S is for Simple: The past few weeks have been a very special time in Melva’s and my walk with Jesus. It started this summer as we ministered with many of you around the country but it has grown with watching a DVD about the Jesus Movement and especially its music of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. The very time we came to Jesus! (First Love-A historic gathering of Jesus Music Pioneers available from CBD or Amazon).
We watched and listened to artists such as Barry McGuire, 2nd Chapter of Acts, Honeytree and Love Song share how Jesus came into them and transformed their lives and music. How they went from lost seekers to overnight ambassadors for our Lord. How the Jesus Movement erupted and thousands of young people came to Jesus. We were convicted of how many times we have drifted from our “First Love”. A love of simple faith and dependence on Jesus. We realized how quickly we can become like the church at Ephesus and do all the right things, believe all the right things and yet lose our passion for Jesus and the lost (Revelation 2:1-7).
As Paul warns us in 2 Corinthians 11:3, “But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.” As important as true doctrine and service are, if they are out of hearts that have grown dull to the Spirit’s voice and cold in our love for Jesus, they become dry and fruitless.
Please pray with us that we will remember the KISS theory, to “Keep It Simple Saint”. To love the Lord our God with all our hearts, minds, soul and strength, and our neighbor as ourselves. As the song “Two Hands” by Love Song puts it, “Love Him with your whole heart, and use your own two hands. With one reach out to Jesus, and with the other, bring a friend”!
August Happenings: The first part of August was filled with family blessings. Our daughter Joy with granddaughters Hannah and Bethan flew in from Scotland and was joined by son-in-love Stephen two weeks later. Then, Rebekah and son-in-love Nick joined us in Los Angeles where Steve, Annie and Samuel as well as Tim and Sara (expecting in October) met up. We spent several days enjoying the Lord, each other and Disneyland, the aquarium, train and horse rides. We haven’t been together since my Doctor of Ministry graduation in 2015. Thank you for all your prayers for our family!
In the midst of these blessings we were privileged to share for the third year at a combined Cowboy Church service in Norwood, CO. Four churches participate in a wonderful pancake breakfast along with singing and sharing God’s word. Several in attendance indicated a decision to receive Jesus as their Savior and Lord!
Forest Fire in Northern California: Shortly after we returned from Los Angeles, I was asked to go to Northern California on a fire assignment. The timing was perfect. I had exactly enough days open to fulfill a 16-day commitment. While there, I was able to hold two chapel services and give away New Testaments and Devotionals! There was a struggle, the Incident Commander was afraid to let me announce the chapels, though they supported the idea. They were concerned that those above them would object. As a result, the word had to be spread mostly by word of mouth and some came to me later disappointed they hadn’t heard in time. Still, we worshipped in a tent with firefighters from the US and Australia, encouraging each other and sharing God’s word! Your prayers encourage and protect us on these assignments. Thank you!
Upcoming: This weekend I perform a wedding for a local family, we lead our Saturday Night worship service and join in an outreach event at the college. Melva has a birthday September 19th. Then, it’s mostly local ministry until October 9-11 where we’ve been invited to participate at an FCA reunion in Estes Park, CO. We then travel to Los Vegas for Melva’s Kauai High School reunion, then Lord willing to Los Angeles for the birth of Tim and Sara’s baby! November 4, we start four days of services in Crescent, OK, a small-town northwest of Guthrie. Other possibilities are on the horizon but nothing finalized until spring.
Answered prayers: Little Owen Pennington is home from Denver’s Children’s Hospital. He still has need for healing of a leg paralysis and the ability to eat on his own. But considering they thought he would die three months ago it’s a miracle! The New Life Riders, a Christian motorcycle group from New Jersey are distributing fire and police New Testaments and devotionals over a 400 square mile radius on 9/11. You helped provide them free copies of these to give to police, fire and EMS stations. Others have asked for prayer and received healing! I had a safe and productive fire assignment. We thank God for your prayers!
Fire Book: Our new book, God on the Fireline-a Firefighter’s Journal, is in draft form and looks great! We should be able to make it available by the end of September. Several have requested copies to give away.
Finances: This month two more churches have notified us that they are either adding us to their missions giving or increasing their support. This is very special to us since we believe it is an indication they understand our love and support for the local church. Every need is being met! You helped us provide fuel to deliver tons of clothing to hurricane victims and Indian reservations through local churches. You have helped provide vehicle repair for people needing to travel to hospitals as well as help with their living expenses. You have helped us send out hundreds of fire, police and cowboy New Testaments this month.
Prayer requests: Please pray for the anointing of the Holy Spirit to be upon us as we share God’s word. Please pray for the upcoming meetings. Please pray for Owen Pennington (and family), as well as Norm and (Karen) Artas for healing. Please pray for an interview I’ve been asked to give for a church bulletin insert distributed nationally. Please pray for the radio spots I’ve been asked to give locally. Please pray for a godly co-worker to be raised up with administrative abilities to help us be more effective. Thank You!!
By His grace and to His glory, rick and melva barton
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Rick Barton Ministires