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Mike Pohlman Christian Blog and Commentary

New Years, Polar Bear Swims and the Gospel of Jesus Christ

  • Mike Pohlman
    Mike serves as the senior pastor at Immanuel Bible Church in Bellingham, Washington. Mike is a former church planter in the Pacific Northwest, and served for three years as the executive producer of The Albert Mohler Program, a nationally syndicated radio show dedicated to Christianity and culture. Mike has a PhD in American church history from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Mike is husband to Julia and father to four wonderful children: Samuel (12), Anna (10), John (9) and Michael (4). When not pastoring, Mike loves sports, music, and hanging out with his family.
  • 2009 Jan 01
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Why do so many people around the country jump in freezing water in freezing temperatures on New Years Day?

I honestly don't know why. I'm wondering. Do we do it to remind ourselves we're alive? (cf. The Goo Goo Dolls, "Iris." "You bleed just to know you're alive...") Is there a longing inside us to break out of some mundane existence and the water is our needed jolt? Am I reading too much into it?

We joined our neighboors in our annual Polar Bear Swim yesterday. On this morning it was 23 degrees in Richmond, VA. Needless to say, our family watched rather than swam, but had a great time being a part of the festivities. But it made me question why hundreds of people subject themselves to these extreme elements at the beginning of each New Year.

I'm hoping and praying that 2009 is a year when God's grace shocks my system much like a polar bear plung. In other words, that I would be just as conscious of Him this year as the swimmers yesterday were conscious of the frigid water that immersed them.

The water could not be denied.