Rick Barton Ministries, PO Box 1155, Gunnison, CO 81230 970-641-3583
July 9, 2012
Freedom: At this time of year our thoughts turn to freedom; what does it mean, how did we obtain it, how do we keep it? These are all very important questions and I recommend reading some of David Barton's excellent materials (Wallbuilders.com) for valuable insights; and to bow our heads in gratitude for those who have given their lives, and for those who are even now risking their lives for our freedoms.
Even more importantly, as followers of Jesus Christ we discover that there is much more to freedom than just freedom from tyranny. There is freedom from sin and its accompanying guilt, freedom from despair and loneliness, and freedom to know, worship and serve our wonderful Lord and Savior! These freedoms cannot be taken away no matter what our circumstances; they are eternal freedoms we find in Jesus! Again, let us bow our heads, this time in appreciation for our Savior and for those who have given, and those who are giving their lives to bring the gospel to us and the world!
Of fires and fire chiefs: I just returned from another forest fire assignment on the western slope of Colorado. I wasn't assigned to the major fires that were so catastrophic but to several smaller ones which had serious potential, but by the grace of God were contained quickly. Melva and I appreciate your prayers during these assignments. No matter what the size of fire there is always danger. One of my co-workers succumbed to the long hours and fell asleep driving back to the fire camp, totaling his car. (We average 100 hour weeks!) I also covet your prayers that I may make good decisions and be a witness to my co-workers. On every fire I have the opportunity to pray with folks and give out firefighter Bibles and devotionals!
Hours before I left on my latest fire assignment, I was given the privilege of conducting a celebration of the life of our fire chief's wife. I am so grateful that I was able to spend time with Jim and Becky before her passing; and that I was able to pray with Jim to receive Jesus. Becky was thrilled she could see Jim baptized in the river a few days before her death. Many from the community attended the service and I pray that the gospel message I shared was effective for the Lord.
More blessings in Oklahoma and Missouri: June 17-20 saw Melva and me sharing in Guthrie, OK at Harmony Community Church. How exciting to join in their efforts to encourage the saints and reach the lost. Friends from other churches in the area joined in as well. From OK we travelled to Branson, MO for a day off and had wonderful fellowship with the Peterson Family, (gospel bluegrass friends), as well as the fire chief who is an active Christian. Then we stopped outside of Springfield, MO to visit Bill and Mary Jane Bever and on to Faith Baptist Church in Waynesville for two services. We are forever grateful that our heavenly Father allows us to share in so many churches and see His hand at work!
Family: Much of our family energies are being poured into preparations for our two September weddings. Bek and Nick are tying the knot September 16th in Vail, CO while Steve and Annie enter into holy matrimony September 22nd in Los Angeles. Definitely an exciting time for all of us!
Rich and Shelba, Paul and Sarah: Rich and Shelba continue to be active in several areas of ministry. Rich teaches during our Saturday Evening Worship services along with Paul when I'm out of town as well as serves as the dean of our West Elk Bible Institute. He also teaches an adult Sunday School class at his church. Paul helps lead worship on Saturday Evening Worship and teaches at his local church as well. Thanks to your generous support, Paul and Sarah are able to start their Bible courses online from Liberty University this month. This is the same program Rich and Shelba are doing and they love it.
Finances: Our God continues to supply all our needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus! All of us send a huge "thank you" to our faithful partners. When some are unable to send support, the Holy Spirit prompts others to step up. We are starting to restock our supplies of Bibles and other materials, some of which are pretty low. Your support is very important and we pray for God's blessing on each of you!
Prayer requests: Please pray that the anointing of the Holy Spirit will rest upon us as we share the great news of Jesus! Please pray that the Lord will watch over me as I work on the fires; both for safety and for opportunities to share Jesus. Please pray that the Lord will work in the lives, weddings, and marriages of all our children. Thank You!
An answered prayer: For the past couple of years we have been praying about my cutting back on the time I spend teaching skiing. It's been taking a toll physically as well as valuable time I need to work on my doctorate. One reason I've hesitated is to keep my health insurance. Last week I was notified that the ski area owners have decided to drop the coverage of those of us who are long-term seasonal workers. After the initial disappointment, (replacing the coverage will cost us an additional $750 a month), I realized that God had answered our prayers. I can now lighten my schedule. I trust that as He has guided us in this way, He will also provide the insurance premiums. I still hope to teach, it provides many opportunities to share with fellow employees as well as my students; just not as much.
Upcoming: This week Melva and I will share with a church group from Denver on retreat, then Sunday morning we will hold our annual Cattlemen's Days Rodeo church service. The local newspaper did a nice write-up on the service this week and we pray that will encourage even more to attend. Please pray that I will share the gospel clearly and in His power! After that, probably more fires…
Thanks be to God and to each of you for standing with us. May Jesus be glorified in your lives and ours!
Rick Barton Ministries
P.O. Box 1155
Gunnison, CO 81230