News From The Ranch – August 2000

The Newsletter of Eric Elder Ministries

A report from Amsterdam 2000, quotable quotes from Amsterdam speakers, and VBS update.

Franklin Graham at Amsterdam 2000

Franklin Graham, Billy Graham’s son, shares tips with us about how he and his father preach evangelistic messages.

Amsterdam 2000

Thanks so much to everyone who prayed for me and contributed to my trip to the Amsterdam 2000 Conference for Evangelists.

There were 10,267 participants from 209 countries around the world. It was said to be the most international gathering of any kind, whether secular or religious.

As I walked through the hallways at the convention center, I felt like I was “walking among giants” with people like: J.I. Packer, John Stott, Luis Palau, Bill Bright, Franklin Graham, Anne Graham Lotz, Chuck Colson, Joni Erickson Tada, Ravi Zacharias, Rick Warren and a host of others. Their names may not be household words to everyone, but they are the names of some of the most distinguished evangelists and Christian leaders in the world.

For nine days we were exposed to their collective wisdom and inspiration. The purpose was to encourage us in our work, equip us for greater effectiveness, and expand our vision for how God might work through us in the world. I know it did each of those things for me.

But what brought me to tears one afternoon was a thought that came to me while a group of us were praying and thanking God for this experience. The thought was this: as remarkable as it was to “sit at the feet” of these godly men and women and learn from them, isn’t it even more remarkable that any one of us can come to God Himself anytime in prayer to get wisdom directly from Him!

What a privilege to be able to sit at the feet of the King of Kings to ask Him for wisdom to help us through anything.

The Bible says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5, NIV).

I’m grateful for all that I learned from the speakers in Amsterdam, and I’m also grateful that I can come to God anytime through prayer to continue to learn from His wealth of knowledge.

Nuggets of Wisdom

You can still watch the main sessions of the conference at www.amsterdam2000.org. For starters, I’d recommend the messages by Billy Kim, Anne Graham Lotz, and Franklin Graham.

But I also want to share a few of the nuggets of wisdom I heard during the conference.

For instance, Billy Kim said that the Coca-Cola company puts Christians to shame. In the company’s vision statement they say that they see six billion consumers in a thirsty world all being refreshed by Coca-Cola. Their vision is for everyone in the world to have a taste of Coca-Cola by the end of the year 2000. Mr. Kim continued, “Yet we do not have a vision or a strategy to let everybody in this world taste the living water of our Lord Jesus Christ, who said: “But whosoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst.” (John 4:14)

He then quoted C.H. Spurgeon who was once asked, “Can a man be saved if the gospel is not preached to him?” Spurgeon replied, “The real question is: Are we saved if we do not preach the gospel to him?”

The theologian J.I. Packer said that we can be both deep thinkers and simple presenters of the gospel. Billy Graham once told an interviewer, “I study to be simple.”

Greg Laurie said that whenever we preach the gospel, we must leave the results to God, remembering that “the harvest is not at the end of the service, but at the end of the age.”

Joni Erickson Tada spoke from her wheelchair about how she has to call on God for help from the moment she wakes up in the morning. She then added that she wonders if those with the real handicap are those who think they can get up and go through their entire day without ever calling on God for help.

Gerry Gallimore said that Jesus told a religious leader of his day, “You must be born again” (John 3:7, NIV), reminding us that a person can be religious, yet still unconverted. Mr. Gallimore then boldly, but gracefully said, “Could it be that there are some here who have not yet made Jesus Christ Lord of your life? Brothers and sisters, you and I need to be born again! How are we to introduce anyone to Jesus Christ if we do not ourselves have a personal experience of His saving grace.”

Ajith Fernando of Sri Lanka said that Christians are sometimes charged with arrogance because of Jesus’ claim to be the only way to God when he said, “No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Mr. Fernando said, “The real arrogance is for we humans to reject our Creator.” Then he added, “If we [Christians] don’t share the answer we’ve found, we are selfish.”

And finally, Luis Palau shared that as a teenager he wanted to preach but he was hesitant. His mother asked him what he was waiting for and he said, “I’m waiting for ‘the call.’” His mother said, “The Call?!? The Call?!? The call went out 2,000 years ago!! The Lord is waiting for the answer, not for the call!!”

Going Forward

God spoke to me frequently though the speakers at the conference and also through some of the other participants with whom I shared meals and tram rides to and from our hotels. The call has gone out, and I am committed more than ever to go forward in answer to it. Thanks again to those who made it possible for me to go to this once-in-a-lifetime conference.

Vacation Bible School

Thanks, too, for those of you who prayed about my opportunity to speak at our church’s Vacation Bible School. Because I was in Amsterdam the same week as VBS, I taped my segments about missions which were played to the kids each day.

When I returned, I heard that a record number of kids had attended, and that they were indeed impacted by the missions segments. They even raised over $1,500 for missions to help us in our Internet outreach! They also helped to write jokes and stories to include on our new gospel website for kids. You’ll be able to see it soon at www.kidsranch.org.

Please Pray with Us

Lana and I really appreciate and value your prayers. They do make a difference.

Thank you, Lord,

  • for the prayers and support of those who helped make it possible for me to go to Amsterdam 2000,
  • for the words You spoke to me during the conference,
  • and for moving on the hearts of kids to get involved in missions.

And Lord, we now ask

  • for your continued inspiration as we go forward in ministry,
  • for creativity as I create this new gospel website for kids around the world,
  • and for people to find their way to The Ranch (and The Kid’s Ranch!) so they can find their way to You. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

Donations

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