Tag Archives: Excellence

The God of Creation as Author and Example of Excellence – Introduction

“…from the microscopic and complex of DNA to the magnificent and unattainable galactic world of the splendid universe, the Creator´s mark of excellence is infallibly present.”

Cecy Yepez

For some months “Towards Excellence” has been silent, due to some circumstances, perhaps one of the main ones, because I, the author, was working on a long research whose theme fascinates me. So, for some time I have considered to share excerpts from it with each of you, the beloved audience of “Towards Excellence.”

From now on, I will be pleased to provide a broad overview of the excellence of the Triune Creator God and its implications for the work of leaders, and especially, Christian leaders within their various spheres of influence.

Through the study of Genesis 1 and 2, among other Biblical passages, the fascinating world of creation and its different moments are approached, in which the excellence of its Maker undoubtedly unfolds. It is observed, of course, that from the microscopic and complex of DNA to the magnificent and unattainable galactic world of the splendid universe, the Creator’s mark of excellence is infallibly present.

And of course, this study highlights the sublime and supernatural presence of the mark of excellence in the Creator’s masterpiece – the human being, in whose being His image and likeness were impregnated, which unfortunately was upset, stained and broken by the fall; but it is emphasized that it has the opportunity to be restored through the redemptive work of Christ. Of Whom, incidentally, a wonderful approach is made as “the image of the invisible God”, based on Colossians 1:15-17 and Colossians 2:9.

Space view on Planet Earth and Sun Star rotating on its axis in black Universe. Elements of image furnished by NASA, [Envato Elements].

In fact, to understand even more about the image of God, the character of Jesus and His actions are also analyzed, since He is the perfect example of what human nature should have been.

Thus, this study, in its last part, deals with what concerns Christian leadership, understanding that its actors, made in the image and likeness of the Creator, are challenged to be an example of His excellence where they have been called to lead. And not only that, but as bearers of His image, they have been commanded to exercise dominion over all creation, but they must do so in a way that is consistent with the character of the God of excellence.

For this reason, throughout the excerpts that I will share from this research, the great example of Jesus Christ will be denoted, whose leadership style has revolutionized the world. A leader who sacrificially serves lepers, without fear of infection; a leader who breaks down cultural barriers, not fearing other people´s opinion, such as the encounter with the Samaritan woman; a leader who forgives and restores, as when he courageously defended the woman who was about to be stoned; a confronting leader, as in the eviction of the temple. A true servant leader who gives His life for the cause that was entrusted to Him!

And we delved further, understanding that this leader did not allow Himself to be infected by the profane culture of His environment; but rather fearlessly expanded the culture of the Kingdom of God.

I trust that these excerpts will inspire many as they may have the opportunity to meet the God of excellence for the first time, or reaffirm their knowledge and relationship with Jesus Christ, the God of excellence; or even more, mobilize many to be and act as ambassadors of excellence in this world.

In our next issue, we will start together an extraordinary journey through which we will recognize “the excellence of God in creation”; and certainly, we will join the poetic statement of Job:

“[God] who alone stretched out the heavens
    and trampled the waves of the sea;

who made the Bear and Orion,
    the Pleiades and the chambers of the south;

who does great things beyond searching out,
    and marvelous things beyond number.”

(Job 9:8-10 – ESV)

See you soon and in the meantime, I encourage you to live a life marked by excellence!

Excellence Stems from the Heart – Part 2

“The excellence of the heart of God was definitely impregnated in our heart, now it is we who must expand the heart of God wherever we go.”

 

As I shared in the previous article – Part 1, God did not only prepare everything in advance to welcome us in this planet, but when He created us, He certainly did it with excellence, with deep love and by the way, carefully and wonderfully.  The Bible – His Word reveals it so and science does confirm it as well.
Psalm 139:13-14,16 “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb; I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well…Your eyes saw my unformed body.” This is expressed by this Psalm with vivid poetry that God, the Creator knotted us in such a way, which as a result every human being is truly His masterpiece. But His creation does not only encourage poetic expression; but science as such, definitely confirms how wonderful it is.

So let’s take a look at what National Geographic states about the human brain: “It is, nevertheless, one of the body’s biggest organs, consisting of some 100 billion nerve cells that not only put together thoughts and highly coordinated physical actions but regulate our unconscious body processes, such as digestion and breathing.”[1]

The brain is the most complex information management system in the universe. [Image from the Internet]

And for instance, let me quote Wernher von Braun (1912 – 1977), a space engineer who stated, “Certainly there are those who argue that the universe evolved out of a random process, but what random process could produce the brain of a man or the system of the human eye?,” [2] questioned the creator of the V-2 Rocket for Nazi Germany and Saturn V for the United States.

 

Dear friends, here we are talking only about the brain, which, by the way, we see it as one of the key organs of human life, in fact, it is the most complex information management system in the universe.
As we see, science itself leads us to study and understand that the human body is a wonderful, extraordinary machine. It is the most accurate and efficient machine that has ever existed and does not compare at all with any machine created by man.

But, not only our complex physical body as it is, is the evidence of the existence of “an intelligent being” who is certainly behind the creation of all this magnificent universe, but also our soul that is sealed with the mark of excellence of this being, called God, the Creator, Jesus Christ himself.  “He [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation …—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.”  (Colossians 1: 15, 17)

And it is precisely our soul that was made in the image of God, the Creator, “And God created man in his own image, in the image of God created him; male and female he created them”. (Genesis 1:27).
Wernher von Braun recognized it so, God’s masterpiece is the human soul. [3] And it is in the human soul that God has impregnated His image.

Let’s just take a look around us for a few minutes… look at those living beings that are close to us and are not our peers. Namely, we contemplate the garden of our house, the plants that embellish our room, we hug our pets, or maybe we remember some of our visits to the zoo or some botanical garden. These beings are extraordinary, the animals, flowers, plants, trees; but none of them would dare to compare itself with the smallest of human beings, if it could.

Human beings are truly privileged and unique. Only men and women are the ones who reflect the extraordinary characteristics of God, the Creator.

We are highly creative beings. The creativity of the human being is evident every day, in the music we listen to, in the works of art that delight us, in the beauty of the varied crafts that characterize different peoples and nations, in the extraordinary scientific inventions.

One of the greatest inventions, the car by Ford. [Edison & Ford Winter Estates]

We are intelligent. The human brain has intelligently created the horse’s saddle, the carriage, the boat, the bicycle, the car, the light aircraft, the plane to transport increasingly faster and more comfortably.

But his creativity and intelligence is ongoing, the human brain has crossed the limits of our planet, it has reached the moon and continues to explore space non-stop.

We are beings who communicate with each other. The spoken, written word or sign language are exclusive to the human being. We have been given the privilege of expressing what is in our heart through the word. In fact, God created the universe, through His Word (Genesis 1). Through the word we have the power to build or to destroy, to spur or to discourage, to love or to hate.

These are just some of the characteristics that our God, the Creator has impregnated in our soul. We are indeed His masterpiece! And every “masterpiece” is admirable and worthy of replication.
The excellence of the heart of God was definitely impregnated in our heart, now it is we who must expand the heart of God wherever we go.

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)

Sources:

[1]  http://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/health-and-human-body/human-body/brain/

[2] http://www.icr.org/article/wernher-von-braun-father-space-flight/

[3] http://www.wnd.com/2016/06/this-rocket-scientist-had-amazing-view-of-god/

Excellence Stems from the Heart – Part 1

“Excellence stems from the heart of God, our Creator, who, by means of his eternal love for men and women, called this planet out of nothing…”

 

In the bilingual blog “Towards Excellence” and in honor of its name we begin to develop a series of articles with short reflections on the world of excellence, the depth of its meaning and why not, a forthright challenge to post-modern and post- post-modern society that we, in general, are living worldwide.

Submarine trip, Maui, Hawaii

A few years ago, I had the opportunity to venture a submarine trip in Hawaii. A short but surprising journey to the bottom of the sea, where the wonders of the marine realm only seen on the small and big screens, became a beautiful reality. This incredible experience simply confirmed me that wherever we are, we will always be surrounded by beauty and magnificence.

Let me invite you then, to take a look around you, your surroundings. What do you see? … And after a few minutes we will surely have very different answers. There will be those who describe extraordinary mountainous landscapes, others perhaps even the greatness of snow peaks on a sunny day, many others the beauty of its beaches and the vast sea, and probably some more, the exotic landscapes of a dense jungle.

And all this without considering the magnificent diversity of fauna and flora in each of the most amazing

An enchanting underwater world

An enchanting underwater world

places of our planet.

Our environment, our planet, in short, our home proves that we live in a world of excellence. From the summit of the Everest to the Dead Sea bordering Israel, the lowest point on earth, our gaze certainly delights with the “7 natural wonders of the world” and beyond.

Let’s take a look now, at the beginning of this planet. And for that purpose, if I may, I want to refer to the first chapter of the first book of the Bible, Genesis (Bereshit) in Hebrew, precisely means “In the beginning.”

In sum, Genesis 1 tells us how our planet, our home began, who built it and, in fact, how it was organized, decorated and filled with food, all of this before our arrival, the arrival of human beings.
I challenge you to read Genesis 1 carefully. You will be amazed about how wonderful this story is. However, and for the purposes of this article, I just want to highlight two aspects of this reading:

Dead Sea

Dead Sea

1. Throughout this chapter and while it mentions step by step the creation of our world…the light, the heavens, the earth, the waters, the sun, the moon, the stars, the grass, birds, fish; then God, our Creator, states 6 times: “And God saw all that He made, and it was good;” and a seventh time, after He created the animals and the human being, and He finished His creation, “ And God saw all that He made, and it was very good”.

Thus, one of the most important things that this text stands out is that the creation of God is definitely “very good.” In other words, the creation of our God, which of course includes us humans (Gen. 1:27, 31) was done with excellence, without imperfection, without mistake.

2. “He [God] has made [and still makes] everything beautiful in its time”, (Ecclesiastes 3:11); therefore,

Mt. Everest view from base camp (courtesy of Amosji Attaché Gorkhas)

Mt. Everest view from base camp (courtesy of Amosji Attaché Gorkhas, Nepal)

His heart is willing to do everything with excellence, because His essence itself denotes excellence.

If we look again around us, we confirm this Word; we are surrounded by a majestic nature that certainly delights our gaze and even more, our heart.

Excellence stems from the heart of God, our Creator, who, by means of his eternal love for men and women, called this planet, our world, our home into existence out of nothing, so we can dwell in it.

As parents prepare the best for their new baby to come, his room, his crib, her clothes, her toys and

everything the little baby may need; in the same way, our God, our Father the Creator prepared this world with everything to receive man and woman, creatures made in His own image.

Yes, God is our example of excellence!

Cape of Good Hope, South Africa

Cape of Good Hope, South Africa

“His wisdom is profound, His power is vast…

He alone stretches out the heavens
and treads on the waves of the sea.
He is the Maker of the Bear and Orion,
the Pleiades and the constellations of the south.
He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed,
miracles that cannot be counted.”
                                              (Job 9:4,8-10)

In our next issue, we will discover more about the bases and roots related to a life Towards Excellence. There is much more to discover! Coming soon!

The Threat of Mediocrity

“Nobody was called by God to stand idly; nobody was called by God
to be served. God’s calling in our lives is related to what He wishes to do in us and through us, in behalf of those who surround us. We need to do all for the glory of God, as a result of our lives completely turned to Christ.”

 

Wndell Miranda, Educator, Theologian & Coach

Wendell Miranda –  Educator, Theologian & Coach

Wendell Miranda

Wendell is from Brazil and is 42 years old. He has been married to Jemima 18 years. They have one child, Francisco who is 8. Wendell is educator, theologian and coach. He has been working over 10 years on leadership development projects in the areas of management, strategic planning, human relations, and mentoring. Wendell is also Pastor of the Assemblies of God in Brazil, Director of “Visão de Futuro” Institute and Director of “Libertadora” Radio station.

 

Below a short interview with Pastor Wendell Miranda. We also share a few excerpts from his book “The Threat of Mediocrity.” (Used by permission from the Author).

*****

You launched recently your newest book named ”The threat of Mediocrity” (“A ameaça da mediocridade” –its original title in Portuguese) . Please, share with us what is it all about?

What we try to communicate is that creating any project, without striving for excellence, it is harmful to organizations and to individuals. It is a real threat when we do something just for doing it, to do something in any way and to consider that as normal. That is what it means.

*****
”Mediocrity …describes the lack of merit due
to the lack of talent. Mediocrity comes from Latin
and it means ”what is in between”, from the word ´medius,´ ”middle”.
The adjective ”mediocre” means median, the one or
what is medium. Mediocrity indicates what is not
fully lower, but it does not get
the highest of excellence either.”
*****

What motivated you to write a book like that and why?

I have been motivated since I joined ”Compassion do Brasil,” to think and to develop actions of excellence. That is a very strong legacy for living / sharing together with my brothers from that beloved

At the book launch - Pastor Francisco Miranda, father of Wendell.

At the book launch – Pastor Francisco Miranda, father of Wendell.

organization.

Also, I have been providing suport to some churches, in Brazil, as well as giving lectures and ministering to different audiences. I got bothered for listening and observing many people holding back to some activism, making their schedules and projects by using the ”automatic pilot.” Then, during a conference for leaders, I had the desire to share my vision of being alert and to combat mediocrity.

*****
“God, I am sure that mediocrity
is a sin, and that it must be faced
as a sin, otherwise we will allow it to dominate our minds and our hearts.”

(John Edmund Haggai)
*****

We are living in a post-modern society, especially in Latin America. Other countries / continents are even living in post-post-post modernism. Don’t you think that one of the main features of this kind of society is ”mediocrity”?

The fast food society tends to preserve the quantity in detriment of the volume’s quality, without paying attention at the content. I believe that it is possible to develop the binomial quality#quantity, when we reject the mediocrity and we commit ourselves to make our best. A society that values the disposable relationships, has a strong tendency to follow mediocrity and, then, to transform that in a feature.

*****
”This century has been increasingly showing
the socio-cultural appeal of the ”image overvaluation,”
that it is nothing more than the culture of appearance,
exteriority, superficiality. It is praised when the most important
is what we appear to be instead of what we really are”.

*****

What do you propose in your book, as a measure of overcoming the mediocrity? What is your advice, especially for the young generation, in order not to get involved in mediocre acts?

The Threat of Mediocrity by Wendell Miranda

The Threat of Mediocrity by Wendell Miranda

I speak a lot about dedication, commitment and integrity. These elements are essential vitamins to combat weakness generated from mediocrity. When you commit yourself, there is engagement, you offer your best. Every morning you must give yourself to your mission and your vocation and at the end of the day you must ask yourself: Did I really do my best?

****
”… in searching for excellence we need to give ourselves to God and
to his work wholly, namely, completely, entirely. Living in integrity
is to live in plenitude. God does not want the remains, God does
not want our wastes, God does not want the leftovers;
but God wants us completely for Him, He wants us fully and not just
half, or just a piece.”
****

To conclude, you probably wrote some anecdotes in your book, as a way to illustrate that ”cancer” in our society. Please, share some of them with our readers?

Yes! The strong appeal to the ”image worship”! This has generated many unpleasant and fragmented quarrels. This search reflects itself on a daily basis relationship. I can remember about different situations: The leader that was hurt because there was not the expected highlight on his name, on the outdoor advertising, citing his participation at the conference; or the individual that said he would do the task in anyway, because God can understand…Or that one that prepares his report falsifying information, because he understands that the end justifies the means.

*****
“John Mason said:

*Do more than exist – live
* Do more than hear – listen

*Do more than agree – cooperate
* Do more than talk – communicate
* Do more than grow – bloom
* Do more than spend – invest
* Do more than think – create
* Do more than work – excel
* Do more than share – give
* Do more than decide – discern
* Do more than consider – commit
* Do more than forgive – forget
* Do more than help – serve
* Do more than coexist – reconcile
* Do more than sing – worship
* Do more than think – plan
* Do more than dream – do
* Do more than see – perceive
* Do more than read – apply
* Do more than receive – reciprocate
* Do more than choose – focus
* Do more than wish – believe
* Do more than advise – help
* Do more than speak – impart
* Do more than encourage – inspire
* Do more than add – multiply
* Do more than change – improve
* Do more than reach – stretch
* Do more than ponder – pray”

 

A Call for Excellence and Perseverance!

“Perseverance is a key for Christian living, perseverance in spite of difficult struggles in life, perseverance in faith and perseverance in the promises of the Lord.”

 

Tania Mendes

Tania Mara Alves Pereira Mendes. She was born in São Paulo, Brazil. She has been married for 30 years but is thankful to God for what seems a short time because the marriage has been so good. Her husband, Wlademir, is an obstretician/gynecologist. Their son, Tiago Rafael, is another blessing from God. He’s a chemistry researcher and is married to an American girl, Danielle, who is an event manager and yet another blessing in their lives.Brazil-Tania

Tania has a graduate degrees in Theology and Journalism as well as a post-graduate degree in scientific journalism. She is planning to start work on a master’s degree program in communication soon. She has been working for Compassion Brazil for 10 years as a Program Communications Manager and says it has been a privilege to work for God using her professional skills. She has seen many children living below the poverty line who have a new perspective on life and can hope for a better future because they have been transformed by the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Tania attends a Baptist church in Campinas, a large city an hour and a half from São Paulo, the state capital. Some of the subjects she has taught in Sunday School are New Testament, Proverbs and Biblical Geography. She has also given talks on communication between couples in other churches in other cities.

Tania, you recently returned to your country after a Haggai Seminar. Tell us how this Advanced Leadership Seminar impacted your personal and professional life. And what are your challenges now?

I came back from Chiang Mai, Thailand, in July 2014. I attended a 25-day intensive course on Advanced Leadership there. It was a blessing –a gift from God. Actually, I had waited for about 10 years to be able to attend this course. It was a long wait, but well worth it. I even had to postpone it 3 times because of conflicting schedules. However, I’m sure that God had His proper time and I had the opportunity to go two months ago. I was able to see God acting in my life and in the lives of the 55 women from 22 different countries who attended. This kind of gathering left me with a wonderful feeling, and I understood better how wonderful it will be in Heaven with God and His people from every nation and tribe. There are no words to describe this! It’s really amazing to see people who come from different countries and cultures but who have the same God, the same Savior and the same Holy Spirit! Only God can put all of us together and unite us in spite of our differences.

The Haggai Seminar made an impact on me personally, making me more sensitive and aware of the need to pray more. I need to pray more and Christians need to pray more. There’s a lot of work to be accomplished and we need God’s grace to fulfill the mission. We need His grace and favor to be able to go out and preach the Gospel with the power of the Holy Spirit –to preach a relevant, contextualized message without ever changing its essence.

With regard to my professional life, God reinforced my idea of doing everything with excellence because He is perfection. I know that I am not, but I can improve and can always count on Him to help me. He has given me gifts, so I need to use them and do my best to glorify Him and bring others to His feet. The key word is excellence. Than means doing everything with that in mind!

Tania Mendes, Journalist & Bible Teacher

Tania Mendes, Journalist & Bible Teacher

Lord willing, I’ll give a course for leaders in my church next year. My pastor supports this idea. I want to share with these people the importnce of being a leader who is committed to God and His mission of preaching the Gospel wherever they are and making a difference in their community. We’re preparing material for at least 10 meetings which will be scheduled on Saturdays or Sundays in March and May.

As a Christian journalist, perhaps one of those challenges is also “spreading the Gospel through media successfully.” Along that line of thought, what would you recommend to your collegues around the world so the message of the Gospel may be more effectively divulged through the media and the social networks?

First of all, it’s good to remember that the core values of the Gospel are not negotiable and that we’re committed to a Holy God who never changes. This idea needs to be very clear to every Christian, no matter what his or her profession is. I think people know that the media and social networks are powerful tools. So people who want to use these tools need to be good examples of Christianity by “living the extraordinary in an ordinary way.” This means being very connected to God and understanding and doing his will in a practical way daily. I truly believe that only God has the power of changing a person by giving him not only eternal life, but also a purposeful life on Earth. Heaven starts here when a person receives Jesus as Savior and Lord and begins to care about others and share the “good news” of salvation. People are definitely watching us as we make both big and small decisions, and many times our actions have the power to speak louder than our words.
The media and the social networks are good tools for spreading the Gospel, but we really need to use them wisely. We need to be faithful to the Word of God and be careful in the way we speak and live.

Tania, you have embraced the Christian faith for 36 years. You have probably experienced many “ups and downs” during all these years -many joyful moments, but also many distasteful and even heartbreaking ones. What has kept you faithful to Christianity? Is there true hope in this faith?

Thanks to God, I haven’t experienced “ups and downs” during these years. I certainly have experienced heartbreak. However, I’ve held one Bible verse very close to my heart. It’s Hebrews 12:2 and it says, “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and the finisher of our faith.” If you do that in spite of people or circumstances in life that can harm you, you can be sure there is hope, because Jesus will never disappoint you and He always fulfills His promises.

Romans 5:8 says that “God has shown us how much He loves us: it was while we were still sinners that Christ died for us!” The Bible tells us that God is perfect and holy, and it also tells us that humans are sinners and selfish. We have hope because God is good and loves and forgives us, and He draws us close to Him through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

And now, your final message to anyone who might be reading this interview, especially to women who may be facing serious struggles and have lost all hope in life.

Dear readers -and especially dear women: Keep looking to Jesus. He loves you so much and has promised to be with you until the end. Also remember that our help comes from the Lord (Psalm 121, and as the Apostle Paul says, take the armor of God and remain steadfast! (Ephesians 6:13) Remember that Romans 8:28-39 says that nothing in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. We are children of God and each one of us is very special to Him!

So to conclude, let me close with a personal testimony. I was almost 18 when I received Jesus as my Savior and Lord. I grew up in a Catholic church and I used to be very sincere in my faith, but I really didn’t understand that I needed to recognize Jesus as my personal Savior and Lord. It was not easy for me to deal with this reality, I fought it, but God had His plans.

I also had to deal with conflicts at home. My father even made me leave home four times after he found out I had made this decision of faith, because he couldn’t understand that I had received Jesus because I was a sinner and I needed to do that. For him, a sinner was only a person who stole or killed, a criminal. He refused to speak to me for 4 years. Those were very difficult times, but I prayed and asked God to help me.

God made it possible for me to stay at home until I got married, and now my father has started reading the Bible and attending church. Only God knows his heart. I praise the Lord because He has shown me His mercy as He says in His Word (Lamentations 3.23) and He has also strengthened me (Isaiah 40.31).

So perseverance is a key for Christian living, perseverance in spite of difficult struggles in life, perseverance in faith and perseverance in the promises of the Lord. And all you need is to learn His Holy Word and meditate on it daily!