January 10, 2024
David and Karen Mains discuss a critically important strategy, summarized by this statement: “The time has come for the people of God to put their minds and hearts into helping solve the massive refugee/immigration problem on our southern border.”
David: Okay, we’ve made plans before the time to record came up to talk in terms about the problems that we face internationally and nationally. What are some of those international problems?
David: It’s a bit late, Karen, to say happy New Year to our listeners, but this is our first time in 2024 to actually record a podcast together.
Karen: And that’s because as 2023 came to an end, the two of us were sidelined again with another COVID strain.
David: And we thank the Lord that we are much better.
Karen: Much better. And that our time to leave this world hasn’t come as of yet.
David: Sure of that.
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: Fortunately, Karen, the first time we had COVID, we didn’t have our shots, I don’t think, but this time we had our shots.
Karen: Oh, we had two COVID booster shots over the two years.
David: And it wasn’t as bad as the first time. I had terrible memories of going through all that again.
Karen: And then we had a period of long COVID too, David. I mean, it’s been kind of crazy. Anyway, we weren’t as bad off this time.
David: No, and we’re kind of getting used to being in the new year.
Karen: Yeah, right.
David: Okay, we’ve made plans before the time to record came up to talk in terms about the problems that we face internationally and nationally. What are some of those international problems?
Karen: No one can overlook the crisis in Israel. The Israelites and the Jewish people were so much a part of God’s scheme for bringing redemption through Christ through those people. So, watching this appears to be an insoluble problem. In Israel right now, something that’s deeply on our hearts we’re concerned about and we’re praying that God will enter into the minds of people who can help them work it out in a way that is not just disastrous.
David: Yeah, we were talking about what’s ahead as we originally thought about doing this program. What’s ahead nationally as well. And this is a tough year coming up. It’s not that the contention is going to stop.
Karen: I mean the political system.
David: No, it’s going to increase as the election blooms in the future all the time. So, that’s a tough thing and then we have to look at the southern border.
David: Say this whole problem of these people coming and looking for a new future that hasn’t been resolved. It looks like we’re not going to be able to solve it.
Karen: Well, not easily. But one of the things you and I have been thinking about is that this is not just a problem for Christians who are in those southern border states. There would be California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.
David: Texas is the big border.
Karen: Every time those discussions come up on television or whenever we’re listening to commentary about it, I’m thinking this is an opportune time and what are churches all across the country doing? I mean we need to rise up as a body of Christ and say, There are things that we can do that will help alleviate this process. Is this a time in the church as a whole?” Needs to step forth and begin opening its doors and extending welcome to people who are greatly troubled.
David: And this is what the church characteristically has been good at. I know I’ve, through my lifetime, met so many people who are doing remarkable works, in regard to problems that can’t be solved ultimately. You’re just doing what you can to do the best you can. This is one that’s not going to go away. If we are successful, it’s going to be more people coming in. If we can’t figure out what to do, maybe you build a wall and say we can’t take anymore. It’s just impossible.
Karen: That’s true.
David: We don’t know how to deal with it.
Karen: Except America actually, ironically, and maybe divinely so, needs this immigration population to become citizens. We don’t have enough people in our workforce. Our age level, we’re getting older all the time because young families are not having the five kids anymore. These are demographics we need to look at to understand where we are as a country. And then the church all over the United States, not just those border churches in those states, that are border states, to say is this an opportune time when God is asking us to rise to the occasion and give a witness to the world of what it means to be essentially Christian to heaven. Welcoming, hospitable, caring heart that we believe scripture calls us to be just normally, but in particular in crisis times like these.
David: There are 350,000 churches approximately in the United States.
Karen: In the states, 350,000? Oh my God I have no idea.
David: 314,000 of those are Protestant, about 24,000 are Catholic. Catholic people have a very good way of having multiple services in their church building.
Karen: The congregations are larger than often than some of those Protestant churches.
David: Yes, but that’s a lot of churches and there’s a lot of help that could come from these churches. At the same time, it’s a very difficult thing to say, “How do we do this not only as individuals but as congregations? What can we do?” We have a lot of properties that are used only certain hours on the weekends, you know, so that’s a possible resource. You have all of the resources of the people that they have in their homes. How many homes are available to take one family maybe or just maybe one person? But it’s quite amazing when you look at what the church is around the country.
Karen: What the resources could be if they were applying to a difficult problem such as we have now in the states.
David: And all those people are thinking no matter how much we do, if we’re successful, it’s a bigger problem. If we’re not successful, it’s a continuing problem. And it is. It’s a mind-boggling, very difficult matter to solve and yet we go to the scriptures. And when you read the scriptures, you know what Jesus has to say on all these things.
Karen: Well, what does he have to say? You want us to read?
David: I picked just three scriptures, Karen, and I’m going to read them and none of them will sound new to people. But this is from Luke. Jesus is speaking. I think the whole of the story of what unfolds here is quite understandable.
“On one occasion, an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he asked, ‘What must I do to inherit eternal life?’
‘What is written in the law?’ He replied. ‘How do you read it?’ This person answered, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind. And love your neighbor as yourself.’
Jesus said, ‘You’ve answered correctly. Do this and you will live.’
But this person wanting to justify himself asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’
In reply, Jesus said, ‘A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho where he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan as he traveled came where the man was and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’
Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of the robbers?’ That’s the question Jesus asked. The expert in the law replied, ‘The one who had mercy on him. ‘Jesus told him, ‘Go and do likewise.’”
It doesn’t take any kind of explaining to add to that story. It’s very clear what Jesus is teaching. We just take that and say, “Ok, let’s live with this. This is the word from the Son of God, and it relates to us.” So that’s very basic to what Jesus not only taught but what he lived.
Karen: And the more we’ve talked about this, we keep finding scriptures that are very relevant to the immigration circumstances that America is facing today. Do you have a couple more of them in front of you?
David: Well, I took this from the Old Testament. This is probably the greatest of the Old Testament prophets. This is Isaiah, it comes from chapter 58. “Shout it aloud, do not hold back, raise your voice like a trumpet, declare to my people their rebellion and to the house of Jacob their sins. For day after day, they seek me out, they seem eager to know my ways as if they were a nation that does what is right and is not forsaken the commands of its Lord.
They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them, talking to God. ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves and you have not noticed it?’ Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. Your fasting ends in quarreling, a strife and striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for a man to humble himself? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying on sackcloth on ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable of the Lord? Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen, to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?”
You know what a yoke is obviously, is what they would put on the oxen and over their shoulders. Set these people free, take the yoke off of them.
Karen: Yoke of oppression.
David: “Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter? When you see the naked, to clothe them and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood, then your light will break forth like the dawn and your healing will quickly appear. Then your righteousness will go before you and the glory of the Lord will be your rearguard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer. You will cry for help, and he will say, ‘Here am I.’”
Those are very easy to apply what the situation is when we talk about our southern border. And these poor people, this is a very complex problem. It’s not as though we’re just saying, “go down and solve it.” That would be naive in every way. But it is something that is just germane to the people. people of God, they should be the ones who reach out as much as possible. And I have to say there are churches that are doing remarkable.
Karen: Yeah, we go to sort of research that. And this is a story that’s being written in our time that could have an extraordinary impact in our country for the good.
David: I’m going to read one more extended section of scripture.
Karen: Where is this from?
David: Well, it’s at the end of Matthew, this is Matthew 25. And these are such familiar words, but I’m reading them carefully and just reading them slowly. Not trying to be dramatic. I’m just saying this is what the scriptures teach and what we believe. And we hold to these. We’re not examples ourselves of people who see these individuals coming and coming and coming and coming. Although I have to say as I see on television the lines of people, it just breaks my heart. And we know there are some shysters in the midst of this.
Karen: And they’re evil people with evil intent.
David: What is the drug they keep bringing over?
David: Okay, and that’s a huge problem.
Karen: I think it’s, well, the last statistics I could find it was 100,000 who had died from Fentanyl being in their heroin. Not knowing it was there, it’s a deadly drug.
David: So as people listen to us, we’re struggling with you. We’re not preaching at you. We don’t feel that at all. But we’re just saying this is something that the church needs to begin to pay more attention to. And it has phenomenal resources. Not only in church buildings that are not used a lot during the week. Or Karen, as far as echoes, homes of church people all across the country. Anyway, let me read these scriptures. And David, stop talking. Let the Lord talk, okay?
“When the Son of Man comes in His glory and all the angels with Him, He will sit on His throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate the people, one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on His right and the goats on His left. Then the king will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the beginning of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger, and you took me in. I needed clothes and you clothed me. I was sick and you looked after me. I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
Then the righteous will answer Him. ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you? Were thirsty and give you something to drink. When did we see you a stranger and invite you in? Or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
The king will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it for me.’
Then he will say to those on His left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry, and you gave me nothing to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink. I was a stranger, and you did not invite me in. I needed clothes and you didn’t clothe me. I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger needing clothes or sick or in prison? Didn’t help you.’ He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
Now those words kind of mess up all your theological thinking, but those are words from Jesus.
Karen: Well, and I think these are the timely things we need to be grappling with during this opportune moment in our age. What is the church, not just a local church, but the church nationally going to do to respond to this crisis at our border to our immigration. We have a complicated immigration system. We need comprehensive immigration reform, so it’s not easy to get involved in any of these things.
David: Yeah, our son Jeremy died when he was 42.
Karen: Almost 10 years, exactly 10 years ago.
David: This was his world. Yeah. He talked with us all the time.
Karen: He had chosen to be a part of the immigration reform system, so it’s close to our heart.
David: What was it Jeremy said? He said he was quite talented artistically. He said the world has enough artists; it needs people who will care for the hurting. So, he went into that field and was very successful. In his funeral there are so many people who came, whose family.
Karen: He brought us. He brought our whole family. He brought my whole family. And you had to become a legal expert in order to work with them. So, Jeremy had been accepted at the University of Chicago to further his education so he could do this work better. But for all practical purposes he functioned as a lawyer, an immigration lawyer. Yeah, paralegal.
David: This is something that he felt keenly. And when I think about the problem, he would be involved in it. He would be involved in it today. Praise the Lord for the church. But it has a long way to go yet. I think of the 350,000 churches in the United States.
Karen: What a difference if they activated that would make for this dilemma at our border, but what a difference it would make for the kingdom of God. When you have been taken in, when you’re in need, your spiritual life is also affecting no matter where you’re coming from. If you have criminal intents, how many criminals do we know who have become Christians because love was extended to them in a way, or the message of the gospel that they had never heard before? So, this is a crucial moment for the church in America.
David: Let me put it into a sentence.
David: This is for us to hear, David and Karen, as well as those who listen to us obviously. The time has come for the people of God to put their minds and hearts into helping solve the massive refugee immigration problem on our southern border. This is the time for the church to begin to say, “this is one of our areas of strength. We come and we will do what we can.” This could be the moment of answers to prayer for revival in the church all across the country.
Karen: It could revive the church. Right.
David: When you talk about revival, you think of it normally as gentlemen preaching and people coming to the front confessing their sins and so on. I don’t know whether that’s going to be the revival that comes in America in the future. I think it may come where the church takes on a massive problem, bigger than any of us even imagine. If we are successful, the problem gets bigger. If we are not successful, the problem gets bigger. It’s almost a no-win. But at the same time for the kingdom of God, it is a wonderful win.
Karen: It’s a win-win.
David: Yeah, it really is. The time has come for the people of God to put their minds and hearts into helping solve the massive refugee-slash-immigration problem on our southern border. And Jeremy would say, what a heck of a calling. This is hard work, but it’s where the church is at its very best, I believe. I’m not pointing fingers at anybody, including you, Karen.
Karen: We’re wrestling with this right now.
David: We’re wrestling with this, yes. Jeremy would be the first one to say the whole immigration problem is huge. It’s archaic. It’s impossible almost with the system, the way it’s set up now for people to work the system and to be able to come in legally.
The backups are incredible. It’s very hard to get the politicians to work together between the two parties, Republican and Democrat, so that they can come up with a solution that wouldn’t be that hard if people were saying, “Let’s make the government work like it’s supposed to, where we are learning from one another, one party from the other party, and moving forward.”
Karen: Working together for the common good, yes.
David: They can be blamed, but the church is to blame as well. And it’s not as though, again, we said there are no churches who are doing anything. There are churches that are exemplary, but now we need to come to the place where we say, the church is exemplary. It is doing something that is wonderful.
Dean, you sit here and I’m wondering if we keep your silence, because we just keep talking and you still get a chance to get a word in. Do you have any thoughts at all on this?
Dean: David, I think you and Karen have settled on a very important issue that the church needs to grapple with. Jesus created the church so that we could minister to the needs of the world, and this is certainly a need in our own country as well as in the countries from where all of these people are coming. We need to ask God to give us guidance, and we need to be courageous in living the way Christ would want us to live in this age.
David: Well said. I think it puts together the pieces. We need to come back to this topic again. Kind of lead in it so people don’t say, hey, they’re going on that harangue again. But I don’t think that’s us.
Karen: Sharing the things that we’re learning. And we would encourage your listeners to tell us what their churches are doing or what they’ve been thinking or entering into a dialogue with us on this topic.
David: Trying to be involved, as Jesus taught us, to be the good Samaritans in our day will be extremely difficult. But it’s also one of those opportunities that will be the wonderful experience of God working through our lives and us being His people on this earth. So anyway, it’s a new year. Good talking with you again, kiddo.
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