Rick Barton Ministries, PO Box 1155, Gunnison, CO 81230 | 970-641-3583 | firstname.lastname@example.org
July 11, 2013
"As a Dying Man to Dying Men"
Forest Fires and Tragedies: For the past few weeks I've been serving on a forest fire assignment in western Colorado. On July 7th, we began to hear rumors of a tragedy near Prescott, AZ. At first we were in denial. Certainly an entire Hotshot crew couldn't have perished! But it was true. As the reports poured in, so did the grief. In a very real sense, the Wildland firefighting community is a small family. Each of us had worked with the Granite Mountain Hotshots or knew someone associated with the crew. My friend, Fire Chief Darrell Willis, had helped organize the crew and was intimately involved with each man. I had met several of the Hotshots when I spoke at a chapel service for the Arizona Wildfire Academy in 2011.
As word of the tragedy spread, several of us met to pray at our Incident Command Post. For the next few days I was able to share with fellow firefighters in prayer and give away firefighter New Testaments and Devotionals. On July 9th a memorial service was held for the nineteen men. As Chief Willis and others spoke, the service took on an anointed spirit. Bible verse after Bible verse was quoted, Hymns were sung; and one man spoke of how crew members had led the sole survivor to Christ months ago. Hundreds of Hotshots heard of the hope and assurance we have through knowing Jesus! God used even this terrible tragedy to expose many to the Savior. Please continue to pray for the families of the crew and the surviving man.
This tragedy reminded me that I must share Jesus each time I speak. I need to be sure each listener has the chance to hear the plan of salvation. I must always preach "as a dying man to dying men"! (Richard Baxter)
Please accept a huge "Thank You" to all of you who prayed for me and called after hearing of the burn over.
Finances: By the Lord's grace and your faithful support, every need continues to be met. May the Lord richly bless you for your investment in His kingdom! We've been able to continue to pass out Bibles and Devotionals without charge, travel to preach and conduct funerals and weddings without charge, and pay the monthly bills. Thank You!
Upcoming: As I mentioned earlier, I was called to a fire assignment for the past three weeks. Fortunately I was able to leave temporarily to help with two funerals. This weekend I will teach our Saturday evening service, conduct our annual Rodeo Chapel Service and then fly to Louisville to spend a week with the directors of the Doctor of Ministries program who promise to guide a group of us step by step through the new format. Lord willing, that will allow me to work toward a June 2014 finish.
"Well Done, Good and Faithful Servants" In the past few months we have seen the "Homecoming" of several wonderful saints of the Lord; men and women who lived lives of service to Jesus and as prayer warriors on our behalf. In the past month, Mrs. Jodie Hough from Oklahoma City as well as Mrs. Jane Cecil from Gallatin, TN have been "Promoted to Glory" (as our Salvation Army friends say). Jodie and her husband Jack were members of our ministry board from day one. For several decades they mentored, prayed for and supported us in our efforts for Jesus. Jack went to be with Jesus last November and his beloved Jodie joined him in June.
Jane and Barry Cecil became involved in our ministry efforts in the 1980's and seldom had a week gone by that we didn't get a phone call and a prayer from them. Barry went to join the Savior a few years ago and Jane on July 3rd. I had the privilege of assisting in both Jodie and Jane's services. We are humbled and blessed that the Lord blessed us with these wonderful lovers of Jesus.
In memory of Jodie Hough and Jane Cecil from Melva Barton
"Jodie and Jane were both sweet spirits, hospitable, and mentors to so many women. They were gracious examples in their walks with the Lord. Now that they are home with Jesus, ladies let's honor them as we continue on in the path God has set before us. Whether it's serving or teaching younger women or whatever job God has given us to do, do it as unto the Lord. Jodie and Jane persevered, never giving up on their mission. We miss Jodie and Jane with their love and joy in the Lord. Let's remember their example and take up Christ's cross daily and follow Him!"
A passing of the torch: One thought that comes to our hearts as these wonderful friends join the joyful throng around the throne is, "Who will take their places as witnesses for Jesus and prayer warriors for us?" Just as the Lord rose up these to encourage and help us, our prayer is that new men and women will rise up to pray for us and help us carry the gospel forward. Thank you to all of you who pray for us regularly! And please, if you haven't been lifting us up to the Father, start now, we need you! There are some new openings in the ranks of our prayer team and we invite you to step up and grab the torch!
May the Lord Jesus richly bless you and yours, Rick and Melva Barton, Rich and Shelba Townsend
Rick and Melva with Jack and Jodie Hough
Rick with Jane Cecil