Livin' la Vida DOXA

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Posted 2/10/16 at 1:36 PM | João Mordomo

On Choosing a Local Church

Not too long ago I received an e-mail from a gal in England who had come to know Christ at a retreat at which I preached several years ago. She subsequently joined our (CCI-Brasil) short-term staff and the Lord graciously allowed her to have missions injected into her DNA from the very beginning of her walk with Him. She is serving the Lord faithfully in London, but has found herself in a dilemma, one which I am afraid is not uncommon. She says, “I am at a bit of a transition point at the moment with church and would appreciate your advice. I no longer feel right about the church I have been going to since I got back from missions...They seem to be preaching a self help sort of gospel that hardly mentions sin and sees repentance as simply turning to God and not turning away from sin. It is part of the emergent church movement. Any thoughts would be appreciated...”

Thoughts on choosing a local church? I’m game!

Dear (Sister in Christ),

Concerning your church situation, I believe your thinking is right on track. Some thoughts: FULL POST

Posted 2/4/16 at 12:46 PM | João Mordomo

Twelve Steps for Studying, Teaching and Applying the Bible

You need to study your Bible more! We all do! And I want to show you the best way I know to do it.

As the Bible came into existence, God’s people – first Israel, then the Church – sought not only to understand the individual components of God’s story and their own existence, but also the overarching theme. Jesus himself established the precedent, demonstrating the importance and validity of seeking to understand God’s “big story,” when He concisely explained the metanarrative (a micro-metanarrative, if you will) of Scripture to his disciples in Luke 24. Verses 27 and 44-47 are revealing:

“27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself... 44 Then he said to them, ‘These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.’ 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, 47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.’” FULL POST

Posted 1/28/16 at 2:40 PM | João Mordomo

The Spiritual Decathlon

A couple of weeks ago someone mentioned to me how important a small piece I wrote back in 2009 had been to their spiritual growth, so it seemed like a good idea to post it here.

Note: In the article, I mention Bruce Jenner. Sadly, much has changed since 2009 and I do not endorse the current iteration of Bruce Jenner as a role model. But in the piece, I also mention Dave Johnson, whose life in many respects does serve as an example to be followed. After a career in competitive athletics — which included winning the bronze medal for the decathlon at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona — he went on to became a school teacher and administrator, and served as athletic director at Corban University (“educating Christians who will make a difference in the world for Jesus Christ”), and later in a ministry position with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA).

Here's the original article:

Last week at the gym, while running on the treadmill, I was watching the decathlon event(s) of the World Championships in Athletics. I’ve always loved the decathlon. I can’t remember just about any of the athletes on Wheaties boxes over the years, but I remember the decathlete Bruce Jenner.* (A word to the wise: Wheaties are totally overrated. After years of eating “the breakfast of champions,” I never won anything and gave up eating them!**) FULL POST

Posted 1/16/16 at 1:17 PM | João Mordomo

Quarter-Life Calling: How to Find Your Sweet Spot in Your Twenties

Do you know what a sweet spot is? Have you found yours? If your answer to either of these questions is “no,” then you need to read Paul Sohn’s thoughtful, insightful and well-crafted book called Quarter-Life Calling: How to Find Your Sweet Spot in Your Twenties. Built around the “sweet spot” analogy, Paul tells of his own compelling personal journey and how it is both necessary and possible to discover your sweet spot — the convergence of personality, passions, gifting and life experiences — while still in your twenties.

Paul draws from, and weaves together, a wealth of insights from people such as John Piper, Rick Warren, Max Lucado, Tim Keller, Bill Hybels, Jim Collins, C. S. Lewis, Neil Anderson, Os Guinness, Viktor Frankl and the Barna Group, as well as other lesser known people such as David Kinnaman, Jack Fortin and Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen. With a fluid writing style, solid biblical underpinnings, appropriate use of research and statistics, and just the right amount of illustrations and examples, Paul takes the reader on a journey of self-examination and discovery that is virtually guaranteed to help any Millenial climb out of a quarter-life quagmire, if not avoid it altogether. In fact, Quarter-Life Calling is not just for Millenials. Other demographic cohorts — especially Gen Xers dealing with mid-life crisis — will no doubt benefit from this book. FULL POST

Posted 1/15/16 at 12:37 PM | João Mordomo

Getting Out, Getting In, Staying In, Sinking In: Church Planting and Business Today

In Part 1 (which you can read here) I looked at Paul’s exploits as a maker of tents and concluded that business and church planting were made for each other! Properly configured, church planting teams and business startup teams can be one and the same. There are many good reasons that we ought to consider seriously the benefits of this model in missions today. Here are just four of them.

Getting Out

Many conventional church planting missionaries simply cannot get out of the starting blocks and to the field due to a lack of financial resources. This is especially true right now in Brazil, where I am based. “Difficult” is often an understatement when it comes to raising and maintaining a donor base. The overall economic situation in many countries is characterized by some combination of various ills such as poverty, corruption, inflation and weak currencies. But should potential missionaries be disqualified from serving the Lord cross-culturally simply because their churches either donʼt have, or don’t think they have, the resources to send them? The obvious answer is no. BAM is a model that can creatively access and utilize the numerous resources that can be found – and not just money, but talent and people, especially the so-called and often undervalued “laypeople” – for Godʼs global glory. FULL POST

Posted 1/8/16 at 2:52 PM | João Mordomo

The "Woohoo" Resolution

I’m not really a “New Year’s resolution” kind of guy. Now don’t get me wrong. I am completely in favor of stopping every now and then to evaluate life and make any needed changes. After all, as Socrates (probably) said, an unexamined life is not worth living. (Who am I to disagree with Socrates?) And I guess the beginning of each year is as good a time as any. King Solomon said as much in Ecclesiastes 3:1. Call it the “season of self-evaluation”: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” (And who am I to disagree with King Solomon?!) The thing is, I’m more wired toward living by a set of principles and convictions that generallyremain rock solid year after year. No need for “new” resolutions; I’ve got “old” convictions to get me by. And if I do feel inclined toward setting resolutions, I’d prefer to “resolve” them whenever the time seems right, rather than wait until the “season of self-evaluation.” Sort of like Jonathan Edwards did in 1722 and 1723. He established 70 resolutions (call them driving convictions if you like) during a season of life and then reviewed them weekly (not yearly) throughout his life. (You can read all 70 of Edwards’ resolutions here.) FULL POST

Posted 12/23/15 at 9:24 AM | João Mordomo

Best. Song. Ever. A Christmas Present for You

What’s the greatest day in history? Christian theologians are of two minds. In general, most are inclined toward the day of Jesus Christ’s resurrection, which we celebrate at Easter. This historic day and event is, indeed, crucial to redemptive history. Jesus Himself declared that “‘for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name’…And then a voice came from heaven: ‘I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.’” (cf. John 12:27-28) His purpose — the essence of His mission — was to die and rise again, bringing glory to His Father and providing the (one and only) means of salvation to people and peoples. Yes, the day of Christ’s resurrection should rightly be considered the greatest day in history.

But could it be that another great day was essential for THE great day to take place? The answer is a resounding “yes”. For in the same way that Christ’s mission ended miraculously, it also began miraculously. We call it the virgin birth. We celebrate it at Christmas. A mission cannot be completed successfully until after it has begun. Christ’s mission began (from our human, temporal perspective) on the day He was born. You can’t have an ending without a beginning. You can’t complete a mission without starting it. “When Christ came into the world He said, ‘Behold, I have come to do your will, O God.’” (cf. Heb. 10:5-7) And He did. Oh, yes, He did. He glorified His Father — utterly, completely, perfectly — and “by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ gonce for all.” (Heb. 10:10) FULL POST

Posted 12/7/15 at 5:27 PM | João Mordomo

Business and Church Planting: Made for Each Other!

In recent years, many people have begun to more fully appreciate the huge power and potential of "business as mission" (BAM) as a way to glorify God in our lives as well as among all peoples. It's both a means to enter into contexts where missionaries are unwelcome, and a mechanism to catalyze church planting among unreached peoples. In fact, while other models often work in other contexts, BAM is distinctly qualified to open doors where the Gospel and church planting often are most needed. I won’t say “uniquely” qualified because I don’t want to get an influx of emails calling me a BAM extremist, but I will admit I lean in that direction!

Yet while the power of BAM to catalyze church planting becomes increasingly apparent to us, this relationship is not a new one. Luke, in apparently hyperbolic fashion, wrote in Acts 19:10 that in a period of two years, “all the residents of Asia (roughly today’s Turkey) heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.” What was he thinking? Surely a medical doctor and historian would never resort to such embellishment of the truth! FULL POST

Posted 12/2/15 at 2:46 PM | João Mordomo

Twenty-seven Is the "Gloriest" Number

If “one is the loneliest number” (from Three Dog Night’s point of view, anyway), perhaps "twenty-seven" is the gloriest, er, most glorious, one. At least in the world of sports in recent days. Now I can already hear pop culture and music aficionados indignantly responding, “No. No it’s not. Twenty-seven is most certainly NOT a glorious number.” They undoubtedly are thinking of the “27 Club,” specifically the original four members, whom I call the “J Club”: Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison, all of whom died at the age of 27. Some of the younger aficionados will no doubt be thinking of grunge icon Kurt Cobain, who joined “the club” in 1994. It would indeed seem that 27 is not a glorious number, at least for those musicians who did not know the King of Glory.

Fortunately for us, several of today’s top athletes point to another reality, another type of “club,” one in which being a 27-year-old world-class athlete is a great excuse to point people to the King of Glory. The fab-four of my “27 Club” are Clayton Kershaw, Jeremy Lin, Russell Wilson (who turned 27 four days ago, so happy birthday to him), and Stephen Curry. (I know you thought I was going to include Tim Tebow, but he turned 28 back in August — and he’s a free agent again — so let’s just consider him an honorary member of the club.) FULL POST

Posted 11/30/15 at 12:22 PM | João Mordomo

Livin' la Vida DOXA

The Greek word doxa appears over 160 times in the New Testament and means “glory”. “Livin’ la Vida DOXA” is all about living for God’s glory in all areas of life and among all peoples of the world. Check in here on a regular basis for inspiration, musings and analysis - from a doxological biblical worldview - of various and sundry subjects related to living "for the praise of His glory". And don't forget to follow me at www.doxologic.al for smaller doses of doxological insights and delights!

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