*** Billy Graham’s Son ***

Those of you who know something about my life story are aware that my first full-time job, after military service, was working for Billy Graham. That was 25 years ago in 1986! At that time, I had the opportunity to pursue graduate studies at a university specializing in Computer Science in Toulouse. I gladly accepted, but after praying, I realized that God’s will was something entirely different! I had to return to my mother’s home in the Paris area. Young in the faith, it was not easy for me to obey, and I must admit that I resisted as much as I could. But one day I surrendered and I said to God, “If it’s what you want, then I’ll do it. You win!” It was the end of my computer dreams … At least, that’s what I thought, but you know Top Chrétien and you see that God had the final word!

At that time, I found myself unemployed! That lasted six months. After six months, I was desperate. I didn’t understand what was happening to me. I prayed to God, saying, “I can’t take this anymore. I am in this situation because I wanted to obey you. You’ve got to help me!” Shortly afterward, the phone rang, and Marcel, an elder from my church in Pontoise, said to me, “Have you ever heard of Billy Graham? He’s an American evangelist who is coming to preach the Gospel at the new Paris Bercy Auditorium (the Palais Omnisport in Bercy was brand new at the time). He is looking for a team of highly-motivated youth, willing to work without being really well-paid, so I thought of you!” I didn’t know Billy Graham at all, but I joyfully accepted. So that’s how my first job in life came to be preparing an evangelism crusade that would affect tens of thousands of lives in Paris and also many others by satellite retransmission.

My work was really very insignificant. My main job was to stamp letters, and since the machine was very noisy, I was relegated to a garage next to the offices. Often, I prayed for the people who would receive these letters. I was a very young convert and my attitude was far from excellent. Sometimes, I complained as I did my job, and unfortunately, I was also negligent. Nevertheless, these people trusted me even though I was the youngest member of the team. I learned a lot about serving God, about organization, about teamwork, about the big, multi-denominational family of God, and especially, about evangelism. On certain evenings, I had the great privilege, for a twenty-one year old, to sit on the stage and see thousands of people respond to the call. And it was there, on that stage at Bercy, that I said to Jesus. “I, too, want to be a soul-winner. Use my life, use me so that others know you!”

And this is what God has done! He has made me an evangelist, and my passion, which has not changed, is to see men and women find Jesus. And it is by means of the Internet and computers that this is happening! God has blessed me beyond my expectations by allowing me, with this great team around me, to see so many people come to him through the website KnowingGod.net. It now exists in sixteen languages. Glory to God! I know that this has been possible because the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) had confidence in me. Today, I would like to give back to them a “return on their investment”.

In a few days, I am going to meet Franklin Graham (the president of BGEA) and offer his organization a KnowingGod website that our team has specifically designed to reach the USA and the wider English-speaking world.

The meeting will take place on September 21st at 10.30 am (East Coast Time). I would really like for you to pray for this appointment. I believe that it is a time set by God from all eternity, and I would not want us to miss what God wants to do. Thanks for supporting your French friend so that I can represent you well. Stéphane, the coordinator of the TopChrétien web portal, will accompany me.

Will you pray for us?

Be blessed!

Your friend,

Eric

*** Charisma ***

Charisma is a well-known magazine in the United States. It has nothing at all to do with the church of the same name. It has a readership of approximately 600,000 people. Charisma is going to publish its May 2010 issue on the theme of the vision of the Church in 2020. Since we are launching the widget Jesus.net in the USA, Charisma decided to ask us some questions. So here is a sneak preview for you on the TopBlog, their questions and my answers. I thought this would be very useful for all the people who ask themselves: what is Top Chretien? This week, I am publishing the first half, and next week, the second half. Enjoy reading the blog and please let me know what you think, I really enjoy reading your comments…

Charisma: Jesus.net, what is it?

Jesus.net is an evangelism concept that functions 24 hours a day.  The goal of Jesus.net is to help Internet users connect to God and then, encourage them to join a local church. Our mission is simple: “Reach the Internet Generation” thanks to the different Internet websites that we have such as, ConnaitreDieu.Jesus.net, actually available in the sixteen most used languages on the Internet. TopChretien.Jesus.net: a Christian resource website to edify, encourage, and connect Internet users with each other. MonEglise.Jesus.net: a website dedicated especially to new converts to connect them to a local church. Local partner churches in each country always follow up on the new converts. In summary, Jesus.net is “GloCal Evangelism”! A Global tool with loCal impact! Today, according to Alexa, which ranks the world’s websites, Jesus.net is the second most visited Christian website in the world, after BibleGateway.com and just before the Vatican’s website!

Charisma: How did it begin?

Everything began in 1997. I launched my first website that year as I was planting a church in Givors, a town in the Lyon region. At that time, I had no doubt that it was probably the first church website in the French-speaking world! Two years later, I launched TopChretien.com, a French Christian web portal. In ten years, this French website has received more than 50 million visits. But I had the heart of an evangelist! I have to tell you about my first job in Paris. I was 20 years-old and for eleven months, I was able to work with the 1986 Billy Graham Evangelism Campaign team in Paris. When, from the stage, I saw all the people coming forward in response to the call to receive Jesus, I prayed: “Jesus, here’s my life. Use it to help people to meet Jesus personally!” And that’s exactly what God did! Everything began with a simple call which then spread to France to reach today the nations of the entire world! Every day, 1500 to 2000 people say “Yes” to Jesus through Jesus.net. I am grateful to God, and I believe that these are only the small beginnings.

Charisma: I noticed that 1.7 million people have clicked to accept Jesus. How does that work?

Every day, more than 5 million people look for spiritual answers to their questions on the Internet. We buy ads on Facebook, Google, etc. to reach people who are seeking. We announce the Good News to them through a very simple series which ends with a prayer of repentance (ConnaitreDieu.com) Then, these people can let us know their decision by clicking “I have just prayed to accept Jesus.” They can also ask to receive a free Bible and to be put in contact with a spiritual counselor from a local church partner. The 1.7 million decisions that you have seen all come from people who have clicked “Yes, I prayed!” since 2005. Many of them come from Muslim nations. It’s marvelous. In December 2006, after launching the website in Arabic MaarifatAllah.Jesus.net, we were waiting for the first decision! A woman wrote this to us: “My name is Mariana. I am from Nazareth. I would like to invite Jesus to come into my life.” Wow! Can you imagine our joy! The month of December, the first person to accept Jesus on the website in Arabic is called, after a fashion, “Mary” of Nazareth! That doesn’t remind you of someone? It was a super encouragement for the entire team!

Charisma: Do your websites have preaching and music on demand?

Yes, according to the language used, the Internet user has access to different follow-up tools. One of them is an online church that presents the Gospel message to people who are seeking. Another tool is a four-week course based on a book by Nikki Gumbel, Why Jesus? and entitled WhyJesus.net! It’s a kind of “pre-Alpha” series online. In addition, of course, we have many Christian resources such as, audio messages, videos, etc. on our web portals TopChretien.Jesus.net and GodRev.Jesus.net.

Charisma: What is your reaction or what would you like to share on the subject of the 1.7 million people who accepted Jesus on your websites overall?

I am simply astonished and blessed. We developed an application enabling us to visualize decisions in real time on Google Earth (See decisions.jesus.net). Actually, on the average, every minute a person says “Yes” to Jesus. I bless God all the time. I am only a pastor in France, but one whose team now has a global impact. What a blessing! When I began in the ministry, I was particularly moved by this verse: “My grace is sufficient for you because my power is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) Therefore, I want to glory more and more in my weaknesses so that the power of Christ is manifested in my life. You must know that at the time I was beginning the Internet ministry, I experienced enormous attacks. The week that the Top was launched, I was seriously affected in my health and in a hospital bed, the doctors not knowing whether I would live or die! I know that if all of this exists today, it is by the grace of God. His grace is sufficient! No, this will never be Eric’s ministries (the Ministries of Eric)! It’s Jesus’ ministry! ADSL (A Dieu soit la louange) (To God be the praise)

More to follow…

Eric

*** Thought for the Day: Do you like it? ***

Did you know that the Thought for the Day is the most used service on Top Chretien? This week we went beyond the symbolic mark of 30,000 email subscribers to the Thought for the Day. Now we would really like to have an iPhone application for the Thought for the Day. Besides, we are looking for an applications’ developer who would want to help us. ;-)

Let me tell you about how the Thought for the Day came about. It’s an astonishing story, as it often happens in what God does!

My friend, Pastor Bertrand Colpier, invited me to preach at a Youth Rally in 2000. I had probably misunderstood the date of the Rally, and I arrived at Bertrand’s home two days ahead of schedule, which really didn’t suit him at all… but God had a plan!

At that time (already 10 years ago), very few pastors were using the Internet. Imagine my surprise when I saw Bertrand writing a short pastoral thought by email before going to bed.

-”What are you doing, Bertrand?” I asked him.

-”I am writing a brief thought for the day for the Christians of my church who have Internet.”

-”What a good pastor! And how many are there?”

-”7!”

-”And you wouldn’t like to write it for 700?”

-”700? But how is that possible?”

-Since we have a free day tomorrow, we could propose a new service to the Top Chretien Internet users: Thought for the Day. What do you think?”

-”OK, I’m ready to do it. It’s a great idea. Thank you, Lord!”

The next day, we wrote to all the website portal users. The Top was only one year old. The first day, one hundred Internet users subscribed, and we rapidly attained 700. Thank you, Bertrand, for becoming the first author of the Thought for the Day! In 10 years, thousands of Thoughts have been sent, and hundreds of thousands of encouraged Christians have posted comments on the website portal. Glory to God!

Today, Carolle Wright (pictured in this blog) manages this service and follows up on the Thought for the Day authors. Carolle is a Top Chretien missionary, and you can support her (Click to know more about Carolle).

We have French-speaking authors, for example Samuel Foucart, and English-speaking authors, such as Rick Warren or Joyce Meyer. Carolle prays to know which Thought to put on which day. Her concern is that the Thought for the Day appears at the right moment and best responds to the Internet users’ needs. And God knows them, the needs!

“The right word at the right time is like a custom-made piece of jewelry,” states the Bible in Proverbs 25:11. (The Message)

When we read the comments, we are amazed to see how God speaks and acts through this tool.

The most commented Thoughts for the Day

The most read Thoughts for the Day

And you, have you been blessed by the Thought for the Day? What do you think of this Top Chretien service?