News From The Ranch – August 1999

News From The Ranch

Celebrating one year of Internet broadcasts, plus emails from guests. Also includes the “Keep Your Fork” story.

Pastor John Evans from Wales joins me on "Live From The Ranch," our weekly Internet broadcast.

Pastor John Evans from Wales joins me on “Live From The Ranch,” our weekly Internet broadcast.

One Year of Broadcasts

We had some special guests at our house last weekend who came all the way from Wales!

Pastor John Evans and his wife Jennifer began watching our Internet broadcasts earlier in the year from their home in Wales. We’ve corresponded via the Internet ever since. They happened to be traveling in the U.S. for a few weeks, so they spent the weekend with us here at The Ranch. (I was sure to remind them that The Ranch only exists on the Internet and not to expect their own cabin in the woods when they got here!)

We had a great weekend and they joined me on the live broadcast on Sunday night. It underscored to me that even though our ministry is based on the Internet, it has a very “real life” component with “real life” people. The Internet is often simply the first point of contact.

In just a few weeks we’ll have completed our first full year of broadcasting a live weekly message over the Internet. We’ve had several guests on the broadcast this past year and hope to include more in the future. The topics range from sex to betrayal, from healing to faith. And every week, we also give an opportunity for people to put their faith in Christ.

If you’d like to see any of the messages, just click here.

E-Mails

Each week after the broadcast, we open the chat room at The Ranch to people who want to talk or pray in a one-on-one setting.

This past week a man came by the chat room who had been participating in illicit chat and porn sites on the Internet. We talked and prayed and he wrote back the next day: “I thank God for you and the fact that you took the time to talk and pray for me last night! I slept well last night and know that the Lord is going to deliver me from this abomination that I have participated in.”

Another man, who had been struggling with homosexuality, came to us several months ago for prayer and wisdom. He wrote this week and said, “I feel as though I am living a different life now. I can’t tell you the relief I feel. My burden has been lifted!”

Still another man wrote this week after reading one of the testimonies on our site: “I have felt that I had no one to talk to. I accidentally ran across this site and begin to explore. Tears have welled up in my eyes and I now feel that I have hope. I always tried to think that I wasn’t the only one who was going through this, but now I know I’m not, and I now feel that I have the strength to try even harder. Thank you again.”

Although he thought he found the site “accidentally,” I attribute it to your faithful prayers that God would draw people to The Ranch so they can find their way back to Christ. So thank you so much for I know that this fruit will be credited to your account also! (Philippians 4:17).

We’ve recently added several new testimonies to the site, so if you haven’t visited lately, take a look at the section called Read a Story. You’ll find touching stories from people around the world who have written to tell how Christ has changed their lives. Also, if you have a story you want to share about how Christ has changed your life, just send it to me on the contact form.

Opportunities to Speak

I like preaching on the Internet, but there’s nothing like talking to people face to face! I’ve been receiving more invitations lately to preach at churches and special events here in town and in the surrounding area.

I’m especially thankful for the variety of churches that have asked me to speak, as I feel God has given me a message that applies to people of all backgrounds.

Some of these include:

  • First Baptist Church
  • Primitive Methodist Church
  • Park Presbyterian Church
  • Open Bible Fellowship
  • First United Methodist Men’s Group
  • Community-Wide Good Friday Service
  • First United Family Camp (Gridley, IL)
  • First Presbyterian Church (Chenoa, IL)

If you ever need a guest speaker for a church service, retreat, or other event, let me know! I’d love to come be with you in person to encourage you that God is real, alive, and active in the world today.

The Best is yet to Come

Before I close, I wanted to share with you a story that reminds us all that there’s more to life than just this life.

There was a woman who had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and had been given 3 months to live. As she was getting her things “in order,” she contacted her pastor and had him come to her house to discuss her final wishes.

She told him which songs she wanted sung at the service, what scriptures she would like read, and what outfit she wanted to be buried in.

Everything was in order. The pastor was preparing to leave when the woman suddenly remembered something very important to her.

“There’s one more thing,” she said excitedly.

“What’s that?” came the pastor’s reply.

She said, “I want to be buried with a fork in my right hand.” The pastor stood looking at the woman, not knowing quite what to say.

The woman explained. “In all my years of attending church socials and potluck dinners, I always remember that when the dishes from the main course were being cleared, someone would inevitably lean over and say, ‘Keep your fork.’ It was my favorite part because I knew that something better was coming…like velvety chocolate cake or deep-dish apple pie. So, when people see me in there in that casket with a fork in my hand, and they wonder what it’s for, I want you to tell them, “Keep your fork…the best is yet to come!”

Our faith in Christ can certainly help us here on earth, but ultimately, our faith in Christ is for much more than that. As the apostle Paul said, “If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men” (1 Corinthians 15:19).

The simple gospel (good news) is that God has given us hope for a future. Jesus died for our sins so that those who believe in him would not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

If you’ve already put your faith in Christ, remember, “the best is yet to come.” And if you’ve never put your faith in Christ, there’s not a better day to do it than today. As the writer of Hebrews reminds us, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts” (Hebrews 4:7).

Please Pray with Us

Several of you sent us notes after the last newsletter to say that you would commit to pray for us for 30 days. Thank you for that commitment, and thanks, too, for those who sent in additional gifts to help us out financially. We appreciate you standing with us.

Thank you Lord,

  • for creating a way, via the Internet, to reach out with your love to people around the world;
  • for the opportunities to speak to people face to face;
  • and for raising up more people to pray for and support this ministry.

And Lord, we now ask:

  • for more opportunities to speak to as many people as we can;
  • to raise up still more people to support us in this effort;
  • and for still more people to find their way to The Ranch so they can find their way to You.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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