Steve Macchia Blog

Flea Market

Over the weekend my wife and I went to a sprawling outdoor flea market with our friends. There were countless tables of “stuff” overflowing from cars, trucks, and trailers stocked with abundant inventory. We walked row by row past an endless supply of kitchen items, wall hangings, books, jewelry, tools, paintings, fabrics, music memorabilia, and home furnishings. It was a bit overwhelming to consider how much of this was absolutely unnecessary (to me) and yet how packed the market was with interested buyers (like me?).

As we enjoyed this fun outing with friends we actually found a couple treasures each. Before today those items were not in our lives; now they are a part of the flea market memory and have graced a few choice locations of our home. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure?

Our lives are a lot like that flea market. We are filled to overflowing with both the insignificant and the important. The stuff of our lives sprawls for acres before us and when we choose to walk the rows we see it all with greater clarity. Some have become like relics. Other parts of our lives are like treasures. Either way, most of the items are often forgotten, neglected, or buried away amidst the plethora of stuff that occupies and preoccupies our souls today.

One of the items I almost purchased was a tract from the American Tract Society, printed in the late 1800’s/early 1900’s entitled “To-Day.” It was tattered and torn, but filled with well articulated advice about the soul. In the middle of the flea market I read with interest, “Perhaps, reader, you are now in the busy scenes of life ; and what you shall eat, and what you shall drink, and what you shall wear, are considerations which swallow up all your cares. At present you say you can attend to nothing else. You remind me of him who, being asked if he had seen the eclipse, said, ‘No ; I have so much to do with earth, that I have no time to look at the heavens.’ O thoughtless mortal! Are you, then, seeking God, that your soul may live? How many prayers have you presented for an interest in Christ? How much time have you set apart for secret devotion? God and his glorious perfections, Christ and his salvation, the Holy Ghost and his blessed operations, are all nothing to the unconverted man. What are they to you? What are ordinances, Sabbaths, the Bible, and means of grace to you? ‘ To them that believe,’ all these things are ‘precious.’ As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth, there may be but a step between thee and death. Pause, ponder, pray. Sparing mercy, what a mercy! Of more worth than ten thousand worlds. Had he dealt with thee according to thy sins, thy body would have been in the grave, and thy soul in hell! But wonder, O heavens! Thou art yet on earth reading a little book, a messenger of mercy, which is telling thee that the God who can bless thee forever, or curse thee forever, is inviting and entreating, nay, even beseeching thee to escape his curse, and accept his blessing. O, if thou didst but know the value of thy precious soul…”

I thought to myself: a little old school to be sure…but these words both refreshed and challenged me in the midst of my flea market experience. As a result, I choose to-day to take time to look at the heavens, for God’s love for me outnumbers the stars in the sky. I’m determined to stop perusing and pursuing the flea market stuff of my life, if even for a few precious moments, and instead pause, ponder and pray. My soul finds rest in God alone…how about you?



Chuck Colson

This past weekend 80 year old Charles Colson passed away after suffering complications following a brain hemorrhage. Since his notorious role in Watergate, being known as Nixon’s “hatchet man,” Chuck Colson experienced a dramatic conversion to Christianity. Over the past few decades, Colson became an evangelical leader in prison ministry, justice reform, Catholic-evangelical dialogue, and was a thoughtful commentator on political and cultural issues of our day. He was a prolific author and captivating speaker, an evangelical statesman and modern day hero to many. I had the privilege of knowing him through my years at Vision New England and more recently in connections with him at Gordon-Conwell. I am grateful for his many contributions to building up the Kingdom of God and serving the body of Christ.

When I went on the Prison Fellowship/Colson Center website to read their tributes, I was struck by the following quote by Colson, “One of the most wonderful things about being a Christian is that I don’t ever get up in the morning and wonder if what I do matters. I live every day to the fullest because I can live it through Christ and I know no matter what I do today, I’m going to do something to advance the Kingdom of God.”
Chuck Colson crafted and fulfilled his personal rule of life! He knew with certainty his roles, gifts, desires, vision and mission. He lived with purposeful passion and as a result his legacy will live on in the ministries he started and served. I thank God for this great man of faith, and look back with fondness to the times I heard him speak, watched him interact with others, read his many books and articles, and observed firsthand the ministries he impacted and many lives transformed as a result.

For more inspiring information on this great man’s life story go to www.chuckcolson.org – amazing grace, how sweet the sound!



Always!

This week’s post is taken from Flora Slosson Wuellner’s book, Feed My Shepherds. In the following quote we are reminded of the always initiating presence of the living Christ. I offer it to you as a way to prayerfully consider your longings and desires as you seek to articulate your personal rule of life.
“I am with you always.” “This is the eternal source of our daily life of prayer. This is no technique. We are in deep waters of the most intimate of all possible relationships that flow to us – forever fresh and new – from minute to minute. And, as with all that lives, our relationship with the ultimate Person is organic, open-ended, unexpected, asymmetrical, and unfolding…
You might think of or picture yourself walking with Jesus or sitting across from him. Ask him as you might a beloved friend, “What can I do each day to respond from my heart to your presence? What is best and most real for me?” You may wish to ask these questions of the living Jesus Christ each day: “How can I best experience your transforming friendship today? What way can we best share and talk together today?”
It may appear that each day will differ. Or you may feel the inner suggestion to have one main way of prayer for a period of time. Whatever suggestion surfaces will be in rhythm with the type of person you essentially are – because that is the person GOD created and loves.”
The true GOD invites you to become the true YOU. Celebrate both and you’ll live the joyfully abundant life today, humbly and for the glory of God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Join the conversation about Crafting A Rule of Life at www.RuleOfLife.com



Peace be with you!

Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” (John 20: 19, 21, and 26). In the midst of the shock and awe of the moment, what better words to say to His disciples?

John’s gospel graciously records for us the post-resurrection appearance greeting-of-all-greetings: Peace be with you! These were words of affection, comfort, and warmth. When Jesus spoke them, He put their fears and doubts at ease. He offered loving presence and blessing, assurance and hope. His words had been true all along, and now that He was no longer wrapped in post-crucifixion grave cloths and instead standing free among them, there was peace.

Peace is a gift we can offer one another as well. Our presence in each others lives can indeed be accompanied by peace. We don’t have to settle for anything less when coming alongside a friend or family member with our comforting presence and love. Yes, the alternatives abound – conflict, strife, animosity, hostility, jealousy, unforgiveness, hatred, and deceit – but the choice of our hearts can lead us down a different pathway. Choose today to be a child of God who offers peace to all who cross your pathway.

Looking to offer a friend the gift of your comforting presence today? Begin with the greeting “Peace be with you” and watch how your time together is transformed.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid,” John 14:27.



Brother Vitalie

LTi Senior VP, Rick Anderson, and I recently returned from our fourth missions trip to Chisinau, Moldova. Previously (until 1990) a part of the Soviet Union, Moldova is still struggling to maintain democratic governance amidst heavy Communist influence, and remains one of the poorest nations in that region of the world. Dominated by the Russian Orthodox Church, the country acknowledges faith but isn’t known for their spiritual strength.

One pastor, however, believes his county is ripe for spiritual harvest. His name is Vitalie Fedula and he’s the pastor of Jesus Savior Church, the largest Baptist church in the country. Brother Vitalie is our host each time we visit and impresses us as a humble man of deep faith and tremendous gifts. In fact, we’ve seen him preach evangelistically, teach enthusiastically, and lead with the heart of a tenacious warrior. Most significantly, Vitalie is our brother in Christ, a loving husband and father, and a diligent co-laborer in God’s Church.

Each time we’ve journeyed to Moldova we are touched by the giftedness of Brother Vitalie. His stories about church life and ministry would stagger those who serve in a North American context. The spiritual needs of the people are captured by the pervasive poverty of soul and land, and Vitalie is ideally situated to use the gifts God gave him “for such a time as this.” His is a prophetic voice, and he leads others into Christ’s Kingdom with regularity. We praise God for this faithful, Spirit-empowered man of God.

As you lean into crafting your personal rule of life, remember that it doesn’t matter where you live or serve, but so much more important that you give of yourself in ways that reflect the uniquely gifted thumbprint of God upon you. Visit www.RuleOfLife.com and see how others are using their God-given gifts and talents for His glory.

“We all have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us” Romans 12:6.