“The birds begin to sing, the flowers start their blooming.” That’s a line from a wonderful song by Kurt Kaiser called Pass It On. This song was popular during the Jesus Movement and expressed the simple truth of fulfilling the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). Each stanza emphasizes the motivation to share Jesus as a result of experiencing His love. Each one ends with “That’s how it is with God’s love; once you experience it…you want to pass it on”. Or, as the gospel writer said, “Come and see, go and tell”!
I think the reason we as Christians fail to share Jesus with unbelievers is that we’ve lost our first love. We’re in a rut with dry and barren hearts. We’re like flowers in the dormancy of winter. Jesus said that when we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we will BE witnesses for Him (Acts 1:8). That means through our words and our lives! We will want to Pass It On! May God help us be renewed by His Spirit. May we burst forth with a vibrant love for our Savior that overflows with an urgency to share His salvation with everyone!
March happenings: As we reported last month, March 8th we held our fourth annual dinner for evangelical pastors and wives. We served 38 from Crested Butte, Lake City and Gunnison and witnessed a wonderful time of prayer and unity. I taught fire classes in Gunnison and Crested Butte and was able to give away firefighter New Testaments and Devotionals. And of course, I taught skiing. The Lord allowed me to continue to share with an instructor and his wife, presenting them with the plan of salvation and a Bible! I heard from former students of how God used me in their families as well. Our Saturday Evening Worship Service continues strong with a study of Matthew’s account leading up to and including our Lord’s passion.
Thank You-Update Dinners: We held our first 2016 “Thank You Dinner” in Colorado Springs, March 31st. What a wonderful night with friends and supporters as we enjoyed fellowship and gave God praise for His blessings over the past 12 months. The group included co-workers from almost 40 years ago as well as those from churches we have shared in recently. We had a meaningful time of prayer over our concerns and visions. Upcoming dinners include Dallas (April 21) and Oklahoma City (April 23rd). See below for more details. We hope you can join us!
Concerns and Visions: Let me share with you a small portion of what we discussed at the dinner. One concern is that Melva and I may need some time away for rest and renewal. The Lord has been dealing with us about not taking a regular day off for most of our lives in ministry (47 years), and that our last sabbatical was when I pursued my Master’s at Wheaton College in 1993. As our son Steve commented, “You may have your math concerning sabbaticals a bit skewedJ”. A vision I have is for a Christian Ministries Center near the campus here in Gunnison. It would be a place for Christians to meet for study and fellowship as well as our Bible Institute classes and ministry library. Please pray for God’s direction as we seek His leadership in these matters. In the meantime, Melva and I are committed to taking “mini breaks” more often.
Upcoming: By God’s grace we will leave again April 19th. This time it will be to Dallas TX for our Thank You/Update dinner on the 21st. On the 22nd we meet with our friend Dr. Walter Bradley and visit Baylor University. On the 23rd we have our Dinner in Oklahoma City and then start 8 days of special meetings at Abell Community Church north of Guthrie, OK. Please pray that the anointing of the Holy Spirit will be on each of these meetings and services! We depend on your prayers and are grateful for every one of them!
Family: Stephen is preaching another month of services at a church he has shared with before and Joy is starting a temporary position working with children at a local school. Hannah (7) and Bethan (5) are enjoying school and winning awards in speech and art! Nick and Rebekah are taking a short break following a good winter at their restaurant near Vail, son Steve is praying for God’s direction for his next job in Hollywood while Annie continues working with special needs children. Tim and Sara are still going strong in the LA area. Melva is doing physical therapy to loosen up a “frozen shoulder” and I have finished another good year of teaching skiing and anxious to spend more time with Melva and in ministry.
Finances: In March we sent out extra support to some of our “alumni” missionaries as well as local workers we knew could use some help. This is something Rich Townsend and I started doing a few years ago. We are convinced that as we are faithful stewards of His provision, He will meet every need and even provide an abundance to help others (2 Corinthians 9:8). Because of your faithful prayers and support, many are giving thanks to God! Former interns Paul and Sarah Muirhead are almost finished with their missionary school in Phoenix. We’re still collecting money for their practicum in the Middle East as well as the Shaw’s replacement vehicle in Peru. Thank you for praying for and helping these “alumni”!
Prayer Requests: (1) For the anointing of the Holy Spirit to continue and increase as we share the joyful good news of Jesus! (2) For safety and much fruit in our upcoming trips. (3) For our son Steve and son-in- love Stephen to be led to the job assignment the Lord has for them. (4) For Melva’s shoulder/neck to be healed and for us to be able to take a sabbatical at the right time.
Firefighter and Police Bibles and devotionals: We sent out another case of Police New Testaments to Colorado Springs today as well as Firefighter New Testaments to Eastern Colorado. It seems that every department that sees a copy wants more! Please pray the Lord will use each copy.
Your prayers and support make all this possible. We thank God for His blessings through you!
May the Lord Jesus richly bless you all! Rick and Melva Barton
**More Details about the “Thank You/Update Dinners:
-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.
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Rick Barton Ministires