First Place!

On the heels of Reign of Christ Sunday, the crossroad and in many ways the apex of the Church year, we are reminded of the eternal leadership of Jesus Christ as we are about to turn the page into the season of Advent.

We join our hearts in praise to God as we sing hymns such as “Crown Him With Many Crowns” and “Lord, Enthroned In Heavenly Splendor” and “All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name.” We turn our attention to the rule and reign of Christ in our hearts and lives, breaking forth and coming to fruition due to his sacrificial work in our behalf on the cross. This is a unique time in the Christian year to prayerfully consider the love and lordship of Jesus, in stark contrast to the ways we’ve allowed the kingdom of this world to be prioritized over the Kingdom of heaven.

From A Guide to Prayer for All Who Walk With God, “We end the church year with our focus on Christ as the Sovereign Servant, who rules like no other…the rulers of this world often seek to govern through fear and intimidation. The Sovereign Servant governs with love, trust, and example. The rulers of this world seek to intimidate, dominate, and control. The Sovereign Servant seeks to encourage, inspire, strengthen, and set free.”

In Colossians 1, the apostle Paul reminds the Church then and now how central the reign of Christ is to be in our souls. We’ve been rescued from the dominion of darkness and brought instead into the Kingdom of the Son he loves. The Lord Jesus is the image of the Invisible God, firstborn over all creation, for by him all else is created. Because of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection, we are reconciled to himself as the head of the Body, the Church.

His supremacy over all creation, even over our lives as his disciples, is what we receive when we acknowledge his position of first place in our world and in our hearts. But, when the kingdom of this world occupies more of our attention than the kingdom of lights, we find ourselves in the territory of foreign gods who lure us in their direction. Instead of Jesus in first place, our idols of money, sex, and power topple over the reign of Christ.

The week before Advent is a perfect time to audit your heart and amend your ways, especially as we also celebrate Thanksgiving. To what or whom do you need to be rescued from in this dominion of darkness, in order to live abundantly and redemptively in the Kingdom of the light of Christ? Prepare for Advent and Christmas by thanking God for rescuing you from this-world-priorities through Jesus, and let him reign supremely in your soul as heavenly-minded disciples today. May it be so!

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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.