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The NewLife Blog

February 1, 2022 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Watch out for humble disobdience

In Exodus 4, God approaches Moses with what must have felt like a death sentence: go to Pharaoh, the most powerful man in the world, and tell him to let his Israelite slaves go free. Understandably, Moses is more than reluctant to take on the task; indeed, he seems to give every excuse in the book why he’s the wrong man for the job. But even after God assures Moses that he will give him the words to speak AND miraculous signs and wonders to display, Moses still asks God to pick someone else. And so, God angrily tells Moses that Aaron will be his mouthpiece. There’s a fine line between humility and disobedience...Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: humility, Insecurity, Moses

January 25, 2022 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

God intends it for good

It is undoubtedly an imprecise endeavor to try to understand things from God’s perspective, but the story of Joseph in the book of Genesis seems to invite us to try to do precisely that. In fact, when Joseph finally reveals his identity to the brothers who sold him into slavery, he tells them that while they may have been trying to harm him (as were others along his life’s journey), God was behind the scenes working all things together for good, in order to save the lives of Joseph’s family and preserve the lineage that would eventually culminate in the Messiah....Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: Suffering, Character, Joseph

January 18, 2022 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

We will see His face

There are few videos that bring the tears quite like reunion videos. A daughter is surprised at school by her military father, home from serving overseas. A son who was given up for adoption meets his birth mother. Even watching a pet who has been separated from his owner find him and jump all over him can bring the waterworks. In Revelation 21 and 22, we are given a glimpse of what eternity will be like....Keep Reading

Posted in: Heaven Tags: God, Heaven

January 11, 2022 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The true measure of success

I recently read a passage from J. I. Packer’s A Passion for Faithfulness: Wisdom from the Book of Nehemiah that I found to be a great warning and encouragement for us as we seek to follow God as a church. Packer writes: I have found that churches, pastors, seminaries, and parachurch agencies throughout North America are mostly playing the numbers game—that is, defining success in terms of numbers of heads counted or added to those that were there before....Keep Reading

Posted in: Discipleship Tags: faithfulness, Success

January 4, 2022 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The faith that inspires, and the faith that endures

There are few things as beautifully inspiring as someone sharing a testimony of God’s miraculous work in their life: a disease healed, a marriage restored, a wayward child brought to faith. We love to hear the stories of God’s intimate activity in the lives of those He loves. But if we’re honest, those testimonies can often be painful to hear for those whose diseases have not been healed, whose marriage has fallen apart, or whose wayward child never returned to God. For those people, hearing testimonies of God’s saving activity can lead to two difficult questions: Has God forgotten me? Or: What am I doing wrong?...Keep Reading

Posted in: Faith Tags: Faith, Endurance

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 (https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/cool-christianity-still-bad-idea/). 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