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Friday, March 16, 2012

Review of Immersion by Dr. Mark McNees

It is so refreshing to read a spiritual work that is accurate and heart-felt.  I am happy to heartily endorse Dr. Mark McNees' Immersion.  Drawing upon his experience when attempting to the Swim from Alcatraz, this athletic pastor will lead you to greater enthusiasm about your walk for Christ.

Happy Friday!  My review is enclosed below.

Available at Amazon.com

Immersion: Live the Life God Envisioned for you. [Softcover]
by Dr. Mark McNees
280 pages, $14.99
ISBN-13: 978-1460967706
Christian Devotion/Nonfiction
Review by Steven King, MBA, MEd

What covers 70% of the planet, constitutes 60% of the human body, makes up 70% of the
human brain, and comprises 83% of our blood? While a person can go without food for
weeks, he cannot survive more than a few days without…

…water.

Given that this clear liquid is perhaps the most important element known to man, is it any
wonder that so many metaphors hint at it? Consider how living as a Christian has been
has been equated with “swimming upstream,” or the fact that non-Christians resent it
when Christians do not “go with the flow.” Certainly, existing as a Christian in the
modern era requires the tenacity of a champion swimmer: to learn not to fight the current
but how to thrive in spite of it.

With this mindset, Dr. Mark McNees has written a practical treatise establishing how
Christians can succeed today with Immersion: Living the Life God Envisioned for you.
McNees is the founding pastor of the Element 3 Church in Tallahassee, Florida and
draws upon his experiences swimming competitively to give Christians realistic advice
for victorious living.

His athletic prowess has helped him compete in triathlons and even complete the grueling
Swim from Alcatraz: an open water swim where participants swim from Alcatraz Island
to the shore of San Francisco, California. While the distance is a little over a mile, the
fast moving current makes the distance swam almost two miles instead. To be
successful, swimmers have to mentally prepare for, and accurately navigate, the speed of
the current.

Immersion rightfully implies that the Christian life cannot be lived apart from the world—instead; Christians should live productive lives while being fully engaged in culture. McNees develops his ideology by taking the Great Commandment (to love God with your heart, soul, mind, and strength) and the Great Commission (to love your neighbor as yourself) and tying them to a swimming motif. Such a framework divides Immersion
into seven parts:

Part 1-Life Immersed
The Great Commandment


Part 2-Water
Loving God with all your heart


Part 3-Breathe
Loving God with all your soul


Part 4-Navigate
Loving God with all your mind


Part 5-Kick
Loving God with all your strength


Part 6-Stroke/Pull
Loving others as yourself


Part 7-Swim to Win
Putting it all together

I appreciate McNees’ complete transparency when he admits that he has not always had it
together in his life. His struggles with excessive weight, depression, and a nagging sense
of hollowness will communicate volumes to those who face similar struggles. When it
looked as if suicide might be the only way to beat his pain, his father’s gentle rebuke
ultimately encouraged him. His dad said, “You haven’t tried everything – you’ve never
tried Jesus.”

Unlike other Christian authors who jump from one version of Scripture to another in an
attempt to find the precise word order that “proves” their point, McNees utilizes the New
Living Translation (NLT) for every Scripture quoted. His biblical interpretation is sound
and his scriptural application is spot on. You can read this work with full confidence that
the author will not lead you into false Christian teachings. In addition, between each part
of the book, the author has included a devotional guide which would be ideal for any
small group Bible study.

To take the guesswork out of how to live a fully immersed life, McNees has included a
novel idea to help Christians live these concepts. His W.H.O.L.E. template is an
acronym that encourages the reader to holistically evaluate the Christian life by
considering:

Worship—Am I spending time with God?
Heart—How is my emotional life?
Others—Am I living the Great Commission?
Learning—Am I feeding my mind?
Eating/Exercise—Am I being a good steward of my body?

Dr. McNees has written an enjoyable book that I could not put down. If you want to
experience authentic Christianity and live life above your brokenness, Immersion is for
you.

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