Uploaded: Jan 3, 2011
January 2, 2011
Happy New Year!
Year-End Blessings! "Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift!" (2 Corinthians 9:15) Nothing can ever match the wonderful grace and mercy expressed through God sending His only Son to us. Still, almost as wonderful is His gift of the Holy Spirit to us now. Jesus said that He would not leave us as orphans when He returned to heaven, but that the Father would send the Spirit to indwell, lead and empower us to be His witnesses.
December ended with some powerful examples of the Holy Spirit's work. He was present in a wonderful way when we held our Christmas Eve service as well as a gospel-bluegrass concert. There were many un-churched attendees. He allowed me to lead a ski school employee to Christ riding the chairlift. He was there when I prayed with over 100 ski instructors as we prepared for our annual New Year's torchlight parade (we ski down an advanced ski run, in the dark, holding highway flares). He led us to give over $6000 from our Saturday Evening Worship Service to missionaries this year. We only average 20-30 in attendance but we give 60% of the offering to missions!
Jehovah Jireh-God is our provider: A few months ago we asked for prayer about a replacement vehicle. The Ford Explorer we use for ministry and work has over 186,000 miles on it; and we drive an average of 30,000 miles a year. It has started having some problems and we were praying about an upgrade. Just before Christmas I received a phone call from one of you who felt the Lord's leading to give us a vehicle. It's practically new (2007), with only 50,000 miles and in great shape. It's large enough for all our equipment and a very comfortable vehicle on the road. I have to admit, there were several times when I was tempted to go into debt for a vehicle but the Holy Spirit kept saying "wait". Thanks for your prayers!
Our ministry finances have been blessed as well. As we began December there was a question about whether the funds would be there for our monthly expenses. The amount on hand tripled during the month and we're on track to start the New Year strong! Thank you again for praying.
Prayer Requests: For the Lord's anointing on us as we share here in Gunnison/Crested Butte and around the country. Please pray for our efforts to reach the lost through the Saturday Evening Worship as well as on the mountain. Please pray for us as we train workers through our Thursday morning "Called to Ministry" breakfast and the West Elk Bible Institute. Please pray for Dan, Bob, Grace, and Debbie for healing from cancer as well as Linda for a full recovery from a bad fall.
Please pray for me to have some rest during the next few months. My work and ministry schedule can become so busy that I'm sometimes overwhelmed. Some have asked why I still teach skiing 5-6 days a week. There are two reasons. One, I have the opportunity to share the Lord with guests and employees from around the world. Two, I am one of a fortunate few who have year-round health insurance through the ski area. I would gladly cut back my days on the mountain but I am required to work at least 76 days a winter to keep the insurance. This not only wears me out but cuts back on the DMin work time.
And please pray that our family will continue to turn our hearts toward Jesus daily!
Another answered prayer! Some time back we asked you to pray for Joe and Angela Ricks, the Christian Challenge directors on the Western State Campus. Your prayers are being answered as their monthly support has increased and their church has even started a small retirement package for them!
Rich and Sheba Townsend: We've mentioned Rich and Shelba to you before. Rich is a retired business executive and Shelba an administrator from St. Louis who have been serving here in Gunnison with the Southern Baptist Church. They have felt the Lord leading them to join Rick Barton Ministries full-time at the end of April. Rich will help direct our West Elk Bible Institute, Sunday Evening Worship, and "Called to Ministry Breakfast". Please pray for the Lord's leading and provision as they prepare for this transition.
Christmas: We were blessed to have Steve (Hollywood, CA) and Rebekah (Vail, CO) home for Christmas along with my mom (Her 84th birthday was Christmas day!). We hope and pray the Lord will allow all of us to be together next year. Stephen, Joy, Hannah(2) and Bethan (4 months) are doing well in Scotland. Please continue to pray for the ministry opportunities that God has for them. Bek is doing well in Vail, please pray for her commitment to the Lord to grow. Steve just finished a 6 week job in his field of TV production and is seeking the next opening. Tim and Sara are doing well in Los Angeles and hoping to visit in the summer.
Coming up: Because of a mix-up in communication, we won't be sharing in Cripple Creek this month. However, Lord willing, I will be helping lead worship at the High Ground men's Bible/ski retreat February 23-25 in Beaver Creek, speaking in Tucson April 10-12, along with Guthrie, OK and possibly Ft. Smith, AR in April as well. We really need your prayers for each of these.
Finances: As I shared earlier, 2010 ended strong. This will allow us to replenish materials and prepare for 2011 opportunities. A huge "Thank You" to each of you! Please continue to stand with us as we have more and more doors open to us to share. Our God truly is a wonderful God!
Blessing: "May the God of hope grant you all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit!" Romans 15:13
May this new year be filled with God's joy, peace and hope for you and yours! We love you!
Rick and Melva Barton, RBM, POB 1155, Gunnison, CO 81230