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Febuary 2004

February 2004

“ Do you know how much you are loved?” That’s a question I recently asked a college student. In fact, I frequently ask it of both Christians and non-Christians. Often the response is, “I don’t feel very loved right now” or “I don’t think I’m very lovable.” But the fact is, they are loved. In fact, all of us are! As Jesus says in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in (relies upon, clings to, trusts in) Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” No matter what the response to my question is, I say, “Well, God loves you and we love you.” This usually brings a smile.

Do you remember the last time someone told you that you were loved? How did you feel? Well, you are loved! We love you and the Lord loves you! Happy Valentine’s Day!

January Update: The month of January was a wonderful one but not one without trial.

First the highlights: I attended a two-week intensive seminary course in Denver. Although it entailed 12 hours a day at the school (between class and library), it was a productive time of study and fellowship. I even met a young man who had been with Melva and me at Wheaton College and had accompanied us as we spoke at colleges and rescue missions in the Chicago area.

Other highlights included speaking at Jeffco Christian Fellowship in Denver, Trinity Baptist in Gunnison and Grace Fellowship in Lake City, CO. I’m always happiest when I have the privilege of preaching. In addition, our college Fellowship of Christian Athletes has continued to grow with over 50 students attending each week. Almost weekly we hear of students receiving Christ! Out of the regular attendees, ten have expressed a call to the ministry and I meet with them each Thursday morning for training. Another blessing, the Billy Graham organization notified us during December that they were going to use our evangelism book in more upcoming training sessions. PTL.

Trials: Everything I touched in Denver seemed to break. I was involved in a car accident and my old explorer was totaled. Fortunately, no one was injured. Then I broke my cell phone, sunglasses, etc. I have to admit that the overall pressure made me somewhat frazzled, but the Lord used your prayers to bring me through.

Blessings: The Lord replaced my vehicle with a newer one at a relatively low cost. I made some wonderful new friends at Denver Seminary and had a good talk with the new president. During our conversation I was able to express my love for the school and our concern for the lack of evangelism emphasis in the curriculum. He seemed receptive so please continue to pray for the school and its strategic mission. Another blessing was to hear from a ski student I had prayed with a few years ago. He asked for help in growing stronger in the Lord. A former college athlete from the 80’s called to share that He was walking with the Lord and active in his church. I celebrated my 30th season working for Crested Butte Mountain Resort. What a blessed place to minister God’s love.

Upcoming Events: Sunday, February 15, I preach again at Trinity Baptist Church in Gunnison. Their pastor recently resigned and I have been helping fill the pulpit. Please pray that I will have the Lord’s anointing and His message for these wonderful folks. In between church services I will help with the chapel at the local assisted living facility. February 25-27 I will lead worship at the “High Ground” men’s Bible-ski retreat in Beaver Creek, CO. In addition, we will continue our Sunday evening Bible studies, as well as our college and ski area ministry. In April, we will hold services in Protection, KS, Guthrie, OK and San Diego. Please begin to pray for these outreaches.

Prayer requests: Please pray that I walk humbly before the Lord and in the anointing of His Holy Spirit. Also, please pray for our family to continue to grow closer to Him and to each other. Please pray for Gordon, a wonderful Christian bookstore owner in Grand Junction who has been diagnosed with Leukemia. And of course, please pray for our various outreaches and ministries to bring glory to Him.

Finances: Every month we stand amazed at the goodness of God in the area of financial provision. During December we wondered if we would be able to afford the January seminary class. Yet, I sensed that the Lord wanted me to go and so I prepared to leave. I only have three classes left before I can start work on the Doctorate and really felt I should get this one out of the way. At any rate, just before I had to leave for the class the Lord brought the money in! And, through all the trials with vehicle replacement, our son Steve getting a new heart pacemaker, and a major church sponsor having to cut back on their support, we are still afloat!

Thank you for your wonderful part in that ongoing miracle. We strongly believe that your giving should first go to your local church and then to other ministries as the Lord guides you. We know that there are many wonderful opportunities to give and are grateful that He has led you to be part of our support family. A special thanks to those of you who are new supporters joining our team and keeping us moving forward.

On a personal note: This spring I enter my 35th year of ministry. God has been soooo faithful! I hope you realize how important each of you has been in allowing us to serve. One concern we have is that Melva and I realize I have been burning the candle at both ends for a number of months and need to pull aside for a rest. We aren’t sure when and where that break will be, but please pray for wisdom and opportunity. Thank You.

Do you know how much you’re loved? Well you are! God loves you and we love you!

In His love, Rich & Melva

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