Fall Foliage, Gas Leaks, Red Sox and The Soul

There have been several big news stories of late, including Hurricane Michael, Supreme Court nomination battle, and the horrible gas leaks in Merrimack County (MA). In addition, the usual news from our divided politicians in the nation’s capital, it’s election season once again, school’s back in full force, and the economy seems to be booming, despite the latest dip of the Dow. The fall foliage is delayed a week or more in our neck of the woods due to the warm weather, and the best news in Boston is that the Red Sox are now in the ALCS finals.

As I peruse the social media landscape, listen to and read the daily news, and connect with family and friends, I remain concerned about the state of the soul, still the most neglected and ignored part of the person…and never in the news. The soul is the essence of our being, the core of our true identity, the place where God alone seeks to reside. But, we’re simply too busy or preoccupied to notice or report on the state of the soul. One more news day passes and we ignore the invitation of God to come close, draw near, and follow him.

St. Augustine learned the hard way how to reorder his affections and turn his heart toward God. Just about every other temptation had been confronted until he righted his internal compass and found his way back home. And he’s not the only spiritual action figure we know that’s done the same thing. Francis threw away the garment industry handed to him. Benedict walked away from civilization to enter a cave and sort out his life by listening intently to God and His Word. Frankly, every major movement maker in the history of the Church has done likewise…saying no to the ways of this world and an emphatic yes to the will of God.

And yet today, one more over-the-top news day, and we still neglect our soul. What’s up with that?

How about a small step in the right direction? Perhaps five minutes in the morning to settle into prayer. Or, reading a psalm or a gospel story, holding it reverently and noticing what God is trying to say to you in it. Another option is to close your eyes and reflect for a few moments on the gifts of the past day and the opportunities ahead of you today. Enjoying a few minutes of quiet reflection and you’ll find you’re heading the right direction…welcomed back home to the heart of God.

On October 20, Leadership Transformations is celebrating our 15th Anniversary of providing soul hospitality to leaders and teams. We’re excited about this season of life and service to the body of Christ. We’ve seen hundreds of leaders over the years hop off the treadmill of constant noise and activity and choose to quietly reflect on the state of their soul and the condition of their heart. The transformation is marvelous to behold. The embrace of God is always waiting for us to come to our senses and turn back home…maybe it’s time for you to do so today. After all, wouldn’t that be the best news of the day?

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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.