Steve Macchia Blog

All My Heart

The Bible refers to at least 50 different terms descriptive of the condition of our heart. Words such as broken and contrite, discerning, hardened, devoted, foolish, pure, wounded, and undivided. I will be looking at these terms throughout the summer and will invite you to consider them in light of your own heart.

The one word that jumps out the most is “all” my heart. There are dozens of places where we are urged to know, love, serve, obey, trust, desire, seek, and extol God with all of our heart. Not just a portion of our hearts, as if it can be partitioned into segments of quarters, halves, fifths or tenths. No, with all of our heart, as well as our soul, mind and strength…nothing held back for ourselves – all of our heart given all for God.

When we love God with all of our heart, we are coming to the conclusion that He in fact wants all of our heart. We are acknowledging our need for God to reign supreme in our heart. We are professing our desperate need for God to take over every dark, distant, disillusioned part of our hearts and heal us from the inside out. We are saying yes to His invitation to trust and obey so that with all of our heart we may discover more and more of His heart for us and for our world. With all our heart we love God and follow after His personal rule of life for us – declaring every part of our lives in submission to God’s heart (see how others have inclined all their heart in God’s direction at www.RuleOfLife.com).

Loving God with all my heart is an invitation worth affirming, celebrating, claiming and living. In fact, don’t just make this choice for your own sake, impress it on your children, talk about it along the road of life, tie it like a string of remembrance on your finger, bind this priority on your forehead, write it on the doorframes of your house and on your gates (cf. Deut. 6: 4-9). Inclining the entirety of your heart in God’s direction will reap fruit beyond measure.

“I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing praise to your name, O Most High,” Psalm 9:1.



Father God

My dad was an imperfect father. I criticized him for years as a result. But then I became a pretty imperfect father myself; I now have a lot more grace for my dad-who-tried-his-best. In fact, most dads I know these days are laced with imperfections. They seem to eek out more times than we care to admit and we certainly don’t admire them when they emerge (and reemerge over and over again). Imperfections are what we all have in common, and on the heels of Fathers Day 2012 I’m grateful for the kindness of my family’s love despite my imperfections (thanks for a special day, Ruthie, Nate and Bekah!).

What’s great about earthly imperfect dads is how wonderfully redeemed they become when they submit to their Father God who’s nothing but perfection…and grace. You see, when I spend too much time thinking about all my imperfections I feel pretty crummy about myself as a dad. My brokenness can get the best of me. On the other hand, when I think too highly about myself and all that I’ve given, offered, and sacrificed in behalf of my children I can easily get puffed up with pride. I love getting cards from my kids espousing all the many wonderful blessings I’ve offered them over the years (they were especially delightful this Father’s Day!). But, when I pause and reflect on the years we’ve been family and my role as father I can get pretty melancholy about all that I didn’t do, say or be in my children’s behalf.

The teeter totter of pride on one side and imperfection on the other is balanced by the grace, mercy and peace of God. Father God is the One who lovingly created me and ordained my days. He sent his Son Jesus to live, die and be raised up so that I can experience resurrection life now and always. The Father shared His Spirit with me at the point of my conversion and has filled and empowered me ever since. Father God is standing on the porch of heaven and He’s got his eyes peeled on me as His beloved son and He wants nothing more than to occupy my every waking moment. When I come to my senses and turn His direction He’s there to greet and gift and guide me by His tender loving hand.

Yes, that’s pretty awesomely perfect of God the Father. His perfection redeems all my imperfections, claims them as His own, seals them by the blood of His Son, forgives them and even forgets them as far as the east is from the west. God the Father is the fountain and wellspring of life. He is the origin and the object of our worship. Father God is the hero of our hearts, fellow brothers and fathers on earth. So let’s claim our sonship and cling to Him, find courage in Him and seek consolation from Him. Happy Fathers Day 2012! [[Note to all my female readers…thanks for allowing me the privilege of writing about fatherhood and sonship on Father’s Day. I hope you can find great joy in trusting the Father today as well. His love is for you too, dear daughters and sisters of God!]]

“But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship. Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir,” Galatians 4:4-7.



Dust and Enmity

In the biblical account of the fall in Genesis 3, the curse on the serpent included eating dust and experiencing enmity. Crawling on his belly, the serpent would forever be considered the worst of all livestock and wild animals. In other words, because of the serpent’s deceit of Adam and Eve, his role earmarked forever the dust and enmity of a sinful, disobedient life. Instead of enjoying life in the abundance of the Garden, mankind would know both good and evil, be banished from the Garden to toil by the sweat of the brow among the thorns and thistles of life. Not a pretty picture for Adam and Eve…not a good fate for you and me.

Eating dust and experiencing enmity are accurate depictions of the fruit of a disobedient life. When we don’t listen well to the basic instructions of the Lord, eating disobediently from the forbidden tree, we will surely die. Our deaths may be subtle and small (death of a dream, a disappointment, or an unmet expectation, etc.) or dramatic and large (death of a relationship, death of joy, even physical death itself), but death nonetheless. You know the feeling, not listening to God and choosing your own way tastes like dust and feels like enmity, producing more death than life.

I’ve been there way too many times myself. I have the propensity to be selfish, the ability to be controlling, and have plenty of bad habits that have tripped me up along the way. I’ve landed on my face on several occasions and been humbled by eating dust and experiencing enmity. Not because I want life to be this way; I guess you could say it’s in my DNA…and in yours too I might add. We are all cursed with the same disease: sin. We have made and will continue to make choices in this life that demonstrate how poorly we listen to God and decide on our own how strength and willpower how to traverse our own garden of life.

But there is a better way. It’s the way of God. It’s walking along the pathway that leads to the abundant life in Christ. When we submit our lives into the gracious, merciful, loving hands of God we become new creatures in Christ Jesus. The old passes away; the new way ahead is pure gift. The God-blessed life takes us back to the Garden of joy, where we have freedom to partake of the abundance of God at the river of delight through the breath of His Spirit, the forgiveness of His Son, and the renewal of the Father.

The process of crafting a personal rule of life reminds us of our humanness and our desperate need for God’s reign over our head, our heart, and our hands. Instead of toiling by the sweat of our brow in the gardens of our own making, we are invited to come home to His wide open field where we partake with Him and the family of God in the joy of a plentiful harvest. Visit www.RuleOfLife.com and witness for yourself how your brothers and sisters are no longer consuming the dust and enmity of a self-absorbed existence but instead are breathing a renewed spiritual life in their garden with God today.



Selah 3

This past weekend we joyfully graduated our 3rd Selah cohort as they completed their certificate program in spiritual direction. It was a glorious day in Mystic, Connecticut as we concluded our residency retreat on Enders Island, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, under the grand wisteria trellis, in worship and celebration. The bright sunshine and cool ocean breeze were visible reminders of God’s hand on the lives we gathered to recognize. This new breed of spiritual directors have worked very hard over the past two years of their training, integrating spiritual direction into their personal rule of life. They are now prepared to come alongside those who hunger to grow in intimacy with God. Praise the Lord!

There are few programs across the country that train spiritual directors with a Trinitarian, biblical, and contemplative approach. Selah has become one of the premier offerings for those in search of a program for evangelicals that embodies and encourages such a distinctly Christian understanding of spiritual formation. Directed by Dr. Susan Currie, she is joined by a distinguished and gifted team of faculty and supervisors: Angela Wisdom, Jeremy Stefano, Adele Calhoun, David Vryhof, John French, and Genalin Niere. I am delighted to serve with this group of godly servant leaders who themselves are devoted to the ministry of spiritual direction.

We will welcome Selah Cohort #5 in August, who will join Selah 4 (set to graduate in June 3013) in the fall and continue the 2-year rotation toward program completion. It’s exciting to see how the Lord has blessed this unique ministry of Leadership Transformations. We look forward to how the training of new spiritual directors will impact the ongoing growth of the spiritual formation movement. More importantly, we rejoice in seeing how those who come for spiritual guidance are led into a deeper walk with God.

If you’re interested in learning more about Selah, be sure to visit www.leadershiptransformations.org/selah.htm