“A Time to Die”
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens: a time to be born and a time to die…” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2a).
I have the privilege of conducting a number of “Celebrations of Life” each year. Many for dear friends. For the believers it’s a “Promotion to Glory” (one of my favorite Salvation Army expressions)! For those I’m not sure about, it’s much more difficult; trying to comfort the family and yet not being able to give assurance of heaven. Some time back, I purchased a t-shirt that says, “Live your life so the preacher won’t have to lie at your funeral”. I pray when our time comes, our love for Jesus and others will be obvious.
Recently, conducting the service for a long-time friend, my prayer of many years was answered. I was able to share the gospel with almost all of my co-workers from both the ski school and Forest Service. Over 225 attended the outside service from both groups, as well as football coaches and cowboys. I was able to share John 3:16 with its hope, promise, and call to salvation! His widow had chosen that verse because many years ago a friend had sent it on a card to them. This reminded me that even the cards we send others can have a huge impact! Please pray the Lord will touch many hearts through these services.
July happenings: In July we conducted three Celebrations of Life, one each in Denver, Gunnison and Crested Butte. I had the privilege of leading a men’s retreat in Westcliff, CO, conducted live Saturday Night Services as well as video services which are accessible on an email link (let us know if you want to be on the email video list). It’s been suggested we post them to a Facebook link as well. We’re looking into that. Thank you for praying for us each week!
Westcliff: Let me tell you a little about the men’s retreat. Every year, men from several churches in the area gather for worship, fellowship and time in God’s word. This was the second time I’ve been privileged to join them. One of the highlights for me was hearing the stories of miracles God performed with Navy and Marines in Vietnam, and how He spared the life of another man in a terrible motorcycle accident. It was a special blessing to hear two men from our fellowship who attended with me share their testimonies. A Marine general, pastors, lawyers, and men in prison ministry, all together in one accord!
Upcoming: Lord willing, Sunday, August 2nd we share at Grace Fellowship in Lake City, CO. After the service we drive to Colorado Springs to begin two weeks of refreshing at Glen Eyrie conference center as well as spending time with wonderful friends from that area. We return to Gunnison mid-August to conduct two Celebrations of Life, and share at Pitkin, CO (August 23), and Tin Cup, CO (August 30 and September 6). Our former associate pastor and now Board member, Rich Townsend and his wife Shelba, are coming back to help while we’re on our break. They are wonderful workers for our Lord! Later in the fall we share in Josephine TX (Nov.15).
New Testaments: This week I received a call from a firefighter in New Mexico. Someone had given him a firefighter New Testament with our name in the back. He feels called to reach out to firefighters and police officers with God’s word. Because of your help, we were able to assist him with 200 fire and police New Testaments! Since the first of the year, we’ve had the privilege of sending out thousands of Fire and Police New Testaments and devotionals. What a blessing!
Family: Our son Steve and wife Annie along with Samuel and Abigail escaped from Los Angeles and are spending a month or more with us. Nick and Rebekah with Kailani have come over from Edwards CO to visit as well. Tim and Sara and Elizabeth are expecting little Sydney in October and are staying isolated in LA. Stephen, Joy, Hannah and Bethan are staying healthy in Scotland. We had hoped to travel there this summer to visit but the Covid squelched those plans for now. Melva and I are doing well, we celebrated 49 years of wedded bliss in June and are grateful all our family is healthy!
Finances: With all the New Testaments and devotionals going out this spring, our accountant was concerned that we were spending more than was coming into the “Bible fund”. We committed it to prayer. Today, a check came in from a retired firefighter which along with other Bible Fund donations made up the deficit and more. Thank you for your faithful support. As someone told me years ago, “If God can get it through you, He can get it to you!” Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38. Our God is sooooo faithful!
Prayer Requests: Please pray that the anointing of the Holy Spirit will be upon us as we share locally and around the region. Please pray that I will faithfully present the gospel at each funeral service and that the Lord will encourage believers as well as draw the lost to the Savior. Please pray for our missionaries, some of which are quarantined on their field while others had to return to the States. Please join us in prayer for a mighty revival in our country! Please pray for our family for continued good health.
This month please pray for Pastor John and Pam Dotson at Norwood Christian Church and Pastor Justin Williams and wife of Christ in Focus Church in Norwood, CO. Norwood is a very small town in Western Colorado and they are very faithful workers. (By the way, last month we asked you to pray for Pastor Montie Campbell in OK. A pastor in Arkansas read the request and contacted us. He and Montie had been close friends many years ago and were able to reconnect!)
Thank you for your wonderful prayers and support! May the Lord Jesus bless you abundantly,
Rick and Melva
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Rick Barton Ministires
PO Box 1155
Gunnison, CO 81230