Unless the Lord…

“Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain” Psalm 127: 1.

How would you fill in the blank above? The psalmist reminds us that unless the Lord is the builder of the house, and the protector of the city, those who toil in the same fashion do so in vain. Yes, in vain.

As I have sat with this psalm in my prayer closet recently, I’m reminded of the many times I’ve attempted to labor on my own strength. How many times I’ve disregarded the Great Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer – God himself – and lived life, made decisions, built relationships on my own will-power. Absent from any true attentiveness to the Lord.

Leadership Transformations comes alongside leaders and teams and reminds them that “unless the Lord….” is at the center of their lives and ministries, they will indeed strive to build (ministry, relationships, households, etc.) in vain. God wants us to be totally dependent upon him; not just partially or when it’s most urgent or convenient. 24/7 we are to lean on the Lord for daily sustenance, wisdom, joy and peace.

Just this past week I was with one of the leaders we serve and we were commenting together about the significance behind the phrase “Unless the Lord…” We both agreed that if this were the posture of our daily prayers and service to the body of Christ, we would become all the more attentive to the Lord’s ongoing provisions and grace.

When we acknowledge our need for the Lord to build and protect, he gently and generously provides. In Psalm 127, the gift he gives as a result of trusting him is “sleep to those he loves” (vs. 2b). Rest. Sleep. Comfort. Peace. What a great image…those who trust in the Lord find genuine rest in him!

God bless you with the abundance of his grace, mercy and peace. Trust him every step of the way. The journey is lavishly rich when we’re wide open to say “unless the Lord…” and then receive his abiding rest in all our ways.


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Steve Macchia

Founder & President

Steve is a graduate of Northwestern College (IA) and Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (M.Div. and D.Min.). His prior ministry includes serving on the pastoral staff at Grace Chapel (Lexington, MA) and as president of Vision New England. Since July 1, 2003 Steve has served as founder and president of Leadership Transformations, director of the Pierce Center for Disciple-Building, and adjunct faculty in the Doctor of Ministry department at Gordon-Conwell. He is the author of sixteen books, including The Discerning Life (Zondervan Reflective),  Baker bestseller Becoming a Healthy Church, and Crafting a Rule of Life (IVP). He lives in the Boston area with his wife Ruth and is the proud father of two grown children, Rebekah and Nathan, daughter in-love Ashley, and papa to his beloved granddaughter, Brenna Lynn and twin grandsons, Aiden Joseph and Carson Stephen. “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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