house of prayer” (you can watch it on YouTube here . Cymbala references the episode where Jesus clears the money changers out of the temple in order to drive home the point that God’s house is meant to be a house of prayer above all other things ...Keep Reading

Tags: Prayer, Faith