Rick Barton Ministries, P.O. Box 1155, Gunnison, CO 81230, 970-209-8006 (C) 970-641-3583 (H)
God Became a Man!
A wise man once said, “Once you grasp the incarnation (God becoming a man), Jesus raising the dead doesn’t seem too difficult”. It leaves me in awe to think that the God who created the universe would leave His heavenly throne to come to earth as a helpless baby. Not only that, He chose to be born into a poor family and His mother and step-father had to flee for their lives shortly after His birth. All of this for one reason, to reconcile lost sinners like you and me to God! What a wonderful and loving Savior we have.
Oklahoma blessings! For the first time I can remember, we held a week of services in the fall as well as in the spring at Abell Community Church near Guthrie, OK. The Lord blessed in many ways. Some highlights included the participation of several young men from the local Job Corp, the testimonies of a local college athlete as well as a Vietnam-era Army Ranger and a local Gideon businessman. The attendance was strong throughout the week with folks attending from several churches. A special blessing was the decision by the church to fill shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child even though they only had 3 days notice. Abell is a small church and we set a goal of 10 boxes; but when we collected them to send, there were 19! We also were privileged to sing for a dear friend in a nursing home and sang at a senior’s center in Amarillo on the way back to Colorado. The day we arrived in Oklahoma we received word of a dear friend passing away. We were privileged to help with her memorial service that week.
** (This newsletter is delayed because we only had a few days between the Oklahoma trip and a trip to KY and NC. We spent the first two weeks of December in KY and NC with family for my graduation from the doctoral program at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville. This newsletter will cover some of the events we were blessed to participate in during November. Our January letter will cover December events.)
Family: What a blessing our family is! Melva and I were able to travel to Edwards, CO for an early Thanksgiving dinner with our daughter Rebekah and her husband Nick. Our son Steve and his wife Annie were able to join us from Los Angeles. Steve just finished working on a television show and Annie is a special needs teacher. Melva continues to regain her strength although the bulging discs in her back causes soreness at times. Please pray for her healing.
Upcoming: Now that we’re home, things are blessedly busy. This week we assist at two funerals for friends, host a gathering for Filipino families in the area, sing Christmas Carols for the local nursing home and conduct our Saturday evening worship service.
In January: Lord willing, on New Year’s Eve I’ll lead a prayer for the ski school on top of Crested Butte before our torchlight parade. I’ve been asked to speak at a men’s breakfast in Westcliffe, CO January 9th as well as a men’s retreat in Montrose, CO January29-30. We plan to start teaching our West Elk Bible Institute classes in January as well. February 24-26, I will be helping with the High Ground Men’s Retreat in Beaver Creek, CO. Your prayers and support allow us to minister in these ways!
Finances: It seems the more Bibles and materials we give away, the more we help missionaries and the more we minister to those in need, the more He provides. Every need continues to be met by His grace! Thank you for your faithful prayers and investments in the Lord’s work. Please join us in prayer that we can obtain a building near the campus to house our Bible Institute and an outreach to the campus.
Praises and Prayer Requests: Our friend, retired Billy Graham Associate Evangelist Ralph Bell came through his multiple bypass surgery fine and is on the mend, thank you for your prayers. All our family travelled safely to and from the graduation. I was blessed to share at Lakewood Baptist Church in Louisville, KY two days before the graduation, and I have no apparent long-term injury after a nasty fall on a stairway at the seminary the night before graduation. Please pray that the Lord will continue and increase His anointing on us as we seek to share the gospel. Please pray for my knee to recover fully from the fall. Please pray for our children and their spouses to continue to be led by the Lord in their vocations and families.
Daniel and Krista (Gabriella) Pennington have been real blessings as they work with college students as well as fill in behind Melva and me as we minister out of town. Please pray for them regularly as you do for us.
In Memoriam: “Precious (highly valued) in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly ones.” (Psalm 116:15 NASB) This past month has seen the homecoming of several wonderful saints. When we arrived in Oklahoma we learned of the passing of Maryland Stotts. Maryland and her husband Archer were original members of our Board of Directors. (Archer went to the Lord earlier this year.) We had the privilege of conducting Maryland’s service during the week we spoke in Guthrie. While in Louisville we received a call that Charles Gooch, a wonderful Oklahoma brother had “flown away” to Jesus. And as we returned to Gunnison we were notified that Norm Hatchell and Don Sammons had passed in the Lord’s presence. Our comfort and strength comes from the assurance of being reunited with them in heaven! As our friends in the Salvation Army say, they have been “promoted to glory”! Will you join us in prayer for the families of these saints? Thank you!
Christmas and Easter are two of the most important holidays we have. They remind us of God’s immense love for us in sending His only Son to save us; and that His love for us took Him to a cruel cross and a grave that couldn’t hold Him! The enemy of our soul has always tried to divert our hurting world from these wonderful truths. With the Holy Spirit’s help, let us bring these tidings of great joy to the world!
May you and yours have a blessed Christmas!
Rick and Melva Barton