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Posts tagged with Worship

April 29, 2021 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

How do you prepare for worship?

Think about the last time you entered a church building to worship on a Sunday. What was the state of your heart and mind when you entered? Were you focused on God and ready to worship? Were you distracted by the concerns of the day, or annoyed by the kids in the back seat? Were you coming in late, rushed and just glad you made it?...Keep Reading

Tags: Church, Worship, Songs of Ascent

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

September 24, 2019 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Monuments in your own honor

King Saul was the first king in Israel. Tall, strong, and handsome, he certainly looked the part. But from the beginning, his insecurities held him back. In fact, when the prophet Samuel went to anoint him as king, they could not find him because he was hiding “among the baggage” (1 Samuel 10:22)! Despite his anxieties, Saul’s early days as king were full of success. But eventually he lost his way...Keep Reading

Tags: Worship, Discipleship

June 12, 2019 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Availability > Ability

This past Sunday, we sang a gospel song called “Use Me” for the first time at NewLife. The chorus is very simple: If you can use anything, Lord, you can use me. If you can use anything, Lord, you can use me. Take my hands, Lord, and my feet, Touch my heart, Lord, speak through me. If you can use anything, Lord, you can use me....Keep Reading

Tags: Worship, Discipleship

August 15, 2017 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

It is well with my soul... behind the music

If you have ever listened to K-Love, you know that they have an occasional segment called “Behind the Music” where a singer shares the story of where their song comes from. I often find that I develop is a greater emotional connection to the song when I know the heart behind the words. The same holds true for the classic hymns of the church. One of the most powerful “Behind the Music” stories is the story behind “It is Well with my Soul,” which was written by Horatio Spafford in the 1880’s....Keep Reading

Tags: Worship, Suffering

August 1, 2017 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Purity of heart is to will one thing

Every month, I try to spend one work day away from the day-to-day responsibilities of being a pastor. I travel to the Center for Retreat and Renewal in Simsbury and try to avoid email and phone calls for the day. Instead, I spend extended time with God, I try to bring order into the scattered pieces of my life, and I work on aspects of my job that require extended, uninterrupted time. But the first thing I do upon arriving is to put on one specific song....Keep Reading

Tags: Worship, Purity

July 4, 2017 by Carrie Campbell 0 comments

Guest blogger: Carrie Campbell

I don’t remember where I heard it, but I will always remember how awestruck I felt when I first heard that music is one of the very few things we have in this life that will not pass away. In Revelation, all of God’s creation is worshipping Him, and I have since often imagined myself joining in the chorus of voices singing praises to our Lord. Though we can only imagine what that will look and sound like in heaven, I do believe that God gives us a small glimpse of this through the music we have here on earth. Music is eternal. This realization confirms the countless experiences I’ve had as music gave melody, lyrics, and rhythms to the highs and lows of my life over the years....Keep Reading

Tags: Worship, Music

June 13, 2017 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

What is the soundtrack of your life?

This summer, I am preaching through selected Psalms, looking at how the Psalms help us to bring all of our emotions to God so that He can help us make sense of our life. Looking back on my life, if I listen closely I can hear a soundtrack playing in the background, like a movie, marking so many key points along my journey. I can see a very young Eric, listening to the Ghostbusters record, the first one I remember asking for and enjoying. I can see middle school Eric, staying up late on New Year’s Eve to listen to Casey Kasem’s countdown of the year’s top songs on the radio. I can see high school Eric, listening to Alice in Chains and Metallica on his Walkman on the bus on the way to basketball games, trying to get himself psyched up for the big game. ...Keep Reading

Posted in: Worship Tags: Worship, Music

September 16, 2014 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Approaching Sunday worship in a fresh way

Today‘s post includes a reflection by a singer-songwriter named Matt Papa, which can be read here. I found this post to be an inspirational reminder of what Sunday worship is all about, something that is important given how quickly Sundays can turn into a routine that loses some of the richness of its meaning. Here is his reflection: The reason it feels like just another Sunday morning is because the stakes aren‘t high enough. ...Keep Reading

Posted in: Worship Tags: Worship, Sunday

April 1, 2014 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Why God commands us to praise Him

This past Sunday, I challenged our church to ask God to show us His glory this Easter season, that experiencing His greatness and beauty, especially as displayed at the cross and in the resurrection, might cause us to desire Him above all earthly things and to set apart ourselves for His service. I talked about how it is a natural thing in this world to find something glorious, and to naturally respond with praise, a desire to experience that thing or person more, and a desire to share it with others. This reality was described best by C.S. Lewis in the chapter ‘œA Word about Praising‘ in his book Reflections on the Psalms. He wrote these words as he tried to come to terms with God‘s commands to praise Him in the Psalms, commands that at first seemed vain and self-seeking. I encourage you to read these words and take them to heart as you ask God to show you His glory this Easter season:...Keep Reading

Posted in: Worship Tags: Worship