Steve Macchia Blog

The Holy Spirit

Earlier this month the Leadership Transformations family celebrated our 8th Anniversary in a variety of ways, starting with an event entitled “Re-Ignited: Kindling Our Inner Fire for God.” During one of the plenary sessions I spoke about “Feeding the Neglected Soul,” and suggested five inviting ways we can nurture our souls.

The first way we feed our neglected soul is to open ourselves fully to receive the abundance of our Heavenly Father’s loving embrace (blog entry 11.18.11).

The second way I suggested is to trust in the Spirit to create from deep within us a transformative walk of faith.

The Holy Spirit is and always has been an active member of the Trinity. The Spirit was present in creation, throughout the biblical narrative, in the ministry of Jesus and the early church, and has been at work in the hearts and lives of believers ever since. The movement and ministry of the Spirit is ever-present, all-powerful, and all-knowing. The Spirit is eternal, fully alive, and empowers each and every believer with unparalleled wisdom and strength.

When we invite the Spirit to transform us from the depth of our soul and into all of life, we depend on the Spirit to convict us of our sin, convert us from darkness to light, counsel us in matters great and small, comfort us in times of need, console us with his peace, continue to mature us as his children in worship and witness, and continually conform us more and more into the image of Christ.
When we invite the Spirit to build from within us the joy of the abundant life, we are asking God to create evidence of his presence in the form of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (the nine lovely attributes of the Spirit). When we keep in step with the Spirit we are seeking to express the gifts he endows us to embody as teachers, preachers, leaders, servants, counselors, administrators, and several other spiritual gifts he generously bestows.

Yes, the ministry of God’s Spirit is available to all who believe. God is not stingy with his Spirit; instead he’s really quite generous. Is it time to re-order your loves and direct the priorities of your heart sincerely back to God? Invite the Spirit to do the re-ordering, incline the ears of your heart in his direction, and watch how different your life in God will be in the coming days and hours. The Spirit is just a breath away…his life in you is freedom and joy in abundance.

The Spirit of God wants more than anything for you to trust and depend upon him for every aspect of your life. Will you put your life fully in his hands? Feed your hungry soul by inviting the Spirit to have his way in your heart and life today!

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you…” (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8).



Happy Thanksgiving!

We plow the fields and scatter the good seed on the land, but it is fed and watered by God’s almighty hand;
He sends the snow in winter, the warmth to swell the grain, the breezes and the sunshine, and soft refreshing rain.

Refrain: All good gifts around us are sent from heaven above;
Then thank the Lord, O thank the Lord for all his love.

He only is the Maker of all things near and far; he paints the wayside flower, he lights the evening star;
The winds and waves obey him, by him the birds are fed; much more to us, his children, he gives our daily bread.
Refrain…

We thank you then, O Father, for all things bright and good, the seedtime and the harvest, our life, out health, our food
No gifts have we to offer for all your love imparts, but that which you desire now: our humble, thankful hearts.
Refrain…

In 1782 the German poet Matthias Claudius wrote this wonderful hymn, with Acts 14:17 as its backdrop, “He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons, he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.”

It is with profound joy to offer you my sincere gratitude for your loving and generous partnership, prayers and support. The LTi family wishes you and yours a blessed Thanksgiving 2011.



Our Father’s Embrace

Last weekend the Leadership Transformations family celebrated our 8th Anniversary in a variety of ways, starting with an event entitled “Re-Ignited: Kindling Our Inner Fire for God.” During one of the plenary sessions I spoke about “Feeding the Neglected Soul,” and suggested five inviting ways we can nurture our souls. As a result, I’ll be addressing these in my blog posts through the end of this year.

The first way we feed our neglected soul is to open ourselves fully to receive the abundance of our Heavenly Father’s loving embrace.

In the parable of the lost son (Luke 15: 11-32), we see how extravagant the prodigal father’s love is toward his wayward son. After having squandered his father’s inheritance in wild, riotous living, the younger son finds himself in a severe famine of the soul, eventually sleeping among the pigs. But, “when he came to his senses” and realized how far he was from his father’s heart and household, he mapped out his plea for forgiveness and set his trajectory toward home.

But, while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming from the porch of heaven and was filled with compassion for his son. He ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. Without needing his son’s apology, the father brought him the best robe, a bright ring, and sandals for his feet. A fattened calf was killed in his behalf and a feast of celebration was thrown in his honor. His son was home, hallelujah!

How surprising to the reader to see the upside down nature of the father’s unconditional love. For most of us, we’d follow a much different course…perhaps stand on the porch with arms folded firm, keeping a stern face of disappointment until the lost one pleads for forgiveness, with a punitive or judgmental response before issuing mercy. Are you willing to consider such a contrast of replies – the chasm between our human response and the extravagance of the heavenly Father? And, are you open enough to see yourself as the wayward son (or daughter) and genuinely long to receive the Father’s loving embrace?

The core of the gospel we proclaim is “love” – sent from heaven above and fulfilled in Jesus. Love for all lost sons and daughters who daily walk their own path and spend their inheritance as they best see fit, even if it leads to their self destruction.

Come home, dear friend, to the Father’s loving embrace. Receive that unparalleled gift and your life will never be the same again. It’s the essence of the soul of one who loves because they know without a shadow of a doubt that they were loved first by God. “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).



Inattentiveness

On Friday, November 11, 2011, LTi is hosting an event at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary entitled “Re-Ignited: Kindling Your Inner Fire for God” with special guest speaker Chris Webb (and yours truly). In anticipation of that event I am focusing my weekly blogs on the topic, “What are the winds that blow toward your soul and seek to extinguish your inner flame for God?”

Part Eight: Inability to Listen Well…to God, to others, and even to ourselves. A closed or clogged up soul is unavailable for and inattentive primarily to God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Is your soul a listening and attentive soul? To listen well is to give heed to, pay attention to. It’s at the heart of the gospel message, for God the Father said of Jesus, “This is my son, whom I love. Listen to him!” (Mark 9:7). Jesus told his disciples, “Pay attention to how you listen!” (Luke 8:18, NRSV). And, long before Jesus spoke these words, Moses told the people of God, “Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him” (Deut. 30: 19-20).

So how is it that we pay attention to the voice of Jesus? We are his followers, and he is like a shepherd to us (John 10:14). Therefore, we’re invited and instructed (as his wooly followers) to listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd and not to a stranger’s voice instead. So often the eyes and ears of our heart get distracted by the images and sounds of other influencers of our soul. Each of us are susceptible to those influences that lead us out of a posture of attentiveness to God and entice us instead to be led into pastures that keep us from flourishing in heart, soul, mind and strength.

All of the seven previously mentioned “winds that blow toward our soul and extinguish our inner flame for God” -  our enemy the devil, our prideful self, the idols of our heart, our busyness, the abundant accessibility of technology, our unattended heartache, and our Sabbathlessness – lead us into the inattentiveness of our soul and the invitational voice of the Good Shepherd.

So what will be your response? The prayer of my heart is that all who are called by God into an intimate fellowship with him will indeed listen attentively to the loving, forgiving, grace-filled, life-transforming voice of the Good Shepherd. Jesus longs to lead us beside quiet waters, refresh our souls, and guide us along right paths for his name’s sake (Psalm 23). For surely his goodness and love will follow us all the days of our lives, and indeed we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever!



Sabbathlessness

On Friday, November 11, 2011, LTi is hosting an event at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary entitled “Re-Ignited: Kindling Your Inner Fire for God” with special guest speaker Chris Webb (and yours truly). In anticipation of that event I am focusing my weekly blogs on the topic, “What are the winds that blow toward your soul and seek to extinguish your inner flame for God?”

Part Seven: Sabbathlessness…rarely logging out or shutting down long enough to take a deep breath, relax, reflect and be renewed out from under the frenetic pace of life. The Lord himself finished his work of creation in six days, so that”by the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” (Genesis 2:2,3).

As a result, we are not only commanded to keep the Sabbath holy, but we are invited to do so as well. It’s a joy and a privilege, a gift and a blessing. Is that true for you too?

Many of us never stop long enough to even consider the subject of Sabbath rest, never mind entering into it fully. But, when we stop – shut down – ceasing from what we’ve previously been doing in our work days, we can actually enter into a day and a lifestyle of restfulness. When we rest, in adrenalin-free restfulness, we come into a richer understanding of who God is, who we are in his sight as his beloved child, and who he’s calling us to be as co-laborers in our faith community, building up the kingdom of God with renewed passion and creativity.

Marva Dawn (Keeping the Sabbath Wholly), Mark Buchanan (The Rest of God), and others have written great materials for us to prayerfully consider as we contemplate the meaning of Sabbath rest for ourselves. The rhythms of God-honoring Sabbath include ceasing (fully stopping anything that reflects our work life), resting (putting our feet up and relaxing our normally active bodies and minds so that we can attend to God’s Word, will and ways), celebrating (worshipful life in all its fulness as a community of dearly loved children of God) and embracing (affirming our gifts and calling as mission focused believers). Out of this Sabbath lifestyle, attitude, mindset and purposefulness we enter fully into living intentionally and humbly for Christ’s glory.

What’s your prayerful response to God’s invitation to Sabbath rest? Are you willing to be counter-cultural and embrace this joy-filled privilege, gift and blessing? When you rest in God, you truly do discover the rest of God. Try it for yourself…and let me know how the priority of Sabbath grows within you.