News From The Ranch – April 1998

The Newsletter of Eric Elder Ministries

A new ministry and a new project, a family picture, and the ways God speaks to us through everyday things.

Eric Elder Family 1998

Eric Elder Family 1998

From My Heart

It feels great to write this letter to you and let you know we have formally established our own ministry, Eric Elder Ministries.

We got word last week from the Secretary of State’s office that the incorporation process was complete. When we got the news we were ready to celebrate! This is an answer to many prayers over the years, many of them your prayers, so we know you’ll celebrate with us! Thanks so much.

We’ve enclosed a brochure which describes the ministry in more detail. The bottom line of the ministry is to share the message of Christ throughout the world using any and all means. Our primary focus for the next few years will be an Internet outreach called The Ranch, hence the name of this newsletter.

We’d like to send you this newsletter from time to time to keep you updated, as well as to encourage you in your own faith. I’ve included a section on the back called Bringing Faith to Life to encourage you that God is alive and active today.

Back Home Again

We moved back to Illinois on March 1st after a year and a half in Dallas. Our time there was fruitful, but it’s always nice to come home again.

We moved to a town called Streator into the house where Lana’s Mom grew up. After several years of renting it out to people, her Mom asked us if we’d like to live there and restore it to its original condition.

It’s been a fun project for me, especially to see it take shape before my eyes. Maybe that’s why Jesus liked carpentry work in addition to ministry.

Lana’s Lament

When I asked Lana to write a section for this newsletter she said, “What would I say? And what would I call it? Lana’s Lament?!?”

With three kids at home, another due in June and taking care of me, I thought it was a good title! So Lana, with that in mind the keyboard’s yours…

There are a lot of times I really do feel like saying, “Woe is me. My house is a mess from the move, I’m tired and I’m getting too large for only being 7 months pregnant. My children will have to make new friends. I haven’t even started to teach my children Spanish as a second language. They’ll never make it to college. ” And I could go on and on.

But the Lord shows me yet again that my focus is way off. I’m so worried about me that I forget to look at all He’s done.

He has taken us through some difficult times. I am so thankful for a house to live in. My prayers for another child have been answered so I don’t really care how large I get. When it all comes down to it, my children will be just fine. God is watching out for them just as He is for me.

The book of Lamentations says,

“I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.’ The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him; it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.”

I believe it’s okay to cry out to God in the difficult times. But I don’t get too far before I realize once again how good he is – really good. Then I pray that I will have the strength to wait quietly for his salvation here on earth and in eternity.

Bringing Faith to Life

Billy Graham was asked, “How do you know there’s a God?” He answered, “Because I talked with him this morning.”

Last month God spoke to me as I lived out my own version of the showdown between Elijah and 450 false prophets. Although this talks about how God answers prayer, the best part was that he spoke to me as he answered my prayer…

I had been praying that our house would sell between February 15th and February 28th – a two week window of time — and less than two months away. I knew it was a tough request to fulfill.

But three weeks later, we had a buyer. We closed on February 26th, packed up the truck on the 27th, and pulled out of town on February 28th.

Yet I still wondered if it was God or just a coincidence, so I asked the Lord to confirm to me if this was truly an answer to my prayer. A few days later, I received this letter from a realtor who had seen our “For sale by owner” sign. She wrote:

It’s now been a couple of weeks since you began trying to sell your house by yourself, and for your sake I do hope you will be successful–although the odds are not with you.

I say this because currently in this area there are some 470 full-time real estate professionals who are working 7 days a week to sell homes like yours. Yet even with so many professionals on the job, it is still taking an average of 30-120 days to get a listed home sold. Now, if it takes 470 full-time professionals over 4 months to get a house sold, how long will it take you — working part-time by yourself?

She was right, I worked part-time. But God worked overtime! Immediately I thought of Elijah and the false prophets, so I looked up the story in I Kings 18. It’s a great story – you should take a look at it yourself if you need some encouragement.

The story said that Elijah challenged 450 false prophets to a showdown. He even shouted at them at one point saying there was only one of him but 450 of them (close enough to the 470 realtors mentioned in the letter that it gave me goosebumps).

After the false prophets spent the whole day shouting and dancing and calling on their god to come down from heaven with fire, nothing happened. So Elijah stepped up and prayed, “Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.” At that moment, fire fell from heaven, consumed his offering and the people fell to the ground and cried, “The LORD– he is God! The LORD– he is God!”

Realizing that God had indeed answered my prayer too, I cried the same thing: “The LORD-he is God! The LORD-he is God!”

Please Pray with Us

Thank you Lord,

  • for answering prayers to sell our house and find us another,
  • for the formal incorporation of Eric Elder Ministries,
  • for sustaining our baby through 7 months of pregnancy.

And Lord, we now ask:

  • for provision for the right equipment to start this ministry,
  • for provision for the monthly costs to carry out this ministry,
  • for people to find their way to The Ranch so they can find their way to you. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

Lord bless you! Have a great day!

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