September 13, 2023
David and Karen Mains contemplate a sense of urgency that they have for their ministry during these last years of their lives on earth. They share with listeners what they feel God is revealing to them that may be helpful to others who feel a similar sense of urgency in serving Christ in this day, when things seem increasingly dire. They ask this question: “As spokespersons for the Lord, do our words convey a sense of urgency.”
David: As spokesperson for the Lord, do our words convey a sense of urgency? That’s what I’m wrestling with in terms of my own life. I feel it Karen, not only in terms of opportunities that are given us to perform a certain function. You know, you’re asked to give a devotional. You have to speak somewhere. What about our conversation? You know, just in talking with other people.
Karen: This podcast will be a bit different from what our listeners are used to hearing us talk about.
David: Yeah, that’s because we’re going to be talking to ourselves. You’re welcome to listen in, of course, but we’re attempting to make sure that we aren’t passing blame on the others when the problem or describing really risks at our own feet.
Intro: Welcome to the Before We Go Podcast featuring Dr. David Mains and his wife, noted author Karen Mains. Here’s David and Karen Mains.
David: We don’t know a whole lot about our chosen biblical subject or personality for this visit, but we can fill you in on a few facts anyway, Karen.
Karen: So, the New Testament book of 2 Peter says about this person. We know this person was “ a preacher of righteousness.”
David: Yeah, I kind of like that phrase. A preacher of righteousness. Our guess is that when he lived, many people thought of him as being a bit eccentric.
Karen: Probably. But more positively. The New Testament book of Hebrews describes him as a man of holy fear. Anyway, it was a positive description, whatever it actually means.
David: Yes, it was. The man we’re talking about is Noah, and the Bible doesn’t really tell us all that much about him.
Karen: But in Genesis chapter 6, he’s described as a “righteous man.” Blameless among the people of this time. So, the scripture at least looked in favor on him.
David: Yeah, same chapter, Genesis 6:9, as a short phrase, I really like four words. Again, it’s related to Noah. It says, “he walked with God.” I liked that very much.
Karen: Yeah, we got used to it, but what did it really mean? Lovely. We know the world of Noah’s day was wicked. This is maybe seven generations after Adam and Eve. And God said to Noah, “I’m going to bring floodwaters on the earth to destroy all life under the heavens. Every creature that has the breath of life.” What a proclamation.
David: Yeah, but the destruction wasn’t going to be immediate, and that’s because Noah needed time to build this huge ark beyond his imagination and beyond ours as well.
Karen: Wow. He’s also going to have to gather all the animals that were to be included on his journey.
David: I was reading the scripture, Karen, and I had a sense of a new thought. It’s probably not original with me, but it says, “Noah and his sons and his wife and his son’s wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood.” They were in there about a week. And then this verse comes. “Pairs of clean and unclean animals, of birds, and of all the creatures that move along the ground, male and female, came to Noah and entered the ark as God had commanded Noah.”
So, there’s this sense, and maybe Noah didn’t do that. Maybe these animals who would replenish the earth, they just came at God’s command.
Karen: Yeah, God’s command.
David: They walked in, and the ark was ready for him.
Karen: Anyway, what Noah was doing wasn’t something he could keep secret, right?
David: Not with that in his backyard. That huge monstrosity develop with people probably said.
Karen: My guess is that conversations with people were inevitable and maybe innumerable. He also preached, I’m guessing, a number of extemporaneous sermons.
David: Let’s talk about that, because it’ll help us get into what I’m struggling with as a person who sees himself as a preacher. Concerning those sermons, would you say as Noah talked while he built this ark and others came around, that they were scholarly and intellectual sermons?
Karen: I doubt it. I don’t think he had time for that.
David: How about folksy, humorous sermons?
Karen: No because he had a passion, yeah.
David: Fire-breathing, angry sermons?
Karen: On the edge, maybe.
David: Comforting, compassionate sermons?
Karen: No, I think he had an urgent message. So, I would categorize them as messages, or preaching, or communication that was filled with urgency.
David: That’s the word that I’ve been struggling with. Okay, let’s talk about today’s sermons. We hear them in our churches. We listen on radio, television. You know, if somebody’s going to a conference, they’re going to probably hear a number of speakers. Are people hearing these urgent sermons today?
Karen: I don’t feel like I’m qualified enough to speak to the whole, but the ones that I’m hearing are not urgent. They don’t have a prophetic edge. And that’s interesting, David, if that’s typical of preachers in a large degree, because we are living in very, what I would say, our perilous times. I mean, we’ve had an extraordinary moral decline in our country. There isn’t a baseline anymore of what we used to call the Judeo-Christian heritage. And it feels like many things are going askew or adrift.
One of the things, you just look at the way women are dressing that we see on television. Cleavage shows all over the place there is not a standard of modesty. And I’m not just pointing at that. The way we talked to one another. It used to be in our political system. We had a phrase that you heard a lot, “My worthy opponent.”
Well, you don’t hear anything about the worthy opponent that you just blast the other side. So, I would say crime is up. There’s an unease in our culture. We’ve lost our moral base somehow, and we don’t hear it addressed the way it should be, and it certainly isn’t being addressed the way it should be in the places where we’re hearing sermons.
David: I’m wondering whether I’m a part of the problem. Am I too careful in terms of what I say?
Karen: Do you want to offend anyone?
David: Sound extreme in some way or another. I feel in various ways God puts on the hearts of his spokesperson the urgent messages he wants voiced. Rather than saying, “Let’s talk about the culture, let’s talk about ourselves.”
And I’m asking myself, “Do I have that urgency sent? I don’t mean an over-extreme. In the scriptures we’ve been reading, just a little bit later, you come in the life of Abraham to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. And there you get a sense of urgency because these messengers from God come, enter the city where Lot is living. And they begin to say to you, “You got to get out of here.”
Karen: It’s going to be destroyed.
David: “Do you know somebody who is related?” Do you know somebody you want to…? And Lot kind of delays. And you get the feeling that, “Come on, come on, you don’t have all time to waste.” His wife, the kind of longingly mixed rack.
Karen: She turns and looks back and longing, and the scripture says, “she was turned into a pillar of salt.”
David: So, there is that, come on right now. I don’t know that that marks who I am. And I think you can go to an extreme with that. And so, I’ve been looking back on my life, and I don’t know how God would grade me. I’ve kind of come up with this, and I’ve thought about it a lot. I think he might give me a B minus. It’s not that I don’t say the words. I’ve gone three times through Revelation now, relatively recently on the podcast. And that’s because I feel that book is speaking to people where we are today. And I’ve said to them, you know, in terms of the reducing of Revelation to key sentences. History is headed inexorably toward a bloody global showdown between the forces of good and evil, light and darkness, Christ and the anti-Christ, God, and Satan, which the devil wins decisively, however only temporarily. And Jesus followers need to understand this and to prepare themselves accordingly. Now I’ve said that. I don’t know how much people hear that. I have this sense that God would say, “David, you don’t have enough of an edge yet. You need to be more forceful in what you’re saying.”
Karen: I think sometimes people who have what we would term a prophetic message, the urgency of that drives them to communicate in extremes that often turns their heroes off. Thinking of the prophet, I don’t know which one it was that God said, walk through the streets naked and proclaim the word of the Lord. What we as communicators have to do is ask for God to give us the means to communicate the urgent messages in ways that they will be heard and received and understood by our listeners, not to turn them off by the enormity of what we have to say.
David: But it takes a certain amount of urgency just to get people to hear.
Karen: Yeah, that’s true.
David: I do know I have this unease about where everything is. And I wake up with it. As soon as I’m awake, it is there saying…
Karen: …first thoughts. Yeah.
David: This world as you know it now is not just going to be like this indefinitely.
Karen: I think that’s really the Lord nudging you, David. I do. So, what we have to do is find a way to communicate so that it can be heard and people will say, “Yes, I agree with you. I see what you’re saying. I’ve been feeling that myself or whatever it is. And then what do we do?” And this is where I think you’re an extraordinary communicator. You always wrestle with what you have to say, but never leave it in a theoretical sense. You always give practicality to it. So, if the message is an urgency, what are some of the things that we should be doing in asking other people, reminding other people that they should be doing?
David: Let me take it to a different topic. I feel keenly that one of the sins of the church today is the sin of self-sufficiency. We can pull off this movement of the Holy Spirit by ourselves without going to our knees. And so, I talk often. In fact, the recent book, I’ve just sent the manuscript, I’ve been working on it for a long time, it’s prayer vigilantes. Okay. It’s saying we are never going to see the movement of the Lord without numbers of people coming together and praying, praying for a movement of the Holy Spirit.
Karen: Yeah. And it’s not a once a week prayer meeting sort of thing. That’s fine. I’m not knocking that, but this is filled with that urgency. So, it’s a sustained, continual, dedicated kind of prayer. And I think that God raises that sort of prayer up in our lives. When we say, “I want to do that work for you,” then you wake up in the middle of the night with this feeling of urgency.
David: But I don’t see that being caught by the church around the country. It’s kind of like, we’re not all that bad. We’re very talented. We can make it without going to that prayer thing.
Karen: Well, let’s go back to that self-sufficiency. I think we have trained pastors. They’ve gone to seminary. They’ve had training. We have people who are professionals who are successful in their professional lives. Maybe we’ve had a distress in our marriage, and we’ve had counseling and now we’re being successful and curing those sorts of things that we’re giving us trouble. So, there is a whole atmosphere of self-sufficiency and the American mentality is we can do it on our own.
We can do it. I mean, that’s part of who we are as a nation. So, I agree with you on that. That self-sufficiency is something that each one of us needs to look at and say, “Is this standing in the way of me being dependent upon God’s message in my life and His work through me?”
David: As spokesperson for the Lord, do our words convey a sense of urgency? That’s what I’m wrestling with in terms of my own life. I feel it Karen, not only in terms of opportunities that are given us to perform a certain function. You know, you’re asked to give a devotional. You have to speak somewhere. What about our conversation? You know, just in talking with other people. I hesitate to bring up what I feel because it casts a heaviness on the whole conversation. But I find myself not saying sometimes what I feel the Lord would have me say because all of a sudden what is a very enjoyable evening turns into a downer for people. I don’t know where I am in all of that.
Karen: Or how to do that. How to do that well.
David: Yeah, I don’t know your writing. You’re a much better writer than I am. Maybe that’s incidental. But in terms of your writing, do you have this sense of a need to bring people to the place where they say there’s an urgency here in this day?
Karen: I really don’t, not in the way that you feel it. And I do have a great desire to communicate well the things that are on my heart to communicate that I think are often things that got ideas and thoughts that God has given to me. Things that come up in my heart after I have read Scripture. But I do believe you have a much more of a prophetic sense. Not so much in a forth telling way, although that’s part of it, is in the urgency to tell God’s word in a way that it can be heard and understood. I mean, I do believe that you’re calling. I remember when we were just starting to date. This may embarrass you, David, but you were in your early 20s and I was in my teens. And I remember one of the things that impressed me so much about you was that you didn’t come up from the other college guys I was dating was. That you felt that God had set you aside with some sort of a destiny. And you used that word. There was a destiny for you.
And so even at that young age, I don’t be embarrassed by it because that was very impressive to me. I think it was one of the things that God used to say, “This is the man I want you to marry.” Whoever says anything like that? I wanted to be married to someone who felt that God had prepared him for some sort of destiny. So, what do we do with this destiny feeling as we age? Now that we’re in our old age without a lot of the communication opportunities we’ve had in the past.
David: That’s one of the frustrations.
Karen: That’s the frustration that we’re dealing with the most and the writing world has changed. I haven’t published anything for 20 years. No one knows who I am. Whereas before they used to be different. So, what do we do with this kind of urgent calling, this urgent message without the platforms that we used to have? And that is something I think we need to go before the Lord and really pray that he will open that up. Or our day for that has passed and this is a message God has given to us to bear an intercessory prayer for those younger leaders that he is raising up.
David: Yeah, I’m in that position even in calling people to pray. I regularly do that both in a sermonizing type of thing and also on a personal level. I said to people, “Here’s an opportunity you can join with us.” But I feel as though the Lord is kind of behind my back gently but forcefully. Now saying “You have to be more vocal.” And I said, I don’t know how to be more vocal and still be a nice guy. And maybe he’s saying to me, “Forget the nice guy. This is a day where urgency is going to be more and more important.” I need you to be open to that. And I’m at a place where I’m at unease. But I’m wrestling with that. And I’m thinking that there are numbers of people…
Karen: Who may be as well. That’s a good thought. I hadn’t thought about that.
David: And I pray for them even though I don’t know who they are. And I pray for them especially in the younger generation that the Lord will raise up those people. That they will be able to be obedient. Thank you, friends, for letting us just talk. We’re human beings like everybody else. I don’t want to be a part of the problem. I don’t want to say things that make us appear more holy than we are. I don’t want to go out in these last days that we have and have this sense that I miss what God wanted me to do. When I’ve felt all through our lives that we have gone out on the edge many, many times. And he’s always sustained us.
Karen: And obedient to what we thought was obedience to what he was asking of us.
David: Yeah, so anyway, it’s an interesting day and very difficult day to try to put all the pieces together. You know, it would be helpful Karen, people who hear us, if they resonate with where they are and they have thoughts that could be helpful or words that would be beneficial. Don’t hesitate. Make connection with us. We would appreciate that very much. If God speaks out loud to us, that would be very scary.
Karen: But he often does through other people.
David: He often does. Yes, often. That has been a great blessing that he has given us in terms of our lives. So don’t remain silent friends.
David: I don’t have anything more to say.
Karen: Okay, let’s have Dean close us out. All right. Thank you, Dean.
Outgo: Friends, do you sense an urgency in your life? Is God suggesting that you be more urgent in the message you share with your friends? If so, connect with us. We would love to hear from you.
You’ve been listening to the Before We Go Podcast. And if you would like to write to us, please send us an email at the following address, firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’ve enjoyed this podcast, please remember to rate, review, and share on whatever platform you listen. This podcast is copyright 2023 by Mainstay Ministries, Post Office Box 30, Wheaton, Illinois 60187.
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