Uploaded: Dec. 27, 2010
December 5, 2010
"We Have Received a Huge Gift!"
Stop the Presses: We have received word of the greatest gift ever given to our ministry. In fact, not just for our ministry but for a number of ministries and churches. And, not only for ministries but for the whole United States and even the world!
It is not a matching gift; we could never match this enormous gift!
Here are the details:
First, it turns out that we were all bankrupt due to our rebellion against God. The debt was so large that there was no way we could ever pay it off. The consequences were terrible; loneliness, pain, torment, death and eternal separation from God in a place of punishment.
Second, the One we owed this debt to couldn't just forget about it. He is too just to do so.
Third, our creditor decided to do something extra-ordinary, He decided to pay the debt Himself, at great personal cost. He sent His only Son to pay the price for our debt in full, by dying in our place. To do so, the Son left His home in heaven and became a poor person on earth. He appeared first to a band of low-income, blue collar workers, then to some Fortune 500 executives, and every social strata in-between. Although he actually owned everything they possessed, He allowed His own employees to abuse and ultimately kill Him.
Imagine their surprise when just three days later the Son rose from the dead and proved that all the things He said about Himself and His Father were true! That He was the only one who could pay off our eternal debt.
And now, the Father and Son have given us this wonderful "donation". He has offered to forgive our terrible debt load if we will turn back from our rebellion. He will deposit all that is needed into our account so that when the final audit is done, we will show a positive balance. He has even established a "line of credit" for us to access each day of our life.
These events have prompted us to double our efforts over the next year in order to spread the news of this wonderful gift. (These thoughts came to me in my quiet time this morning. Rick?)
Yes, we rejoice that our debt has been paid! This year has been one of our busiest yet, and perhaps one of our most productive for His Kingdom. Thanks to your prayers and support, we have preached in 7 states, held chapels on forest fires, Bible studies at the ski area, helped train and send out workers around the world, contributed to a new daily devotional book for firefighters and emergency workers, and had the privilege of seeing a number of adults as well as children receive Jesus. Praise be to God and thanks to each of you!
Family: We continue to be blessed in so many ways. Stephen and Joy are busy with Hannah (2) and Bethan (3 months) while Stephen is working and preaching. Bek is working as the assistant manager of a restaurant in Vail. Steve is finishing his first "real" TV production job in Hollywood and coming home for Christmas. Tim and Sarah celebrated their one year anniversary and are working in L. A. My mom continues in good health (84 on Christmas Day), Melva is substitute teaching, and I'm teaching skiing as well as preaching and teaching.
Upcoming: Lord willing, we will be preaching at Rocky Mountain Chapel in Cripple Creek, CO January 9, teaching at our West Elk Bible Institute starting January 11, helping with the High Ground Men's /ski retreat in Beaver Creek February 23-25, and speaking in Arizona in early April. And, of course, we are working with our weekly "Called to Ministry" group and Saturday evening services. Please pray for the Christmas Eve Service we conduct at Trinity Baptist Church. Last year we saw a large number of un-churched folks attend, several of whom have become Christians during the year!
Great news: Rich and Shelba Townsend, missionaries with the Southern Baptists have felt the Lord's leading to join Rick Barton Ministries full-time beginning May 1, 2011. They have been helping us over the past year part-time and have been a huge blessing in organizing the Bible Institute, helping teach/preach, and overall wisdom. Please pray for Rich and Shelba as they continue their work with the church and transition to RBM.
In Memorial: Our wonderful friend and supporter, Margret Hearndon, was "Promoted to Glory" last month in Oklahoma City where I had the privilege of conducting her "homecoming service". It is so much easier to say goodbye to a 96 year-old saint who was active in the Lord's work!
Finances: As the Apostle Paul said, "My God shall supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:19 ESV) Every time the ministry (or our personal) finances seem to be on empty, the Holy Spirit prompts someone to give and the need is met! Because we have no buildings or staff besides Melva and I, when the finances are down we don't go in the hole, we just have to cut back on supplies, materials and training expenses for those we are equipping. We are committed to remaining debt-free.
A special thanks to all who have recently joined our support team. As the Lord calls home some of our long-time faithful partners, He graciously raises up new folks! Welcome to the Team! Your investment is truly appreciated!
Prayer requests: Please pray for Holy Spirit's anointing as we share, for each of our family to place the Lord first, for my Doctor of Ministries studies, and for the healing of my feet. Thank You!
Rick and Melva
Rick Barton Ministries
Gunnison, CO 81230