Sabbathlessness

On Friday, November 11, 2011, LTi is hosting an event at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary entitled “Re-Ignited: Kindling Your Inner Fire for God” with special guest speaker Chris Webb (and yours truly). In anticipation of that event I am focusing my weekly blogs on the topic, “What are the winds that blow toward your soul and seek to extinguish your inner flame for God?”

Part Seven: Sabbathlessness…rarely logging out or shutting down long enough to take a deep breath, relax, reflect and be renewed out from under the frenetic pace of life. The Lord himself finished his work of creation in six days, so that”by the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” (Genesis 2:2,3).

As a result, we are not only commanded to keep the Sabbath holy, but we are invited to do so as well. It’s a joy and a privilege, a gift and a blessing. Is that true for you too?

Many of us never stop long enough to even consider the subject of Sabbath rest, never mind entering into it fully. But, when we stop – shut down – ceasing from what we’ve previously been doing in our work days, we can actually enter into a day and a lifestyle of restfulness. When we rest, in adrenalin-free restfulness, we come into a richer understanding of who God is, who we are in his sight as his beloved child, and who he’s calling us to be as co-laborers in our faith community, building up the kingdom of God with renewed passion and creativity.

Marva Dawn (Keeping the Sabbath Wholly), Mark Buchanan (The Rest of God), and others have written great materials for us to prayerfully consider as we contemplate the meaning of Sabbath rest for ourselves. The rhythms of God-honoring Sabbath include ceasing (fully stopping anything that reflects our work life), resting (putting our feet up and relaxing our normally active bodies and minds so that we can attend to God’s Word, will and ways), celebrating (worshipful life in all its fulness as a community of dearly loved children of God) and embracing (affirming our gifts and calling as mission focused believers). Out of this Sabbath lifestyle, attitude, mindset and purposefulness we enter fully into living intentionally and humbly for Christ’s glory.

What’s your prayerful response to God’s invitation to Sabbath rest? Are you willing to be counter-cultural and embrace this joy-filled privilege, gift and blessing? When you rest in God, you truly do discover the rest of God. Try it for yourself…and let me know how the priority of Sabbath grows within you.

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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.