Archive for July, 2011

Lacking in “Life”

I recently read a newsletter from a missionary couple we know that just began serving in North Africa with HCJB Global Missions. The husband had heard a sermon on Ezekiel 37, where God speaks life into the valley of dry bones. He shared, “Many times in the midst of a schedule so full that I’ve felt lacking in ‘life’.  I have been dependent on God to give me the life I need to face each task with energy and insight. ”

How appropriate that Marilyn and I would read this in the midst of our busy schedule.

After 6 weeks of hectic summer ministry, teaching Vacation Bible Schools and Bible Camps, our energy has begun to falter. The last two weeks of extremely hot and humid weather has added to this energy fade.

What an encouragement Ezekiel 37:6 brings to us: “And I will … put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD.”

We are thankful that God will never give us more than we can bear. We know that we can count on the Lord to breathe life into us in the midst of our weariness.

As we look ahead, we still have 4 more weeks of Camp ministry, immediately followed by some local ministry once we get home. We are and will continue to look to the Lord for our strength.

“But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isa 40:31).

Lanny Johnson

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Fruitful Vacation Bible School

Last week we had a very fruitful Family Vacation Bible School at a medium sized church in Nebraska. We were teaching about 65 children (accompanied by 12 adult leaders), giving them biblical and scientific evidences for creation. In the adult program we had an average attendance of about 25 adults. Both groups were very enthusiastic and eager to learn.

During VBS programs, I always share the gospel on the 4th evening, following a talk about the ark, the flood, and why God caused the flood. We then allow children or adults to respond to the gospel message.

From past experience, we suggest the organizers of the VBS to have counselors standing by, prepared to speak with those who respond, sharing more bible verses with them, answering questions, and leading them to the Lord if they truly believe and are ready. We always recommend 1 counselor working one-on-one with those seeking the Lord, and to expect 10% of the children to possibly respond to the Holy Spirit.

This last week 7 counselors were at the ready when I asked if there was anyone who truly believed in Jesus Christ, what He did upon the cross for us, and would they like to accept the gift of salvation. 40 Hands went up in the air!

 As I sent all those who responded to the back of the sanctuary to team up with counselors, I saw the look on some of the counselors faces. Many had eyes as big as deer caught in bright headlights. They had not expected anything like the stampede of children heading towards them.

It took awhile for all of these children to be counseled. Some had responded because their friends had (even though they were supposed to have their eyes closed during the response). Others just wanted to be reaffirmed about their salvation. Others wanted some questions answered. And some didn’t really know why they were there. In the end 14 children put their faith and trust in Jesus for the first time.

We had a lot of adults tell us they were skeptical of coming to a VBS that included adults, but it had been the best VBS they had ever attended. Many adults that work with children all the time were in awe that we could hold the attention of children of all ages for close to an hour. They also agreed it was the best VBS ever.

Now I have to share a disclaimer here; God has given Marilyn and myself special gifts to be able to work with children; however, it is not us, but the message we are sharing that focuses the attention of the children. Creation is the foundation not only of our origins, but also of our salvation … and the children understand that.

Lanny Johnson

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Friends

One of the blessings we have experienced in this travelling/speaking ministry has been the many friends we get to see along the way. Some of these are “new” friends that we meet while doing seminars in various places. Others are “old” friends who invite us to do seminars in their area or friends who live along the travel route and are able share a quick visit, a meal, or overnight hospitality. In any case, it is a blessing to share time with these friends, “old” or “new.”

After all, creation ministry is more than just sharing information – it’s all about relationships – with God and with others. One of our biggest desires is to be used by God to help people grow in their relationship with Him and with others, as they Discover Creation and walk confidently in the truth of His Word. However, in the process, we find that God also uses His people to bless us and help us grow.

Over the years, we have been much encouraged in our faith by the testimonies of others. We have been humbled and blessed by their generosity and challenged by their commitment to the Lord despite sometimes very difficult circumstances. We have also been blessed by the tremendous diversity of people and the exciting, creative ways in which they are loving and serving, both in their home communities and abroad.

It’s exciting and encouraging to be part of the Body of Christ – His people, empowered by His Spirit, doing His work on the earth – reaching the lost and extending His love to the uttermost parts of the earth. What a privilege! What a blessing! Are you part of this great adventure? If not, why not start today? Commit your life to the Lord Jesus Christ, make yourself available to Him, and watch what He will do in and through you as you give your life to Him.

 Mary Jo Nutting

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing. Thanks for your partnership.

Willfully Ignorant

Last week at a family Vacation Bible School we were teaching, I had a brief encounter with a man who had been brought to the seminar by his Christian friend. I had just finished teaching about the Miracle of Life, giving evidence that we are here by special design, when I heard this gentleman talking to his friend.

He was admitting that he understood the evidence shows there must be a god who made us; however, he did not believe it was the God of the Bible.  He explained to his friend that he did not believe in the Bible, or sin, or heaven … in his search for truth, he had found too many errors in the Bible to believe in it.

 I joined in the conversation and asked about the errors to which he was he was referring. I was amazed when he said the bible teaches the earth is flat. I politely asked if he knew the biblical reference that taught that idea, and he admitted that he did not.

So I shared with him a few verses that show the earth is not flat; “It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth …” (Isaiah 40:22). I explained the word translated “circle” here is the Hebrew word chuwg which is also translated “circuit,” or “compass” (depending on the context). It indicates something spherical, rounded, or arched—not something that is flat or square. “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” (Psalm 103:12). One can go west or east forever, unlike north and south – only on a spherical globe can these conditions be met.

Then he proclaimed, “Yeah, but the Bible talks about an ark and a flood! How can anyone believe in that stuff?”

“Well, as a geologist, I certainly believe in it. Come back on Wednesday night when I will teach on biblical and scientific evidences for a worldwide flood.” I countered.

I had to excuse myself then to return to teaching … I never saw the man again. The Christian man told me that he has been having these same types of discussions with the man for several years, with neither changing their minds on what they believed.

I realized that I had just encountered a type of person that God describes in His Word; “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools …” (Romans1:18 – 22).

Even though he knew there has to be a god, because of his proud heart he will not submit to the truth. He seems to be willingly ignorant of the Word of God … he doesn’t want to be convinced by the evidence. “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: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:” (2 Peter 3:5).

Lanny Johnson

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Seeds Take Root

Professor, What would it take...

Lanny Johnson just wrote a blog (July 15) where he referred to a woman who couldn’t get past the idea of creation. In it, Lanny mentioned that during their conversation with the woman, it appeared that she was unable to comprehend that evolution was not true and creation was.

That makes me think of many, many times that Mary Jo and I have seen exactly the same thing. We talked to one professor for 5 hours one evening giving evidence after evidence for Creation and answered his arguments for evolution. Finally, I asked him what evidence he would accept for creation. He replied, “Absolutely nothing!” That showed that he did not have a problem with the evidence, but with his will. We do not know what happened with what we shared, but trust that God can change his heart.

Quite a few years ago, Lanny, who wrote that blog, came to one of Mary Jo’s lectures. At that time, he professed to be an atheist. After hearing the evidence, he did not accept what was presented that night, but as Lanny mentioned about the woman he and Marilyn had talked to, a seed was planted. This one eventually took root. Now Lanny is fully a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, and is presenting the truth of Creation to children and adults all over this country and abroad.

Seeds do take root! So we keep on presenting the truth whether or not, it seems to be making a difference in a person’s outward appearance. God does the work in the heart and causes the growth!

Dave Nutting

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing. Thanks for your partnership.

A Very Scientific Mind

“Why do you have to teach creation?” This was a question a lady posed to us, after we shared with her what our ministry involved. We explained that we “have” to teach Biblical Creation because most children are only taught evolution in the public school system.

She acknowledged that evolution is taught in the schools, but didn’t see why that was a problem. “I am a Christian,” she declared. “But I also have a very scientific mind. I think God used evolution to make all things.”

Marilyn shared with her that at one time she had also held the same view, but by studying the Bible found the ideas of Creation and evolution were incompatible. One point Marilyn made was the Biblical creation order – God made the plants on day 3 of Creation and the sun, moon and stars on day 4. On the other hand, evolution teaches that the sun was formed millions of years before any life on earth. The two ideas are incompatible.

...and we pray it was planted on fertile soil.

I shared with her that as a geologist (she was impressed that we both had science degrees) who once believed in evolution, I had changed my viewpoint after really looking at the evidence (or lack thereof) for evolution. I explained that I was referring to macro-evolution versus micro-evolution, explaining both in very easy to understand terms.

That is when her shutters came up. She muttered something to the effect of safe travels, but she had quit listening. Her mind was apparently already firmly made up and she was unwilling to listen any further. Her “truths” were based on her own opinions and those of some scientist (NOT these two in front of her), rather than what the Bible teaches.

As we drove away, we wondered what the lady and her middle-aged son were probably saying about those two crazy mixed-up scientists. We have been tuned out, mocked and laughed about before, but a small seed was planted … we pray it was planted on fertile soil.

Lanny Johnson

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“You Changed My Life”

Have you ever had one of those “Ah-ha!” moments, when previously confusing things suddenly become clear? Well that’s exactly what happened for one participant at a recent seminar. After just a few sessions, he came to us and said:

 “You have changed my life. I have fought with this [evolution / creation question] for years and years. And now the explanation is so simple … it [evolution] is not really true.”

Later, as we talked further, this man told us:

Nothing proves the philosophy of evolution. When you put the word philosophy in front of evolution, it makes all the difference in the world.”

Of course, not everyone agrees with our assessment that evolution is a philosophy. I remember a time when I took an independent study class and wrote a paper on the creation/evolution debate. In my paper I called evolution a philosophy. When I went in to talk with the professor about my rough draft, it was filled with red marks. The word “philosophy” was triple underlined in red and the word “No!!!” written in the margin. The professor vehemently held to his belief that evolution is science, but creation is religion. He turned red in the face and shook as he said, “I don’t know why you Christians are so threatened by evolution.” I told him, “I’m not threatened.” But it was pretty obvious that he was. His worldview was being threatened.

In our seminars we show that evolution is not really “science,” but actually a philosophy posing as science. Furthermore, we show that evolution falls far short of credibly explaining observable facts and that many of the assumptions of the evolutionary philosophy are just plain unreasonable. We give evidence showing that evolution goes directly against many known scientific principles, while the Biblical model of Creation, the Fall, the Flood, and the Dispersion is consistent, logical, and fits very well with the actual observations and scientific principles.

Check out our on-line store, as well as 25 years of articles, for materials to help you examine the creation/evolution issue for yourself. I think you will also conclude that evolution is really not science.

Mary Jo Nutting

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing. Thanks for your partnership.

Chucking Wood

We were traveling in the Colorado Mountains recently with our two grandsons, where we saw a yellow-bellied marmot sitting on its hind legs alongside the roadway. Even though the yellow-bellied marmot normally lives in burrows within rock piles, it is considered a ground squirrel. Some ground squirrels are called woodchucks or land-beavers.

As a child I had learned a tongue twister about woodchucks: “How much wood could a woodchuck chuck, if a wood chuck could chuck wood?” The two boys tried rolling that around on their tongue for awhile, when one of them asked, “How much wood could they chuck, Grandpa?”

Hummm? I didn’t really have a good answer, so I challenged them … as a homeschool project, see if they could find an answer to how much wood a woodchuck could chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood. They were so impressed that I could even say that so quickly, they didn’t tease me about not knowing the answer, but accepted the challenge.

A week later, my oldest grandson called me on the phone. “700 pounds, Grandpa!” he exclaimed. “What?” I answered. “That’s how much wood a woodchuck could chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood,” he said. I could hear that he had been practicing the tongue twister.

With a little help from his grandmother, he discovered that a wildlife expert in New York State determined that a woodchuck could chuck about 35 cubic feet of dirt while digging a burrow. Using this as a reference, the expert then reasoned that if a woodchuck could chuck wood, the wood would probably weigh about 700 pounds.

Now of course, there are a lot of unknown variables to deal with when coming up with an answer … did the woodchuck actually desire to chuck wood, or did he need to chuck wood, or does he actually have the ability to chuck wood as a woodchuck?

Probably the safest and most reasonable answer is that God made the woodchuck so that it would chuck as much wood as a woodchuck could chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood.

Lanny Johnson

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If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing. Thanks for your partnership.

“I Was at Camp…”

The time I just recently spent in Austin, TX, brought encouraging comments from several people. Some said they were at the camp we did quite a few years ago and it had a huge impact on them or their family. One mother of a four year old said she was 10 years old when I last saw her –at camp. Several participants said that they are now grandparents and want to bring their grandchildren. 

I am not sure how they managed to age enough for that, but I don’t want to admit that I have! But as I think about it, we first started doing family camps more than 25 years ago. That is a quarter century! Recently, Mary Jo and I visited Adam and family in California where they now live. He was at our first camp we did at Redcloud.  Since he was 11 years old then, it puts him at 36 now.   

Even though it points to the fact that I am indeed a bit more “mature,” it is still heartwarming to see those young past campers not only training their own children to follow the Lord, but also to have them say that they plan to bring them to the creation family camp. I am glad that they understand the value of that and want to invest in their family’s future.

If you haven’t been to one of the camps, now is the time. Check out our website for more information about these life changing camps.

 Dave Nutting

If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing. Thanks for your partnership.

The Quaking or Trembling Aspen

Aspens on Kebler Pass

In my previous blog, I shared about the glacial evidence of Kebler Pass (Flood Triggered Ice Age? July 5, 2011). Of course, as a geologist my eye was drawn to the surrounding geology first, but the second thing that really caught my attention was the beautiful Quaking Aspen (aka Trembling Aspen) forests.

A stand of aspen is in actuality only one very large organism. Aspens normally grow in large clonal colonies derived from a single seedling, and then reproduce and spread by root suckers (aka root sprouts).

An individual aspen can send out a large system of roots underground. With enough sunlight, suckers sprout up from the roots. This process continues until a whole stand, of what look like individual trees, forms. The colony of root suckers are one, single, genetic individual, named a clonal colony. Because of a common genetic blueprint, all members of a clone will all have a similar shade of color. In the fall, you can often differentiate individual clonal colonies by their different colors.

Each individual tree (or sucker) can live for 40–150 years above ground, but the root system of the colony is long-lived, continuing to send up new suckers. Aspen colonies are able to survive forest fires. Though the trees themselves might burn, the roots are below the heat, and are able to send up new suckers after the fire.

In Utah, a colony of 47,000 aspen clones covers 110 acres (43 hectares). This colony has been given the nickname of “Pando” (Latin for “I spread”). Using uniformitarian bias at spread rate of 3 feet (1 m.) a year, some have claimed Pando to be 80,000 years old. I would disagree with this age. At the oldest the colony would be about 4400 years old, the approximate time lapse since the Flood. I guess I am also biased … biased towards the historical accuracy of the Bible, the Word of God.

Lanny Johnson

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If you would like to see if an AOI seminar is right for you, or you would like to help the work of Alpha Omega Institute, please visit our website events page or our donate page. Keep up to date with what AOI is doing. Thanks for your partnership.