Blessings and Resolutions

Over the next few days, you and many others may be making resolutions for the new year. Some of those resolutions will be about weight loss, others about financial gain; still more will concern relationships and many will be about exercise. Those who are Christians might make a commitment to “read the Bible through in a year” or “pray more often” or “finally make that trip to the Holy Land.” What’s on your list for 2014? One hint: keep your list specific, manageable, and achievable!

However, before you determine your new years resolutions, I’d like to make one suggestion…first take prayerful stock of your past year blessings. Consider the question, “In what way(s) have you seen God work in, through and around you that is especially noteworthy in 2013?”

Sitting with the gospel of John chapter 1 in my prayer chair this past weekend, I noticed a verse that jumped off the page as I read it for what must be the gazillionth time. “From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another” (John 1:16).

Looking back on the past year, I’m confident there have been countless blessings offered to us from the hand of God. The Lord has given us blessings…one after another…all from the fullness of His grace. And, all are to be received with a heart of gratitude and joy.

Blessings from God come in all shapes, forms, and sizes. They arrive in tangible and intangible ways, forming within and around us a seedbed for God’s redeeming work to be fulfilled. They arise from out of nowhere and even in the mundane of daily routines. They are as large as a blazing sunset and as small as a whisper of love. Blessings are uncountable, they measure up to much more than we could ever ask, dream or imagine. Blessings are what God delivers generously and indiscriminately and simply – all because of His loving grace.

So, unless we take the time to count our many blessings they will flee from our memories almost as quickly as they are delivered. To count our blessings on a daily basis is to live reflective lives of noticing the handiwork of God all around us. To recount them at the end of a year is to foster a heart of gratitude to Almighty God, the giver, sustainer, redeemer, and transformer of the abundant life we’re offered each new day.

Receive both the blessings and the recollection thereof…all are to be seen as gifts from the hand of a loving, grace-filled God. Then, with blessings all around us, let’s lean into a new year with clear and conscious resolve to notice God as we make commitments to deepen our affection for Him. Another year is dawning, may it be dedicated to the Lord as we continue to receive the fullness of His grace. Glory to His Name – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – and a blessed New Year to all!

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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.