February 26, 2024
Finishing Well

The End of Retirement: Dying and the Hope of Glory

This entry is part 11 of 11 in the series Finishing well This is the last day of the year. It is also my final post in this series on finishing well in retirement. Appropriately, I want to end by focusing on the end of retirement. Every retirement ends with death. Yet, for the Christian, the end of retirement is not just about dying. Most significantly, it includes the hope of glory. I am just starting my retirement. Last month I spoke with a dear friend who was ending his retirement. Notably, he was so excited about seeing Christ in all his glory. Although he was experiencing significant pain, he was finishing well, with his hope of glory clearly visible. My friend modeled the key to finishing retirement well: facing the reality of death with the hope of glory. The Reality of Death North American culture avoids talking about death.… Read the whole post
Finishing Well, Lifelong Learning

Lifelong Learning in Retirement

This entry is part 10 of 11 in the series Finishing well We are continuing our blog series on finishing well, focusing particularly on retirement after a life of missionary service. Finishing well does not mean that we finish learning. Lifelong learning ought to continue in retirement. After all, we are still alive! Interestingly, opportunities for learning in retirement have grown as more baby boomers retire. In fact, my Google search for “learning in retirement” produced 332 million results. Many of these were courses offered by colleges and universities. There were also travel packages with onsite lectures covering secular and biblical history. Indeed, continuing lifelong learning in retirement is popular today. Yet, why should it be a priority for a retiring missionary? Lifelong Learning is a Christian Calling J. I Packer writes, Lifelong learning, both of the truths by which Christians are to live and of the way to live… Read the whole post
Finishing Well, Coaching, Mentoring

Planning to Restart

This entry is part 9 of 11 in the series Finishing well Recently I mentioned to a friend that my wife and I will begin our retirement with a sabbatical. He looked at me oddly saying that sabbaticals are usually followed by a return to work. My response was that Christ still has good works for us to do in our retirement (Eph 2:10). In other words, a retirement sabbatical is a time to rest, reflect on past ministry, and discern God’s calling for our remaining years. Indeed, we are called to be a people zealous for good works (Titus 2:13-14). And there is no expiration date on that calling! Essentially, a retirement sabbatical prepares us for a restart. The nine practices mentioned in the previous post can launch us into a fulfilling retirement. Moreover, they help us find meaning and purpose in our later years. A retirement sabbatical is… Read the whole post
Books, Finishing Well, Lifelong Learning

Retirement Sabbatical: Identity and Calling

This entry is part 8 of 11 in the series Finishing well In a previous post, I mentioned starting retirement with a sabbatical. In this post and the next, I will explore the benefits a sabbatical brings at the start of retirement. Specifically, I want to describe the anatomy of a sabbatical resulting in discerning identity and calling in retirement. Then, the following post will explore coaching and mentoring in retirement. In other words, this post deals with our self-awareness, and the next post our relationship to others. Anatomy of a Retirement Sabbatical I have a confession to make. I’ve never taken a sabbatical. Furthermore, I’m not retired yet (that comes on January 1, 2022). Yet there are helpful guides for taking a sabbatical. In chapter two of An Uncommon Guide to Retirement, Jeff Haanen outlines nine practices to consider as we plan our retirement sabbatical. 1. Prepare A retirement… Read the whole post
Finishing Well

Is retirement an endless vacation?

This entry is part 7 of 11 in the series Finishing well In my previous blog series, I talked about finishing well in a ministry assignment. But finishing well can also refer to finishing a career, and in our case, finishing a missionary career. Does retirement have a place in finishing well? Various voices answer the question differently. Some reject retirement. Others embrace it. Yet, many wish to modify the popular image of retirement as an endless vacation. In this post, I will explore some realities and perspectives on retirement. In so doing, I will make a case that retirement has a place in finishing well. Energy Levels Decline In the series on finishing well in a ministry assignment, I used the illustration of a relay race. Interestingly, relay teams do not stay together very long. There comes a time when a runner cannot keep the pace of the rest… Read the whole post
Spiritual Formation, Book Reviews, Learning Attitude, Worldview, Cultural learning

Teaching and Learning: a review of two great books

Two great books on teaching and learning have been published in the last two years. They complement each other well. In 2020, Duane and Muriel Elmer’s The Learning Cycle: Insights for Faithful Teaching from Neuroscience and the Social Sciences was published by IVP. And this year (2021), Baker published Craig Ott’s Teaching and Learning Across Cultures: A Guide to Theory and Practice. The authors bring both extensive research and experience to the discussion of teaching and learning. The Learning Cycle by Duane and Muriel Elmer In a sense, this book is a capstone of Duane and Muriel Elmer’s writings and ministry.1 Many of Duane Elmer’s books have been foundational training materials for cross-cultural missionary service. See a review on this blog of one of his books, Cross-Cultural Servanthood. Duane created “the learning cycle” as part of his doctoral research at Michigan State University (p. 6). Subsequently, Muriel added the “barriers… Read the whole post
Church Planting, Finishing Well, Leadership Training, Mentoring

Finishing Well: Cheering the Next Runner

This entry is part 6 of 11 in the series Finishing well What would you think of a relay runner who went to the locker room right after completing his or her lap? Perhaps you would think the runner had suffered an injury or had some other health concern. Aside from that, we would question their relationship with the rest of the team. A healthy relay team recognizes that success depends on the performance of each runner. Therefore, each member of the team who has completed their leg stays on the field and cheers on the remaining runners. They stay off the track and cheer from the sidelines. In this series, we have been using the analogy of a relay race for finishing well in a ministry assignment. So, how do we cheer those who follow us as we complete our ministry assignment? How do we keep from getting in… Read the whole post
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