Embracing Your Belovedness

The story of Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River is quite remarkable. His cousin John is conducting the ceremony. The text (Luke 3) tells us how the people were waiting expectantly for the Messiah, assuming it might be John. But, he corrects their inaccurate assumption by answering them, “I baptize you with water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

John’s words exhorted the people as he proclaimed the good news to them. They stood in line to receive their blessing.

Shortly thereafter, Jesus arrives riverside, ready to be baptized by John: unworthy to untie his sandals, but ready to facilitate his baptismal blessing. “And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” (Luke 3: 21-22)

You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased. A baker’s dozen of life-changing words from heaven. For Jesus. From the Father. In the form of a descending dove. The Voice. From heaven. Filled with affection. Received with joy.

When’s the last time you heard similar words from a loved one? Were you able to embrace the affirming expression of deep affection? Or, did you find yourself pushing back, unable to fully receive the words? Or, worse yet, perhaps you’ve never heard such affirming words from a loved one?

Knowing we are loved is life changing. Hearing the words is radical. Believing the sentiment is transformational. Delivering such words is a privilege. A gift and a joy all wrapped up as one.

Perhaps we don’t offer words of love because of the drought that exists in our own hearts. All of us need to know we are dearly loved. It begins with the words of the Heavenly Father to us, just as he delivered them to his Son, Jesus. Those words are ours to claim as well.

You are a dearly loved child of God. With you he is well pleased. Receive God’s love today and be transformed by the truth of that simple word. Then offer the love of God to all who cross your path today. I’m confident you’ll surprise many and please the One who delights most in your delivery.

Embrace your belovedness. Bless others accordingly. Start today.

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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.