Saturday, October 19, 2013

A Few More Pictures . . .

Abigail photographing in the John Day area of Oregon.
Here are some more (see yesterday's post) pictures of the girls taking pictures. Maybe only a father or mother of the girls in the pictures could love pictures like these of them, but they are treasures to me. For you who know them (and maybe some of you who don't), I thought they might bless you. It is such a joy to share God with our girls and to see their hearts discover Him and His Creation. May you enjoy these, or skip over them, it's your call. Thanks for sharing in my life.   —Erick

Bethany at the head of Upper Falls in the Grand
Canyon of Yellowstone.
Abigail photographing in Yellowstone.

Abigail at Yellowstone Lake.

The girls at the Museum of the Rockies in Montana.

The girls on a road along the western
edge of Glacier National Park, Montana.

Friday, October 18, 2013

A Man's Joy

The girls photographing Trumpeter Swans in Yellowstone.
Psalm 111:2  Great are the works of the Lord, studied by all who delight in them.
I want to share two things about the trip I recently took which brought me tremendous joy. This doesn't take away from the joy of just being with my bride through this—away from phones, email, the fire department pager, etc. She is my best friend and my pal and she knows in complete security how much I treasured that time hanging out with her, and she understands what I am about to say (and rejoices with me in them)!

Abigail capturing a Yellowstone Geyser.
The first thing was to be able to see this land with the scales removed from my eyes. The last time I saw most of the land we traveled through I probably gave a nominal nod to God having created it, but I certainly didn't believe the Bible's account of how He did . . . and I found myself struggling to fully understand the land with the explanations given of evolution, millions of years of slow change, etc. I accepted it because "science" said it was true, but while the land was beautiful, I missed the most glorious part of it. This time, though, I was able to travel the land with a whole different pair of glasses. Instead of the old earth, uniformitarianism view of slow change at the rate of change we see today, I was able to see the land through the eyes of the Bible and (wow!) it changed everything!

Bethany photographing the
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
In preparation for what we call our "Creation Trip" I was privileged to talk with different people—some with degrees in geology, one with a Masters degree in atmospheric science, another with a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology—scientists and lay people with degrees who used to be old earth evolutionists and are now young earth Creationists. They were able to talk to me about the land we'd be traveling through and tell me what we should make a point to see and how we could see Biblical evidence in it. We also were able to get different guidebooks and geology books written from a young earth Creationist scientist perspective and read them as we traveled.

Abigail in the Tetons.
I can't tell you how amazing that was, and how the land I traveled through finally made sense! When you know what to look for and see it through the lens of a young earth, spoken Creation with age; followed by the curse of sin and a catastrophic global flood and the scaring of receding waters; followed by rupturing inland bodies of water; followed by a singular ice age; suddenly the land around you reads like a book. All of a sudden the scales were falling off and I could see clearly, and it was stunning. I was in awe of what I saw, in awe picturing the land through its different phases, and in frequent prayer and lifting of praises to the One to whom it all is attributed. It was an incredible joy and privilege, and I'll never be the same for it.

Abigail posing Mom by a T-Rex (I believe)
at the Museum of the Rockies.
The second thing that brought me tremendous joy that I want to share was to travel the land as a father and to simply take pictures of my girls taking pictures! Yes, I took pictures of scenery for pleasure and some times for maybe using later in teachings, but the most fun was watching them and capturing them seeing the land through their eyes. We had spent quite a bit of time teaching them photography as part of homeschool before the trip so they could make the most of it, and to see them using those skills and processing God's Creation was a father's joy. It was simply incredible to see their faces the first time they saw a grizzly, or a geyser, or the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, or found their first fossil, or . . .

Bethany photographing in the
John Day fossil area of Oregon.
I am reminded of Hebrews 11—God's New Testament Hall of Fame of faith. In it He lists praise after praise of His children who stood in faith. If we read the Old Testament each of them had faults and shortcomings, but on the other side of the cross He has washed those away and He simply delights in bragging on His kids. I thought of that as I stared at this incredible scenery . . . and found the greatest joy taking pictures of my girls taking pictures of it. It was truly a father's joy to share this with them and to see their eyes being opened to God, His Creation, His Creativity, and His evidence.
Hebrews 11:3 By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.
I'll post a few more pictures of my girls taking pictures tomorrow for those who might enjoy them. Thanks for reading, sharing in my life, and caring. Blessings to all of you.   —Erick

Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Cliff and a Cross

Chapel of  the Transfiguration
In the Grand Tetons National Park there is a little church in a place called Moose. It is a log building with a mighty glass window behind the altar. If you look out the window you see, past the cross in front of it, the rugged Tetons upthrust as a jagged knife against the sky. Psalm 104 tells us how near the end of the flood the mountains rose up and the valleys sank down when it says:
He set the earth on its foundations, so that it should never be moved. You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. At your rebuke they fled; at the sound of your thunder they took to flight. The mountains rose, the valleys sank down to the place that you appointed for them. You set a boundary that they may not pass, so that they might not again cover the earth. (Psalm 104:5–9)
As I stood at the altar and saw the cross silhouetted against the mountains I was struck by the beauty and power of it. There, in the distance, were mountains which rose up through the waters of judgment. Jagged reminders of a time when God judged the world and His wrath against sin was poured out against it and man. God's Word tells us that there is another judgment coming, and 2 Peter 3 tells us that the same ones who doubt the Flood are the ones who will doubt the coming judgment as well. 

Judgment and the Cross—as seen from the window
behind the altar.
But there, in front of those mountains, stood the cross—the work of God on my behalf that saves me from the coming judgment. It was a powerful reminder that while I was immersed in scenery that left me in awe, my awe was to be toward the one who created Creation, and who died for me. 

It was a timely reminded because I had become so excited by the stunning things we had seen that I realized I was at times more excited about them then the One who made them. The cross and the cliff—mountains of judgment in the back fronted by the cross that my Savior carried up His own hill to die, so that I would not have to . . . Thank You, Lord. May I or my generations until You return never doubt You or Your Word, and may we never be more in awe of Creation than we are of the Creator.

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Perfect End, The Completed Circle

Yellowstone. Yes. That's falling snow!
Our family has just returned from what we call our "Creation Trip"—a trip Mary Ann and I have talked about, prayed about, hoped for, and saved up for, for over a year (but which we just told the girls about in early August after we committed to it). We left for a little over two weeks and took the girls on a 4,044 mile homeschool road trip to different sites that demonstrated the truth of the Genesis Creation account, and the effects of a global flood and subsequent singular ice age on the topography and geology of the earth. We were blessed to talk to multiple Creation Scientists and to get different Creation literature and guidebooks to help us get the most out of our trip. I'll probably post a lot more about the trip and share pictures and insights from it in subsequent posts—but in a nutshell we:
Traveled from Central California through northern Nevada, into Idaho, and camped for five nights in Yellowstone (including two mornings where we woke up to snow on our tent, and one night where 60 mph gusts pushed the sides of our tent in to touch Abigail's nose in her sleeping bag!). While there we saw tremendous demonstrations of thermal activity, flood sculpturing, wildlife (including moose and grizzly), visited the Tetons, and a lot more.

Going daily journals by our Yellowstone campsite.
We continued from there and saw the Museum of the Rockies' amazing dinosaur exhibit (though we differ in our interpretations of the fossil evidence), visited friends, and then traveled around the southern edges of Glacier National Park examining Ice Age evidence (the government shutdown occurred between our visits to Yellowstone and Glacier, and from Yellowstone on all national parks, monuments, etc., were closed).

Leaving the Glacier area we headed south and then cut into Idaho and fossil hunted in Oregon and then spent our last road night in Northern California. And now I'll share why that was the completed circle, the perfect end . . .

Morning snow on our van and tent. Yellowstone.
In the town in Northern California we visited our last night and day of the trip is a church that walks heavily in the miraculous. I am not saying I agree with all of their theology, but I don't have theology perfect either. What is undeniable is the atmosphere they create of love and worship for the Lord, and great faith in Him to demonstrate through us the things He promises in His Word He will do through us. You can't be there for more than a few hours and not feel the faith building increase of being immersed in a place where worship and faith and trust and great expectancy are emphasized. The testimonies of healing that have come out of this church are tremendous, and I attribute to them the encouragement years back that prompted Mary Ann and I to trust God for, and go after, many of the miracles we have seen in our lives and people we have prayed for.
Snow and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

The culture that is created at this church is one in which hundreds of young people, late teens and twenties, head to the streets and pray for people and share the love and power of Jesus with them. As we sat at the coffee shop at the church just soaking up the love for Jesus that fills the place, we were surrounded by dozens of these youth coming out of classes and just talking around us. It was amazing to just listen like a fly on a wall as they shared amazing moments they'd had with Jesus, about times of worship with Jesus, and prayed for one another.You didn't hear inappropriate words, see anyone hitting on anyone, or any of the things you see in a normal, secular coffee shop.

A real log cabin, with no water or bathroom inside, in the
national forest in Montana a friend owns where we stayed.
You bring in water from a spring outside, cook over a wood-
burning stove, and heat by fireplace and propane. No
electricity. The girls were calling each other Laura and Mary—
and we were Ma and Pa—within 5 minutes of our arrival!
It was in this town that we saw the circle that began the first day of the trip completed. I'll explain in a moment, but let me first say that we can all surround ourselves in Christian circles. In those circles it is “safe” to talk about Him, pray for one another, worship, etc.—and Jesus, too, spent time alone with the Father or with just His disciples—but, Jesus ultimately took it to the streets and went to where the lost were who needed to know the Good News of the Kingdom of God. That is the completed circle. He came to serve, to love, to minister, to demonstrate, to destroy the works of the devil, and to reach the lost—from prestigious religious leaders like Nicodemus, to despised prostitutes and hard working common fishermen.

That last night of our trip, after securing a room for the night, as darkness settled in, we drove to dinner and while on the way we saw a young lady, maybe in her twenties, standing in a median at a major intersection with her bike held up by one hand and her other hand on the shoulder of a young man who was standing there hitchhiking. Her head was bowed and she was praying over him. As we sat at a red light and watched she must have prayed at least 30 second or more, and that was after we noticed her. There is no telling how long she'd been talking to him and praying for him before we saw her.
Finding leaf fossils in the national forest in Oregon.

After she then finished they exchanged a few more words, and she got on her bike and continued riding on her way down the street into the darkness. It was a very powerful moment to witness these two heads bowed and the tender touch of caring of this young woman as cars went past in all directions in this busy intersection. And, it was what it is all about. 

The reason we have invested so much in teaching our girls the truth of, and evidence for, the literal Creation account is not so they can become some arrogant intellectuals able to slice and dice on evolutionists, but so that they find their hearts so securely anchored in God's Word, and so deeply trusting it, that they trust the rest of the Bible and trust Jesus' words and promises. In the end what matters is love—the love of God shown through us to others—our faith, and our eternal destiny. 

Why can we surrender our lives to God and trust Him with it and let Him live His life through us? Because He is real and His Word is true, and He does what He says He will do. From the mighty demonstrations of God's spoken word seen in Creation, to the evidences which surround us of a massive flood in which He poured out His judgment on sin, to a deep love and worship of Jesus who died for our sin and the Father who so loved us He sent Him, to a young lady in a median of a busy intersection on a dark night praying for a young hitchhiker . . . the completed circle, the perfect end.


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