News From The Ranch – August 1998

The Newsletter of Eric Elder Ministries

Behind-the-scenes at The Ranch, an Internet update, and “Did God really answer that prayer?”

Kirk Albrecht and Eric Elder

Behind the Scenes: Kirk Albrecht and Eric Elder install the main computer for the web site for The Ranch.

From My Heart

I recently felt like George Bailey in the movie It’s a Wonderful Life. Not the scene where he jumps off the bridge. I mean the scene where he runs home shouting, “Mary!! Kids!!” You know, when ZuZu decorates his head with tinsel from the Christmas tree.

For many months we’ve been praying for computer equipment to design and develop the web site for The Ranch. With the help of some friends, Kirk and Kelly Albrecht, we’ve been able to get up and running on some equipment they loaned us. But we continued to pray for exactly what we needed.

Then two weeks ago another couple called to ask how much we needed for the new equipment. I told them between $6,000 and $10,000. Six thousand would be tight, but ten thousand would let us buy exactly what we needed. They said, “That’s confirming because we feel God wants us to send you a check for $10,000!”

If we’d won $10,000 in the lottery, you can bet we’d be telling everyone we knew about it. How much more so when God sends the check in response to our prayers. The Illinois lottery has a slogan: “You’ve gotta play to win.” But I’ve got a better one: “You’ve gotta pray it in.”

It’s been almost a year that we’ve prayed for this equipment. But with all the changes in technology, I can now buy equipment that is three to four times more powerful than what I could have bought last year – and for less money! I’ve heard it said, “God is seldom early, but He is never late.” As we get ready to launch this new web site, I’d have to say He is right on time.

Behind the Scenes

Many people are curious how our broadcasts will work over the Internet. So here’s a “behind the scenes” description.

If you were to visit me in my home, I’d show you the office I’ve set up to do the broadcast. On my desk is a computer, with a microphone and a video camera attached to it.

When I’m ready to broadcast, I dial a local phone number that connects my computer to the Internet. I turn on the camera and microphone and start sending the signal over the phone line.

If I just wanted to broadcast to one person, this would be the extent of the setup. The other person would simply connect to my computer over the Internet. But if hundreds of people wanted to connect to the broadcast at the same time, I’d need hundreds of phone lines into my house, one for each person.

So instead, we’ve placed another computer directly on a high-speed connection to the Internet. This computer sits at a telephone company in Peoria, Illinois. I dial into the Internet locally, then connect to the computer in Peoria and send the broadcast there. It is instantly rebroadcast to anyone who wants to connect to it. The high-speed phone lines allow hundreds of people to connect at the same time.

So what you see in the picture at the top is a rack of computers in Peoria on this high-speed connection. The computer on the bottom rack at the right is The Ranch! A little dull looking from this angle, but when viewed from the Internet, it becomes a spiritual retreat center complete with the sights and sounds of a virtual ranch.

And more importantly, it becomes a place where people from around the world are able to hear about the incredible love of Christ. Come visit sometime at www.theranch.org.

Bringing Faith to Life

Does prayer really work? God did more for us this month than send us $10,000. He reminded me that prayer has the power to change people’s hearts and lives as well.

I received an email from a man in Ireland with a question that was definitely in the “difficult” category. He had become a Christian through the power of Christ, went to church, and could talk the talk about Jesus. But he went on to say that it just wasn’t in his heart. He felt he was always seeking God, but he felt God never listened to his cries. He ended the note with this line: “Well, you can imagine how I feel, living this loop of dread. Is there help for me?”

Every note I get requires much prayer and thought, but this one took days for me to even know where to start. The simple answer is “Of course there’s help for you.” But how could I convey that to this man who knew the answer in his head, but no longer believed it in his heart?

I began to pray for him. And continued to pray for him. I prayed for him when I mowed the lawn. I prayed for him each time I turned on my computer and saw his note. I couldn’t think of a thing to say to him. I just kept praying for him. Three months went by, and I still wasn’t sure what to say to him.

So I sent him a note to tell him to hang in there, and to let him know I was still praying for him.

When he wrote back, I was stunned. He started with “Well, I’ve come a long way in my walk with Jesus.” He went on to describe the changes in his life in the last three months, told me he was going to be baptized on the next Sunday and ended with this:

“your prayers are being heard by God…thank you as a brother and as a friend.”

I shouldn’t have been stunned, but I was. I hadn’t told him one thing about God – I just prayed. So I asked God, “Did my prayers for him really make a difference?”

God responded, “If you don’t think your prayers made a difference, then you’re in the wrong business!!” Thank you, Lord, for that reminder! Of course the prayers made a difference. God has promised us they would.

“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” (Mark 11:24)

We may not always have the words to say to someone, but we can always pray for them.

Please Pray with Us

Thank you Lord,

  • for reminding us that you really do answer prayer,
  • for the computer equipment to share Christ over the Internet,
  • and for stirring more people to support us prayerfully and financially.

And Lord, we now ask:

  • for wisdom to bring together the final pieces of The Ranch.
  • for still more people to support us prayerfully and financially,
  • and for people to find their way to The Ranch so they can find their way to you.

In Jesus’ name, Amen!

Don’t forget to take some time out with God today. If you want to be awed by His great power, take a look at Job 38-42. Lord bless you!

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