All posts tagged General Thoughts

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.

What’s impossible?

 

ImpossiblewebWhat is impossible in your life…right now? Before reading on, answer that question.

Just recently I had the opportunity to go back to the Christian high school that I taught at for the last two years to speak for their mid-week chapel service. With as much work as I have been doing preparing Creation presentations the last three months, I was actually very challenged and conflicted about what to share with them for that afternoon. One of the problems was that my students knew me pretty well and knew what “my thing” is. So I didn’t want to just share something that my students have heard me share a thousand times.

As the chapel service approached, I became increasingly nervous and unsure of what to speak on. I continued praying that God would give me the right words to speak.

Aimee and I were staying with some close friends while we were visiting the area, and it was such a blessing to see them again. We had a wonderful time being encouraged and encouraging them in our new seasons of life.

One day before the chapel service while visiting with our friend Patty, she sincerely asked questions about what we are doing and, more importantly, why we are doing our creation ministry. I shared my usual viewpoint that there are so many confused and deceived people dealing with the issue of evolution and the truth of the Bible.

I will admit that sometimes I have a hard time communicating or showing passion, but Patty is not like that. She caught on right away. She began exclaiming with passion her own experience that we serve a BIG GOD and that a lot of people don’t truly believe that and that they don’t truly believe God at His word. She commended us for our work and sent us out with an added fire within us that our message is true. Do you really believe the Bible? Do you really believe God? How Big is Your God?

It was the morning before the chapel service. I woke up, but just lay in bed, because my mind was still reeling with thoughts from our conversation the day before. I was still connecting the dots and praying that God would clearly show me what I was to share and to give me a peace about it. The longer I lay there, the more the thoughts swirled and twisted until eventually I had to write them down… before they swirled away never to be connected again.

I started writing. My mind jumped to verses from the Bible. I wrote those. I connected more thoughts. God was working. I was excited and at peace feeling confident about what was pertinent to share at chapel. God answered my prayer!

At chapel, I shared most of what lies below. This is the outline for the talk. I encourage you to spend a devotion time this week going through it and you can also read more of what I have written about it at our personal blog Adventures in Faith.

 

What is impossible in your life right now?

Read Psalm 37:1-11, 17, 23-25, 34, 37, 39

Sufficiency – 2 Cor 3:5

  1.      Give up control
  2.      Wait on the LORD
  3.      The LORD will provide

Don’t learn the hard way.

Make my will become God’s will (Luke 22:42, Rom 12:1-2)

God always answers our prayers: Yes, No, or Wait.

I shared how God provided our house to move in to and some financial blessings that God provided for us.

Wait on the LORD and He will provide (Is 40:31 and Rom 8:28)

Our desires and will become God’s desire and will for us. (Matt 6:10, Luke 22:42, Rom 12:1-2)

How Big is Your God?

Did God create everything or just use evolution?

-Why do we not believe Him? Who do we believe more?

Read Matt 6:25-34, 7:7-17

If you are single, do you believe that there could be a plane crash right outside and a guy or girl could crawl out of the wreckage and that could be the one God has for you to marry?

What is impossible in your life right now?

God could move a mountain right outside your door. (Matt 17:20)

God can do the impossible. (Matt 19:26)

Do you really believe the Bible?

Do you really believe God?

How Big is Your God?

 

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.

 

Rapid ‘Hoodoos’

 

 

Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon

In Bryce Canyon National Park (located in the High Plateaus region of the Colorado Plateau in Utah) are some amazing rock pillars called ‘Hoodoos’. These hoodoos have wondrous, fantastic shapes that a person could spend hours viewing.

How were these hoodoos formed … here is a quote from a web site on the geology of Bryce Canyon: “The chaotic destructive force of water, not wind, is responsible for the fantastic shapes in Bryce Canyon. Bryce Canyon’s Hoodoos formed over thousands of years by the same processes that form the features of surrounding parks.

Water, ice and gravity are the forces at work in Bryce Canyon National Park. These three forces coupled with the differential erosion of the Claron Formation produces a different morphology than that of any other area in the world.”

September 2013 saw much flooding in many western states. On a trip to Albuquerque, New Mexico, during these heavy rains, we saw much evidence of flooding – rivers and streams overflowing their banks, homes flooded, flooded and muddy roads, washouts, and drainage systems clogged by floating plant debris.

One of the amazing things we viewed were what appeared to be ‘hoodoos’ like those of Bryce Canyon. However, these were made in a very short time … only days! (See Pictures Below)

These new hoodoos were made by water flowing in packed soil. Makes you wonder …

does it really take thousands of years for hoodoo formation?

 

New hoodoos 1New hoodoos 2New hoodoos 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.brycecanyon.com/about-bryce-canyon/bryce-canyon-geology

 

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.

 

Northern Lights in Minnesota

 

Northern Lights 3Between midnight and 1 AM Wednesday morning, Mary Jo & I were returning to Minneapolis from our university presentations at Duluth. God demonstrated his glory in a great display of northern lights. It was not just a single burst of light, but for many miles along the highway, the display illuminated 1/3 of the sky. The timing was great as this light show punctuated the conversation that we were having with the campus ministry leaders as we were driving. We all actually got out of the car for a while to view the display.

One of the remarkable discoveries about the northern light electromagnetic phenomenon is that if we could have a camera set up in the southern hemisphere we would get a mirror image picture of the same scene pictured here at precisely the same instant. This was demonstrated by researchers several years ago.

We felt privileged to behold this long-lasting northern light display during those many miles on the highway. It certainly fits what I wrote in an earlier blog titled Glorious. Several news channels reported on this display we saw. If you wish to see a great video of this spectacular event taken at another city just west of where we were, check out Northern lights put on show over Minnesota.

 

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.

God Most High

 

God Most High

I sat down today to write about having a high view of God.

“This should be easy,” I thought to myself. “After all, there is so much to say about how big, how awesome God is, it should be no big deal to write that down.”

I was wrong. It is a daunting task indeed to mentally plumb the depths and scale the heights of the greatness of God. I invite you to take a little trip with me as I trace my thoughts on this subject.

Let’s consider….

…The human body – full of complex intricacies and delicately balanced systems that centuries worth of scientists have not fully comprehended.

…Outer space – miles upon miles of vastness, galaxies of stars and our own solar system, all of which contain inexplicable features that inspire scientists and artists alike to marvel.

…The Oceans – murky depths and shallow wonders, teeming with life and color, mystery and intrigue.

…Underground caves – revealing another world’s worth of pattern and scenery, creatures and mineral growth.

…Animals – from insects to birds to crawling creatures, the wild assortment displays design.

…History – Approximately 6,000 years of time, filled with a mosaic of events that together make up His Story, the working of God through the lives of men.

Even with years of incredible scientific advancements, scientists still can’t comprehend the immense mysteries that remain. All of these things together merely scratch the surface as a representation of the created universe. “But,” you may ask, “What does this have to do with the bigness of God? You can’t use the physical world to discuss that – it’s got to be all spiritual.”

In fact, I believe that the investigation and marvel of the physical world is a vital part of the study and worship of God. Many people object to a God who asks us to believe in Him, though He is not seen. I can understand the argument, but it is actually unfounded.

Romans 1:20 says “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.”

Belief in God does require faith, but that does not mean that He has given us no proof! His power, nature and attributes have been on display since Day One…..literally.

So I ask you this: is your God big enough to be Savior and Creator? Or has the deception of evolution caused you to have a low view of God?

Little inconsistencies in our beliefs can often lead to hairline cracks in our faith. At first they may be invisible, but they can eventually result in a decaying foundation. If we do not believe God could have created the world and all it contains in 6 literal days as it says in Genesis 1, then do we really believe that Christ literally was crucified for our sins and was raised on the third day? (1 Corinthians 15:3-4) Can we toss out the first chapters of the Bible, and still keep the gospel?

Praise God, He is trustworthy and reliable, unchanging, all-knowing, and everlasting! He has shown us Himself through the wonders of His creation and the truth of His word. I invite you to look around, and consider and marvel with me…our God is truly God most high!

 

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.