“And you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free." (John 8:32). Contrary to popular opinion, the Christian life is one of great freedom! Jesus and the New Testament writers spent a lot of time focusing on our freedom in Christ. We are freed from sin and its consequences, and free to do the “good works” God has prepared for us (Romans 6:7, Ephesians 2:8-10).
But what is God’s definition of “freedom”? As born-again followers of Jesus, we are free to do as we “ought”, not necessarily as we “want”. Galatians 5:13 tells us “For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but serve one another through love”. Our “wants” can often be led by emotions, greed, or lust. They aren’t good guides of how to live in our new freedom. Instead, we are to “present ourselves to God…as instruments of righteousness”.
Our country is facing real choices concerning freedom. Are we “free” to take our babies lives? Are we “free” to reject our God-given sexuality and replace it with something God calls unrighteousness? Today, more than anytime in recent history, it’s imperative that followers of Jesus use our “freedom” to live and share God’s truth found in the Bible and the great news of true freedom!
June Happenings: June started off with a great service in Tin Cup CO. We love sharing with folks from around the country in the historic mining towns of Tin Cup, Pitkin, and Sargents. Following the service, Melva and I took a few days off to celebrate our 51st wedding anniversary and were able to visit “alumni” Barb Kaper and Steph Goetschel. As the result of a gracious gift, we were able to pick up a new vehicle to replace our Trailblazer which has 192,000 miles. The very week the gift came, an alumni missionary couple sent out a request for a used SUV and we are able to pass on the Trailblazer!
Celebrations of Life: The Lord continues to give us the privilege of sharing the gospel to many who are really listening, perhaps for the first time, at the death of a friend or loved one. In June we held services for Mike Vader as well as Kam and Mary Cranor.
A special blessing occurred at Mike’s service. As I was preparing the message I was told of a folded piece of paper in his Bible. Upon opening it, I found Mike had written his testimony of salvation, being filled with the Holy Spirit, and 7 important lessons he had learned in his life with Jesus. That became the message I shared with over 200 members of the ranching community!
1st Responder New Testaments and Devotionals: This month you helped us send out 250 firefighter New Testaments to a chaplain in Ft. Lauderdale FL. In addition, have a request from Salvation Army Chaplains in British Columbia. They report they’ve given out the thousand copies we sent them and need more!
You helped put Christian Radio back on the air! Christian radio can have a positive impact on an entire community. We have two Christian stations beamed into Gunnison; K-LOVE with contemporary Christian music, perfect for college students and young adults, and KTLF playing “light praise” and featuring Chuck Swindoll, Focus on the Family and Greg Laurie. Recently, KTLF abruptly went off the air. Upon talking to their engineer, we discovered that the transmitter had finally died, and they were trying to raise funds to replace it. We prayed and were able to cover the cost. The new transmitter is on the way. Just think, for less than $5,000, we can impact an entire community for years to come. You helped make this possible!
Family: Stephen and Joy (Hannah and Bethan) are officially moving to London where Stephen has begun his first pastorate. They really appreciate your prayers! Nick and Rebekah (Kailani) are going strong in Edwards/Vail Colorado with their restaurant and Kai is doing great in pre-school. Steve and Annie (Samuel and Abigail) are busy in Los Angeles with Steve doing freelance video and television production and Annie on summer break from teaching. Tim and Sara (Elizabeth and Sydney) are recovering from RSV and are very grateful for your prayers. (Lord willing, we will have everyone together this fall for the first time in several years.) Melva is diving into a great study on Revelation. My voice is still weak, but the Lord continues to give grace through all my speaking engagements. Thank you for praying for our family!
Alumni Missionary Diane Johnston, serving in Jackson MS, was able to spend 2 weeks in our missionary apartment for personal R and R. Diane is doing a wonderful work reaching out to preschoolers. For over 18 years she served with Child Evangelism Fellowship and now she has a new ministry, “Life for Little Lambs”. The Lord has blessed her work with many children and even teachers coming to Jesus.
Finances: “The generous man will be prosperous, and he who waters will himself be watered.” (Proverbs 11:25). Your generosity has allowed us to put a Christian radio station back on the air, send New Testaments and devotionals to 1st Responders, support missionaries and pastors around the world, share the gospel with hundreds, and more. Thanks to the Lord providing through you, every bill is paid, and He is opening more opportunities. Thank You!
Upcoming: Lord willing:
July 14-17 Gunnison CO serving as Rodeo Chaplain and Rodeo Church Service
July 26-31 Colorado Springs Family Reunion and a Celebration of Life Service
Aug 21 Pitkin CO Community Church
Sept 4 Tin Cup CO Community Church-meets in town hall
Sept 11 Pitkin CO Community Church
Sept 25-28 Bentonia Mississippi Hebron Baptist Church
Sept 30 College Station TX “The Academy” at Texas A & M University
October 2 Dallas TX Ministry Update and early dinner (time and location to be determined)
Weekly Saturday Night Worship Services and Fire Assignments when possible.
Prayer Requests: For the anointing of the Holy Spirit as we share. For Stephen as he begins his pastoral role in London. For my voice to recover its strength and clarity.
Thank You and may the Lord Jesus richly bless you! By His grace and to His glory, Rick and Melva
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Rick Barton Ministires
PO Box 1155
Gunnison, CO 81230