All posts tagged General Thoughts

An Engineered Marvel in a Wall

 

Interior wasp nest in wall cavityOver the past few months I have been in the process of updating the windows in our older home (built in 1950), adding insulation in the wall cavities, and upgrading the electrical system. Apparently fuel for heating was very cheap back when the house was constructed, because the carpenters did not put any insulation in the walls. As you can imagine, it has been difficult and expensive to keep the house warm during the winter and cool during the summer.

To my surprise, I found in one small section of a wall where I was replacing a very old door, we did have a little insulation of sorts made out of paper – not manmade paper, but paper in the form of a wasp’s nest!

We have a lot of exterior wasp nests (not only the paper nests, but also mud nests) around our home, and every year I usually get stung once or twice during the summer season. Fortunately the wasp’s nest in the wall had been abandoned for some time, so I was not attacked by a horde of angry wasps.

Exterior wasp nestWhat was very interesting was the unique design of this ‘interior’ paper wasp nest compared to the ones hanging outside. The outside paper ones are usually in a cone shape. However, the ones in our walls were layered – each layer was constructed of hexagonal cells above and below, attached back to back. Between each layer were very thin and hard ‘stilts’ spaced at intervals. The purpose of these ‘stilts’ seem to be to add access space between layers, and possibly for ventilation/cooling of nest.

As I look at each of the nests around my home, I recognize that none of them were constructed in a random, haphazard manner. Each was engineered and constructed with intelligence and great design – and yet the constructed nests are much less complex than the wasps that made them. The wasps and their nests are engineering marvels that should tell us that an intelligent Designer created them and their abilities.

To read more about how wasps build nests go to How Wasps Build Wasp Nests.

To see how the wasps build the cone shaped nest watch: Paper Wasp building nest and feeding Larvae  or Wasps – Building Home  (NOTE! – I do not endorse the music attached to this video. I suggest you mute your sound and just watch the wasps at work).

 

Lanny Johnson

The intelligence we see at every level of the creation offers strong evidence against the claim that intelligence is a product of evolution. Intelligence is a gift of the Creator to His creatures!

 

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.

Have a Laugh!

 

The following is an article from Creation Moments ( You Need a Healthy Laugh ):

laughingProverbs 17:22 “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”

Laughing is good for you even if it does begin with the release of adrenaline and other stress hormones.

Whether you are tickled or reacting to a good joke, at least seven different centers in the brain react in various ways. Your response begins with the release of stress hormones. Your normal breathing rhythm gets interrupted, and various neurotransmitters, including dopamine, are released. And, yes, your brain also interprets the tickle so that you cannot tickle yourself since your brain knows when your own fingers are involved. Scientists also believe that as you begin laughing, your saliva glands begin to secrete extra immune compounds. Antibodies and virus-killing T-cells are also released in larger doses. Your heartbeats also increase, and your blood pressure goes up to support the muscle spasms that result from your laugh. Those muscle spasms are actually a good aerobic exercise. In fact, one minute of a good laugh is said to be as good as ten minutes of exercise on a rowing machine!

Besides promoting social bonds, laughing is indeed good for you in many ways. Tickling is a common way that parents bond with their young children. And wholesome humor can cheer the heart and raise the spirits. Moreover, while laughing appears to have no evolutionary advantage, it is easily explained as a gift of God to raise our spirits.

So here are some actual typographical errors and poor word construction found in church bulletins that were announced at church services … hope they make you laugh!

  • The Fasting & Prayer Conference includes meals.
  • Scouts are saving aluminium [sp] cans, bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.
  • The sermon this morning: ’Jesus Walks on the Water’. The sermon tonight: ‘Searching for Jesus’.
  • Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale. It’s a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.
  • Don’t let worry kill you off – let the Church help.
  • Miss Charlene Mason sang ‘I will not pass this way again,’ giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.
  • For those of you who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery downstairs.
  • Next Thursday there will be try-outs for the choir. They need all the help they can get.
  • At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be ‘What Is Hell?’ Come early and listen to our choir practice.
  • Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.
  • Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you want remembered.
  • The church will host an evening of fine dining, super entertainment and gracious hostility.
  • Pot-luck supper Sunday at 5:00 PM - prayer and medication to follow.
  • This evening at 7 PM there will be a hymn singing in the park across from the Church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.
  • The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the Congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday.
  • Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM. Please use the back door.
  • The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare’s Hamlet in the Church basement Friday at 7 PM. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.
  • Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance.

 

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.

In the Dark about Dark Matter

 

Russian anti-god posterAtheist argument: “How can you believe in a so-called-god when you can’t see him/she/it even through the best Hubble telescopes?”  Clear back in 1965, after their space launches, the Russian government posted anti-god posters meant to dissuade people from believing in God. The caption at the bottom of the poster (on the right) basically says, “The bright light of science has proven there is no God.”

So, the basic argument is, “If you can’t see God, He doesn’t exist.” Now let’s look at “modern science” and see if the same thinking is being applied.

Chet Brokaw’s Oct 30, 2013 Associated Press article entitled, Search for dark matter comes up empty so far, describes research taking place a mile underground to find traces of what scientists call “dark matter.” It is called that because you can’t see it or, even after this latest research, detect it.

So how do we know it is there? Good question! According to modern theories in astronomy, it has to be there. In fact, 25 percent of the entire universe should be made up of this dark matter, but right now it is just plain missing. Scientists themselves say they have “no clue” or are completely “in the dark” about this “ghost-like” dark matter. Others wonder if they should be looking for something entirely different.

The point is this: Even with the bright light of science looking as hard as it can, with its most sophisticated instrumentation, 25% of the universe (This amounts to 5 times the amount of observable matter!) is still missing – it can’t be seen. Yet scientists ardently believe it is there. That is a type of faith, isn’t it?

Keep in mind that the absence of proof does not mean there is no proof or that none will be found in the future. So scientists will continue to look even more diligently with even more sophisticated (and costly) instrumentation. Some hope they will find it to support the Big Bang Theory. Others think it will “prove God doesn’t exist” which is a very faulty logic anyhow. After all, many of the researchers have deep faith in God.

What about the argument that since the best Hubble telescopes haven’t revealed God, He can’t exist. Perhaps they are looking in the wrong fashion or direction. Keep in mind the Scripture says, “The heavens declare the glory of God!” Perhaps their search should then take them deep inside of the Bible or into their own heart.

The HUGE question is this: What would happen if the same scientists, who claim to be atheists because they can’t now see God, would spend their time vigorously searching for Him? The answer according to the Bible in Jeremiah 29:13 is “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

 

Dave Nutting

 

If you want to read an article about this dark matter, go to Dark Matter Experiment Has Detected Nothing, Researchers Say Proudly.

 

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 Comfort of the Word

 

Comfort in JesusMy mother shared with me an experience that happened to her last week. She went to visit a dear Christian friend of hers that was at a hospice facility, something she had been doing several times a week when possible. She told the nurse that she would only stay for a few minutes, but the nurse insisted that she stay as long as she wanted, for her friend, even though near death and in a comatose state, could hear her.

My mother held her friend’s hand and conversed with her, just as if she was fully awake. Soon into the one-way conversation, my mother had a strong feeling she needed to read scripture to her friend. Having forgotten her Bible in the car, she was able to borrow one from the attending nurse.

Continuing to hold her friend’s hand, she began reading Psalm 23. At the end of the 23rd Psalm, and only a few words into Psalm 24, my mother’s friend passed away into the arms of her Creator, Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Although my mother felt great grief and loss with the passing of her friend, she also found comfort and peace knowing, not only that her friend was with the Lord because of her faith, but also that the last words she heard were the words of God – and comforting words they are!

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever. Psalm 23:1-6

 

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.

God of the Impossible

 

Recently at a small group Bible study we attend, we were studying the book of Jonah. Through the study the fact came up that some people say Jonah contains so many remarkable (some might say miraculous) elements, that it can’t be taken literally. This subject naturally connected the conversation to Genesis.

We discussed the fact that many people have a hard time believing that such things as a man being swallowed – and rescued – by a great fish, or God creating the universe in 6 days, or a flood that covered the whole earth, can possibly be taken literally. Many might object, “That kind of thing just doesn’t happen in the real world. It’s not natural.”

Now, it is understandable when unbelievers have a hard time accepting the Bible. As it says in 1 Corinthians, “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.” (1 Cor. 2:14) However, what about those who are Christians, believers and followers of Christ? Is it consistent when they cannot accept the teaching of Genesis as literal truth?

Christ-raising-a-childMy question for those who fall into that category is this: do you believe in miracles?

Do you believe that Jesus was born of a virgin? (Isaiah 7:14; Matt. 1:25)

Do you believe that Jesus raised people from the dead? (Luke 7:22; John 12:1)

Do you believe Christ Himself was raised from the dead? (Romans 6:9; Col. 2:12)

Do you believe that God can do the impossible? (Mark 10:27)

God does not change. (Malachi 3:6; Heb. 13:8) So if we believe in the New Testament teaching of Jesus, how can we disregard the Old Testament account of the beginning of the world and all that is in it, or dismiss it because it is inconsistent with the teaching (or science) of society today? God’s word is truly trustworthy, but it certainly isn’t always consistent with popular worldly teaching!

One of the beautiful aspects of the consistency of scripture is that God is still doing amazing and miraculous works today. Take for example the testimonies of believers coming to Christ, and the many accounts of illnesses healed and marriages restored. When considering these, we must remember that we cannot fathom God’s ways and His thoughts, for they are higher than ours. (Isaiah 55:8-9) Our all-knowing God may answer prayer with a “yes,” but often the answer is “no,” or “wait.” So even when we don’t see the answers we expect, or miraculous healing and restoration in every circumstance, we can still be assured that our unchanging God is still comforting, healing and restoring His people in ways that we cannot entirely comprehend.

So I encourage you to consider: is your view of God consistent? Do you accept the whole of the Bible as the inspired word of the unchanging God – and believe it? My guess is that many people (if not all), myself included, don’t always actively believe that God is truly who He says He is in Scripture, and that He does what He says He does. How would our view of God and our walk with Him change if we truly take Him at His word?

Will you join me in this challenge, to daily believe God’s word and live in light of who He is? Let’s remember that our God can do the impossible!

 

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.

On the Lighter Side

 

Kids have told us a lot of humorous things over the years. Two of our favorites:

  • Boy and Girl DinosaurAfter a family seminar where we had talked about dinosaurs, a young girl about 7 years old came up to my wife and told her that she knew what happened to the dinosaurs (in reference to why they went extinct). “My girl horse doesn’t like our boy horse, so she can’t have a baby. So I think the girl dinosaurs just didn’t like the boy dinosaurs!”

  

  • On a recent occasion, I had just asked an audience the question, “Where did we get the stuff to make things with?” Normally the response is, “Trees, rocks, etc.”  … But this time a 8 year old boy piped up loudly, “China!”  It took a while for me (and the audience) to quit laughing, compose my thoughts and get on with the program!

Kids also do some strange and funny things in our programs:

  • One small, persistent 5 year old boy could not wait for me to finish answering another boy’s question … so he loudly shouted, “Mr. Man, Mr. Man, Mr. Man …” as he continually jabbed me in the leg right above my knee with his pudgy index finger! Not only did he get my attention, but the force of his jabs left bruises on my leg!

 

  • During a puppet performance, one curious little girl just had to know what was behind the stage. Without warning, she shot out of the audience and began to scramble up the curtains … reacting very quickly, my wife dropped her microphone and captured the little runaway before she hurt herself of destroyed the stage. That mischievous little tyke kept my wife on her toes that day … she exploded out of the audience several more times attempting to gain back-stage access.

 

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.

Presentations at the University

 

University PosterAs you can see from the picture of the poster, Mary Jo and I were recently at Minnesota State University at Mankato. The presentations started last Tuesday evening, I also spent a lot of time at a booth with some college ministries (Maranatha Christian Fellowship and International Student Outreach).

While there, I had a campus newspaper reporter do an interview with me. I gave a lot of good information to him, but you never know about the objectivity of the reporter as well as his editor.  Sometimes there is accurate reporting while at other times —  well, sometimes, I can’t even recognize what they quoted me as saying. Time will tell for this article.

We love engaging students in conversation if they tarry long enough by the booth. The conversations usually range from those that fully agree with us to the atheists who are really looking for a good argument and want to let us know that we have no clue about what evolution teaches (even though we have been giving lectures on it for 30 years).  One student I talked with seemed genuinely interested in coming to the programs (hope she made it).  Of course, the candy given out at the booth always creates some interest and does help lure people in to talk. It’s kind of like going fishing for open minds, and we pray God will continue to send them our way.

We want to thank all our partners, both prayer and financial, for making these university tours possible. We hope you understand what a difference you are making in students’ lives.

 

Dave Nutting

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

A 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.

Noah’s Flood – True! – Downpour Demonstration

 

Downpour DemonstrationMary Jo and I were giving a presentation at the Maranatha Christian church (U of Minnesota campus ministry) on a Wednesday night, about a week and a half ago. Thunder, lightning and a huge downpour (pictured right) lasted for the duration of the evening.  Up until then, for our university presentations here in Minnesota, we had weather that made you want to go outside and enjoy the fall weather — but certainly not that night.

Once again, it seems that God was punctuating our lectures as well as conversations. The topic was Noah’s Flood – True! God’s Grace in the Midst of Judgment. How fitting! One person came in absolutely drenched from the huge downpour. What a great demonstration of the Flood topic. Further punctuation was that he had just been given a t-shirt which he was wearing under his drenched sweatshirt which he shared as a testimony that night. The t-shirt had a large picture of Noah’s Ark and the words “The End is Near!”

I love it when God does that!

 

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.