My Perspective on Six Questions about Vision 2020: Seeing Jesus Clearly

On Monday afternoon/evening, July 20, 2020, at the Sandy Downs Arena, there will be a family-oriented, gospel event for the public.

  1. Has Idaho Falls ever organized city-wide gospel events in the past?   In fact, in the ’90s, the historic, local Evangelical Ministerial Association (EMA) held events for three consecutive years. All the local churches who participated experienced ongoing conversations and discipleship opportunities.
  2. Are city-wide gospel events artificial or “flash-in-the-pan”? If we thought evangelism to be limited only to a preacher in a church service, Christian concert, or Christmas/Easter event, we are in trouble.  Christians are not to be spectators in seats watching only a select few down in the field carrying out the Great Commission.  All Christians are all called to be actively making disciples for Christ.  This takes place in the relationships all around us throughout the week.  My hope is not simply in a one-time event, but in the ongoing gospel conversations leading up to a city-wide gospel event and then all the conversations following the event.  Our hope is in the gospel being lived out and shared in relationships Sunday through Saturday every week in eastern Idaho.  Yet a city-wide event is just one of the helpful tools in the box for encouraging and strengthening believers in their witness for Jesus.
  3. Out of 100 people who might make decisions in a city-wide gospel event, can you even count on one hand the number of those people who will be active in a local, Bible-believing church a year later? First, let me answer that question with a question. Is there not an eruption of praise in heaven over one lost sheep who is truly found and brought home?    All the time, talent, and financial treasure wrapped up into an event where one man, woman, or child experiences life regeneration and is placed on a path trajectory of following Christ as Lord for the rest of their lives—it is worth it all!  Second, we all know that the path of discipleship involves a lot of watering, many little influences, and decisions; and there are different types of soil conditions to reckon within human hearts.  Third, we all must be committed to journeys of discipleship with people through the ups and the downs, the good and the ugly, and be patient. We are to be diligent in teaching Christianity 101 among all our contacts. And then we are to ultimately understand that we plant and water, but it is God who gives the increase.  To God be the glory.
  4. Is a city-wide gospel event too much of a financial cost? Not in my estimation. But I do think the money spent on cars, furniture, clothes, motels, restaurants, movie tickets & popcorn, and specialty coffee drinks in Idaho Falls can get a little crazy at times.
  5. Don’t you need a big name like Greg Laurie and nationally known Christian bands to draw a crowd? I can’t tell you how excited I am to simply hear one of our local pastors, Pastor James Runcorn, who lives and loves among the people of our city, to share the good news of Jesus Christ.  Same for musicians.  This is not to say that we might have nationally known evangelists come to Idaho Falls in the future.  I think it would be terrific to have a three-day “Celebration of Hope” with Will Graham in 2023 or so.  But I am just as happy to hear our local, faithful proclaimers of Christ’s gospel who are in the conversations year-round.
  6. Who is joining in on the promotion of Vision 2020? We ask for participating churches to be in alignment with the faith of historic Christianity as laid out briefly in the Eastern Idaho Pastors Coalition’s Statement of Faith and Affirmations.  And we invite all who have a passion for Christ’s gospel, the redemption story laid out in the Bible, to join us.  “We express the unity of all believers in Christ on the basis of our measure of consensus in confessing the Gospel. . . . In all dimensions and aspects of our inter-Christian relationships, the Gospel is at the heart of who we are and what we do.”  What a thrill it is, to sing the gospel, to preach the gospel, and to live the gospel together in eastern Idaho.  Back in the pioneering days, there was a slogan for Northwest Idaho Missions – “The gospel to the farthest man back.” For Vision 2020, it is our desire for every man, woman, and child in eastern Idaho to have the opportunity of seeing Jesus clearly.

Vision 2020: Seeing Jesus Clearly (7/20/20)

The Lord birthed an idea in the heart of James Runcorn (facebooktwitter), the Connections Pastor at CrossPoint Community Church, to share in love next summer the good news of Jesus to Idaho Falls and the surrounding region through some kind of large venue. James is just a local guy with a big heart in loving God, his family, and fellow neighbors.

In talking to other pastors around town, so far representing twenty-two other local churches, they have shown support and encouragement to lift up together the name of Jesus. We are thankful. Pastor Patrick Jones of First Evangelical Lutheran Church actually tipped James off to the name title of “Vision 2020”.

Since initial conversations, things have progressed to a formal committee (Pastor James Runcorn, Pastor Patrick Murphy, Pastor Andrew Williams, Pastor Todd Wood, and Pastor Jacob Sonnenberg, and Travis Ricks) now meeting every other week in prayerful preparation for this gospel event.

We have set the date for “Vision 2020” to be on Monday, July 20, 2020 at the Sandy Downs Rodeo Grounds Arena. On that day, there will be vendors, fun booths for families, music groups, and a simple, gospel message by Pastor James Runcorn.

Here is our desire.  We hope that every man, woman, and child in eastern Idaho will be able to taste God’s goodness and love, seeing Jesus clearly. 

So this is what we first ask of you all: save the date on your calendar and then spread the word.

#Vision2020 #SeeingJesusClearly

 

 

CONNECT Pastors Retreat, Sep. 22-24, 2019

The committee members (Pastors: Todd Wood, Lon Huff, Mike Ghiglia, and Steve Molsee) of the East Idaho Pastors Coalition invite you to our first pilot pastors retreat on September 22-24, 2019, at Old Faithful Christian Ranch.

Here is the current itinerary schedule for our “CONNECT Pastors Retreat”:

Sunday, September 22

  • 5:30 pm – Dinner
  • 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm – First ministry session block, “God’s Presence and Power”
    1. Pastor Steve Molsee opens and leads in worship singing.
    2. Steve testifies to God’s presence and power amid great personal and family trials.

Monday, September 23

  • 8:00 am – Breakfast
  • 9:30 am – noonish – Second ministry session block, “Segue to Suffering”
    1. Pastor Mike Ghiglia opens and leads in worship singing.
    2. Two pastors (Pastor Mike Ghiglia, Pastor Dave Bass) speak for ten minutes each, followed by a coffee break and an hour-long group discussion, concluding with prayer for one another.
  • 12:00 noon – Lunch
  • Afternoon free time, rest and relaxation
  • 5:30 pm – Dinner
  • 6:30 pm – 8:45 pm – Third ministry session block, “Encouragement for Small Church Pastors”
    1. Pastor Mike Glaser opens and leads in worship singing.
    2. Pastor Lon Huff teaches for 30 minutes followed by breakout discussion.
    3. Hour-long breakout discussion. The small groups end in prayer for one another.

Tuesday, September 24

  • Wake up – coffee and muffins
  • 8:00 am – 9:00 am – Fourth ministry session block, “Christ’s Church in Eastern Idaho”
    1. Pastor Mike Glaser Opens and leads in worship singing.
    2. Pastor Todd Wood
  • 9:00 am – Breakfast
  • God’s grace, peace, and encouragement to you all in your service to our great King.

The cost is $80 per person. Please do not bring any pets.  But you will need a sleeping bag, pillow, towel, personal hygiene supplies, bug spray, your Bible, pen, notebook, and a heart ready to be encouraged by friends and strengthened in the Lord.

EIPC’s Statement of Faith, Affirmations, and Mission

Eastern Idaho Pastors Coalition (EIPC) Statement of Faith
(Duly Adopted August 15, 2019)

We believe that there is one God, the Creator and the Preserver of all things, omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, immutable, infinite in being and perfection, merciful, gracious and loving.  He exists co-equally and co-eternally in three persons:  the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

We believe that God has revealed Himself to man in the Person of Jesus Christ, the Savior foretold in the Old Testament.  He is fully God and fully Man, the eternal and only begotten Son of God, conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, sinless in His life, making atonement by His death on the cross and vindicated by God in His bodily resurrection.  He ascended to His Father’s right hand, and we await His visible return to the world according to His promise.

We believe that God is present in the world today in the Person of the Holy Spirit who draws us to faith in Jesus Christ and Who bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.  He indwells the believer, which empowers him to manifest the likeness and character of Christ.  He gives spiritual gifts to the church for our mutual edification and service.

We believe that the sixty-six canonical books of the Bible as originally written are inspired of God, hence without error.  They constitute the only infallible guide in faith and practice.

We believe that man was created by God and in His image, free as to choice and responsible to his Creator.  Tempted by Satan, he separated himself from God by voluntary transgression.  As a consequence, all men are born with a sinful nature and have need of reconciliation with the Holy God.

We believe that Jesus Christ provided this reconciliation by His death on the cross for our sins.  That death was a substitutionary sacrifice and all who place their faith in Him are justified freely by His shed blood and resurrection and not by our efforts (in whole or in part).

We believe that the most important event since creation was the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.  All the teachings of Christianity derive their validity from this historical fact and without it our faith is in vain.

We believe that all who have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit belong to the one true church, the body of Christ.  The church’s objectives are to take the good news to all men and to provide nourishment for spiritual growth.  Believers in the fellowship share in teaching the Scriptures, observing the ordinances of water baptism and the Lord’s Supper, and communion with one another.

We believe in the personal return of Christ to earth in sovereign power and glory to establish His righteous rule, and look for a new heaven and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

We believe in the bodily resurrection of all men and that those who are not justified by faith in Christ are ultimately separated from God forever, which is the second death.

We believe that those who are justified by faith in Christ will be like Him and will live with God and enjoy Him forever.

Our Affirmations

We affirm that “without holiness, no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).

We affirm that life is created by God and begins at conception.

We affirm that marriage is designed by God to be between one man and one woman, and that sexual relationships are to be within the bond of marriage.

We affirm that God created mankind male and female as determined at birth.

Mission Statement

Connect pastors to one another and eastern Idaho to Jesus.

EIPC Steering Committee:

Committee Chair, Pastor Todd Wood (Providence Downtown)
Contact:  elonwood@juno.com  (208) 419-9442

Pastor Mike Ghiglia (MorningStar Christian Fellowship)
Contact:  mike.ghiglia@gmail.com  (208) 589-0363

Pastor Lon Huff (Eagle Rock Baptist Church)
Contact:  rldh5282@gmail.com  (208) 501-3359

Pastor Steve Molsee (Roberts Community Church)
Contact:  stevemolsee@gmail.com  (208) 270-3544

A Plea for Unity

Jonathan Threlfall shares his modern “translation” of an old preacher’s plea for unity among pastor and churches. 

As fellow pastors, we are allies in a common cause. Therefore, we must be diligent to cultivate union and communion among ourselves and seek to promote the unity and peace of the churches we oversee. We must realize how critical this unity and peace is to the wellbeing of the church as a whole, the strengthening of our common cause, the good of the individual church members, and the advancement of Christ’s kingdom.

Instead of being instigators of conflicts among churches, pastors—of all people—should themselves feel the sting of these divisive wounds. They must accept as part of their calling the responsibility to prevent and heal divisions. They must be willing to work day and night to discover ways to close up breaches between churches. Instead of bending their ears to divisive rumors, they must listen to ideas for mending conflicts, and even come up with ideas of their own and be willing to carry them out.

To bring about such unity, pastors must have a clear grasp of the ancient simplicity of the Christian faith, and of the foundation and center of universal Christian unity. We have an inbred arrogance that turns zeal for suppressing error and maintaining the truth and into a pretense for wrecking and ripping apart the church of Christ. Pastors must learn to recognize and abhor this tendency in themselves. They must be willing to impose no other rule than the rule of Scripture, which takes precedence over church confessions and other writings. Pastors must know the difference between certainties and uncertainties, essentials and non-essentials, universal truths and personal opinions.

When dealing with controversies, pastors must be careful listeners. Some doctrinal errors are real; others are merely semantic. Let us not accuse a brother of heresy before we understand what he is actually saying. We must patiently get to the bottom of an issue so we may see the real point of difference, and not make it seem greater than it actually is. Instead of fighting with our brothers, let us combine our forces against our common enemy. Let us fellowship with each other, communicate with each other, and hold meetings together without letting smaller differences of judgment come between us. As much as we are able, let us do the work of God together. The purposes of our organizations should not be to make laws, but to avoid misunderstandings, to mutually encourage each other, to maintain love and fellowship, and to be unified in the work God has charged us to do.

Eastern Idaho Pastors Coalition

News Brief:

Yesterday afternoon on the National Day of Prayer in Idaho Falls, at Pastor Lon Huff’s church office of Eagle Rock Baptist Church, four pastors discussed and birthed a name for the start of a new coalition of pastors.  Building upon the gospel pioneers over the last 140 years, the desire is to proclaim together in unity the words and work of King Jesus in our beautiful region in the Intermountain West.

Those on this pilot committee are Pastor Lon Huff (Eagle Rock Baptist Church), Pastor Todd Wood (Providence Downtown Church / Idaho Falls Rescue Mission), Pastor Mike Ghiglia (Morningstar Christian Fellowship / Share the Son Ministries), and Pastor Steve Molsee (Roberts Community Church).

An initial evangelical pastors’ gathering for the guys is being planned for September 22-24, 2019 at Old Faithful Christian Ranch. The name is “CONNECT Pastors Retreat.”  Cost is $80 per pastor for the retreat.

In future days, our prayer is that through the Eastern Idaho Pastors Coalition (EIPC), pastors will be encouraged in their gospel frontiers, the body of Christ will be nourished and edified, and in the power of the Holy Spirit, King Jesus will be lifted up.

 

Pistol in the Pulpit by Tim Rupp

On November 5, 2017, an angry man, estranged from his ex-wife and in-laws, opened gunfire on a little Baptist church in Texas.  He had one goal:  murder everyone in his path.  It did not matter whether it was a grandmother or granddaughter, all were targeted to die.   He slaughtered 26 people and wounded twenty more.  In the investigation, police found 15 empty AR-15 magazines with 30 round capabilities.  Imagine the time that he spent in shooting, reloading, shooting, and reloading.  What if there had been a trained, armed security team at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs on that fateful day?

Should a church family be resigned to passivity?  Should Christian people only resort to prayer?  Or is it ok to both pray and shoot a killer who walks into a church sanctuary, brandishing a knife or gun?

Pastor Tim Rupp rolled up his sleeves and wrote the book, Pistol in the Pulpit, to seriously engage church leadership on the topic of church security.  In the Intermountain West, we would maintain the rights of the farmer or rancher to protect their animals from the predators in the wild.  We would defend the shepherd for carrying the rod in guarding the sheep.  So why shouldn’t a church family have a plan for defending themselves against someone wearing black tactical gear, a ballistic vest, and a black face-mask featuring a white skull, wielding an AR-15 pattern Ruger AR-556 semi-automatic rifle, and seeking to kill your mother or daughter in cold blood?

In Tim’s book, he builds a biblical defense for the right to bear arms, pursues righteous motives of the heart for defense, answers evangelical misinterpretations and objections, and teaches logically and wisely on security plans.  And to especially captivate your interest, he weaves in personal anecdotes and stories, from both a personal and national level.  I was totally riveted—especially when I was exactly midway through the book.  Honestly, you must read or hear the whole story from Tim for yourself.

If you have any hesitations about discussing plans of church security, I would encourage you to read Pistol in the Pulpit.  Tim’s purpose is not to incite fear among church families in Idaho Falls.  His desire is to have a conversation with you.  He motivates God’s people to be prepared.  He promotes the idea of men who desire to protect the innocent and do battle with evil.  The presence of evil will be removed once and for all when Jesus comes back again.  But until then, it is the responsibility of leaders to protect the sheep.