Steve Macchia Blog

4 LEADERSHIP WORDS FOR JULY 4

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In between the flags, parades, cookouts, and fireworks, I’d like to suggest we muse on 4 leadership words for July 4. Each of these are needed now more than ever in the hearts, minds, and lives of our leaders – in politics, business, education, and yes, even in the Church.

  1. HUMILITY – the opposite of pride. Forgetting self and considering others. Content. Gracious. Loving. Surprisingly selfless.
  2. INTEGRITY – the fruit of a life well-lived. True to God and self. Trustworthy; faithful to one’s call and mission. Wholesome. Pure. Rare.
  3. KINDNESS – the words we speak to, for, and about another. Laced with mercy, patience, compassion, and peace. Honest. Without guile.
  4. SACRIFICE – the service to others’ well-being that counts the cost and is willing to pay it forward. Commitment. Incarnational. Forgiving.

The results of these godly leadership qualities? Four additional words: Trust. Transformation. Testimony. Thriving. These godly leadership qualities are at the heart of LTI’s leadership development ministries.

Take time to muse on these four words and prayerfully consider their application in your life today, and as a result, in the lives of those you serve in Jesus’ name.



ENROLL TODAY IN EMMAUS:
A SPIRITUAL LEADERSHIP COMMUNITY

2019-2020 NOW OPEN


Join us for Emmaus, a spiritual formation community that exists to encourage you in a more contemplative lifestyle in the midst of the growing demands of leadership. Together we explore a deeper understanding of spiritual leadership and resources that help you care for your soul and the souls of others.


Fall 2019 Emmaus Applications are Open
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What God Was Inviting Me to All Along


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LTI’s 16th Anniversary – July 1, 2019!

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Today we celebrate the 16th anniversary of Leadership Transformations!

On July 1, 2003, Ruth and I ventured into uncharted waters to commence the LTI journey. For the past 16 years, in calm, challenging, and delightful waters, we have navigated our way to today. Not alone to be sure: since day one God has blessed us with a team of fellow travelers who share our conviction about nurturing the leaders soul. Today, by the grace of God, our board, staff, volunteers, partners, participants, and alumni number in the 1,000’s!  To God and God alone belongs all the glory, honor, and praise!

Today, as I reflect on the myriad ways God has blessed and multiplied the work of our hands and the prayers of our hearts, I offer the following Top 16 Gifts from God in past 16 Years:

  1. God’s clarion call through a very specific dream and prayer
  2. An incredible discernment team who helped us launch-in-faith
  3. Our first donation, and all who have given sacrificially as our donor family
  4. Our Founding Board of Directors, and all who have served since day one
  5. The GCTS welcome mat, inviting us to offer leadership of the Pierce Center
  6. Our amazing Ministry Team of gifted, godly, grace-filled servant-leaders
  7. Growing family of ministry participants who join us each year to learn, grow, and serve
  8. Our LTI Alumni Community, faithfully serving others all around the globe today
  9. Selah: started in the East, grew West, and now venturing into Europe
  10. Soul Sabbaths, Soul Care Retreats, and our Emmaus Spiritual Leadership Communities
  11. Our Church Health Assessment Tool and over 550 churches who have used this resource
  12. Creating great formation resources: Silencio, TouchPoints, Retreat Guides, Worship Outlines
  13. Online SpiritualFormationStore.com with over 150 LTI books and resources plus 350 others
  14. Consistent LTI presence in New England, Colorado, Houston, Phoenix and beyond
  15. Salvation Army and the hundreds of other denominations and organizations we have served
  16. YOU…without whom we would not be here on the threshold of year 16!

With a grateful heart, overwhelmed with the kindness of Almighty God in forming, developing, and growing the ministry of Leadership Transformations over the past 16 years for his glory, his namesake, his beloved leaders in his Church, and for his everlasting Kingdom…

In Christ Alone,

Steve

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MEMORIAL DAY: REMEMBER AND GIVE THANKS

MEMORIAL DAY: REMEMBER AND GIVE THANKS

“The spiritual discipline of remembrance is biblical, historical and simply good for the soul.” – Steve Macchia

The spiritual discipline of remembrance is biblical, historical and simply good for the soul.

God leads the way in this regard.

Recalling the goodness of each day of creation, in Genesis 1 he “sees what he made as good” and then on the seventh day he rests to notice the fullness thereof.

He instructs his people in the ten commandments (Exodus 20) to “remember the Sabbath day” by keeping it holy. He instructs his people to place “rocks of remembrance” in the Jordan River (Joshua 4) as symbols of God’s protection over them as he miraculously opened the sea for their safe passage.

The pinnacle moment of remembrance surrounds Jesus and his ministry among his disciples and followers. With bread and a cup in his hands, he gently invites his closest friends to dine with him. Then, he instructs them to do likewise “in remembrance” of his sacrifice for their redemption.

Each time we gather at the Lord’s Table, we do so in order for us to “remember and give thanks” for all that Christ has done in our behalf.

Why?

Because we are a forgetful people. We are living at breakneck speed.

We are filling our days with as much to do as possible. We are noisy, busy, constantly in motion. When we travel at 70 mph, there is little we can see along the way. The roadside glimpses of life are few and far between.

As a result, we lack the ability and discipline to remember and give thanks.

This Memorial Day is all about remembering and giving thanks for those who have offered their lives for the sake of our freedom. Their sacrifice provides our liberties. Without those who have gone before us, we would not be living in the society we enjoy today.

So, as you pray this weekend and offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, practice praying words of thankful remembrance. Thank God for the gift of life, be grateful for those who accompany you in this life, and especially thank the Lord for those who have served in harms danger so that the freedom we enjoy can be preserved for this and future generations.

Remember and give thanks. It’s good for your soul.



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My Three Ruths

MY THREE RUTHS

Reflections on Mother’s Day 2019

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I’m a blessed man.

My mom was Ruth Naomi.

My wife is Ruth Lynn.

My daughter is Rebekah Ruth.

 

I’m surrounded by Ruths. And I’m profoundly grateful. I would not be the man I am without my three Ruths.

 

My mom was my very first hero. She always had love in her heart, planted deeply by God in her German Lutheran home in Baltimore, Maryland by two amazing parents. She modeled well her biblical namesake story of forever faithfulness to those who surrounded her daily. She lived a simple, generous, humble, and incredibly beautiful life. She practiced hospitality like no other person I’ve ever observed. She died without offending a single person. She believed in the golden rule, she prayed the Lord’s prayer from the heart, and even on her death bed was able to recite by memory the 23rd Psalm. One amazing woman of God.

 

My wife is another of my heroes. She endured and persevered when all the odds were stacked against her. Her sense of honor, commitment and humor have combined to create a heart for the hurting, the lonely, and the disenfranchised. She discerns right from wrong with laser like precision and all who don’t like the truth don’t bond with my Ruth. She’s got you in her eyesight, and if you’re willing, her presence in your midst will change your life…forever. She’s raised two amazing children and helped them overcome challenges others would shy away from. Not my Ruth. She’s as dogged and determined to fight for what’s best, even if it is costly to do so. I married up big time.

 

My daughter is blessed to have lived under the tutelage of her mother and grandmother, two Ruths that have shaped this gifted woman. I’m as proud as a dad could ever be of our dear Bekah Ruth. She too has caught the vision for living life circumspectly, humbly, and always with an eye out to protect and preserve the dignity of others. Even though she has a demanding profession, her stories are always about the gifts and abilities, the needs, hurts, and even the foibles of those who cross her path. Thankfully she can handle whatever comes her way with a strong will, a discerning heart, and an incredibly loving soul. She learned well from her mother and grandmother, the best teachers of all.

 

On this Mother’s Day, my daughter Bekah, my son, Nate, his beloved wife Ashley, and our precious granddaughter Brenna Lynn (photographed here with Ruth), are filled to overflowing with a thankful heart for the women we know and love as “Ruth” – a biblically significant name, graced by the woman who sacrificed her own self-interests in order to care for her mother in-law Naomi in a time of desperate need. “Where you go, I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.” God provided in abundance in return for her faithfulness. God knew in advance all that he was doing to establish a line from Ruth to Obed her son, the father of Jesse, the father of David…of the lineage of Jesus. Thank God for Ruth, the biblical one-and-only who has given us a role model for today.

 

For many, Mother’s Day is a tough day. And for good reasons. So many don’t have good relationships with their birth mom. Or they miss their mom due to death, distance, or health. Some wish they could be a mom themselves, but marriage and family have been elusive realities for them. From a male perspective, all I can say is “I’m sorry. I truly wish it were different for you.” So I pray that as you reflect today on the biblical Ruth you can find comfort and courage to face the reality of your life with God-honoring dignity and non-circumstantial joy. Receive God’s love today, dear sister. Read and pray through the Book of Ruth – it will be good for your soul.

 

 

 



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WHAT IS LEADERSHIP?

What is leadership?

“Is leadership all about title? I don’t think so. Leadership is all about influence. The fact of the matter is, each of us are exercising leadership in some capacity.” – Steve Macchia

One would think there would be general agreement in answer to the question, “What is leadership?”

Perhaps it doesn’t surprise you to note that in fact there isn’t universal or even broadly shared opinions about this important word. We are living in fascinating times.

Is leadership all about title? I don’t think so. Leadership instead is all about influence.

And the exercising of leadership happens every time any group of two or more are gathered together: in each setting there is a leader. This is true at home, at work, in the church and community, in the widest and thinnest of social sectors today.

The fact of the matter is, each of us are exercising leadership as “one who influences,” and therefore it’s wise to consider the definition, philosophy, impact, roles and attributes of Christian leadership.

To some, leadership is an authoritative presence that projects an assertiveness toward others and the work they are called to complete. To others, leadership is the coalescence of varying ideas and personalities around a shared team mission. To still others, leadership is about communicating ideas and concepts and then inviting others to own them for themselves.

The variety of leadership styles is on the increase in this multi-cultural, multi-lingual, multi-ethnic, multi-generational, multi-theological world we inhabit today.

Then, to consider some of the attributes that matter to effective leadership, we begin a laundry list depending on one’s personal conviction about the importance and power of a leader.

Some might list: bold, determined, decisive, convincing, compelling and powerful.

Others might include: collaborative, cooperative, empowering and team-building.

Still others might note: thoughtful, compassionate, humble, gracious and kind. Again, the qualities that matter most to leadership are varied by philosophy, experience, theology and conviction.

Regardless of style and attributes, are there baseline understandings that we share in common? That’s when I find the conversation getting even more engaging, stimulating and much more interesting. Especially when we are talking about Christian leadership, with the triune Godhead and a host of biblical examples provided for us as leadership role models. Even there, as history has proven, the variations of exemplary leadership are all over the map.

So, what are your answers to the questions:

“What is leadership?”

“What style of leadership do you appreciate most?”

“What are the attributes of leadership that evoke your best response?”

I would like to suggest that these questions are worthy of our exploration, especially in the confused-about-leadership times we are living in today. Will you share your answers with us? Comment below; I’d love to hear from you.

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JUNE 2019 SPIRITUAL FORMATION SYMPOSIUM FOCUSING ON LEADERS & TEAMS

June 2019 Spiritual Formation Symposium

Meeting on the beautiful campus of Denver Seminary, with the Rocky Mountains as our backdrop, this pristine space for reflection and renewal is ideal for the heart, mind, body and soul.

If you are a leader in search of a community-based, thought-provoking, learning experience then LTI’s upcoming Spiritual Formation Symposium Series is for YOU.

After a fruitful anniversary of our inaugural year, LTI is pleased to offer the first of two 2019 Symposiums on leaders and teams from June 26-28, 2019 in Denver, CO. Meeting on the beautiful campus of Denver Seminary, with the Rocky Mountains as our backdrop, this pristine space for reflection and renewal is ideal for the heart, mind, body and soul. And this year’s offering is one you will not want to miss.

The teaching and facilitation team will include author and spiritual director Alice Fryling, founder of Anam Cara Ministries Tara Owens, pastor/author/musician Glenn Packiam, as well as LTI executive vice president Rick Anderson and LTI founder and president Steve Macchia. We are very excited about this year’s presenters, who will provide excellent material for your prayerful and practical consideration.

Our goal is to create a spacious learning environment, offer a pre-symposium workshop on the Enneagram, and a half-day Soul Sabbath, which will round off the entire experience. Leisurely mealtimes, group conversations, and a well-paced schedule will be inviting for all. We are most excited about the fruit of these three days, as evidenced in what attendees take back into their personal lives and ministry contexts.

We believe the greatest need in the Church today is to have an experiential knowledge of God.

LTI’s new Spiritual Formation Symposium Series will help you lean into that desire with earnest prayerfulness and open-handed receptivity. Group size is limited, so it’s the better side of wisdom to register today and secure your place. Our hope is that each symposium will be informative, formative and transformative for all.

PS – Register below today to reserve your spot at the early bird. See you there!





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Preparing for Lent

Preparing for Lent

Tomorrow is the first day of Lent 2019. Known as Ash Wednesday, it will serve as the beginning of our annual pilgrimage to the cross and the empty tomb.

Regardless of your denominational expression, Lent is a season of the church year that pinnacles with the final days of Christ’s earthly life, his fulfilled mission that leads him to the cross, and his triumphal and miraculous resurrection. Our hope as Christ followers is focused on these transformational experiences and expressions of extravagant love that point us to the completed promises of God as our Redeemer.

Are you preparing for Lent in any specific way? Perhaps considering a “fast” from something that has been captivating you of late (i.e. sweets, carbs, social media, shopping, or any number of overdone habits of the heart). Or, “adding” a practice that will help you reorient your priorities around God’s justice, mercy, or grace (i.e. daily reading of a Lenten devotional, specific prayer practices, or acts of service without recognition).

Whatever you decide to do is totally fine: no need to compare or contrast your Lenten practices with others. Today is the day you might want to pray into how God desires for you to focus your attention on Jesus during Lent. Any of our “fasts” or “practices” aren’t ends in themselves – if chosen to follow, they are to remind us repeatedly over the next 40 days that our dependence and our hope is in Christ alone.

Let’s not lose sight of the real reason for Lent: penitential reflection on our own sinful propensities, the gift of abundant mercy poured out upon us by the crucified and resurrected Christ, and the eternal hope of the resurrection which ushers us more fully into the Kingdom life now and for all eternity.

A blessed and prayerful Lent to you and yours, from all of us on the LTI Team.

In Christ Alone,

Steve Macchia D.Min.





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EXAMINING EXAMEN

Examining Examen

“The beginning of a new year is an ideal time for pressing the pause button and reflecting on your life with God and others.”

With January coming soon to a hard stop, I’m curious if you have had time to do some prayerful examen this month. The beginning of a new year is an ideal time for pressing the pause button and reflecting on your life with God and others. Truth be told, it took me about two weeks into the month before I had the space and time to engage in the spaciousness of examen for which I was hoping. Once I took the time, I found it incredibly fruitful for my soul.

Here is a snapshot of what I did.

FIRST, I reflected back on the year 2018. I noted the highlights, the hard times, the special occasions, and the key people of the year. I focused mostly on where God had encouraged me personally, professionally, and spiritually.

I recalled with vivid recollection the birth of our granddaughter, Brenna Lynn, which was by far the number one gift of 2018.

I looked back on photos of some special occasions, travels, holidays, and the beauty of God’s creation. I wrote out some of my emotional highs and lows and concluded with a prayer of thanksgiving.

SECONDLY, I noted the themes of the past year that meant the most to me, including some of the topics I was researching and writing about, some of the books I had read, the ideas and concepts we have considered at LTI, and the themes I had been journaling about throughout the year.

I found this to be refreshing and thought-provoking, as well as noteworthy for what I felt was either complete or still in process. Processing my capacity to think, pray, distill, write, and reflect is a worthwhile endeavor.

THIRDLY, I looked ahead to 2019. What are the dreams and aspirations for the year ahead? Are there any notable goals or objectives for my personal or ministry life? Any key words stand out that would be helpful to focus on in my prayers, relationships, and personal growth?

This was a productive exercise in many ways, and I found myself looking forward with growing anticipation for the months to come. There is such joy in the anticipation of experiences on the horizon.

FINALLY, I prayed into all that I had reviewed about the past year, as well as my longings and desires for the year to come. I thanked God for the special people I’m sharing life with these days, in my family, friendship circle, ministry partners and collegial associates across the country. In my prayers I thanked God for each person, prayed over those with whom I am most concerned, and entrusted names and faces into the hands of our loving Father. It was a great reminder of the importance of community and the encircling of love with others.

This is just one example of a year end – year beginning examen.

Perhaps yours looks similar, or even quite different.

My hope is that you were able to find some time to devote to a serious examen and if not, that you’ll still consider doing so. It’s never too late to look back with gratitude, notice your emotional responses, thank God for his many gifts of grace, and look ahead with growing anticipation and joy.

In closing, if we can be of help along the way, don’t hesitate to reach out. The LTI team is committed to come alongside you in your spiritual journey. We have lots of great material available at our spiritual formation online store to assist you in your daily spiritual journey and your life of servanthood and leadership. “Slow down. Be more.”

Amen!

PS – Register for the upcoming half-day Soul Sabbath on March 15 from 8:45AM- 12:30PM in Winchester, MA. This half-day retreat is themed Sheltered in the Shepherd’s Care, and will include a time of morning reflection, listening to God’s voice and responding together from our hearts.


Soul Sabbath



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ANOTHER YEAR IS DAWNING

ANOTHER YEAR IS DAWNING

In just a few days, 2018 will become a distant memory, overshadowed by the commencement of a New Year filled with promise and possibility. The ball will drop in Times Square and we will sing of the goodness and grace of our lives with God and in community with one another. Don’t forget to thank God for the myriad blessings of the past year as you consecrate the days ahead with prayerful anticipation and joy.

At LTI, when we are together in small groups, we often focus our attention on two items most specifically: the state of our souls and our personal rule of life. The dawning of a new year is an ideal time to reflect on both. How is it with your soul today? – was a question John Wesley frequently asked of his disciples. This inquiry opens us up to consider the quality of our walk with God currently as well as descriptions of what we long for in our hunger and thirst for more of God.

Our personal rule of life is much more comprehensive, including both the rhythms and relationships that God invites us to humbly fulfill for Christ’s glory. If you’ve never considered the various elements of your own rule of life, perhaps the new year is the ideal time to write it out. Take a look at Crafting a Rule of Life (IVP) and our corresponding website, ruleoflife.com for more ideas. A rule of life will help you live more intentionally in ways that God desires for you.

As you consider the state of your soul and your personal rule of life, the following hymn by Frances Havergal (1853), filled with wonderfully prayerful reflections, can perhaps be your guide.

Happy new year!

Another year is dawning;
Dear Father, let it be,
In working or in waiting,
Another year with Thee;
Another year of progress,
Another year of praise,
Another year of proving
Thy presence all the days.

Another year of mercies,
Of faithfulness and grace;
Another year of gladness
In the shining of Thy face;
Another year of leaning
Upon Thy loving breast;
Another year of trusting
Of quiet, happy rest.

Another year of service,
Of witness for Thy love;
Another year of training
For holier work above.
Another year is dawning;
Dear Father, let it be,
On earth or else in heaven,
Another year for Thee.

Start your new year by crafting your own Rule of Life! | There’s still time to give your end of year gift!



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O COME, O COME EMMANUEL

O COME, O COME EMMANUEL

The season of Advent is filled with hope for the coming of Jesus, our promised Messiah. We wait with longing and anticipation for the day when we sing of his miraculous Incarnation – God coming to earth in the form of a baby, conceived by the Holy Spirit, born to a virgin, and to be with us in human form. Joy to the world, the Lord has come!

As we round the corner toward Christmas, we thank God for his many undeserved gifts, including love, joy, peace, salvation and hope. The gifts of God for his beloved children outnumber the stars in the sky and the sand on the shoreline: impossible to count. In response, our hearts are filled to overflowing with gratitude to God.

2018 has been rich with bountiful blessings and unconditional gifts from the hand of a generously loving God. Leadership Transformations celebrated our 15th anniversary this past year with the theme of “soul hospitality” for leaders and teams. Everywhere I go I hear stories of lives transformed by the time leaders have shared at Selah, Emmaus, the Pierce Center (Gordon-Conwell Seminary), on soul care retreats, in one-on-one spiritual direction, and who are in churches strengthened by their leaders who came to us for spiritual formation resources.

As we await the coming of Jesus at Christmas, we also look forward to his coming again in glory. In the meantime, we hold hands and stick together, upholding the Great Commandment of loving God with heart, soul, mind, and strength, and the second commandment, loving our neighbors as ourselves. From that posture, we can indeed reach the world with the life-transforming gospel of Jesus. May it be so, dear Jesus, lover of our souls.

Check out other LTI Advent resources here.



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