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The NewLife Blog

August 25, 2020 by Eric Stillman 1 comments

I am not a cool pastor

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/). Fourteen 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. The emergent church was in its heyday, a movement that saw itself as a postmodern answer to the church of our parents and grandparents, complete with candles, liturgy, skinny jeans, and tattoos. I tried hard to be a cool pastor:...Keep Reading

Tags: Cool, relevant, pastor

August 11, 2020 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

You are the one that Jesus loves

One of the mysteries of the gospel of John is that one of the disciples is referred to as “the disciple Jesus loved.” According to church history, this disciple is none other than John himself, the author of the book. Consider what you would be like if you saw that as your primary identity, the way you viewed yourself. ...Keep Reading

Tags: Identity, God's love

August 4, 2020 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Rest in peace Pastor Justo

This past weekend, Pastor Justo of the church in Barranca where NewLife sent a mission team last March passed away from COVID-19. He leaves behind a wife, Janeth, three boys, and a thriving church. Iglesia Evangelica Pentecostal Misionera Barranca....Keep Reading

Tags: Death, Peru, Lament

July 28, 2020 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Counting the cost of following Jesus

This past Sunday, I looked at the parable of the treasure hidden in the field and the parable of the pearl of great price in Matthew 13:44-46. These short parables illustrate how knowing and following God is worth giving up all that we have, that the rewards of discipleship far outweigh the cost. I spent some time in my sermon trying to clearly outline why it is that knowing God is such a treasure, including such benefits as eternal life, complete forgiveness, meaning in suffering, and a joy and peace that is not contingent upon our circumstances....Keep Reading

Tags: Jesus, Suffering, Discipleship

July 21, 2020 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Does God really love you?

A popular line that I have often heard used in evangelism is “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.” I believe that these words usually come from a well-intentioned place. The Christian who is speaking this line genuinely wants the one who does not believe in Jesus to know that God loves them, and that knowing and following God is far better than anything the world has to offer. The problem is, the line is only partially true. And this partial truth is more likely to lead someone to Hell than it is to a saving relationship with God. ...Keep Reading

Tags: Evangelism, God's love

July 14, 2020 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The God who takes your burdens

This past Sunday, I preached on the parable of the Good Samaritan, a story that points to the sacrificial love and mercy that Jesus showed us when we were broken by our sin and headed towards eternal separation from God. This story always reminds me of a short story/drama which I read soon after I became a believer, called The Ragman by Walter Wangerin. I’ve reprinted it below:...Keep Reading

Tags: Gospel, Salvation, God's love

July 7, 2020 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

You've been canceled

In the beginning, they came for the perpetrators of sexual assault. One by one, the women came forward and named their assailants, the ones who had violated them against their will. And giving them our support, we pronounced those men guilty, and canceled them. Next up were the racists....Keep Reading

Tags: Sin, cancel culture, redemption

June 23, 2020 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The dilemma of human rights

Between the recent emphasis on the Black Lives Matter movement and the Supreme Court ruling last week that forbade job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or transgender status, there has been a lot of talk recently about human rights. Americans, whether they are people of faith or not, assume that it is a given that there is such a thing called human rights, that all people have the right to be treated as people of equal worth and dignity, regardless of any differences they might have. However, the reality is that this assertion is only objectively true if there is a God who has created all humans in His image. If you remove God, then there really is no basis for human rights. ...Keep Reading

Tags: God, Human rights, evolution

June 16, 2020 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Life doesn't always resolve neatly

As I was preparing for the current sermon series on suffering, loss, lament, and trust, I studied the Old Testament book of Lamentations for the first time. There is a reason that most Christians are unfamiliar with the book, for Lamentations isn’t filled with the kind of verses that get used for inspirational Facebook quotes or devotional reading (except for Lamentations 3:22-23, which reads “Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”). 99% of the verses are painful and heartfelt cries coming from a people who are witnessing their homes being destroyed and their family and friends either slaughtered or taken into captivity....Keep Reading

Tags: Suffering, Lamentations, Christian media

June 9, 2020 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Why don't we lament in church?

In my preparation for the current sermon series on lament, one reality that I have heard pointed out often by the authors I have read is that anywhere from 30-40% of the Psalms can be classified as laments, while in our modern hymnals or collections of worship songs, the percentage ranges anywhere from 5-15%. Besides seeing this as an interesting discrepancy, what might this reveal about our modern Christianity? I can think of three things: 1) We are too consumer-driven...Keep Reading

Tags: Worship, Suffering, Lament