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The NewLife Blog

September 17, 2019 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Two ways to answer your critics

Lately I have found that when I am accused of wrongdoing, I have two potential responses competing in my mind. The first is to defend myself, to give all the reasons the accuser is wrong, and to point out all the way my accuser is just as guilty as I am. My second response is to not only agree with my accuser but to add to my accuser’s list all the other ways that I am guilty which they neglected to mention. The first response feels like the right way to go. After all, I am standing up for myself and declaring that I am not such a bad person after all, nor am I alone in being imperfect. The second response, however, is both humble and brutally honest about who I am....Keep Reading

Tags: Identity, Criticism

September 10, 2019 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Pride and the problem of evil

This past Sunday, I began preaching through the book of Revelation. One of the key takeaways from chapter 1 is that our perspective on this world is incredibly limited. We may believe that “reality” consists of what we can see, touch, hear, taste, and smell, but the Bible, and Revelation in particular, reveals to us that there is a whole unseen spiritual reality that is more real than the transitory things that inhabit the material world. In a Tim Keller lecture that I was listening to recently, he shared an implication of that truth that I had never considered. ...Keep Reading

Tags: Suffering, pride

September 3, 2019 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Whac-a-mole discipleship

I became a follower of Jesus as a college freshman at age 18. After a couple of years of learning what it meant to follow Jesus and developing some close friendships with my Christian friends, I started to understand the importance of accountability, of having someone that I trusted enough to confess my sins too, someone who would ask me the tough questions about my walk with the Lord. For the past 20+ years, I have always had at least someone that I talk with regularly so that I stay sharp in my discipleship. As Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” But here’s the thing about accountability and the sincere desire to avoid sin:...Keep Reading

Tags: accountability, Discipleship

August 27, 2019 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

What does it really mean to be free?

One of the fundamental values of our culture is that every person should have the freedom to choose for themselves how to live (within the bounds of the law). But our culture’s definition of freedom (the absence of restrictions) differs from the Biblical concept of freedom. The Bible tells us that 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

Tags: Freedom, Culture

August 14, 2019 by Eric Stillman 2 comments

The complicated legacy of Christian leaders

“Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.” This stirring quote comes from the pen of Bob Pierce, the founder of World Vision and one of the men responsible for Samaritan’s Purse, two of the leading Christian relief organizations in the world (Michael Wrang shared this past Sunday about his service with Samaritan's Purse). With a resume like that, you probably envision a passionate man of God, giving his all to share the love of Christ with all who came across his path......Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship, Sin

August 6, 2019 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Who are you, really?

This past Sunday, during my sermon on overcoming guilt and shame, I discussed the importance of finding our identity and self-worth in who God says we are. I am fairly certain that we have all been the victims of individuals who have shamed us at some point in our lives and told us terrible things about us (or done terrible things to us) that have shaped the way we see ourselves. And for many of us, we are our own worst enemies, berating and belittling ourselves in ways that we would never do to another person. But the more we come to believe the things that God says about us, the more we can reject the insults, scorn the shame, and walk in the humble confidence that comes from knowing who we are in Christ. And who does He say that we are? Read below:...Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship, Identity

July 30, 2019 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Less of me, more of God

In the last chapter Paul’s letter to the church in Ephesus, he writes vividly about the spiritual battle that we are in and our need to be clothed in the armor of God, supported by the prayers of God’s people. Every once in a while, there are weeks where being a pastor feels like running a marathon while simultaneously trying not to get taken out by the flaming arrows of the evil one, while you watch some of your running partners get knocked out of the race. This is one of those weeks....Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship, pride

July 24, 2019 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Be quick to listen and slow to judge

This morning, I was watching a video in which a couple of counselors were teaching a unique way of doing premarital counseling. Their approach was focused on helping a couple understand each other’s stories, so that they might love and support each other better. As I observed the couple who was being counseled, I immediately noticed that the woman was wearing a lot of makeup and seemed to have given a lot of attention to her looks. As I followed along with the session, the counselor asked each individual to share a scene from their story that stood out to them as particularly influential in their lives. The woman shared about a scene from health class in elementary school. ...Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship, Judgment, Love

July 16, 2019 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

My one desire

Every month, I try to spend one work day away from the day-to-day responsibilities of being a pastor. I travel to the Center for Retreat and Renewal in Simsbury and try to avoid email and phone calls for the day. Instead, I spend extended time with God, I try to bring order into the scattered pieces of my life, and I work on aspects of my job that require extended, uninterrupted time....Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship, Music

July 2, 2019 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Unity in diversity

This past week, I spent five days in Hartford with 100 middle and high school students as part of The Hartford Project, learning about life in Hartford, serving the city, and worshiping God in community. It was an incredible time, and there is much that I could say about it, but the one aspect I found to be the most unique was the diversity represented in this mission. The 100 students came from eleven different churches, from Catholic to Pentecostal and everything in between. Some churches were urban, some suburban, and some rural. They came from every ethnic and racial background. And they were led and taught by men and women, young and old, all using their gifts to preach the gospel and serve the city in the name of Christ....Keep Reading

Tags: Unity, The Hartford Project