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The NewLife Blog

March 2, 2021 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

How do you evaluate yourself?

Every year, I write up a self-evaluation for the elders on how I am doing as a pastor, looking at my leadership in the church across various categories like discipleship, evangelism, worship, and my own personal relationship with God. And every year I write out the highs and lows, the successes and failures of the past year, trying to give myself as fair a review as possible. Soon after I wrote up this year’s evaluation, however, a question began to nag at me: by what standard am I evaluating myself? Or to whom am I comparing myself?...Keep Reading

Tags: Jesus, Discipleship, Evaluation

February 23, 2021 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

In memoriam: Gino Marozzi

I met Gino Marozzi in the fall of 1998. I was the 22-year-old youth pastor of NewLife Christian Fellowship, and his twin daughters, Nikki & Tori, had just started attending my youth group. Soon, they began attending NewLife on Sundays, and Tori expressed an interest in singing on the worship team. Gino joined her, eager to support his daughter as the loving father he was....Keep Reading

Tags: fellowship, Love, Gino Marozzi

February 16, 2021 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

How to get the most out of Lent

This Wednesday is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, the season of the church calendar comprised of the 40 days (minus Sundays) leading up to Easter. Most people, if they are aware of Lent at all, know that traditionally some people give up something like ice cream or Facebook for Lent as a reminder of Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins. But I believe that most people have a deficient understanding of the heart of fasting. So, before you decide to stop eating chocolate for Lent, consider this perspective: I do not believe that giving up chocolate for Lent is Biblical fasting. That is called dieting....Keep Reading

Tags: Lent, Fasting

February 9, 2021 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

God was SO REAL... 10 years ago

When I was in seminary, I attended a church that had, about 25 years prior to my arrival, been named “outreach church of the year” by some Christian publication for its impact on its community. This was an impressive testimony to God’s activity in this church’s life. It was also 25 years in the past....Keep Reading

Tags: God, Discipleship, Faith

February 2, 2021 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

The genuine God and counterfeit pretenders

I’ve often heard the analogy that for those whose job it is to spot counterfeit money, the best training is to study the real thing, to become so familiar with genuine money that spotting the fraud becomes second nature. When this analogy is applied to God and to His Word, it truly becomes some of the best advice a Christian can receive. The better acquainted you become with who God is and what the Bible says, the easier it is to spot the charlatans. Along those lines, part of my testimony of coming to faith in Jesus includes attending a youth group the summer after I graduated from high school, before I matriculated at UConn. I distinctly remember going around to parties the first couple of days at UConn, and feeling like they were so fake after what I had experienced that summer. God, and the life found in Him, was the genuine article; all the parties had to offer was a poor imitation of the good life. ...Keep Reading

Tags: God, Prayer, Discipleship, Revival

January 26, 2021 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Whose glory am I living for?

As a church, we have been reading through the Bible in 2021, and the first book we finished was Job. One of the fundamental questions raised by Job for me was this: “What if God were to tell you, ‘I am going to make your life an inspiration to millions of people for generations to come. But in order to do that, I am going to have to take away almost everything that matters to you, including your children, your health, and your possessions.’” How would I answer Him? Would I be willing to give up that which I love for the sake of His glory and the salvation of others?...Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship, Glory, Job

January 19, 2021 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

What true freedom really is

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. The best analogy I have heard to explain what true freedom is was something I read in Tim Keller’s book The Reason for God....Keep Reading

Tags: Discipleship, Freedom

January 13, 2021 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

In memoriam: Shirley Prey

I was pushing my grocery cart down the frozen food aisle this past weekend when I caught a glimpse of an Edwards key lime pie to my right and felt a sharp pang of sadness. For the past seven years of shopping, I have always checked to see if the key lime pie was on sale, because sharing that pie with Bill and Shirley Prey was a part of our monthly ritual. Bill and Shirley moved to Glastonbury in 2012 and began attending NewLife soon after settling in. Shortly after their arrival, we began meeting for lunch on the 2nd Wednesday of the month, after I finished leading a worship service at Glastonbury Health Care Center; first at Piatti’s Restaurant, and then, when they moved into assisted living, in their room at The Hearth in Glastonbury. For the last few years, I would always show up at their door with General Tso’s chicken and the Edwards key lime pie....Keep Reading

Tags: Shirley Prey

January 6, 2021 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

In memoriam: Eva Say

In September of 1997, I found myself on a Sunday morning in a Glastonbury church that was meeting at Academy School on Main Street. I was there as part of a parachurch youth ministry called Musicon, a ministry made up a number of junior high students from around the state, along with eight staff members, including me. That weekend we were on tour, performing a musical that we had learned over the summer. And by God's providence, that morning our tour led us to NewLife Christian Fellowship, a young church whose friendliness left an indelible impression on me. Four months later, I began working there as the youth pastor, a position I served in for four and a half years. And 24 years later, I am still blessed to be a part of this wonderful church. One of the things I learned early on at NewLife was that about a quarter of the people there belonged to one family....Keep Reading

Posted in: Death

December 15, 2020 by Eric Stillman 1 comments

Seized by the power of a great affection

If you were able to hook up a secret camera in the church sanctuary and watch me in my morning prayer time on some weekday mornings, I swear that you would think a crazy person had entered the building. It’s hard for me to put into words what happens to me in those moments. On most Sundays, or when I am worshiping with others, I am fairly reserved, often preferring silence and introspection to loud music or many voices. I do not find inspiration in stadiums filled with dancing Christians or at large conferences. But get me alone in the sanctuary with God, and my spirit comes alive, with an insatiable hunger and thirst for Him, an other-worldly desire that completely transforms me into a charismatic Christian. I yell, I run, I cry, and I fall to the ground, unable to get low enough before my great God....Keep Reading

Tags: Prayer, Discipleship, devotion