“And the Greatest of these is….”
“All we need is love…” were the lyrics of a popular song by the Beatles in 1967. The song’s lyrics went on to express the feelings and desire of an entire generation. “All you need is love, love, love is all you need…” Yes, all of us need love. The Beatles recognized that need but tried to discover “love” through self-focused efforts; “It's easy”, the song goes on to say. Sadly, real love isn’t “easy” and it can’t be self-generated. Especially since we tend to “look for love in all the wrong places” (Johnny Lee).
Fortunately, God’s word directs us to the true source of love, God Himself. “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. ….. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.” (1 John 4:7-9) The Bible also tells us what real love looks like. “4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:4-7). As we enjoy the cards and candy this month, I pray we remember and recommit ourselves to real, Christ-centered “love”!
January was a wonderful month as we tied up the old and bounded into the New Year! Because of how Christmas break fell this year, my work at the ski area stayed very busy through the 8th of January. Along with the other instructors I worked 14 out of 15 days straight. I had a wonderful time of teaching and sharing with students from around the world. (As a special treat, I was surprised with the “Peak Performer” award for January from the adult ski school). Our Bible study for instructors has gone well with small attendance but great interaction with God’s word. Thank you for praying for this study to impact our staff.
Other ministries during January included our Saturday Night Worship group which continues to be a huge blessing. Twenty or so folks who are committed to hearing, reading, memorizing and obeying God’s word! Each month our offering is distributed between a rotating list of “alumni missionaries”. What a joy it is to see God working in each person. In mid-January we met with the board of the Fellowship of Christian Cowboys in Denver. The FCC has a wonderful ministry, especially with young people. We have spoken at their functions over the years but hadn’t met most of the board. It was a wonderful time of fellowship and we heard testimonies from the national “Little Britches Rodeo” queen and others.
“Promoted to Glory”: Two of our dear friends have recently crossed into God’s “Celestial City”. Roger Fleming-who spent many years serving the Savior with the Navigators, and Sally Hudson-widow of Pastor Van Hudson in Guthrie OK, entered the home Jesus has prepared for them. Please pray for their families.
Bibles: We sent out another 200 fire and police New Testaments out this month to North Carolina!
Pastors and Wives Dinner: One of the privileges we have is to encourage Christian workers and their wives. Sadly, churches have difficulties from time to time and often the pastor and his family struggle. Tonight, we hosted a dinner for 29 evangelical pastors, leaders, and wives. It was our 6th year of sponsoring this time of fellowship and prayer for pastors from three nearby communities. Our former associates, Rich and Shelba Townsend continue to organize these evenings and flew out to join us as well as give a report of how the Lord is igniting their church in St. Louis. Your prayers and support allow us to do this!
Finances: We are receiving responses from the “alumni” missionaries and ministry workers you allowed us to send extra support to last month. We suggested they put it toward retirement. Cathy (China) says that it will help her set up a retirement fund in her new mission agency. Diane (Jackson MS) says it will go toward her retirement fund which has fallen behind. Cory and Tiff (Kenya) are using it toward their children’s education fund. They asked us to give each of you a huge “Thank You!”! The week after we sent out checks to the workers, enough support came in to cover every gift! You are a special blessing to these workers.
We’ve also been able to help local families in need because of your generosity. One lady called us before Christmas asking for help because she was afraid of being evicted from her trailer. It so happened that I had led her landlord to Christ a few years ago. Working with him, we were able to delay the eviction and help her and her son catch up their rent. Our ministry finances continue strong. Thank you for joining with us as we preach God’s word, provide Bibles to firemen and police officers, and train workers.
Upcoming: February 16-18, Melva and I have been invited to speak for a Christian Firefighter’s couple’s conference in Virginia. February 25th, March 11 and March 18th I preach at the Gunnison Community Church. February 28-March 2, I help lead the worship for the High Ground Men’s Bible/ski retreat at Beaver Creek, CO. March 28, we share in a chapel service at the Rock Solid High School in Littleton, CO. April 5th, is our “Thank You Dinner” in Colorado Springs, April 12 is our “Thank You Dinner” in Dallas, April 14th is our “Thank You Luncheon” and board meeting in Oklahoma City (note: we moved the date up a day), and April 15-22 we hold services in Guthrie, OK. April 29th, I preach in St. Louis, MO.
Please pray for each of these meetings, that Jesus would be exalted, that I would preach His word in the power of the Holy Spirit, and souls will be drawn to the Savior! Please plan to join us for the meetings closest to you.
Family: Stephen, Joy, Hannah and Bethan (Scotland) are hoping to join us for a few weeks this summer! The girls are active in school and sharing the love of Jesus. Rebekah and Nick are doing well in Edwards, CO. Steve, Annie and Samuel (8 months) are continuing to learn and grow as a family, and Tim and Sara are enjoying their work and life in Los Angeles. They’re all involved in good churches!
Prayer requests: Please pray for the anointing of the Holy Spirit as we share. Please pray for my health as I have recently been fatigued. Please pray for Steve and Annie that they find a larger apartment.
“May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all!” (2 Corinthians 13:14)
Rick and Melva
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Rick Barton Ministires
PO Box 1155
Gunnison, CO 81230