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The NewLife Blog

December 22, 2021 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

I am the worst of sinners

In the first chapter of Paul’s first letter to his protégé Timothy, Paul has just finished listing a number of ways that people break God’s laws. But soon after calling out all of these examples of sinful behavior, he shines the spotlight on himself. He tells Timothy that he considers himself the worst of all sinners. But Paul follows up that indictment with the amazing truth that, despite his rebellious past, he has been shown incredible mercy and patience by Jesus in order to show that no one is beyond God’s reach. ...Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Discipleship, Sin

December 14, 2021 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Leave it all on the field

In sports, there is an expression “leave it all on the field” that encourages athletes to give such a strong effort that they will have no regrets when they look back at how they played. In Acts 20, Paul displays the spiritual version of “leave it all on the field” as he meets with the leaders of the Ephesian church before he leaves for Jerusalem....Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Discipleship, Ministry

December 7, 2021 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial

The Corinthian church was a mess. A careful reading of the Bible reveals that Paul probably spent a year and a half planting the church, wrote 3-4 letters to them confronting them of various issues (only two of them survived), and made at least one “painful visit,” as he calls it. In chapter 10 of 1 Corinthians, Paul seems to quote a familiar Corinthian saying, “everything is permissible,” and then follows it up by admonishing them even if something is permissible, that does not mean it is beneficial or constructive. And he continues by telling them that as believers, they should not simply evaluate things on the basis of whether or not they can do it, but on whether or not it is good for others. “Everything is permissible” – but not everything is beneficial....Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Discipleship, Discernment

November 30, 2021 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

We will never be the cool church

I recently enjoyed an article on the Gospel Coalition website called “Cool Christianity is (still) a bad idea” by Brett McCracken ( Fifteen long years ago, I began serving as the pastor of NewLife, and yes, I wanted to be a cool pastor. In those days, “relevant” was a buzzword among churches (and even the name of a new Christian magazine), as we all tried to find ways to reach people by speaking the cultural language....Keep Reading

Posted in: Culture Tags: Church, Relevance

November 23, 2021 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The amazing grace of God works through the most flawed people

“Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.” This stirring quote came 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. 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. And you would be correct to a large extent. But there was much more to the story of Bob Pierce....Keep Reading

Posted in: Missions Tags: Leadership, Missions, Sin

November 16, 2021 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Thank God I'm not like THAT guy!

You know when you’re sitting in church, listening to the sermon, and you find yourself saying, “I really hope my spouse/child/friend is hearing this,” or “I really wish so-and-so were here to listen to this”? I know I often have those moments, when I am sure that someone I know needs to hear the message, while I sit there oblivious to the fact that I probably need to hear it just as much as they do....Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Discipleship, Judgment

November 9, 2021 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Tribalism and propaganda are tearing us apart

One of the more concerning realities of our American culture is the increasing polarity between groups of people. This phenomenon is most obvious in politics, where Republicans and Democrats are convinced that the other is either seriously deluded or the spawn of Satan. But many of today’s social justice movements are also doubling down on human differences such as gender, skin color, sexual preference, and religion, labeling one group the oppressors or privileged group and the other the oppressed or targeted groups. The result, as I’ve reiterated throughout my current sermon series, is not increased justice and unity in our world, but increased division, mistrust, and hatred....Keep Reading

Posted in: Culture Tags: Jesus, Social justice, tribalism

November 2, 2021 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

It's not all about power

One of the misguided tenets of many modern social justice movements is that relational dynamics are best interpreted primarily through the lens of power differential. We can’t just have men and women who relate to each other in various ways; one group (men) must be the oppressor group, and the other group (women) the oppressed group. Same with differences in race, class, sexual preference, and so on: everyone is assumed to be locked in a power struggle, with one group of people the eternal victims in need of justice....Keep Reading

Posted in: Culture Tags: Power, Critical Race Theory

October 26, 2021 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

You are no better than anyone else

In this past Sunday’s sermon on justice and community, I challenged people that any ideology that seeks justice by dividing people into groups instead of emphasizing what unites us is not of God. As Christians, we believe that in two main things that unite all humans: first, that we are all created in the image of God and worthy of dignity and respect, and second, that we are all sinners, rebels against a holy God, out of step with His design for us and in need of salvation. With these two truths framing the way we see each other, we can avoid much of the pride, anger, and division found in cultural conceptions of justice. One of the most powerful stories I have heard regarding the second truth, that we are all sinners, was something I heard in a Tim Keller sermon. ...Keep Reading

Posted in: Sin Tags: Sin, Justice, evil

October 19, 2021 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Would you help someone in need, or walk on by?

One of the all-time genius psychology studies was conducted by John Darley and Daniel Batson in the 1970’s at Princeton Theological Seminary. Darley and Batson were studying the psychology of prosocial behavior – why people do good things for others. Specifically, they wanted to examine whether acts of kindness are due more to innate qualities or to situational factors....Keep Reading

Posted in: Love Tags: Love, Good Samaritan