First and Best Gift

At Pentecost Jesus followed through on his promise: “If a man is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him. By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive.” (John 7:37-39). After Jesus is taken up into heaven, “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” (Acts 2: 4). This was to fulfill what the prophet Joel spoke of long before, “I will pour out my Spirit on all people…” (Joel 2:28).

Jesus’ fulfilled promise to his disciples not to leave them as orphans (John 14) was his first and best gift after leaving them in fleshly attire…he satisfied his pledge by sending the Spirit. In one accord, they rang out praise, rejoicing in various tongues, and through the sound of a mighty wind the Spirit enveloped their presence. Amazed and perplexed, they were astonished by the power of God and united by the Spirit. The first century Church is born and as a result of this great gift God “makes known the path of life, filling his people with joy in his presence” (Acts2:28 taken from Psalm 16:8). They were now fully prepared to make the invisible Christ visible to the world around them.

So often we go through the motions on holy days like Pentecost Sunday and we forget the significance of the promise fulfilled and the gift granted by God himself. Through the spoken words and fulfilled promises of Jesus, the people of God are given the Spirit to guide, sustain, empower, and renew them from the inside out. We have been given the best gift of all – the Holy Spirit. His role in our lives is what transforms us into new creatures in Christ Jesus. The Spirit longs to be acknowledged by his children, invited to reign supreme in our hearts, and released to bear fruit through the gifts he has entrusted to our care.

What is your response to the first and best gift by the glorified Christ? May you receive the Holy Spirit with joy, bow in humble adoration, rejoice with thanksgiving, and live victoriously and abundantly in the Spirit – today and forever! Alleluia!

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Steve Macchia

Founder & President

The Rev. Dr. Stephen A. Macchia is founder and president of Leadership Transformations, Inc. (LTI), a ministry serving the spiritual formation, discernment, and renewal of leaders and learners since 2003. For more than 20 years he has been the Director of the Pierce Center for Disciple-Building at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also serves as an adjunct faculty member in the Doctor of Ministry Program. From 1989-2003 he was the president of Vision New England, the largest regional church renewal association in the country. Earlier in his ministry life, Steve was a member of the pastoral staff of Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts for 11 years. He is the author or co-author of 17 books, including The Discerning Life (Zondervan Reflective), and Crafting a Rule of Life, Becoming A Healthy Church (LTI), and Broken and Whole (IVP).  He and his wife Ruth live in the Boston (MA) area and are the proud parents of two married children and grandparents to three adorable grandchildren. Steve’s personal website is www.SteveMacchia.com.

My soul comes alive singing the great hymns of the church and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. I’m in awe of God for fulfilling the dream for LTI that he birthed in my heart, for the team he has assembled, and the transformational impact experienced in the leaders and teams we serve.

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Mitzi Mak

Selah-West Faculty

Mitzi started her professional life as a high school social studies teacher. She and her husband Jerry then served cross-culturally for ten+ years, living abroad first in India and then Kurdistan, N. Iraq. In addition to being a Spiritual Director, she now serves as a Formation and Care pastor in her local church in Houston, TX. She has graduated from LTI’s Selah Spiritual Direction training as well as LTI’s Emmaus Formational Leadership Program.

Mitzi enjoys engaging conversation, reading fiction, doing jigsaw/crossword puzzles, ocean gazing and exploring the world with Jerry through food and travel.

God has two main callings in Mitzi’s life: to care for those who care for others and to be a guide in helping others have a healthy relationship with the Trinity – recognizing God’s loving presence and activity in their lives and how to faithfully respond.

Selah was a transformative experience for me – allowing the contemplative within to emerge and to beautifully co-exist with my extraverted personality.