Archive for June, 2014

Control and Provision

 

hJust recently, we were blessed by a wonderful gift of money from a family member. We were excited as it added a buffer, some breathing room, as we look towards added expenses with our baby on the way.

The next day, we had to go to the DMV to register our cars in Colorado for the first time since moving here. The DMV, for many, is known for long wait times and over-complicated “simple” transactions. We got there, took our number and waited. We only had to wait for a little bit, and eventually our number was called.

We had both of our cars to register at the same time. The young lady was very helpful and walked us through signing the paperwork. Now, I knew car registration was not cheap, but I figured it wouldn’t be too terrible and that is when the young lady told us about the late fees! Ouch! What a bummer – we thought we were being wise by re-registering last year in our previous states, due to the fact that we were moving half-way across the country and had not settled or established ourselves in Colorado yet.

The late fees really added to the total, but thank God one of our cars wasn’t as late because we didn’t retrieve it until later in the year. As we were waiting at the desk, I realized that I didn’t have any checks with me - I usually have one or two in my wallet.  I also noticed that there was an extra charge for using a credit card. Then I remembered, that envelope of cash from my family member! It covered the entire cost for that day, plus a little more as well. This may just seem like a coincidence to some, or not sound like that big of an issue, but to my wife and I, it was the powerful hand of God providing for us.

We had a professor at Bible College who taught about God’s character and power. I don’t feel like I learned, or remembered, much academically from him during that class, but I do remember him telling story after story of God’s provision for him and his family. That impacted me. I thought, what a better way to live life than to have these challenging experiences and to see God provide and to glorify Him by sharing that with others!

It stills surprises and scares my wife and I that we are missionaries, but let me ask this question: would you rather trust a man, an organization, the government or God for a paycheck?

We thought we were being wise and were trusting God by not registering our cars earlier, and it didn’t seem to work the way we wanted. We worried about it. Why do we worry? Who is in control??? God is in control! God has a better purpose and a better plan than we do, and I think that through His provision for us, God is greater glorified… and that is the goal. We often worry because we don’t want our life to be hard. Who are we living for?

Consider the Words of God:

25 “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28 And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31 Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. 34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own…

“…Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, when his son asks for a loaf, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, he will not give him a snake, will he? 11 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him! (Matt 6: 25-34, 7:7-11)

28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose…If God is for us, who is against us? (Rom 8:28, 31b)

 

Brian Mariani

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.

Is Teaching Creation Child Abuse?

 

Boup5YcCcAEX7PQAn article in Creation Ministries International’s Prayer News (April 2014) caught my eye. It was entitled: “ ‘Teaching creation is child abuse’? A response to rabid atheist claims.” In this well-written article, Gary Bates exposed their tactics and answered their unscientific claims.

Teaching creationism has been called “child abuse” because it is withholding information from children. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Creationists like Bates and those of us at AOI, do not support withholding information about evolution from children. Rather, we advocate teaching them the whole story, helping them to really understand both the scientific method and the evolution model and teaching them to recognize the underlying presuppositions and philosophical implications of the origins debate.  We want students to learn to think critically, to ask good questions, to evaluate data, and to differentiate between facts and assumptions.

We advocate teaching students to distinguish between operational (experimental) science and historical science, and to learn to recognize what type of science is needed for various types of questions. We encourage them to test competing models, to examine the strengths (and weaknesses) of each, and to evaluate how they fit with real, objective evidence. In addition, we encourage them to research and think deeply about the logical and historical consequences of adopting each viewpoint.

It is not creationists, but evolutionists who withhold information from students. From preschool to university, they are taught a one-sided, biased evolutionary worldview. They are not given the opportunity to examine anything else, or even to hear about the weaknesses of the evolution model. God has effectively been banned from the classroom under the guise of “neutrality,” which is not really neutral at all. If anything is intellectual child abuse, this one-sided, biased approach would seem to qualify.

One has to wonder: if teaching creationism is seen as “child abuse,” how long will it be before teaching about God, even at home, will be labeled as such? You think it couldn’t happen? Open your eyes. Think again. In the communist Russia not so long ago, teaching children about God was strictly forbidden and could result in fines, punishment, and removal of children from the home. In some countries today, you can be killed for teaching the Bible to children. We need to wake up and turn the tide, taking a firm stand on the truth of Scripture; teaching children to be wise, discerning, and bold; speaking the truth in love to a lost and confused generation.

(For more information on this topic, check out Creation Ministries International – creation.com.)

 

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.

Learn Through Experience

 

There is something spectacular about getting to live what you are learning. I didn’t think much about that until the years I spent working at a Christian Living History Camp in California. Each day as my fellow guides and I stepped into costume and into character, we experienced both history and ministry from a firsthand perspective. And that experience wasn’t limited to ourselves – we were privileged to provide countless 4th grade campers and their parents with that same unique opportunity.

Panning for GoldWe were blessed to watch as campers, who had been learning about the California Gold Rush for months, were able to practically live history with us. We got to watch their excitement at finding gold in the river, and their disappointment when they realized that it truly wasn’t an easy task. We encouraged them to think outside of their normal lives and consider what the lives of California miners were like. And best of all, we got to do all this away from their “comfort zone,” which for many of them consisted mostly of indoor activities, cement, video games, and comfort drawn from the fact that they knew the nearest Starbucks was less than five minutes away (yes, we definitely drew the parents out of their comfort zones as well as the kids!). In fact, the crux of our ministry at Rock-N-Water was, and is, founded on the basis of getting kids (and parents) out into creation….experiencing God through adventures in His creation, that through witnessing firsthand what He has made, they might see Him more clearly.

Yellowstone 1My experience at Rock-N-Water Christian camp has laid the foundation for me to be very excited about the camping ministry we have and are continuing to develop here at AOI. Our summer camps and tours offer the opportunity for youth, families, kids, and everyone in between to get out and experience Gods creation while being strengthened in their faith through amazing, and even life-changing creation science teaching. We are excited to be able to provide the chance to get out and see what God has made, as well as to provide the background pieces of scientific information that will allow people to see the beauty of creation with new eyes.

While this information is powerful and impactful in any setting, I personally feel strongly that there is a unique power and impact when it’s coupled with the chance to observe the evidence of the beauty and majesty of God’s creation.

As guests of AOI’s summer adventures “discover creation,” my prayer (along with all of us at AOI) is that they will be spurred on to “worship the Creator” who has divinely orchestrated a world scarred by catastrophe brought on by sin to still exhibit a breathtaking display of beauty.

It’s not too late to register for AOI’s summer Creation Adventures. Take a look and give us a call. We pray that you and your family are able to take advantage of this opportunity, and that you are mightily blessed!

 

Aimee Mariani

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.

Microscopic Structure of Tears

 

hI was alerted to a photographic study, which I managed to find on the web, regarding the microscopic structure of dried human tears. Rose-Lynn Fisher, the photographer, wondered if various tear types dry into different patterns. It appears at first glance that tears of joy yield a different pattern from tears from onions, tears from grief, or just normal tears which continually lubricate the eye.

Although I had never considered that one teardrop might differ from another, it does make some sense. After all, tears released during extreme grief would likely contain different hormones that the body releases compared to those released during times of great joy. If someone gives you an unexpected check for $1000 or when you see a couple getting married, “joy” hormones could be released which would affect the chemical makeup of the tear. Hence, the different chemical properties would cause a different crystalline structure upon drying.

Although the study at this point is quite interesting, I would not say it is in any way conclusive and even Fisher makes no claims. Various temperatures of drying, humidity, etc. could make a difference on the crystalline structure. However, this is how scientific investigation begins. It involves an idea, getting preliminary results, refining the process, and then doing serious controlled investigation. If the results can be shown to be consistent, then perhaps it could later find its way into medical research in determining the state of a person, which might contribute to medical issues, diagnosis, and remedies.

I wonder what someone would think if they accidentally wandered into the research lab and noticed various individuals crying with joy while others are sobbing from deep emotional turmoil, and still others choking on fresh peeled onions.

For more information and various pictures see: The Microscopic Structures of Dried Human Tears from Smithsonian.com

 

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.

What I learned on Father’s Day!

 

So Father’s Day has now come and gone and we haven’t had our baby yet (due in about a week and a half). At church, as well as from friends and family, I received comments saying “happy father’s day…almost” or “happy almost father’s day” and then some not even acknowledging me as a father. I have to admit, I think I may have said that to people in the past who were at that time just expecting.

Now it is natural to think that since we don’t have a baby yet, that we aren’t parents. I think this understanding also comes from our cultural context too. That is the point, things in our culture influence us often in very small ways – more often and in more ways than we realize.

For example, even if I am experiencing some pain, I don’t like taking medicine or even going to the doctor. I tend to grit my teeth and say, “people throughout history didn’t use medicine, they just dealt with it…and so can I.” And granted we do need sometimes to be wary about the chemicals or side-effects of medicines, but they can be helpful and necessary as well. I finally realized that my preconceived notions of ancient man were influenced by evolutionary thinking. I was actually picturing cave men never going to the doctor or the dentist. But cave men were humans possibly moving from one city to another (many maybe dispersing from Babel – which was a huge engineering project). Adam was created intelligent and able to walk with God. Humans have always been intelligent, possibly knowing a great deal about natural remedies and medicines.

hBack to my point, we consider a 3-month old as being 3 months old, but he/she is actually closer to 12 months old. A baby in the womb is alive no matter how long they have been there, but parts of our culture claim this not to be the case. God knows us as a person before we even are a physical person! (see verse 16 below) Sometimes making a change in our culture requires a shift in our own thoughts, perceptions, and beliefs. Let’s not forget to stop and ask…”what does God (the Bible) say about ———- ?“

 

13 For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.

                                                Psalm 139:13-16

 

My wife and I are already parents. Leadership (parenting) takes personal preparation. Parenting is going to take on a whole new meaning for us in a couple weeks and again in a couple of years, but it has already started for us, even if that is simply… just talking to the baby, singing to the baby, feeling the baby move, preparing doctor appointments and insurance, getting “baby stuff”, practicing loving each other as an example to our children, praying, or studying God’s Word on His will and how to manage – everything. Actually that doesn’t sound that simple, but God is gracious to help. Praise God for His plan as everything is connected (even as our pastor taught that discipline is not just about fixing the behavior at the moment but about life-long instruction).

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.                                                                      Eph. 6:4

Even as we are still awaiting the birth of our baby, my wife and I fully celebrated my first father’s day, including special homemade muffins, burgers on the grill, and adventures at the park. We truly are soooo blessed by your support and encouragement and by God’s great provision! PRAISE GOD and Happy Mother’s Day and Father’s Day to all of those who were with child this year!

 

P.S. I hope you don’t get tired of hearing about us and our young family life…I have a feeling that we will be learning quite a lot this year! Thanks!

 

-Brian Mariani

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.

Preparing

 

Currently, my wife and I are preparing for the birth of our first child. In fact, I feel like this whole year has been one of preparation with researching for books, blogs, and PowerPoint presentations, as well as planning and preparing for the inaugural class of the Discover Creation Training Institute, Lord willing, in August 2015.

It has all been a challenge, but we are doing our best to prepare for the baby, ministry projects, and…everything…for the rest of our lives…Ha!

Prepare!

I was curious and so I typed “prepare” in a search of the Bible, and found that that word appears 174 times in the NASB. Many instances refer to the preparing of food or lodging, often for guests, or preparing for battle, or preparing to go to the temple and offer sacrifices. Preparation often goes hand in hand with being diligent, well-intentioned and wise.

God’s plan and God’s will are clearly shown in how he has wisely prepared and planned out all of creation and human history. He prepared a perfect creation for mankind, unfortunately Adam and Eve sinned… but God was prepared. He prepared the skins of an animal as the first sacrifice to cover their sin. (Genesis 3) He knew mankind would continue to become more and more wicked and consequently helped Noah and his family in preparing to survive the flood. God sought out Abraham and his descendants and prepared the way their family would move – even to Egypt – and then God prepared the way out of Egypt for that same family (now the Israelites). Since then, God has prepared the way for Old Testament judges, heroes, kings, and prophets to do His will.

Matthew 11:10 explains that John the Baptist fulfilled the prophecy from Malachi 3:1, speaking of the messenger before Christ,  by saying - “Behold, I send My messenger ahead of You, Who will prepare Your way before You.”  Many of Jesus’ parables explain how the master prepares dinners and wedding feasts, which were analogous to His Kingdom,  and exhorts us in the process that we need to be prepared! Prepare yourself and others for the battle of this life, in preparation for the next life, the enemy wants to take as many captive by vain philosophies and empty deceit as possible. (see Colossians 2:8)

As we prepare for our new baby and our new ministry with AOI, I am excited! And the baby and ministry are not the only exciting things. Check out these EXCITING promises from God’s Word:

“Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.” Thomas *said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?” Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”  John 14:1-6

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Ephesians 2:10

Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things [wicked things], he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.  2 Timothy 2:21 (clarification added)

By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things which are visible.  Hebrews 11:3

But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for He has prepared a city for them.  Hebrews 11:16

Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  1 Peter 1:13

Brian Mariani

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.