Categories
Christian Living

Do You Need to Unplug?

To Hear from God, We Must Be Ready to Listen

Advice that’s commonly given to writers is that we need to unplug from time to time to fuel our writing and feed our creativity. When we remove the distractions of our technology is when inspiration strikes. It’s when we solve writing problems and are best able to move forward with our words.

Unplug to Hear God

The same is true—even more so—with our faith. We need to unplug and have idle time—that is, available time—for us to best hear from God.

Yes, his voice can overpower anything and everything that surrounds us, but it’s much easier for us to hear when his message doesn’t have to compete with the barrage of information that we surround ourselves with and assaults us on a continuous basis.

Multitasking Divides Our Attention

I see too many people with their smartphones open when there’s no need for it. They’re engaged with their technology and miss much of the life happening around them. Though they think they can do both, they’re deluding themselves.

We can’t truly multitask. Though we can do one subconscious activity along with one conscious activity, we can’t fully do two conscious activities at the same time. One will always suffer, perhaps both.

Trying to multitask between a device and people disrespects others.

The same is true—with even more significant consequences—when we try to multitask our time with God. We can’t be fully present with him when we’re partially engaged with our technology.

To be with God we need to unplug.

Remove Distractions

But it’s not just our technology that contends with our time with God. Yes, the place to start is to put away our smartphones, turn off the television, and walk away from our computers. Yet, our busyness can also keep us from God.

When we pack every moment of our life with intention, we effectively remove God from our schedule—from our life. True, he can interrupt our plans to interject his own, but how open are we to do this? And how do we react when he tries to get our attention?

Though we need to be careful not to take this too far, sometimes we should unplug from life. This doesn’t mean to isolate ourselves or forgo social interaction, but it does mean that sometimes we need to be quiet to listen for God’s still and small voice.

Open Our Ears

The sons of Korah write that the Almighty says, “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10, NIV). We start this when we unplug, stop multitasking, and remove distractions from our lives.

Then we can open our ears and hear what God wants to tell us. We can be in his presence. We can bask in his glory. And then we’ll have the best chance to hear what God has to say.

When people complain that they don’t hear from God, I wonder how hard they’re trying. If they unplug and be in a posture to receive, they’ll have a much better chance.

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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Categories
Visiting Churches

Something’s Missing at This Church

Discussing Church 16

This nondenominational church meets in a public school auditorium.

The 52 Churches Workbook, by Peter DeHaan

Consider these four discussion questions about Church #16

1. Renting space saves the church from purchasing and maintaining a facility. 

Whether you own your building or rent space, how can you maximize your outreach and better impact your community?

2. They use more technology than we’ve seen so far. When not displaying song lyrics, Bible verses, or clips, they project the pastor’s video on a large screen behind him. 

How much technology does your church use during your services? Does it add to or detract from the experience?

3. Aside from a greeter and the two pastors saying “Hi,” no one talks to us. We learn that people wearing green nametags are available to answer questions. After the service I spot a man with a green nametag, but he rushes by. 

Are you and other people at your church so preoccupied or busy that you overlook and ignore people?

4. The leadership at this nondenominational church does the right things to foster spiritual connection, but the people aren’t following. They’re passive, coming to church, doing church, and then leaving. 

Is it the paid staff’s job to welcome visitors, or yours? What needs to change?

[See the prior set of questions, the next set, or start at the beginning.]

Get your copy of 52 Churches and The 52 Churches Workbook today, available in e-book, paperback, and hardcover.

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.

Categories
Personal Posts

Let’s Back-Up

Many years ago, I worked as a tech writer. I knew the importance of making copies of my work, so I’d faithfully backup my files each Friday as I wrapped up the workweek.

One Friday was particularly hectic, and in a rush to begin my weekend, I postponed making my backup, planning to do it first thing Monday morning. That was my first mistake.

My second error is that I left my computer running. Over the weekend, a power spike corrupted the files. As a result, I lost forty hours of carefully crafted writing. I needed to revert to my backup from the prior week.

Although dismayed at my shortsightedness, I immediately began reconstructing my lost work. Fortunately, the second pass went much quicker, and I was able to recompose everything by midday Wednesday. As a bonus, the second version was better than the first.

Having experienced firsthand the importance of frequently backing up my work, I became fastidious in doing so. It’s a practice that continues to this day. Not only do I make backups on a network drive, but I also use an automatic off-site backup service.

For people who feel they can’t afford the 40 dollars or so annual fee for such a service, they should at least sign up for a free Gmail account and email themselves a copy of important files each time they finish working.

But some people still don’t follow this advice. Periodically, I hear from aspiring writers who lost their entire book when their hard drive crashed. Ouch!

Please make sure I never hear your name mentioned in such a devastating story.

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.

Categories
Personal Posts

Can You Disconnect?

There is a growing phenomenon of people who can’t seem to survive without their cell phones and/or Internet access. They have a compulsion to stay connected 24/7. When they go on vacation, they won’t leave without their technology.

They actually develop anxiety when they’re electronically disconnected from the rest of the world. The thought of unplugging causes panic and a foreboding sense of loss and confusion.

In a way, I understand this. In my work technology is an essential element, which without I could not accomplish much. For those rare times when I lose my Internet connection, I feel helpless because so much of what I do requires access to Cyberspace—such as composing this blog entry.

Yet, when I end my workday, I can make it without being online. Yes, the World Wide Web is a nice tool and a convenient resource, but it is just a tool, nothing more; it is not essential to life and living. I can survive without it.

On my recent trip, I chose not to lug my laptop. As such, I went 90-plus hours without checking email. What a pleasant break!

True, I did pay for it when I returned, with hundreds of messages clamoring for my attention and requiring a full day to wade through, but the respite from the information superhighway was wonderfully refreshing.

I did pack my cell phone, but that was primarily to call home. (By the way, my cell phone is just a phone—no Internet access, no text, nothing but voice). Even then, the cell phone was off much of the time—and didn’t work in the convention center anyway.

Frankly, despite my great affection for technology and constant use of it at work, I look forward to those times when I can totally set it aside and live life sans Internet and cell phone.

I can disconnect, can you?

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.

Categories
Peter DeHaan News

Top Posts for 2012

Here are the most popular posts from “The Musings of Peter DeHaan” for 2012. Some are quite recent while others are still being read now even though they were posted years ago.

Thank you for reading my posts.

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.

Categories
Personal Posts

Please Turn Off All Electronic Devices

I have owned and enjoyed an iPod Nano for many years. Though I don’t use it much for music, it is a regular source for listening to podcasts and lectures.

Almost from the start, however, I’ve encountered intermittent difficulty in turning it off. There are some tricks to accomplish this posted online, but they only work some of the time.

When these workaround solutions don’t resolve this issue, I either just let the battery run down, forcing it to turn off, or dock it with my computer, thereby bypassing the problem.

Although this is mildly irritating, it’s not a big deal. At least not until recently.

In preparation for a trip, I loaded my iPod with hours of recordings. While waiting to board my plane and during the preflight process, I listened to it.

When the instruction came to turn off and stow all electronic devices, my iPod was unresponsive. And the tricks to make it cooperate didn’t work either.

What would a flight attendant do with a device that can’t be turned off? I didn’t want to find out, so I pretended that nothing was amiss and shoved it in my bag, feeling only a slight twinge of guilt for my non-compliance.

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.

Categories
Personal Posts

How Many People Does it Take to Install a Printer?

As I mentioned on Valentines Day, I bought my bride a printer to express my deep and abiding love. That’s quite romantic of me, but I can’t help it; that’s just the way I am. I actually hooked up the printer early—I had plenty else planned for V-Day itself.

My intent was to get up early Saturday morning and have a working printer before she ventured out of the bedroom.

How hard could it be to hook up a printer? Unbox it, connect the cables, turn it on, and boot the computer. Just “plug and play.” I’ve hooked up printers many times before—in a couple of minutes. Yet this effort took more than three hours. I was not a happy camper.

The install was anything but straight-forward. Twice I was prompted for the install disk, I had to download several updates, and then there were “dueling windows” to contend with. My quandary was which one to do first. 

Was it more important to “reboot now,” click “OK to continue,” or allow the update file to continue downloading?

Then there was way too much time wasted on installing the ink cartridges.  My unit’s insides simply did not match the picture. I pushed, prodded, and probed, but could not ascertain were to insert the messy little contraptions. 

Eventually I determined that the carriage that holds the buggers was hidden under a panel on the far left of the unit, when it was supposed to be in plain sight on the far right. Never mind that the instructions and diagram failed to even hint at the possibility of this annoying anomaly.

However, way before the test sheet printed, my bride appeared. She was a bit dismayed, unsure of what she should do or say—all the while sensing that anything would be the wrong thing. 

Frustrated and flummoxed, I was certainly not in the proper frame of mind to romantically convey my true love for her with words of eloquence or a clever printout of a red heart.

Once again, my efforts at romance failed—this time, stymied by an obstinate printer.

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.