Steve Macchia Blog

STARTING THE NEW YEAR WITH 20/20 CLARITY

Steve's B-log

There will undoubtedly be lots of puns, jokes and analogies about the year 2020, mostly I suspect about the lucidity of our 20/20 eyesight. Vision will be a big theme, as will focus, clarity and single-mindedness.

I’ve worn glasses since the 3rd grade. I recall it with vivid recollection. My teacher, Mrs. Rabokus, thought it appropriate to ask me to stand in front of the class to show off my new glasses. I was mortified. The memory has stayed with me since, mostly as an example of what to never do to a child! What was she thinking?

As a glasses wearer, I’ve only known a life in daily, moment-by-moment need of help to see. I happen to be near-sighted, therefore my lenses are designed to help me see images far away with greater clarity. But as I’ve aged, and my eyesight has languished. I now wear progressive lenses so that I’m aided in seeing both distance and closeness. The optometrist tells me the next thing is cataracts, and to that I say “aarrgh.”

On this New Year 2020, it might be time for you to consider your own vision prescription. Do you need help seeing what’s next, both near and far? If so, may I suggest the following:

LOOK BACK – Our vision for the future is informed by our past. Take some time to reflect on the gifts of the past year, and perhaps beyond. Where have you noticed God at work forming and conforming you into his likeness? What aspects of the past year were life-giving and which were life-draining? Can you create a short list of 3-5 highlights for which you are most grateful?

LOOK UP – Our vision for the future is defined best by God. As you reflect on your past, be reminded of the myriad ways God invites you into a richer, more uplifting relationship with him. Are you sensing his empowering presence? Are you noticing his abiding peace? Are there questions you want to be asking him for clarity in your heart and mind during this season of life?

LOOK IN – Our vision for the future is clarified by our longings. Pay attention to the desires of your heart that God has placed within you. What is it that makes your fist shake with injustice? What is it that brings a tear to your eye? Noticing the deepest longings of our heart puts us in touch with the desire God has placed there for us to attend to. What brings you life today?

LOOK OUT – Our vision for the future is fulfilled by our service to others. Each of us are designed by God uniquely and beautifully. But we are not made for ourselves. We are created to love and serve others in Jesus’ name. What aspect of your current areas of service is most gratifying to you today? Are there areas of your life that you perhaps should release in the future?

Looking back, up, in and out will give you a renewed sense of direction for the year(s) ahead. Without such prayerful reflection we will continue to entrust our lives into the hands of our culture, the whims of society, and the issues of the day. Perhaps it’s a better choice to pray, pause, reflect, and attend to the fresh movement of God’s Spirit and invite the Lord to lead you forward with greater clarity and with a vision that’s more 20/20 in alignment with his will and desire!

LEARN MORE

RESOURCE FOR THE NEW YEAR!

Learn to practice the disciplines of prayer, healthy relationships and good works with this thoughtful devotional resource!



Categories: Uncategorized Comments Off

TREATING CHRISTMAS LIGHTLY?

Steve's B-log

We are just a few days from Christmas and I’m amazed at how the Advent season has been so distracting.

Even with daily devotionals flooding our inbox from a variety of sources and taking time to attend a few concerts, worship services, and holiday parties, we’re adding all the additional shopping, wrapping, baking, and prepping to our daily routines.

The result: we’re worn out and once again we’ve treated Christmas lightly.

However, it’s not too late to reclaim a deeper look at the miraculous gift of the Incarnation. Here are some suggestions to consider:

  1. Read Luke 1 slowly, prayerfully, and reflectively for one leisurely hour, noting the key personalities surrounding the coming of Jesus.
  2. Read Luke 2:1-20 slowly, prayerfully, and reflectively for one spacious hour, noting each facet of the storyline with wonder and curiosity – as if you’ve never read the story before.
  3. Light the advent wreath or a single white candle, turn off the lights and prayerfully reflect on the gifts God has given to you in this season of life. Offer a breath prayer of thanksgiving each time you recount a blessing from God.
  4. Sit like a child in front of the manger scene or your adorned tree or another favorite decoration in your home and notice with joy the beauty of Advent and Christmas, recalling early memories of your most cherished childhood memories. Give thanks to the Lord for his kindness, love and mercy.
  5. Enjoy a favorite Christmas movie with family and friends. Pop some popcorn. Laugh and cry together. Be warmed and humored. Let joy reign in your heart.
  6. Be sure to enjoy mealtimes with family and friends without any technology at the table so you can be fully present with one another. Purpose to look one another in the eyes and give thanks for their role in your life. Give thanks together for God’s gift of presence in Jesus.
  7. Take a long walk in the woods or do a jigsaw puzzle or find some way to enjoy something opposite to your full-to-overflowing daily routines and which bring out your creative side. Notice the peace of Jesus as you relish the beauty all around you.

You know what treating Christmas lightly looks and feels like. So, this year let’s turn that upside down and fully embrace the gifts of Christmas offered to us in the miracle of the Christ child, the Incarnate One, born humbly in a stable, for you, his dearly beloved child.

LEARN MORE



Categories: Uncategorized Comments Off

SILENCIO: A BOOK ON A MISSION

Steve's B-log

In many respects, Silencio is a book on a mission: to guide you to the often-uncharted geography of the human-yet-eternal soul

And, Leadership Transformations is a “team of missionaries” committed to helping you find your way back home to the heart of God.

Why? Because your soul matters to God.

And it matters to you and all who accompany you on the journey of life. God is always hospitable with his loving attentiveness and gentle initiatives. We can turn our heart and soul back home to God’s loving embrace no matter how far we may wander. And, attending to your neglected soul is a choice you can make – today

Convinced of the continual neglect of the soul, twenty-two members of the Leadership Transformations Ministry Team recently released their first team-written book, Silencio: Reflective Practices for Nurturing Your Soul.

It’s a compendium of 64 thematic chapters, featuring a plethora of classic spiritual formation topics, with an overview, quotes, a public domain hymn, reflective questions, prayers, and suggested practices for each. It’s a unique volume in so many ways, and LTI is thrilled to make this available to the wider body of Christ.

Perhaps it’s time to care of the part of you that matters most: your own soul. We hope Silencio becomes one of your companions for the journey that leads you home to the extravagant love of God – the very best lover of your soul!

LEARN MORE



Categories: Uncategorized Comments Off

POSTURE – A SOUL’S FEAST

Steve's B-log

This week began with Christ the King Sunday, which leads us into Thanksgiving, and then culminates with the first Sunday in Advent. What a great week for the nourishment of the soul – a spiritual trifecta!

With Christ the King we conclude the liturgical calendar and the end of the church year. It’s a fabulous reminder that Christ remains on the throne in all his splendor and majesty. No matter the circumstances of our lives, no matter the tribulations we face on earth, Christ empathizes, comforts, sustains, and awaits our eternal home – simply out of love.

Thanksgiving is an American holiday, focusing our hearts and minds on the blessings of the amazing lineage we all share as citizens of our great country. On this holiday we gather as family and friends to recount our many blessings, enjoy a splendiferous and delectable feast, watch parades and football, and await the shopping frenzy that follows in the coming weeks. Thanksgiving is a refreshing pause amidst the fray.

Advent takes us full circle back to the beginning of our spiritual journey, to the long-awaited anticipation of the miraculous incarnation of Jesus as a baby born of the Spirit and into this world through the womb of Mary. In Jesus we find our greatest hope, our deepest joy, and our inmost peace. Because of the great love of God, we are invited into relationship with Jesus that’s wrapped in love. And our lives are transformed forever.

As you savor the feasts offered this week, enjoy them with a grateful heart. A blessed Thanksgiving to you and yours! I look forward to traveling the season of Advent together in the coming weeks. And, if you haven’t ordered your copy of Silencio, be sure to do so today.

LEARN MORE



Categories: Uncategorized Comments Off

LIVING AND SERVING AT GODSPEED

Steve's B-log

In my 41 years of ministry, I’ve learned that building spiritual formation in congregations and communities might require a change of pace. Earlier this summer, I passed the threshold of my 41st year in ministry. My career began in the local church for 11 years, followed by 14 years at the helm of a regional ministry, capped off by the past 16 years with Leadership Transformations.

The big idea I’ve discovered along the way is that in local church and parachurch ministry settings, we have bought in to the idea that bigger, better, bolder, new, next, now is the mantra of ministry life. We are in constant pursuit of growth (bigger), effectiveness (better), the big splash (bolder), the latest trends (new), our strategic initiatives (next), and it all needs to be done “yesterday” (now). Does that sound like your collective team mindset?

What if we upended that, even for a season, and sought to live at a different pace that would enable us to actually deepen our knowledge of God through experience and allow us to intentionally pursue ministry that is focused on relationships and being more fully known? Would we have collective jitters about the result? Or, would we welcome it with open arms?

The LTI mantra is as the leader(ship) goes, so goes the organization, but, more importantly, as the soul of the leader goes, so goes the leader. We see this over and over and over again. Another way to say it is it’s all about leadership and it’s all about the souls of leaders. Our ministry comes alongside leaders and teams to help them live and serve in a soul-centric way.

Recently, I came upon the Godspeed film, created by Matt Canlis, a pastor who learned the hard way what a different-paced life and ministry looks like, including appearances of N.T. Wright and Eugene Peterson. If you haven’t seen the Godspeed film, I encourage you to take 30 minutes to do so. I promise you’ll be challenged, encouraged, and blessed. And, like so many others, I presume you’ll be rocked by the core message of “genuinely living at the pace of being known.”

Our upcoming Symposium on Spiritual Formation for Congregations and Communities promises to be a transformational experience! We have invited Matt Canlis to join us, and we believe his message is timely for all. We are fortunate that he was available to come, because, given his rigorous pursuit of living at the pace he speaks about, Matt hardly ever travels to speak at events like ours! Susan Currie, Suz Skinner, Jeremy Stefano, and Rick Anderson will also be joining us for this event!

I look forward to spending October 16-18 with you at the Symposium. And, if possible, bring your team! I firmly believe it’s time we all learn to live and serve at the pace of being known at Godspeed.

LEARN MORE



Categories: Uncategorized Comments Off

4 LEADERSHIP WORDS FOR JULY 4

IMG_1751

In between the flags, parades, cookouts, and fireworks, I’d like to suggest we muse on 4 leadership words for July 4. Each of these are needed now more than ever in the hearts, minds, and lives of our leaders – in politics, business, education, and yes, even in the Church.

  1. HUMILITY – the opposite of pride. Forgetting self and considering others. Content. Gracious. Loving. Surprisingly selfless.
  2. INTEGRITY – the fruit of a life well-lived. True to God and self. Trustworthy; faithful to one’s call and mission. Wholesome. Pure. Rare.
  3. KINDNESS – the words we speak to, for, and about another. Laced with mercy, patience, compassion, and peace. Honest. Without guile.
  4. SACRIFICE – the service to others’ well-being that counts the cost and is willing to pay it forward. Commitment. Incarnational. Forgiving.

The results of these godly leadership qualities? Four additional words: Trust. Transformation. Testimony. Thriving. These godly leadership qualities are at the heart of LTI’s leadership development ministries.

Take time to muse on these four words and prayerfully consider their application in your life today, and as a result, in the lives of those you serve in Jesus’ name.



ENROLL TODAY IN EMMAUS:
A SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP COMMUNITY

2019-2020 NOW OPEN


Join us for Emmaus, a spiritual formation community that exists to encourage you in a more contemplative lifestyle in the midst of the growing demands of leadership. Together we explore a deeper understanding of spiritual leadership and resources that help you care for your soul and the souls of others.


Fall 2019 Emmaus Applications are Open
Apply Today!


Watch Rowena Day:
What God Was Inviting Me to All Along


ENROLL NOW



Categories: Uncategorized Comments Off

LTI’s 16th Anniversary – July 1, 2019!

IMG_1751

Today we celebrate the 16th anniversary of Leadership Transformations!

On July 1, 2003, Ruth and I ventured into uncharted waters to commence the LTI journey. For the past 16 years, in calm, challenging, and delightful waters, we have navigated our way to today. Not alone to be sure: since day one God has blessed us with a team of fellow travelers who share our conviction about nurturing the leaders soul. Today, by the grace of God, our board, staff, volunteers, partners, participants, and alumni number in the 1,000’s!  To God and God alone belongs all the glory, honor, and praise!

Today, as I reflect on the myriad ways God has blessed and multiplied the work of our hands and the prayers of our hearts, I offer the following Top 16 Gifts from God in past 16 Years:

  1. God’s clarion call through a very specific dream and prayer
  2. An incredible discernment team who helped us launch-in-faith
  3. Our first donation, and all who have given sacrificially as our donor family
  4. Our Founding Board of Directors, and all who have served since day one
  5. The GCTS welcome mat, inviting us to offer leadership of the Pierce Center
  6. Our amazing Ministry Team of gifted, godly, grace-filled servant-leaders
  7. Growing family of ministry participants who join us each year to learn, grow, and serve
  8. Our LTI Alumni Community, faithfully serving others all around the globe today
  9. Selah: started in the East, grew West, and now venturing into Europe
  10. Soul Sabbaths, Soul Care Retreats, and our Emmaus Spiritual Leadership Communities
  11. Our Church Health Assessment Tool and over 550 churches who have used this resource
  12. Creating great formation resources: Silencio, TouchPoints, Retreat Guides, Worship Outlines
  13. Online SpiritualFormationStore.com with over 150 LTI books and resources plus 350 others
  14. Consistent LTI presence in New England, Colorado, Houston, Phoenix and beyond
  15. Salvation Army and the hundreds of other denominations and organizations we have served
  16. YOU…without whom we would not be here on the threshold of year 16!

With a grateful heart, overwhelmed with the kindness of Almighty God in forming, developing, and growing the ministry of Leadership Transformations over the past 16 years for his glory, his namesake, his beloved leaders in his Church, and for his everlasting Kingdom…

In Christ Alone,

Steve

IMG_1751

LEARN MORE



Categories: Uncategorized Comments Off

MEMORIAL DAY: REMEMBER AND GIVE THANKS

MEMORIAL DAY: REMEMBER AND GIVE THANKS

“The spiritual discipline of remembrance is biblical, historical and simply good for the soul.” – Steve Macchia

The spiritual discipline of remembrance is biblical, historical and simply good for the soul.

God leads the way in this regard.

Recalling the goodness of each day of creation, in Genesis 1 he “sees what he made as good” and then on the seventh day he rests to notice the fullness thereof.

He instructs his people in the ten commandments (Exodus 20) to “remember the Sabbath day” by keeping it holy. He instructs his people to place “rocks of remembrance” in the Jordan River (Joshua 4) as symbols of God’s protection over them as he miraculously opened the sea for their safe passage.

The pinnacle moment of remembrance surrounds Jesus and his ministry among his disciples and followers. With bread and a cup in his hands, he gently invites his closest friends to dine with him. Then, he instructs them to do likewise “in remembrance” of his sacrifice for their redemption.

Each time we gather at the Lord’s Table, we do so in order for us to “remember and give thanks” for all that Christ has done in our behalf.

Why?

Because we are a forgetful people. We are living at breakneck speed.

We are filling our days with as much to do as possible. We are noisy, busy, constantly in motion. When we travel at 70 mph, there is little we can see along the way. The roadside glimpses of life are few and far between.

As a result, we lack the ability and discipline to remember and give thanks.

This Memorial Day is all about remembering and giving thanks for those who have offered their lives for the sake of our freedom. Their sacrifice provides our liberties. Without those who have gone before us, we would not be living in the society we enjoy today.

So, as you pray this weekend and offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, practice praying words of thankful remembrance. Thank God for the gift of life, be grateful for those who accompany you in this life, and especially thank the Lord for those who have served in harms danger so that the freedom we enjoy can be preserved for this and future generations.

Remember and give thanks. It’s good for your soul.



Categories: Uncategorized Comments Off

My Three Ruths

MY THREE RUTHS

Reflections on Mother’s Day 2019

IMG_0445

I’m a blessed man.

My mom was Ruth Naomi.

My wife is Ruth Lynn.

My daughter is Rebekah Ruth.

 

I’m surrounded by Ruths. And I’m profoundly grateful. I would not be the man I am without my three Ruths.

 

My mom was my very first hero. She always had love in her heart, planted deeply by God in her German Lutheran home in Baltimore, Maryland by two amazing parents. She modeled well her biblical namesake story of forever faithfulness to those who surrounded her daily. She lived a simple, generous, humble, and incredibly beautiful life. She practiced hospitality like no other person I’ve ever observed. She died without offending a single person. She believed in the golden rule, she prayed the Lord’s prayer from the heart, and even on her death bed was able to recite by memory the 23rd Psalm. One amazing woman of God.

 

My wife is another of my heroes. She endured and persevered when all the odds were stacked against her. Her sense of honor, commitment and humor have combined to create a heart for the hurting, the lonely, and the disenfranchised. She discerns right from wrong with laser like precision and all who don’t like the truth don’t bond with my Ruth. She’s got you in her eyesight, and if you’re willing, her presence in your midst will change your life…forever. She’s raised two amazing children and helped them overcome challenges others would shy away from. Not my Ruth. She’s as dogged and determined to fight for what’s best, even if it is costly to do so. I married up big time.

 

My daughter is blessed to have lived under the tutelage of her mother and grandmother, two Ruths that have shaped this gifted woman. I’m as proud as a dad could ever be of our dear Bekah Ruth. She too has caught the vision for living life circumspectly, humbly, and always with an eye out to protect and preserve the dignity of others. Even though she has a demanding profession, her stories are always about the gifts and abilities, the needs, hurts, and even the foibles of those who cross her path. Thankfully she can handle whatever comes her way with a strong will, a discerning heart, and an incredibly loving soul. She learned well from her mother and grandmother, the best teachers of all.

 

On this Mother’s Day, my daughter Bekah, my son, Nate, his beloved wife Ashley, and our precious granddaughter Brenna Lynn (photographed here with Ruth), are filled to overflowing with a thankful heart for the women we know and love as “Ruth” – a biblically significant name, graced by the woman who sacrificed her own self-interests in order to care for her mother in-law Naomi in a time of desperate need. “Where you go, I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” God provided in abundance in return for her faithfulness. God knew in advance all that he was doing to establish a line from Ruth to Obed her son, the father of Jesse, the father of David…of the lineage of Jesus. Thank God for Ruth, the biblical one-and-only who has given us a role model for today.

 

For many, Mother’s Day is a tough day. And for good reasons. So many don’t have good relationships with their birth mom. Or they miss their mom due to death, distance, or health. Some wish they could be a mom themselves, but marriage and family have been elusive realities for them. From a male perspective, all I can say is “I’m sorry. I truly wish it were different for you.” So I pray that as you reflect today on the biblical Ruth you can find comfort and courage to face the reality of your life with God-honoring dignity and non-circumstantial joy. Receive God’s love today, dear sister. Read and pray through the Book of Ruth – it will be good for your soul.

 

 

 



Categories: Uncategorized Comments Off

WHAT IS LEADERSHIP?

What is leadership?

“Is leadership all about title? I don’t think so. Leadership is all about influence. The fact of the matter is, each of us are exercising leadership in some capacity.” – Steve Macchia

One would think there would be general agreement in answer to the question, “What is leadership?”

Perhaps it doesn’t surprise you to note that in fact there isn’t universal or even broadly shared opinions about this important word. We are living in fascinating times.

Is leadership all about title? I don’t think so. Leadership instead is all about influence.

And the exercising of leadership happens every time any group of two or more are gathered together: in each setting there is a leader. This is true at home, at work, in the church and community, in the widest and thinnest of social sectors today.

The fact of the matter is, each of us are exercising leadership as “one who influences,” and therefore it’s wise to consider the definition, philosophy, impact, roles and attributes of Christian leadership.

To some, leadership is an authoritative presence that projects an assertiveness toward others and the work they are called to complete. To others, leadership is the coalescence of varying ideas and personalities around a shared team mission. To still others, leadership is about communicating ideas and concepts and then inviting others to own them for themselves.

The variety of leadership styles is on the increase in this multi-cultural, multi-lingual, multi-ethnic, multi-generational, multi-theological world we inhabit today.

Then, to consider some of the attributes that matter to effective leadership, we begin a laundry list depending on one’s personal conviction about the importance and power of a leader.

Some might list: bold, determined, decisive, convincing, compelling and powerful.

Others might include: collaborative, cooperative, empowering and team-building.

Still others might note: thoughtful, compassionate, humble, gracious and kind. Again, the qualities that matter most to leadership are varied by philosophy, experience, theology and conviction.

Regardless of style and attributes, are there baseline understandings that we share in common? That’s when I find the conversation getting even more engaging, stimulating and much more interesting. Especially when we are talking about Christian leadership, with the triune Godhead and a host of biblical examples provided for us as leadership role models. Even there, as history has proven, the variations of exemplary leadership are all over the map.

So, what are your answers to the questions:

“What is leadership?”

“What style of leadership do you appreciate most?”

“What are the attributes of leadership that evoke your best response?”

I would like to suggest that these questions are worthy of our exploration, especially in the confused-about-leadership times we are living in today. Will you share your answers with us? Comment below; I’d love to hear from you.

SEND YOUR COMMENTS






Categories: Uncategorized Comments Off