Rick Barton Ministries, P.O. Box 1155, Gunnison, CO 81230, 970-209-8006 (C) 970-641-3583 (H)
August 1, 2014
"Reunion and Homecoming"
What a time we had July 25th as we gathered for a day of rejoicing in God's faithfulness over our 45 years of ministry. It was a reunion of friends from each of the decades we've served Jesus here in Gunnison. Doug and Marie Stewart, who encouraged us when we first came to Jesus, Rick (and Colleen) Borkovec, early co-worker and current missionary to the Middle East, Pastor Lyn Lampert serving in Lake City, and many more worshipped the Lord with us! Some who couldn't come asked about the 50th. We hope Jesus returns by then, but if not, we'll certainly pray about getting together again?
A special blessing was having Dr. Tim Beougher, Associate Dean of the Billy Graham School at Southern Seminary in attendance. In 1994, as I was finishing my MA in Evangelism at Wheaton College, I asked Tim to be on our Board of Directors as a "no" man. I knew he had worked with Billy Graham, Billy Hanks Jr., and other ministries and knew the pitfalls Christian workers need to avoid. I asked him not only to warn me, but our Board of these things and to help us avoid them. Tim graciously agreed and at the celebration once again admonished us to stay on track with Jesus and to finish strong!
Jeremiah chapter 7 has been on my heart a lot lately. I have been burdened, yet strangely encouraged, as I read it. The southern kingdom of Israel, Judah, had fallen into rebellion against God. They had become corrupt in their leadership, their priests, and individually. They were depending on their "religious" ceremonies to save them while openly committing idolatry and immorality in the name of "worship". I grieve as I see many in our country doing the same thing. Government leaders abandoning our Christian heritage, pastors and priests who wear crosses yet endorse sexual sin, giving sermons but not submitting to God's word. I am encouraged as I see the heart of God as He continues to love His people and call them to repentance so that He may restore them. Please join me in prayer for revival in our churches and our nation!
July was a whirlwind of local ministry as well as family gatherings. At one point we had twelve of our family home to have a memorial for my mom and a time of reunion. What a blessing our family is to us!
Our Saturday evening worship group continues to grow spiritually as well as numerically. We're currently working our way through 1 Corinthians and discovering how important it is for each of us to be filled daily with the Holy Spirit and to be active in using our gifts for the good of the entire body of Christ!
Family: We reluctantly said goodbye to the last of our loved ones after six weeks of busy but blessed times. Stephen and Joy (Hannah and Bethan) returned to Scotland where Stephen preaches this weekend. Please pray that the Lord provides a great car for them for work and his weekly preaching trips. Nick and Rebekah are back in Edwards to their restaurant. Steve and Annie as well as Tim and Sara are back to work in Los Angeles. Steve starts a new job on a new TV show and would appreciate your prayers.
Finances: By the grace of God and each of you, the ministry finances remain strong! Whenever they appear to be slipping, the Lord prompts someone to send a gift and every need is met! Thank you for your faithful prayers and support.
Huge Prayer Request and Opportunity! As we mentioned last month, Biblica (formerly the International Bible Society) suddenly ceased printing the Firefighter, Police, Cowboy, and Motorcycle New Testaments; all of which we give away. Many of us have appealed to them to print more since they are major tools for evangelism in these areas. So far, our only option is to have a special printing made. The minimum order is 10,000 copies of the Firefighter New Testaments for $40,000. As you may know, firefighters and EMS workers have a large percentage of marriage failures and abuse issues. This is a group that desperately needs the Great News of Jesus!
Several members of our board met at the Celebration and felt led to pursue praying in the $40,000 to have a special printing made. We would then give the Fellowship of Christian Firefighters any number of copies they need in their national office and we would continue to send them out to firefighters and fire departments around the country. So far the Lord has already provided $10,000 toward the goal! Please pray with us that (1) Biblica would reverse their decision and reprint the New Testament or (2) that He would provide the money for us to reprint them as well as a place to store them.
When I was in New York helping after 9/11, a fire chief asked if I could send him 500 copies of the Firefighter New Testament for the fire department there. We didn't have the funds to do so, but I felt led to answer "yes". Within a few hours the money was provided and the Bibles were sent. We have firefighters waiting for these New Testaments; so, by God's grace, we're trusting to have them to send. If the Lord leads you to be part of helping in this area, just attach a note to your gift specifying "Bible Fund". And please pray!
Rich and Shelba Townsend: Rich and Shelba have been working overtime helping with Vacation Bible School and the Leadership Team for Trinity Baptist as well as our ministry. They are extremely grateful for your prayers! Rich is training to climb a 14,000 peak this month! We'll keep you posted.
Homecoming: Our good friend and faithful brother John Schroeder had his heavenly homecoming on July 29th. John was an active member of our fellowship 30 years ago, then serving in IL, and had been fighting cancer. His sweet spirit and servant's heart were an inspiration to all of us.
Thank you for your daily prayers and faithful investment in the Lord's work! You are loved and appreciated!
Rick and Melva Barton Rich and Shelba Townsend