October 5, 2011
"Brisk Mornings and Bountiful Blessings!" For the past two weeks I've had the privilege of studying and preaching in Kentucky and Tennessee. One morning as I walked out of seminary housing I caught a breath of cold air and knew that fall had officially arrived! When I returned home yesterday my suspicions were confirmed. It is fall and ski season's not far away.
As most of you know, I'm pursuing a Doctor of Ministry degree in Evangelism and Church Growth at Southern (SBTS) Seminary in Louisville, KY. This requires me to make one or two trips a year to the school for research and consultation with professors. It's also a great time to share with our friends at Lakewood Baptist (Louisville) and Cragfont Baptist in Gallatin, TN. This trip was no exception as the Lord graciously allowed me to open His word in both places.
My study time went well as I was able to meet with my new advisor (he drew the "short straw" when my previous advisor left), as well as finish the rough draft for my proposal. A close friend called and asked me why I was going through the time, expense and trauma of another degree. For several hours I mulled over his question. The answer is I believe God wants me to do so! Yes, it's hard and expensive; but I'm learning a lot and being stretched in wonderful ways. It looks like I'm on track for a spring of 2013 graduation but don't book your rooms quite yet? . Please pray that I have the grace, time and determination to finish strong.
On my flight to Nashville, I sat next to a Navy helicopter pilot. As we began to talk, the Lord opened the door to share Jesus with Him! Each morning I pray, "Lord, please fill me with Your Holy Spirit and lead me to someone I can share Jesus with today!" He is always gracious to answer!
"Alumni" News: Cathy G. (who the Lord healed of cancer this year) just notified us that the Lord has opened the door for her to return to China after a short stint in Indonesia! Josh Dayton (former college student) is active in youth ministry in Breckinridge, CO as well as leading worship for various church groups and helping run the Nordic Center. Mark and Karen Higgins have returned to Mexico with a fresh vision. Please pray for all those who God has sent forth from here!
"More September Blessings!" Melva and I were able to take my mother to Amarillo, TX where we met with our good friends; Nicy Murphy (100!), Bob and Charlene Lawrence, and Charles Barrett. Nicy worked for many years in promoting missions in Colorado. Bob and Charlene helped direct Christian Education and Music ministries, and Charles was a businessman in Gunnison. We held two mini-concerts for the residents of their senior's complex and had a blessed time. Upon returning to Gunnison I had the privilege of sharing the gospel at a city-wide tent revival where the Lord moved wonderfully! Folks from at least four churches participated.
Another Fire Assignment: Many of you have asked if fought fires in Texas this summers. Each time they called I was already busy with ministry commitments or on other fires. As I arrived home last night the phone rang and I leave this weekend to Southeast Texas for 2 weeks. Although I'm not excited to leave town again I always pray the Lord will arrange my assignments and open doors to minister to His glory! I just received a note from a firefighter I had given a Bible and devotional book to recently. She wrote to tell us that she reads it, then leaves it on her desk and other firefighters pick it up and ask questions. We've had more opportunities this season than ever before to share on fires! Thank you for your prayers for safety and ministry!
Ministry in Gunnison: Even though I've been called away a lot this summer, the work has continued strong! Rich and Shelba Townsend along with Paul Muirhead and a host of others have continued to fulfill and expand the Lord's work here. In mid-October we resume our West Elk Bible Institute training workers, we continue our "Ministry Breakfast" for those called to ministry and missions as well as our Saturday Night Worship service. In addition, Rich and Shelba are starting a class about 30 miles out of town for a group of ranch families. Rich spoke at the college football team chapel recently. Please pray that the Lord Jesus will anoint us and move in a wonderful way as we share His word! Joe Ricks, the Christian Challenge (BSU) director, fire department and football team chaplain, called and asked for prayer, his mom is suffering. Please pray for her!
Teammates: Rich and Shelba: Rich will be holding down the fort here while I'm gone as well as preaching one weekend in Durango, CO. Paul just returned from ministry conferences and will leave in a few weeks to kayak through the Grand Canyon (again!). He's very gifted and helping in a lot of areas. His prayer request is that he can share Jesus with his kayak friends and of course for safety.
Family: Thanks to your prayers, everyone is doing well! Melva is substitute teaching several days a week, The Scotland Bartons are going strong with various preaching assignments but nothing permanent yet. Bek is heading overseas again, we appreciate your prayers for her safety and walk with Jesus. Steve is working in Hollywood as a production assistant on the "Intervention" TV show. Tim and Sarah are doing great (Sarah just received a promotion). My mom is doing very well! We're all looking forward to being together at Christmas!
Finances: As a Gaither song states so beautifully, "Every need, He is providing, plenteous grace He bestows!" Thank you for your continued prayers and generous investment with us! Every gift, no matter how small or how large is a blessing. We know God will meet every need, and we pray He blesses each of you abundantly!
Nicy Murphy Quote: In 1959, our friend Nicy wrote these words about ministering in Colorado. I think they really express the opportunities and challenges we face.
"It is ministering to souls who live in the midst of mountain grandeur, but who never lift their "eyes unto the hills" from whence their help might come; who enjoy God's placid lakes, tumbling streams and majestic waterfalls, but who have never drunk of the Water of Life; who shepherd the sheep on a thousand grassy hillsides, but who do not know the Good Shepherd; who reap the golden grain from the fertile plains, but who are starving for the Bread of Life."
Thank You for your love, prayers and support! We love and appreciate every one of you!
Rick and Melva, Rich and Shelba, Paul