7 THINGS YOU’LL WANT TO KNOW
by Eric Elder
From time to time, I like to update you with what’s going on in our ministry, some of which are exciting things coming up that you’ll want to know about, and others are just things on my heart that I’d love to share with you, but don’t get a chance in my regular messages.
So here are 7 things on my heart this week that I think you’ll want to know:
1. THANK YOU!
I’d like to start by saying, “WE HAVE THE BEST SUBSCRIBERS EVER!” You all are so encouraging all throughout the year.
So often, I wish I could just sit down with each one of you over lunch, hear how God is working in your life and encourage each other in our faith. But even if we can’t sit down in person, I still feel like we’re able to connect in a very personal way–even if we’re physically half way around the world.
This week we’ve heard from 45 of you in 7 countries and 17 states, including the UK, New Zealand, Sweden, Singapore, Canada and Luxembourg, as well here in the US (FL, TX, CO, IL, NC, PA, IN, MT, CA, SC, WI, NV, GA, MI, TN, VA, MO; for those of you not so familiar with our states, that’s from the west coast to the east, the far north to the south, and several places in between!)
Here are just a few of the notes we’ve received this week, along with about $4,300 in donations, as we’ve just started our annual fundraiser to help us keep going through the coming year:
“It’s not much but it is regular. Thank you so much for all you do, I find it such a daily blessing and have shared it with friends.” Lydia from New Zealand
“Thank you for all you do and your hard work, it is much appreciated! May God continue to bless you and this ministry!” Nicole from Pennsylvania
“Hold Him High!” Bob from Florida
“Thank you for the everyday ministry, we need more of these kind of ministries.” Doug from Minnesota
“Thank you for everything, I send this donation with much gratitude and love to you all for the service you provide.” Alex from the UK
And even those of you who aren’t able to send a donation are just as generous with your words, such as these from a subscriber in Spain:
“As a pensioner, I have to manage on a very strict budget. So, you will understand that, much as I appreciate your messages and sermons, I have great difficulty in supporting causes away from my own community. I wish you well in your efforts to raise the funds to expand the good work you do.”
So in this month of thanksgiving, thank YOU for your gifts, your words and your ongoing prayers. You’re simply the BEST SUBSCRIBERS EVER!
(If you’d like to make a donation, too, just visit http://theranch.org/make-a-donation . And if you’d like to make a donation and choose a thank-you gift at the same time, just visit http://theranch.org/bookstore . Thank you!)
2. COMING NEXT WEEK: ST. NICHOLAS!
When I published our story of St. Nicholas last year as a series in the weeks leading up to Christmas, I had no idea the response would be so overwhelming! At the end of the series, we received nearly 50 4-and 5-star reviews of the story on Amazon, and nearly 100 orders for the book in paperback… even though we didn’t publish the paperback until after Christmas and we had already published the book online for free!
So for those of you who weren’t able to read it last year, and those of you who did who want to read it again as you lead up to Christmas this year, I’ll begin publishing the series again every Sunday in this spot for the next 6 weeks, finishing on Christmas Eve. I’ve also just learned that the book was chosen by the editors at Amazon as one of their “Favorite Books Of The Year” for 2014, so thank you for all of your positive reviews and attracting the attention of the editors at Amazon!
And if you’d like a copy in paperback, rather than just reading it online, I’d be glad to send you one for a donation of any size to our ministry from our bookstore (http://theranch.org/bookstore), or you order a copy (or multiple copies as gifts) directly from Amazon at this link: http://amzn.to/1llznmj . All proceeds from the sale of this book (after printing and shipping) go directly back into our ministry to help share the good news of Christ with even more people.
3. ST. NICHOLAS IN SPANISH!
New for this year, and with the help of my Cuban-born friend and teacher, Victor Palomino, I’m happy to announce that we’ve finished a Spanish edition of St. Nicholas: The Believer, called San Nicolás: El Creyente.
This is the first book we’ve produced that we’ve translated into another language, and I’m so thankful to Victor for taking on this project, as it will open up the story of St. Nicholas to a whole new audience this year.
I’ll also include a link to the Spanish Edition when I start publishing the series next week so you can read along in Spanish if you’d like. And if you’d like a copy in paperback, you can also order the Spanish Edition for a donation of any size to our ministry through our bookstore http://theranch.org/bookstore or get it directly from Amazon at this link: http://amzn.to/1CIy06w .
(And if you’re a native Spanish speaker, please help us by sending us any edits or corrections that could help make the book even better… just let us know as you read along!)
4. ST. NICHOLAS IN AUDIO!
I’ve also created an audio version of St. Nicholas this year, so you can listen along as I read the story to you. The audiobook is broken into 7 20-30 minute segments, or 40 5-6 minute chapters, so you can enjoy the book in part or in whole (the whole book is 3 hours and 15 minutes).
This is the first audiobook I’ve created of any of my books, and I’ve even enjoyed listening to the story again myself! I’ll include links to the audio version as I publish the series as well.
5. ST. NICK ILLUSTRATION CONTEST!
And to make the book even better, we’d love to include some illustrations on each of the section headings. This isn’t a contest so much as it is an opportunity for artists and aspiring illustrators to stretch their skills and get their artwork published in a real, live book! We’re wanting to add 7 illustrations to be used at the beginning of each of the 7 sections of the book, so if you have a knack for drawing and would like to submit 7 drawings, we’d love to see them and give others a chance to see them as well.
All you have to do is read the story of St. Nick as we publish it each week, then submit a drawing that captures or reflects a significant moment from that section of the series.
For everyone who submits all 7 black-and-white illustrations (one for each section of the book) we’ll send you a complimentary paperback copy of St. Nicholas: The Believer with YOUR illustrations included in it! We’ll also create a special link where you can order extra copies of your personalized edition for your family and friends.
The drawings don’t have to be completed and turned in until January 10th, 2015 (and your personalized books won’t be ready to print until sometime thereafter, but will be great for next Christmas!) So if you love to draw, we’d love to give you a chance to showcase your work. We’ll have more details for you when we start publishing the series next week.
6. THE RANCH APP!
I’m just putting the finishing touches on our new Ranch app for iPhones, iPods, iPads and Android devices. It’s exciting to see all that we’ve been able to pack into this app that you can hold in your hand!
We’ve included all of our daily posts, with notifications whenever new quotes and messages are available, plus all of our books (17 and counting), all of our music (15 CD’s and counting), all of our videos (including 30 short videos recorded live famous sites in Israel), audio podcasts of our daily posts, a place to post your prayer requests and pray for others, AND, perhaps the most significant of all, our entire collection of inspirational quotes, organized by categories, and updated daily with every new quote added!
If you have a smartphone, you’ll be able to read, watch, listen to and enjoy all of our faith-boosting content wherever you are, with a simple click or two, whether you’re standing in line, waiting at a doctor’s office, laying down at night, or just going through your day. I’ve loved using it myself and even looking up quotes, even moments before I have to get up and speak, because it’s just so convenient.
We’ll be making the app available free of charge to anyone who wants it. But I can tell you, after months of making it, it’s been no small feat to get it working so seamlessly and on so many devices! But I think you’ll see the effort has been well worth it, and I’m looking forward to announcing soon when it will be available.
(Please pray for the successful completion of this project and its quick approval on the app stores. With so many apps in the world, it may seem like it must be fairly straightforward and easy to make one and get it approved, but the practical and technical complexities to make it so easy are more than I could imagine! Your prayers are truly helpful and needed!)
7. 4 NEW QUOTE BOOKS!
And lastly, as we announced last week, we’ve just completed 4 new quote books, with orders already coming in. The books turned out to be incredibly beautiful, and Greg (who has compiled all of these quotes over the years) and I have often found ourselves stopping in the midst of editing the books just to contemplate and enjoy the quotes over and over again.
It’s hard to read so many inspiring quotes by Christian authors throughout the ages (from the 2nd century to today) and not be struck by the profound thoughts they are able to convey in just a few short sentences.
The first book is called “15 Years of This Day’s Thought,” and is our largest collection of Christian-inspired quotes yet, containing over 1700 quotes, organized into 40 categories. It’s a big book, 8”x10”x3/4”, and is great for reading whenever you need encouragement, or looking for quotes on certain topics (like anger, forgiveness, joy or life), or just thumbing through and plumbing the depths of these thoughts, throughout the day or night.
The other 3 books are smaller quote books (5.5″x8.5″) each containing 101 quotes on the topics of “Prayer,” “Love,” and “Faith,” along with 201 lined pages with an abundance of space to write your own thoughts, prayers or whatever’s on your heart. When I finally got a “proof” copy of the first of these books in the mail, I was so pleased with the look and feel of it, that I just held onto it and carried it around all day!
The books are somehow very warm and inviting, and as someone who likes to write and who has filled up many journals in my lifetime, it feels good to have created a series like this that keeps inviting me to keep on writing. The topical quotes on every other page of the books give me additional food for thought as I write and converse on paper with God.
Even though we’ve just announced these 4 new books this week, we’ve already been getting many orders for them and I’m looking forward to sending as many out as we can. If you’d like a copy of any of these quote books, or any of the other books, CD’s or DVD’s we’ve created at The Ranch, we’ll be glad to send you one for a donation of any size, anywhere in the world. Just choose what you’d like from our bookstore on at this link: http://theranch.org/bookstore
Thanks for reading all these words on my heart this week, and thanks for being such wonderful subscribers with your awesome encouragement all the time! Greg and I both really appreciate it.
Eric Elder, for myself and Greg Potzer
from The Ranch and This Day’s Thought