Steve Macchia Blog

When God Speaks – Part 1

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“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’ Then God said, ‘I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground‹everything that has the breath of life in it‹I give every green plant for food.’ And it was so.”

 

Genesis 1: 27-30 is the first biblical story of God speaking to his children. In this instance it’s in the midst of the creation account and it’s directly to mankind – male and female who are made in his own image – that he addresses with their first responsibilities and his corresponding promises:

 

1. Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.

2. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.

3. Every seed-bearing plant and every tree that has fruit with seed in it is yours for food.

 

How generous of God to provide the entire earth for men and women to fruitfully fill and obediently subdue. In addition, he offers them everything they will need for their daily nutrition: family and friends to share the creation, food to sustain their life on earth, and fruitfulness to both sustain and transform them for the long haul.

 

As God speaks to his children, it all begins with an awareness of their basic necessities. How kind, loving and gracious of God!

 

What are the basic-necessity-blessings of your life for which you can thank the Lord today?

 



Designation or Destination?

 

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Recently our family enjoyed gathering with our extended clan for a celebratory birthday party. In attendance was my nephew, a tall, handsome, well groomed and impeccably dressed young man. I made note of the shirt he was wearing, with a very unique pull-up collar that wrapped around the entirety of his neckline. We ended up bantering back and forth, comparing and contrasting the shirts we were wearing, noting the designer labels in our respective back collars…he was wearing a rather new, hip brand, and I of course (being the old guy) was wearing a more common brand.

 

Was the brand name label the most important issue between my nephew and me, or was it perhaps even more important that we were actually wearing a shirt?! I would suggest the latter…it’s far more significant that we showed up for the party wearing a shirt at all than the shirt’s designer label, style, color, or size.

 

This humorous exchange with my nephew reminded me of the presentation I made to a group of church leaders this week. I asked them, what matters most to you, the designation (denomination/network) of your church or the destination your church is heading toward? So often we banter back and forth about the “designer label” of our church rather than focusing on the importance of simply being the Church. Our “designer label” may be the type of church we’re pursuing…or the denomination we’re aligned with…or the personalities we’re listening to and following the most…or the ethnicity we represent…or…?

 

The destination we’re all called to pursue is Christ and Christlikeness. To waver from wearing that “shirt” and focus instead on comparing and contrasting labels can in fact keep us from what matters most. However, we’ve been doing exactly that for centuries now…to the point that we’ve got over 40,000 different designer labels in the Church today. I’m befuddled at the need for so many designations (also known as denominations or networks) today. It seems like we wear one designer for a time, and when a new designer enters the scene we are quick to make a change…and as a result are tossed and turned by the latest wind or fad in the wardrobe options of Christianity, or until there’s a wardrobe “malfunction” by one of our leaders.

 

The Church is called to be the Church no matter what. Christ is the focus of our worship, relationships, and witness. To be adorned with anything else but Christ is a limitation, a faux faith, or worse yet, no church at all. What is your choice today…focus on wearing your manmade designer’s designation (label) or on your Father’s divine destination in, for and with Christ?

 

 

 

 



Multi-Sensory Church

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My wife and I delight in the fact that all five of our senses come alive in our weekly worship experience. Our eyes behold the beauty of a thoughtfully designed, God inspired, stained-glass-filled sanctuary. Our ears enjoy the sounds of silence, even the preparatory scuffling around that occurs as people arrive and get settled, as well as the spoken and sung liturgy of prayers, hymns, preaching, and the reading of God’s Word. Our mouths savor the taste of the Lord’s Table when each week we’re reminded of Christ’s amazing sacrifice of love in our behalf. Our hands are touched by others and reach out in return when the gift of peace is extended and gracefully embraced. Our noses delight in the sweet smell of candles and incense as their burning presence reminds us of the Spirit we know as Holy.

 

I’ve often thought about the health of the church after having written and spoken about it for a decade and a half. I’m now convinced that a major marker of health includes the engagement of all five of our senses…not only in our worship, but in our relational fellowship, as well as in sacrificial service to others in Jesus’ name.

 

Consider for a moment how your church experience invites each of your senses to come alive…

 

See – where do your eyes land when you are in worship, in your presence among others, among others in the world, and in your service to the Kingdom? Be grateful for what you see with your physical eyes as well as the eyes of your heart.

 

Hear – what do your ears hear that remind you to pursue godliness in every aspect of your personal and relational life? Be willing to dismiss that which hinders your ability to listen well to that which matters most – the voice of God, directing and empowering you for the abundant life.

 

Taste – how do you savor the gifts that are offered to you in the breaking of the bread and the sharing of the cup of salvation? Be open to receiving the many offerings of faithfulness granted to you in your fellowship with God and one another, perhaps even over a meal or simply a cup of coffee or cold water.

 

Touch – who do you offer your hand to as an expression of your love, and from whom shall you be more open to receive from in return? Be gracious and gentle toward all with whom you come in contact, and prayerfully become the arms of God for another in need.

 

Smell – when do you notice the pleasant odors of perfume within your friendships as well as the perspiration of others who are busy serving and offering their lives before God and those in need? Be observant and in your noticing and give thanks for the scent you notice of the goodness of God.

 

A multi-sensory church is only possible when the people of God are together as the body of Christ in worship, community, and witness. Jesus invites his followers to come close, draw near, and follow him. in turn, the Church needs to be a people who come close, draw near and follow Jesus together in community.

 

Do not give up the habit of meeting together. We are Church and as a result we are only Church when we’re united and loving and strong, loving God with heart, soul, mind and body, in both our strength and our weakness.