May 13, 2020
Christians can learn to live in the wonder of the resurrected Christ’s involvement in their daily lives, say hosts David and Karen Mains.
Christians can learn to live in the wonder of the resurrected Christ’s involvement in their daily lives.
Karen: David Mains and I have become entranced with this adorable child actress who is in a series of commercials for AWS. It didn’t really work as far as commercials are supposed to work because we didn’t know what AWS stand for.
David: I guess most don’t believe it.
Karen: Others probably do, but it’s Amazon Web Service. But we fell in love with the actress. It will tell you all about that in just a moment.
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.
Karen: So, we’re wondering how many of our listeners have also become entranced with this little girl. She asks questions like this. I have a little shot of her walking down the street with her mom and a guitarist. A street musician is playing and so she says, “How did he learn to play like that?”
David: I can see it in my mind.
Karen: Another commercial, another variation. “How do you always find the best stuff to watch?” I think she’s got a tiny, tiny list and she’s lying on her mother’s back. They’re both prone on the carpet watching television. So, the questions proceed from commercial to commercial. “How do they make shoes like that? How do you know that? How do they know this stuff? How does it know where you’re going?”
David: She’s just filled with wonder, isn’t she?
Karen: Coming out of a bakery with a donut in her hand, she says, “How did they know I like sprinkles?”
David: I’m sure people have seen those ads. They’re identified right away. We use those words a lot in our lives.
Karen: We’ve started to say about one another, “How do you do that?” And then a little self-gratification or boosting. “How do I know how to do that?”
David: It’s kind of a great introduction, Karen, for this week of Easter because I’m sure that there was that sense of wonder and absolute amazement on the part of those closest to Jesus when he rose from the dead. “How did he do that”?
Karen: Well, when you think of the whole panorama of redemption, in the fullness of time, Scripture tells us, in this place in the world, which was really the center of the world at that time, that Middle East area stretching over not so much toward Europe, but toward the East. That was the middle of the world.
And you have this child that’s born and fills the prophecy of the past. Just on and on and on to this moment where he declares his kingship and has a ministry for three years and then is taken. The authorities can’t stand his ministry, they take him to annihilate him really and he’s put in a cross and killed. So that’s the panoply of this story, but it’s not over.
David: Yes, it’s not over yet. This wonderful paragraph captures a little of the excitement and joy. So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy and ran to tell his disciples. You get that same sense of excitement as they get together. Then Jesus appears in the midst and so on. He appears to Peter. He appears to the two on the road to Emmaus. And all of them are just, “How did he do that?” It was so thrilled.
Karen: It’s extraordinary. I wonder if awe and wonder are really the emotional and physical manifestations of this question whenever we feel it. “How did he do that? How did that happen? You know, what’s going on”? Just this amazement is something that’s beyond our understanding and our capabilities to experience or to create.
David: It’s the childlike wonder coming back. We say it a lot. “How did he do that”? And that’s partly because we’re longtime experienced God hunter.
Karen: Yes, we are.
David: We have taught people, started with our family, to look for the exceptional in terms of what God is doing in terms of your life.
Karen: One of the basic principles of education that I love is what’s learned with pleasure is learned full measure.
David: Okay, say what that means, not in the rhyme, but what does it mean?
Karen: Well, I think sometimes we make education onerous, or learning onerous. It’s a memorization of lists simply for the test or passing a certain standard. But what we want to create in help the learner to capture is the joy of learning, the excitement of learning that immerses in, absorbs them. So, we took this principle, what’s learned with pleasure is learned full measure and applied it to the way we taught our children about spiritual things. And we put the finding of God or the practicing of the presence of God, these extraordinary theologies into this simple game, the God hunt.
David: And it worked so well with our children, we decided when we were on radio across the country, we would share it with our listeners and all of a sudden we realized we had something that was very helpful.
If we could learn to teach people how to sense the presence of God in their daily lives, that would be something that they would not only be appreciative of, but they would enjoy it immensely. So, we said, let’s learn together to go on the God hunt.
Karen: So, we wrote about it. We broadcasted about it. But those stories of finding God came out of our everyday lives, the lives of our children, and then we would start reading the letters from our listeners and feeling their joy at recapturing the wonder and the curiosity and the excitement of…
David: …of the resurrection of Christ.
Karen: …of the resurrected Christ. Interacting with His people in an everyday way through the power of the Holy Spirit. That was just a marvelous moment in our ministry.
David: Still have people talking about it all the time. We found it was helpful as clues to say here are four simple categories. Don’t cover everything, but they cover enough to get you started. Here’s how you look for God in terms of just your everyday living. For example, you look for an obvious answer to prayer.
Karen: Let me talk about that just a bit because one of the things I learned to do was to keep a prayer journal. Now many writers keep writer’s journals, but I have 40 years of prayer journals and at the beginning of each day because I generally wrote in them every day. I would write down the ways I had seen God the day before because I didn’t want to forget because we do forget. And so I have 40 years of prayer journals recording evidences of the God, the intervention of God in my everyday life, and one is answered prayers.
Let me give you a very simple practical way that works out in our lives. We have always lived on a restricted budget. We haven’t been underpaid, but we’ve-
David: We haven’t been overpaid either.
Karen: I was trying not to say that delicately. And whatever we had in excess pretty much went out the door joyfully to anyone else who had needs. So, and we felt like the Lord had called us to live sort of a Protestant non-vow of poverty.
David: That wasn’t the law of poverty.
Karen: Even as I say that I’m embarrassed because we have so much in our lives.
Karen: But I began to thrift and now thrifting these days is a whole category. People say they’re thrifters or they go thrifting. And but I discovered that in local resale shops at Goodwill stores, I could close myself and my kids for next to nothing. And it was almost laughable. In fact, I ran to the resale shop just recently and picked up an outfit and they had it 50% off day and then seniors got 15% off on top of the 50% off on certain tags, all orange tags. So, I bought an outfit, an orange tag outfit because I had to run to California to visit. We were visiting with our son out there and I didn’t want to pull the summer clothes, the transitional clothes out of the attic. Big job. All together I paid $6 for the entire outfit.
David: Spin thrift.
Karen: Spin thrift. And about 15 people on the way from to the airport flying out said to me “Gee you look great love your outfit blah blah blah blah.” Well, this has been one of the supreme answers to my prayer in our lives that we would be able to, I didn’t mind being quasi tight financially. I just didn’t want to look like…
David: Don’t want to look like a million bucks.
Karen: I’m not even that I just want to look decent. I feel good about what I was wearing. And that’s the way the Lord has answered the prayer. And it’s… I find that sometimes with the God hunt. It’s sort of like he’s standing back there chuckling at the joke you know. This is just a great game and he’s playing it with us so wonderful. Just a wonderful question
David: I think that when Jesus appeared in his resurrected form, I don’t think he was all somber and now get to work see all of them. I think there was a great sense of joy with all of that.
Karen: …see what we can do.
David: Yeah. As his little kids who said, “How did you do that?”
Karen: “How did you do that”?
David: Yeah, that’s right. It’s the God hunt. So, one way to look for God in your every day is through obvious answers to prayer. I have prayed many times about our books The Tales of the Kingdom. It’s a series of children’s books. Three of them: there are 12 stories
Karen: They’re all… they’re prize winners. And they all have… they on amazon.com. They’re all rated five stars. So, there’s… they’re a good work. Let’s put it that way. It has lasted for about 35 years.
David: There are very few times do you get a book that stays in print that long.
David: But I’ve said, “Lord, you know these would be a wonderful television series because each of the stories is connected. There are 36 stories in all and yet they stand alone.”
Karen: They’re called episodic.
David: Are you going to tell them… let me tell my God hunt side story.
David: We’ve said enough about the stories, but I’ve said, “Lord would it be possible for these to be made into a television series.” Neither one of us are any good at knowing how to pull that off. That would be a miracle. Now, the Lord is starting to answer that prayer; With resources that are incredible coming to us and saying, “Look at what I’m putting together.” And I’m hearing him say, “You never thought I could do that did you”?
David: But it’s a wonderful answer to prayer as I’m seeing it unfold. I feel in some ways, Karen, that the two of us are walking in sacred territory most if that makes sense. Because we see God working in ways that are phenomenal.
Karen: Just to be clear. That’s not a final.
Karen: Final in any means and we’ve had many queries through the years. But this is the first time where there has been potential money attached. And it takes a lot of money to do something like this. As well as someone who knows the distribution system has connections with all the distribution systems. This is many leaps above the other kind of queries we’ve had in the past.
David: Okay, what we’re doing is saying here’s how to go on a God hunt. You look for how God has evidenced himself in your world and one of the ways is through an obvious answer to prayer.
Karen: And what David has just talked about is you’re putting that under the category of answered prayer. I think it’s also an example of unusual linkage or timing. You know sometimes in our lives we say, “Oh what a coincidence. What a coincidence.”
There are no coincidences as far as I’m concerned with God’s people. It is God working things, working it. And sometimes these things take years to accomplish.
Let’s just say that the story you just told as an example of your prayer work holding these things up before the Lord does come true fruition; and it is made into a series of television shows, and we know there are all kinds of hoops that have to be jumped through in order for that to happen. Then you also have an example of unusual linkage or timing. Those circumstances that we say, “What a coincidence.” What a coincidence that was this family in Kentucky who followed us, who been wanting to find scripts and mount them that have meaning, messages of meaning, moral meaning.
David: Sometimes the categories overlap.
David: But it doesn’t matter. Basically, what we’re trying to do is to allow people to understand the concept. Christians can learn to live in the wonder of the resurrected Christ’s involvement in their daily lives. Now how to go about that and we’re saying go on the God hunt. Look for obvious answers to prayer in your life. Look for unusual linkage and timing.
Karen, you’re always writing. And you’re working on a book, and I’ve heard you say if I had somebody who could co-author this with me and then you named what you needed and lo and behold it looks as though the Lord has provided for you that very kind of person. You say, “How did that happen”?
Karen: “How did he do it”?
David: This is a little girl.
David: How did he do that?
Karen: This is a book on the listening process. About five years ago ended a seven-year trial where I had mounted what we call listening groups. They were a way to help a small group of people learn the power and the capacity of hearing, but mostly of being heard and of being understood. And as I was beginning to write about this to our donor base, a gentleman who’s a neurosurgeon began to interact with me and give me the brain science behind the things that I was experiencing on a purely lay level. So, you and I had a serious conversation where he was happy to help me. One of the most important things that you need to finish up.
David: Before we go.
Karen: Before we go. And definitely that listening book is one because it’s something that is needed in this age where people are so desperately lonely. We’re a huge percentage, I think it’s 27%, of people don’t have anyone in whom they can confide. So, I will go to this gentleman who’s already interacted with me and tutored me from his specialty, neuroscience. And say to him, “How about Roger, how about you… co-authoring this project with me? Let’s do a really good job. If you work with me, I can do a much better job than I can do by myself. I will even share the co-title with you.”
David: You know, I’m just going to go back to what we’re saying so we can put it all into context. You’re calling that unusual linkage or timing. Right at the right time here, this man shows up and he can be the expert who could help you from his professional background to say the things you’re wanting to say in terms of a ministerial approach to that subject.
Karen: It could also be under the category of help to do God’s work in the world.
David: I had a better illustration than that.
Karen: You go man.
David: My dear friend Dean in Pennsylvania has always encouraged us in our ministry. He has a ministry of his own, but he said, you people have things to say to the world. And when we went out of media and have the broadcast across the country anymore, he talked to us about podcasting. What I know about podcasting is absolute zip.
Karen: Well, you do know how to broadcast, but you didn’t know anything about the particular form of podcasting.
David: And I thought, how am I going to get to a studio and all of the problem of trying to do those? And he said, well, you could put up a studio in your house. Yeah, I sure could. I don’t know how to do that anymore than to put in the solar panels or whatever. You know what?
Karen: We’re sitting here in front of the studio. In the studio that Dean provided.
David: Yeah, that’s exactly right.
Karen: That’s a great illustration.
David: He did everything. All the mics and all of the equipment. Everything is fine in our house. I don’t even have to drive to a studio. I’ll just get out of my bedroom and walk in here.
Karen: We can still wear pajamas if we… although today we are really dressed up here in our jeans.
David: You look pretty good.
Karen: I’m going to spray paint after this.
David: Anyway, that’s helped to do God’s work in the world. Thank you, Dean. For him to do all of that, and for me not to say on a regular basis to the Lord, you know, to provide a friend like that for us is absolutely astounding. I’m so grateful.
Unexpected evidence of his care. That’s another way. So, what we’re saying here are, ways to look for God in your daily life. I’m going to read the four categories. They’re more than this and sometimes they overlap.
Karen: Yes, sometimes…
David: Sometimes you’ll find one and it doesn’t really matter what category you put them under. We’re just saying these are helpful ways. Obvious answers to prayer. Help to do God’s work in the world. Unexpected evidence of his care. Unusual linkage or timing. And that all comes under that rubric of Christians can learn to live in the wonder of the resurrected Christ involvement in their daily lives.
Karen: These are the times when we say, “How did he do that”?
David: Now, Karen, you actually did a book on this. And it was published and it’s now under inter-varsity press and it’s saying, here’s how to go on the God hunt. And with this, you just didn’t give illustrations from our lives, but you gave illustrations from numerous people’s lives and learned to do this with us. I want to read just one of them.
David: Catherine from Bangkok, Thailand tells about her senior year in college when there was no money to pay for her schooling. Her father had instructed her to return home, but she was determined to find a way to finish school and receive her bachelor’s degree. If only she could find one of the faculty families who took students into their homes, but with the term only one week away, those boarding opportunities were filled.
Catherine spent a day in prayer and fasting. Making her way across campus at sunset, she came upon one of the staff on horseback, Papa Javier, so called because of his kindness. The writer paused his horse to chat a little and the student told him about her search for a way to stay in school. “Oh”, he replied, “Stop by my house tomorrow and let’s talk with my wife.”
The next morning, the young woman visited the couple and they explained to her that they were allowed to house three students and there was still one slot left that they would gladly reserve for her. Grateful Catherine then mentioned how fortunate she was to meet Papa Javier the night before. To her amazement, he said, “I didn’t meet you last night.” Then she reminded him of their encounter, and he insisted it hadn’t happened. Reconstructing the meeting in her memory, the young woman recalled that because it was almost dark and the writer was wearing a hat, she had never clearly seen his face, only the shape of his strong body on horseback. Catherine could only conclude that God had cared about her dilemma enough to send an angelic messenger to guide her to the loving care of the Javier family.
Karen: Gives you the chill, doesn’t it?
David: Well, that’s what it should do. In fact, the truth is every time you have a sense of God working in your life, it’s like the Resurrected Christ, you know, “How does he do that?”
Karen: I think the psalmist always felt this way too. I take these phrases out of Psalm 34, this is the psalmist’s way of saying, in the Old Testament,
David: How did he do that?
Karen: “I will extol the Lord at all times. His praise will always be on my lips. My soul will boast in the Lord. Let the afflicted hear and rejoice. I sought the Lord, and He answered me. The poor man called, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him and delivers them.”
Karen: How does he do that? “Fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him lack nothing. The lions grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing and crying. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. A righteous man may have troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all. He protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken.”
Karen: “The Lord redeems his servants, no one will be condemned who takes refuge in him.” So, let us all now together ask in joyous wonderment, how in the world, how in this great expanse of the universe, how in all heavens above does he do all this?
David: It’s wonderful. What was the joyous wonderment, is that the phrase that you use?
Karen: I think so.
David: I can’t remember what you said. That’s a wonderful phrase. Let me go back to that sentence and encourage people to begin writing down the God hunt. And sometimes people say, I don’t know if it’s God or not.
Karen: Doesn’t matter.
David: Doesn’t matter.
Karen: But all the times you neglect to see him. This one little thing, it’s not going to tip the universe.
David: If he didn’t do it, you ought to have anyone. Anyway, Christians can learn to live in the wonder of the resurrected Christ’s involvement in their daily lives. Do we really mean that?
Karen: Yeah, we do.
David: Yeah, we do. We’re testifiers to that truth. And we would like for you to be one of those who testifies to the truth as well. Thanks for joining with us, friend. It’s fun to talk just about things that are very important to us before we go.
Outgo: You’ve been listening to the Before We Go Podcast. If you’ve enjoyed this podcast, please remember to rate, review, and share on whatever platform you listen. This podcast is copyright 2020 by Mainstay Ministries, Post Office Box 30, Wheaton, Illinois 60187.
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