Listen to this Interview with Mike Mason about his book Practicing the Presence of People.
Interview with Mike about Champagne for the Soul
(The interviewer is Rosanne Farnden Lyster of InCourage magazine.)
“Happiness has not been my strong suit, which is why I needed to experiment with joy.” So writes Mike Mason in the introduction to his book Champagne for the Soul. In October of 1999 Mason began an unusual experiment. The best selling Canadian author of The Mystery of Marriage, and a man who confesses to having experienced a good deal of moodiness and depression in his life, decided to be deliberately joyful in the Lord for a full 90 days. The idea itself bloomed out of tragedy, but led to a renewed Mike Mason and a book that chronicles the wandering of one man into joy. Mason spoke with InCourage about what joy is, and isn’t, and how you and I can also dwell in joy.
Mike Mason thinks different.
Different than me, anyhow. To clarify the degree of difference, I once asked him what would be his favourite way to spend an hour. “To sit and contemplate a tree.” I don’t remember what my response would have been to that question at that time, but if it involved trees, it would have been something more along the lines of climbing them or building a tree fort. Certainly nothing involving contemplation.
Excerpt from Adventures in Heaven
Once I’d met my Heavenly Father on His throne and fulfilled some assignments, He asked if I’d like to come back and spend an entire day in the throne room. At the time I happened to be swamped in guilt and self-pity, and it astounded me that God would issue such an invitation to a creature in this sorry state. But of course I jumped at the chance. Wouldn’t you?
Excerpt from Champagne for the Soul
A few years ago I began a ninety-day experiment in joy. I made up my mind that for the next ninety days I would be joyful in the Lord. Because this was an experiment, it allowed room for failure. If at times I wasn’t joyful, I wouldn’t despair or beat myself up. Rather I would gently, persistently return as best I could to my focus on joy.
Excerpt from The Gospel According to Job
Once I met a man who, like Abraham, had moved his entire household halfway around the world on the strength of a vision from God. When I asked him to tell me the story, he answered that there were three versions of that story, and which one did I want to hear? First, there was the version of the story that he told to Christians. Then there was the version he told to non-Christians. Finally, there was the truth.
Excerpt from The Mystery of Children
One day in our church all the parents were encouraged to stand before their children and take their hands. As we looked into our children’s eyes, the pastor read Jesus’ words in Matthew 18:3: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Excerpt from The Furniture of Heaven
With Christopher Rainbow and me, right from the start it was one of those stormy romances: on again, off again, on again, off again. So when the news first came out about this new technique for merging two people into one, we simply made up our minds one night, he and I, to throw caution to the winds and give it a try. I guess it just seemed high time for us to take some kind of permanent, irreversible step, and so we thought–well, why not? Why not go all the way?
Excerpt of a story from The Mystery of the Word (no longer in print, but still available from online bookstores)
It was a sunny day with a light breeze and the world could not have been more beautiful. I was picking wild flowers in the woods beside the airstrip in Chizela, a mission station in Zambia, when just as I reached for one last flower, a flame lily, all at once I felt something slam into the back of my leg. It was a real hit, like a gunshot, a powerful stinging blow that actually made me jump into the air. I spun around, caught just a glimpse of the familiar coffin-shaped head and those eyes like the tiniest black diamonds, and knew immediately I was as good as dead. There had been no warning whatsoever, yet instantly my astonishment gave way to an eerie sense of fatalism, as though everything leading up to this event had been meticulously and uncannily prepared. Is that, I wonder, what passes through everyone’s mind at the moment of death?