Archive for August, 2011

He Maketh Lightnings For The Rain

This summer, Marilyn and I spent a lot of time in the mid-western states of South Dakota and Nebraska where we witnessed and experienced many severe storms accompanied by howling winds, flashing lightning and booming thunder. As I write this blog there is a spectacular thunderstorm occurring right here in Colorado.

Thunderstorms can be very dangerous. Around the world, lightning strikes the ground about 100 times each second, or 8 million times a day. Lightning kills around a hundred people in the United States every year. Yet, I love a good thunderstorm – they are an awesome sight to behold – if I am in the safety of a house or a car.

Lightning is really nothing but a huge spark. It is believed that as a storm builds, negative charges begin to build at the base of the clouds. Excess negative charges begin to travel from the clouds towards the earth, where within a few hundred feet, positive charges from the ground rise up to meet them. As the two charges meet, an enormous electric current flows down through a zigzag path. The positive charge moves up toward the cloud, the air is superheated making a glow equal to that of a million 100-watt bulbs … lightning! The sudden intense heat (36,000 °F or 20,000°C) causes the air to explode … thunder! And it all happens in less than a second. The cloud will continue to produce lightning until the excess of negative charges is depleted.

Even though lightning can be very damaging, it can also be very beneficial. Lightning  produces ozone, a gas that helps protect the Earth from the dangerous rays of the sun. It also knocks electrons from nitrogen atoms, which combine with hydrogen and oxygen to form nitrates … fertilizer for the plants. Also, because of the electrical charges in the clouds, the rain drops repel each other as they fall.  Think about that … rain drops falling on your head is a lot better than a lake of water pounding you into the ground!

There is a purpose and design in lightning; “He causeth the vapours to ascend from the ends of the earth; he maketh lightnings for the rain; …” Psalm 135:5-7

Lanny Johnson

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Changing Lives

A Few of the Usual Suspects

At Bible camps, we not only get to teach the campers about Creation versus evolution, but we are also able minister to the counselors and staff. One young man, who was on staff at a camp, told me how our teachings had impacted his life:

“Since the age of three I have always loved dinosaurs and science, a passion that continued on through High school. I was even considering becoming a paleontologist. I was saved at the age of 9, but the Lord didn’t really get a hold of me until I was 16 years old. I then had a real dilemma … all the things I had been taught about dinosaurs, the age of the earth, and fossils did not seem to fit with Biblical teachings. If a Creation/evolution issue came up in conversation, I would just walk away, because I had no answer.”

“When I heard that AOI was coming to teach 3 weeks at Bible Camp, I thought, ‘This is just not going to work out.’ However, your teachings blew me away … they have totally changed my life. I now have the answers I didn’t have before.” Another counselor at camp shared how she had learned to defend Creation/Evolution properly.

A Biblical Creation message is a powerful tool … not only for evangelism, but also discipleship. It can lead people to the Cross, and help them be better witnesses for Christ Jesus.

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.

The Snapping Shrimp

I just completed a Kids Think and Believe Too , coming out next month, about animals helping each other, a symbiotic relationship called mutualism. As I researched the mutualism between a snapping shrimp (sometimes called a pistol shrimp) and a goby fish, I discovered why the snapping shrimp is called by that name.

The snapping shrimp has one very large claw on one of its arms that is larger than half its body. Unlike other shrimp claws, it does not have pincers on the end. Instead, the claw is made of two parts. One part of the claw is drawn back like the hammer of a pistol. When it is let go it snaps into the other claw, making a tremendously powerful wave of bubbles. Not only does this wave of bubbles make a very loud noise, but it also is able to stun (knock out) a larger fish – it even has the capability of breaking a small glass jar!

One use for the powerful snap is hunting. When hunting, the shrimp will lie at the entrance of a tunnel with its long antennae sticking out. If it feels movement, it eases out of the hole, and with a powerful snap stuns a fish. The shrimp then pulls it into the burrow to eat.

It is truly amazing to see the multitudes of designs God has planned for the provision of His creatures.

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.

“Stuff”

Where did it all come from?

One of the best known “laws” of science states, “Life comes only from life,” but I am convinced that sometimes inanimate objects must “multiply” all by themselves. Exhibit A: my desk. Papers seem to appear out of nowhere, my “Books to Read” stack just keeps getting taller and taller, and the “Mail to Answer” box is overflowing. Pens seem to magically multiply overnight or disappear into thin air, never to be seen again. Then there are CDs to listen to and DVDs to watch. Where do they all come from? Not to mention the dust that appears from “nowhere.”

Periodically I go on a “clean out, give away, throw away, organize” binge. It feels good to dump piles of unread periodicals and delete hundreds of e-mails, even though they contain lots of interesting and potentially “useful” information. It’s good to sort through drawers and closets to get rid of accumulated seldom-used “stuff.” But it’s even more important to get rid of internal “stuff” that bogs us down and hinders our walk with the Lord – accumulated mental baggage, wrong attitudes, buried emotions, and wrong priorities.

So, along with fall cleaning, it’s good to do some “life cleaning” – to remove the “junk” and re-focus on what’s truly of value – the “simplicity that is in Christ.” (II Cor. 11:3) It takes consistent determination and discipline to“[bring] into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (II Cor 10:5) and to “lay aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset us.” (Heb. 12: 1) It also takes persistence and endurance to “press toward the mark for the price of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14) and to “run with patience the race that is set before us looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of faith.” (Heb. 12: 1-2) But it’s worth it!

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.

An Evolutionist Becomes a Creationist

Last week, I was blessed to be able to teach at Renewing the Family Camp sponsored by Reformation Church OPC in Castle Rock, Colorado. This year’s event was held at Maranatha Bible Camp near North Platte, Nebraska. Three-hundred and eighty people (half of them children) were in attendance from many mid-west states.

At the end of the evening, when I had finished speaking to a very enthusiastic crowd on the Miracle of Life, I was asked to do an interview for Generations Radio, hosted by Kevin Swanson, pastor of Reformation Church OPC. Kevin was very interested in my testimony of how I turned from an atheistic evolutionist into a Christian Creationist. Take a moment to listen to the interview: An Evolutionist Becomes a Creationist on Generations Radio.

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.

Looking Back at Redcloud 2011

Included in a recent blog were several pictures of what goes on at the Discover Creation Family camp, besides a lot of solid teaching. That was not all of the activities the participants enjoyed. There are many other activities that were not pictured in the last post, but really help to make the Creation Vacation experience a real vacation with purpose.  There is a 6×6 army truck tour of old mining “ghost towns” and the fabulous American Basin.

 

 

Camp participants have also enjoyed archery, mountain biking, canoeing, horseback riding, rappelling and rock climbing, ropes courses, and of course, climbing to the top of a 14,000 + foot mountain – the famous Uncompahgre Peak.   So, I’ve included some more pictures in this blog to entice you to come next year to learn about creation and to grow as a family in the Lord! Enjoy!

Also, take a look at some of the comments below, that Rich received from campers.

 

Dave Nutting

 

It is always a blessing to teach at the family camp at Redcloud Ranch.  One young girl told us that she chose a vacation to Redcloud over going to Cancun!  Another man, well versed in creation, commented that he came to Redcloud for a vacation, not really expecting to learn anything new.   But was pleased to discover that he was actually learning so much!  We are very happy with the great interest shown by the families attending.  Many spoke of having a desire to share the message with others in their church and community, and this is what it is all about.

Rich Stepanek

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.

 

News from Costa Rica

Dave and Scott Leisner

We recently received a prayer and praise report from Scott Leisner, a missionary friend serving in Costa Rica. It was a good reminder to pray for him and his family as they minister to students on the campus of the University of Costa Rica, as well as to students from several other universities and schools.

We have been blessed to join Scott in ministry twice in Costa Rica. Each time has been an eye-opening experience. Costa Rica is a beautiful and diverse country, but also the needs are great, both spiritually and physically. While we were there, God provided many opportunities for creation teaching in churches and public schools, as well as in universities. We found people in churches to be hungry for the message and receptive to it. At the universities, we encountered dogmatic evolutionary bias, academic arrogance, and apathy that resulted in small turn-outs. Of those that came, though, we found many who were interested in the teaching and demonstrated a desire to know the truth.    

Scott attended one of our Training Weeks several years ago to deepen his knowledge of creation and learn how to use it more effectively in ministry. He understands the importance of creation teaching and the foundational importance of Genesis to the Christian faith. He is well-grounded in God’s Word and has a deep desire to see students come to a knowledge of the Truth and grow as disciples of Jesus.

While we were teaching in Costa Rica, we had Scott give some of the programs himself rather than translate for us. He did really well with it! Scott also sees the need for a Spanish translation of the Discover Creation DVD Curriculum. He has finished the initial translation of the Study Guide and is eager to see the project completed – ASAP. Please join us by praying for a speedy completion of that project, for Scott’s on-going ministry among students, and for direction regarding future AOI ministry in Costa Rica. If you can help, please contact us.

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.

God’s Protection

...a terrific crash of a tree on the chapel.

In just over 3 weeks from seeking shelter in a storm in South Dakota, we had to stop a program again and seek shelter in the basement at Camp Witness in Long Pine, Nebraska. Actually, the powerful storm stopped the program.

Without warning, the power went out in the chapel where we were teaching 15 high school campers and 8 counselors. This was  followed by a terrific crash of a tree against the side of the chapel, only feet from me and several campers sitting in the front row seats.

We quickly headed to the basement stairs at the back of the chapel using our only source of light … cell phones! Outside, the rain was pounding, the wind howling, lightning flashing, and thunder booming. Also, there were peculiar sounds we later identified as trees cracking, snapping, and splintering in the wind.

This storm blasted in around 8:30 in the evening and continued for several hours. There was a lull in the storm, but there were warnings of another violent storm that was possibly on the way. Consequently, all of the campers stayed in the basement that night, without power (which was not restored until 2:00 pm the following afternoon) or water, and sleeping uncomfortably on the floor with a few mattresses that were carried in.

At light the next morning we were able to survey the damage outside. Right away we were able to see how God had protected us. It looked like a war zone. Not only were broken tree branches littering the ground, but there were fallen trees everywhere. Through Gods protection, only minor damage was done.

A close call to our trailer

One huge tree was uprooted and fell between our travel trailer and another nearby small travel trailer. The branches barely touched the other trailer and were only feet from landing on ours … God’s protection!

The tree that had crashed into the side of the chapel had done no real damage other than the hand rail on the stairs of an exit. It had snapped off about half way up the tree. If it had uprooted instead,  it would have crashed through the top of the chapel where we were all assembled … God’s protection!

Another tree blew over, just brushing the cook’s cabin, yet no damage … God’s protection! Over 15 large trees fell or splintered during the storm, and yet there was no real damage other than the loss of trees.

Now some might call our close calls luck, but I would disagree. I saw not only the power of God in the storm, but also the power of His protection. “But I will sing of thy power; yea, I will sing aloud of thy mercy in the morning: for thou hast been my defence and refuge in the day of my trouble.” Ps 59:16

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.

VBS in Pinehouse, Saskatchewan, Canada

Ministering in Canada

One day after the end of our work at the IFCA convention, I was scheduled to fly to Saskatoon, Canada to conduct a two week VBS in Pinehouse Lake.  So, Sue and I drove through the night to catch our flight from the international airport in Denver, CO.  

At the Saskatoon airport, I was met by a number of the ministering team.  The total team consisted of 17 people coming from Nebraska, Colorado, and South Dakota.  An additional blessing of this trip was that I would be serving with my daughter Claudia, who was also part of the team. 

This VBS was a challenge for the whole team.  The Pinehouse children and teens were lacking both scientific and Biblical knowledge.  My dinosaur and design programs worked well, but the more scientific programs were not as well received.  So we had to change our approach.  I was very impressed with the adaptability of the team. 

Claudia teaching at the VBS

They taught Bible accounts using pictures and puppets.  The results were overwhelming!  I taught the Gospel message using what I call Genesis evangelizing.  A similar approach was used by Paul in Acts 17:23-32.  I have discovered in using this message; that sinners can understand and will trust Jesus Christ as Savior.  Praise the LORD!      

Rich Stepanek

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.

An Eclectic Two Weeks of Bible Camp

Hands on Fossil Lab

The last 2 weeks at Camp Witness (a bible camp outside of Long Pine, Nebraska), we ministered to a very interesting combination of campers and counselors.

We began the 1st week teaching Junior Camp (3rd through 6th grade campers). In the mornings we had 30 minutes of hands on activities, followed by an hour of Biblical creation teaching. In the evenings, we had an additional hour and 15 minutes to teach. Even though we had only 4 days with the Junior Camp, we were able to teach 7 different topics of creation. The campers were very energetic, and received the teachings enthusiastically. We were blessed to see 7 of the campers  make first time professions of faith in Jesus Christ.

On the second night of camp, we had kids ranging from 7th to 11th grade join us for the chapel services and some of the hands-on activities. They were participating in a Basketball camp where they were taught not only basketball skills, but also how they could be a light to the world by “playing for Jesus.” We were able to teach these campers 9 different topics and witnessed 1 camper put her faith and trust in Jesus.

Marilyn conversing with Eugene the puppet

The second week of camp was an interesting combination of 3rd through 8th grade children. Not only was there a mixture of age levels, but also the cultural backgrounds were varied. We had little kids mixed with big kids, city kids mixed with rural kids, homeschool kids mixed with public school kids, and a host of religious denominations mixed together. It was a real challenge, but the message of creation and salvation was well received, with one child giving their life to Jesus and several others rededicating their lives to the Lord.

We are feeling a little weary and tired after 8 weeks of Vacation Bible Schools and Bible camps, but we are so encouraged to see how the message of creation and salvation through Jesus Christ is impacting the lives of children and adults. We still have a couple busy weeks ahead of us before we head home, so we are looking to the Lord’s strength and endurance to “keep on keeping on.”

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.