Steve Macchia Blog

The Helper

Yesterday was Pentecost Sunday, the day we remember the powerful arrival of the Holy Spirit after Jesus’ ascension. It came suddenly…a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came down from heaven and filled the whole house where the disciples were sitting. Tongues of fire came to rest on each of them and all of them were filled with the Holy Spirit. Utterly amazed and perplexed, they asked one another about the meaning of their shared experience (Acts 1,2). At that moment they were confused, but this was all in fulfillment of what God had ordained long ago, “I will pour out my Spirit on all people” (Joel 2:28) and “I will not leave you as orphans…the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things” (John 14: 16, 26).

The Counselor (also translated Helper or Advocate) comes from the Greek word parakletos, which identifies what the Holy Spirit does for us – He comes alongside to help us sort, sift and discern the tender voice and loving call of the Master. Helper or Counselor is probably Jesus’ favorite name for the Holy Spirit. Each time that term is used in the Scriptures (John 14: 16, 26; 15:26; 16:7) it is a reference of intimacy and warmth, repeated by Jesus during the Upper Room Discourse. It relates to both our salvation and our sanctification. The Helper guides us into the Kingdom and He aids us daily in navigating our way as Kingdom builders.

In what way do you most need The Helper today? All you need to do is whisper a prayer of salvation, confession, petition, or protection and the Spirit is there to lead you into all truth. His indwelling and filling keeps genuine spiritual renewal within your grasp…therefore, turn your hearts toward the Spirit and He will most certainly Advocate in your behalf. Trust that indeed this will be your experience today and reclaim your inheritance as a beloved child of God.



Commencement

This past weekend we celebrated the accomplishments of our wonderfully gifted masters and doctoral students who graduated from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Next weekend our family will come alongside our daughter Rebekah as she collects her Bachelors degree in Business Administration and Communications from Gordon College…we are very proud parents!

Commencement is a ceremony that looks back on successful academic achievement, and forward to new vocational chapters of life yet to unfold. Past, present and future all wrapped up together in one event. The pomp and circumstance adds color to the day, and with the crossing of the stage and the collection of the engraved diploma comes new opportunities to grow, serve and live.

When we craft a personal rule of life (www.RuleOfLIfe.com) we too look back with remembrance and thanksgiving for all that God has allowed thus far. We take stock of where we are in all aspects of our daily lives, describing the many ways we are choosing to live today. And, we look forward prescriptively to where we sense God inviting us to both DO and BE for His glory as dearly beloved children.

Each new season of life – including all the inflection points that serve as markers along the way – is like another “commencement” exercise. We don’t turn the pages of our lives too swiftly, but instead we trust in the Lord to guide, direct, and sustain us for the journey ahead. That’s the joy and beauty of a well-ordered life!

Happy Graduation one and all – moving forward with renewed trust, dependence, and attentiveness to the loving hand of God is all you need for the new seasons ahead.

“Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well,” Matthew 6: 33.



No Photo

The signs outside the ancient church in a central European city were clear: a red diagonal line through the image of a camera meant no photos were to be taken inside. Thankfully I wasn’t one of the rule breakers – those who did, however, had their cameras snatched away by the security guard on duty. I witnessed one such confiscation and patiently refrained from succumbing to the temptation to sneak in my own picture taking.

Instead, the more leisurely stroll through the basilica Sacred Heart brought me back to the role of pilgrim rather than tourist. Pilgrims saunter slowly and take in the multi-sensory experience of the moment; tourists move swiftly by with camera and stop watch in tow.

As I walked pilgrim-like through this beautiful edifice I found myself noticing much more detail. The colors of the stained glass, the beauty of the frescoes, the detail on the paintings, the enormity of the statues, the brilliance of the silver, the woodwork, the organ, the altar, all seemed to come alive. What changed for me? No camera to focus and no distraction to keep me from enjoying fully the gorgeous handiwork and skilled labors of love that gracefully erected this amazing church.

The question I asked myself is one I offer to you today: are you running through life like a distracted tourist or are you strolling carefully like an attentive pilgrim? Choose the latter and not only will the slower pace feed your soul but the gracious gifts of the moment will too!