Author: Todd Wood

I am a servant of Jesus in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Join me in seeking Jesus in this city.

Eastern Idaho Worship Collective

On Friday, November 13, 2020, the Eastern Idaho Worship Collective will lead its first “Night of worship” for the greater body of Christ in Idaho Falls. The host local church is Christ Community Church. Featured musicians will be Worship Pastor Daniel Hickenbotham (Christ Community Church), Ja Coody (Watersprings Church), Dave Kirby (Watersprings Church), Dominick Hendricks (Rocky Mountain Ministries), Bud and Brittany Morrow (Watersprings Church), Jessica Zornosa (Christ Community Church), and Pastor Ty Orr (Watersprings Church), etc. Mark your calendars. And please be mindful of Christ Community Church’s COVID-19 safety and health protocols for this event.

Lord willing, the next event will be in February 2021 at Watersprings Church.

The following statements are a current, working description of EIWC’s vision and commitments.

Vision: The EIWC, in partnership with faithful local churches, will provide a space and environment where the greater church in Idaho Falls can come together and engage with the Triune God through passionate corporate worship.


Prayerfulness in Preparation – We, as servants of God’s church, are committed to seeking God for His leading and empowering as we endeavor to provide His church with the opportunity to engage in worship that is honoring and glorifying to Him.  We will weigh our ideas in the scales of prayerful consideration and trust the Lord to guide us through that.

Community Faithfulness – We affirm that we have all been called to commit ourselves to the Body of Christ by being connected to and invested in a local church.  We want to provide leaders and believers with the opportunity to worship alongside brothers and sisters of different backgrounds and cross pollinate at a special event.  We do not want to facilitate church shopping or church hopping or dissention amongst congregation members regarding musical worship.  We will also take into account the mission and vision of host churches, ensuring that we do not distract from their goals or violate their statement of faith or organizational by-laws.

Corporate Effort – We want to facilitate the community of worship leaders, musicians, sound engineers, etc. in Idaho Falls to serve the church as a whole.  Although the vision is to have different church buildings host each worship night, we do not want to burden that local body with the logistics, volunteer requirements, and increased costs of each night.  Additionally, we do not want the host church to be the “owner” of the worship night.  

Singleness of Purpose – We rejoice in the diversity of expressions and gifting given to the church, yet we are committed, for these nights, to the exaltation of the Triune God through musical worship and singing.  This will take precedence above the demonstration of any individual giftings and, as much as possible, without undue consideration towards any specific denominational preferences. 

Excellence in Execution – We want to pursue all things with a spirit of excellence, crafting nights that facilitate undistracted worship through intentionality in song choice and leadership, commitment to preparation and practice, skillful playing and singing, compelling visual media and sound engineering, and development and stewardship of the overall atmosphere of the night.  We recognize that to do this, unfortunately, it will require limitations on participation, which we will be committed to handling humbly and graciously. 

Current Leadership Committee:
Ja Coody, Daniel Hickinbotham, Kenny McMurphy, Mikey Middleton

Trinity Conference

Knowing God and Making Him Known

October 23-24, 2020

Location: Campus of Christ Community Church

For the past 120 years of Church History in Idaho Falls, there is one glorious treasure that stands like the Tetons above everything else. This breathtaking, unspeakable glory is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in our midst.  Whether in sickness or health, in captivity or freedom, the Triune God is all-powerful and all-loving.  To possess the Son is to gain both the Father and the Spirit because Christ Jesus leads us to the heart of the Father and shares with us the comfort of the Spirit. To know this God of the Bible is to have everything we need on earth and to gain all the joy of heaven. With joy and awe, we proclaim this sovereign God to you.

Friday night (6:30 – 9:00 pm)

Session 1: “Encountering God: The Person of YHWH as Revealed in the Old Testament” – Pastor Beau Floyd, Emmaus Road Church

Session 2: “Launching from John to Find the God-man Jesus” – Pastor Mike Ghiglia, MorningStar Christian Fellowship, Share the Son Ministries, Law Enforcement Chaplaincy of Idaho, committee member for the Eastern Idaho Pastors Coalition

Session 3: “The Personhood of God: an Eternal Perichoresis and Dance of Love– Pastor Todd Wood, Providence Downtown Church, Shepherd of the Falls Lutheran Church, Idaho Falls Rescue Mission, committee chair for the Eastern Idaho Pastors Coalition

Saturday morning (9:00 – 11:30 am)

Session 4: “Have We Not All One Father?” – Dr. Jeff Kennedy, Christ Community Church

Session 5: “Father, Son, and the Other One: Recovering the Divinity and personhood of the Spirit” – Dr. Jeff Kennedy, Christ Community Church

Session 6: “From Bach to the Beatles; From Tertullian to Tolkein: How the Trinity Shapes Your Life” – Reverend David Bass, New Geneva Orthodox Presbyterian Church

This is a free event. RSVP for childcare by October 19th. To sign up, visit

Vision 2020 Livestream, Sunday, September 20, 2020, 5:00 pm (Mountain Standard Time)

On the weekend of Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of the Jewish Ten Days of Awe, the evangelical community in eastern Idaho is inviting you to tune in at 5:00 pm on Sunday, September 20, 2020, to watch the long-anticipated “Vision 2020 Livestream” that will be broadcasted from the Seeing Jesus Clearly website. As Christ’s Church, we collectively invite you to taste the goodness of the Lord.  The year 2020 has been crazy.  We have been troubled by many things.  More than ever, we hope that men, women, and children in our region will seek and see the gospel light and love of Jesus. 

Let us know if you will be viewing the Vision 2020 Livestream at your church building or with some friends in your neighborhood.  We desire to pray for you.

And if you have a watch party, take a picture of your group, and post it.  We would be delighted to see you.

Whether you are a believer, seeker, or nonbeliever, we invite you to this region-wide virtual event.

We celebrate Christ as the enduring hope and joy in our lives. He is our King and our chief treasure in Eastern Idaho. To God be the glory.

Feel free to connect with us on our Facebook page.  We hope you will be blessed.

Proclaiming the Gospel to Idaho Falls – Charles Barnes

On September 20, Vision 2020 (Facebook) will livestream a gospel presentation by Pastor James Runcorn, in an effort to bring the message of salvation in Christ to people in our city that otherwise would not hear it. While believers in Idaho Falls share the gospel with friends and neighbors in many ways, there have been numerous attempts in the history of the city to bring the good news to a larger portion of the city.  Here is a sampling:

In January 1896, the churches in Idaho Falls joined together for a series of evangelistic meetings under the leadership of Rev. James Thompson.

The January 8, 1903 issue of  The Idaho Falls Times reported that the Methodist and Presbyterian churches held a week of prayer followed by a week of evangelistic and revival meetings.

In March 1909, the churches of Idaho Falls held a week of meetings at the Baptist church and at a Community Hall on Broadway.  One day during the week was set aside for an all-day prayer meeting. The Idaho Falls Times reported, “These meetings have more than half passed now and the results thus far fully justify the hopes of those who had called these evangelists to hold the meetings.”

In September 1911, a series of evangelistic meetings were held in a “tabernacle” on Park Avenue and C Street [now Constitution Way].  The Idaho Falls Times reported large audiences. Perhaps the “tabernacle” was a temporary structure, as in 1929 there were evangelistic and revival meetings sponsored by the Nazarene Church in a tent at the same location.

In late December 1915, simultaneous daily prayer meetings began in ten or twelve parts of Idaho Falls in support of a month of evangelistic meetings led by Dr. G. W. Taylor of Los Angeles.  Organized by a committee from several Idaho Falls churches, the meetings were held in a temporary building erected on Elm Street between the Methodist church and the old City Library (now the Museum of Idaho).  That building, which could seat 1,100, was erected by about 75 volunteer carpenters and other helpers. It was built in a single day, December 29, 1915, a day in which the Idaho Register reported: “as severe a winter storm as this area ever experienced was raging with the snow piling in deep drifts and the thermometer ranging well below zero.”  The weather did not discourage the workers, as the newspaper also reported that they were making jokes about the winds and snow as they would cycle in shifts between working in the cold and warming up in the Methodist Church. Nightly meetings were held from January 2 through January 30, with additional meetings on Sunday mornings and afternoons.  The response was so great that the meetings were extended two additional days.  The newspaper reported “attendance, by actual count” was 1,100 on each of the Sundays and also on weekdays toward the end of the campaign. The Idaho Falls Times of January 27 reported that nearly 200 conversions had been recorded by that date, and offerings had been sufficient to meet all expenses.

The Methodist and Presbyterian Churches, along with others, sponsored a series of evangelistic meetings from March 3rd to 10th, 1925 led by Rev. and Mrs. Elmer P. Loose. The Times-Register article announcing these meetings commented, “our city needs a season of prayer and spiritual uplift and seeking after the things that pertain to God and righteousness.” The Times-Register of March 6th reported good crowds with the church auditorium nearly filled.

In 1928 young people of Idaho Falls held a mass sunrise prayer meeting on Easter morning, participating in the nation-wide Crusade with Christ movement.  It was estimated that at least 4 million youth across the nation participated in these prayer meetings, which were then followed by local three-day conventions.  This youth movement, developed from Christian Endeavor societies, was devoted to evangelism, Christian citizenship, and world peace.

Meetings were held in the Moose Hall at Capital and C Street on Sunday afternoons and Thursday evenings over several weeks in December 1941, led by New Zealand evangelist Percy Hartland and Central European missionary and evangelist Edwin Schaer.

In December 1950, several weeks of revival meetings were held at the Baptist, Nazarene, Mission Covenant, and Gladstone Gospel Churches.  Preceding and coinciding with these meetings, pastors from five churches met at 10 am daily for a seven-week period to pray for city-wide revival.

In 1977, many churches in Idaho Falls sponsored evangelist and guitarist Dwayne Friend for seven nights of meetings at the Civic Auditorium.  Held in mid-January, the main floor of the auditorium was two-thirds or more full. According to one person who attended, lots of people who attended were saved in these meetings.

In the early 1990’s several well-known Christian speakers, such as author Frank Peretti, were brought to Idaho Falls by Family Bible Church, and crowds came to the Civic Auditorium to hear them.  Popular Christian bands were also brought to the same venue, including Mylon and Broken Heart, Rick Cua, Morgan Cryar, DeGarmo and Key, the Imperials, and others. In these events, the gospel was preached, and many hands went up at invitations to receive Christ.

In 1995, Pastor Rick Brown of Calvary Chapel hoped to bring a major Christian recording artist to Idaho Falls for an evangelistic crusade.  His effort snowballed, and he soon had commitments from Lenny LeBlanc, Crystal Lewis, and Dave Messenger.  Realizing that the project had become too big for his church, which had begun just two years previous, he enlisted the help of ten other Idaho Falls churches.  Somewhat patterned after Billy Graham crusades, the meetings were held at the Idaho Falls Civic Auditorium, with Pastor Rick giving evangelistic messages each of three nights.

History of prayer in Idaho Falls – Charles Barnes

Whatever you ask in My Name – Prayer in the History of Idaho Falls

While only God knows the full extent of the prayers of individuals and groups in Idaho Falls who have called out to Him throughout the history of our city, here is a sampling of prayer activities in the history Idaho Falls:

While I know of no direct tie between the founding of Eagle Rock and the revivals in our nation during the Civil War, I suspect that these awakenings provided a spiritual climate that influenced the first residents of this area. There are records that indicate that before there were any organized churches in Eagle Rock, early residents met in homes, businesses, and along the river for worship.

Rebecca Mitchell wrote of the dedication of the first church building in Eagle Rock in November 1884, “It was the beginning of a new era in the Snake River Valley when the bell rang out the hour for prayer.”

On the 4th of July celebrations in Idaho Falls in the 1890s, prayer was always part of the program.  For example, in the 1895 4th of July celebration, “A fervent, eloquent and appropriate prayer was then offered up by Rev. Henry Van Engelen.”

As churches began in the early decades of Idaho Falls, they nearly always held mid-week prayer meetings.  One church in their first few months held weekly prayer meetings but Sunday services only twice a month.  Another began with an all-night prayer meeting.

Most years from the 1890s into the 1940s, Idaho state governors, in accord with Presidential proclamations, declared Thanksgiving Day to be a day of prayer and thanksgiving, with the “prayer” part given equal prominence with “thanksgiving”.  Other public holidays that we now think of as secular had clear religious overtones, with churches sometimes holding special prayer services.

For several decades starting in the 1890s, and occasionally in later years, several churches in Idaho Falls had “Weeks of Prayer”, with prayer meetings or services every night during a week, usually the first week of January.

In 1908-1909 and again in the 1920s, Idaho Falls newspapers reported that prayer meetings at several churches were very well attended.  One church saw the attendance at their mid-week prayer meeting jump from 31 on March 21, 1923, to 60 the next week, and remain at that level the rest of the year.

For most years from 1928 into the 1940s, the mayor of Idaho Falls would proclaim a Day of Prayer to coincide with the World Day of Prayer, and a prayer service would be held which was organized by the United Council of Church Women, made up of representatives from most of the churches in town.

During both World Wars, there were many special prayer services and Days of Prayer in Idaho Falls. After 9/11/2001 there was a prayer gathering in front of the Bonneville County courthouse.

In 1950, pastors from five churches met every day for seven weeks to pray for revival in Idaho Falls.  Also during this period, pastors and laymen met together each Sunday afternoon for fellowship, prayer, testimonials, and worship.

Annual 24-hour praise and prayer services were held in Idaho Falls in the 1990s and through 2003.

In the early 1990s, some churches in Idaho Falls observed a 40-day period of prayer leading up to the National Day of Prayer in May.

Annually from 1994 to 2005, up to 27 Idaho Falls churches and groups participated in the Unity in the Community Prayer-a-thons, which were 24-hour prayer chains.  Forty-three churches and groups participated in these prayer chains.

How many of the blessings we now enjoy in Idaho Falls are due to God responding to the prayers of His people in the past?  How much do we need to persevere in prayer to see the changes that God desires in our nation and city?

The prayer of a thankful Idahoan (11)

Dear God,

I want to thank you for the gift of a church family.

You give to us earthly, physical families who are a great blessing of loving relationships during trials and hardship. But then you grant to us this extraordinary gift of a spiritual family for when we struggle with problems, divisions, and estrangements in our earthly families.

The minute that I was born again through faith in Jesus, your Son, I gained a whole new family.  Father, I can hardly contain the joyous gratitude over the fact that practically wherever I travel in the world, I discover brothers and sisters.  From Idaho to India, from Utah to Uruguay, from Montana to Mexico, and from Wyoming to the Western Sahara, there are your people who love you and who love me because I also love you.  There is a common, unbreakable bond in the heart among us as a worldwide family because of the amazing work of your Son. And this family is only growing.

God of the whole universe, I thank you for giving to me so many brothers and sisters. I walk around my city, and they are everywhere—Christ’s Bride.  I travel around in eastern Idaho, and I hear and witness heaven’s words and actions through your family—the household of faith. I treasure this gift; and I worship you, the Giver and Sustainer for this gift of relationships in my life.

I thank you for all the members of our church families throughout Idaho Falls who nourish me in your truth and love. I thank you specifically for Berean Baptist Church, Emmaus Road Church, Shepherd of the Falls Lutheran Church, and Providence Downtown Church.

God, I love and cherish the small church gatherings! After six weeks of being away from any in-person fellowship with Pastor Warren Cuppy and fellow elder, Dean Berggren, I wanted to jump up and down when I saw them both yesterday.  In fact, I wanted to run around the building by seeing every brother and sister who walked through the front door.

God, I am grateful that we as Providence Downtown Church could fellowship together, sing together, pray together, study together, and live together.

Thank you, Father of lights.  Every good and perfect gift comes down from you and this is one of the best.

You are rich in mercy.  You have shown your great love to us that even when we were dead in trespasses, you made us alive together (sunezospoiesen), by grace we have been saved. Thank, you, for raising us up together (sunegeiren) and sitting us together (sunexathisen) in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:4-6).

You have given to me in Idaho, not a gift of isolation, but a gift of close connection and intimate togetherness.  Does not this gift reflect who you are, the purest essence of community in unity?

O God!  Who is Father, Son, and Spirit—You are the most glorious God!  I am surrounded and sheltered in your relational love with one new family of faith, hope, and love.  I will never be alone all the rest of my days in Idaho and on through eternity in heaven and the new earth.

I cannot even begin to repay you for this gift handed to me. Thank you, Father, for your love.  Thank you, Son, for your sacrifice. Thank you, Spirit, for your power.

In Jesus’ name, amen.

The prayer of a depressed Idahoan (10)

Dear Lord,

I had my heart set in anticipation of certain events that were to take place on certain days in Idaho Falls, and now this stupid coronavirus has collapsed the materializing of all these celebrations that I had fixed on specific days.

Lord, can I just vent in your presence like Elijah or Jonah?

I think of the phrase in Proverbs 13:12, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick.”

I have been mourning the death of my pursuits of my plans on my calendar. I know, patient and loving Father, that it is a lot of I’s and my’s. Wean me from these childish pronouns in my vocabulary. Free me from my stinking thinking.

It is uncannily amazing, dear God, the number of phone texts that I have been receiving today from brothers and sisters-in-Christ who were not even aware of the downward sloping in my moping. You are merciful with your Idahoan son.

Lord God, I ask that you bring spiritual healing to the community of Montpelier down in Bear Lake County, Idaho.  I thank you that our bottom-three-southeastern Idaho counties of Oneida, Franklin and Bear Lake have not experienced even one publicly confirmed case of the coronavirus. But Father, I believe that because of the shelter-at-home order and other factors in people’s lives, mental depression has been severe for some people.

My heart is grieved to hear that the little town of Montpelier, Idaho has had 5 suicides since April 4, 2020, and with two more under investigation.  Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayers. Rescue eastern Idahoans out of the dark rabbit holes of despair.

God, please bless the police in eastern Idaho as they respond to calls related to domestic violence and the requests for wellness visits. You see how it is happening right in my own neighborhood.

Gracious Healer of my thoughts, I agree with the ancient psalmist,

“Why are you cast down, O my soul! And why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God, for I shall yet praise Him for the help of His countenance. O my God, my soul is cast down within me; therefore, I will remember You from the land of the Jordan, and from the heights of Hermon, from the Hill Mizar. Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; all Your waves and billows have gone over me. The LORD will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me—a prayer to the God of my life” (Psalm 42:6-8).

God, still my heart in you.  You have overseen the Jewish people for 3,000 years through great triumphs and cataclysmic tragedies.  You smile down upon Israel today in their 72nd anniversary as a nation. Some of them remember you today in their land.

And certainly, I will praise you on this very day in Idaho.  As my co-shepherd, Warren Cuppy texted and reminded me about you:

“Your presence and movement through SE Idaho are not held at bay by any pandemic.  Your perfect plan will be accomplished.  You are not isolated in heaven, nor cowering in fear.  You know what You are doing.”

So, whether I am wandering through the lava fields, standing on top of Menan Butte, hiking in Kelly’s Canyon, or standing under the waterfalls of Falls Creek, your lovingkindness and mercy are the two hound dogs of heaven pursuing me every day and all the rest of the days of my life in eastern Idaho.  Thank you.

God, you are good.  You are the perfect light in my short-sightedness.  And you are perfect love in my isolation.

In Jesus’ name,


Vision 2020: Eyes opened on the Emmaus Road

I believe that the Emmaus Road account in Luke 24 is a terrific story for Vision 2020.

Here is the text in the Holy Gospel:

The Road to Emmaus

13 Now behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened. 15 So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. 16 But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him. 17 And He said to them, “What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?” 18 Then the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to Him, “Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?” 19 And He said to them, “What things?” So they said to Him, “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, 20 and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him. 21 But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened. 22 Yes, and certain women of our company, who arrived at the tomb early, astonished us. 23 When they did not find His body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said He was alive. 24 And certain of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but Him they did not see.” 25 Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” 27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.

The Disciples’ Eyes Opened

28 Then they drew near to the village where they were going, and He indicated that He would have gone farther. 29 But they constrained Him, saying, “Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.” And He went in to stay with them. 30 Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight. 32 And they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” 33 So they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34 saying, “The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 And they told about the things that had happened on the road, and how He was known to them in the breaking of bread.


I could highlight this resurrection story by dividing it into two parts: (1) Eyes restrained (vv. 13-27) and (2) Eyes opened (vv. 28-35)

Eyes Restrained (vv. 13-27)

After Jesus’ crucifixion and burial, disciples on the road to Emmaus outside of Jerusalem are walking sadly and discussing the recent events with one another.  Jesus appears to them and asks them what is going on.  His questions draw out their love and devotion to the Messiah but also their confusion and despair.

In verse 16, Luke mentions Cleopas and his friend, that “their eyes were restrained (prevented – krateo), so that they did not know (recognize – epiginowsko) Him.”

Amid political events and personal trials, it is sometimes a struggle to see with spiritual eyes the face of Jesus. So much of our confusion in this physical world tends to cloud our spiritual vision of the Savior.

It is interesting that they refer to the third day in verse 21.

Howard Marshall remarks,

“The reference to the third day appears to reflect the Jewish belief that by the fourth day the soul had left the body (Jn. 11:39), or possibly a dim memory that Jesus had spoken enigmatically of something happening on the third day. From a literary point of view, it prepares the way for the coming miracle (Creed, 296).

The two disciples have a lot of knowledge and experiences, but the pieces of the puzzle have not yet been fitting together. I am very thankful that in our struggles and lack of understanding, Jesus walks with us and encourages us to go back to the sure footing of promises in the Bible.  And his rebukes are gentle.  He does not abandon us.

“And certain of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said: but Him they did not see. Then he said to them, ‘O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?’ And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself” (v. 24-27).

Did Jews understand that the Messiah prophesied in the Old Testament would go through immense suffering?

Howard Marshall suggests,

“But it is not clear whether pre-Christian Judaism expected the Messiah (2:26; et al.; 24:46) to suffer . . . At best the expectation can hardly have been a widespread one, but the evidence is hard to assess since there is good reason to suppose that anti-Christian polemic has led to suppression of some of the evidence.”

So, what should we see in Moses’ Torah?  The Pentateuch? The first five books of the Bible? Alfred Plummer connects certain texts and images in these opening books with Christ: “Such prophecies as Gen. iii. 15, xxii. 18; Num. xiv. 17; Deut. xviii. 15, and such types as the scape-goat, the manna, the brazen serpent, and the sacrifices, are specially meant. Comp. Acts viii. 35.”

And yet how many people like Thomas were full of doubts and did not see and understand?

Darrell L. Bock answers,

“Still others went to the tomb and found it empty, but they did not see Jesus. This empirical note seems to be key for the two, since it seems they are not yet convinced that Jesus has been raised from the dead. Thomas gets all the contemporary press as a doubter of the resurrection, but Luke 24 makes it clear that he was merely one of a crowd, including these two followers. Like modern people in their skepticism, they will be persuaded only if they actually see Jesus. As readers we almost want to yell at the two, ‘Take a close look!’ . . . Do not be skeptical as these men were.  Remember what God required of the Messiah: suffering, then vindication in exaltation. . . . The disciples have been slow to believe. They have not read Isaiah 52-53 or Psalm 16 with understanding, not to mention Deuteronomy 18:15, Psalm 2:7, Psalm 110:1, Psalm 118 or Daniel 7:13-14.”

We need to walk with the perfect Teacher, open our hearts to his words, and focus solely on hearing him. Don’t you think that during this time of social distancing and isolation, it is a golden opportunity to walk with Jesus and hear him?

Norval Geldenhuys shares,

“And then the Saviour, who knows the Word of God perfectly, because of His intimate union with the Spirit who is its Primary Author, expounded to them in broad outline all the Scriptures that referred to Him, from the first books of the Old Testament and right through to the end. With burning hearts (verse 32), but still unaware that it was Jesus Himself who was teaching them, they listened to His incomparable exposition of the deepest contents of the Old Testament. And thus, they learned that everything that had happened to the Saviour was in agreement with the prophetic Word and that He would still be revealed as Conqueror.”

When I get to heaven someday, I will ask Jesus if he could share with me all over again what he taught the men on the road to Emmaus. I agree with G. Campbell Morgan who wrote,

I never read this without having the feeling that I would have given anything to travel that road and hear what He had to say.  One could almost imaginatively follow some of the things as one thinks of the Old Testament.  They listened to this Stranger as He took their own sacred writings and interpreted to them their deepest meaning. They listened to Him as He revealed to them the profoundest depths in the suggestive ritual of the Mosaic economy, as he breathed in their ears the secret of the love which lay at the heart of the ancient law.  They listened to Him as He traced the Messianic note in the music of all the prophets; showing that He was David’s King, “fairer then the children of men,” and in the days of Solomon’s well-doing, He was “the altogether lovely” One. He was Isaiah’s Child-King with a shoulder strong enough to bear the government; and the name Emmanuel, gathering within itself all the excellencies. He was Jeremiah’s “Branch of Righteousness, executing justice and righteousness in the land.” He was Ezekiel’s “Plant of renown,” giving shade and giving fragrance. He was Daniel’s stone cut without hands, smiting the image, becoming a mountain, and filling the whole earth. He was the ideal Israel of Hosea, “growing as the lily,” “casting out His roots as Lebanon.” To Joel, the Hope of the people, and the Strength of the children of Israel; and the Usherer in of the vision of Amos, of the “Plowman overtaking the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed;” and of Obadiah the “Deliverance upon Mount Zion and holiness;” the Fulfillment of that of which Jonah was but a sign. He was the “turning again” to God, of which Micah spoke. He was the One Nahum saw upon the mountains publishing peace. He was the Anointed of Whom Habakkuk sang as “going forth for salvation.” He was the One Who brought to the people the pure language of Zephaniah’s message, the true Zerubbabel of Haggai’s word, for ever rebuilding the house of God; Himself the dawn of the day when “Holiness—shall be upon the bells of the horses,” as Zechariah foretold; and He the “Refiner,” sitting over the fire, “the Sun of Righteousness” of Malachi’s dream (emphasis mine).

William Hendricksen chimes in,

“Jesus may have interpreted such passages as Gen. 3:15; 9:26; 12:3; 22:18; 49:10; Exod. 12:13; Num. 24:17; Deut. 18:15, 18; II Sam. 7:12,13; Ps. 2:2; 22:1, 18; 45:11; 68:18; 69:20, 21; 72:8, 9; 110:1; 118:22; 132:11; Isa. 2:4; 7:14; 8:8, 10; 9:1, 2, 6, 7; 11:10; 25:8; 28:16; 35:5, 6; 42:1; 49:6; 52:14; ch. 53; 55:4; 59:16; Jer. 23:5; Ezek. 17:22; Dan. 2:24, 35, 44; 7:13, 14; 9:25; Mic. 5:2; Hag. 2:6-9; Zech. 3:8; 6:12 f.; 9:9; 11:12; 12:10; 13:7; Mal. 3:1.  But the Old Testament picture of the Messiah is not confined to a number of specific passages. As I have shown earlier there are, as it were, four lines, which, running through the Old Testament from beginning to end, converge at Bethlehem and Calvary: the historical, typological, psychological, and prophetical. It is reasonable to believe that our Lord, in interpreting in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself, showed how the entire Old Testament, in various ways, pointed to himself. See also Acts 10:43.”

Godet relates,

“Jesus had before Him a grand field, from the Protoevangelium down to Mal. iv. In studying the Scriptures for Himself, He had found Himself in them everywhere (John v. 39, 40). He had now only to let this light which filled His heart ray forth from Him.”

Where do we see? And in what areas today, do we have trouble seeing?

Where can we turn to see the foreshadowing of the Messiah to come? Is it not in every book of the Old Testament?

Lord, help us to behold Your wonders when we open up and read the Old Testament.

Eyes Opened (vv. 28-35)

Then they drew near to the village where they were going, and he indicated that He would have gone farther. But they constrained Him, saying, ‘Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.’ And He went in to stay with them” (vv. 28-29).

During this COVID-19 season, are we pressing into the heart of Jesus with our prayers to Him?  Do we want more of Him in our thoughts and in our hearts?

Plummer and Godet emphasize:

  • “He began to take leave of them, and would have departed, had they not prayed Him to remain. Comp. His treatment of the disciples on the lake (Mk. vi. 48), and of the Syrophenician woman (Mk. vii. 27). Prayers are part of the chain of causation” (emphasis mine).
  • “Every gift of God is an invitation to claim a greater. But most men stop very quickly on this way; and thus, they never reach the full blessing (2 Kings xiii. 14-19).”

Norval Geldenhuys concludes,

“If the men of Emmaus had not invited Jesus into their home, He would have passed on, and how poor would love their lives have been then! But because He had spoken to them thus on the way, their hearts burned with love with Him and they invited Him in and thus received the richest blessings, even the Lord Himself as the Living King of their lives. How often does he address us also on life’s way. And He still desires to enter where he is invited.”

Today, we invite you, Jesus, in our homes, to teach us, and to abide with us. We need you.  We love you.

“Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened, and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight” (vv. 30-31).

William Hendricksen asks,

  1. How was it that in the breaking of the bread they suddenly recognized him?
  2. Did they see the marks of the nails in his hands?
  3. Was it the manner in which he broke the bread and gave it to them that opened their eyes?
  4. Or was it the way he spoke to his Father that refreshed their memories?

Darrell L. Bock points out,

“It is in the intimacy of fellowship that Jesus is recognized. This setting is no mistake; it is a major Lukan theme.  Many of the resurrection appearances he describes are associated with table fellowship (Lk 24:41-43; Acts 1:4; 10:41; also Jn 21:9-15). . . . It is through sitting with Jesus and listening to him that we get to know him” (emphasis mine).

Take the time today to sit with Jesus and listen to Him this week.

We love you, Lord.  Open our eyes. In your name, we pray, amen.

The prayer of a prayer-less Idahoan (9)

Dear God,

Forgive me for not talking to you more. I am sorry that it has taken a COVID-19 pandemic in the world to bring about this resolution in my heart.

Lord, I am resolved to make conversation with you my number one priority.

First, I am committed to keeping a prayer journal until the day I die.

Second, help me to be still before you in these new daily rhythms of personal prayer that you are developing in my life. Let me begin and end every day in conversation with you.  And may my public prayer be simply an overflow of my private communion with you.

Third, help me to be rigidly fixed on the fact that every church meeting, whether big or small, must be a prayer meeting in your presence.

Fourth, as I have learned from the Shepherd of the Falls Lutheran Church family, I ask that in every Sunday church service there be granted the opportunity for any of the Church family to publicly and audibly lift up names of people in intercession before you.

Fifth, I pray that you would use me in my feeble weakness to promote among others the fundamental and vital importance that the Church needs to pray.

Thank you, that I can talk to you, loving Father.  This is the greatest privilege of my life.

In Jesus’ name, amen.


The Early Church in Eagle Rock, Idaho


“I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock, I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” – Matthew 16:18

“For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.”  – Matthew 18:20

The Early Church in Eagle Rock

If 1865 is taken as the date of the beginning of Eagle Rock, then for the first 19 years of our community, the church met in homes and businesses and outdoor locations, as the first church building was not completed until November 1884.  But lack of church buildings did not hinder the early church in Eagle Rock.  In the 1860s and 1870s, circuit-riding preachers held meetings at Taylor’s Bridge.  Historian and former Idaho Falls mayor, Barzilla Clark notes,

“These gospel itinerants had personal contacts with nearly every man, woman, and child in their territory and were welcome visitors in any home or any group.”

Not that there were that many people here in those early years; the 1870 census shows only 23 dwellings and 75 people in the whole Upper Snake River District, Eagle Rock Post Office of Idaho Territory, an area that included much more than Eagle Rock itself. By 1880, the population of the Eagle Rock and Willow Creek Districts of the county had grown to 250 people.

The first meeting of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Eagle Rock was held in the home of James Richie on August 12, 1881. An article reviewing the history of Idaho Falls published in 1907 claims that the first church service in Eagle Rock was held in the home of Rebecca Mitchell, presumably in 1882, the year she arrived in the community.  The author of that story must have been unaware of the earlier Episcopal service, but undisputed is the fact that both were held in homes. In the fall of 1882, the first service held in Eagle Rock by a Methodist minister, Rev. F. A. Riggin, a missionary from Montana, was also held in a home.  Trinity Methodist Church was organized the following year and met in homes and later the school building until the Baptist Church completed their building in 1884, where they met for a time. The second church building erected in Idaho Falls was the Presbyterian Church in 1892.

So in the early years of our community, the church met in homes, and the first meetings of the early churches were in homes, as has been the case also for some of the newest churches in Idaho Falls.

No review of the early churches in Idaho Falls, or even the history of Eagle Rock, would be complete without mentioning the contributions of Rebecca Mitchell.  One history of Idaho Falls written in 1907 tersely summarized her 26 years as a resident of Eagle Rock and Idaho Falls as:

Rebecca Mitchell was the first school teacher, also the first Sunday school teacher, the first missionary, the founder of the Baptist church, and the first woman to be the chaplain of any legislature body in the world.

Another article, written in 1934, calls her “the guiding influence in all civic and social reforms in Idaho 30 and 40 years ago.” An Idaho Falls historian writes, “It seems that Mrs. Mitchell is identified with every good and noble work done in our city,” and then goes into detail about them. When she died in 1908, the newspaper opened the story of her life with,

Her death ends a long and useful career, she having been before the public in this state, working in the interests of right and justice for over a quarter of a century.

We’ve put her story as she wrote it herself in our book Jesus in Idaho Falls.* I’ve recently compiled a bibliography that lists one hundred and seventy-three sources of information about her, and I’m working on condensing this information into a story that will supplement what she wrote about herself.  I just want to mention a few things about her life and death.

When Rebecca Mitchell was 14, her mother died, forcing her to drop out of school and take on responsibilities caring for younger siblings and assuming more of the never-ending chores of a family farm in the 1840s. Married at age 19, four years later her husband died, leaving her with two sons, ages 1 and 3, which she raised by herself for the next 12 years. She then remarried and had two daughters, one of whom died at age 5.  God used these apparent tragedies to build into her the fortitude, courage, faith, and convictions that would she would need fulfilling her calling in the frontier town of Eagle Rock.

Rebecca Mitchell died in Idaho Falls in 1908 of a contagious disease, at age 74. The symptoms of this disease are almost identical to those of coronavirus, and like our present pandemic, her disease has a latent form in which no symptoms are manifest, but can later turn into the active, contagious form.

Tuberculosis confined Rebecca Mitchell to her bed for much of the last three years of her life.  But perhaps the best statement of her legacy is contained in this newspaper report, written well into her sickness but still 7 months before her death:

The W.C.T.U. will meet on Wednesday at 2:30 at the M. E. parsonage. It has been meeting for many months with Mrs. Rebecca Mitchell, in her room of sickness, and on this occasion it will repair to its usual place if thought best when the time comes.  Though confined to her room, and suffering much, Mrs. Mitchell does not lose her strong grip on all affairs relating to the welfare of her fellowmen.  She still prays and toils for the triumph of the right and the overthrow of evil, and she is not one who lives in vain.  Institutions and men which stand in the way of Rebecca Mitchell’s prayer and God will sooner or later come to grief.  They had better stand aside, for her God is the God of Moses and her faith is like that of Daniel.

Whether in sickness or health, may we follow Mrs. Rebecca Mitchell’s example of prayer and toiling for the kingdom of God.

Charles Barnes

For her own account of her life, see Section 5.2.1, Glimpses From My Life by Rebecca Brown Mitchell,