Archive for November, 2010

Planning from the homestead

We are home for the holidays and busy scheduling our creation tours for next year.  I am planning to travel again to India in January and February.   Then in March and April, we will be in Iowa and Illinois.  I do have a few dates I need to fill. If you are reading this blog and know of some churches or organizations that would benefit from a creation seminar, please call the AOI office or myself at 970-263-4196. 

The most difficult part of my job is planning a speaking schedule.  It helps when I have multiple requests to fill prospective dates.  In May we will be in Michigan, and in June we have the CHEC homeschool convention in Denver and an IFCA National Convention in Kentucky.  This should keep us busy for the first six months of the year.  Please pray for effective scheduling and a harvest from those we will speak to in 2011.

Rich Stepanek

No Gap or Conflict

Is there a gap of time between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2? Aren’t Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 two different, conflicting accounts of creation? These are two questions that are brought up frequently at AOI seminars. I recently spoke with Hebrew scholar Oliver Blosser (Ph.D., a professor at the University of Wisconsin, Hebrew scholar, Near East historian, and theologian) about these subjects.

“The Jewish people have a basic outline of how they tell a story, an outline that is used throughout the Bible. In Genesis 1:1 we see a summary of the Creation account. In Genesis 1:2 through Genesis 2:3 you find the overview of the seven days of the Creation week. Whatever is most important is put at the end of the account, in this case the Creation of man. Genesis 2:4 through Genesis 2:28 is an overview of man’s Creation. ”

“In Genesis 1 the Hebrew name for God is ’elohiym’ (el-o-heem), a name denoting the power and might of God … what He speaks comes into existence. In Genesis 2 the Hebrew name for God is ’Y@hovah’ (yeh-ho-vaw), God’s personal name – showing He wants a personal relationship to man.”

When asked about the supposed gap between Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2, Dr. Blosser responded, “Genesis 1:1 and Genesis 1:2 are joined by the English word ‘And’ (in some translations.) However, in the Hebrew the two are joined by the Hebrew letter vav for which there really is no English translation. The use of a vav shows that the narrative is continuous … grammatically there can be no gap between the two. Those who insist there is a gap there apparently do not know or understand the Hebrew language.”

Lanny Johnson

Released From the Burden of Evolution!

“I’ve been released from the burden of evolution!” This was told to Mary Jo & I by a college student from China while we were speaking recently at the University of Minnesota. She said the release came after our programs we gave one year ago at the University.

I can’t think of a better way to put it. It hit the nail right on the head! Evolution is indeed a big burden. It keeps young and old alike from responding to the Gospel or from growing heavenward in their faith and relationship with God. Her response fits so well with others who told us, “I was relieved to know I can believe the Bible.” 

Keep praying so that many others will be “released from the burden of evolution!” Released to believe! Pray further that with the heavy weight taken off, they will flourish in their growth and soak in a deep relationship with their Creator.

Dave Nutting

Fertile Soil

We have a Missions Banquet coming up this next week at the church my wife and I attend. We participated in this meeting last year where we were asked to speak about what we do in our ministry with AOI.  This year they asked that all the missionaries share a specific story about a person that they were able to minister to … and we are to do this in 5 minutes! Ouch! What a challenge to keep it to that short of a time period.

All of the AOI speakers minister to thousands of people every year. Each year we talk to many people as a group. We are also able to talk with many people on a one to one basis. Because of the traveling nature of AOI’s ministry, we are able to share for a brief time, but then travel down the road to a new event. Through AOI’s various informational DVD’s, publications, and web-site, we can indirectly continue to minister to people. Mostly, all we are able to do is plant a seed of truth and encouragement, and pray that it falls on fertile soil. The Holy Spirit does the rest.

Occasionally, we are blessed to learn about an impact we had on the lives of individuals. Here is one of numerous examples: Several years ago, after a family Awana program, I was answering the questions of many youth. Standing at the edge of the group was a man probably in his thirties. A non-believer, he began to aggressively pepper me with me questions about sea floor spreading and continental drift. His contention was the evidence pointed to an evolutionary old earth. Amazingly, I was well armed for his arguments … just the month before I had written a KT&B Too article on that very subject.  (http://www.discovercreation.org/kids/documents/MarandApr2001KTB.pdf) After the evening ended, I shared with my wife the ‘encounter’ I had with this man, expressing, “I don’t think he believed a thing I talked about tonight.”

About two years later, we returned to that same church to do another program. The pastor asked, “Do you remember the man that heatedly argued with you the last time you were here?” I did. He continued, “His mother, who was the only believer in the family, wanted him to accompany her that night. Reluctantly, he agreed. I had been trying to share with him for weeks, but was always met with a closed heart. I am not sure what you shared with him that night, but something struck home. Two weeks after you left, this hard-hearted man gave his life to the Lord! Since that time, he has become one of our churches strongest evangelists. Not only did he end up leading all of his family to the Lord, but he is also reaching out to the whole community. Today he is a strong believer in Biblical creation. Something you said really got through to him.”

We were blessed to be told about this man’s salvation.  I know we only played a small part in this happening … it was not my words that saved him, but the message of those words. It was the work of the Holy Spirit that actually led him to Christ. However, it is encouraging to know that even when we don’t recognize it, there is a lot of fertile soil out there ready for the seed of truth to be planted.

Lanny Johnson

A True Servant of God

This past week a very dear friend passed away to be with the Lord. I first met this Godly man (ER) when I was still an atheist. At that time, I was moonlighting to supplement our income in a troubled economy. I was cleaning a church of all things! There I met ER. Every year he would voluntarily spend hours and hours stripping the old wax from the gymnasium floor, and then reapply a fresh new coat of wax. It was hard work, which he did without a grumble … he even did it with a smile on his face!

After I became a believer in Jesus Christ, I joined that church. I was asked to serve on the buildings and grounds committee with ER and some other gentlemen. I soon learned that ER was a true servant of God. One of his desires was that the church and property would glorify his Lord. He gladly served to help keep everything in good repair. One of his gifts was decoration … every Christmas and Easter he lovingly decorated the sanctuary.

ER was also a man of prayer. In small group prayers at Wednesday night prayer services, ER would pray with a humble, caring, compassionate heart.  He didn’t use a lot of fancy words, or theological ideology … he prayed from his heart. His immediate family and his church family was always a priority to him, and he constantly brought them before the Lord. ER’s talking to God, and not at God, greatly influenced me as a new Christian.

ER was a joyful man, and he carried his emotions very near the surface. He loved to sing, not only in the choir, but occasionally sang solos for the congregation. Most times he would choke up before even starting the song. With tears in his eyes, and a quavering voice, he would say to the church, “I can’t tell you how much you all mean to me. I love you so much.” Then with a unique, deep voice he would begin to sing. Just as ER prayed from his heart, he also sang from it. He didn’t have a trained operatic voice, but he certainly had a passionate one! He made the words of the song come alive, penetrating our souls. The depth of his love for Jesus that he expressed in song always brought a lump in my throat and tears to my eyes.

ER was a hugger! What a joy to get a hug from him. Without fail he would give me and my family a heartfelt hug and say, “I really appreciate you. I love you so much!” Such simple words and action, but it never failed to encourage us. Even in the last years, when sickness and disease ravaged his health and there wasn’t the strength to give the hug, or even the recognition of who we were, the smile was still on his lips. His body was worn out, but not his love for his Creator!

Thanks ER for the Godly influence you had on my life. Your love for your Lord Jesus was an ever shining light.

Lanny Johnson

Teach Them When They’re Young

When you’re on the road as much as we are, it’s always fun to hear good news from home. The other day, our daughter-in-law, Elisabeth, wrote us the following message about our grandson, Samuel, who is just one year old:

“Sometimes while I’m feeding Samuel before bed I tell him the story of creation. (I say sometimes b’c I definitely don’t do it every night.)  We usually make it fun and do animal sounds when it comes to day 5&6….he gets very excited when I mention animals that he knows.  Last night when I got to day five, I only said, “And on the FIFTH DAY…..” and before I could say anything else he looked up smiled real big and started doing his fish face!!!  I hadn’t told him the creation story in quite a few days, but he KNEW what God made on Day 5!!  I was so excited I had to tell you guys!!…. he’s a pretty smart cookie and remembers a lot of things!  :)”

Well, of course, he’s pretty smart – he’s our grandson! (Grandparents are allowed to be a bit prejudiced, aren’t they?! :) Seriously, we are blessed  to have a daughter-in-law who is teaching our grandson the truth of God’s Word from a very young age. I wonder how many of the “educated” university students we have been teaching this past couple weeks know what God did on day 5 of Creation Week.

Mary Jo Nutting