Everyday Faith: Retire or Refire!


[E]ven to old age and gray hairs,
    O God, do not forsake me,
until I proclaim your might to another generation,
    your power to all those to come. Psalm 71:18

Jim Sandberg and his team led our seminar drawing from John Piper’s booklet, Rethinking Retirement. Jim retired for two weeks before realizing he needed to refire! Today he lives on mission, relishes his prayer ministry, has seen God miraculously at work, serves others selflessly, and gives all the glory to God. Jim points out that the word ‘retirement’ is not in the Bible.

Why retire?

As John Piper puts it, many Christians set their sights on a “Sabbath evening” of life – a time of resting, playing and traveling. American Dream retirement is the secular world’s substitute for heaven. ‘Heaven now’ is what the secular world believes in because it doesn’t believe there’ll be a real heaven beyond the grave. According to this line of thought you should reward yourself now in this life after long years of labor, and just kick back and retire! Sadly, many Christians think the same way.

The Retirement Trap

As a matter of fact, retirement is simply not a good idea. Although on average retirees should have 20 years of life ahead of them, many die within two years of retirement. Most men don’t die of old age, they die of retirement. Retirement is a disease, not a blessing.

The Alternative to Retirement

No-one in the Bible retired. Instead of retiring, finish strong! Aim to finish life in a way that honors Christ as your greatest treasure. This entails resolutely resisting the American Dream and the empty uselessness of the secular world’s view of retirement. Rather live and die in the glow of love, as Christ did upon the Cross. Finishing life to the glory of Christ means using whatever strength, eyesight, hearing, mobility and resources we have to treasure Christ and continue the Great Commission. Our deep desire should be to bring others with us into the everlasting joy of Christ. Following Christ entails spiritual battle. So keep on the full armor of God (Eph 6:10-18) and remember: soldiers don’t retire in the middle of a war!

Persevere to the End

According to Scripture, says John Piper, perseverance of faith is essential. Consider these truths: the one who endures to the end will be saved. (Mk 13:13). As you have always obeyed, so now…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,  for it is God who works in you…(Philippians 2:12-13). Strive…for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. (Heb 12:14).  I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord…will award to me on that day, and…also to all who have loved his appearing. (2 Tim 4:7-8). As these passages make clear, there is no salvation for people who do not persevere in faith. So fight the good fight, finish the race, and keep the faith. Don’t opt out!

God is at Work from Within

While perseverance is essential, don’t depend on your own efforts to secure God’s favor. That will lead to pride or despair. At the moment of justification, God, by His Spirit, indwells His people in order to continue shaping and forming them. This means that all those in Christ will persevere because God is at work in them. Perseverance in good works is not the means to earn God’s favor, it is an outcome of the fact that God is already indwelling us and working out His purposes through us. We persevere and work hard, not to earn God’s grace, but as a result of God’s grace.

How do we Overcome the Fear of Not Persevering?

Sometimes we grow anxious about not persevering. Therefore we should keep preaching the good news of the gospel to ourselves. Let’s keep finding in Christ our highest treasure. Keep on believing. Keep looking to Christ and valuing Christ and receiving Christ every day. Relish His promises:

  • I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6).
  • He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is faithful, who has called you into fellowship with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord. (1 Cor. 1:8-9).
  • [God] is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, (Jude 24).
  • Those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? (Romans 8:3-31).

As God works within, we will discover that the soul that lives with Jesus perseveres in a life of ongoing mission.


Says Piper, it’s inconceivable for Christians to live a life of self-absorbed leisure when there are millions of people who need Christ. What a tragic way to finish the last mile before entering the presence of the King — who finished his last mile so differently! Don’t waste your final years. Don’t buy into the American Dream of retirement, with month after month of leisure, play, hobbies, putzing around the garage, rearranging the furniture, golfing, fishing and sitting in front of the TV. Lord, spare me this curse!

[E]ven to your old age…
    and to gray hairs I will carry you.
I have made, and I will bear;
    I will carry and will save. (Is 46:3-4)

This life is not for me, it’s for Him. We are secure in Christ, so live fully refired for the One who lived and loved and died for you. The Great Commission is a permanent commission. Keep on loving people with gospel intentionality. Don’t throw your life away on the American Dream of retirement. Finish Strong! Magnify Christ and keep on following Him in anticipation of that wonderful welcome from the Lord: Well done, good and faithful servant…Enter into the joy of your Master (Matt 25:21-23).

Dear Jesus, help us persevere. We grow older and our affections cool. Don’t let us forsake the love we had at first in exchange for the emptiness and boredom of retirement. Give us a holy discontent. Restore us, we pray, in the joy of being infinitely loved by you! Ignite our souls with the passion of your love. Thank you for lavishing us with the love you gave so willingly upon the Cross for people like me – a foolish, idolatrous rebel — and for making us your much loved bride! Help us fan into flame the gifts you have given us so we can finish strong and serve you forever. And thank you, Lord, for the privilege of the mission! Amen.


Piper, J. Rethinking Retirement: Finishing life for the glory of Christ. Crossway, 2009.



Everyday Faith: Retire or Refire!

Everyday Faith: Leadership & Governance


He made me a polished arrow; in his quiver he hid me away. (Isaiah 49:2)

Why is Governance Important?

Bill Bojan recently led an Everyday Faith seminar on Leadership and Governance for Business as Mission. Why is this important? Because without intentional governance, businesses and organizations drift off mission. Sadly, mission drift is a common problem. Mammon has a siren-like allure that all too easily pulls organizations away from their God-given mission, so that over time they become less and less impactful for God’s purposes. The YMCA is a case in point. Originally founded in 1844 to foster spiritual growth through Bible study and prayer, it’s now just the Y and completely secular.

First, some definitions.


  1. Business as Mission. Business as mission is demonstrating the Kingdom of God in the context of business. It is intentional about the Great Commission and the transformational impact of the gospel on people and communities. It is especially concerned for people in dire economic, social, environmental and spiritual need.
  2. Governance. To govern means to steer or navigate. Godly, biblical governance entails steering an organization towards a desired future through wise and righteous decisions in obedience to Christ and for the glory of God.

Biblical Leadership

An important element of governance is leadership. Leaders have authority to govern. Godly leaders acknowledge that authority comes from God, and this authority must be stewarded with surrender, obedience and integrity. Business leaders, said Bill, must answer three crucial questions:

  1. How do I steward God’s authority like Jesus?
  2. How do I make the right choices like Jesus?
  3. How do I navigate wisely, like a polished arrow in the Lord’s quiver?

We look to the example of Jesus to answer these questions. Jesus stewarded the Father’s authority given to Him by the Father (Mt. 11:27, 28:18). He continually sought the will of the Father (Jn. 5:30), directing all men ultimately to the Great Commission (Mt. 28:19-20). Stewarding authority is guided by key principles of Biblical leadership as follows:

Dependence on God. “I am the vine, you are the branches.  Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.”  (John 15:5).

Selfless Obedience.  “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24).

Trust and Rest in God. “Do not worry and say ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’  All these things the pagans seek.” (Matthew 6:30-32)

Servant Leadership. “Whoever wishes to be great among you shall be your servant; whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.  Just so, the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:26-28).

Desire to honor God. “Your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.”  (Matthew 5:16).

Personal Humility. “God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise, and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong, and God chose the lowly and despised of the world…so that no human being might boast before God.” (1 Corinthians 1:26-29).

Godly priorities. “Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides.”  (Matthew 6:33).

Trustworthiness. If you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth….Who will trust you with True Riches? (Luke 16:11).

 Worldly Leadership

The world’s leadership ways and Biblical leadership are radically different. The world’s way is characterized by power, control, self-reliance, autonomy, pride, and the spirit of Mammon. Further aspects of worldly leadership follow:

God’s will is ignored. Satan reigns where man chooses not to steward his commissioned authority in the manner modeled by Jesus. When this happens, leaders become disconnected from the Vine (John 15:5), and bear bad fruit. As Jesus said “every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit…by their fruits you will know them.”  (Matthew 7:17-20). The results are disastrous: “I never knew you.  Depart from me you evildoers.”  (Matthew 7:23)

Autocratic Control. Jesus described the controlling nature of the world’s leaders this way: “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and the great ones make their authority over them felt.” (Matthew 20:25)

Love of Money. The spirit of Mammon characterizes the way of the world. “It will be hard for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven…it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle….” (Matthew 19:23-24). “No one can serve two masters.  He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other.  You cannot serve God and Mammon.” (Matthew 6:24)

The Polished Arrow – A Picture of Good Governance

Bill pictures godly leadership, as modeled by Jesus, like a polished arrow in the Lord’s quiver, as described in Isaiah 49:2-3: In the shadow of His hand He has concealed me;  And He has also made me a  polished arrow,  He has hidden me in His quiver.

Bill sees the target as being God’s mission (the will of God), the Father as the archer (the ultimate authority), the Son as the Bow (the power source), the Indwelling Holy Spirit within leaders as the arrow (the vessel for God’s power and authority). In this imagery, true servant leaders have a surrendered and worshipful relationship with Christ, reflect the virtue of Christ, and earn trust through stewardship, integrity, accountability, transparency and service.

An Integrated Governance System

A governance system consists of three elements – (a) Oversight (typically a Board of Directors for most organizations), (b) Execution (typically a Management team) and (c) Verification (Monitoring elements serving as the “conscience” of the organization). The board is responsible for stewarding the mission, vision and strategic direction of the business. Management executes the mission, vision and strategy; and the Monitoring role, integrating all key stakeholder perspectives, verifies that outcomes are aligned with mission and strategy.

A key deficiency of traditional governance systems is the lack of integration between the three core governance elements. An integrative governance structure ideally reflects the Trinity, i.e. the integral relationship between Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as well as the integrated body described in 1 Cor 12:12-13 — All the members of the body, though many, are one body… 

 The three governance elements are woven together through four key disciplines:

  1. Mission (fulfilling and stewarding the mission and vision)
  2. Strategy (achieving strategic direction responsibly)
  3. Operations (driving operations and overseeing risk)
  4. Controls (ensuring regulatory, legal and ethical compliance)

The Governance Spectrum

A governance system can easily become corrupted. For example, a board may abdicate its responsibilities and fail to keep the CEO accountable, and the CEO may dominate the board and ignore challenges or intimidate truth-tellers (i.e. monitors and verifiers). Corrupted governance leads to disunity, division, disruption, and disorder in business. Morale declines and employees leave and go elsewhere.

On the other hand, good governance is characterized by the board wisely stewarding the vision and mission well, humble managers executing faithfully, and verification through courageous truth-tellers representing the best interest of the organization and all key stakeholders. The fruits of an integrative governing structure are clarity, alignment, unity, peace, continuity, order, creativity — and human flourishing. Bill recommends an integrative approach to governance as a foundational discipline to ensure organizations remain true to their God-given mission.

Without it, the organization can implode under the accumulating weight of its own malpractice, or drift into slow, almost imperceptible decision-by-decision decline. How is your organization doing? “You will recognize them by their fruits.”

 Action Steps

 Do you know how, practically, to steward God’s authority and make the right choices like Jesus? Do you know how to lead wisely, like a polished arrow in the Lord’s quiver?

  1. If you are a business owner, leader or board member: Are you confident about the effectiveness of your governance system? Bill is available to help with governance best practices assessments and self-service product solutions (Solomon365) to ensure missional integrity.
  2. If you lead others: Assess your leadership style and the health of your culture – You are called to be a servant leader under Christ – a polished arrow in the Lord’s quiver. Avoid overbearing leadership styles that shun transparency and accountability, and let you drift off target. Solomon365 offers a tool called the “Polished Arrow” diagnostic, that helps you self-assess whether you and your organization embody “leaders of virtue”, “cultures of trust”, and “structures of integrity”.  This is a powerful tool to help you and your organization govern with wisdom, courage, stewardship, and integrity.
  3. Make sure you are in a meaningful discipling relationship with a courageous truth-teller as a mentor and accountability partner, and pray through God’s purifying Word each day.

Heavenly Father, our churches and businesses – all our institutions — belong to you. There is nothing on this earth that you do not own. Yet how often, in the idolatry of our hearts, do we re-purpose what you have given us to steward, and build kingdoms for our own comfort and satisfaction. Forgive me, Jesus. You’ve called us to be salt of the earth and light of the world —  how easy it is for us to lose our saltiness and dim our vision and passion for you. Come Holy Spirit and renew our hearts. Bring us back to gospel sanity. Restore in us the joy of your salvation, and draw us into your redemptive plans for our communities, cities and nations. Hear our cry O Lord. We pray these things in the mighty name of Jesus our Lord and Savior. Amen.

Everyday Faith: Leadership & Governance

Thanksgiving Proclamation

By Warren Coe

1863 found the United States in the midst of a bitter civil war under the presidency of Abraham Lincoln.Abraham_Lincoln_head_on_shoulders_photo_portrait

In March of that year Abraham Lincoln called on the nation to fast:

“It is the duty of nations as well as men to owe their dependence upon the overruling power of God; to confess their sins and transgressions in humble sorrow, yet with assured hope that genuine repentance will lead to mercy and pardon and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations are blessed whose God is the Lord.

“We know that by His divine law, nations, like individuals, are subject to punishments and chastisements in this world.  May we not justly fear that the awful calamity of civil war which now desolates the land may be a punishment inflicted upon us for our presumptuous sins; to the needful end of our national reformation as a whole people?

“We have been the recipients of the choicest bounties of heaven; we have been preserved these many years in peace and prosperity; we have grown in numbers, wealth and power as no other nation has ever grown.  But we have forgotten God.  We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, in the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.  Intoxicated with unbroken success we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us.” (Proclamation appointing a National Fast Day

The tide turned and in October Lincoln proclaimed a national day of Thanksgiving:

“It has seemed to me fit and proper that God should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people.  I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November as a day of Thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens.”

Long ago, the Psalmist wrote, “Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples!  Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wondrous works!  Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the LORD rejoice! Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!  Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he uttered, O offspring of Abraham, his servant, children of Jacob, his chosen ones!  He is the LORD our God; his judgments are in all the earth.”  (Psa 105:1-7 ESV)

Thanksgiving be to God

Thanksgiving Proclamation

How Accurate Is the Bible?

starsBy Various Authors

Archeology Has Proven the Truth of the Bible

Archeology has proven the truth of the Bible. Thompson Chain Reference Bible lists no fewer than 130 archeological discoveries which confirm the Biblical account.

There are over 300 predictions in the Old Testament concerning the first coming of the Messiah. These were all fulfilled in Christ.

The laws in the Bible concerning diet, health, cleanliness, and quarantine are 20th Century health science ideas, but they were written 3,400 years ago!

The Bible l Science l Astronomy

Many of the statements in the Bible concerning science and astronomy have only become accepted by science in the past few centuries, and yet they were written in the Bible thousands of years ago!

Aristotle is credited with being the Father of Science about 340 B.C. and yet as Will Durant writes, “Aristotle’s astronomy is a tissue of childish romance.” Compare this to Moses’ astronomy written in 1400 B.C. Some ancient observers believed the moon to be greater than the sun because at times it appears bigger. They accounted for its lack of heat and dim light by assuming it was much farther away than the sun. But Moses in about 1400 B.C. had no such problems. Genesis 1:16 tells us, “Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also.” He declares the sun the greater light. Notice also he didn’t call it the greatest light. There are many stars far bigger than the sun, although they are mere pinpoints in our night sky.

Up to only a few centuries ago it was believed that the world was flat, but Isaiah about 750 B.C. wrote in Isaiah 40:22, “It is He who sits above the circle of the earth, and its inhabitants are like grasshoppers, who stretches out the heavens like a curtain, and spreads them out like a tent to dwell in.”

Hipparchus, the originator of Greek astronomy, counted a total of 1080 stars about 140 B.C. and proposed that this was the total of all the stars in the universe. This count was still believed to be accurate about 300 years later when Ptolemy put forth his famous planetary theory. We now know that there are at least 100 septillion stars. That’s 1026. But about 600 B.C., 450 years before Hipparchus, this is what Jeremiah wrote in Jeremiah 33:22 (NIV), “I will make the descendants of David my servant and the Levites who minister before me as countless as the stars of the sky and as measureless as the sand on the seashore.”

We think of stars as fixed, but in fact they are moving away from each other ever so slowly. For example the two stars at the opposite ends of the Great Dipper are moving in one direction, while all the other stars of the Dipper are moving together in the opposite direction. In the distant future there will no longer be a Great Dipper. Job wrote in Job 38:31 which was written about 1700 B.C., “Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades, or loose the belt of Orion?” We now know that Pleiades and Orion are true star groups — all the stars in the group are moving together through space. Of course Job knew that almost 4000 years ago.

Life is in the Blood

 Bleeding a person, removing some of their blood for the purpose of removing the sickness, was a common medical practice. In fact in 1799 George Washington died after being bled for a cold. About 1400 B.C. Moses wrote in Leviticus 17:11, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood….” Today, science has finally caught up with the Bible.

Instead of bleeding people, lives are now being saved by blood transfusions. Up through the 19th Century it was believed by scholars that writing was unknown until well after the time of Moses, but the Bible in Exodus 24:4 states, “And Moses wrote all the words of the LORD….” Scholars scoffed at the Bible as mere legend, but new archaeological discoveries have confirmed that writing was in use in Palestine long before the time of Abraham, about 2000 B.C.

Hittites and Babylonians

The Bible speaks extensively of a strong and fierce nation called the Hittites. Through the 19th Century skeptics said this proved the Bible was full of fables since no such nation ever existed. But earlier in this century discoveries of Ugaritic writing in Ras Shamra have confirmed the existence of the Hittites. They are now considered to be the third-largest ancient world power.

Babylon on the Euphrates was one of the most amazing cities in the ancient world. Inside its walls, three hundred feet high and eighty feet thick, were such buildings, towers and gardens as no other metropolis of antiquity. Isaiah 13:19-22 written about 750 B.C., at the height of Babylon’s splendor, prophesied, “And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldeans’ pride, will be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It will never be inhabited, nor will it be settled from generation to generation; nor will the Arabian pitch tents there, nor will the shepherds make their sheepfolds there. But wild beasts of the desert will lie there, and their houses will be full of owls; Ostriches will dwell there, and wild goats will caper there. The hyenas will howl in their citadels, and jackals in their pleasant palaces. Her time is near to come, and her days will not be prolonged.” After about 500 years the once proud city became nothing but a mound of ruins just as Isaiah had prophesied.

Four cities of Galilee: Chorazin, Bethsaida, Capernaum, Tiberias. This is what Jesus said in Matthew 11:21-23, “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the Day of Judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.” Tiberias never had any woe pronounced on it. The location of the first three was long a matter of dispute — they had vanished centuries ago. But Tiberias continues to be a flourishing city in our own time.

About 600 B.C. Ezekiel wrote prophecies concerning the twin cities Tyre and Sidon. Ezekiel 26:3-4 tells us Tyre will be destroyed. But Ezekiel 28:21-23 tells us Sidon will have bloodshed, but not be destroyed. 250 years later Alexander the Great destroyed Tyre but spared Sidon. Although Sidon has had a long history of wars and bloodshed, it still stands today.

The Bible was written by men who were guided by the Holy Spirit. God allowed the personality of the writer to show through. He did not dictate the words to the author. But everything these men wrote was inspired by God.

“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2Ti 3:16-17 ESV)

At Village Schools of the Bible we are committed to preaching the Word of God.  Would you consider a monthly or one time contribution to help us fulfill our mission of teaching God’s Word and transforming lives.  Give here.

Warren — Executive Director, Village Schools of the Bible.

How Accurate Is the Bible?