QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face…." Paul the Apostle.
We are a capturing people—trapping moments in time like little photographers of life. Our minds possessing point-in-time memories of things realized, viewed, experienced, etc. What we capture, we often remember.
But God, who is outside of time, sees everything as one big eternal “now.” From his eternal Alpha and Omega vantage point, He has given us some point-in-time snapshots also, only of the future, not to remember but to hope in, one of these being the promise of meeting Him face to face! In theological terms, this is referred to as the Beatific Vision, the life altering moment when the Creator of the universe looks upon us, his creation, as we peer into Him. What does this moment look like to you? How does it feel? Take a moment to capture in your imagination the Beatific Vision.
For me the Vision is the treasure, the moment I long for. How do I describe such anticipation? Everyday I wait and everyday I get closer. I am anxious to meet my maker. My maker is my lover. My lover is God who I have known and adored and served and shared life with since the moment He silenced the noises of the world and spoke to me about a relationship with Himself. He is the One who has left me love messages in sunsets and massages in the sounds of waves crashing into the shore. He is the One who sat with me, held my hand, and placed His hand on my shoulder as I cried through the pains in my soul. In this moment, the culmination of my God-story meets the author and face-to-face He looks upon me with eyes I have never seen before, with eyes for which my memories have no familiarity, no prior experience, because I have gazed upon the beauty of the Lord. I have looked into eyes of pure love. I am eternally changed and desire to sin no more.
Prayer for the week: God of Love, create in us a clean heart and renew a right and steadfast spirit within us at Immersion that we may engage in our eternal love song with You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "God doesn't let anything in the Universe distract Him from thinking about you." Bruce Bickel & Stan Jantz, authors.
Wow. To think we are always on the mind of the God of the Universe is astounding. Really; stop and think about it: He is the Creator of everything and is always at work yet He never is too busy that He stops thinking about us. That's pretty cool. Let's make it a point during this busy holiday season to stop in the midst of our chaotic schedules and turn our thoughts to God, because He is most certainly thinking about us!
Prayer for the week: God, you're amazing. Thanks for always having us on your mind because you care so deeply for us. Remind us to slow down and focus our thoughts on you this week as we approach the birthday of your son, our wonderful savior. You are the reason we live, we love you! In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Hey errrbody. Some things I've been pondering this 13-days before Christmas:
theMILL: Last week with Mitch's talk was my first week back to Immersion after being gone for two weeks. Reason being? My wife and I, Christine and her husband, Michael (a.k.a. Megs) went to Colorado Springs, CO to check out New Life Church and their Immersion-like ministry, theMILL. Here's some pics:
TV Shows: My wife and I don't have cable. I put up a little fuss when we first got married, but then I quickly acquiesced after seeing that I had 0% chance of convincing Kerry otherwise. Truthfully, it's been great. Aside from missing a few Hawkeye games (and with the way Tate was playing towards the end of the season, who cares?!) and not being able to watch the budgetary meeting of the Canadian national parliament on C-SPAN, I really haven't missed it. All that to say, we've found some pretty wicked shows to watch on iTunes & DVD. Lost, The Office, and coming in January, 24, are some of our favorites. Which, if you consider the argument made above, is pretty ironic since all of those shows are on one of the major netwrrrrks that you "don't gotta pay nothin'" for. What are some of the shows you all are caught up in?
Invite: Kind of like the endless amounts of e-vites that seem to head our way this time of year, Jesus likes to be invited. As I'm going through my day, and after reading "Streams of Living Water" by Richard Foster for a class I'm in at Bethel, I find myself inviting the Spirit of Jesus into every moment I can. Eating a cookie, typing an e-mail, when I get anxious or depressed, I always try and ask Him in. It makes for quite the holy moment. Not fixed, not, what author Anne Lamott likes to call, "Okay," but holy. This should be our continuous mindset.
Okay gang, that's about all I got runnin' through my mind right now. What about you? What's God got boiling in your brain this season? Hopefully we'll get some snow soon. That always sets the holiday mood for me.
Ever get tired of the same old, same old? Not to mention that it seems to get earlier and earlier… AND you just HAVE to have the newest coolest thing like the Wii or the PS3 with the Bluewave technology that you can’t find if you want to, and would have to pay thousands of dollars on e-bay to acquire. (Hard not to covet things like that…) I can’t even convince my wife to let me have the PS2 let alone one of the new games. The fact that my boys are only two, rules out the “they need one” excuse, so I reside in the “it’s not about you anyway…” abyss. I look forward to socks, sweaters, and (insert your own Christmas cliché) Needless to say though, we go through this every year; and each year, I tell myself I am going to do things differently and not buy into the commercialism that clouds the season. Inevitably though, I give in and buy the fondue maker for the extended fam that at last count was still sitting on the pantry shelf.
Think about this… Christmas is completely centered on a Westernized tradition, loosely attached to a celebration surrounding a completely political event! Joseph and Mary were not going to Nazareth because they said, “hey Jesus should be born there and won’t it be cool that people will celebrate this birth for years to come!” They were required by Emperor’s decree to do so in order to be counted in the census for taxation purposes. And somewhere hidden in there is the birth of Christ! An afterthought to so many and yet the reason that we celebrate to begin with!
Before this turns into a down with commercialism, up with Jesus typical pastoral rant, let me throw you something that the Chicago Cubs pitchers were completely unable to throw last year; an effective curveball. Can we exist within both? Can we have Jesus and the fondue maker and not lose the reason for both? I think it is okay every year to bless the people we love in extraordinary ways, while at the same time, reminding them that every good and perfect gift comes from God anyway! We bless because we are truly blessed! That could change the entire spirit with which we give…
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "Nothing is so much to be feared as fear." Henry David Thoreau
This really struck me. It made me think about all the things I fear. It also made me realize how much easier it can be to live in a place of fear rather than faith. To the degree we are living in fear, we are separated from the fullness of our Father's love. I don't want any of us to stay in that place.
Did you know the most repeated command in scripture is "Do not be afraid"? Check out Mark 5:36 for example.
I believe God wants us to get real with Him and lay out all of our fears before Him. And I mean all of them, even the little ones we think are petty. He longs to release us from our fears into a place of quiet confidence in His love.
Prayer for the week: Lord, we boldly ask you to meet us in the midst of the fears in our lives. We admit they exist and we want to move on from them. We desire the freedom that comes from placing all security and trust in you, mighty one. Thank you in advance for doing what only you can do. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Devotion written by Nicole Wendl
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Angels and archangels who are the King’s great officials, are gazing steadfastly upon you at the time of your prayer to see what petition you will make of their Master; and they are astonished and exultant whenever they behold one who is made of earth forsake his dunghill and ask for what is heavenly.” St. Isaac of Nineveh (St. Isaac the Syrian), 7th century.
That’s a good one, isn’t it? To be heavenly-minded, always asking GOD what He is wanting, what He is doing, what He’s thinking – this is the goal.
Heaven does truly gasp at the selflessness that comes from sinful humanity when we forsake our petty desires, selfishness, and hard-heartedness and ask GOD what He would have for us.
What if we truly did this? Spent an hour or day or week or month asking GOD continually, “What is Your Majesty’s desire?” I have a feeling our lives would change in ways we cannot even imagine. For it’s God speaking through His word when He says that, “No eye has seen, nor ear has heard, nor mind has conceived what God was for those who love Him.” By asking GOD what He wants is the ultimate act of love – it is laying down your life for the sake of your Friend, the Friend who sticks closer than a brother.
So let’s spend a little less time this week telling God what we want and little more time asking Him what His desire for our lives and the lives of those around us is!
Prayer for the week: God of all time, teach us to number our days so that we may live in a way that completely pleases You! Teach us to be heavenly-minded, to have the “mind of Christ,” whatever that looks like. We confess that way too often our minds get filled with worthless worries, time-consuming tantrums, and me-centered mumblings – we want what You want, no matter the cost. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Hey, everyone! Have you recovered from Thanksgiving?
I feasted with family on Thursday AND Saturday and now my stomach is grumbling. Ever notice how hungry we feel for a few days after Thanksgiving. It's like our stomachs are asking, "Hey, where's the love?"
So, Justin (and his beautiful wife) and I (and my hunky husband and adorable children) are headed to Colorado Springs on Thursday. We're combining a ministry trip with a fun trip.
On the ministry side, we'll be visiting New Life Church's version of Immersion called, The Mill. The Mill is a ministry to college-aged and 20-something adults. They draw nearly 1000 worshippers weekly and offer small groups, mentoring and internships. The staff at Immersion likes what we see happening at The Mill, so we decided to meet with their staff and visit their weekly service. Should be great to see how God is moving in the hearts of other radical young adults and how He is raising up an abandoned generation for Him.
The fun side of the trip includes hanging for 20-24 hours in the car with the Wises - we'll either love or hate each other when it's done. It also includes seeing the places and the friends I loved when I lived in Colorado Springs. I haven't been back to Co Springs since the summer of 2002, so many of my friends have never met either of our kids. How wonderful it will be to see everyone again.
But, it's gotten me thinking....how do we return to our old stompin' grounds as new creations? How do we re-engage with old relationships when, by God's grace, we're no longer the same people.
I think it's hard. Maybe some of you experienced that last week as you returned home for Thanksgiving. How easily we jump right back into old patterns of behavior with family and hometown friends. And the whole time, we're thinking to ourselves, "Why are you acting like this?....this isn't even who you are anymore."
I find myself worrying about what my old friends will think of me now. Will they like my husband and kids? Will they think I'm a good wife and mother? Will they think I'm still young and hip and beautiful? Will they see how much God has healed and changed me? Will they see His passionate love flowing through me?
In second Corinthians, Paul writes, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he/she is a new creation; the old is gone, the new has come." The caterpillar has turned into a butterfly.
I'm banking on this truth. I'm counting on the new creation within me coming forth. Certainly not perfect - but renewed. Made to be whom He intended from the beginning. And I'm asking God to keep me in "His perfect peace" as I rest in Him.
We'll keep you updated on how the trip goes. In the meantime, can anyone else relate?
Blessings - Christine
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body, you were called to peace. And be thankful." Colossians 3:15
Being thankful. Do you ever just sit and think of all you have to be thankful for? For starters, how about the fact we're alive and we've been chosen by our Creator to live eternal life, not to mention His unconditional love and grace to cover our imperfection.
Or what about the warm bed you woke up in this morning, the food you have to eat, the clothes on your back, shoes on your feet, the job you have to go to that provides a paycheck to purchase those things and the car you have that takes you there.
And how about your friends and family that surround you, the laughter, love and joy that comes from being in relationship with them – the changing seasons, sunrise and sunset, the freedom we have in this country, our health, talents, abilities, passions...the list is endless.
Let's make it a point this Thanksgiving week to thank God for His countless blessings and thank the people in our lives for being who they are and for everything they do for us.
Prayer for the week: God, you are good! Thank you, thank you, thank you for your grace and mercy, your kindness, peace, joy, compassion, provision and unconditional love. Keep reminding us daily of all we have to be thankful for. Bless the body of Immersion this week as we felllowship with family and friends. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “The average listener in the evangelical church is not excited about the truth, he’s embalmed by it.” Howard Hendricks
Is this statement true of your attitude toward church? Take a minute to examine your heart. When you come to Immersion what is your motive? Do you come to sit and listen to the message and accept everything that is presented to you or do you actually engage with the topics that are presented and ask questions? I think as Christians, we are sometimes afraid to question what the church says, so we passively sit back, waiting for all the answers to be spoon-fed to us. The Bible challenges us to actively taking part in our faith and one way of doing that is by questioning answers and starting discussions within our Christian community. Immersion offers you a community of believers who welcome your questions. Take advantage of this and don’t be afraid to ask your question, whatever it may be.
Prayer for the week: Dear Lord, I pray that you would give us at Immersion to have discerning hearts and minds to the questions and answers we will hear this week. We want to know you more and understand your word and your plan for our lives, and not take your truth for granted. Thank you that you challenge us to dig deeper and that you make yourself known to us in ways that we can understand. Amen
…so I’ve been thinking.
I’ve been reading a lot of books, talking with a bunch of people, and even gone to a conference. And everywhere I go God just keeps messing with my head.
It’s all about heaven. Like many of you I was raised to believe that heaven was this place that dead people went to (at least dead Christians). True enough. When I die the Bible tells me that the next thing I see is Jesus—face to face. And most likely I’ll totally lose it. I won’t know what to do. I’ll act like a total idiot (nothing new) and he’ll have to calm me down and tell me it’s ok. I’m in heaven.
But I think there’s much more to it. When Jesus was on this earth, what he told everybody was to turn around and take a look: heaven was right in front of them. You didn’t have to wait for it. In fact, to make the point, he gathered a little band of followers and showed them how to act as if they were really in heaven—because they were. They were in the presence of the God who made everything and loved everything. What could be better than that? That’s heaven.
And, yes, he also told them that heaven was this kingdom that would last forever. But he always reminded them that it was right in front of them, because he was right in front of them.
And there’s where it really messes me up.
Because most of the time I don’t act like I’m in heaven (so where do I think I am?). I guess that means that most of the time I’m not sure if Jesus is really right in front of me. And all that’s really in front of me is whatever’s coming at me. Time for the bullet-proof vest. Time to hide.
But there’s this promise of Jesus that keeps running through my head, that he’d be with me forever. That he wasn’t going anywhere no matter what happened or what I did. And then he dares me to act as if that’s really true. To act like he taught he followers to act. To do what he did.
What if all this stuff is true?
In the last blog I wrote about this little band of Jesus-followers in San Francisco that did this thing called “Have 2 Give 1.” That’s where they followed Jesus teaching that if you have two coats to give one to someone who has none. They also did that with their CD’s bikes, shoes, appliances, whatever they had too much of. And they didn’t just give their throwaways either.
You see, this wasn’t just about “doing the right thing.” These people in San Francisco were really trying to act as if all this Jesus-stuff is really true. That life does go better (and is way more fun) if you do what Jesus did.
This “Have 2 Give 1” thing—we’re going to try this at Immersion in a few weeks. I’ll talk about how this will all work on Thanksgiving Eve and the next week following we’ll all give stuff away. More details to come.
Blessings on the Way!
NOTE: Before we get rockin' and rollin' with today's devotion, we want you to go and vote! This is a civic liberty, neigh, duty that we're called to as citizens of this nation. If you don't like any of the candidates, aren't informed, etc., ask God who He would have you vote for (and that doesn't necessarily mean Republican or Democrat only!). He's full of wisdom, even when you aren't - so He can let you know who to vote for!
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "Wherever you find yourself, do not easily leave." Abba Anthony, contemplative and desert father.
This piece of advice was part of a response to the question, “what must one do to please God?” Surprising, huh?
I don't know about you, but I know for me it's easy to fall into the mindset that when things get hard, it must be time to move on. When my job is frustrating and nothing seems to be going right, then maybe it's time to switch jobs or to move away. When my closest friendships get hard, maybe we don't have as much in common as I thought. When I'm not feeling connected in community, this probably isn't where God wants me. Giving up and moving on seems like a much better solution than facing the battles.
God sees it much differently though. He blesses those who persevere, especially through trials (James 1:12). Growth comes when we seek to remain faithful in situations and relationships that we don't understand and might not like. We begin to realize through difficult circumstances that we are not alone...that the Lord is with us always and more than likely right where we are is right where we ought to be.
Prayer for the week: Lord, would You reveal to us this week the areas in our lives where we find it easier to give up than to keep going? Show us how You might be challenging us to grow in these areas and give us the strength to persevere knowing the reward is so worth it. Thank you Father, we love you. Amen.
God's really been frying my face lately. Or, as Tim Denner calls it, God's been "giving me a face-melter."
As we've been walking through this Malachi series, I've really been burdened with the fact that a lot of times, my life doesn't really look all that different from someone who doesn't follow Jesus. I want you to know something - the stuff we talk about from up front, we're not worth our salt if it doesn't, at one point or another, affect us in some way, shape, or Form. That'd be what we call "hypocrisy," and, frankly, there's been enough of that in the Body of Christ. I'm sick of blending in with the world when all I want to do is live a life that reflects Jesus in every way. Contrast that with the fact that I don't want to be so irrelevant to those around me that the love of Jesus gets lost in the simple fact that I'm... well... weird to everyone else. Simply put, I've divorced my "normal" life (i.e. 9-5 life) from my "Jesus" life. Those are two things that ought not be separated, and I want to let Jesus piece them back together again.
I was overwhelmed with how many of you felt like you had divorced things in your life that belonged together. Here is what some of you said last Thursday night:
"El trabajo, las relaciones con amigos y novios"
"Cutting others down either verbally or in my head"
"Trust... Trusting You... I don't trust You but want to..."
"I've divorced you from my ministry"
"I need to love you by my actions, not just my words"
"Living for what people expect of me and not You"
"Not loving those who need love"
"Given my heart to an unbeliever"
So, a lot of us are all in the same boat... Good to know, eh? So, where is this all hitting you? What has GOD been stirring in your life over this?
GOD's peace and protection to you up your journey....
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “To be a witness [of Jesus Christ] does not consist in engaging in propaganda nor even in stirring people up, but being a living mystery. It means to live in such a way that one's life would not make sense if God did not exist.” Cardinal Emmanuel Suhard
This quote comes from a close and insightful friend who knows and loves God, but more importantly embodies what Cardinal Suhard is saying. To be a follower, a witness of Jesus Christ means to live differently than the rest of the world.
I think sometimes we in the Church have become content to go through the checklist of our “spiritual” duties and count that as our relationship with God. Bible reading? Check. Telling God what I want? Check. Go to church? Check. But there’s no mystery, no allure, no difference in our lives. Simply put, God’s transforming power doesn’t reside in our lives due to our live life in a way that wouldn’t make sense if God didn’t exist.
But there’s hope – with God there is always hope. He desires to lead us into new life by the power of His Spirit and by that power alone. To show us a life that is simple, absurd, and gets people to ask questions… Are you ready?
Prayer for the week: O God, may our lives continue to be a living mystery to those around us. May we live lives that look distinctly different from those around us – not in an arrogant way, or prideful way, or self-righteous way, but in a way that evidences the transforming power of Your Holy Spirit in our lives. We want to be changed from the inside out and show that renewed life to the world around us. Help us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Earlier this week I attended a very cool gathering of young leaders from all over the country who are re-thinking what it means to be followers of Jesus. Many of these leaders are trying all kinds of new ways to live out in community what Jesus taught his first followers. One of these communities in San Francisco decided to call themselves a "dojo" instead of a church.
Why a dojo?
A dojo is literally "a place where one learns the way," usually of some kind of martial art. In this case, this dojo teaches the way of Jesus. And, similar to a martial arts dojo, this community teaches not just by lecturing, etc. but by actually practicing together the way of Jesus.
So here's how this dojo learned what it means to live in simplicity and rely on God instead of all our material stuff.
They decided on an experiment which they called "have 2, give 1." Jesus once his followers taught if you have two coats, give one away to someone who doesn't have any. So this dojo decided to bring together everything they had more than two of--coats, shirts, jeans, bikes, CD's, books, you name it--sell it at a gigantic garage sale, and then give the money to a local shelter.
Two things happened: first, the dojo discovered in a very practical way what it meant to rely on God and not on stuff; second, the neighborhood discovered that there was a group of Christians among them that actually cared about them.
Now this is important.
This dojo is located in the Mission District of San Francisco, home to artists, street people, musicians, addicts, alternatives, intellectuals, and anyone else you can imagine--people who have often experienced Christians as ridged, hostile, and judgmental--definitely not people who really care about them and the daily challenges they face.
But over time the actions of this unusual dojo began to cause many in this neighborhood to open up to the way of Jesus and the life he offers his followers. And the members of the dojo of began to discover that it is often important to act like Jesus before talking about Jesus. Saint Francis one said, “Preach the Gospel at all times; if necessary use words.” Credibility matters.
So what happen if Immersion would start thinking of itself as a dojo—a place where one learns the way of Jesus? What would happen if we started experimenting together with living life the way Jesus taught?
What would happen to us, our friends, and Des Moines? Probably pretty cool stuff.
Blessings on the Way!
(For more information on this extraordinary dojo go to http://www.reimagine.org/)
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Who am I? I am one loved by Christ.” Thomas Merton, Trappist Monk.
Do you live everyday knowing you are loved by Christ? Not just when you are good, but in every moment of your life. As Christians, our identity is found in Christ and his love for us. All we have to do is accept it. God wants nothing more than to love you like the son or daughter he created you to be. You are his beloved. Stop and think about what that means. No matter what you do, no matter where you go, God will never leave you. He is always there, waiting to love you like his precious child. The only thing he’s waiting for is you.
Prayer for the week: God, Thank you for choosing me. Thank you for loving me, even when I have a hard time loving myself. Remind me of your love today in moments when it is easier to feel worthless or frustrated with who I am. Gently whisper to me that I am your beloved. Today I choose to acknowledge that and live in light of your grace and love. Amen.
Hey everybody out there. It's me, Justin. I'm not sure who all is reading these things, but we want you to feel like you have ownership of this ministry called Immersion. In doing so, the best way to do that is to keep you informed as to what's going on during the week when you're not here worshiping your guts out before the LORD. This is our attempt to do that - to keep you up-to-date on what we feel like GOD is doing in our midst at Immersion. So, without further ado, let's get into the update....
Website: Our website is in the middle of some changes right now - that's why you may not have seen a whole lot going on with it recently. We want it to be a place of connection for you - where you can see what's going on in the ministry, with each other, with this city, etc. Sit tight, we're on the verge of figuring out what direction to take it next. Got any ideas? Let us know. (PS - HUGE thanks to BJ Joseph for doing all the programming for our current site. For those of you who don't speak "techy," think of it as a car - BJ built everything under the hood from scratch. If you see him on Thursday, make sure you say "thanks.")
Announcements: This is something I'm really excited about - video announcements. We're working towards trying to use more multimedia elements in our worship service, the first on the list being video announcements. We have a team assembled and they're in the midst of doing "test-outs" - more to come. If you want to know what we're thinking of, check out theMill.
Next series: Next after Matthew is Malachi: In Your Face. Malachi is basically a book where GOD lays the smackdown on the Israelites saying, "you think that all the stuff that you do matters to me more than how you do it, more than your motive for doing those things! You're wrong!" This is a side of GOD that has challenged me - His wrathful side. For a look at what I'm talking about, check out this verse and then tell me that GOD doesn't get angry!
I think that's all for this week. One of us (Richard, Molly, Christine, Mark, or Justin) will try and do something like this every week, so check back often. We hope all is well with you, it's so much fun to worship with you all on Thursdays! Peace to you on this day...
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "Sometimes I think we're more concerned about God's will for our lives than He is." Anonymous.
What is God's will for my life? Are the desires I'm having His or mine? Are my decisions in line with His will? These are all questions I think our generation of believers asks over and over...sometimes to the point that we become anxious, confused and distracted...right where the enemy wants us to be. Have you ever thought maybe the reason God puts decisions before us is because He longs so deeply to spend time with us? Would you believe His desire for us to just be still in His presence is greater than what it is we're actually doing? It's a lot simpler than we think. His word tells us His will for us. To be joyful always, pray continually and give thanks in all circumstances (1Thess 5:18). The truth is God is sovereign and His plans for us cannot be thwarted. Now that's a reason to rejoice and give thanks!
Prayer for the week: Holy Spirit, would you bring the body of Immersion rest? Show us how simple it is to live in Your will and remove the hindrances we put in the way. Allow us to trust in Your perfect plans for us and as we seek Your face, reveal them to us. Quiet our hearts this week Lord so that we may hear what You are whispering to us. Thank You for Your endless pursuit of our hearts – may we draw nearer to You and experience the depths of Your love and grace. In Jesus name we pray, Amen.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Immersion’s mission is to reach out to young adults with the love of Christ in a culturally relevant way.”
It’s true, our generation isn’t really big on “mission statements” per se, but we can’t throw the baby out with the bathwater either.
Immersion has a mission statement. Did you know that? It’s the quote for this week and you’re going to be seeing it and hearing it a lot more often at Immersion. We think it’s important that we know what our goal is (reaching out with the love of Christ) and who that goal is set for (young adults.) It’s the difference between the fluorescent overhead lights in your office building and a high-powered laser beam that cuts tumors out of cancer patients. They both provide light, but one is infinitely more focused on the task at hand.
That’s what we want to do at Immersion: focus. Focus our thoughts, hearts, and spirits on the person of Jesus Christ, as well as focus our efforts to expand God’s Kingdom on the young adult generation of this city we love, the beautiful city of Des Moines.
So what do you say? Are you ready to focus? Are you ready to take the mission that God has charged Immersion with to the streets? Are you ready to reach out with the love of Jesus in a way that meets people around you where they’re at? That impacts those around you in a way that integrates who Jesus is into their lives, like a missing piece of a puzzle?
Get ready. Let’s focus.
Prayer for the week: God, make this generation one that is defined and refined by Your love for us. Help us to focus our strength and soul on who Your Son Jesus is and what He wants to do in our lives so we can go and be your ambassadors in this city in a culturally relevant way. You are good, we want to be good by the power of Your Spirit. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "Live one step out of comfortable." Bill Johnson, Preacher.
I sometimes wonder what my life would be like if I lived consistently outside my comfort zone. What if I really stepped out of my fear and did things I often shy away from? What would it be like if we all did? I imagine life would be extremely interesting and exciting... extraordinary in fact. Let's face it, most of us find security in a comfortable life... In our jobs, homes, relationships, having food to eat and a car to drive, surrounding ourselves with those that are similar to us, etc. While all of these things are good and there is nothing wrong with them, God wants so much more for us.
God isn't interested in our comfort and in what makes us happy but rather in His purposes and in making us holy. He longs to give us abundant life (John 10:10), which comes as we rely completely on Jesus and abandon our lives to the Holy Spirit. He desires us to trust Him to meet our every need and allow Him to do what He says He is going to do. While He doesn't promise comfort, God does promise to give us more than we can ask for or imagine (Eph 3:20) if we seek His kingdom first and walk in obedience to Him. I believe He is looking for those who are willing to accept His invitation to give up ordinary for extraordinary and truly live. Are you willing?
Prayer for the week: Holy Spirit, open our minds and hearts this week to living outside of our comfort zones. Strip down the fears we have that keep us from the abundant life You desire us to live. Give us a desperate hunger for You Jesus and the courage to begin taking steps, even baby ones, towards extraordinary life. May we continue to seek You in the journey of fulfilling our destinies. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
What “earthly” treasure do you need to stop “storing up?”
What “kingdom” treasure might God be wanting to give you?
1. Simply read the questions
2. Press the "Comments" link below this post
3. Write and respond as the Spirit leads you
4. When you are done writing, press "post" and you're done (you can either leave a name to post by or you can remain anonymous - the choice is yours.)
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Don’t worry about a thing/Every little thing is gonna be alright.” Bob Marley, Musician and Activist.
It’s simple, really. Once you let Jesus speak to your soul, letting Him tell you that He has conquered your death, that He has “healed your diseases” and “taken your infirmities,” (Matthew 8:17), things start to change in your life. Things that frightened you before lose their power in your life: “What am I going to do for money?” “When am I going to get a husband/wife?” “What if that important person in my life dies? Then what?”
Jesus speaks to the face of these fears and, like when He commanded the churning waves around the disciples’ boat to be still, breathes into those places with His courage, His strength and His grace. So the question isn’t, “Where is God?” The question is now, “Will I let Him in to do what He promises to do?”
Prayer for the week: Holy Comforter, will you speak to us at Immersion? Especially in those places where we are worried or scared – will you help us to understand that You don’t promise a perfect life, but You do promise to hold our hand through it all. So, draw us out from the places in our life where we might be hiding under the covers and enable us to let our light shine before all people, so that You might get glory in heaven. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “No matter how slow the film, the Spirit always stands still long enough for the photographer It has chosen.” Minor White, American Photographer.
I think I love this quote because it echoes a theme of Scripture that is undeniably apparent – GOD promised to reveal Himself to every living being on the planet. Paul says in Romans that nature, creation itself reveals God’s character and goodness. It’s not the fact that God doesn’t want people to know Him, trust Him, love Him, and spend eternity apart from Him (a.k.a. Hell,) It’s that sometimes, we don’t want to see Him.
Prayer for the week: Loving Father, may we continually seek out Your presence and be amazed at your beauty in every inch of our lives. Send your Holy Spirit to open up our eyes, ears, heart and mind to your constant presence around us, around every corner and under every rock. We live and breathe because you let us. Thank you for revealing Yourself fully through Your Son, Jesus the Christ. You are good and we at Immersion love You. Amen.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: "Expect great things from God, attempt great things for God." William Carey, Missionary.
Hey Immersion, did you know that God wants to do amazing things in your life? He wants to put the puzzle pieces of your life together again, clean up the things that have been trampled through the mud, and restore your vision to see the Light of the World again?
Did you know He wants you to experience Him on every level of your being? Did you know He’s counting on you to count on Him when push comes to shove? To have a total and complete dependency on Him for everything that goes on in and through your life?
Why does He want this? First, because He loves you – He is love and He cannot help but love those whom He created. Second, because He wants you to be fueled by this expectancy so that you can go out and do great things for Him and His Kingdom. Not in a way that tries to earn His love, but in a way that is fueled by His love. You are filled up in order to reach out – this is the heart of God.
Prayer for the week: Father God, will you fill at Immersion, individually and corporately, with the desire to expect great things from you and to attempt great things for you and Your Kingdom. Help our hearts to be based in a faithful expectancy that You will move on our behalf – to trust Your Father heart. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
“Why blame the dark for being dark? It is far more helpful to ask why the light is not as bright as it should be.” Rob Bell, Pastor and Author
Make no mistake about it Immersion, we face a very real enemy as children of God. The Evil One, whose name means “accuser,” looks to steal, kill, and destroy everything in our lives that emanates from the hand of our Father. But we posses something that the accuser will never ever have – the Light and Life of Jesus the Christ, the Re-deemer of our souls. His Light in us blinds the work of the evil one, so much so that Scripture says that those who belong to Jesus will “never be snatched” from the Father’s hand – the evil one cannot lay hold of us! Praise be to God for the Son!
Prayer for the week: GOD, will you protect me. Teach me to see the work of the evil one in my life and then send Your angels to pour out the light and life of Jesus straight into my innermost being – that I may continue to destroy the works of the enemy, just like you did! I thank you for your sacrifices, Jesus. In Your name, Amen.
Congrats! Our Title ended the 2006 Lutheran Church of Hope Dodgeball League with an impressive no-loss season! Great job guys!
A special thanks to all the refs, players, and fans ("Dodgy! Dodgy! Dodgy!") who made this season possible, but a special praise GOD goes out to Chad Pitlik and Andrew Springer (duh.) Without these two cats, this season wouldn't have happened - great job guys.
So, in lieu of the season being over, I give you all some pictures from last night. Enjoy, and see you next year!