Rick Barton Ministries, P.O. Box 1155, Gunnison, CO 81230, 970-209-8006 (C) 970-641-3583 (H)
A life well lived, a task unfinished: Early Monday morning, March 7, I received a message that our friend and mentor Jerry Bridges had been “Promoted to Glory” the previous evening. Melva and I have been blessed to know Jerry and his family for over 40 years. He has been an example and counsel to us as well as a regular attendee at our ministry dinners. We talked and prayed together over the phone only weeks ago.
Later that morning, while having my quiet time, the Lord led me to Joshua 1:2a. There the Lord says, “My servant Moses is dead; arise, cross this Jordon…” The Spirit of the Lord seemed to say, “The work is not finished; there are many who haven’t heard the message of the gospel. My servant Jerry has died (as has Chuck Smith, Elizabeth Elliot, Ruth Graham, George Beverly Shea and more); take up the gospel standard and go forward”. I believe God is calling us to “rise up” another level. I’m not sure what that means exactly, but I sensed a unique anointing that moment and am excited to see what He has in mind.
February happenings: February was wonderfully busy as I taught skiing; we continued our Saturday evening services and ministry training breakfasts, as well as assisted with a firefighter/police Bible study. Melva and I were invited, along with several others, to do a video on how God started O-Be-Joyful church in Crested Butte. “Alumni” Rick and Colleen spent a weekend teaching us about sharing Christ with followers of Islam and I had the privilege of leading worship for 80+ men at the High Ground men’s Bible/ski retreat in Beaver Creek, CO. What blessings!
Early March: On March 1, we hosted our fourth annual dinner for evangelical pastors and their wives. In all, over 30 men and women from 10 churches attended from Gunnison, Crested Butte and Lake City! The agenda is simple; we (Rick Barton Ministries) provide a nice meal where the pastors and their wives get to meet each other and fellowship. Then we have an extended time of prayer for each other’s families, ministries, our valley, and our country. This began as a dream Rich Townsend and I had for building unity among the evangelical churches in our valley. What a taste of heaven to hear fellow believers from Assembly of God, Baptist, Lutheran and interdenominational churches join together in a concert of prayer! As a result of last year’s dinner a monthly prayer meeting was started for pastors. This year’s dinner fostered the idea for a valley wide men’s retreat! Your prayers and support allow us to hold these dinners.
That same week, Melva and I were featured artists at a local art gallery and the newspaper did a nice article. I was able to share about the Lord and His creation to the reporter. I taught forest fire safety classes for the Crested Butte and Gunnison Fire Departments and was able to give out firefighter New Testaments and devotionals. We recently received a request for 500 firefighter New Testaments for a fire chaplain’s training session in Indianapolis, Praise the Lord!
Melva and I just returned from Jerry Bridges’ Celebration of Life where we were able to spend time with Jerry’s family as well as long-lost friends we had ministered with over 20 years ago. Our God is so good!
Upcoming: April 1-2, I have the privilege of sharing at a men’s retreat in Westcliff, CO. On April 22, we hope to visit Baylor University, and April 24-May1, we hold services at Abell Church north of Guthrie, OK.
It’s time for our annual “Ministry Update and Thank You Dinners” for friends and supporters! This year we will be in Colorado Springs (March 31st). Dallas (April 21), and Oklahoma, City (April 23). Please plan to join us for an evening of fellowship, testimonies and praise! See details below. *
Family: The Lord continues to bless Stephen, Joy, Hannah and Bethan in Scotland. Stephen has been asked to return and preach another month-long series of messages at a church. Please pray for him. I was able to see Nick and Bek while in Beaver Creek and their restaurant is going strong. Steve is between TV jobs and able to spend more time with Annie; and Tim and Sarah are doing well in Los Angeles. Melva’s back has improved thanks to your prayers and I am slowly recovering from a hamstring injury I suffered in December. Melva and I sense the need for some rest time and Lord willing will be able to take some days off soon.
Finances: By God’s grace and your faithful support, every need continues to be met. Last month, we asked you to pray for funds to replace a vehicle for “alumni” SIM missionaries Brad and Gina Shaw in Peru. Our Young Life friends were able to sell one of their vehicles and send the proceeds. Our Saturday night worship group has pitched in as well. Thank you and please keep praying!
Prayer Requests: First, we ask that you pray that the Holy Spirit’s anointing will abide and increase as we seek to share the gospel. Second, we ask you to pray for our family to grow in their love and knowledge of Jesus. Third, please pray for the upcoming meetings; that Jesus will be exalted and that the Holy Spirit will move. And finally, please pray for rest and recovery for Melva and me.
Daniel, Krista and Gabriella are fighting colds but still ministering with wonderful effect on the campus and in the community. Cathy is back ministering to Chinese Muslims and Diane Johnston saw 17 children come to Jesus recently in MS through her work with Child Evangelism Fellowship! Rich and Shelba Townsend are back for a few weeks in between ministry in St. Louis. Dave and Melissa Curtis continue to prepare and develop support to return to France. Thank you for praying for each of them!
We love and appreciate each one of you, may you have a blessed Resurrection Day!
Rick and Melva
**More Details about the Dinners:
Colorado Springs: Thursday, March 31st, 6-8 PM @ Mimi’s Café 7133 N. Academy
Please RSVP with Cliff and Sandra Ellis (719-233-7716 or 719-522-1185).
Dallas: Thursday April 21, 6-8 PM @ Bill and Verdell Krisher’s home, 5915 Overdowns.
Please RSVP with Bill and Verdell Krisher, firstname.lastname@example.org, 214-369-2268.
Oklahoma City: Johnnies Hamburgers, 33 E 33rd St, Edmond, OK, 5-7 PM.
Please RSVP with Jerry and Suzanne Bugg, 405-751-5867.