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Christian Living

What Do You Think about Retirement?

Working for God Is What Matters Most

I’ve worked from home since 2000. Over the years curious neighbors, seeing me at home during the day, have asked if I’m retired. I smile and shake my head. More recently the question has shifted to “When are you going to retire?” Again, I shake my head. Retirement isn’t on my radar.

In truth I’m not planning on retiring—ever. My hope is that I’ll be able to write until the day I die. Toward that end, I pray that my writing will continue to improve throughout the rest of my career. God is not calling me to retire but to write. My purpose is to advance his kingdom through my words.

I need to have a reason to get up each morning—and for me that is to write. If I didn’t have work to look forward to, I fear I would squander my day, filling it with secondary activities and useless pursuits. Retirement could do that for me.

Retirement From Work

For some, labor emerges as a draining drudgery that they can’t wait to escape. They work to earn a living and as soon as they retire, they’ll let their retirement benefits and investments pay their bills without the need to toil to receive a paycheck.

Others retire out of necessity. The physical demands of their labors have taken a toll on their bodies, making work an increasingly difficult or painful task. Or it could be that the mental acuity needed to perform at peak levels has slipped enough to make continued work inadvisable. These cases all call for retirement.

Then there is mandatory retirement, usually age related.

I hear of people retiring at fifty-five or in their forties, even as young as thirty-eight. What will they do with the rest of their life? Given our increasing life expectancies, they could end up with more years retired than worked.

Never Retire from God

Though we may opt to or need to retire from work, we shouldn’t adopt a similar attitude toward God. What he calls us to do for him doesn’t have a retirement age. We should continue our labors for him for as long as he gives us breath.

Each new day is a gift, and we shouldn’t waste it. We should wake with anticipation on our minds: “God, what are we going to do today?”

Yes, the details of our work for God may change as we age, but the privilege to live a life of service to him never ends.

Don’t Wait

I often hear people talk about their retirement plans, of what they’ll do when they retire. Of all the extra time they’ll have to serve God. Though they may be too busy now, they’ll have plenty of time once they retire. Except that they usually don’t have more time.

Many a retiree has told me, “I’m way busier now than when I was working.” I suspect that if they’re not serving God when they’re working, they’ll not find the time to do so when they retire.

Therefore, don’t wait to serve God when it’s more convenient or you expect to have more time. Do it now. By developing the practice of serving God now, you’ll be in a better position to continue that—or even expand on it—when retirement rolls around.

Though you can retire from work, don’t retire from God. Click To Tweet

Do It Now

What is God calling you to do? What are you passionate about or interested in? Seek ways to pursue these things now. Don’t put them off until later, because later may never come.

If you’re already retired from work, how can you use your retirement years to better serve God. And if you’re looking forward to retirement, there’s no need to change course. Just make an adjustment to what you do now, so that retirement can move you into a more God-honoring season in your life.

Though you can retire from work, don’t retire from God.

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

Do You Have Friends or Acquaintances?

Strive to Build Meaningful Connections with Those Around You

We know many more people on a casual level then we do in a deeper, more meaningful way. We can distinguish between them as acquaintances versus friends. Think of concentric circles, with yourself in the center. The innermost circle contains your friends, and the next circle out holds all your acquaintances.

We should seek to move people from the status of acquaintance to the position of friend. Here are some areas to consider.

Friends or Acquaintances on Social Media?

Depending on the platform, social media has various designations for those we associate with. This includes friends, followers, and connections. The label of friends, however, is a misnomer. At best our social media associations overflow with acquaintances, but many don’t even rise to that level.

We would be in error to look at our social media numbers and assume these people are all our friends. They are not. At best, only a handful qualify for the status of friendship. This is not to say that true friendship can’t occur online, but it’s rare and fleeting.

Friends or Acquaintances at Work?

Whether we labor with others or function remotely from home, we form connections with those we work with. Some of these relationships rise to the level of friendship, or so it seems. But the true test of these associations occurs when one person changes jobs. Those connections that prevail apart from work are true friendships.

This doesn’t mean that we don’t have friends at work. It just means that those friendships are situational, and once the situation changes usually the bond does too.

Friends or Acquaintances in Our Community?

How many people do you know who live around you? Our neighbors should, at the very least, be acquaintances. Turning these acquaintances into friendships is a wise pursuit. We need friends within our community.

Friends or Acquaintances at Church?

For those who regularly attend church services, or are involved in their programs, this is an ideal place to connect with people, especially those with like-minded spiritual perspectives. Yet too often our interactions don’t rise above the acquaintance level to become friends. And I’ve talked with many people who have never even formed acquaintances at church. This may be on them, or it may be the church’s culture. Either way it’s not good.

We should strive to develop meaningful friendships in our spiritual communities. Then we can travel together on our faith journey. As Scripture says, iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17).

Friends or Acquaintances in Our Family?

A final consideration is our own family. Do our familial relationships qualify as friends or acquaintances? The relatives we only see at rare family gatherings qualify as acquaintances. Yet as we invest in our family, we can turn our biological bonds into meaningful friendships.

What Does the Bible Say?

As you might expect, the word acquaintances doesn’t receive much coverage in Scripture. Only once does it occur, and this comes from Job when he laments that “He has alienated my family from me; my acquaintances are completely estranged from me” (Job 19:13, NIV).

The word friend occurs much more often, hundreds of times. Here are some key verses about friendship:

We should choose our closest friends with care, keeping in mind these key verses in the Bible. Click To Tweet

Moving Forward

Many people mistake acquaintances for friends, but we should distinguish between the two. Though connection begins at the level of acquaintance, true community arises among friends. We should strive to move acquaintances into the level of friendships. And we should choose our closest friends with care, keeping in mind these key verses in the Bible about friendships.

May our friendships be deep and meaningful, with Jesus in the center.

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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Visiting Churches

Reflecting on Church #23: A Church Business Meeting Overshadows the Service

Don’t Hold a Church Business Meeting After the Service

With our journey of visiting fifty-two churches over, I can reflect more on the complete experience. Today, I’ll add to my thoughts about Church #23.

It’s challenging to get members to attend a church business meeting during the week, as it requires an extra trip to church that’s squeezed into an already busy schedule. So it’s understandable when churches hold business meetings at the end of their service.

However, conducting church business as part of a Sunday service often provides an uncomfortable experience for visitors. This church business meeting is no exception.

52 Churches: A Yearlong Journey Encountering God, His Church, and Our Common Faith

One member questions the makeup of the pastoral selection committee. Other members, either aroused or emboldened by this first comment, join in to voice their dissent. As emotions rise, so does the tension in the sanctuary.

Just as civility threatens to escalate out of control, a conciliatory remark ends the discussion. Then they approve the committee slate with only minor murmuring.

They forgot the purpose of church. Click To Tweet

The leader dismisses us, and my final memory of the church service is the rancor of their business meeting, not their worship of God. In the spirit of expediency, they forgot the purpose of church.

Church Business Meetings on Sunday

It’s a common practice at many churches to conduct church business on Sunday at the conclusion of the church service. We do this to our shame.

We forget the Old Testament commands to keep the Sabbath holy (which today’s church now views as Sunday) and not do any work. By my account, holding a church business meeting on Sunday violates both of these commands.

Jesus, however, came to fulfill the Old Testament Law and prophecies. That means these two Old Testament commands may no longer apply.

In this way, some may now feel the freedom to work on Sunday and not regard it as holy. In doing so they freely conduct church business after a church service.

Even so, tacking a business meeting onto a church service removes us from a worshipful connection with God and replaces it with an often-contentious connection to worldly concerns.

We must save our church meetings for during the week and not detract from our Sunday experience.

[See my reflections about Church #22 and Church #24 or start with Church #1.]

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.

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Personal Posts

The Long and Short of It

I remember before, there are times after a day at work, my bride comes home and remarks, “It’s been a long day!”

Being the supportive and understanding spouse that I am, I quickly concur with appropriate empathy. Unfortunately, I am seldom content to merely agree, so I sarcastically add, “Yes, I heard on the news that today was 35 minutes longer than yesterday. Today, was, truly a long day.”

That rarely wins me any points but does garner an irritated glare.

When you say “It’s been a long day!”, what do you mean? Click To Tweet

What she may mean is that work lasted—or seemed to last—for a long time. Alternately, it could convey that work was very frustrating. I know what she means, but she doesn’t say what she means. Instead, she insists that the day was somehow longer than normal.

It like fashion, some people quip that yesterday was the longest day of the year. But that is not correct either. 

It was the same length as all the others; it merely contained more daylight minutes—and correspondingly less nighttime minutes—than any other day of the year. That is, for those of us north of the equator.

For those in the southern hemisphere, theirs was the shortest day of the year. Not really. It just had the least amount of daylight and the maximum amount of darkness.

What about those on the equator? I understand that they enjoyed an even 12 to 12 split of light and dark, just like every other day.

So whether your day was long—or short—or the same length as all others, I hope that it was a good one.

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

No Power Means No Heat

I remember years ago, I was wrapping things up and ready to start a blog entry when the power went out. This was peculiar as there were no storms and it was not windy—the two prime reasons for us to lose power.

Our power outages were usually a few seconds to a couple of minutes, so I kept working for a while (I had a small UPS for my computer). When power wasn’t restored quickly, I began an orderly shutdown.

Once I turned the monitors off, I was in the dark. By the time I felt my way to the main floor, my bride had found and turned on a battery powered-lantern. We used it as a reading lamp for a couple of hours, hoping for the quick return of electricity. Alas, it did not happen.

Although we had gas heat, electricity is required for the thermostat to function, to ignite the pilot, and to power the blower fan. No power means no heat. The weather forecast was for a low of zero (it actually hit 5 below), so I knew that a prolonged outage, would mean a cold house.

I piled more blankets on the bed, put on extra clothes, including a hoody, and climbed in bed. Snuggled up in my cocoon, I pulled the hood over my head, with only my face exposed. It reminded me of camping out as a kid.

My thoughts returned to those good times and I happily drifted off to sleep.

My sleep was short-lived as the power was restored a half-hour later. I got up and did a cursory check to make sure things were okay—and to turn off the couple of lights whose switches we had mistakenly left on when we lost power.

I also checked the temperature. In the two and a half hours without power, the temperature had dropped 5 degrees. At that rate, had power remained off, it would have been quite cold by morning.

Thankfully, the power did come back, saving us from that experience.

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

There Has to be a Better Way

I don’t know if I wasn’t listening or am slow to catch on, but it wasn’t until later in life that I realized how to land a job:

  • The purpose of a resume is to secure an interview,
  • the purpose of an interview is to sell yourself well enough to receive an offer, and
  • the purpose of an offer is to negotiate a compensation package for your new job.
Being able to pen a compelling resume or conduct a convincing interview is no measure of one’s ability to actually do a job, merely their ability to obtain a job. Click To Tweet

Silly me. I thought that people should just hire me because I could do the work—and would do it well. (I wouldn’t have applied if I didn’t believe that.) I viewed the application/resume and interview steps as unnecessary irritations in the process.

As far as compensation negotiations, just skip that part and pay me what I am worth.

The sad reality is that—except for a few positions, such as sales or marketing—being able to pen a compelling resume or conduct a convincing interview is no measure of one’s ability to actually do a job, merely their ability to obtain a job.

The result is that unsuited people are hired and—I fear—good people are overlooked. There has to be a better way.

The same is true in politics. You need to be able to raise money to campaign and you need to be able to debate well to raise your poll numbers and you need to speak with conviction to create interest among the electorate. But these skills have little bearing on your ability to lead well.

Whether it is obtaining a job or being elected, the conventional processes do not allow the best person to prevail. There has to be a better way.

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

Have a Happy Normal Day

With Christmas and New Years Behind Us, It Is Time to Get Things Back to Normal

It’s great to have time off from work for the holidays, wonderful to spend time with family, and enjoyable to feast upon holiday foods and delectable deserts. However, it is also good to return to a regular routine—for things to get back to normal.

For as wonderful as the holidays are, I like normal, too. Normal is how I keep disciplined and remain focused; it allows me to get important things done.

Normal is how I keep disciplined and remain focused; it allows me to get important things done. Click To Tweet

But the transition from holiday mode to normal mode takes time for me. I think it does for others as well. The days after the holidays did not seem normal and I think many people shared my struggle to return to normal.

However, I think today was nearly normal and I suspect tomorrow will be completely normal. At least I hope so because I have work to do!

Have a Happy Normal Day!

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 Cost of Daylight Saving Time

Did you change your clocks over the weekend? (About 70 countries currently observe Daylight Saving Time, though they may follow a different schedule than in the US.)

As I was adjusting clocks over the weekend, I contemplated the cost of switching to and from Daylight Saving Time (DST)—and the amount of time it takes, not saves!

Did you remember to change your clocks over the weekend? Click To Tweet

First, doing some projections based on my personal clock setting experiences, I calculate that in the United States alone, about 150,000 hours is collectively spent adjusting clocks each fall and spring. For businesses, there is direct labor cost associated with this effort. 

In most cases they can address this on Monday morning, however, for some business clocks must be adjusted at 2:00 a.m., generally requiring overtime pay as well.

To determine the full cost, however, add in devices that are inadvertently broken while trying to set them and that are then replaced.

Next, consider all the commitments, appointments, and flights that are missed because people show up at the wrong time.  In the fall, it’s not so bad, as you arrive early—and end up waiting.  In the spring it’s a killer, because you arrive too late.

Altogether, this adds up to a huge cost, burden, and time waster—all for the delusion that we are saving time by doing so.

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

Gandhi’s Seven Deadly Sins

Mohandas Gandhi considered these to be society’s seven deadly social sins:

  • Wealth without Work
  • Pleasure without Conscience
  • Science without Humanity
  • Knowledge without Character
  • Politics without Principle
  • Commerce without Morality
  • Worship without Sacrifice

It sure gives one something to think about.

Mohandas Gandhi considered these to be society’s seven deadly social sins. Click To Tweet

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

Time Lag

We’ve all heard about jet lag, that messed up, a disconcerting thing that happens to our bodies after flying across time zones. It’s been said that each time zone crossed equates to one day of recovery.  For my constitution, that may be a bit generous.

Though thinking back to when I frequently flew, I suspect that the more regularly one travels, the less the effect. Interestingly, flying west (“gaining” time) doesn’t phase me as much; but the return trip (“losing” time) really sets me back.

A similar disturbance happens to me each time we switch from “normal” time to daylight-savings time (DST) and visa versa. I call this phenomenon “time lag.”

Time Lag’—happens to me each time we switch from ‘normal’ time to daylight-savings time (DST) and visa versa. Click To Tweet

Just as in flying west, the fall DST switch causes a relatively minor disruption to my sleep equilibrium. However, the ‘spring forward’ time change throws me off for several days, just as does a flight east that crosses several time zones.

When we lived in Wisconsin (which is on the eastern part of the Central time zone), DST made sense—it was an appropriate shift of the clock to better match the rising and setting of the sun.

However, Michigan is on the far western part of the Eastern Time Zone, and it’s never made sense. For the majority of the year, my reasonable 6 am rising is in the dark.

On the summer solstice, dusk doesn’t occur until after 10:30 pm. And a scant two weeks later, we have to wait well after 11 pm just to watch fireworks. What nonsense!

I’d just as soon forget the whole daylight-savings time thing and lose the time lag along with it.

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.