Spiritual Battles in Orlando

IMG_5719 Please pray for the conversations we will be having the next few days with public school teachers here at the NEA Convention. We will be giving away about 4,000 DVDs and 4,000 books produced by Answers in Genesis. Our desire is to move beyond the Creation Science topic with the teachers and share the gospel of Christ–the only message with the power to save!

As you can see, we had quite a few boxes to unpack!

IMG_5720 Some of our team this year

Back row: Joe Owen (speaker for AiG), Steve Ham (Director of International Outreach for AiG), and James Opperman (Director of the web team for AiG)
Front row: Me and Haley Skrnich (Bright Lights leader in Texas)

Our theme verse (and prayer) this year is Acts 4:33, which says:

“With great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all.”

We are so utterly dependent on the Lord’s grace, but we rejoice that His power is great, and He is the One who fights for us, rescuing souls! Praise God He allows us to help, though we are undeserving of the privilege.

Weekend Trip to the Creation Museum!

We are so excited by how we saw the Lord working this past weekend!!! We just returned home from a Friday-Sunday trip to the Creation Museum. We had 16 in our group, including friends from Iran, Singapore, Malaysia, and China, as well as several young people from our town.

20140321_142813_26208 Watching Evolution Vs. God on my laptop in the van on the way there. (They really enjoyed it, as you can see!)

20140322_152306_26244 Here’s our group along with the Ramsek family who hosted some of us.

20140322_151735_26241 Discussing some of the encouraging conversations of the day.

My dad spent most of his time with a new friend from Iran who came along. They had a wonderful time together. My Dad said it’s the longest conversation he has ever had — a three day discussion! They talked for the entire 10 hour drive to Kentucky, all through the museum, and the 10 hours back! One time dad even missed his exit because of the interesting conversational topics they were discussing. [smile]

20140322_161724_26247 Concluding the day on Saturday with a great lasagna dinner at the Ramsek’s home!

20140322_162959_26254 This gave us the opportunity to have a time of sharing as a group — a special conclusion to the day at the museum.

20140323_070715_26315 The Dewald family for hosted half of the group of girls.

It was very encouraging to me to see the Lord truly ANSWER PRAYER this weekend. We were very blessed by three families who hosted us: the Dewalds, Ramseks, and Philips. We praise God for how all the logistical details fell into place and for how much our friends enjoyed the trip. Each of the international friends expressed strongly that they were glad they came and want to remain in touch. Our friend from China exclaimed with a bright smile, “This was the best three days of my life!”

We think the 9 hour drive was a blessing in disguise because of all the good van conversations on the way there and back. If you have a weekend you can get away, I recommend that you take some friends to the Creation Museum and see how the Lord works. [smile]

“It is good to give thanks to the Lord And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High; to declare Your lovingkindness in the morning and Your faithfulness by night” (Psalm 92:1)

Great Teaching Tool For Defending the Faith

Our family has been having such an exciting week hearing more and more amazing reports of how God has been using the Ken Ham / Bill Nye debate!

One of my favorite media clips about the debate was this 18 minute interview aired yesterday between Alan Colmes (Fox News) and Dr. Terry Mortenson from Answers in Genesis.

This audio clip is a steady flow of face-paced skeptical arguments from Alan Colmes, with Dr. Mortenson boldly and politely answering each one with enthusiasm and precision.

If you want to learn how to answer skeptics, this is an outstanding teaching tool. Listen to it more than once because, remember: our goal is not to just be entertained, or even to rejoice that Dr. Mortenson did an excellent job. Our goal is to learn from him because we are ALL commanded “to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence” (1 Peter 3:15)!

More Ways to Spread the Word

Although Answers in Genesis has promotional materials available for the debate, I wanted something that could fit 4 to a page and still be readable. So I tweeked their design and put together the sheet below. I thought I’d post it in case anyone else wants to use it too.

Tomorrow we are going to try to go pass out 1,000 of them at a nearby university. It’s very easy for people to go and watch this online.


Click HERE to print these. (If anyone would like it to say 6pm CST instead, let me know and I can e-mail you a different PDF.)

These are also great to give cashiers or basically anyone … I was at the post office the other day and the man behind the counter exclaimed, “I love Bill Nye the Science Guy! You can watch this online? I might just do that! Thank you!”

Even though the debate is coming up very soon (this Tuesday) this may actually be the IDEAL time to let people know about it. People easily forget stuff like this if you tell them too far in advance!

At Creation Museum

We are off again for our next Bright Lights conference trip. The Lord has blessed us already with a restful travel day, a perfect place to spend the night in Indiana (thanks to our friends, the Winters) …

20130807_140258_22335 … and a fun day at the Creation Museum!

20130807_114646_22291 Camel rides!

20130807_115413_22309 The animals seem to enjoy all the interesting people they get to look at. [smile]

20130807_115058_22299 I think this white one is my favorite.

20130807_115237_22302 Notice the Zorse (Zebra-horse) in the background. For more interesting information about the zorse, see here.

20130807_140433_22340 Tia and Hannah riding the new zip line.

At the end of the day, a friend of mine from Saudi Arabia (who I had met on a plane a few months ago) and her brother came to join us. We had a great time taking them through the museum. That was one of the highlights of the day!

We are now setting up at the church in Ohio. The Radiant Purity Conference starts tomorrow night.

Recently I’ve been thinking about the end of Philippians chapter 3 and beginning of 4. When our joy is in our citizenship in Heaven and our standing is in Jesus Christ, nothing can shake that joy.

“For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself. Therefore, my beloved and longed-for brethren, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved … Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice!”

Please keep the upcoming Bright Lights conferences in your prayers. We want the Lord to extend His hand and do great things in the lives of the attendees–and in our lives! Please pray that we would have clear, bold, and honest speech as we share with these girls.

Also, remember to be praying for the Creation Museum. The Lord is doing great things there, and they continually need prayer for wisdom, energy, and the Lord’s hand of blessing upon all that happens there.


20130606_112604_21355 About two weeks ago I flew to Cincinnati for a reunion with some good friends who I met during a 7-week music theory class we took together in Indianapolis about 6 years ago. In the above picture we are eating lunch at Noah’s cafe at the Creation Museum.

It is great to have old friends. When you do something hard together you bond, and our class has stayed in touch all this time. Our reunion was 3 days. It was difficult to arrange but it was worth it. There were some good times of special fellowship in the Lord.

20130603_114116_21296 And here is a picture of some new friends! On my flight to Cincinnati, I met a girl from Saudi Arabia who will be attending the university in Cincinnati. We are both 24 and hit it off right away. She explained how it was very sad for her to leave all of her friends at home, so she was glad to have now met her first friend in the States. After we got off the plane, she introduced me to her whole family. It was so obvious to me that the Lord had coordinated that meeting, and I hope it works for us to meet up again next time I am in Cincinnati. Praise the Lord for the good conversations He arranges on airplanes!

20130604_143610_21317 While I was in the Cincinnati area I took a couple days to volunteer at the museum. If I didn’t have other obligations at home, I’d do this more because I am always blessed by the time I spend helping out at the Creation Museum [smile]. Here in the warehouse we were working on materials included in the VBS curriculum.

20130605_144753_21337 Here’s a behind the scenes glimpse of a brainstorming session in an Answers in Genesis office. They were discussing ideas for the banner that Dan Lietha (AiG Cartoonist) is designing for the AiG booth at the National Educator’s Convention this year. Each year they create a different banner, and I think this one is going to be great. (Please pray for that outreach, by the way.) See last year’s report here.

20130603_154932_21307 One of the highlights of my trip to Cincinnati was spending time witnessing at a park with this group of young people. Most of them had never done anything like this before. We had a quick training time, paired up, and went out to try to get into conversations. We used questionnaires and/or gospel tracts or to help in starting discussions. I admit, I was a bit apprehensive about how it would all turn out, but everyone came back with smiles, laughter, and good reports. Praise the Lord!

I was paired together with Aaron, a fourteen-yr-old with a real enthusiasm for learning to witness. This was the first time he had actually gone witnessing in a public place, and I was praying the Lord would give us a good conversation that we could learn from.

Aaron and I found a guy who was willing to talk and called himself a “Deist.” He had some Bible knowledge and a lot of “issues” with what he saw in the Bible. He kept bringing up topics such as the Levitical dietary laws, making comments like “remember you’re quoting from the book that calls shrimp an abomination.” [smile] While not wanting to entirely avoid his arguments, I was also trying to get to the heart of the matter—sin and the good news of the gospel—because I knew we had limited time. So we began discussing sin, and I tried to gently convince him of his need for a Savior.

As we were discussing this, several other guys came and sat down on the grass to listen. Eventually, I turned to them and asked what they thought.
One of them stood up and stated, “I’m an Odinist.” He seemed to enjoy this opportunity to see my response to his beliefs.
“Oh. What’s that?” I asked, looking up at him.
“She doesn’t even know,” they laughed.
“I worship Thor,” he explained.
“Oh… I think I kind of get it now,” I said, smiling.
I decided he looked kind of like a Viking, the more I thought about it. [smile]
Hmmm….. this conversation just keeps getting more interesting.
“Your people killed thousands of my people,” he continued, looking down at me with a stern expression. “And you are just the same as they were … judgmental.”

I guess my emphasis on explaining sin to the Deist guy was making the Odinist guy very uncomfortable. That was probably a good thing, but all the same, I felt I should clarify my motives.

“You know, I think I may have given the wrong impression, because that’s not my heart at all,” I explained. “I’ve sinned too, and I’m just trying to explain how much we need a Savior. I’m really sorry if I came across wrong!”
“You’re fine” the Deist said coolly.

“So. You believe the world is 6,000 years old?” the Odinist asked condescendingly.
“Uh, yeah! I do! Have you guys been to the Creation Museum? It’s right here in town … ” I smiled.
“Well, there are ancient documents in China that are 12,000 years old,” they replied.
Of course, I challenged that, but they were insistent, so I said we’d look it up.
I left them with a few tracts and a DVD. Although they didn’t act receptive, who knows what God is doing in their hearts!

As we were walking away, I told Aaron, “I hope this conversation doesn’t intimidate you, because not everyone is like them…”
But you know what, I think the opposite was true. It didn’t intimidate Aaron, it actually aroused excitement for all of us. We knew the Lord had been arranging our steps.

It’s a relief to realize that there’s no need to be afraid of encountering new beliefs or arguments. (There will always be more of them!) And there’s no need to answer every question we are asked. We can simply enjoy the process of interacting with people, learning about them, asking them questions, and sharing the truth that we do know with humility and graciousness.

Back home at the Bright Lights office (where I am now), we have a lot going on as we are leaving in 5 days for a 3 week conference trip. We are VERY grateful for the help of Anna and Michelle (pictured above) who flew in early to help us before the conferences. (We are also very grateful for Claire who was here earlier.)

Goodbye Dinosaur! :(

20110516_144445_7447 For over two years we have had this um … cute little dinosaur in our bookstore.

20110516_145050_7449 He made a great display, and, side by side with our model Noah’s Ark, we felt like we owned a mini-Creation Museum, right in our own bookstore! Well, not exactly. But anyway, our personal little museum is now down to only one piece, because it was time to return the dino to the Creation Museum.

Though we were sad to see our dinosaur leave, it did provide a nice excuse to make another trip to the the Creation Museum!

“If we’re going, I think we should bring a group!” my dad said.

The Lord pulled together a group to come with us in a sort of miraculous way (through my dad “randomly” bumping into a friend at the store!) and we had a terrific trip.

20121228_163306_19488 Most of the group sat in front of the dinosaur …

…and Nolia and I had a unique experience with the dinosaur in the back. It was a bit tight, but we had fun. (Right Nolia? [smile])

20121228_190028_20292 This is just a tiny fraction of one of the pathways. The whole Museum grounds were lit beautifully (as it is every December). For more pictures see here.

20121228_192245_19492 The best part of Christmastown was how the gospel saturated the presentations, especially the presentation by the “archaeologists”, as pictured here. Thousands of unbelievers from the community come to see Christmastown at the Creation Museum and then hear the gospel.

I was volunteering nearby as a greeter, so I got to hear the message about twelve times [smile], which was fun, esp. since both of the archaeologists were friends from the times we have helped with the NEA outreach.

After one of the presentations, my friend Grace Ramsek and I began talking with two girls who didn’t have a good grasp on the gospel. Their youth pastor observed our conversation and expressed how much he appreciated that we talked with them. He explained that many of the girls from his inner-city youth group were there at Christmastown that night.
“I pray for them so much,” he explained, expressing that they had a lot of needs.

I offered to talk with the rest of his group, and this evolved into a little gospel sharing time with about ten of them which lasted, maybe, 30 minutes. We praised the Lord for allowing this opportunity. (We were praying that he would provide someone to witness to!) And we pray that the Lord continues to work in their lives.

20121228_220537_19496 The Ramsek family was very hospitable to host all ten of us! Here we are in the middle of a great discussion, sharing ministry reports and talking about evangelism and many other topics.

20121229_083348_19504 The adventures of traveling down a steep snowy driveway with a big van.

20121229_132847_19511 The Creation Museum has a fantastic new display about “Lucy”. They created a model of what Lucy likely looked like.

20121229_133124_19518 Underneath the display are many pictures that people have drawn of what they think Lucy looked like, based on their imagination. They make her look somewhat human by drawing white around her eyeballs (something no apes actually have) and giving her human shape and expressions … but it’s really all a big hoax. Lucy was just an ape.


So if you haven’t been to the Creation Museum yet, you must go … and if you haven’t been to the Creation Museum for Christmas Town yet, I highly recommend putting it in your schedule for next December!

On the Road Again!

Here are the two vans in which we pretty much just spent the last couple of days. It is a long way from Iowa to Collegeville, Pennsylvania!

The van I was in left a day early and took a southern route so we could go to the Creation Museum. Part way into the trip, my dad remembered that we were supposed to pick up boxes of Bright Lights sets from our printer in Indiana to take to the conferences. So the girls found all kinds of interesting uses for the unexpected boxes…slept against them, named them, used the tops of them for storing food and clothes…

And even for transporting a turtle… :-) which we found in the middle of the road at the Creation Museum exit.

We had to let the turtle go, though, when we went into the Creation Museum, so it wouldn’t be in the hot van all day.

This is one of our family’s favorite quotes in the Creation Museum. :)

The museum is continuing to expand the petting zoo, and *personality* is something the animals don’t seem to lack! The animal on the left is an alpaca-llama cross. (Sort of like the “Zonkey” they own which is a zebra/donkey cross) Nice hair cut, huh? *smile*

I love Gomer’s expressions. Who’s going to ride me next?

Tada! (Go dad!)

Since half the group took a southern route to go to the Museum, we planned to meet up with the other van (and trailer) while driving through Pennsylvania on Sunday. We just weren’t expecting that the location of our rendezvous point would be on the side of the road with a flat trailer tire. But thanks to God’s provision, all was taken care of.

It added about 3 hours to the trip, but if a flat tire is the only thing that went wrong, I’d say we did pretty well. :) We arrived at the church at about 10pm.

And even after that LONG day in the van, Mary is still smiling!

And thank you to Melodie for taking most of the pictures in this post.

“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him…” Revelation 19:7

Interesting Times at the NEA Convention!

Last weekend, Nickie, my dad and I helped Answers in Genesis pass out free material at the National Educator’s Association in Chicago, like I did last year in New Orleans. (See here or here)

The enviroment was very liberal, of course, but praise God the AIG (Answers in Genesis) booth got a lot of attention.

A donor enabled AIG to be able to give away thousands of DVDs and books. Many Christian teachers were very grateful and many non-Christians also picked up materials, intrigued by the massive giveaway. Some science teachers were interested, some were hostile. And some had some pretty strange ideas.

“So what do you think about origins? How did we get here?” I asked one man.
“Oh, aliens,” he said.
“Ah…so what evidence do you have to backup your position?” I asked.
“Oh, I saw it on Youtube,” he replied with confidence. “And they’re comin’,” he said (in a warning tone of voice.)
“The aliens?” I asked.
“Yeah, we’ve been trashing this planet and it’s comin’…” he said.
“Well, we believe it’s coming alright,” Frank replied (he was standing next to me)
“But we believe it’s the Lord Jesus Christ who is coming…” he said.
The guy didn’t want to stay much longer after that.

Dan Breeding
(also known as “Dan the animal man”) helped at the Answers in Genesis booth and brought some of his exotic animals. Here’s the porcupine, affectionately named “Barb.”

It was entertaining to see how surprised some people were by the live alligator. Hundreds of people had their picture taken with Dan and the alligator with our banner in the background. What a great message to now be on hundreds of cameras, iphones, and blogs around the country as people show the picture to their friends. :)

We had many conversations about how we take Genesis literally and how it is consistent with science and what we see in the world around us.
“Do you really believe God created the world in six literal days?” One science teacher asked me in a very condescending tone of voice. (I like to mention how the question isn’t “how God did it in six days”, but “why did He take so long?!”)
The issue of six literal days is such an important area in which we as believers need to be taking a stand. It’s really a question of the reliability of Scripture. If we can’t read Genesis literally, how can we read Matthew or John literally? And if millions of years of evolution existed before God created Adam, that means that there were millions of years of death, decay and suffering before the curse of Genesis 3. That means that God essentially created pain and suffering (i.e. it didn’t come as a result of man’s sin.) This belief undermines both God’s character and the message of the gospel. Notice that Jesus said, “Have ye not read, that He which made them at the BEGINNING made them male and female,” (Matthew 19:4) Jesus did NOT say, “After millions of years of evolution God made them male and female…”

Here was our team. One of the best parts of the trip was all the good fellowship we had during meals and at the hotel about witnessing, apologetics, theology, eschatology, spiritual gifts, and other biblical topics.

While people came by to see the animals we would give them free DVDs. Most people loved the owl, but not everyone loved what we stood for.
“Hey would you like a free DVD?” I asked one young guy in the crowd looking at the owl.
“I don’t want your DVD or any of your #@$&# &#$&&# teaching,” he said, (or something like that) in a very irritated tone of voice.
“Oh, what’s your view?” I asked him.
That was all it took. He blew up. He angrily told Dan how stupid he thought our views were, using lots of profanity. As he kept talking about how offensive our booth was to him Dan told him, “Well you are offending me by telling me you think I came from a monkey!” but he wasn’t really open to reasoning or responding to Dan’s comments. He was just mad.
The interesting thing was how many in the crowd began to defend us—even NEA delegates who didn’t otherwise agree with us.
“Just because I don’t agree with their booth doesn’t mean I have a problem with them being here,” another man kept saying.
“Yeah, why can’t he just walk by?” one lady asked.
One of the delegates even began to cry and mentioned contacting the police. I guess they were suprised because they didn’t understand how the gospel and message of a Creator is very offensive to some who don’t want to acknowlege the possibility of a God to whom they would be accountable for their actions or lifestyle.

We at the AIG booth were just grateful for the extra exposure! The angry guy drew an even bigger crowd than the alligator did! :)
Dan took advantage of the opportunity by preaching to everyone about how Jesus is coming back one day and we need to be looking to Him.

Nickie wanted to hold the snake. I didn’t know she liked snakes that much. Haha.

At the beginning of the day Dan told us he knew there was going to be spiritual warfare and it was likely they would try to think of a way to stop him from bringing his animals. He was right. First the Navaho Indian booth across the aisle kept complaining to the authorities saying they were offended by the animals. Somehow linked to their superstitious beliefs. But thankfully all we had to do was move the alligator to the other side of the booth and then we were okay.
Next NEA called the city animal official to inspect, but the whole inspection turned out in our favor. Satan cannot thwart what God has planned.

Christmas at the Creation Museum

Nickie Biegler and I volunteered at the Creation Museum for a few days to help with all the Christmas activities. The live nativity–which was actually more like “live town of Bethlehem”– was very well done.

Bethlehem’s Gate

One of the Bethlehem merchants selling her goods…

The story of the child was masterfully told to the crowds by the speaker on the 2nd floor…(Mary and Joseph are in the stable area below but you can’t see them in this picture)

The museum grounds were lit up beautifully

Playing the harp for a Christmas banquet downstairs in the Palm Plaza

The petting zoo, filled with unique animals (with unique personalities), was a big highlight

Elizabeth, Zacharias’s wife (Christian Actress Geri Campbell) told her whole story to everyone in the Special Effects theater. Nickie and I were assigned to outdoor positions so we couldn’t come see it, but my dad was very impressed with the presentation.

Here’s Nickie working “on the line” at Noah’s Cafe…making sandwhiches, wraps, etc. as people order them. This was a fun job. :)

“When you are working for the Lord, it never gets boring” one of the ladies in the kitchen told me. I’m always blessed by being around museum staff. There is a unique fellowship that takes place among them as they do their work for the Lord.

If you live in the area, by all means go see “Bethlehem’s Blessings”. There are a few more evenings left: December 29th, January 1st, and January 2nd.

Also, be in prayer for the Creation Museum and their staff. The Lord is using them greatly and they need perseverance and encouragement!