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Watersprings

Late last night, I was reading to my youngest boy from The NKJV Daily Bible.  We were in the Psalms portion for September 18, and I came across this verse:

He turns a wilderness into pools of water, and dry land into watersprings (Psalm 107:35).

Beautiful verse for Southern Idaho, isn’t it?

Certainly, that is the inspiration for the local church in Idaho Falls named Watersprings.

Tuesday Noon Prayer – City of Refuge

“In 1857 there were 30,000 men idle on the streets of New York.  Drunkenness was rampant, and the nation was divided by slavery.  God raised up a praying businessman, Jeremiah Lanphier. On September 23, 1857 he began a noontime prayer meeting on Fulton Street in the Financial District of Manhattan. Out of a city of 1 million people, six people showed up a half hour late. The group decided to meet the next week and there were 14. The next week there were 23. The following week there were 40. Within weeks there were thousands of business leaders meeting daily.  God moved so powerfully that the prayer meeting spread across the nation.  It is estimated that nearly 1 million people were converted out of a national population of 35 million, including 10,000 weekly conversions in New York City for a season.”

Men gather every Tuesday at the noon hour in the downtown City of Refuge.  Join us.  We go to the King and intercede on behalf of our city.

Unveiling Grace in Idaho Falls

If you haven’t had the chance to read the book, Unveiling Grace (Zondervan, 2013), by Lynn K. Wilder, I would encourage you to do so.

You can check the book out from the Idaho Falls Public Library; the call number is 289.3 WILDER.

It is the story about a family here in the I-15 Corridor being turned completely upside down.  On page 187, Lynn recounts the struggle among two of her sons,

About this time, Matt called Micah in Florida to ask, “What in the world are you doing to the family?”  The direct question was an older brother’s prerogative.  In answer, Micah challenged Matt to read the New Testament as a child, with fresh eyes.

I think that is an excellent word of wisdom for all of us in Idaho Falls – “Read the New Testament as a child, with fresh eyes.”

On pages 206-207, Lynn shares a turning point in her life,

One night in October of 2006, Katie, Mike, and I watched the movie Luther.  As I followed the tale of Martin Luther, the Holy Spirit, the one who lead us into all truth, showed me the parallels between the strength Luther’s faith in God gave him and the changes I needed to submit to.  The legalism that Luther opposed in the Catholic Church in the sixteenth century had the same root I now needed to oppose in Mormonism.  The Scriptures that Luther loved were the Scriptures I believed.  The God Luther knew personally was the God I had met.  Like Micah in front of his mission president and fellow missionaries, Luther stood before the church leaders and declared, “Unless my errors be proven by Scripture, I cannot and I will not recant.  Here I stand.  I can do no other.  God help me.”

I made my decision.  I knew from my reading that only a good killing could reap a bountiful harvest.  My contented sacred Mormon cow had to be slaughtered.  I had to die before new life could begin and bear fruit (John 12:24).  I was finally ready.  Gathering speed toward the point of no return, I lay facedown on the carpet, arms extended, and cried out to God as Martin Luther had.  “I am yours.  Save me.”  Instantly I was sucked over the event horizon.

Mike and Lynn Wilder will be speaking at Christ Community Church, November 22-23.

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Prayer for God’s transformation in our lives

Charles Barnes writes today in a “Jesus in Idaho Falls” email for our distribution list:

Yesterday the Bonneville County Heritage Association gave talks at five Idaho Falls Parks. For many decades the city’s garbage dump was located where Freeman Park (originally named Eagle Rock Park) is now. In the late 1950’s thousands of truckloads of dirt were brought in to cover up the remains of the burned garbage. Pray that the religious activity of our city doesn’t simply cover up the garbage and emptiness of our lives, but that our lives and our city are truly transformed by the love and grace and power of God.

Amen.

Trophies of God’s Grace

I sat across the table from three couples.  One by one, I listened to their testimonies of God’s efficacious call upon their lives.  They were of different ages, family backgrounds, personalities, and religious exposure, but they all had one theme in common — they were trusting in Jesus Christ alone for their salvation.

Tears, laughter, and solid discussion on Bible themes filled my morning today.  It continued as we went to a fast food joint on Hitt Road for a quick bite to eat.

As we were eating, another brother-in-Christ sat down unexpectedly at a table behind us.  He talked about Jesus, the Bible being our foundation, and the preciousness of a local church family. He shared.  We shared.  And the more we talked, the more excited we got.  Those sitting at other tables could not help but overhear.

Trophies of God’s grace radiated with joy in Idaho Falls, even at McDonalds.

Can you meet God in the Bible?

Yes.  This answer comes from people who live all over  Idaho Falls.  Sitting in the Bella Vita coffee shop this morning,  a friend shared his confidence of encountering God through the pages of Scripture.  I rejoiced.

Today, the Lutheran teacher, Gene Edward Veith writes:

I remember when I first began to read the Bible seriously.  I had read theologians from Lewis to Tillich, but I had never read the Bible, except in little snippets.  I resolved to read the whole thing from beginning to end, an enterprise that took me from the beginning of the universe to the end of time–from Genesis to Revelation.  I suppose I began my Bible-reading project for literary reasons, but as I read I found that I was meeting God.

Saeed Abedini, our Idaho brother

As-salam alaykum, my friends.

Haletun chetur e?

Let me tell you a brief story about a young man who must be included in the prayers of all our Idaho churches, spoken about in the classrooms of our schools, and be recorded in our Idaho history books.

Saeed Abedini is a brave, Idaho brother, a strong Persian shir, and ten years younger than I.  With a Shi’ite Muslim background in Iran, he converted to biblical Christianity.  Miraculously, Jesus found him and redeemed him.  He married a beautiful girl named Naghmeh, who grew up here in the American Northwest.  Together in Iran, they spread a message, something like this:

eisa masih dost dar shomast. عيسي مسيح دوست شماست

eisa masih rah nor va haghighat ast. عيسي مسيح راه نور و حقيقت است

Jesus Christ loves you. Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Light. 

But in sharing this good news gently and meekly among house churches in Iran, the powerful clerics and mujtahids looked upon Saeed as a serious, national threat to the state.  The reality is this:  all Muslim background believers (MBB) are under serious persecution.

Saeed became an American citizen in 2010, and in a 2012 visit to see his parents and work on an orphanage, the Revolutionary Guard arrested him. Presently, he is tortured in a prison cell solely because of his desire to spread the love, forgiveness, and joy of Jesus Christ.

What is the backdrop? When Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini  began a series of lectures in 1970 on The Guardianship of the Islamic Jurist, the tide shifted.  Revolution came.  Leaders had a voice for their historical suffering and martyrdom, and anger and passion – so notably revealed in the National Anthem.  Strict interpretation and rule followed, especially upon the women.  The government demonized America and Israel.  And hence in 2014, Saeed is a victim imprisoned within a complexity of fears and falsehoods governing the Islamic Republic of Iran.  He is rapidly approaching the second anniversary, September 26, 2014, of his imprisonment.  How long can he survive such conditions?

What should we do? We should pray for the Supreme Leader and the Assembly of Experts.  We should pray for the Iranian President and the Council of Guardians. We should pray for the Iranian Christians who meet secretly and especially for those who are imprisoned.  We should pray for Saeed and his family.

What else can we do for our Idaho brother? Rio Tenango would like to exchange his life for Saeed’s.  This is a very unlikely, unreasonable proposal.  But I am reminded by the words of persecuted believer, Richard Wurmbrand, written back in the year that I was born, 1969.  He challenges us to love.

My mind is getting more and more confused. Probably I shall yell soon.  My mind jumps about from molecules to rats.  Now it has forgotten the rats and thinks about Western Christians.  I remember the tragic word in Philippians: ‘No church communicated with me.’  Why are we abandoned by the Western Christians?  Their reason, probably, tells them that they could do nothing practical for us.  But why do they follow reason, which Luther called ‘the beast’ and not love?  Why don’t they come free us, with the risk that they will be defeated and suffer the same fate as us?  Their strategists may tell them that the balance of power is not in their favour.  But since when has love constrained strategists?  Why does not a group of a thousand Western Christians come as tourists, attack our prison, rush into the corridors and tell us:  ‘We have not forgotten you.  We love you’?  It may be a foolish enterprise.  But from our side it was also a foolish thing to bang on a cell door when our brother was beaten.  And then, the Western Christian all have their guardian angels.  Each had six wings, which means that they are prepared to fetch messages.  Why don’t they send their guardian angels to caress our weary head and to tell us about love?  I feel the nearness of such angels, but when I ask them where they come from they are nearly always from another prison cell or from a brother in Rumania itself.  Can angels from the West be stopped at the Iron Curtain?  How big are their wings?  Are they the wings of a chicken, which cannot fly, or the wings of an eagle?  Where is the unreasonableness of love?  If they are partakers of the divine nature, why are they not also partakers of the foolishness of God?  Foolish questions, dear brothers and sisters.  If I spoke to you tonight it was to teach you one thing:  dare to walk in the foolish, completely unreasonable, paths of love!  St. Augustine said:  ‘Love God, and do what you will.’  Love, and your foolish actions will be wiser than the wisdom of men.

Maybe God might be calling you to boldly step out and love the people of Iran. May the desert of Daht-e Kavir blossom like what God in His mercy has done among the deserts of Southeastern Idaho.  May God’s glory and grace rise higher than Mount Damavand.  May the Iranians treasure Jesus more than all the rials in the land.  Certainly, our sovereign God is doing a mighty work.  As He turned the heart of Persian King Cyrus in ancient times, He is establishing His purposes in Iran today.

And mark this down. There are famous, contemporary Iranians listed in our modern books.  Anousheh Ansari is the first female private space explorer.  Pierre Omidyar is the creator of Ebay.  But for you who live in this state, write down this name:  Saeed Abedini.   Idaho brother.  Choice servant of Jesus Christ.  Prisoner for the gospel, presently tortured in Rajai Shahr prison in Karaj, 20 kilometers west of Tehran.

In Christ,

Todd Wood