News From The Ranch – February 2000

The Newsletter of Eric Elder Ministries

Internet Workshops online, a new song “My Sanctuary,” and quotes from people whose burdens have lifted.

Over 200 pastors, teachers and church workers came to our workshops at a recent conference to learn how they could use the Internet to reach out to the lost and hurting.

Over 200 pastors, teachers and church workers came to our workshops at a recent conference to learn how they could use the Internet to reach out to the lost and hurting.

Learning about the Internet

If you’ve wanted to learn more about the Internet, you might be interested in some workshops I’ve recently developed to help Christians grow in their spiritual walks, as well as to give them more tools to reach out to others.

I presented these workshops last weekend at Equip 2000, a conference in central Illinois for pastors, teachers and church workers. I’ve also created an online, interactive version of each workshop to make them available to as many people as possible over the Internet. Here’s a synopsis of the workshops:

Getting the Most out of the Internet

Learn how to find information online to help you prepare Bible Studies, Sunday School lessons, sermons, etc. plus learn how to get better results from Internet “search engines.”

Your Church on the Internet?

This interactive technology demonstration will spark your thinking about how you might use audio, video, email, chat rooms and more to enhance and expand your current ministry.

Using the Internet Safely

Learn some of the dangers of using the Internet and how to protect yourself and your family while using it. This session will discuss filters, “cookies,” history files and more.

You can find these workshops at www.ericelder.com, a new site I’ve created for this type of material. Each workshop takes about an hour if you do all the exercises, but you can skim through the text and get the highlights in about 5-10 minutes. I’d also be glad to present these workshops at your church or other special event. Just let me know!

Worship at a “Real” Ranch

My good friend Brent invited me to attend a retreat last week at a “real” ranch in Texas. I say “real” because some people visit my website The Ranch and then ask if they can come stay for awhile, not realizing it only exists in cyberspace. So it was good to spend a few days in the hill country of Texas!

One of the highlights for me was to lead a time of worship for the 30 or so who had gathered for the retreat. Over half of the group were worship leaders in their own ministries. Luckily, I didn’t know that until it was too late to get “real” nervous about it. But with all those great worshippers, it turned out to be a very moving time for all of us.

I was also glad to share a new song at the retreat that I wrote called “My Sanctuary.” It’s a song that really helps me to quiet my heart before the Lord. You can listen to the piano version at www.ericelder.com/music/sanctuary.

On a related note, I’ve just put my CD of piano music, Clear My Mind, on a secular music website called MP3.com. My hope is that this will expose more people to music that helps them focus on God.

(Just a note: our ministry receives a donation every time someone listens to one of my songs on their website, so if you want to try it out, go to www.mp3.com/ericelder. You can also buy the CD from their website, but our ministry only gets 50% of the proceeds, whereas if you order it from theranch.org, we receive 100%!)

Prayer and Confession

A man came to our chat room recently to say he wanted to deal with a sin in his life, but he didn’t know how. He told me he’d never told anyone in his life about this sin.

I told him I was glad he had come to talk and pray about it, for prayer and confession is one of the best ways to break the power of sin. The Bible says,

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed” (James 5:16).

I’ve seen this happen countless times, but it still amazes me each time I watch God use prayer and confession to bring peace back to someone’s life.

After talking at length with this man about his situation, he said,

“I am asking God to really give me the strength to overcome this. When I read your story and your prayer [on the website] I got tears in my eyes. I needed to confess all this, and as I said, Eric, I don’t know you but I have to let it go one day and TODAY IS MY DAY.”

He poured out his heart, confessing things he’d done and thought about over the past several years. When he finished, we prayed together and his whole demeanor began to change. He said,

“I feel great Eric, it is a relief that I could confess this to you. I have been holding this back for so long and I am glad that I could do this today. I don’t know how I could thank you for your time and prayer Eric. Thank you so much. I am really glad that you took your time to listen to me and I hope that the ministry that you have started here may blossom and that many more souls my be saved.”

He’s still got a road ahead of him because there are always consequences for sin, but the burden he’ll be carrying is a lot lighter now!

Another man from overseas wrote about some battles going on in his mind. I sent him a long reply with some biblical wisdom about his situation. A few hours later we caught up with each other online and he wrote,

“I was just about to send you a BIG thank you note. I feel so much better right now. Thank you so much for being here for me!”

Another man who lives nearby came to our house to ask for prayer. As he confessed his sins and asked the Holy Spirit to come in and help him be the man he wanted to be, he said,

“What is happening to me?!? I feel so much lighter. It’s like a burden has lifted from me. I’ve never felt like this before. I have waited for this for years.”

He walked out of the house laughing at the new joy he now felt and said,

“I sure wasn’t laughing when I came in.”

He later told me he went to church three times that next Sunday at three different churches because he was so excited and couldn’t get enough of God. Hallelujah!

Amsterdam 2000 Update

In the last newsletter, I wrote that I had been invited to attend Billy Graham’s conference for evangelists in Amsterdam in July of this year, but that I needed to raise $2,200 between now and July in order to attend. I’m glad to report that I’ve received $800 so far towards the cost of this conference and have begun making plans to attend. Thanks so much to those who have encouraged me by their gifts to attend. If you, your church, or Sunday School class would still like to sponsor me to attend this event, please let me know. And if anyone has enough frequent flyer miles that they could donate a ticket from Chicago to Amsterdam, that would further reduce the cost. For more information about the conference, visit www.amsterdam2000.org.

Please Pray With Us

Thanks to all of you who take the time to pray for us. Lana’s doing great in her pregnancy; the best one so far, she says. The June 4th due date is quickly approaching! We also received some generous year-end gifts that have helped us into the new year. We’d still love to have more people join us by giving one-time or monthly gifts to help us reach our support goal.

Please join us in praying:

Thank you Lord,

  • for those who have come to The Ranch and been set free from their sin by the power of Christ,
  • for the opportunities to train others to use the Internet to advance Your kingdom,
  • for the continuing provision to continue this work.

And Lord, we now ask:

  • for more opportunities to train others in Internet ministry,
  • for the remaining funds for the Amsterdam 2000 conference,
  • and for more people to find their way to The Ranch so they can find their way to You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Please note that donations can now be made to our ministry online. It takes less than a minute to complete the transaction and would bless us tremendously.

Donations may also be sent by check to: Eric Elder Ministries, 1305 E. Broadway, Streator, IL 61364. You will receive a tax-deductible receipt. Eric Elder Ministries is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose purpose is to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ throughout the world.

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