He Finished His Race!2 Timothy 4:7-8
Change of Address: “Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.” ~ Billy Graham
On February 21st, Billy Graham changed addresses from earth to heaven. Other than my wife Melva, I can’t think of any other person who has impacted my life more than Mr. Graham. Many of you have had a wonderful influence on us, but as new believers entering ministry, Melva and I decided early to pattern our lives and ministry after his. His “Modesto Manifesto” setting up guidelines on morality, honesty, financial accountability and relationships with local churches became our model. His emphasis on the Bible and a simple salvation message became our emphasis.
Through our 49 years of ministry we have received many blessings through the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA). We’ve been privileged to attend two International Conferences for Itinerant Evangelists, the North American Conference for Itinerant Evangelists, several Schools of Evangelism, and even teach and lead at some events. I was able to achieve a Masters in Evangelism at the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College and a Doctor of Ministries from the Billy Graham School at Southern Seminary, all programs started by the BGEA. At their request I wrote a book for beginning evangelists which has been used around the world to encourage workers. But most of all, we’ve been impacted by the humility, integrity and generosity of Mr. Graham and his team.
As the Apostle Paul awaited his execution in a Roman jail, he proclaimed, “…the time of my departure has come. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; 8 in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing” (2 Timothy 4:6b-8). Well done, good and faithful servant!
February began wonderfully as I taught a class for the Crested Butte Fire Department (and of course handed out firefighter New Testaments and devotionals). Then we hosted a dinner and prayer time for 29 evangelical pastors and wives from Gunnison, Crested Butte and Lake City. Two days after the dinner Melva and I flew to Oklahoma to conduct a funeral for Sally Hudson, the widow of Pastor Van Hudson, a long-time friend. Sally was a wonderful and godly woman loved by all. A few days later we travelled to Clarksville, VA to speak at a couple’s conference for the Fellowship of Christian Firefighters. Somewhere in all the travels I picked up a cold which became bronchitis and Melva caught the flu. I “hacked” through the couple’s conference and we have both been home-bound for the past week. We are soooo grateful for your daily prayers for us. You don’t always know what we’re going through but the Lord does!
Upcoming: This weekend (Feb 25) I speak at the Gunnison Community Church. Then, Lord willing I help lead worship for the High Ground Men’s Bible/ski retreat in Beaver Creek CO (Feb 28-Mar 2). I’m scheduled to preach at the Community Church again (March 11 and 18), as we enter our spring break rush at the ski area. March 28, we speak at the Rock Solid High School in Littleton, CO. Then we begin our “Spring Tour”.
THANK YOU DINNERS
Please join us for a time of fellowship, ministry update and prayer!
Spring Tour: In addition to the “Thank Your Dinners”, we’re privileged to hold a week of services @ Abell Community Church near Guthrie, OK (April 15-22) and then a service @ 1st Baptist Church of Oakville in St. Louis (April 29 Then we preach in Pitkin CO (May 28) and Tin Cup CO (June 3). Please pray for the anointing of the Holy Spirit, safe travels and good health for these travels!
New Testament Update: The Lord continues to open doors for giving away fire and police New Testaments and devotionals. Craig Duck, president of the Fellowship of Christian Firefighters, reports that the New Testaments we sent with him to Kenya have borne wonderful fruit. As they gave them away at a firefighter training conference, several unbelievers asked for copies. Then, a village asked them to help start a school, the leaders said they would use the New Testaments as a text. They agreed! Last night we received a request for two hundred more New Testaments and 60 devotionals for the Africa Fire Mission! Praise Him!
Finances: We are continually in awe of how the Lord provides. You are His instruments and we are grateful for each of you who pray and financially support His work! Last night the Lord woke me at mid-night to send some money for food to a pastor in Kenya. He responded this morning that he and his family had been reduced to eating one meal of porridge a day for the past week. No gift, in Jesus’ name, goes unblessed!
Prayer Requests: In the 1949 Los Angeles Billy Graham Crusade, God’s Spirit fell on the meetings and Billy was thrust into national prominence. A woman named Pearl Goode had felt God’s leading to pray for the Holy Spirit’s anointing and boldness as Billy and the Team shared. God honored her prayers and she began to travel to all of Billy’s Crusades as a prayer warrior. When she died, Billy’s wife Ruth shared the words “Here lie the mortal remains of much of the secret to Billy’s ministry”. Each of you who lift us up in prayer are in a huge way responsible for all the Lord Jesus is doing in and through us! Thank you!
Please pray that the anointing of the Holy Spirit abides on us as we share both locally and around the country. Please pray that I become more humble and obedient, and that I have a greater burden for the lost. Please pray for our health to return and that we have strength for the task. Please pray that our hearts and the hearts of those we speak to will be open to Him! And, please pray that we have the wisdom as to what ministries to accept and focus on. Thank You!
Family: Grandson Samuel has passed 9 months and growing each day! Everyone is doing well throughout our family as we learn how deep the Father’s love is for each of us.
Thank You! Each of you are co-laborers with us and any blessings are yours as well! God bless you!
Rick Barton Ministries
2017 Praise Report
Rick and Melva Barton
**(This is our “kind-of quarterly” update-if you are not receiving our monthly email or hard copy updates and would like to be, just let us know! firstname.lastname@example.org or 970-641-3583)
**These are in addition to our weekly Saturday Night Worship services, monthly men’s breakfasts, Melva’s ministries with ladies, hospital and nursing home visits and teaching skiing.
Your prayers and support literally keep us going! Thank you!
Rick and Melva Barton
POB 1155 Gunnison, CO 81230
email@example.com rickbartonministries.org 970-209-8006
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Rick Barton Ministires
PO Box 1155
Gunnison, CO 81230