Rick Barton Ministries, P.O. Box 1155, Gunnison, CO 81230, 970-209-8006 (C) 970-641-3583 (H)
July 4, 2014
Two thoughts about freedom stick in my mind. The first is one I see on billboards fairly often. "Freedom isn't free" it says, referring to the brave members of our armed forces who have and are sacrificing for America's freedom. The second is "God didn't set us free to do as we want, but to do as we ought."
As true as the first statement is concerning our military, it's also true for the men and women who have left their homes to travel around the world to bring the gospel of Jesus Christ. It's especially true for our Savior who paid the ultimate price on the cross to purchase our freedom from sin. We have truly been "bought with a price"! (1 Corinthians 6:23)
The second statement intrigues me as well. In Romans 6, God's word tells us that we have been set free from sin. But, instead of squandering our freedom on self-centered living, we are to use our freedom to become slaves of righteousness; to follow Jesus with our whole hearts. The apostle Paul referred to himself as a "bond-slave" of Jesus. I believe He was referring to men who chose, out of love for their masters, to become slaves for life. (Exodus 21:6) When we come to Jesus for salvation we are set free! How we live in that freedom tells where our hearts really are doesn't it?
Last Saturday Night we had a wonderful worship service. Our small meeting place was more crowded than usual and as we began to worship a sweet Spirit entered the room. The night's topic was the passage in 1 Corinthians 11 on the Lord's Supper. As we prepared our hearts to receive communion there were tears as God worked in our midst. We are soooo thankful that our Lord allows us the privilege of knowing and serving Him!
June was an exciting month as we made a road trip to meet with faithful friends and supporters as well as speak in their churches. After preaching in Colorado for four weeks in May, we travelled to Fort Smith, AR where we met with friends and shared at 1st Baptist. Then we headed to Dallas where we met with another group of prayer partners (and celebrated our 43rd wedding anniversary). The next day we drove to Oklahoma City where we met with members of our Board of Directors and supporters. The following morning we had the privilege of sharing at Abel Church north of Guthrie, OK. Following that we returned to Gunnison where I conducted two funerals and resumed our normal ministry responsibilities.
Rich and Shelba: Shelba continues to experience full recovery from her pneumonia! Rich unfortunately has developed "pink eye"; probably from all the children he hugs each week. He and Shelba are the "unofficial grandparents" for most of Gunnison. Their trip to MO went very well and Rich reports your prayers were answered as they were able to visit family, witness and preach!
Newsletter: Are you on our "every so often" mailing list? Would like to be on our monthly one? Just call, write or email and let us know if you want the print or email version!
Family: We are blessed to have Joy and our two granddaughters with us for six weeks. Stephen had to stay in Scotland where he is working and preaching every weekend. Lord willing, he'll join us soon along with Nick and Bek, Steve and Annie, and Tim and Sara.
Upcoming: We will hold our annual Rodeo church service (7/13), our 45th year of ministry celebration (7/25), start up our West Elk Bible Institute (9/15) attend a 60th year of the FCA reunion (10/7-9), conduct a hunter's church service (10/12), and conduct services in Tucson (11/15-17). In between, I anticipate doing forest fire work and studies along with our regular ministries.
45th Year of Ministry Celebration: We are excited about our July 25th celebration. In 1969 the Lord saved me and sent me back to my fellow college students as a missionary. I started a Christian coffeehouse on campus that year which turned into a Bible study which after a few years became a church. He has allowed us to help with Bible studies which have become the nucleus of strong churches as well as encourage workers to go forth into Kingdom work!
The Celebration will include visiting one of those churches as well as meeting some of the missionaries who have gone out. It will be a day not focusing on us but on God's wonderful faithfulness! Someone asked why we don't wait till the 50th year. The answer is that some of those who have encouraged and served with us are now with the Lord and I wanted to get us together before any more go on ahead of us to glory! Please pray about joining us!
Prayer Requests: Our "son-in-love" Stephen's car has broken down several times on the way to preach in Scotland. His Christian mechanic says it's time to replace it. Please pray for the Lord to provide a good vehicle for them. Pastor Van Hudson continues to improve but needs a handicap accessible van. John Schroeder, Costa Rica missionary Frank G., Dean M, and Tad all need the Lord's healing. Please pray the Holy Spirit's anointing on us to continue and increase! Biblica, (formerly the International Bible Society), recently stopped printing the firefighter New Testaments we distribute and we are running out quickly. Please pray that we can convince them to make a new printing or make our own edition.
Finances: A few weeks ago a brother gave me a check for $4000. I asked him if he had a particular burden for where it should go. He responded that his heart was for missions. We prayed and divided the money among several of our "alumni" missionaries who are currently serving in the USA and abroad. This week we've heard from two who told us that they in turn shared it with others in more need than they! Yea Lord!
Thank YOU! Each day as Melva and I, as well as Rich and Shelba, go out to share Jesus, we know that you are lifting us up in prayer. Thank You!! We know that's what is protecting us and bringing fruit to His kingdom!
By His grace and to His glory,
Rick and Melva Barton
Rich and Shelba Townsend