Steve Macchia Blog

Mindfulness

Luke 1:48, “for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.”
When the angel approached Mary, the words of greeting startled the young woman. “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. (Luke 1: 28,29). The angel knew that this instilled fear in her heart and announced to her that the Lord had found favor in her and as a result she was to bear a child who would be named Jesus.
So when Mary sings her magnificent song of praise (Luke 1: 46-55) she begins it by glorifying and praising God for his mindfulness – of her humble state of soul. Her song of delight focused on her surprising place in the Kingdom…based solely in a humble openness to the miraculous work of God being released and fulfilled in her.
In what ways have you sensed the mindfulness of God in your behalf lately? He has and is and always will be mindful of the state of your soul and the needs of your heart. God doesn’t know any other way to be God in your life than to be fully mindful of each and every inch of your life. He is mindful of your coming and going, your highs and your lows, your desires and your fears, your gifts and your shame. He knows you and loves you and is mindful of you…receive that incredible gift today.
Throughout Advent 2010 it will be vitally important that we as servants of Christ remember God’s mindfulness. There is nothing that exceeds his grasp or surpasses his initiative. Trust in the One who’s love is fully attentive to your every prayer and believe today that his work in and through you will be for the glory of God and the purposes of his Kingdom.
My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!

This entry also appears on the Conversations Journal Blog.



Preparing for Advent with Thanksgiving

In what ways are you preparing for Advent in the midst of Thanksgiving Week?
I can’t think of a better time of year to prepare for Advent…while our hearts are inclined toward a spirit of gratitude!
What are you thanking God for this week? Family, friends, experiences, accomplishments, in the past, present and future? This is the week to let your heart and voice explode with thankfulness and erupt with praise…don’t hold back! Take every opportunity to say “Thank you!” to your family, friends, and yes be sure to express thanks to God.
As we prepare our hearts for the season of Advent, the first Sunday of which is the Sunday after Thanksgiving, we delight in the gift of Jesus on that first Advent and we await his coming again in glory the eternal Advent. In the meantime, his Advent (coming with expectant waiting) into our hearts each day is both invitational and incarnational. He invites us to come close, draw near and follow him…and he gives us the gift of His Spirit to live incarnationally in this world.
Take time to thank God for his unspeakable, indescribable gifts and give God the glory in heart, mind and voice to all that he has so generously lavished upon you today.
Happy Thanksgiving and a Blessed Advent Season to all!



Giving Thanks

The thematic focus of our spiritual formation groups this past week has been on “Thankfulness” – in keeping with the spirit of the season!
Our opening devotions took us to Psalm 145, reading it slowly one verse at a time around the circle. I was struck by several key verses, “One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts. They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful works…they will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness. The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love” (vs. 4-8).
As we shared what we’re most grateful for, it was pure joy to listen in to the stories of God’s abundant goodness. We heard about family members, friends, joys, new discoveries, rich blessings, we shed a few tears, recounted God’s loving faithfulness, and reminded each other of God’s compassionate love and mercy. It was sweet indeed.
The closing hymn that we sung together was written more than 350 years ago – written by Lutheran deacon Martin Rinkart – entitled “Now Thank We All Our God” – talk about “one generation commending God’s work to another”! We sang with overflowing gusto and joyful hearts:
Now thank we all our God With hearts and hands and voices;
Who wondrous things hath done, In whom this world rejoices.
Who, from our mother’s arms, Hath led us on our way,
With countless gifts of love, And still is ours today.
Giving thanks is good for the soul…be sure to do so often in the coming week and in fact each and every day of your journey of faith. A grateful heart feeds the soul with nutrition that brings forth a generous harvest of faith, love and joy. Happy Thanksgiving!



Soul Sabbath

What a week for Leadership Transformations! We’re celebrating our 7th Ministry Anniversary with several exciting gatherings with our team and lots of friends of our ministry…a Leadership Enrichment Event with Mark Buchanan focusing on our “Spiritual Rhythms” and the seasons of our soul; a Soul Care Mini Retreat focusing on “Discovering the Rest of God” with our friends at Grace Chapel; and a Celebration Reception for our donors and friends – wow, God has been so good to us, and we give HIM all the glory, honor and praise!
Earlier this week I spent a day on “Soul Sabbath” with some of our Gordon-Conwell seminary students. A day-long retreat where we enjoy silence and solitude in community. A great way to practice listening to God, His Word, His creation, His gifts of love and life. It’s awesome how bonded a community of relative strangers can become in shared silence and solitude. I’m amazed each and every time!
“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; He is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge,” Psalm 62: 5-8.