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Enjoying God’s Creation

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Wind-River-Range-2---MooseMary Jo & I recently taught a week long kid’s camp at Camp Shiloh in Wyoming. On the way back, we decided to spend the weekend in the Wind River Range in Wyoming, enjoying God’s Creation… which we had been preaching about that entire week. I hope you enjoy the shots. These “older vintage” hikers managed a 12 mile hike high into the wilderness the first day. As if that wasn’t enough, the next day we took a 5 mile hike to loosen up the sore muscles.  Those sore muscles continued to chastise us about acting as though we were still in our 20’s!

Wind-River-Range-5There are so many wonderful and spectacular places in this world and we feel privileged to be able to see some of it up close. By the way, the young bull moose did not even know that we were within 50 yards of him.  After catching a few pictures, we quietly snuck away. Wildlife is always more challenging than shooting rocks, lakes and flowers. The latter don’t move or run away. We were thankful that this moose was unknowingly quite cooperative.

We hope you can slip away for a day or two and also enjoy God’s Creation wherever you might be. Take advantage of those opportunities God puts in your path. I think God likes it when we admire His Creation.

 

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.

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Water in a Dry Place

 

Camp ShilohIt was a fun, but challenging week at Camp Shiloh in Wyoming, teaching 45 kids, ages 6-16, from extremely diverse backgrounds. Some of the kids were from solid Christian homes and have been at camp every summer for many years. Others were there for the first time and came from extremely difficult home situations. In addition there are cultural differences, as about ¼ of the kids are Native Americans from a nearby reservation.

The knowledge level and spiritual understanding of the kids was so varied. Some were strong believers in Jesus – others didn’t even know who He is. Teaching such a diverse group can be a real challenge, but we believe each child came by God’s sovereignty and design. Each one is fearfully and wonderfully made and needs to know the truth of Creation and the wonderful love of the Lord in salvation.

Historic Camp Shiloh ChapelCamp Shiloh is an interdenominational camp held at Circle J ranch near Ten Sleep, WY, at the base of the beautiful Big Horn Mountains. The camp sits in a magnificent canyon, and has an interesting history as a cattle ranch, apple orchard, and now a Christian camp and retreat center. Our meetings were held in a quaint historic chapel, and we enjoyed watching a flock of sheep pastured near our campsite, a cattle-drive down the main highway one morning, and the beautiful rushing river that ran through the camp. The only down-side was the heat during the day and the gale-force winds that threatened to blow us away one night (quite an experience in our little roof-top tent!)

Ranching near the Big Horn MountainsCreation ministry on the road sometimes has other interesting “challenges.” One night, I had an unexpected surprise as I made a mid-night journey across the camp to the necessary facilities. As I rounded the corner to the bathhouse, I was royally doused by a sprinkler, right by the door of the ladies’ bathhouse! I managed to get inside and do my business, but managed to get doused again as I tried to dodge the sprinkler on my way out. I’m glad it was a warm night. It really was pretty funny, and now I know how they keep the grass so beautifully green in this dry canyon country!

We pray that God will water the seeds planted in the hearts of kids that week and touch the life of each child at their level of need. May the lessons learned through the teachings, songs, memory verses, crafts, games, cabin times, and relationships take root and grow strong. What a privilege and blessing it is to teach the truth of Creation, the reliability of the Word, and the wonderful gift of salvation in Jesus!

 

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.

Glad Tidings Bible Camp

 

Gaga Ball

Gaga Ball

A couple of weeks ago, I was at Glad Tidings Bible Camp teaching a group of 5th and 6th graders.  They were a lively bunch of kids, full of energy!  It was hard trying to keep up with them.  The time was full of new games and activities.

One day, we took a short run in the morning after flag raising.  I played carpet ball with them.  At first they beat me every time, but I eventually got the hang of it.  I participated in ‘capture the flag’ and of course got caught and sent to jail early on in the game.  I also had the opportunity to play ‘gaga ball’ for the first time.  It is a fun and active game.

Glad Tidings Bible CampI didn’t just play at camp, there was also chapel time where I taught on creation/Genesis accompanied with the gospel message.  I have discovered by really being a part of the campers lives they are more open to listening to me and the gospel.  There is definitely more to camp than just fun and teaching, there is also counseling.

I discover many people who are hurting, confused, and some are in need of some spiritual advice.  I probably spend more time in counseling than teaching.  The needs are so great!  People want more than just milk, they want meat!  Even children!  People want to know the in-depth teachings of Scripture.  It is fun to learn the truth if you use the Bible as your guide to study true science.  It is a delight to see both young and old grow in the LORD!  Thanks for making times like this possible.

 

 

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.

Comfort in the Gospel

  Comfort in the Gospel

In all our seminars, Vacation Bible Schools (VBS), and Bible camps, I always share the gospel message in one way or another. At camps and VBS I usually have time to do a skit using three men and my wife to visually demonstrate why Jesus died on the cross for our sins.

Part of that presentation involves Ephesians 2:8-10, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” This verse tells us that it is not by anything we can do ourselves that sin is removed from our lives … it is all about what Jesus did for us on the cross.

We have seen many children over the years respond to the gospel message after this presentation. Just last week I was reminded that God’s grace not only impacts our lives with the gift of salvation, but His grace also gives us great comfort.

After finishing a salvation message at a VBS last week, I stopped to talk to a woman seated in the auditorium. Even though this particular VBS was a children’s program, instead of a family program that we normally do, this lady had attended every teaching session that week. She shared that she had been having a very rough week, with a lot of conflict and difficulties within her family.

She said that when she came that day, she was at the brink of her endurance, but the gospel message had given her a renewed hope and comfort. She was reminded how much Jesus really cared for and loved her, that He was willing to die for her sins. It was that love that gave her great comfort and a renewed strength to face her troubles.

When was the last time you pondered the cross and gave thanks for your salvation and gained comfort in it?

 

Lanny Johnson

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.

Family Hits Road With Creation

 

After working so hard teaching and writing, it’s always good to know that your work is having an impact on the lives of others, and that they are taking the material learned from you and passing it on to others. Recently we received an encouraging testimony from a woman in Montana. She wrote:

 

Discover Creation DVD setQuite a few years ago [my husband] and I were at a marriage retreat in Colorado – over by Horn Creek at Hermit Basin. [We] were edified by the Creation Series. We have since purchased a video series to share with others and have sent one to a friend. 

This summer my three younger kids and I are traveling across the states and we made a “re-purposed,” tall, card-board animal book into the creation story – 7 days – and then your copy of the plan of salvation. We have ministered to almost 100 people so far with the Creation story in two weeks – we have 6 weeks left on our journey. One girl came to Christ, one young man rededicated his life, Christians have had answers to where the dinosaurs fit in. The body of Christ has been so excited that we have shared the story with them.

Thank you for sharing the truth. [My husband] and I do try to financially support you guys as often as possible. This fall we will be starting small groups in our home showing your DVD series to families. Thank you and bless you! 

M.D., Montana (slightly modified)

 

This family has stepped out in faith and boldness, and God is blessing the endeavor. How encouraging to all of us at AOI! We wish everybody that hears the message of Creation and the Gospel would be so bold and creative. How about praying and asking Him to show you ways you can share with others. AOI’s DVD series would be a great place to start! Call AOI at 800-377-1923 to order a set or check out our website to get even more information, and order it there.

“And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men [and women], who will be able to teach others also.” (II Timothy 2:2)

 

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.

The IFCA National Youth Convention

 

IFCA Youth ConferenceIn June, I had the opportunity to teach at the IFCA National Youth Convention which was held on the Appalachian Bible College campus.  Over 370 youth (junior and senior high students), from 30+ churches, attended the conference.  Each year the convention seems to grow just a little more.  This is a good sign since the convention is focused on training youth to be more involved in the church.  The competition was fierce, but in a godly way.  The final Bible knowledge competition went into overtime with the champions winning by only ten points.

It is a great privilege to be involved in the lives of these godly young people.  I had the pleasure to teach sixteen hours while at the convention, sometimes ending as late as 10:30 pm.

Some of the comments are below:

“Thank you for speaking at the convention this week.  I enjoyed all of your breakout sessions, especially the one on astronomy.  It gave me a glimpse of just how small I really am.  It blows my mind that the God of this universe would love me.  The past few months I’ve really been struggling with committing myself to God’s will completely. Last night I did, and your session on astronomy is one of the reasons I did. Thank you so much!”

“Dear Mr. Stepanek, 
Thank you so much for your boldness in declaring the truth in your Friday breakout session.  If you hadn’t told me these things, I’d probably never have heard them.  May God bless you for telling the truth.”

I want to thank our donors and prayer partners, you really make events like this possible.

 

Rich with Pastor Travis Huseby - Director of Nat. IFCA Youth

Rich with Pastor Travis Huseby – Director of National IFCA Youth

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.

Who are the Marianis?

 

Brian and Aimee MarianiHello AOI Followers, we are new on staff at AOI and we wanted to introduce ourselves in our first blog post. We are Brian and Aimee Mariani and here are our brief testimonies of how God has worked in our lives in exciting ways and brought us to this position at AOI! That is actually a picture of us jumping into service with AOI at a Creation Boot Camp at Camp Redcloud during the last week of June.

Brian: Hey guys, first off, I grew up in Bloomington, Illinois and was raised in a close family, a good church body, and in public schools. I was always interested in math and science and first learned of Creation science right before high school. I always just trusted the Bible at face value, since it is God’s word. So as a freshman and in biology class, I never knew how to combat the arguments of evolution. God led me to two different secular universities as I studied for a physics teaching degree all the while struggling to explain my faith and the evidence to my peers. It saddened me to see very intelligent people deceived by the claims of evolution.

God then led me to Jackson Hole Bible College, which strengthened my creation worldview and I had the opportunity to research and help write The Genius of Ancient Man with the research team there. This is where Aimee and I met and got to know each other.

From there I spent two years teaching science at a small Christian school, where I was blessed to be able to teach them the evidence, the arguments, and the philosophies as we compared creation and evolution. I was able to show my students how the Bible is consistent, that God did create everything in six days, and that there is evidence to back that up. I was also able to show the pervasiveness of evolution, despite there being very little evidence to support the theory and a lot of things that could simply discredit the theory.

Aimee: I grew up in northern California in a strong Christian home. My seven younger siblings and I were all homeschooled through high school, which was a huge blessing. This not only knit a tight bond of friendship within our family, but also helped to give us a strong foundation and belief in Biblical creation. My parents both have a love for science and encouraged us all to learn and marvel at God’s creation, and my dad, a mechanical engineer, loved to explain scientific concepts to us in an interesting and understandable way.

After high school, God used my love for history to lead me to a position at Rock-N-Water, a Christian camp in California. Over the years I ended up being a program director there. This was a huge part of my practical education, where I learned a lot about working with people, and grew in passion to share my love for seeing God’s glory in His creation.

God then used this passion to lead me to Jackson Hole Bible College. I learned a lot, and it grew and strengthened my faith, but I wasn’t sure what to do with it after graduation. As I neared the end of my year there, it was actually during the first day of geology class with Dave and Mary Jo Nutting that I felt a strong calling to some kind of creation ministry… someday… somehow. As time went on, I started to think that perhaps what I was really called to was to help my husband in creation ministry, supporting and assisting him in whatever ways I could. When Brian and I got engaged almost exactly one year later, I could see God’s hand confirming that those dreams really were part of His plan.

We got to know the Nuttings through the Grand Canyon geology field trip at Jackson Hole Bible College, and we both kept in touch with them. So we were delighted to see God lead us to take up this position with AOI. We have always wanted to teach others about God through His word, His creation, and science, so we believe that this opportunity with AOI is a great fit.

We will be busy this first month, setting up our house, raising support, developing more and better creation presentations, and the many things that we need to do to build up our ministry here. We hope to be able to travel and do presentations at churches or groups all across the country (or beyond) as well, so we would love to meet you and let us know if we can come speak at your church or group. We will continue to leave more blogs with more details for you all! We would appreciate your prayers, so thanks and May God Bless You!

 

Brian and 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.

Smoke in Camp

 

Smoke in camp 1Mary Jo & I were recently conducting a Creation Action Boot Camp at Camp Redcloud. One day in each camp is set aside for an all day group activity – this time we chose a hike up 14,000+  foot Redcloud Peak.

When we got there at the beginning of the week, a fire was raging on the other side of the ridge from Camp Redcloud. At least this ridge is the continental divide which has sufficient altitude to put it above tree line. This was a great barrier to keep us safe from the fire. But what about the smoke?  Fortunately, we had prevailing winds that kept everything clear at our Boot camp. However, the evening before the anticipated hike, the wind shifted and the valley became filled with smoke from the fire. That night, the air was thick and there was concern if the group could do their mountain climb activity if the air quality didn’t improve.  According to the report we had received, the poor air quality was to continue until 4PM the day of the hike. Not good!

Smoke in camp 2We told Grant, the leader of the group that had joined us from the University of Minnesota, about the issue and that he should pray about the situation as it may make it inadvisable for the group to make the climb. “Let’s pray right now,” he suggested. We did. Within two minutes the air began to clear, stars became visible, and a favorable breeze was noticed. In a few more minutes most of the smoke had cleared. In the morning, the air was as clear as mountain air should be and the group embarked on the climb. That was a real and quick answer to prayer and a good reminder to cast all our cares upon the Lord!

 

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.

Dinosaurs at DIA

 

Pioneer Bible Camp 2Pioneer Bible Camp just continued to get better.  The campers were just getting started and began asking even more questions.   I believe in part because I took the time to partake in some of their activities. A wise man I knew from Minnesota once said, “people do not care what you know until they know that you care.”  How true!

Most of the counselors attending Pioneer Bible Camp are from Bible schools and colleges.  It was an encouragement to dialogue with the counselors as well as the campers.  One counselor made the observation that by reading Genesis literally it would help prevent him from falling into false doctrines and also help him to defend the faith.  One camper expressed his excitement in planning to attend a Bible school so he could learn even more about Scripture.  Another said his goal was to focus on becoming a godly man, and to prepare himself for whatever God has planned for him.  It is always exciting to see young people get excited about the Word!

After I finished teaching at Pioneer Bible Camp, I departed as soon as I could for a six and half hour drive home.  I arrived home at 11:00 pm to unload and re-pack in preparation for my next speaking trip to West Virginia. My plane departed Saturday morning at 9:30 am, and I would not arrive at the airport in Charleston, WV, until 11:30 pm. I had a number of long delays along the way.

Dinosaurs and DIAOne such layover was in Denver, where I met a father and his two young daughters.  They also had been waiting for quite some time to catch a plane.  His daughters were getting bored.  We got to talking and I informed him that I taught about dinosaurs.  His girls had a number of questions about them, so I did my dinosaur PowerPoint program to answer their questions.  The father had so many of his questions answered that he thought this information would be valuable for his church.  You just never know when you may have a teaching opportunity that helps someone to have a better understanding about God and His creation.  I thank God for such opportunities.

 

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.

In One Sentence

 

Campground teachingAfter a 3 hour drive through a hot desert and up a narrow winding mountain road, we arrived at a campground in the Manti-LaSalle National Forest, near Moab, Utah. We were to meet a youth group that was from the Salt Lake City area. We circled around the campground looking for the group, but were unable to find them, so we stopped at the campground host station to see if they had checked in yet.

The host was a very friendly man, who informed us that, yes the group was there, but they were on a hike at that time. He was very helpful, even walking us over to show us their camping spots.

On the short walk, we told him that we were there to teach the youth group. Interested, he asked, “In one sentence, tell me what you will be teaching?”

My wife Marilyn responded, “We are here to teach that God made everything and that it did not happen by evolution.”

His response … “Guess I’m going to have to have a little more information than one sentence!”

As I talked with him a short while, I discovered he was a retired 8th grade school teacher (having taught evolution for many years) now traveling around the country “in search of truth.” I told him that I had also at one time been in search of truth and had found that truth was not in evolution. As a scientist (geologist), I had found major problems with evolution that I could not resolve. What I had discovered was evidence of a Creator.

It was at that point the he quickly interjected that he had other campground duties, and so began a departure. As he left, I invited him to join us that evening as we shared some of those evidences with the youth group. He said it sounded interesting and he would try.

Curious DoeSurprisingly, he did show up that evening for a very short time, far enough away that he could hear some of my talk, but not close enough for interaction. Amusingly, right at the edge of our group was a doe that seemed to be very curious about what I was teaching. It was there far longer than the gentleman!

When the program was over we had to pick up the equipment and take shelter because of rain and wind, and later head back down the mountain, so we were not able to talk to the man again. I am pretty sure he did not hear enough to convince him of a Creator. However, even though it might have been tiny, a seed was planted. Hopefully, that seed of truth might grow in him and he will discover the truth … the truth of Jesus Christ. Over 23 years ago, I was also a staunch evolutionist. A seed was planted and it did grow! Today I am a follower of Jesus, so if it can happen to me, then it can happen to this gentleman as well.

 

Lanny Johnson

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.