Summer Reading: A Grace Revealed

Last week I had the privilege of serving on the teaching team with Jerry Sittser at a conference for pastors and elders in Spokane, Washington. I’ve known Jerry from afar for over two decades, and it was a joy to get to know him as my new friend. After I graduated from Northwestern College (IA) in the late 70’s, he became the college chaplain. However, a few short years after arriving on that campus, tragedy struck his family when in a car accident his mother, wife and daughter were killed. Overnight, Jerry became a single, widowed father of his three remaining children. Several years later, he wrote A Grace Disguised, which has since sold nearly a quarter of a million copies as it focuses on the meaning of suffering and grief.

In this long-awaited companion, A Grace Revealed reflects back on his personal story and how God has been in the work of redeeming that story within the larger narrative of God’s Grander Narrative. With story as the overall image of the book, Sittser invites his readers to consider their own personal story within that same wider and eternal story. Jerry masterfully and gently brings us into the details of the biblical text, particularly via the stories of Joseph and Ruth, and then introduces individuals from church history and the modern day to complement how one’s redemptive story unfolds.

Subtitled “How God Redeems the Story of Your Life,” Sittser’s outline is masterfully organized around the main parts of a story: characters in search of a story (and vice versa: a story in search of characters), scene and setting, plot, author, time table, the Spirit of the story, the beginning, and the end. He reminds his readers that all of us remain suspended “in the middle” of the story of redemption, the grand narrative of God’s that began in the garden and ends when all is complete, whole, perfect and eternal.

There were many parts of the book that captivated my interest and imagination. The book begins with a marvelous image of a well worn tree, with strong roots, but beautifully weathered over time…I love such metaphors of the spiritual life. He shares a story of Michelangelo’s artistic genius in bringing characters to full life by chiseling them out of blocks of marble. He lingers in the stories of Joseph and Ruth, two of my favorite biblical characters, both of whom lived well in the midst of fascinating redemptive stories. He shares with us from the history of the church, which just so happens to be his academic discipline, and encourages us to embrace the lives and prayers of saints such as Cassian, Augustine, Calvin, Aelred, Luther, and Teresa of Avila. And, he willingly and movingly shares his own story, with details that bring tears to the eye and warmth to the heart.

A Grace Revealed helps the reader excavate the myriad details of our own stories so that we can begin to understand more fully how God is at work crafting a wonderful story through our own lives as well. The gift that this book offers to those willing to see how God is sculpting His preferred image out of the complex intricacies of our daily lives is monumental. Let Jerry Sittser be your guide toward the revealing of God’s grace in, through and around you. You’ll be glad you entered the journey through this welcoming and riveting door of transformation.


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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

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.