Charles Barnes shares this week with us in Idaho Falls:
- For Jesus, our Peace; for His peace that surpasses all comprehension.
- For Jesus, the Light of the world, bringing hope and salvation and new life.
- For Jesus, King of kings, seated on a throne far above every rule and authority and power and dominion.
- For Jesus, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world.
Prayer Requests (adapted from The Power to Save, see below)
- For Idaho Falls to experience a revival in which we experience God’s power and presence.
- For Idaho Falls to experience a revival that is pure in both doctrine and practice.
- For wounds in the body of Christ to heal and bonds to grow strong.
- For a revival that will bring new life to Idaho Falls spiritually, morally and socially.
- That out of the revival would come a host of missionaries to the rest of the world.
The Power to Save
Bob Davey writes in the preface of The Power to Save – A History of the Gospel in China (EP Books, 2011), “This book tells the story, which is still unfolding, of the mighty acts of God in China – a story that needs to be told. It has become clear since the 1970s that God has done something special in China. The spiritual awakening and turning to Christ compare in magnitude to anything in the whole history of the church. … The gospel went to China and took root there because of the profound love and dedication of many Christians from all parts of the world. Their fundamental motivation was the power of the love of Christ that constrained them. Their goal was not political but spiritual – the salvation of souls and the planting of an indigenous, self-supporting church able to propagate itself by the power of the biblical gospel. That this has been achieved against all the powers of hell and in spite of much human weakness should be a matter of real encouragement to believers the world over….”
The story of the acts of God in Idaho Falls needs to be told as well. Though the population of Bonneville County is only 1/13,000th that of China, the people who live here are loved by God, and Christ’s church is His instrument through which His love is conveyed.
The first name of this place we now call Idaho Falls – Flathead Crossing – encapsulates the story of the hunger of a native American people for the gospel and for the “white-man’s book” which contained it. The first “missionary” who settled in Idaho Falls had intentions of going to China, but God sent her here and used her to establish the first church, the first school and the first library. One of the early churches in Idaho Falls, began in 1916 when the population of the town was only about 6,500, was formed by 107 charter members who were mostly won to Christ in two short evangelistic campaigns. The Lord has brought to us and raised up from among us many dedicated servants to build His church Idaho Falls. Many churches in town have had annual growth rates of 20-40% during their early years. At least three Idaho Falls churches have started other churches in the city and a few have planted churches in surrounding communities. God has raised up ministries that feed the poor, shelter the homeless, visit the sick, elderly and prisoners, preach the gospel, make disciples and seek to heal and deliver the oppressed in His name. His power has saved and transformed lives. The Lord has also sent out many from Idaho Falls to be His witnesses in many places of the world, including China.
In our research we have yet to find anything comparable to current people movements to Christ among Muslim people groups , or the revival in China, or the revival that started a century ago in Korea, or anything that compares to early revivals in America. We haven’t found evidence of transformation of our society similar to what happened in the First or Second Great Awakenings in America or in various cities around the world more recently where the church has sought God in unity and desperation.
While many churches in town have seen periods of high growth, the net growth rate of the Christian churches combined has barely kept up with population growth.
While a few churches in town have successfully planted another church, more have been the result of church splits or divisions. No church plant that we know of has repeated the process, and the last church we’re aware of that was intentionally planted by another in town occurred in the 1960’s.
Has our faith in what God can do in Idaho Falls been tempered more by what we have experienced rather than what He promises? In the conclusion of his book, Bob Davey has five prayers related to continuation of the revival in China. I’ve modified these above as prayer requests for Idaho Falls.