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WOW, is it really 2003? It is, and it promises to be one of the most important years yet for sharing Jesus!

Ski Area: On New Years Eve I was able to pray for 70 or so ski professionals from Crested Butte before we skied down in a torchlight parade. Imagine us skiing down black diamond slopes (most difficult), in the dark, with highway flares burning in each hand! The highlight for me, besides making it down each year in one piece, is my prayer time. Each year the staff asks me to pray for them, our guests, and the ski area. What a privilege and opportunity to lift up our wonderful Savior!

This afternoon we held our first Bible study of the season for employees and guests at the ski area. 5 employees and 2 guests attended. We had a great time.

Music-Music: I just received word that production on our two new albums has been completed and we should have the finished product by mid-February. A lot of the songs you've requested over the years are going to be available on CD. Please let us know if you want us to send you copies. We never charge for the albums although you may send a donation if you like. They have a mix of old hymns, contemporary songs, acappella and even some gospel blue grass and country gospel. In addition to the 2 albums, Melva and I recorded 3 songs for a compilation album of Gunnison Country Praise and worship. Singers from several churches participated.

Recent and upcoming ministry: Over Christmas I conducted a Christmas Eve service in Gunnison and preached twice in Crested Butte South. Please pray for the Crested Butte South Church as they seek God's man for their new pastor.

In late February I will help lead worship at an annual men's Bible-ski retreat in Vail and in mid-April, Melva and I will travel to Troy MT to hold services. There's also a chance that I will hold a chapel for the Dallas Mavericks basketball team.

Our college Fellowship of Christian Athletes group collected over 600# of canned goods for the local food bank. Speaking of FCA, we shared testimonies at two churches just before Christmas and the Lord was lifted up! I have several student leaders who will serve our ministry as interns this spring. Please pray for them.

Family: Everyone made it home for Christmas and several brought friends. Joy's fiancée flew over from England and we had a wonderful time. What a privilege that we can all still join together to celebrate our Savior's birth. Joy is doing youth ministry and preparing for her June wedding, Bekah is working in Vail, Steve is half-way through his first year at Indiana Wesleyan and is helping with a high school ministry, and Tim is half-way through his first year at Biola University near Los Angeles. Melva is substitute teaching and working as my "official" administrative assistant.

Finances: Thanks to your prayers and support we finished the year with every bill paid and were able to purchase more Bibles for free distribution and study tools for our student leaders. Thank You!

Prayer Requests: Please pray for God's anointing to be fresh and alive as we serve and share. Please pray for Joy and Stephen as they prepare for marriage. Please pray that we, and each of our family, will seek the Lord daily and walk in close relationship with Him. Please pray for our college interns. Please pray for my physical safety and old injuries that tend to flare up painfully at times. Please pray for our long-time friend John Wiley as he fights off another round of cancer (John is only in his 40's). Thank You sooooo much for your prayers and support, God uses them to sustain us and allow us to minister with great effect!

Devotional thought: In 2 Timothy 4, the last recorded words we have from the apostle Paul, we hear, "Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths." (4:2-4)

J.I. Packer, theologian and author of "Knowing God", states that there are two schools of thought concerning the Bible in our churches today. Those who believe that the Bible has to 'catch up' to society's whims and 'adapt' to the culture, he calls "subjectivists". Those who believe that the Bible is God's living, active word; and that society must adapt itself and bring itself into line with God's word, he calls objectivists. We must be objectivists and submit to God's word!

I am increasingly concerned that many churches, even once great evangelical churches, have begun to be "pressed into the world's mold" and are trying to appease society's driftings into sin and compromise.

Let us pray that God will give us grace, and grant repentance that we may once again be salt and light in a sin darkened world.

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God Bless You, We Love You!!

Rick Barton Ministries • 401 Ute Lane Gunnison, CO 81230 • • (970) 641-3583
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