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Christian Living

Don’t Compartmentalize Your Faith

If Our Beliefs Are Important to Us, We’ll Make Them Part of Every Aspect of Our Life

Have you ever met someone out of your normal context and were surprised at what you saw or heard? This is a person who compartmentalizes their faith. They have a work persona, a leisure-time persona, and a family persona. For each aspect they put a different face to fit in with their environment.

And if they go to church, they have a faith persona too.

They compartmentalize their beliefs, perhaps even more so than the other aspects of their life. What they don’t realize is that all parts of our lives have a spiritual component. Yet they shove that reality aside and segregate the various aspects of their reality, treating them as isolated and unrelated.

Yet it’s a bad idea to compartmentalize our faith and keep it separate from other aspects of our life. If what we believe is important to us, it should show itself in every part of our life: at home, at work, and during leisure activities, as well as at church.

Consistent

We should look to make every aspect of our life coherent with the other parts. How we act at church and around our Christian friends must be consistent with how we act in different environments and with other people.

This doesn’t mean to use religious words or assume a church persona in other spheres of our life, but it’s critical to not hide our faith, to not be silent when we should speak, and to always act in a way that pleases Jesus.

Striving to live a life that’s consistent around the clock, regardless of where we are or who we’re with is the first step to avoid compartmentalizing our faith.

Integrated

Another consideration is to incorporate what we believe with how we talk and act regardless of where we are. Would our coworkers be shocked to know that we attend church or have a relationship with Jesus?

If the answer is yes, then we’re compartmentalizing our faith. We must take steps to integrate what we believe, how we speak, and the way we behave regardless of where we are or what we’re doing. In this way, we fully ingrate our faith into all aspects of our life

Aligned

As we move forward with consistent attitudes and actions and integrate what we believe into all aspects of our life, we move toward a harmony of word and deed. We can start by treating everyone the way Jesus would, regardless of the situation. This includes at home and at work and as we move through life.

Conduct all facets of your being to fully align. Don’t compartmentalize your faith.

Live a holistic life that honors Jesus and points others to him. Click To Tweet

Decompartmentalize Your Faith

Live a holistic life that honors Jesus and points others to him. We do this when our conduct is consistent in all parts of our lives, when we integrate our faith into all that we do, and when we align everything with Jesus.

Do you like this post? Want to read more? Check out Peter’s book, Bridging the Sacred-Secular Divide: Discovering the Spirituality of Every Day Life, available wherever books are sold.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Peter DeHaan News

Bridging the Sacred-Secular Divide

Celebrating the Spirituality of Everyday Life

Are You a Spiritual Person?

What parts of your life are spiritual?

Sorry. Trick question.

All parts of our lives are spiritual. Seriously. It’s just that most people don’t know it.

Most people think of church as a spiritual activity and everything else is not, as in secular. They live their life with a spiritual/secular divide. They compartmentalize their spiritual activity, shoving it aside so it doesn’t interfere with the rest of their life.

It’s time we (re)discover the spirituality of everyday life. It’s time we celebrate the spirituality of living.

  • Our family and our holidays are spiritual.
  • Our work and our passions are spiritual.
  • Our money is spiritual and so is our health.
  • Our existence in God’s creation is spiritual.
  • Yes, every aspect of our life is spiritual.

Let’s explore the spirituality of everyday life. Let’s embrace the spirituality of living.

Read Bridging the Sacred-Secular Divide to discover more. It’s playful yet profound, quirky yet insightful. Get your copy today.

[Bridging the Sacred-Secular Divide was originally published as Woodpecker Wars.]

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Christian Living

Praying for My Children

Pray for Family and Friends

Ever since our daughter was born, I knew I should pray for her, as well as for her brother, when he came along. I did pray for them—when I thought of it—which wasn’t very often. I felt guilty for not doing what I knew I should do. And when I did pray, my prayers were always the same. My words repeated. They felt stale. When it came to praying for our children, I was stuck in a rut.

Praying for Our Children

When the oldest was in middle school, her youth group leader gave us a handout. Titled “Things I Pray for My Children,” it listed twenty-three items to guide our prayers. I began praying one item each day. At the end of twenty-three days (or a little bit longer if I missed a day) I started the list over and prayed through it again, making one request each day.

The prayer list empowered me to pray for our children. I no longer felt guilty about neglecting this aspect of their spiritual development.

After a few years, however, the list had grown stale. Though I continued to pray, I began to struggle. About that time, I came across another list, a prayer card: “31 Biblical Virtues to Pray for Your Kids.” This one had thirty-one suggestions, one for each day of a thirty-one-day month. Though both lists had similarities, no items were an exact duplicate. I now had thirty-one new ideas to guide my prayers.

On the months with thirty-one days, I used the thirty-one-day list. On the other months, I used the twenty-three-item list. And when I had run out of items for those months, I went off the list and came up with my own things to pray for our kids.

Praying for Their Friends

As they got older, I added their best friends to the list too. I did this because their friends were emerging as a bigger influence in their lives than their mom and me. I wanted their friends to be godly influences, so I prayed for them.

When they started dating, I prayed for those they were dating. One dated a lot and the other not so much. In college, I added their roommates.

Though the makeup of the list changed over time, the two people I consistently prayed for were our kids. Because I prayed for the people they were dating, their future spouses received years of prayer before they were engaged, even before they met.

These simple prayers, offered daily, one prayer at a time, were huge.

Simple prayers for our children and their friends, offered daily, one prayer at a time, will make a huge difference. Click To Tweet

Praying for Grandchildren

After they were married and the prospect of grandchildren became more realistic, I took a step of faith and began praying for their future children, my future grandchildren. Using the same two prayer lists to guide me, I prayed for God’s blessing on what would be.

As each grandchild was born, my prayers for them became more real. Having invested years of prayers before their arrival served to deepen my love for them.

Praying for Great Grandchildren and Great, Great Grandchildren

Along this journey of praying for my children and grandchildren, God prompted me to an even grander calling. He told me to pray for my future great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. This was hard to do at first because that reality resides so far in the future. And though it’s realistic that I may someday see and hold great-grandchildren, it will only be by God’s grace that I live long enough to welcome great-great-grandchildren.

Praying for Future Generations

The story doesn’t end there, however. Praying for the next four generations of my descendants wasn’t enough. God prompted me to pray for the next ten. It was hard to get my mind around this, but I’ve faithfully prayed for them, as a group, ever since.

Then one day as I prayed, I misspoke. Instead of praying for the next ten generations, I said “twelve” in error. But before I could correct myself, God assured me that twelve is the number I should use going forward.

Interestingly, twelve is a recurring number in the Bible: twelve tribes in the Old Testament and twelve disciples in the New Testament, symbolically connecting the two parts of God’s Word.

In addition, twelve pops up often in the books of Moses (twelve pillars, twelve stones, twelve loaves of bread, twelve oxen, twelve silver plates, twelve silver bowls, twelve gold dishes, twelve bulls, twelve rams, twelve lambs, twelve goats, and twelve staffs), as well as in the future-focused prophecy of Revelation (twelve stars, twelve gates, twelve angels, twelve foundations, twelve apostles, twelve pearls, and twelve crops of fruit).

And for me, twelve generations.

Beyond twelve, I know that at some point God will up the number to one hundred. That’s heady stuff, but when the time comes, I’ll embrace the challenge, full of faith that he will answer these prayers for our descendants for hundreds of years to come.

Yet one thing remains. As I pray for our grandchildren and future great-grandchildren and the generations that follow, I continue to pray for our children every day.

And I’ll never stop.

[Update: This is an excerpt from my book Bridging the Sacred-Secular Divide. I have now taken the bold step of praying for all future generations of my offspring, through to the end of time.]

Do you like this post? Want to read more? Check out Peter’s book, Bridging the Sacred-Secular Divide: Discovering the Spirituality of Every Day Life, available wherever books are sold.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Personal Posts

How Observant Are You?

I remember years ago after I prepared my house to be painted. One of the tasks was to remove the street numbers from the house, allowing for both home and numbers to be easily painted.

The street numbers were above the garage door and easily viewable from the street. They weren’t always there, however. Initially, they were above the front door, but as the trees in the yard grew, the numbers became increasingly obscured. So one day I moved them from the front door to the garage door.

When our daughter came home, she inquired, “Didn’t the numbers used to be over the front door?”

When our son came home, he plainly asked, “When do you move the numbers?”

My bride made no such query and when the topic arose, she seriously asked, “We have numbers on our house?”

Do you like this post? Want to read more? Check out Peter’s book, Bridging the Sacred-Secular Divide: Discovering the Spirituality of Every Day Life, available wherever books are sold.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Personal Posts

Go Green By Stopping Unwanted Mailings

Twelve years ago, I made an effort to cancel the delivery of a free weekly newspaper that I have been receiving for years—and never read. It turned out to be an easy thing to do and they happily took my cancellation.

The delivery of that paper immediately stopped—until I installed my new mailbox!

I understood the confusion because my new mailbox sports a self-contained paper box. The week after I installed it, not only did I receive the newspaper that I wanted, plus the one that I didn’t want, but also a third paper that I’d never seen before! The third paper never showed up again, while I called again to halt the second paper. Now things were back as they should be.

After I canceled the free newspaper, I was inspired to tackle all the free magazines that I received but didn’t want.

I’ve canceled about ten of them, with more still to do. Some have been easy to cancel, be it a call center or via the Internet. Others were a bit more challenging but glad I did so as my part to help the environment.

Whenever they include a prepaid envelope, I take their offer, write ‘not interested; please remove me from your mailing list’. Click To Tweet

Another technique that gives me gleeful pleasure is dealing with the unsolicited offers I receive, especially for credit cards. Whenever they include a prepaid envelope, I take their offer, write “not interested; please remove me from your mailing list” on it, and return it in their envelope, at their cost.

Generally, that quickly stops the unwanted mailings. (Plus, it provides additional revenue for the post office—which they desperately need. As I recall, they’re projecting a 2.1 billion dollars loss for that year.)

Next was the catalogs. There was a Website to make it an easy and painless task.

Do you like this post? Want to read more? Check out Peter’s book, Bridging the Sacred-Secular Divide: Discovering the Spirituality of Every Day Life, available wherever books are sold.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Personal Posts

An Engaging Situation

Candy and I have two children; she reminds me that she always wanted four. Years ago, her wish had come true. No, we were not expecting—get that thought out of your mind right now. And we were not adopting, either. We were doing this the easy way: our kids were getting married!

Laura and Chris got engaged spring of 2007 and a summer wedding was in the works. Dan popped the question; Kelli said, “Yes.” Neither of these betrothals was unexpected and we couldn’t be happier.

As I shared the news of Laura’s engagement to those who didn’t know Chris, I often received curious queries:

“What do you think?” they asked with careful caution. “I think it’s great,” this beaming dad replied.

“Well, do you like him?” they probed a bit deeper. “Most definitely,” declared the father of the bride.

“So, then you’re okay with this?” They’re becoming assured, but sought confirmation. “They’re a great match,” I testified, “and I couldn’t be happier.”

Now, with another engagement in the works, I expected the same sort of questions from those who don’t know Kelli. Happily, my answers will be the same.

Do you like this post? Want to read more? Check out Peter’s book, Bridging the Sacred-Secular Divide: Discovering the Spirituality of Every Day Life, available wherever books are sold.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Personal Posts

Preparing the Peeps

Like other holidays with historical religious meaning, Easter has been significantly skewed by both custom and commercialization. Over time, the risen savior has been superseded by bunnies and eggs (reportedly symbols of fertility).

Notwithstanding, Easter egg hunts and chocolate candies of all variations are delightful traditions—as long as the true focus of Easter is retained.

One such staple of Easter tradition in our household is peeps—those mouth-watering creations of colored marshmallows and sugar. There is often debate as to the optimum timing in the consumption of these delectable treats: fresh or aged. I prefer my peeps to be aged in order to maximize my noshing enjoyment.

As most peep connoisseurs know, there are two methods of aging peeps. The preferred, yet painfully slow method is to leave them packaged in a dark place. Using this approach, aging takes between 6 to 12 months. The other technique is to remove them from their package so that they may “air age.” Though this takes only days, great caution must be exercised to protect them from environmental elements.

Regardless of your holiday focus or traditions, I hope that you had a wonderful Easter! Click To Tweet

Either way, care must be taken to keep them from becoming stale. There is, after all, a fine line between properly aged peeps and stale peeps.

Seeking instant gratification, some of our peeps were consumed “fresh” while others are being air aged; I seriously doubt if any will make it beyond a few days.

Regardless of your holiday focus or traditions, I hope that you had a wonderful Easter!

Do you like this post? Want to read more? Check out Peter’s book, Bridging the Sacred-Secular Divide: Discovering the Spirituality of Every Day Life, available wherever books are sold.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Personal Posts

Spring Has Sprung

Whenever I see a robin, I become gleefully excited—really, I do! No, I am not particularly a bird lover, but I am quite affectionate for a new season, when spring has sprung.

The connection is that returning robins (which are a migratory fowl) mark that spring is right around the corner and warmer weather will soon be upon us. The males return first to stake out a territory and the females follow later when the temperatures climb a bit higher.

Spring is an almost spiritual time for me, signaling reinvigorated life and a fresh start. Click To Tweet

Spring is my favorite season. Yes, summer is grand and fall is enjoyable (while I view winter as something to be survived). However, spring is the most splendid time of the year.

Springtime is when the cold dreariness of the winter fades, the dirty snow melts, and plants that were seemingly dead push forth green and are revived. Spring is an almost spiritual time for me, signaling reinvigorated life and a fresh start, a new birth of sorts.

Already I am starting to see which plants have survived the harshness of the winter months: the tulips and daffodils are just poking through.

Soon the grass will green and with it a slew of yard work will follow. But that’s okay, because it’s spring and I want to get outside and do something other than shiver.

I can firmly cheer that “spring has sprung!”

Do you like this post? Want to read more? Check out Peter’s book, Bridging the Sacred-Secular Divide: Discovering the Spirituality of Every Day Life, available wherever books are sold.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Personal Posts

The Box

Several years ago, Chris, our soon to be in son-in-law (at that time), was quietly amused by many of the things that he witnessed in our home. A prime source for his merriment was our flexible usage of the word “box.”

In our vernacular, box can be virtually any device that is electronic in nature:

  • The answering machine was the box.
  • The garage door opener was the box.
  • The VCR was the box.
  • The DVD player was the box.
  • The DVR (digital video recorder) was the box.
  • Each of our 5 remotes was the box. (We needed all 5, because the universal remote was actually only semi-universal.)

I want to give full and deserving credit to my wife for initiating and propagating this simple, yet curious naming custom. Yet, to be sure, I had easily and unknowingly adopted her minimalist identification convention.

Strangely, there was seldom any confusion as to which particular box is being referenced at a given time or situation.

Sometimes, my bride was able to skillfully use “the box” twice in the same sentence, but referencing two different entities, as in:

“I need the box (universal remote) if I am to turn on the box (DVR).”

Yet with all of our boxes, we seem to get along just fine—and give Chris a reason to smile.

Do you like this post? Want to read more? Check out Peter’s book, Bridging the Sacred-Secular Divide: Discovering the Spirituality of Every Day Life, available wherever books are sold.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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Personal Posts

Daylight Saving Time and Other Temporal Nonsense

This past weekend, most of the United States switched to “Daylight Saving Time” (DST). This is a major hassle and source of many personal irritations:

First, why does our government call this charade “daylight saving time?” Do they really think that it saves daylight? Or do they just think that they can dupe enough people into buying their deception?

Regards, this makes one wonder about other more pressing matters, like the coronavirus, economic recovery, the tension in Iran, healthcare and so on.

Next, regardless of how diligent I am, I sometimes miss setting at least one clock. These non-adjusted timepieces often cause me consternation upon the first glimpse, either in the form of sheer panic or temporal disorientation.

Why do we do “daylight savings time"? Does it really save time? Click To Tweet

There are technological means to mitigate the time wasted in adjusting our timepieces so that we may save time. It would be a relatively simple matter for our utilities to embed a time signal into the power lines that enter our homes and businesses. 

Each time-device that is plugged into an electrical outlet could read that signal and adjust its time. This would help greatly after a power outage as well.

True, that would require a bit more electronic circuitry and programming, thereby slightly increasing the cost of each device, but it would definitely be worth it. 

That would leave cars and battery clocks to be dealt with, both of which could be addressed via satellite feed, as is the case with my “atomic clock” that syncs with an orbiting satellite.

Lastly, adjusting the time, especially in the spring, throws me off my biological sleep balance. This usually lasts for up to a week and is much more disconcerting than jet lag.

Do you like this post? Want to read more? Check out Peter’s book, Bridging the Sacred-Secular Divide: Discovering the Spirituality of Every Day Life, available wherever books are sold.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices. Read more in his books, blog, and weekly email updates.

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