Friday, December 9, 2011

It's funny what you realize when you look back...

I'm sure glad that God is in control & that he has a plan for me. To take that further, I'm glad he is directing my steps even when I have no idea where I'm going.

I've known Jesus as my personal Savior since I was a little boy. I vaguely remember when I was 14 committing to do God's will with my life, and that was a true commitment, but I had my own ideas of what that would probably mean. I went to New Tribes Bible Institute after I graduated from high school. I figured I had to go to some sort of college, because that's what you do after high school, and you can't go wrong learning the Bible. That much was true--the Bible education I got at NTBI was a great foundation. When I graduated I still didn't know what I was supposed to do, though, & I still hadn't found a wife, so I transferred to Appalachian Bible College to finish my Bachelor's degree. I wanted to be a missionary, because even though I understood that not all Christians are called to be missionaries, I thought the really good ones were. I wouldn't have said anything like that then, but I'm pretty sure that's what I thought--I wanted to be one of the elite. I think my goal in going to ABC really was to find a wife more than anything else, though. (I was growing as a Christian & not quite as shallow as that sounds, but life looks more black & white when you think about it in the past tense.)

By God's grace I did meet my wife, Angelina, at ABC. She could see who I was a lot better than I could, and she knew a lot more about real life than I did, too. In 2005 & 2006 I was able to take a better look at who I was (that's another story), and I realized that I need to use the personality and gifts that God has given me in a task I'm suited for, not the one I think all the "best Christians" do. I am not really a self-starter, & not very good at meeting people, & those qualities are important in the kind of work I thought I was supposed to do. As a Christian I need to share the Gospel, and I need to make an effort to meet people even if it doesn't come naturally. However, it was important for me to find a vocation I was suited for. I care about truth, and helping people learn it.

Now I am the Librarian at Appalachian Bible College, & I can't think of a better place for me to use what God has given me. The best advice I can give to you is trust God & see what happens! As long as you are living in obedience to God's word by the power of the Holy Spirit, wherever you are, that's God's plan for you right now!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Starlight & Time: Solving the puzzle of distant starlight in a young universe.

I believe in the absolute authority of the Bible because it is God's word. I also believe in true science using the scientific method ("the collection of data through observation and experiment, and the formulation and testing of hypotheses," http://www.merriam-webster. com/dictionary/scientific%20method). By this definition, not everything that is called science is really science. I do not claim that we can prove anything for certain about the origin of the universe by using science because we cannot observe it happening, and none of us were there when it happened. However, I believe that God inspired men to write down his word, and he was there!

The main point I am trying to make is that the biblical account of creation is true, and because it is true, what we discover today using the scientific method will not contradict it. The Bible says God created the universe in six days. With Adam being the first man, and he was created on the sixth day, the Earth has been figured to be about 6,000 years old; give or take a few thousand, but nowhere near the billions of years that many "scientists" claim. From what is discovered about the Earth today, I have no problem believing that the Earth is that young. When we consider the size of the Universe, however, and how far away the stars are, I had a hard time understanding this: if the stars were created on the fourth day, why are we able to see them? I still believed the Bible, but I couldn't explain this very well.

Starlight & Time: Solving the puzzle of distant starlight in a young universe by Dr. D. Russell Humphreys, Ph.D. really helped me to understand. I would definitely recommend reading this, because it made a lot of sense to me, but I can't promise it will make sense to you. Remember, this is a physicist who believes that the creation account in the Bible makes more sense than the evolution taught in public schools. The basic truth is that time is relative to gravity and distance. Dr. Humphreys quotes Stephen Hawking and explains Einstein's theory of relativity to make this point. For this reason, something that takes 6,000 years on our planet could be equivalent to billions of years in distant space! (p. 37)

(photo from

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My testimony: 2001-2011

It's amazing to see how God has worked in the past 10 years since I graduated from New Tribes Bible Institute (NTBI)! I remember at that time thinking I was doing pretty well, but the truth is I still had a lot of growing to do. The summer after I graduated I went on a short-term missions trip with Pioneers to Buryatia in Siberia, Russia, and I thought maybe I would be a full-time missionary there, but I needed to pursue further education first. After working as a cook at NTBI Jackson for a year, I went to Appalachian Bible College (ABC) in West Virginia, where I met my future wife, Angelina, and got my Bachelor's degree. Over those years the church in Buryatia had been growing—praise the Lord!—and maybe I wasn't as suited for that ministry as I thought I was...

While I was at ABC I went on a couple missions trips to Utah, and I saw that as a mostly unreached place dominated by the LDS, so my wife and I thought maybe that would be the place for us—but we had to pay off our school loans first. We settled in Columbus, Ohio to wait for the Lord to direct us to the next place. I got a job at Wal-mart nearby our apartment, so I rode a bicycle to work. Six weeks after Angie and I were married, I was hit by a Ford F-250 truck as I was riding my bike. I needed immediate brain surgery, but there were people praying for me all over the world, and after 3 weeks I was able to go home. I wasn't able to work at all for about 6 months after that, but God provided for us in many amazing ways, and I had a lot of time to think. Even though I didn't suffer much injury in the rest of my body, the head trauma did present me with some limitations I didn't have before, so I had to learn what I could do and serve God with that. I realized that much of what I had planned on doing was because I thought it was what I should do, and I didn't really think about whether it was what I was designed to do. Angie helped me a lot with that, and getting hit by a truck helped me get my head on straight, so to speak.

I was so focused on life in church groups and Bible Colleges that I really didn't know anything about real life—and there's a lot more to ministry than getting good grades. God used the "accident" to help me slow down and see what is going on in the world. I learned that I am an intellectual, information guy, and while Angie helps me to care about people more than I used to, I needed to use the skills God produced in me. It was time for me to become a librarian.

Looking back, I could see how God had been directing me towards this all along—I had worked in the library at ABC all 3 years I was there, never knowing what it was preparing me for. I worked for Legal Services for the state of Ohio, and during that time I developed some handy computer skills. I went to Clarion University of Pennsylvania to get my Master’s in Library Science, and I was kind of expecting to become a Young Adult Librarian at a public library somewhere. I worked in the public library while I was in graduate school, and I was amazed at the opportunities I had to share the gospel being a part of that community. Then God worked it out that it was time for ABC to look into getting a new librarian, and everything fit together. I am now the Associate Librarian at Appalachian Bible College, assisting students as they prepare to go into ministry all over the world! I never could have seen this coming—God is totally in control!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Believin' don't make it so

Have you ever heard anyone say, "I can't believe in a God who would _______."? Maybe you've said it yourself. Think about that for a second. God is who he is and who he has always been, and what anybody believes about him doesn't change a thing. If you believe with all your heart that it will be a sunny day, does that make any difference at all whether it will rain or not? God has revealed to us who he is through the world he created, and in more detail through his Word, especially in what we read about his Son, Jesus Christ--that is who God is. Often people try to reach beyond that to make God more like a human so we can understand him better, but it doesn't work like that. True, all humans are created in God's image, so all life is precious, but we are just a shadow which has been distorted by sin. We are commanded NOT to try to create God in our image (Exodus 20:4-6).

God is infinite, which means for all eternity there will be more learn about him and his ways. For now we have the Bible. The Bible is full of both clear truth and mystery. From the beginning the only way God gave people to be made right with him is by faith. Every human who ever lived--except for Jesus Christ--is a sinner who commits sin. Jesus came to Earth from Heaven to die to take the punishment of every person on Himself. Even that is something we cannot imagine. Because Jesus is the one sinless man, God was satisfied with his sacrifice in place of all humankind. Because Jesus is God he rose from the dead, never to die again. Christ died for all, but only those who accept his sacrifice are God's children. That's enough from me--just read it for yourself:

"What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, 'I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.' So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, 'For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.' So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

You will say to me then, 'Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?' But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, 'Why have you made me like this?' Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory—even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?" (Romans 9:14-24 ESV)

Monday, January 3, 2011

You think you're all that, but you're not!

Ezekiel is a very interesting prophetical book if you take the time to read it. For several chapters God tells Israel & Judah that he will use the surrounding nations to punish them for their unfaithfulness. The surrounding nations couldn't have done it if it wasn't God's plan. Then God turns to those nations & tells them that he will destroy them for what they will do to Israel. The nations will think they destroyed Jerusalem on their own, but God will make it clear that he is Sovereign.

Does this seem unfair that God would use a nation as his sword to punish sin, & then punish that nation for being his sword? Or is he punishing them for taking the credit instead of giving him the glory? Think about this, but be careful that you do not limit God to human standards.