Steve Macchia Blog

The Real Work

“It may be that when we no longer know what to do we have come to our real work,

and that when we no longer know which way to go we have come to our real journey.

The mind that is not baffled is not employed.

The impeded stream is the one that sings.” (Wendell Berry)

Who’s up for some “real work” today and in the days to come?

Perhaps it will require the following:

Finding our rest in God.

Putting our trust in God.

Clinging to hope in God.

Walking faithfully with God.

No matter what. No matter when. No matter how.

Receive the unconditional love of God – it’s the only real work that matters today. And it’s the path that will lead to  your deepest and most meaningful transformation.

Behold the love of God…believe the grace of God…belong to the kingdom of God…become the beloved of God

 



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Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs

This past Sunday the Church celebrated Pentecost, the day when the Spirit descended upon the people of God with power. As a result, the healing and restoration that occurred in the 1st Century Church was a marvel to behold. The believers praised God, shared all things in common, and watched the miraculous movement of the Spirit manifest all around them. Repentance led to renewal and revival…Jesus’ promise of the life-transforming Spirit had come true in their midst and all were filled with joy.

The loving unity granted by the Spirit at Pentecost is something we crave today. We read the account in Acts 2-4 and we long for it all the more. But then we begin to notice a reality that’s far different from the early Church. Instead of unity there’s division; instead of oneness there’s loneliness; instead of commonality there’s individuation. Imagine how our lives would be different if we remained prayerfully open to the Spirit’s movement in our daily lives.

And, imagine if we greeted one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit (rather than a critical, cynical, or caustic word that disparages rather than births hope in the hearts of each hearer). Perhaps we would experience spiritual unity and renewal like never before.

As far as I know, Christianity is the only worldwide faith that sings together in worship, and from a commonly shared hymnal – albeit from many such hymnals, song books, and projection screens. (Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong in this assumption…others may chant or pray in unison, but not in keeping with our typical worship expressions of musical joy) We love to sing and our hearts “burn” with God’s presence as we join our hearts in unhindered praise and joyful song. It’s one of the amazing ways the Spirit unites the body of Christ.

So, dear friend, what is the song of your heart today? Perhaps a hymnal might be a place to linger for the sake of your renewal-thirsty soul.

 



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A Word of Wisdom: Martin Luther King, Jr.

Grateful today for the wisdom of this amazing leader…from Strength to Love, 1963

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”



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Happy New Year to all!

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In 2017 may you…
Dream more
Complain less
Listen more
Talk less
Love more
Argue less
Hope more
Fear less
Relax more
Worry less
Believe more
Doubt less
Play more
Work less
Focus more
Distract less
Pray more
Fret less
Sing more
Shout less
Be more
Strive less
Give more
Take less
Live more
Stress less
Rest more
Hurry less
Read more
Noisy less
Trust more
Control less

May the Lord bless you and keep you, the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon you and grant you his peace, and may you open-heartedly receive and offer these loving gifts of grace from the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in 2017 and forevermore. Amen.

 



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O Antiphons – Welcoming the Miracle of Christmas

 Christ is Born

O Antiphons – Welcoming the Miracle of Christmas

By Stephen A. Macchia

 

Advent waiting, watching and wondering

Embracing the coming of the Christ child

Prophetically, humbly and gloriously

 

O come, O come, Emmanuel!

 

Rod of Jesse, freeing us from Satan’s tyranny victoriously

Dayspring, dispersing gloomy clouds with cheers on high

Key of David, opening wide the path to our heavenly home

Lord of Might, holding firm the Law in majesty and awe

Wisdom from on high, inviting order on the way to knowledge

Desire of nations, binding all people in one heart and mind

 

Our hymn of praise exalts the heavens and blankets the earth

O come, O come, Emmanuel…your prophets foretold the truth

Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace

 

Emmanuel has come, is with us now, and will come again once more!



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O Antiphons – Day 7, 12/23

o-come-o-come-emmanuel

O come, Desire of nations, bind in one the heart of all mankind;

Bid Thou our sad divisions cease, and be Thyself our King of peace.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

As King of all nations, we now anticipate the arrival of genuine peace. In fact, our hearts cry out for such peace each time we celebrate another season of Advent. Why? Because every year of our lives there are wars that hinder our peace…somewhere in the world, and even in our country, community, church, neighborhood, and among family and friends. Every division, whether large or small, is sad…simply sad. There is nothing we desire in times of strife more than peace. Jesus is the author and perfect example of reconciliation…in Him there is peace.

Christmas is coming and our hearts are growing in loving anticipation and joyful celebration. The season of Advent reminds us to simply wait…in due time, in God’s time, He sent His Son into the world in an unlikely way through unconventional means and in an unglamorous place. We wait with prayerful hope that once more the worshipful celebration of the coming of Jesus in a humble stable will draw us back home…into the arms of God. And, eventually back home into the arms of others, even those with whom today we are not in peace.

Rejoice, dear brothers and sisters in Christ…Jesus has come in a lowly manger and will come again in triumphant glory. Rejoice! Rejoice! Alleluia! Amen!

A Blessed and Merry Christmas to you and yours from all of us at Leadership Transformations and the Macchia household too!



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O Antiphons – Day 6, 12/22

o-come-o-come-emmanuel

O come, Thou Dayspring, come and cheer our spirits by Thine Advent here,

Disperse the gloomy clouds of night, and death’s dark shadows put to flight.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

Dayspring is literally “dawn,” the physical light of the sun at the start of a new day. At the dawning of light, we welcome Christ into the world to shatter the darkness that had previously plagued the people of God. At long last, the promised One has come to light up the world and cheer our waning spirits. With the dawn, the clouds of night are dispersed and new life emerges from below the horizon…come dayspring, come quickly, so our darkly shadowed world can find freedom and joy in the light of day.

What is the darkness over your heart and life today? What are the heavy concerns that weigh on you, hold you back from the abundant life, and follow you like a dark cloud above? The coming of Emmanuel is a tangible reminder that our dark shadows are put to flight…set free to be released…no longer are you held down in bondage to those heartaches. In Jesus, you are free to live and breathe and have your being fully released in him. Are you willing to hold looser or fully release those dark shackles that tie you down? Freedom in Jesus will transform your soul and will invite you into a deeper trust this Christmas. May it be so.



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O Antiphons – Day 5, 12/21

o-come-o-come-emmanuel

O come, thou Key of David, come and open wide our heavenly home,

Make safe the way that leads on high, and close the path to misery.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

The Key of David reference signifies kingly authority; holding the keys to that control of domain that David once held in a geographical and historical setting would now have worldwide influence in Christ. Found in Isaiah 22 and Revelation 3, Jesus is the fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant and the head of the Church in Philadelphia.

So we cry out once more, “Come, yes come even more, Emmanuel” and be with us, guiding, protecting, sustaining, and ruling over our hearts and lives this new Advent season. With prayerful and joyful anticipation, we await your coming once more in the humble manger of hay, and having risen miraculously from the dead, we look forward with heavenly intent to the time you will come again and usher us into glory with you forever!

In response to that life-changing truth…Rejoice! Find joy in God alone…Rejoice! No matter what life delivers today…Rejoice!



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O Antiphons – Day 4, 12/20

 

o-come-o-come-emmanuel

O come, O Rod of Jesse free, Thine own from Satan’s tyranny,

From depths of hell Thy people save, and give them victory o’er the grave.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

In alternative hymnals, the opening line is changed to “O come, O Rod of Jesse’s stem, from every foe deliver them that trust thy mighty power to save…” Either way, the rod or root of Jesse signifies the stem from which Jesus would come would be through the lineage of David, the youngest offspring of his less famous father Jesse. The humility of this reference is striking indeed…mentioning Jesse rather than King David. Jesus came in all humility as well, born of a teenage mother, birthed in a simple manger, but with power, majesty, and offering a salvation only He could provide.

Consider in your prayers today that the thought of sending Jesus to earth wasn’t a last minute BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) of God…it was God’s plan from the beginning, foretold in the prophets, and enacted through a very humble lineage. As you pray today, thank God for how intimately acquainted he is with every hair on your head, every concern of your heart, every thought in your mind. Allow the Lord to reign victoriously in your soul, yes even today.



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O Antiphons – Day 3, 12/19

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O come, O come, thou Lord of might, Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s height

In ancient times didst give the law, in cloud and majesty and awe.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

In Exodus 3 we see how the angel of the Lord came to Moses in the burning bush, invited Moses to lead the people of God out from their slavery in Egypt and give them the Law, both of which would set them free. The Lord works mightily in their midst and behalf, all of which resounds with shouts of rejoicing and praise. In the Incarnation, Jesus Himself fulfills the Law and comes to set us free!

Let your heart cry out to the Lord today, inviting his strength to reside within you as you face various trials, tribulations, and temptations. Look for the burning bush of his presence there to guide, protect, lead and sustain you. Be free from the inside out as you offer prayers of majesty and awe to Almighty God.



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