“There are three things that are important to every man in this locker room,” he said. “His God, his family, and the Green Bay Packers” (Vince Lombardi). In our Fellowship of Christian Athletes work with college athletes, Melva and I saw firsthand the pressure these young men and women faced to keep those three priorities in order. Coaches insisting on Sunday morning practices, peer pressure and Satan’s inevitable snares, all combined to test “God-Family-Sports”.
By the grace of God, we saw many navigate these obstacles successfully, and finish college as strong ambassadors for Christ! Common denominators included placing Jesus first, even to the point of respectfully confronting their coaches, being active in church and campus ministries, and family encouragement to “stay the course”. To place God and family before sports and even academics.
A more subtle challenge confronts you and me! The challenge to keep “God-Family-and ____________ (work, hobbies, even ministry), in the correct order. After 53 years of ministry, I can look back and see how often I confused my priorities. No family vacations for years (couldn’t leave the church), the wildland fire assignments I could have passed on, but didn’t, and teaching skiing on Christmas because we “needed” the extra income. Good things, but out of order. How about you?
August: This year Melva and I did something that was long overdue. Beginning the last week of July, I was able to arrange for capable brothers to fill my roles in preaching and worship, turned down all but one request to minister, and spent two weeks with family and a week of “down time” with Melva. The Lord blessed us by gathering family members from London, California, and Colorado to Glen Eyre Christian Conference Center. The first time we’ve been able to all be together in years.
The one “official” ministry was the “Celebration of Life” for our dear friend, MayBritt Pedersen. It was a wonderful time of celebrating her Christ-filled life and hearing of her impact on family and others. Dr. James Dobson was present and shared an encouraging word with us. What a blessing! Before coming home, we met with the directors of the Springs Rescue Mission, as well as the managers of KTLF Christian Radio station (The station you helped us put back on the air in Gunnison!)
Upon returning, I had the privilege of leading another Celebration of Life service where I was able to share the gospel with community members. Then back to leading our Saturday Night Services, as well as holding services in Pitkin and Lake City CO. The Holy Spirit really moved! Your prayers made a difference!
1st Responder New Testaments and Devotionals: Chief David from MI, Chaplain Susan from FL, Dean and Laurie from TX, and the New Life Riders from NJ, all send their thanks for the hundreds of testaments and devotionals you helped us send them!
“It’s a God thing”. As more requests for 1st Responder New Testaments were coming in, our friends at Harper Collins-Christian Publishing Division, notified us they were out of Police and Fire New Testaments and wouldn’t have more till late September, which would be after they were needed for 9/11 outreaches. We prayed and began calling brothers who help us distribute the Testaments. By God’s grace they had enough for every need!
On August 28, the Lake City churches sponsored a “Hinsdale County Sheriff’s Appreciation Day”. We were honored to be asked to pray over their department as well as give each member a Police New Testament and Devotional. You have a part of every New Testament and devotional we hand out, Thank you!!
Upcoming: Lord willing:
Family: Stephen and Joy (Hannah and Bethan) are settling into Stephen’s first pastorate, new school for the girls, new home, etc. in London UK. Nick and Rebekah (Kailani) are finishing a busy summer at their restaurant and planning a vacation. Steve and Annie (Samuel and Abigail) are back to Steve doing free-lance video production and Annie teaching school. Tim and Sara (Elizabeth and Sydney) are excitedly moving into their new home! Melva and I are staying active and grateful for the anointing of the Holy Spirit we’ve been sensing in the meetings! Thank you soooo much for your prayers!
Finances: “Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.” (Luke 6:38) By God’s grace and your generosity, the more we give out New Testaments and devotionals, benevolence, and missionary support, the more comes in. This month we are able to send out extra support to 25 missionaries and pastoral workers! Many around the country and the world are giving thanks to God because of your generosity! Thank you.
Prayer Requests: For the anointing of the Holy Spirit to be upon Melva and me as we share His wonderful gospel. For our family as they adjust to new ministries, new schools, and new homes. For God’s wisdom and leadership as we seek to use the gifts and resources, He’s given us! For us to realize those He is calling to assist in the ministry He’s entrusted to us!
By His grace and to His glory, Rick and Melva
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Rick Barton Ministires