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The NewLife Blog

November 27, 2018 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Judgment and grace

In the spring of 2009, I enrolled in my first Masters of Professional Counseling course through Liberty University Online. At the time, I was three years into pastoring NewLife, and it had not been an easy road. I was only 30 years old when I was hired, immature and inexperienced in so many ways. By the spring of 2009, Michele and I were raising a 3 year-old, 2 year-old, and 8 month-old, and I was struggling to pastor the church in a way that was healthy for my family or was life-giving to those who were leading alongside of me. Michele and I decided that it would be wise for me to begin working towards another degree, one class at a time, something that would benefit my ministry if I continued as a pastor, or would serve as a backup plan in case things did not work out at NewLife....Keep Reading

Tags: Relationships, Grace

November 20, 2018 by Eric Stillman 1 comments

Help without hurting this Christmas

During November and the first week of December, our church is joining with other area churches in collecting new, unwrapped toys for the Hartford City Mission Noah Christmas Store. The Noah Christmas Store is a store for parents of children in Hartford City Mission programs, where they can buy toys at a minimal “suggested donation” cost for their children for Christmas. In the Hartford City Mission flyer promoting this event to churches, they use the word “dignity” in describing what this opportunity affords low-income parents. It is worth reflecting on what that means....Keep Reading

Tags: Outreach, Service

November 13, 2018 by Joe Barone 0 comments

Guest blogger: Joe Barone

Do you have a friend, relative, or co-worker who you’ve shared the good news of the gospel with? Have you witnessed Christ’s love to them? Did they appear curious and welcoming of additional information? Then, after all your efforts, did their interest wane and did all seem for naught? Are you frustrated? Confused? Ready to give up? There is help, and it’s closer than you think. First, let me tell you my story about a little, lime green train engine....Keep Reading

Tags: Evangelism, Faith

November 6, 2018 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The faith of demons

One of the most fascinating/scary verses in the Bible is James 2:19: “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that-- and shudder.” These confrontational words of James let us know that the word “faith” must mean something more than intellectual assent; true saving faith manifests itself in obedience. The demons of Hell believe that Jesus is the eternal Son of God ...Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship, Bible study

October 30, 2018 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Every Christian is a minister

In chapter 4 of his letter to the Ephesian church, Paul explains that God raises up certain people to be apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers. Their role, however, is not to be the trained professionals who do all of the ministry work. Rather, their primary role is, according to verse 12-13, “to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” God’s vision for the church, in other words, is that every member would be a minister, using the gifts God has given them to serve each other, love their neighbor, and to build up the church....Keep Reading

Tags: Church, Discipleship

October 23, 2018 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Why don't we pray how we ought to?

I can’t say that I was surprised to read in chapter 3 of The Kingdom Unleashed that one of the biggest differences between the church in the Global North and the Global South is our attitude towards prayer. I have personally walked through too many days spending minimal time in prayer before God, and I have presided over too many sparsely attended prayer meetings, to know that this description is sad but true. Trousdale and Sunshine argue that not only do we not pray enough in the Global North, but when we do pray, our priorities tend to not be the same as God’s priorities. According to Jesus’ answer to his disciples in Matthew 6 when they asked him how to pray, our priorities should be...Keep Reading

Tags: Prayer, Discipleship

October 16, 2018 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The growing church and the expanding Kingdom

The kingdom of God is the central theme of Jesus’ teaching; yet, in classic Jesus fashion, He never defines just what the kingdom of God is! Instead, he speaks in parables, comparing the kingdom of God to a mustard seed, to a treasure hidden in a field, to a man sowing seed, and to so many other images. Since Jesus’ day, theologians throughout the centuries have tried to define what Jesus meant by the kingdom of God. Trousdale and Sunshine define it as “any place where the king’s authority is recognized and obeyed.”...Keep Reading

Tags: Missions, Kingdom of God

October 9, 2018 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The growing church in the global south

Next March, a team from our church will be joining with a team from First Church of Wethersfield to travel to Peru to minister at a Compassion International site in the town of Barranca. When we discuss missions in our American churches, I think our assumption is that we American Christians need to bring the gospel, as well as tangible ministry work like building houses, digging wells, and sharing resources, to the developing world in order to help them. However, it is becoming more and more apparent that while the church seems to be shrinking in power, influence, and spiritual vitality in America, it is growing exponentially on all fronts in the Global South. The fact is that we may end up learning more about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus from our brothers and sisters in Peru than they may learn from us!...Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship, Missions

October 2, 2018 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Looking for someone willing to play the part of the preacher

A recent unique posting on (since deleted) was making the rounds in articles on Christian websites this past week. Apparently, a newer church in Colorado was looking for a pastor willing to memorize the sermons of certain megachurch pastors and preach them to their congregation every Sunday. The reasoning went like this: if worship teams learn and play Chris Tomlin or David Crowder songs for worship, adding in their own personal contributions, why not do the same with preaching? Why settle for listening to Joe Pastor when you can listen to Joe Pastor preaching a Steven Furtick or Andy Stanley sermon?...Keep Reading

Tags: Church, Preaching

September 25, 2018 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

There are no easy answers in suffering

As a preacher, I often quote from C.S. Lewis, because, well, that’s what evangelical preachers do. I must confess, however, that as quotable as he is, I have only actually finished two of his books, because I find his style difficult to read. One of those books is Mere Christianity, a classic and one of the first books I ever read as a Christian. The second is called A Grief Observed, and contains his journals and reflections after losing his wife, Joy Davidman, to cancer. One of the amazing things about A Grief Observed is that it is the personal reflection on deep suffering written by the same man who wrote The Problem of Pain, one of the enduring Christian classics on suffering....Keep Reading

Tags: Suffering, Death