Inattentiveness

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 Eight: Inability to Listen Well…to God, to others, and even to ourselves. A closed or clogged up soul is unavailable for and inattentive primarily to God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Is your soul a listening and attentive soul? To listen well is to give heed to, pay attention to. It’s at the heart of the gospel message, for God the Father said of Jesus, “This is my son, whom I love. Listen to him!” (Mark 9:7). Jesus told his disciples, “Pay attention to how you listen!” (Luke 8:18, NRSV). And, long before Jesus spoke these words, Moses told the people of God, “Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him” (Deut. 30: 19-20).

So how is it that we pay attention to the voice of Jesus? We are his followers, and he is like a shepherd to us (John 10:14). Therefore, we’re invited and instructed (as his wooly followers) to listen to the voice of the Good Shepherd and not to a stranger’s voice instead. So often the eyes and ears of our heart get distracted by the images and sounds of other influencers of our soul. Each of us are susceptible to those influences that lead us out of a posture of attentiveness to God and entice us instead to be led into pastures that keep us from flourishing in heart, soul, mind and strength.

All of the seven previously mentioned “winds that blow toward our soul and extinguish our inner flame for God” –  our enemy the devil, our prideful self, the idols of our heart, our busyness, the abundant accessibility of technology, our unattended heartache, and our Sabbathlessness – lead us into the inattentiveness of our soul and the invitational voice of the Good Shepherd.

So what will be your response? The prayer of my heart is that all who are called by God into an intimate fellowship with him will indeed listen attentively to the loving, forgiving, grace-filled, life-transforming voice of the Good Shepherd. Jesus longs to lead us beside quiet waters, refresh our souls, and guide us along right paths for his name’s sake (Psalm 23). For surely his goodness and love will follow us all the days of our lives, and indeed we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever!

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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.