Archive for November, 2010

Giving and Receiving

To truly give thanks requires acknowledgment of need, a heart of humility, and an appreciation for the giver. Think about it! It’s hard to give thanks for things for which you see no need. It’s also hard for a prideful, self-sufficient person to recognize or accept a gift. Finally, it’s hard to give thanks if you care nothing for the heart of the giver.

Think about some of the gifts you have received in times past – that shirt or blouse that didn’t fit, or the fragrance you couldn’t stand, or that “outlandish” tie or scarf. You hem and haw around – you may even say “Thank You,” but were you truly thankful? Or how about the times people have offered help when you were in need or given advice to help you out of a particular dilemma, but you were too prideful or self-sufficient to receive the help or even consider the advice, so you scoffed or turned it down without regard for the feelings of the giver? I’m sure we all at times have done such things, because we are all “children of Adam” – sinful and self-centered.

But givers, too, can be selfish and self-motivated. This shows up when we don’t take time to really get to know the person or his/her needs and wants, or when we give something because “we” like it (without regard for the tastes and likes of the receiver), or when we give “gifts” to control or manipulate another.

Giving and receiving – two sides of a coin. As human beings we often fall short. But God, the perfect Giver gave the perfect Gift. He knows us intimately; He gives the Gift to meet our deepest need; He gives freely, without manipulation or control, out of pure love. The question is, will we receive His gift? Some people don’t know their own need, and thus don‘t recognize the greatness of the gift. Others are too prideful and self-sufficient to admit their need and receive the Gift. They care nothing for the heart of the Giver or the worth of the Gift.

I encourage you during this season of giving and receiving, to gratefully receive the perfect Gift (Jesus Christ), given by the good and gracious Giver (your great Creator God), to meet your deepest need. “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)  “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name … (John 1:12)

Mary Jo Nutting

Attitude of Gratitude This Thanksgiving

God led me to a book called “Lord, Change My Attitude Before It Is Too Late” by James MacDonald (if you can get past your attitude and read the book, it is great!). Much of this blog came from that book. You will not read a blog from me very often because the computer and I have agreed to hate each other … in fact the Lord had to change my computer attitude as I wrote this, because I was screaming at the machine for not doing what I wanted it to do! I am grateful for the computer. I think back to the years of ministry trying to use a Kodak slide projector and I praise God for helping us obtain a MUCH better system. I also praise God for a husband that knows how to run it so that I don’t have to!!!!

The word gratitude is defined in the dictionary as “to show that a kindness received is valued.”  Genuine gratitude requires that we get past obligation (saying thanks when we don’t really mean it) and somehow show that we deeply appreciate what we’ve received.  There’s a test that will help you analyze whether your thankfulness is genuine or obligatory.  Think back to the last time you were in church.  What was going through your mind as you parked and sat down?  Truthfully, what was at the center of your heart? Did any of these thoughts enter your mind?

            What am I going to get today?

            Am I going to be encouraged?

            Will I like the pastor’s message?  Will he keep my attention, and make me smile?

             I wonder who’s singing today.  Oh, I hope it’s not ______ again; he is just awful!

            Will I be glad I came?

If that kind of thinking was present as you “prepared” for worship, it reveals a self-centered, thankless theology that promotes complaining and stifles gratitude.  The truth is, if we never received another thing from God for the rest of our lives, we could still fill each day with genuine gratitude:

           Thank you, God for this new day.

           Thank you, God for life that I can use to serve You.

           Thank you, God for health

           Thank you, Lord for my family

But somehow we make the choice to turn from all we have received and focus on what we still want to have -that’s where complaining comes in. We minimize the blessings of life and magnify every negative circumstance we encounter. The people’s complaints in Numbers 11 were heard by God but his anger was also kindled. The Israelites paid a price for complaining. Complaining is an attitude of choice and will rob you of joy. Thankfulness is an attitude that perfectly replaces my sinful tendency to complain and it will release joy plus blessing into my life. This Thanksgiving make a list of God blessings. If you find yourself just saying “thanks” because of obligation or if you find yourself complaining … look back at your list of things to be thankful for! 

From the Johnson house to yours – have a God Blessed Thanksgiving!

Marilyn Johnson

Scientific Objectivity?

Recently I had a student tell me that studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals have “all been verified and results have been duplicated.” I told him that wasn’t the case and in fact, impossible, if nothing else, simply because of the sheer volume of research. However, he was convinced that scientific research has been shown to be accurate in demonstrating the truth of evolution.

It’s interesting how so many people blindly put their faith in “science” and “scientists.” For many, “science” and “scientists” have replaced God and His Word. Now don’t get me wrong – the scientific method is a powerful tool for learning about the world we live in. It can help us discover how things work and provide hints for new technology, medicines, etc. However, “scientism” is a very different thing. It is elevating “science” to a position of trust and worship that should only go to God.

It’s amazing to me how readily people put their trust in the words of other human beings, just because they are called “scientists.” In reality, scientists are just people — limited, fallible, biased, and sinful (sometimes ruled by greed, deception, pride, and other human frailties) just like other “normal” human beings.

On top of that, none of them were “there” in the past to observe the so-called evolutionary processes that produced all the complex and diverse life seen today. It makes much more sense for me to place my faith in the unchanging, all-knowing, all-powerful, holy, loving, everlasting Creator Who was “there” in the beginning and had told us what He did in His unchanging Word. 

Mary Jo Nutting

November/December Newsletter Online

We wanted to let all of our readers know that we have posted the newest Think and Believe and Kids Think and Believe, Too! to the website. I have provided the links below.  New articles like “God Still Speaks” and “What is a day?” are there for your education and encouragement.  Please forward on links to our website to any friend who may be edified or challenged. Again, we would like to thank everyone who came in to help stuff the envelopes. 

We send out about 6000 newsletters every two months, and it takes a little bit of help to get it out the door.  Feel free to give us a call if you would like to help with the newsletter that we will be mailing out in January.  It is hard to believe that 2011 is only a couple of hectic months away. We at AOI pray that you and your families will have a blessed Thanksgiving.  Thank you for all of your support and prayers.

Scott Mauser

Think and Believe Newsletters – http://www.discovercreation.org/newsletters.htm

Kids Think and Believe, Too! Newsletters – http://www.discovercreation.org/kids/recentkidsarticles.htm

Grandparenting!

Puzzling

One of the joys of being home between traveling ministry events is being able to spend time with our families. We are very fortunate – both of our daughters and their families live in the Grand Junction area, so we get lots of grandkid time. My wife loves to not only babysit the grandkids, but she also gets her hand into being able to homeschool them on a regular basis. Actually, she is so attached to her grandkids that it seems to be getting harder and harder to get her excited about going out on the road with me to teach Creation!

Tonight as we baby sit with our two granddaughters, I sat down and watched the movie Dumbo with the 4 year old. What fun! I was more entertained by her running commentary than the movie itself. She had seen the movie last week with her cousins, so she was up to speed on everything that was happening or about to happen. She made sure that her Papa (me) understood everything that was going on. Watching her laugh, smile, and giggle, bob her head, dance to the music, and listen to her rattle on certainly made the movie a lot more exciting. I know that I am prejudiced as a grandpa, but she really is “stinkin” cute. As I write this, she is entertaining her grandmother … they are putting a puzzle together and stamping, taking time out to also play with the 2 month old.

Playing with the 2 month old

Ah, the life of grandparents! Thanks Lord for our family and the joy they bring us!

Lanny Johnson

No-ooooo-oooo-ooo!

I am amazed how much young children, even 6 or 7 years old, can grasp! A young girl listened intently as I began my sermon at her church. Without telling the congregation that I was role-playing and pretending to be an evolutionary teacher, I threw out a barrage of short “scientific facts,” supposedly supporting evolution. I also included some supposed contradictions in the Bible.

With each one I asked, “How can you believe your Bible when we know ______. . . ?“  Some in the congregation began looking at each other, evidently wondering if the pastor had invited the wrong guy in to speak. But this one young girl looked more and more troubled as I continued the barrage.  Finally she blurted out, “No-ooooo-oooo-ooo!”

Of course at that point, I let the congregation know that I was role-playing to illustrate what their school children and university students were regularly getting in the class room and from the internet and media. The consequence of that indoctrination is that a high percentage of students abandon their faith.

During that sermon, I was able to answer the “How can you believe your Bible when …” questions (and relieve the congregations concerns about the guy their pastor had invited to speak)! Unfortunately, millions of other students don’t know there are answers to these questions and end up abandoning their faith. We wish that they could get the information so that, like this young girl, they can confidently say, “No-ooooo-oooo-ooo!” to evolution.

Dave Nutting

Check out our website for articles that will help you defend what you believe, such as “What’s the Evidence” – http://www.discovercreation.org/newsletters/WhatstheEvidence.htm

African Mosquito is fulfilling God’s mandate

The African Mosquito is fulfilling God’s mandate to be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.  The African Mosquito, which transmits most of the malaria in sub-Saharan Africa is adapting to a different habitat.  One variation (the M type) is adapted to where there is a more permanent supply of water, and now another variation (the S type) is adapting to short-lived bits of water. Is that evolution? No.

The two varieties are physically indistinguishable from each other and they can also interbreed.   There are no new body parts or new genetic information. Its chromosomes are very complex and can  carry a huge variation of genetic information.  With natural selection, and the variety of genetic information, the mosquito can adapt to different environments. 

This is not Darwinian evolution, but what is termed  microevolution or, more appropriately, variation within a kind or family.  Scientists have never observed one kind or family change into a completely different kind or family.  We also observe variation within these in the fossil record.  Some of these variations have probably become extinct.

All of this fits with God’s mandate to multiply and fill the earth.  If the created kinds are to fill the various environments on the earth, then the genetic material required to adapt to slightly different environments needs to be quite diverse and complex. This can give rise to extensive, but minor, variation within kinds or families.  This is what is being observed in the mosquito.  Even a pest like the mosquito can give Glory to God! 

Richard Stepanek 

[In response to the article: African Mosquitoes Diverging into two Species; USA Today, Science Fair, Oct. 22, 2010]

Answered Prayer!

Giving His Testimony

This past Sunday, I recieved the blessing of being in attendance at my oldest grandson’s baptism. He had put his faith and trust in Jesus earlier this year on Good Friday. We had taken him and his brother to an exhibit of Jesus’ crucifixion at a nearby church. There were several stations set up to show different aspects of the crucifixion, ending with a cross.

Around the cross had been placed many scraps of paper upon which people could write their sins, and then nail them to the cross. My youngest grandson, 4 years old, had us help write, “Jesus, thank you for dying for my sins.” I don’t know what my oldest grandson wrote, but I could see that the cross had made an impact on him. I gathered my 2 grandsons at the foot of the cross and prayed that they might someday understand and believe in Jesus. Little did I know how soon part of that prayer would be answered!

On the way home from the church with his mother, the oldest began to ask her many questions about Jesus and salvation. Not wanting the conversation to end, my daughter drove around town for nearly an hour, answering his questions. Later that evening, he was able to talk with his father, late into the night. Early the next morning he excitedly called my wife and me to tell us, “I’m a Christian! I asked Jesus into my heart! I’m saved!”

Happy in Jesus

Oh what a joy to hear those words, an answer to many years of prayer. You see, I have been praying for every one of my grandchildren, even while in the womb, that they might someday really know and believe in Jesus. And what a joy and blessing to hear my oldest grandson, at 8 years old, give a testimony to his church and then demonstrate his belief by baptism! By the way, his father (an ordained preacher) had the privilege of performing the baptism. What a blessing for us all! My prayer for him now is that he might continue to grow in Jesus Christ and be a shining light in this world.

Lanny Johnson

Bobcats In The Yard

Now I was surprised!

Looking out our front window at dusk, I saw what I thought was a raccoon sitting in a willow tree that blew over this summer. It was dining on a deer carcass that I had wedged on the trunk that morning. We get a lot of raccoons and skunks on our property, so I wasn’t overly surprised to see one enjoyed a free treat. As I watched, the critter lifted its head. Now I was surprised! The raccoon was actually a full grown bobcat! With my nose and eyes now glued to the window, I saw another bobcat head poke up from the root-bole of the tree. Within seconds, another head appeared on the opposite side of the trunk. We had three bobcats in our yard! My wife and I watched them for about 30 minutes. As they came in to the open, we saw that we had a mother and her two cubs. The mother was about twice the size of our domestic cat, and the cubs were about ¾ the size of their mother.

The cubs

We saw the three the next morning and evening, returning to chew on the deer carcass. On the second morning a mature coyote showed up and stole the whole carcass, so we haven’t seen any of them since. When I finish deboning my deer, I’ll give them another treat.

Our property is located on a point between two tree filled canyons in an urban area, surrounded by residential homes. The wildlife has adapted well to the “encroachment” into their habitat. Although man has extensively hunted bobcats and coyotes for sport and fur, their populations are still abundant. God designed amazing adaptability into His creatures!

Lanny Johnson

Creation Teaching Makes a Difference

In my last blog, I wrote about the college student who recently told us that because of our creation programs at the University of Minnesota one year ago, she was “released from the burden of evolution.”

Another encouraging report from that speaking trip was from a high school girl. Two weeks ago she asked to give a testimony during our presentations at a Youth for Christ rally in Minnesota. She related how one year before she was losing her faith in God because of all the evolutionary teaching; however, the presentations Mary Jo and I gave one year ago “changed all of that.” She was thankful to have heard the truth of Creation and is now confidently growing in the Lord and trusting in His Word!             

These testimonies certainly encourage us to “keep on- keeping on,” but I also think about the vast majority of students who haven’t heard and are being drowned by the onslaught of evolutionary indoctrination.

If you would like to be part of reaching out to students of any age, please contact us. We need your help in your community!

Dave Nutting