All posts in Stepaneks from the Front

Work …a Blessing or Curse?

 

WORK.  What thoughts come to mind when you hear this word?  Are they in a positive or a negative light? Do you like to work? I have been thinking about work and its value for the past few weeks. Since my cancer surgery four months ago, I basically had the “privilege” of being served by others. This was primarily my dear husband and my family, who provided almost everything I needed. They brought me many meals in bed, washed many dishes, and served me in whatever way they could. I was unable to do almost any of the usual household duties I had been accustom to doing for the past 35 years. I had always enjoyed serving, so it was very difficult for me to now be the one to be served. This life went on for over three months.

hThen by God’s grace and some new medication, I started to feel somewhat better. I began to be able to do some simple cooking and cleaning. One of these first days as I was ironing one of my husband’s shirts, a task I had not been able to do for over three months, I just began to cry and praise The Lord for His goodness in allowing me the privilege to do this again! It felt so GOOD to work! At the end of the day, I could look back and see what God had allowed me to accomplish. Now by many standards it really wasn’t much, but it was so much more than I had been able to do before! It brought such a sense of fulfillment. Part of my joy was related to the fact that I wasn’t sure if my health would ever improve, but part was also just the joy derived from doing something of purpose, meaning, and service to my family. After several months of serving me, my husband and family were more than happy to have me resume my role and responsibilities, even with a few limitations!

The subject of work also reminds us of Genesis and creation. Work was part of God’s original plan. He gave both Adam and Eve specific duties and expected them to fulfill them. God knew that work was good and would provide joy and fulfillment. Work was NOT part of the curse after Adam’s sin. The curse made his work more difficult, because of the weeds and thorns, but the work itself was not a curse.

So the next time you are feeling discouraged or dismayed by the work that is before you, I would  encourage you to stop a moment and think. Thank God first for the ability to work, also His provision of work, and maybe ask for a change of heart that you would sense the joy that God intended to be derived from your work.

 

Sue 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.

How Ungrateful We Can Be

 

As most of you know, I had a Whipple surgery on November 25th, because of cancer in the duodenum.  As the months after my surgery pass, and as I try to adjust to my “new” (but certainly not improved!) redesigned digestive system, I have found myself having some troubling thoughts.  I have often looked with envy at other people who can eat anything they want, anytime they want, and feel good afterwards.  No pills, no pain, no restrictions, and I think, “this just isn’t fair.”  These people do not think twice about what a blessing it is to have a digestive system that works well.  It doesn’t even cross their mind!  How ungrateful these people are!

Footprints on the beachThen God brought conviction to my heart.  I thought about people who are blind.  Do I really thank God daily for my sight?  I honestly had to answer, “No.”  What about people who are wheelchair bound for life?  Do I thank God daily for the ability to move and walk?  Another “no” answer.  Or how about those who are bedridden, or have lost limbs, terminally ill children, stroke victims, and the list could go on and on.  You get the picture.  I was just like the people I had called ungrateful.  I was no different.

I was suddenly overcome with my own self-centeredness.  And I cried out to God for forgiveness.  I could see my own area of suffering so clearly and yet there are so many areas of my life in which God had blessed me tremendously, but I often take those blessings for granted.  We all are keenly aware of our own “area of suffering,” whatever it may be.  But how often we fail to have TRUE compassion for those who are suffering in other ways.  My prayer is that I would truly have a grateful heart daily to see the blessings from The Lord and to have a heart of loving compassion for others.

 

Sue 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.

All in the family! Part 1

 

DmanisiA discovery of five skulls from Dmanisi, Georgia, has added a new twist to the story of human evolution. They believe there may not have been many different evolutionary Homo species, but just one species consisting of a huge variation within that species.

“The five skulls found at Dmanisi do not seem to go together, having cranial capacities varying from 546 to 730 cubic centimeters and a constellation of features evolutionists typically assign to three different species of early Homo—Homo erectus, Homo habilis, and Homo rudolfensis.“  From the article, Does the Dmanisi discovery Demonstrate We Are All One Family.

“This would lump the various human species that have been named during early Homo history into a single evolving species connecting Homo habilis to the Dmanisi humans, and forward in time to Homo erectus as it expanded across Eurasia. “We think that many African fossils can be lumped in this category and aligned with the single-lineage hypothesis,” Lordkipanidze says.” From the article, Dmanisi Human: Skull from Georgia Implies All Early Homo Species were One.

So some researches believe that Homo habilis, Homo erectus, Homo rudolfensis, and the Dmanisi fossils could all just be variations of the same species.

Let us review of what they found.

Dmanisi skullIn 1991, paleontologists began to unearth fragments of skulls, miscellaneous human and animal bones, and stone tools. In 2000, researchers first found a complete lower jaw, then five years later they discovered the cranium they believe fit that jaw.  In the Dmanisi cave, they found the bones scattered and evidence of bite marks on the bones. One conclusion was that this was a carnivorous beast’s den, into which the victims were dragged.

“The team found clearly human skeleton parts, along with five skulls or partial skulls. Even though skull 5 has several key features resembling an ape, not a human, the Science study authors wrote, “Skull 5 is probably associated with the postcranial [bones located below the head] elements of an adult individual with nearly modern human body proportions.” From the article, New ‘Human’ Fossil Borders on Fraud.

As I read and study the evidence, it appears that wild animals dragged their prey into the den and scattered the remains around. Some of the prey may have been human. Some of the skulls have ape characteristics and the skeletons have modern human characteristics. There is a possibility that some of the humans could have had diseases, deficiencies, or deformities, etc., which may lead to some of the strange skulls.  Eventually the cave was occupied by humans, which is evident from the stone tools.  The humans may have hunted and brought in some of the remains that were found, and later the cave collapsed preserving the remains.

Can the Bible shed some light onto this data? Yes it can! True knowledge, wisdom, and understanding starts with the fear of the LORD.

Proverbs 1:7 – The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Proverbs 9:10 – The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

Scientists have limited knowledge, and their worldview interferes with the interpretation of the data.   So to fully understand the facts of these fossils, we must first start with a source of all knowledge.  This source is the God of the Bible, the Creator of all things …including science.

Turning to Genesis, God created and made everything in six days and so finding human remains alongside ape remains is not unexpected.  God also programmed in the DNA for creatures to reproduce after their own kind or family type.  For example, we have the dog family, cat family, or even the bacteria family.  Everything reproduces after their own kind or family type.  Dogs always stay dogs and bacteria always stay bacteria; this is observational science.  Organisms never change into completely different organisms (macroevolution).  Macroevolution has never been observed.

What most people have missed in Genesis is the phrase found in Genesis 1:22, “And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.”

And again in Genesis  1:28a, “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish (fill) the earth, …”

To be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, creatures must have the ability to adapt to different environments.  God has created a very complex DNA system so creatures can adapt to their new environments. Scripture reveals that species will change to fill the earth, this is what we call microevolution or microadaptation, and what I like to say is variation within a kind.  This is Biblical and also scientific.  But at the same time, creatures are made with limitations and cannot change into a completely different kind or family type.

With this information in mind, let us review the data.  What they found are variations of apes, mixed with human bones.  Some of these variations of apes have probably gone extinct, so we will not see those types of apes alive today.  This is not a new concept, because variations in kinds are going extinct today.  We also observe a huge variation within the human kind, and some of these variations may have also ceased to exist.

Again it is all in the family!  We have the ape family and the human family, with a large range of variation within these families.  By studying Scripture, we can come to know the truth!

 

Richard 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.

Total Surrender

 

I have been thinking quite a bit lately about the term “surrender.”  In the weeks leading up to surgery, the word took on a whole new meaning.  Suddenly, so many things were out of my control.  It sometimes takes a real attitude adjustment, to release OUR control to others, even to God.  I heard a sermon during this same time period,  reminding me that I cannot question God’s path because it is different than my agenda; even when that path includes cancer.  I MUST surrender.  Sometimes it is forced upon us.  We can respond willingly, or reluctantly.

This may seem silly, but right after surgery, when I was in the recovery room, the first thing I said to Rich was, “I have a great idea for a blog.”  As I was coming out of the anesthesia, my mind was thinking about my surrender to my surgeon and the other doctors and nurses that day.     I definitely was no longer in control.  I was TOTALLY in their hands (I know I am ultimately in the LordFreedom-at-the-cross’s hands). I was depending on them for everything. I had to trust them to know what they were doing.  And I did trust them.  Actually, I didn’t want to be in control! I didn’t have the medical know-how about these things. Even after the surgery, I had so many tubes, drains, monitors, and machines hooked up that I could hardly even move.

How silly, I thought, that sometimes we have a hard time surrendering to God, who is all-powerful, all-knowing, and so loving.  I would not have considered for a minute on giving advice to my surgeon on the best way to perform his job, or tell him that I maybe had a better plan.  But yet so often that is how we approach our heavenly Father, wanting our own agenda to be accomplished instead of surrendering to His path …whatever that may be.

Now I KNOW it is not an easy thing to do at times, but it is the only way to true joy and peace.  This also is not a one-time event, but a daily, even moment by moment, continual process, as I am finding out through my slower than I expected recovery process.  Again, I need to remind myself that I cannot, should not, and will not, question God’s agenda, for He is truly a competent, trustworthy Physician!

 

Sue 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.

Who’s Fault is it? A response…

 

I received a comment on a recent blog (Who’s fault is it?), and so I wanted to respond on today’s blog.

Comment:

Do you think that it’s possible that God sometimes inflicts suffering to instruct us? Hear me out. The curse of the ground was to bring thorns into the work of man, to remind him that he’s the cause of his own suffering. And the animal sacrifices instituted by God in the beginning: they cost us something. It’s a little pain to show that we desire to be reconciled to God. And as you read the prophets, what did God do with Israel. Note that it is God doing the damage a lot of the time. And death itself is a curse from God on man. It was promised as a result of sin. But those who have faith in the resurrection power of Jesus’ sinless life, death, and resurrection can overcome death by it. It would be like me flicking my son’s finger when he sticks it in my mouth. (Filthy, grubby little things!) Sure, it hurts for a little while, and sometimes it hurts a lot for a long while, but we have faith that it’s for the good.

I take that position currently. Does it seem tenable to you?

 

hResponse:

I will have to agree with you to a certain extent.  In some cases it is a very tenable. God can use suffering to instruct us.  Hopefully, suffering will bring us back to God and His Word, because Scripture is where we receive God’s clearest instructions.

God used plagues with the Israelites to draw them back to Him. In the 28th chapter of Deuteronomy, we read of the blessings and curses for Israel.  When Israel turned away from God and His laws, it would result in a number of curses, including diseases. Many times God would send His prophets to warn the Israelites of their sins.  In Exodus, God sent a number of different plagues on the Israelites because of their rebellion.  In these cases, it was very clear that these plagues were from God for the purpose of turning Israel from their sin and back to Him.  The same is true for pharaoh and Egypt.  Pharaoh and the Egyptians knew these plagues were from God, because of their disobedience to God.  Moses, God’s prophet, clearly proclaimed these consequences and plagues to pharaoh.  The same thing is expressed to your son, for he knows he did something wrong by your flicking of his finger.

Today it is not always so clear.  Look at Job.  His friends were accusing Job of living in sin and thus God was obligated to bring judgment on him.  This was clearly not the case.  In Job 42:7-8, God rebukes Job’s friends for not speaking correctly about the LORD!

Job 42:7, 8

“And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath. Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job. “

We have to be very careful not to accuse God, or people, of doing things that they may not have done.  In Job, it was Satan who was behind the plagues.

In the case of the man born blind, again the people believed his blindness was the result of his or his parent’s sin.  But this was not the case.  It was so Jesus Christ’s works, God’s Glory, could be manifested before the people, and by seeing they may believe.

John 9:2, 3

“And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.”

There is also the case in which people who live a sinful lifestyle (for example; pre-marital sex, adultery, homosexually, drug use, alcohol abuse, etc.) will come down with diseases.  This is just the consequence of their behavior, and not necessarily God striking them with these diseases.  Even poor eating habits, smoking, and dangerous activities can lead to poor health.

I believe the majority of the diseases, cancer and others, is caused by the increase of corruption in our bodies which began after Adam sinned.  This corruption has increased drastically since the Flood. The Increase in mutations in the human body accompanied with viruses, bacteria, etc. has had a drastic effect on us all.

In the case of my wife, the oncologist examined Sue’s profile and from his examination concluded that Sue should not have cancer.  With her good eating habits and healthy lifestyle, she should have been in perfect health.  He concluded that the cause could be a bad gene (mutation) that was passed down from her parents, grandparents, or great grandparents. Another possible cause could be stress.  With raising two biological and four adopted children, being my help meet, and the particular difficulties of ministry; she has had plenty of stress!

Sue has not gone through just a little pain, but she has gone through over four weeks of hell.  We knew it was going to be bad, but I did not think it was going to be this bad.  She is showing some improvement, but it is slow.  Also, her illness has shut down my individual ministry with AOI, and it may have an effect on my future ministry.  I have been on call 24/7 for Sue in trying to ease the pain and discomfort, cooking food she can eat, getting her medication, shopping, and doing everything she would do if she was healthy.  If anybody is responsible for this, it is probably Satan and his demons… what better way to neutralize me than by attacking my wife.

I believe God will use her cancer for His glory and our good.  It has certainly changed our view of life.  We all waste a lot of time, money, and energy on things which are not important, especially in God’s eyes.  God views the souls of man, their relationship with Him, and their future destination as of ultimate importance and not the accumulation of stuff, which the world views as important.

The world views God as someone who takes joy in making life miserable for people. This is not what I read in Scripture, especially in the book of Genesis.  The Scripture proclaims God as a perfect, righteous, holy, and just God, and so He will judge the ungodly.  But He is also loving, compassionate, and merciful.  He desires to serve us and to take care of us.  God has a desire for everyone to be saved, and to deliver us from this present evil age. He will ultimately take us to a world of no pain, suffering, cancer, etc., where we will be in perfect communion with Him.

He wants us to conform to the image of His Son, and this will take the studying of His Word, His guidance, and His discipline.  The reason for us conforming to the image of His Son is for our good, His glory, and an eventual perfect relationship with Him.

Romans 8:29

“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.”

I hope God can use Sue’s bout with cancer to show the world His love and compassion.  That He is always with us and will not forsake us. We pray that God can use this fight with cancer to bring us, and others, into a closer relationship with Him.  Thank you for all your prayers as well.

 

Richard 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.

Who’s fault is it?

 

As more tests were performed to determine the extent of Sue’s cancer, there was good news.  The cancer seems to be contained to one area.    It seems we may have detected the cancer before it spread to other organs, and the surgery appears to confirm this.  The surgery was a difficult one, but a success, and we are still in for a long haul.

In-The-BeginningThe question is, who is responsible for Sue having cancer?  Is it God’s fault?  If God is a God of love, how could He allow Sue to have cancer?  God is not to blame.  As I study Genesis chapters one and two, God made everything perfect (very good).  Cancer is not ‘very good.’  It is a corruption of what was originally very good.

So, how did this corruption enter into God’s perfect creation?  Again, the answer lies in Genesis.  Adam and Eve were made to live forever in paradise, but something went wrong.  The serpent, which was possessed by Lucifer, deceived Eve, who then enticed Adam to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  When Adam ate of the fruit from this tree, death and corruption entered into God’s perfect world.

So God is not to blame; man is to blame.  The death and suffering we observe around us is a consequence of sin.  I have also observed that when mankind moves further away from God and His Word, suffering seems to increase.

Does Sue have cancer because God is punishing her for her sins or those of her parents?  The answer to that question again is no.  Jesus revealed this in John chapter nine.

John 9:2, 3: “And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.”

Is it God’s will or desire for her to have cancer?  The answer again is no.  God’s desire is for all to repent and have eternal life and have it abundantly.  God came to bring life and not corruption and death.  The evil one comes to bring death and suffering.

John 10:10: “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” 

Jesus Christ came to deliver us from this present evil world of death and suffering.

Galatians 1:4:  “Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:”

Revelation 21:4: “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”

God’s will and desire is to take away death, sorrow, crying, pain, etc.  God wants the best for us, and that is why He sent His Son to save us.

Satan is the prince or god of this world.  Through Satan’s deception and man’s sin, death and suffering abound in this world.

John 14:30: “Hereafter I will not talk much with you: for the prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me.”

2 Corinthians 4:4: “In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”

Jesus Christ has come, and will come again, to change the corruption which has entered into the world.  Praise the LORD!

God is always very good and everything He does is right, but God has allowed Sue to have cancer.  We do not know why, but there must be a reason.  God has a plan for our lives and that is all we need to know.  So for now our goal is to glorify God in any circumstance and to rejoice in the LORD always!

Philippians 4:4-7: “Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

God will be with us through this time of suffering. Thank you for all of your prayers and support.

Hebrews 13:5:  “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

 

Richard 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.

Dirty Six Letter Word

 

Most people have heard of those bad four letter words, but there is a six letter word that affects many people today.  People shudder when they hear this word, especially if they are told they have it.  That six letter word is cancer.  Sue, my wife, was told that she has cancer.  The doctor said it was bad, and we were in for the long haul.

Thoughts of death immediately came into our minds.  We were in a state of deep mourning for two or three days.  The mourning wasn’t over her dying, but over her separation from loved ones.  There is no condemnation in Christ, and to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

Romans 8:1:  ”There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.”

Philippians 1:21:  “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

As we were grieving over this temporary separation, we were wondering how God must feel with permanent separation from those who do not trust in Jesus as their Savior?

God loves everyone and desires to have a close relationship with all of mankind, and that is why He sent His Son, Jesus Christ.

John 3:16, 17:  ”For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”

Having cancer is not the worst thing that can happen to a person.  The worst thing that can happen to a person is to die without knowing Jesus Christ as their Savior.

 

Richard 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.

He Sets Our Schedule

 

Rich and Friends in HoustonA friend of mine from Houston, TX, whom I had not seen for twelve years, called and informed me that he had found some cheap airline fares from Denver to Houston on the web.  He wanted to see if I would be interested in flying to Houston and teach, if he purchased the tickets.  I replied, “sure, go for it!”  He then let me know he would set up the teaching schedule for the trip.

On arrival, he relayed the problems that accompanied the planning of the schedule.  In other words, nothing was scheduled.  We prayed.  That afternoon as we talked with some of his friends, he decided to talk to their pastor about teaching at church.  God opened the doors so I could teach that evening.

He also knew of a Bible study, that he had attended in the past when time allowed, that usually met in the evening on the following day.  We unfortunately arrived thirty minutes late to the church.  They had just finished their pray time and were ready to start the Bible study.  Out of the blue, the leader asked me to teach.  The next day, another church asked me to teach Sunday school.  Is God good or what!

I am totally convinced He sets my schedule.  A friend from Minnesota once told me, “our disappointments are His appointments.”  He had given me this insight while we were in Russia and all of our plans were unraveling.  I am so glad God is in control!

Proverb 16:9  - A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.

 

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.

A Confused Visitor in Paonia…

 

Paonia Event 1Recently I taught in Paonia, CO, for a church which was trying to reach out to their community.  The seminars were held at the public library from Monday through Wednesday.  Before the seminar, I was talking with the pastor about what key topics I should teach on and other important event information.  As we talked, I discovered they had double booked their Wednesday night program.  Wednesday was also the opening night for their local AWANA ministry.  The pastor had realized this after the secretary sent out the mailings for the creation seminar.   We both agreed God must have something special planned for the Wednesday night creation teaching, and He did!

A man came to the library to attend a geology program, but was confused about the actual date.  He came a day to early.  As he talked with one of the church members, he discovered his mistake, but not until after he had heard some of my talk on the scientific evidence for creation.  To my disappointment, the confused guest did not want to stay for the seminar and decided to leave.  Then, to my amazement, he returned!  I tried to listen in on his dialog with a church member.  The guest had asked the question; “Why is this information so important?”

Paonia Event 2It is vitally important, because teaching creation reveals scientific evidence that points to the existence of God and the Bible proclaims information about the Creator and how we can have a relationship with Him.  He stayed for the two and a half hours, listening to the program, asking questions, talking to the pastor, and became interested in learning even more.  As I listened to his questions, I discovered that there is truly a lack of both true scientific and Biblical information in the world.  Because of this lack of knowledge, people are missing the blessings and salvation from the God of creation.

Hosea 4:6 “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…”

 

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 Unexpected Surprise

 

I had an unexpected surprise not too long ago.  A man on a motorcycle appeared in our yard one afternoon, and I was puzzled about who he was and what he wanted.  As I was pondering, I came to the conclusion he was a friend from Nebraska… but what was he doing here?   He lived over 500 miles away!  As we exchanged greetings, he let me know that he took the risk of driving to Grand Junction so he could learn more about creation and Genesis.  We had a wonderful two days of fellowship and discipleship.  I used some of my PowerPoint creation topics to teach, as well as a leisurely drive through the Colorado National Monument to explain the evidence of the world-wide flood of Noah’s day.

He commented the following about the scientific evidence we had discussed, “Taking me up on Glade Park (Colorado National Monument) and teaching me new things, has made God more awesome to me than ever. His power makes me shudder.”  Information on Genesis, creation, and the Flood does change people’s lives.

As I reflected on the time I spent with my friend, I realized it is just as important to teach one person as it is to teach a huge group.  Normally I like to teach to a large audience, because I feel like I can reach more people that way, but that may not always be the case.

Take for example Philip, in Acts chapter eight, who travels to the city of Samaria because of the persecution in Jerusalem.  In Samaria, he preached Christ to them and many were saved.  Next, the angel of the Lord sends Philip to a road which leads from Jerusalem to Gaza.  This is over fifty miles from the city of Samaria. This is a long way when traveling by foot.   God sends him there for the instruction of just one man about the LORD.  This man is the Ethiopian eunuch.  The eunuch believes the words of God and is then baptized.  Is preaching and discipling just one man important!  Yes, it is!  He had an influence on his own country.

Unexpected SurpriseNow we come to the Labor Day weekend. The Johnsons, Sue, and I had the opportunity to minister at a Bible conference center located just north of Colorado Springs, CO.    We ministered to, none other than, an Ethiopian church.  Almost all of the adults had emigrated to the U.S. from Ethiopia, and some of them could not even speak English.  As I was teaching, I wondered if Philip had an effect on these people through the instructing of just one man, the Ethiopian eunuch.

I did not travel to Nebraska to instruct my friend about creation and Genesis, but I believe he was led by the Lord to travel over 500 miles to come and see me.  I wonder what effect he will have on the people in his area, including friends and family, with his increased knowledge of Scripture.  God loves all people and He wants them to come to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

 

Rich Stepanek

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