Living in Christ:
Character, Community, and Leadership

Our journey in Christian ethics starts with God in whose image we are created. Creation begins with birth and continues as we mature. Our character matures, shaped by the example of Christ under the mentorship of the Holy Spirit through the family and the church. Christian leaders reach full maturity once they able to mentor others—we are blessed to be a blessing.


Living in Christ focuses on explaining, not justifying, Christian ethics. At a time and in a place where people scoff at developing a theological understanding of their faith and refuse to teach Christian morality, ethics is almost a lost art. At the heart of the ethical dilemma is a tension between theological principles that can only be resolved the guidance of the Holy Spirit. How do you practice forgiveness for sinners who refuse to confess their sin and force you to bear its consequences? In this context, ethics is less a philosophical discipline that a recognition of our own limitations as Christians and the need for divine intervention.


Ethical thought and action always involve interpretation under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is thus ironic that a book on Christian living should have an outward focus on God rather than an inward focus on what to do and not do. This interpretative element colors how we view character formation, the community of faith, leadership, and the many special issues that arise in daily life.


Hear the words; walk the steps; experience the joy!

What People are Saying:

Many who are not followers of Jesus may believe and act in accordance with what Dr. Hiemstra has written without the summon bonum, which characterizes our life in Christ.


                           - Rollin A. Van Broekhoven, JD, LLM, DPhil, DLitt.


In a world where ethics and morality within the church are continuously being challenged and redefined by human thought and reason, it is refreshing to see a book that, in simple terms, provides a clear framework for recognizing genuine biblical leadership. 

                          - Eric Teitelman, Author and Pastor


Touchstone for our own personal ethical reflection.


                         - Aaron Gordon, Pastor

Simple Faith:
Something Worth Living For

As Christians, how do we know what we know? This simple question challenges the nature of information, how we learn, decision making, who we are, and who this God is that we worship. If this challenge appears optional; it is not—our post-Christian culture questions every faith assumption. Simple Faith examines these questions and discusses implications for faith and life. 


An important implication of this study is that faith plays a critical role into how we think, learn, and make decisions in the context of limited resources and an uncertain future. Even scientific inquiry requires faith, which normally gets hidden in untested assumptions and presumptions about what is interesting to investigate. Often the critical arguments driving our decisions are not cold hard facts, but the stories that we tell in the midst of complex decision environments.


The timing of this inquiry is critical. The movement from modern to postmodern thinking has upended most institutions, but especially the Christian church. The separation of heart and mind, which characterizes modern thinking, eroded faith leaving the church in a weak position to adapt to the rapid changes accompanying postmodernism. Ironically, postmodern thinking that values storytelling favors Christian faith because the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the best story around.

What People are Saying

The two main tasks of the church in evangelizing are: saving the soul, and saving the mind . . . Stephen walks us carefully through this mine-field of thought in a Biblically centered method with clarifying illustrations.   

                                            - Honorable Rollin A. Van Broekhoven

I'm grateful for Stephen's willingness to tackle these important questions. He's written a practical book that will be useful for those who long to deepen their faith.

                                                         - Rev. Dr. Stephen A. Macchia

Rarely, do I find a modern writer that communicates such depth of knowledgeedge, and yet, practical understanding of the bible. 

                                                               - Pastor Eric Teitelman
Everyday Prayers for Everyday People

    God’s mercy carries us day in and day out. His love comes to us everyday through simple things—unexpected beauty in a garbage heap; encouragement from a stranger; sunshine bursting through a thunder-shower. Is it any wonder that the Apostle Paul admonishes us to pray without ceasing? (1 Thes 5:17) In doing so, we model what was first modeled to us.


    Prayer might be called the language of the heart. Yet, because emotion and thinking are inseparable in the biblical tradition, our heart’s language is both highly emotive and deeply theological. And because our identity is in Christ, our heart’s language is also both immanent and transcendent. The Holy Spirit is both the author and recipient of our prayers. Even ordinary prayers can do extra-ordinary things.


    This book, Everyday Prayers for Everyday People, assembles 99 weekly prayers composed from September 2016 through September 2018 by author, Stephen W. Hiemstra. These prayers have been organized into a dozen topics: presence and protection, faith, church, Sabbath rest, adoration, healing, holidays, strength, family, intercession, seasons, and lamentations. The single longest topic is holidays with fourteen prayers.


Hear the words; walk the steps; experience the joy!

Spiritual Trilogy

A Compilation


     This trilogy combines three books published previously: A Christian Guide to Spirituality, Life in Tension, and Called Along the Way. Together they chronicle a spiritual journey during the period from 2013 through 2017. The first two books focus on the question—who is God?—while the third book focuses on the question—who are we? The call to faith and ministry is personal but it is also corporal, being informed by the community of faith at one time and in one place.

     The original books have been reproduced as published. Offering them together makes them available more economically and draws attention to their common purpose. Because spirituality is lived belief, it is important to reflect on what we say we believe and what we actually practice. This reflective process is inherently stressful but it is a normal part of our Christian journey as we prepare in this life for the next.

Hear the words; walk the steps; experience the joy!

Called Along the Way

A Spiritual Memoir


     In Called Along the Way I describe my faith journey from unbeliever to believer, from cultural Christian to active disciple, from disciple to realization of call, and from seminary to early ministry. Unlike Adam and Eve, my story does not begin the Garden of Eden. If you too have struggled with your faith walk, then my story may offer solace. Even in our baby steps of faith, God promises to walk with us.

Hear the words; Walk the steps; Experience the joy!

     Life appears most confusing when we fixate too much on the present, forget our own history, and lose sight of the future. As Christians, we know that our future is in Christ and because we know the end of the story, we also know that present afflictions are temporary, not the end of the story. The past reminds us of the many afflictions that we have already overcome, God’s gracious work in our lives, and the many blessings that God has given us.

What People Are Saying

Have you ever wondered if the church in America is mortally wounded? Is God really dead as the infamous 1966 Time magazine cover reported? This memoir offers evidence to the contrary. 

 — Aaron Gordon, Pastor


Stephen opens up his life story for us to delve into, investigate, and learn from. It provides an excellent inside view of how God uses every facet of our lives to mold us and to use us for His glory. 

Nohemi Zerbi, Chemical Engineer 


Stephen's spiritual journey is interesting because it has taken place along the pathway of enormous changes in America.  

Jonathan Jenkins, Pastor

Life in Tension


When God comes into our lives, we change.

     Our new identity is in Christ comes into tension with our old identity in ourselves as the Holy Spirit works in our hearts and minds. This tension arises between who we were and who God created us to be, between us and God, and between us and those around us. The Apostle Paul calls the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives sanctification.

Hear the words; walk the steps; experience the joy!

     Life in Tension reflects on Jesus’ Beatitudes  in the context of scripture.  The Beatitudes serve as an introduction to the Sermon on the Mount and lay out Jesus’ priorities in teaching his disciples. Because the sermon serves as a kind of ordination service for the Apostles, the importance of the Beatitudes for the early church, Christian spirituality, and discipleship today cannot be overstated.

What People are Saying


We live in a fallen world. It leads to life in tension, and sometimes a life full of stress. Stephen Hiemstra takes us on a needed tour of the kind of character it takes to face such a life. - Darrell L. Bock, Dallas Theological Seminary

We don't often think of our life as one lived in tension, but as believers that's exactly how we live. Stephen Hiemstra's Life in Tension takes us through the Beatitudes and provides a blueprint for Christians to navigate this tension with ourselves, with the world, and with Christ.

 - Sarah Hamaker, Author

The Christian life is filled with tension, paradox, and upside down requisites for obedience to the biblical text and the clarion call of God.

- Stephen Macchia, Pierce Center for Disciple-Building

Stephen Hiemstra's Life in Tension reminds me of Bonhoeffer's Cost of Discipleship, because it is an earnest, personal effort to hear and follow the voice of Jesus here and now. - Jonathan Jenkins, Pastor


También disponible en Español.
  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Twitter Social Icon
  • LinkedIn Social Icon
También disponible en Español.
A Christian Guide
  to Spirituality


     Spirituality is lived belief. When we pray, worship, or reach out to our neighbors, we live out our beliefs. Our beliefs structure our spirituality like skin stretched over the bones of our bodies.

     These beliefs start with faith in God the Father through Jesus Christ as revealed through the Holy Spirit in scripture, in the church, and in daily life. Our Trinitarian theology orders our beliefs. Without a coherent theology, we lose our identity in space and time having no map or compass to guide us on our way. In the end, we focus on ourselves, not God.

     Christian spirituality starts with God, not with us.

     A Christian Guide to Spirituality takes the form of 50 daily devotions. Each topic is treated with a scriptural reference, reflection, prayer, and questions for discussion. Occasionally, references are provided for further study. The first four chapters (Introduction, Ten Commandments, Lord’s Prayer, and Apostle’s Creed) cover 40 days making them suitable as a Lenten study. Ten additional days focus on the spiritual disciplines and a short conclusion. Fifty days of study allow an Easter study running through Pentecost.

     Reading A Christian Guide to Spirituality will help readers understand Christian spirituality better and nurture their faith. There is no such thing as quality time with the Lord; there is only time. The living God speaks to us in many ways, but especially through scripture. These three sources cited (Ten Commandments, Lord’s Prayer, and Apostle’s Creed) are commonly called the “rule of faith” (regula fidei) and were utilized for nearly two millennia as a means to apprentice the faith. These sources are the heart of the confessions of most Christian faith communities and denominations.

What People are Saying

You have my blessing. It’s a book that needed to be written. It will do a lot of good.
– Peter John Kreeft, Boston College

Stephen provides a helpful, accessible guide using the classic catechetical structure of the the Apostles’ Creed, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Ten Commandments.
– David A. Currie, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

This is a book for those who want to understand how best to have a living faith and an ever deepening devotional and experiential knowledge of God.
– Stephen Macchia, Pierce Center for Disciple-Building