"Count It All Joy"
Are you sure Lord? “Count it all joy my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” (James 1:2-4) We’re to have joy even during this trial? Yes! I believe the Lord has allowed this pandemic to get our attention, to draw us back to putting Him first; in our lives as individuals, as families, as His church, and as a nation! My friends with the Billy Graham organization tell me that Franklin Graham’s service at New York’s Central Park and his 30-second TV spots have generated over 65,000 people calling in for prayer and over 3000 decisions for Christ! Another example of how God is using this time is that I received word that one of our instructors, who is not a follower of Jesus yet, wanted me to pray for her as her father was nearing death. That opened the door for me to call, pray with her, and share how Jesus loved her.
I had a great ski season and our employee Bible study and mountain top chapel services went very well. Thank you for your prayers! I am continually grateful that after being in a near fatal motorbike accident in High School and being told I would never ski again; I have completed 53 years as a professional skier. What a wonderful God we serve!
Virtual church: Yes, it’s bit strange, especially for someone as “techno dummy” as myself. However, using some simple techniques I actually learned on forest fires, we’ve been able to video our Saturday Night Worship Service and a wonderful brother here in town puts it into a video link on an email. We send out the email and all you have to do is click on the link to watch the study. Melva and I sing a couple of songs and then I open God’s word. In addition, we send out an email with the study notes to go with the teaching. If you’re interested in receiving these, just email us with your request (firstname.lastname@example.org). We even had a “virtual” communion service at Easter, another first for us!
Upcoming Events: As you can imagine, all our speaking engagements for this spring and early summer had to be postponed or cancelled. The Lord has blessed during this time as we have been able to catch up on some things that needed to be done here. He does have a plan through all this, and it’s for our good (Romans 8:28). Lord willing, we will be sharing:
Family: Our headline couple this month is Tim and Sara, our son and daughter-in-law in Los Angeles. Little Elizabeth (19 mo), who had a miraculous birth, is doing soooo much better thanks to your prayers. Now, we’re excited to announce that they’re expecting again, this time in September! We would really appreciate your prayers for mom and baby. Nick, Rebekah and Kailani (14 mo) have been able to keep ZINO restaurant in Edwards, CO open for take-out for their many faithful customers. Stephen and Joy, Hannah (11) and Bethan (9), are all still homebound in Scotland, as are Steve, Annie, Samuel (3) and Abigail (6 mo) in Los Angeles. We praise the Lord that our family have been spared the virus to this point. We are very grateful for your prayers for our family!
Finances: 2 Corinthians chapters 8 and 9 have wonderful lessons on giving. During this Covid-19 crisis we have seen opportunities to put them into action. “…at this present time your abundance being a supply for their need, so that their abundance may become a supply for your need…” (verse 10). Because of your faithful support, we have been able to assist local small church pastors who are having a difficult time, missionaries who have returned from the field with medical needs, and indigenous pastors in hard hit areas overseas. “For the ministry of this service (your giving) is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is overflowing through many thanksgivings to God” (2 Corinthians 9:12). May we encourage you to look around during this time to see if there is a small church pastor or Christian worker, perhaps bi-vocational, who could use a special blessing this month? You could be the answer to their prayers, even a small gift makes a big difference!
1st Responder Bibles and Devotionals: This month we’ve heard from Ann, the widow of a Dallas fire chief who carries an Answering the Call (ATC) firefighter New Testament in her walker to give away. She’s given away several hundred over the past few years. Larry, a retired firefighter in Michigan, notified us that the Holy Spirit is leading him to contact every fire station in Michigan and offer New Testaments and Devotionals. What a wonderful vision from the Lord! Your prayers and support allow us to supply these.
Books and CDs: If you would like a complimentary copy of any of the fire or police New Testaments or devotionals, my book “God on the Fireline”, one of our 3 music CDs, our book, “The Freight Train Chronicles” (brief stories of God’s work in our first 50 years of ministry), or “Beggar to Beggar” (a book I wrote for the Billy Graham folks to give to beginning itinerant evangelists), please let us know.
Prayer Requests: As I was reflecting on our many blessings through 51 years of ministry, each of you came to mind. We are sooooo blessed to have your faithful love, prayers and support. We know some of you have prayed for us daily through these years. We are humbled and grateful! This month’s requests:
For the anointing of the Holy Spirit as we share locally and virtually. 2. For Tim and Sara, for a healthy baby and mommy. 3. That we might recognize and take advantage of the opportunities the Lord presents us during this time of stress for so many. 4. For the couple or individual the Lord has prepared to assist us.
Your prayers protect us as we travel to share the gospel around the country; protect me on forest fire and hurricane assignments, and protect us spiritually from the enemy’s snares and traps. Your support has allowed us to minister here and around the world. You are the Lord’s gift to us and we praise Him for each of you!
May the Lord Jesus richly bless and keep you and yours healthy and fruitful in His kingdom,
Rick and Melva Barton
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Rick Barton Ministires
PO Box 1155
Gunnison, CO 81230