All posts tagged Prayer requests

Is Teaching Creation Child Abuse?

 

Boup5YcCcAEX7PQAn article in Creation Ministries International’s Prayer News (April 2014) caught my eye. It was entitled: “ ‘Teaching creation is child abuse’? A response to rabid atheist claims.” In this well-written article, Gary Bates exposed their tactics and answered their unscientific claims.

Teaching creationism has been called “child abuse” because it is withholding information from children. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Creationists like Bates and those of us at AOI, do not support withholding information about evolution from children. Rather, we advocate teaching them the whole story, helping them to really understand both the scientific method and the evolution model and teaching them to recognize the underlying presuppositions and philosophical implications of the origins debate.  We want students to learn to think critically, to ask good questions, to evaluate data, and to differentiate between facts and assumptions.

We advocate teaching students to distinguish between operational (experimental) science and historical science, and to learn to recognize what type of science is needed for various types of questions. We encourage them to test competing models, to examine the strengths (and weaknesses) of each, and to evaluate how they fit with real, objective evidence. In addition, we encourage them to research and think deeply about the logical and historical consequences of adopting each viewpoint.

It is not creationists, but evolutionists who withhold information from students. From preschool to university, they are taught a one-sided, biased evolutionary worldview. They are not given the opportunity to examine anything else, or even to hear about the weaknesses of the evolution model. God has effectively been banned from the classroom under the guise of “neutrality,” which is not really neutral at all. If anything is intellectual child abuse, this one-sided, biased approach would seem to qualify.

One has to wonder: if teaching creationism is seen as “child abuse,” how long will it be before teaching about God, even at home, will be labeled as such? You think it couldn’t happen? Open your eyes. Think again. In the communist Russia not so long ago, teaching children about God was strictly forbidden and could result in fines, punishment, and removal of children from the home. In some countries today, you can be killed for teaching the Bible to children. We need to wake up and turn the tide, taking a firm stand on the truth of Scripture; teaching children to be wise, discerning, and bold; speaking the truth in love to a lost and confused generation.

(For more information on this topic, check out Creation Ministries International – creation.com.)

 

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.

Getting over our fears

 

As many of you know, my wife Sue was diagnosed with cancer in the small intestine.  When we first heard the news, we and the doctors were very concerned about the severity of the cancer.  There was a chance the cancer had already spread to the other organs.  Thoughts of living without Sue went through my mind.  These thoughts were unbearable.  The surgery went very well and the doctors were confident they removed all the cancer, but then there was the recovery.  The recovery was worse than I expected.  Sue had about six months of pain, weight lose, and digestive problems.   On top of all that, she had some complications, and two weeks ago had to undergo major surgery to fix these complications.

Reflecting on the past six months with the fear of losing my wife and the pain she was enduring, I realized this would all be for a season.  I knew one day we would be together again and she would have no more pain. Then I thought about the unbeliever.  If a person has not trusted Jesus Christ as his Savior, he will live forever in a place of misery and be eternally separated from the Creator.  This was a thought too scary to entertain.  I then read a couple of Scriptures where God weeps, and two of these times it was over the unbeliever.  God weeps over the broken relationships caused by sin and the rejection by the unbeliever of His free gift of salvation.  God longs for a relationship with all people.

hThen I realized I was part of the problem.  I was scared, and sometimes reluctant, to witnesses to others.  People need to know about the free gift! And how will they know if someone does not tell them!  It was time for me to overcome these fears and tell others.  After spending so much time in the hospital, I decided to witness to the nurses.  I was surprised to see the hunger that they had to know the truth.  One nurse said he believed God had brought us to the ICU just for him.  He was struggling with many issues and creation and salvation was just what he needed to hear.

John  4:35 –  “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” (KJV)

This statement is so true, the fields are white, but we need laborers.

 

Rich Stepanek

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

A Spiritual Battleground

 

In April, I was invited by Master Plan Ministries  to speak on the Auraria campus in downtown Denver. The Auraria campus is the home of Metro State College, University of Colorado Denver, Community College of Denver and approximately 40,000 students. Auraria is the largest campus in Colorado and has a very sizeable international student population from some of the most closed nations in the world.

I was invited to speak on the “hot” topic of Creation at the weekly evening meeting (AMP). I shared with a larger than usual crowd on “Is the Bible Scientifically Accurate?,” which received a good response and lots of one-on-one Q&A time after the meeting.

Jesse and ScottDuring this evening meeting, Scott (a staff member with Master Plan) invited everyone to the talks I would be doing the next day at the science building on campus … “Age of the Earth”, “Hand of God”, and Miracle of Life.”

Scott went on to share, “Today, as Jesse (Director of Master Plan Ministries, Auraria campus) and I were hanging up posters for this event, we had a professor come up and say, ‘No offense, but I will be tearing all these posters down.’ We respectfully responded explaining that we have a right to put posters up as a club and asked that he not tear them down.”

Master Plan had been doing many Creation events at the science building and advertising them with posters … the posters kept disappearing! After taking the science professor to task, the posters have remained after posting. It would seem that an “unbiased” scientist was not so unbiased after all.

While on campus I saw many posters advertising many events and functions – from different religions, alternative life-styles, benefits of drug use, abortion clinics, etc. All of these were tolerated. Yet any mention of the Bible and Creation is considered intolerable by some!

Please pray for the truth of the Word of God to be delivered to the campus through the staff and volunteers at Master Plan Ministries. They are on a spiritual battleground!

 

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.

How Ungrateful We Can Be

 

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

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

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

 

Sue Stepanek

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

Total Surrender

 

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

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

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

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

 

Sue Stepanek

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

Who’s Fault is it? A response…

 

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

Comment:

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

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

 

hResponse:

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

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

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

Job 42:7, 8

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

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

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

John 9:2, 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Romans 8:29

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

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

 

Richard Stepanek

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

Wonderfully Made

 

Note: If you haven’t yet heard, we are excited to announce that we are pregnant and expecting our first child in June, 2014! We praise God for answering our prayers and giving us the blessing of children!

baby-6-months-illustThere is something mysterious and wonderful about having a baby growing inside of you. He or she is about the size of a pea pod now, and it still seems incredibly surreal. Pregnancy still felt like something my imagination had conjured up, until we got to have an ultrasound and hear our little one’s heartbeat. My teary eyes saw little arm and leg buds wiggling, and our amazed ears heard the whooshing of a tiny heart beating. We could see the silhouette of this little person inside my belly! If I could look inside now, I would see a little nose and other facial features, tiny arms with hands and fingers, and little legs. His or her joints are mostly formed, and small fingerprints are forming. And within my baby’s wee body ribs and vocal chords will soon be developing.  Bones are hardening.[1] This little person is looking like a baby!

When I consider all this, I marvel and am amazed at the design of our Creator God. Soon after we found out that we were expecting, my husband and I watched “Fearfully and Wonderfully Made,” a lecture by Dr. David Menton. This is an excellent explanation of how the many detailed stages of the reproduction process, from fertilization to delivery, are examples of design. There are countless mechanisms and processes of development that, if they developed gradually, would cause the death of either the mother or the baby. To say that the process of evolution slowly fixed the problems just doesn’t make sense in light of the disastrous effects of something being just a little bit wrong. In general, it happens so perfectly that it can only be attributed to a designer.

As I give thanks to my gracious God for the honor and privilege of caring for this tiny creation, I am reminded of the words of David in Psalm 139:

“For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb.
 I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well.
 My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.”

(Ps. 139:13-15)

To God be the glory, great things He has done

 

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.

Who’s fault is it?

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Richard Stepanek

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

Dirty Six Letter Word

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Richard Stepanek

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

“Biblical Rains” Flooding in Colorado

 

The flooding in eastern Colorado these last few days certainly has been a devastating event as you likely saw on the news for days and days.

Picture of "Biblical Rains" in a newspaper

The amount of rain there was close to 18-20 inches. That is a whole lot considering that it was somewhere close to the annual precipitation amount and over twice what our hometown in Grand Junction gets in a year!

A lot of rain, but I was amused by the headline in USA Today: “‘Biblical’ Rains Flood Colorado.”

Well, if you have read Genesis 6-8, you will note that the Biblical rains were a WHOLE lot more! In fact, according to the Bible, the Flood-waters covered the tops of the tallest peaks to a depth of at least 22-30 feet. Just think, if the top of Long’s Peak in Colorado was covered with water, along with the rest of the high mountains, there would have been no news stations on earth to report this Flood. All stations would be under huge depths of Flood waters.

Some people have expressed concern about our safety. Thanks for praying for us! Just so you know, AOI is located in Western Colorado. We did get more rain than usual which was a welcome site in this desert area, but not much flooding except for some local creeks.

However, please continue to pray about the Eastern range of Colorado. Also, if you hear about our Grand Junction area of Colorado getting 15-20 inches of rain, or even 5 inches at a time, you can really pray, as most of Grand Junction would likely float down to the ocean.

 

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.