Immersion Devotion: Week of 12.25.06

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.

Immersion Devotion: Week of 12.18.06

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.

Immersion Staff UPDATE: Where's the snow, yo?

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:

The Wises' at Navigators Headquarters.
Flipping out in our ride for the weekend.

A sweet tree.

12 hours + 1 minivan + 6 people = this.

The burrito line at Chipotle.

It was a great time. We learned a lot of stuff, met a lot of great people, and are excited to being some GOD-breathed principles to Immersion. PS - you have GOT to check out what they do for announcements - "The Friday Night Show." They're produced by theMILL's creative pastor, Joe Kirkendall. He's a genius!

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.


Immersion Staff UPDATE: And so this is Christmas

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…


Immersion Devotion: Week of 12.03.06

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