Archive for 2010

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

God’s Provision

Since joining Alpha Omega Institute fulltime in January of 1994 we have seen God’s provision in so many ways … I could probably write a book on the gracious methods by which He has taken care of us. Let me share just a few of His provisions in the area of transportation;

In California, a man approached us about the noise our truck was making. Smilingly he said, “It sure sounds like a diesel.” I assured him it was a gasoline engine; it was just in need of a new muffler. When he found out about our ministry, he said, “Come to my muffler shop and I will put a new one on for you. No charge.” … God’s provision!

While visiting some friends of ours in Wyoming, they felt led to give us $5oo for personal use. Fifty miles from their home, one of the very worn tires on our truck blew! Cost of new tires – $500. … God’s provision!

My parents gave us a 1970 motorhome, which was a blessing as we traveled in the ministry and homeschooled our children … God’s provision!

While snowed in by a blizzard at a gentleman’s farm in Minnesota, the farmer was walking by the front of our old motorhome. He stopped, fell on his stomach, looked under the front, jumped up, and banged on our door. “You need new front tires,” he exclaimed! He bought us 2 good tires! By the way, that gentleman’s name is Richard Stepanek, my good friend; he joined AOI a few years later! … God’s provision!

The old 1970 motorhome’s engine was underpowered for the mountains we travel through. Our home church provided money to replace the engine and transmission with a 1997 model. … God’s provision!

The brake system for the 1970 motorhome was worn out, and because of the age of the unit, parts could not be found to make it roadworthy. A family donated a reliable, younger 1986 motorhome. … God’s provision!

As the gas prices have increased so much in the last 5 years, using the motorhome in our ministry has become very costly. We have been searching for about a year and a half for an affordable truck that is mechanically sound with enough power to pull a medium size camper trailer. God used a Pastor and two Godly men in Nebraska to find us just such a truck. … God’s provision!

These are only a few of the bountiful ways God has provided for us over the years. He is truly a faithful God!

 “Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;” (Eph 5:20) 

Lanny Johnson

Skeptics Abound

Teaching about creation at universities is always “interesting” – and often challenging. It’s refreshing when honest seekers come to hear an alternative to evolution. However, sometimes these seekers seem to be few and far between (or maybe they are just not as “vocal” as the skeptics who come simply to debate).

Somehow it seems to be a badge of “intellectualism” to doubt, mock, and blaspheme the God of the Bible. Sadly, this “intellectualism” is really just pride which will eventually be exposed as foolishness.

I am reminded of the words in I Corinthians 1:19-25:

“For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”

The intellectual arguments of the so-called “wise” of this world will come to naught, but the Word of the Lord stands forever. How much better it is to humbly believe God than to scoff and debate and stand on human “wisdom” and the ever-changing theories of men.

Mary Jo Nutting

In The Public School Arena: Highschool and University

In Harrison, NE, I had the unique opportunity to speak in a public school.  Over a two day period, I spoke to four different science classes.  Some of the students already believed in creation, so the teaching reinforced their beliefs,  but others were doubtful, and so the information was a challenge for them to rethink what they believe.  Many of the students also attended our evening seminars held at a local church. 

We appreciate the Christian teachers in public schools, and the pastors who work so diligently to guide young people to know the truth.    Please pray for these faithful servants of the Lord!

 The last stop on our month long seminar tour was in Laramie, WY.  I conducted a tour at the University of Wyoming’s Museum of Geology.  There was good attendance with a wide range of ages represented.  It was an excellent museum to show the mistakes that scientists have made in reconstructing dinosaurs.  They have a tendency of making them look more bird-like than they actually are.   We were pleased to see the attendees’ high level of interest in the information and their many good questions.

I also had the opportunity to join a friend of mine at his booth, which is set up every Friday at the U or WY student union.  We were there all day fielding questions about creation, Christianity, and Christ.  We were an encouragement to those who believe and a challenge for those who didn’t.  The secular humanists also had a table in the student union.  We had a wonderful time conversing with them as they sent their people our way. 

I was amazed at the lack of true scientific knowledge, especially about: the Law of Biogenesis; the new discoveries in genetics; and the Bible.   To believe in evolution, one must believe in spontaneous generation which has been proven false by science decades ago.  Their reply was, “we are still trying to find a way spontaneous generation could happen” (using intelligence in their experiments by the way).  

I learned firsthand that people are willingly ignorant as stated in II Peter 3:5,  “For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:.”  I pray for these unbelievers (for we love them) that God would unblind their minds so they can see the light of the glory of Jesus Christ.

Rich Stepanek

Museum Worldview

A woman in Minnesota shared that she had been to the Smithsonian National Museum in early 2009. After watching a movie on the origin of man, she asked one of the staff where the movie on Creation could be viewed. After being told the museum had no such movie, she asked to see one of the directors to protest this one-sided portrayal of origins. After many excuses about the unavailability of any of the directors she was given a Visitor Comment Form to fill out with her complaints. Eight months after submitting the form she received this letter from the Smithsonian National Museum, which she allowed me to share:

Dear Mrs. O….

 Thank you for taking the time to complete a Visitor Comment Form during your trip to the Museum of Natural History. Your feedback provides us with the opportunity to understand your experience, take appropriate action, and respond to any questions you might have.

Let me apologize for my lateness in responding to your comment form. The Museum has undergone some staffing issues and I have been tasked to clearing up the backlog of forms.

I was very sorry to hear how sad the Museum’s portrayal of evolutionary theory made you. The Museum’s policy on evolution, as stated on its website, is as follows:

 “All living beings have developed over time from ancestors through a series of changes. That life has evolved over long periods of time, with all forms of life related to one another, is a scientifically well-established fact. Along with researchers throughout the world, scientists at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History have contributed significantly to understanding the patterns and processes of evolution in humans and other species of animals and plants.

 As one of the world’s leading research museums, the National Museum of Natural History has the responsibility to share with the public the latest research on the process of evolution. It is not the Museum’s responsibility or intent to determine how visitors relate this information to their own religious or personal views.”

Thus while the Museum does not presume to interfere with its visitors’ beliefs, it strives to convey theories which its scientists believe are backed up with scientific evidence. Since all of the scientists who work at the Museum believe in the theory of evolution and have studied it closely, the Museum exhibits must support the research which these people do.

Thank you for your comments and for coming to the Museum. I hope your disappointment in the Museum’s display of evolutionary theory will not deter you from visiting again soon.

Sincerely

Eleanor Levine

Office of Guest Services

Isn’t it amazing that the theory of evolution is stated as a well-established fact. Thousands of scientist (Creation and secular) certainly don’t think so! As to all of their scientists believing in the theory of evolution – Ben Stein’s movie Expelled revealed that those who believe in a Designer are fired from their positions, so of course all of their scientists would believe in the theory of evolution. Perhaps the excuse of staffing issues which delayed the response to the comment form was rousting out all those “non-believing (evolution)” personnel.

 Lanny Johnson

Lectures at the University of Minnesota

So far things are going well at the University of Minnesota. The design lecture seemed to connect with most of the students last night. During the Q&A time, students did not really question the weight of evidence for design which was presented. One student asked how I explained disease or when things don’t work as “designed.” My answer had to delve into the Biblical perspective: There was a creation with fabulous design, but there was a FALL by Adam and Eve leading to disease and death (and there is redemption in Christ.)

Others quickly challenged, “How can you believe the Bible when there are so many contradictions?” Students are regularly taught that. The “contradiction” that we hear so often is that Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 are conflicting accounts of Creation. Actually they are complementary accounts —not conflicting. The first is the overview, the second zooms into the central theme of relationship of God and man and deals specifically with the Garden. Another so-called contradiction brought up are the passages in Genesis 6 when God told Noah to take two of every kind of animal, but a couple of verses later said take two of every kind and 7 pair of clean animals. For the life of me, I can’t get a contradiction out of that, rather additional information. However, if someone is bent on discrediting the Bible, like some are, I guess they will easily believe a lie.

More nights to come!

Dave Nutting

Thank You for sending Us!

We are returning from a month of speaking in WY, NE, and SD.  It has been a fruitful time of teaching and fellowship.

 While we were at Frontier School of the Bible in WY, we had the privilege of enjoying an Austrian breakfast at the home of Harald and Helga.  They had come to the U.S. several years ago in order to thank Christians for sending missionaries to their country, which resulted in their salvation.  Their hearts were filled with gratitude. 

While here, they heard of Frontier and eventually moved their family, which includes four daughters. This was so Harald could attend school.  After listening to five Chapel messages that I taught through the week, they were encouraged to acquire a strong foundation for the truths of Scripture.   We would like to thank you, our prayer partners and supporters, for making it possible for us to be an encouragement to others who have not heard the message of Creation!

Rich Stepanek

Northern Illinois University Ministry

I recently finished speaking 5 nights to students at Northern Illinois University. I am now ministering to Minnesota universities and churches for a packed 2 weeks. Some nights at NIU we had really die-hard skeptics; yet other nights (Thursday), I had no verbal skeptic in the group. It seemed I was coming alongside to aide mostly Christian students. That is OK too.

Two goals of AOI are to strengthen Christians and reach unbelievers. The first part is exactly what happened at NIU. Several who had attended multiple evenings expressed their appreciation—especially that they could be free to believe the Bible! About the other goal, please pray that the seeds planted among those who were skeptics or on the fence will sprout and grow well!

Dave Nutting