All posts tagged Items of Thanksgiving

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.

Why?

  Map

One might ask us “Why?”

WHY would you drive 2 hours and 113 miles through a desert in the heat of the afternoon – throw your bags in a motel room, grab a quick bite to eat – and continue on for another 21 miles (1 hour) up a rough, although paved, pot-hole filled, narrow, steep mountain road, dodging the grazing and meandering cattle all the way – and then carrying on 6 more miles on a wash-boarded, teeth rattling, gravel, dusty road?

WHY would you set your equipment up under a small open canopy, in the wind and rain, to only have time to teach a handful of youth for 1 brief hour before their teeth began to chatter because of the cold?

WHY would you then tear your equipment down and load it up in the minivan – then head back down the mountain in the dark (almost 2 hour trek this time), dodging pot-holes and headlight frozen cattle in the middle of the road – arrive back at your very noisy economy motel about 10:30 at night to spend a restless night on a strange uncomfortable bed?

WHY would you get up early the next morning, load up the minivan with your luggage, and have a very inadequate ‘Continental Breakfast’ – drive 2 hours back through the quickly heating up desert – arrive at home to unload all the equipment and reload it all into a travel trailer and pick-up truck?

WHY would you then grab a quick bite to eat, then jump in the truck and head out for another 2 hour drive (71 miles) pulling the trailer behind – upon arrival at a church, to get the trailer parked and all our equipment unloaded into the church in the sweltering heat of the afternoon – to then spend 3 hours setting up equipment (crafts, puppet stage, computers, sound equipment, etc.) and books in preparation for teaching Vacation Bible School that begins the next morning and continues throughout the next week?

WHY are you willing to spend your afternoons in a sweltering trailer that the air conditioning cannot keep up with because of inadequate electrical voltage – or put up with the sounds of noise and traffic at night as you try to sleep while parked on a city street?

An easy answer to the WHY questions – “WHY NOT?” God has instilled a passion in all of us at Alpha Omega Institute to share the truth of Creation and the joy of Salvation. So we are willing (oh, we do sometimes grumble) to put up with a lot of different, sometimes uncomfortable and stressful situations to be able to share those truths.

“…Take heed to the ministry which thou hast received in the Lord, that thou fulfil it.”  Colossians 4:17

 

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.

Learning to Trust

 

Learning to TrustWhat is it like to climb to the top of a 130’ cliff, get hooked into your belay rope, lean backwards and step off the edge for the first time? If you are anything like me, or most of our campers, you feel more than a bit of apprehension and a lot of adrenalin flowing! After all, it’s not natural to step backwards off a cliff and “walk” down the face of a mountain, even if you are “on belay!”

Here at the Creation Action Boot Camp, our campers are having a wonderful opportunity to have their faith stretched in more ways than one. For many of them, rappelling for the first time is a mighty big test of faith. For others, it might be going out in a canoe, or climbing a 14,000’ peak. For some, it is the challenge of sleeping in a cabin with 20 other people or being in a strange environment with people you don’t know. For some, it might be having their ideas about evolution questioned, or grappling with evidences for creation and being challenged to put their lives totally in the hands of their Creator/Redeemer.

Just as rappelling requires a person to face their fears and deliberately choose to trust in the strength of the ropes and the faithfulness of the person belaying them, true Biblical faith requires believing the truth of God’s Word, committing our life into the hands of our faithful Creator, and “stepping off the cliff.” For many people this act of faith is just as scary as stepping off that 130’cliff.

The creation evidences, Bible studies, and testimonies that we share with our campers can help them gain confidence in the truth of God’s Word and in His faithfulness. But it still takes a deliberate act of faith to forsake the teaching of the world and dependence upon self, and trust completely in the Word of God.

But praise the Lord! He is faithful! His Word can be trusted. His testimony is true and His character is reliable. We thank all our prayer and financial partners who make this ministry to campers and so many others possible. May God bless YOU in whatever next step of faith He is putting before you.

 

P.S. If you missed Creation Action Boot Camp this year, we still have room for one more family at our Creation Mountain Adventure, July 28-August 2, and space on our Green River Raft Adventure (Aug 24-30). Check our web or call today to sign up for one of these high-quality adventures which will challenge, encourage, and equip you in this walk of faith with our faithful God.

 

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.

Time well spent at CHEC

 

CHEC logoSue and I had a wonderful time again this year in hosting a booth and teaching workshops at the CHEC home school convention in Denver.  It is truly a place where old friends meet, as well as a place to find new ones.  Year after year we have the privilege to fellowship with former Twin Peak and Camp Redcloud alumni, parents who are interested in building a solid foundation for their children in science and Scripture, and some parents who are just curious about our ministry.

We also had the opportunity to meet Terry Beh, the author of a new dinosaur book called T is for T-Rex.  While at the AOI booth, Terry sold and autographed his new book.  He is a very delightful man and very knowledgeable in the subject of dinosaurs and creation.

Of course, I brought along my mini-fossil lab to teach both children and adults about the flood and creation.  I get a charge, along with the participants, when I have them guess what my mystery fossil is.  The mystery fossil is coprolite, or in lay man’s terms - fossilized manure.  Coprolites are good evidence of a catastrophic event, because manure decomposes very rapidly.

I also carry other fossils, like trilobites, which are excellent evidence for a designer because of the complexity of their eyes.  Also in the exhibit, I had both fossilized and unfossilized clams, snails, sand dollars, and others, that all demonstrate the stasis of a created kind.

We thank the Lord to be able to encourage many people at this event and to rest in the truth that teaching the Word of God is never done in vain.

 

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.

“Creationist for Life”

 

Creationist for lifeSo many times, Mary Jo & I run into high school or university students who had attended church but now have rejected Christianity and the Bible because of evolutionary teaching. Some have become quite weakened in their faith and have begun to embrace evolution, even though they may not have dumped their faith altogether (yet). In the last couple of years, we have talked to several students who were on the verge of doing just that.

Not too long ago, we heard from someone who attended one of our family camps years ago, who claims it was the creation teaching at the camp that turned them around. Another individual said that the creation teaching they heard us give, almost 20 years ago, is what got them through college with their faith intact.

Just recently, a girl told me that evolution, as it was so pointedly presented in her high school this year, made so much sense to her. However, after hearing us show the problems with standard “proofs” of evolution, the lights came on for her. She said that she has now become a committed creationist for life! Praise God. We sure like to hear that.

If you think that evolution is a fact, make sure you come to one of our camps or seminars. If you can’t do that, at least read the portion of our website that talks about what the evidence actually shows. You can find it at:  What’s the Evidence?

Please pass that link on to others as it can make a lot of difference to many students.

 

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.

Encouragement For Pastors…much needed

 

VacationsBlack Hills Ministries of Hot Springs, SD, just hosted its first conference for pastors/missionaries needing a time of encouragement and Christian fellowship. Its founders, Pastor Phil and Charlotte Shively and Darren and Becky Deford, who are also on staff with Cornerstone Bible Institute, have this dream to help pastors and missionaries who are overworked, burning out, or having difficulties in the ministry, and desperately need a time of rest and relaxation.

Pastor Phil and Charlotte themselves, while on the mission field, were approaching burn out and were blessed when someone helped them with a much needed two week vacation. This vacation was just the ticket to help energize them and encourage them to continue in the ministry. From this experience, they wanted to help uplift and energize others in similar circumstances. I had the opportunity at the conference to encourage these pastors and missionaries by teaching the scientific evidence for Biblical creation. Giving them a firm foundation for their ministry, and that their work is not in vain.

Galatians 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

 

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.

Cornerstone Bible Institute Graduation

 

Rich and EugeneI had the honor of giving the Cornerstone Bible Institute commencement address for our daughters’ (Claudia and Abby) graduation in Hot Springs, SD.  It was a lovely day, and graduation went very well.  The girls’ old friend, Eugene the Lion, showed up to congratulate the graduates.  Of course, Abby and Claudia sank deep in their chairs when they discovered that Eugene was there.  They have fond memories of Eugene and traveling with the Johnsons as we taught creation.

But how did I become the commencement speaker?  Well, I had just joined the board of CBI  (it was my very first full board meeting) and they needed a speaker.  I did not realize until it was too late, the board usually has a new board member or someone who has a graduate speak. Well, I had both!  If I had to speak about bacteria, black holes, or junk DNA, then it would not have been a problem, but this was out of my comfort zone.

GraduationThat is where God likes us to be, out of our comfort zone. Beyond our abilities so we cannot get the glory, He gets the glory… and that is exactly what happened.  He received the glory during the address.

But why would I join the board of a small Bible college?  Cornerstone Bible Institute is a Bible college dedicated to protecting and defending the Word of God.  Many Bible colleges are compromising with evolution and liberal theology, but Cornerstone is standing firm on the Rock of a literal Genesis and creation.  The Creator, Jesus Christ, is the Rock and the Truth.  Cornerstone believes that there is absolute truth and they teach it.  Because of their commitment to the truth, I wanted to be a part of equipping  students to be sound in the Word.

 

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.

Sands of Time

 

TNL at CMUSometimes I am reminded about how long we have been in the Creation ministry. A few weeks ago, I was teaching for Master Plan Ministries (MPM) at their weekly TNL (Tuesday Night Live) meeting on the campus of Colorado Mesa University. They begin the evening with about a half-hour of praise and worship, followed by announcements, and then a time of teaching.

After the praise and worship time, the worship leader approached me and inquired if I remembered his parents. He told me who they were, and I realized that I had known this young man since he was in diapers! He was a toddler when Marilyn and I had joined with Alpha Omega Institute in January of 1994.

As I looked around the crowd of 65 students, I recognized several other ‘kids’ (I consider everyone younger than me as a ‘kid’) that my wife and I had known for years. There was a girl whose parents have always been encouragers of our ministry. Another girl had attended a Vacation Bible School we presented when she lived in Denver … at that time she was in the first grade. We also had worked with her recently at a Bible camp where she had been a camp counselor. The young man playing the bongos with the band … we had taught him creation (along with his brother and sister) at the same Bible camp, and later worked with both he and his brother (they were also counseling campers). The director and his wife of MPM … we had also taught their children at camp and worked with several of them, also at Bible camps.

Another young man, that was not there that evening, we have also known since he was a toddler. Over the years we have worked together several times – he had a Bible study in high school that I shared at several times, and we went on several mission trips together. At this time, he is raising support to work full-time with MPM on the Auraria Campus in Denver, Colorado.

Several months ago we were teaching in a church in western Kansas, and had a young lady share with us that she had attended one of our Creation Vacation Bible Schools when she was about 8 years old. What made my wife and I feel very old at the time … she was holding the hand of her 8 year old daughter!

We realize that we are getting old. However, I have searched the Bible and have not found any examples of those in ministry retiring. So as we approach (very quickly) social security age, we are going to keep on keeping on as long as God continues to give us the energy and health to do so.

 

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.

Plan ‘B’

Spring Storm

Inclement weather almost kept us away from a pastor’s conference we were to teach, in north central Nebraska last week. The morning began with rain, which soon turned to sleet, progressing to heavy wet snow. We only had 60 miles to travel, but the roads were quickly covered with snow and ice, coupled with a driving blizzard-like wind. Because of pulling a 31 foot trailer, we were able to only creep along at 35 miles per hour, plowing through occasional snowdrifts, to finally reach our destination. I don’t mind telling you, there was a lot of prayer going on in the cab of the truck on that journey.

We were the first to arrive at Camp Witness, a Bible camp where the conference was being held. As we dropped down into the narrow valley where the camp is situated, we beheld a beautiful scene. The storm had covered the road with a 6 inch layer of undisturbed snow. The boughs of the trees were straining under the heavy load of virgin white snow … we had entered a winter wonderland at the end of April!

The storm began to abate in the afternoon, and amazingly, almost all the camp staff, pastors and wives, ministry workers, vendors, and musical groups were able get to the camp in the late afternoon. The only individual who couldn’t make it was the main speaker for that evening’s program.

“Well, Johnson,” the camp director joked, “You were the first speaker to arrive, so you just volunteered yourself to stand in for the no-show speaker.” However, he wasn’t joking … I became plan ‘B’! We had to laugh. About a year and a half before, I had finished up teaching 3 weeks of youth Creation programs at this camp. There was a couple’s marriage conference to be held right after the youth programs were finished, so my wife and I decided to attend for a little R&R. The speaker for the marriage conference was also a last minute no-show because of an unexpected surgery, so because I was already at camp and available, I became plan ‘B’, and did the speaking!

Now don’t get me wrong … I am not complaining …Whether I am plan ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’, or whatever,  I love to have the opportunity to share God’s Creation every chance I get.  One thing I have learned over the years is to be prepared – “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” I Peter 3:15

 

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.

The Orchestrating Hand of God

 

California Seminar Tour 1We are just in the second week of our California seminar tour.  We recently finished teaching at our second church, Fellowship Bible Church, of Belmont, CA.  Our time there was very encouraging.  They had four different teaching sessions from Thursday to Sunday.  The session on Friday was especially well attended with the auditorium filled and rows of chairs placed in the entrance area for the overflow crowd.  Sue also had a large group of kids on Friday night to minister to in the children’s program.

We also enjoyed great Chinese food and fellowship as we dined with old and new friends.  What a blessing the Lord brings with the care and encouragement we receive from the Body of Christ!

California Seminar Tour 2During our California seminar trip, we have seen the hand of God working in many ways.  It is always a joy to see how He works to orchestrate our schedule.  Going into the trip, we had about five days that we had been unable to fill.  But by God’s grace, He brought three opportunities for Christian school teaching into those vacancies.  In addition to that, a church member graciously offered his vacant house for us to use for a couple days to rest and catch up on some work.  What an answer to prayer it has all been!

 

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.