News From The Ranch – October 2003

The Newsletter of Eric Elder Ministries

Time for a Week of Hope, new board members, and more new music with the “Sweet Dreams” CD.

Streator Water Tower

Please pray for the city of Streator, where we are just days away from launching the Week of Hope, a city-wide outreach to be held at 7 pm nightly on October 9, 10,11 and 12th at the Streator High School Auditorium.

Week Of Hope

I just heard a woman say,

“I can’t wait for the Week of Hope. I just get excited every time I think about it. I can’t wait to see what God’s going to do.”

I can’t wait either! I’ve been planning this event for more than a year along with more than a dozen churches and a hundred people working behind the scenes.

The focal point for the Week of Hope is 4 nights of special services to be held at the Streator High School Auditorium over Columbus Day Weekend. Each night we’re featuring powerful stories of people right here in Streator, Illinois whose lives have been changed by Jesus Christ. We’ll also have music, drama and videos to make the night both entertaining and life-changing. I’ll be speaking each night, giving an invitation for others to put their hope in Christ as well.

We’re praying that God would use the Week of Hope to let His Spirit flow throughout Streator like water from a water tower.

In fact, there’s a water tower near my house and it’s HUGE. Water flows through it into underground pipes all over the city. Whenever someone wants to take a drink, or water their lawn, or clean their clothes, they just turn on the faucet and the water flows.

We pray that the Week of Hope will do the same thing for those who are spiritually thirsty, who want to grow, or who want to clean up their lives. The Bible says we really can be “washed” by the Holy Spirit. The Apostle Paul lists a variety of sins in his letter to the Corinthians. But then he adds:

“And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthian 6:11, NIV).

Better Than Reality TV

One of the benefits of planning this event is that I get to taste the fruit even before the harvest begins. I met this week with ten of the people who will be sharing their testimonies during the Week of Hope. It was a moving time, even though we were “just rehearsing.” Tears flowed as person after person told about what Christ had done in their lives.

One woman showed the scars on her wrists where she tried to commit suicide several years ago. It brought tears to my eyes to think about the spiritual impact she’s had on our community since that time…when she could have just as easily been dead. What a loss had she not put her hope in Christ.

Another couple told how their lives were shattered when one of their sons was born severely mentally retarded. Their first response was to shake their fists at God. But then a pastor helped them understand that God cried along with them. As a result, they put their hope in Christ, went into ministry, and now several of their other children are also in full-time ministry. Who knows how many multiple lives have been touched as a result of their putting their hope in Christ.

This is better than reality TV. These are real lives…with real change. You can read these stories of hope for yourself at the Week of Hope website:

Body-Lifting Music

I was also able to sit in on a few of the music rehearsals for the Week of Hope a few nights ago. As I listened, I could hardly keep my hands down! It felt like there was an invisible force pushing my hands up in praise to God. I was taking some pictures to put in the newspaper and finally just stopped and let my hands go up!

My friend Kent Sanders has organized four different worship teams to lead worship each night, made up of the many talented musicians in town. It’s hard to be surrounded by the sounds of drums and congas, flutes and cellos, guitars, pianos, keyboards, violins (not to mention the soothing breath of the human voice) and not be lifted up. It lifts my body as well as my soul.

As you can tell, I’m fairly immersed in the Week of Hope and the Spirit’s already beginning to flow. I’m telling you all of this for three reasons:

1) Please pray for the Week of Hope, that God will use it to send His Spirit throughout Streator and, through the videos we hope to put on the Internet afterward, throughout the world.

2) Please come to the Week of Hope! For some of you, that might be a short drive. For others of you, I know it’s half-way around the world! But if you’re able to come, I hope you’ll make it for at least one night if not all four.

3) Please visit the Week of Hope website if you need a boost in your own faith. You can read the testimonies there already, and if you’ll visit it again later in October, we plan to have the video online of the event itself.

(For those who want to stay for the weekend, we have a couple of hotels in town: Super 8 at 815-672-0080 or Town & Country Inn at 815-672-3183. Again, the Week of Hope starts at 7 pm nightly on October 9, 10, 11 and 12.)

New Board Members

I also wanted to let you know that we’ve just added some new board members to our ministry. I believe their input will help us to grow our ministry in many ways and make The Ranch website much more dynamic in the future. Those joining me on the board include:

  • Brent Knapton, Director of an international missions organization in Texas;
  • Steve Knight, Senior Editor in the Internet Department of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association in North Carolina;
  • Al Lowry, Founder of Guitarists Into God (GIG), a music ministry at Saddleback Church in California, and
  • Dan Mountney, Video Director at Kensington Community Church in Michigan.

I’m thankful for these men who are making a difference in their own ministries, and are willing to feed into our ministry as well. Please pray that God will use our combined efforts to reach even more people with the message of Christ.

Please Pray With Us

Father, we thank You:

  • for still changing lives every day;
  • for bringing people and churches together in Streator to create the Week of Hope;
  • and for bringing new board members to direct this ministry.

And Lord, we now ask:

  • for many to be washed by Your Spirit during the Week of Hope;
  • for new growth in this ministry through the new board members;
  • and for more people to find their way to The Ranch so they can find their way to You.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

The Ranch Fellowship is a non-profit 501(c)(3) religious organization whose purpose is to share the message of Jesus Christ throughout the world. Click here to read more about our ministry.

To give a gift to The Ranch and to yourself, please visit The Ranch Giftshop.
To make a donation without ordering, just click Make A Donation.

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