The Year of Friendship: With God, Others and Self – part 2

The Year of Friendship: With God, Others and Self

friendship-day-sms

On the heels of our most recent blizzard, the first day post-storm was sunny and beautiful, but the weather people called it a day of “inconsequential sunshine.” I’m sure what they meant was that the sunshine would not affect the temperatures in any consequential way, but I couldn’t help but wonder, “When is sunshine ever inconsequential?” I love the sunshine, even on a cold day in January.

Two days later the inconsequential nature of sunshine hit home…literally. We were now days into the post-blizzard “bomb” affect of accumulated snow that was stagnant in the frigid below zero temps. The sun was shining but there was indeed no melting…except in our kitchen, through one of our light fixtures, when the drips began in earnest. This was a result of massive ice dams in the back (north) side of the house, the “pond” had formed under the snow packed roof in between the outside cold and the inside warmth of our home, and now the water was seeping in where it was free to roam.

That’s when I began praying for “consequential sunshine” to return once more…with temps getting back above freezing, thank you very much. Only then will the drips end and the ice dams melt; tackling the problem long term will have to wait until spring.

Unlike the sunshine, there is never a time when friendship with Jesus is inconsequential. His love is unconditional, extravagant, and always consequential. Especially when the storms of life appear, wreak havoc, and compound our lives with disappointment. It’s only our friendship with Jesus that keeps us sane, helps us recover, empowers us to be restored, and fosters the renewal we all long for each day.

In John 15, Jesus says it clearly, “Remain in me, as I also remain in you…as the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. My command is this: love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends…I no longer call you servants. Instead, I have called you friends.”

Spiritual friendship with our brothers and sisters in Christ begins with the quality of friendship we enjoy with Jesus. They go hand in glove; one impacts the other. They are both consequential. What is the state of your friendship with Jesus? In what way do you want to foster greater depth and intimacy with your friend Jesus? Perhaps it might be best to jumpstart that conversation by considering how best to remain in Jesus, as he remains in you.

Some ideas to consider:  join Jesus in the biblical text, noticing how Jesus reaches out to his followers as you read the Gospels; or, invite Jesus to make himself known to you in the quietness of your prayer closet and throughout your day of serving others; or, simply press the pause button and open your journal to record the ways Jesus has initiated friendship toward you over the years.  Jesus wants to be your #1 spiritual friend…in fact, as your Savior and Lord, Teacher and King, his friendship with you is tied to every other aspect of his affection for you as the God of all creation.

When a cold but sunny day appears on your horizon, it’s never inconsequential. Your friendship with Jesus will always bring meaning and hope, health and strength to even the darkest hour.

Behold Jesus, the One who calls you his beloved friend. Believe the priority of loving friendship for all of life. Belong to the community of friends of Jesus who delight in bearing fruit that lasts. Become renewed by the gifts of friendship received and offered in Jesus’ name.

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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.