Steve Macchia Blog

STARTING THE NEW YEAR WITH 20/20 CLARITY

Steve's B-log

There will undoubtedly be lots of puns, jokes and analogies about the year 2020, mostly I suspect about the lucidity of our 20/20 eyesight. Vision will be a big theme, as will focus, clarity and single-mindedness.

I’ve worn glasses since the 3rd grade. I recall it with vivid recollection. My teacher, Mrs. Rabokus, thought it appropriate to ask me to stand in front of the class to show off my new glasses. I was mortified. The memory has stayed with me since, mostly as an example of what to never do to a child! What was she thinking?

As a glasses wearer, I’ve only known a life in daily, moment-by-moment need of help to see. I happen to be near-sighted, therefore my lenses are designed to help me see images far away with greater clarity. But as I’ve aged, and my eyesight has languished. I now wear progressive lenses so that I’m aided in seeing both distance and closeness. The optometrist tells me the next thing is cataracts, and to that I say “aarrgh.”

On this New Year 2020, it might be time for you to consider your own vision prescription. Do you need help seeing what’s next, both near and far? If so, may I suggest the following:

LOOK BACK – Our vision for the future is informed by our past. Take some time to reflect on the gifts of the past year, and perhaps beyond. Where have you noticed God at work forming and conforming you into his likeness? What aspects of the past year were life-giving and which were life-draining? Can you create a short list of 3-5 highlights for which you are most grateful?

LOOK UP – Our vision for the future is defined best by God. As you reflect on your past, be reminded of the myriad ways God invites you into a richer, more uplifting relationship with him. Are you sensing his empowering presence? Are you noticing his abiding peace? Are there questions you want to be asking him for clarity in your heart and mind during this season of life?

LOOK IN – Our vision for the future is clarified by our longings. Pay attention to the desires of your heart that God has placed within you. What is it that makes your fist shake with injustice? What is it that brings a tear to your eye? Noticing the deepest longings of our heart puts us in touch with the desire God has placed there for us to attend to. What brings you life today?

LOOK OUT – Our vision for the future is fulfilled by our service to others. Each of us are designed by God uniquely and beautifully. But we are not made for ourselves. We are created to love and serve others in Jesus’ name. What aspect of your current areas of service is most gratifying to you today? Are there areas of your life that you perhaps should release in the future?

Looking back, up, in and out will give you a renewed sense of direction for the year(s) ahead. Without such prayerful reflection we will continue to entrust our lives into the hands of our culture, the whims of society, and the issues of the day. Perhaps it’s a better choice to pray, pause, reflect, and attend to the fresh movement of God’s Spirit and invite the Lord to lead you forward with greater clarity and with a vision that’s more 20/20 in alignment with his will and desire!

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RESOURCE FOR THE NEW YEAR!

Learn to practice the disciplines of prayer, healthy relationships and good works with this thoughtful devotional resource!



TREATING CHRISTMAS LIGHTLY?

Steve's B-log

We are just a few days from Christmas and I’m amazed at how the Advent season has been so distracting.

Even with daily devotionals flooding our inbox from a variety of sources and taking time to attend a few concerts, worship services, and holiday parties, we’re adding all the additional shopping, wrapping, baking, and prepping to our daily routines.

The result: we’re worn out and once again we’ve treated Christmas lightly.

However, it’s not too late to reclaim a deeper look at the miraculous gift of the Incarnation. Here are some suggestions to consider:

  1. Read Luke 1 slowly, prayerfully, and reflectively for one leisurely hour, noting the key personalities surrounding the coming of Jesus.
  2. Read Luke 2:1-20 slowly, prayerfully, and reflectively for one spacious hour, noting each facet of the storyline with wonder and curiosity – as if you’ve never read the story before.
  3. Light the advent wreath or a single white candle, turn off the lights and prayerfully reflect on the gifts God has given to you in this season of life. Offer a breath prayer of thanksgiving each time you recount a blessing from God.
  4. Sit like a child in front of the manger scene or your adorned tree or another favorite decoration in your home and notice with joy the beauty of Advent and Christmas, recalling early memories of your most cherished childhood memories. Give thanks to the Lord for his kindness, love and mercy.
  5. Enjoy a favorite Christmas movie with family and friends. Pop some popcorn. Laugh and cry together. Be warmed and humored. Let joy reign in your heart.
  6. Be sure to enjoy mealtimes with family and friends without any technology at the table so you can be fully present with one another. Purpose to look one another in the eyes and give thanks for their role in your life. Give thanks together for God’s gift of presence in Jesus.
  7. Take a long walk in the woods or do a jigsaw puzzle or find some way to enjoy something opposite to your full-to-overflowing daily routines and which bring out your creative side. Notice the peace of Jesus as you relish the beauty all around you.

You know what treating Christmas lightly looks and feels like. So, this year let’s turn that upside down and fully embrace the gifts of Christmas offered to us in the miracle of the Christ child, the Incarnate One, born humbly in a stable, for you, his dearly beloved child.

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SILENCIO: A BOOK ON A MISSION

Steve's B-log

In many respects, Silencio is a book on a mission: to guide you to the often-uncharted geography of the human-yet-eternal soul

And, Leadership Transformations is a “team of missionaries” committed to helping you find your way back home to the heart of God.

Why? Because your soul matters to God.

And it matters to you and all who accompany you on the journey of life. God is always hospitable with his loving attentiveness and gentle initiatives. We can turn our heart and soul back home to God’s loving embrace no matter how far we may wander. And, attending to your neglected soul is a choice you can make – today

Convinced of the continual neglect of the soul, twenty-two members of the Leadership Transformations Ministry Team recently released their first team-written book, Silencio: Reflective Practices for Nurturing Your Soul.

It’s a compendium of 64 thematic chapters, featuring a plethora of classic spiritual formation topics, with an overview, quotes, a public domain hymn, reflective questions, prayers, and suggested practices for each. It’s a unique volume in so many ways, and LTI is thrilled to make this available to the wider body of Christ.

Perhaps it’s time to care of the part of you that matters most: your own soul. We hope Silencio becomes one of your companions for the journey that leads you home to the extravagant love of God – the very best lover of your soul!

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