“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…” Wow, the apostle John really spelled it out for us in the first chapter of his gospel. The Word, who was with God and was Himself God, became a man and dwelt among us. He came for one primary purpose, to seek us out and save us (Luke 19:10). As I study the incarnation accounts in Luke and Matthew, I’m overwhelmed by the love God poured out on us that night. As John 3:16 says, “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son”. Can you imagine the love it took for God the Father to send God-the-Son to us? And the love it took for the Son to lay aside His position and privilege to come to earth? To be born to a poor family in the humblest of settings, knowing what lay ahead for Him, just to save us from sin and hell? I truly do “wonder as I wander”.
November happenings: November was a good month as I was able to catch up on paper work, do some writing, and get back into shape for skiing after my Achilles injury. I attended a three-day ski instructor clinic in Breckenridge, CO where one of my fellow instructors introduced me as “Reverend Rick”. That opened the door for me to share with instructors from other ski areas including the wife of a wildland firefighter. I gave her a firefighter New Testament and she recently texted me that her husband is reading it. While there, a ski instructor I had performed a wedding for several years ago, before they wereChristians, came and told me that he, his wife and two children were following Jesus and in a great church!
In keeping with the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing 95 Theses to the Wittenberg Church door, I taught a 6-week series on the five Solas of the reformation. Scripture Alone, Christ Alone, Grace Alone, Faith Alone and to God Alone belongs the Glory. I learned sooooo much! Our Saturday Night Worship group decided to “adopt” an immigrant family of 6 for Christmas. Their 16-year-old daughter has to have serious surgery right before Christmas and then stay in Denver for two months of rehab. Our goal is that each of the children and their parents have their best Christmas’ ever! Not only withgifts but experiencing the love of Jesus during this trying time.
Bible update: As the end of the year approaches, we rejoice that we have been able to send out over 12,000 fire, police, motorcycle and cowboy New Testaments in the past two years! They have gone to several foreign countries as well as all over the United States! You have helped us distribute these free of charge to chaplains, churches and individuals. Harper Collins Christian Publishing plans to start printing an updated edition this month. This means that when we finish distributing the last few hundred in storage, we can begin sending out the new edition. The cost is the same as the old, $2.50 per copy, if we purchase at least 1000 copies at a time. We have already pre-ordered the first 1000 copies! Recently, we heard of the need for full Bibles to be given out through a disaster relief team. We were able to send enough money from our “Bible Fund” to purchase 100 Bibles. Each one of you are part of giving out these copies of God’s Word!
Upcoming: Lord willing, this week I start a Bible study and fellowship time at the ski area for ski instructors and others. In January I hope to start our Bible Institute classes again. The weekend of January 12 we travel to Denver to meet with the Board of the Fellowship of Christian Cowboys and speak at a Christian High School. February 6th, we host a dinner for the evangelical pastors and their wives from Gunnison, Crested Butte, Lake City and Saguache, CO. This will be our 7th year of gathering these wonderful workers together for fellowship, a nice meal and a time of prayer for each other’s families, ministries, communities, and our nation. Last year we hosted 38 workers. February 16-18 Melva and I have been asked to be the speakers for the Fellowship of Christian Firefighters couples retreat in Virginia. Our annual “Thank You” dinner and Board meeting in Edmond OK will be April 14th followed by a week of revival services in Guthrie OK the 15th – 22nd. We hope to gather with folks in Colorado Springs (Thurs. April 5) and Dallas (Thurs. April 12) on the way!
Prayer: Almost every month we hear from someone who tells us that they pray for us regularly; in fact,many of you lift us up daily. Thank you!!! When people ask how we keep going, we tell them it’s your prayers!
Prayer requests: Please pray for Greg and Kelly Johnston. Kelly is a wonderful Christian mother of three young children who has been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. Please join us in prayer for God’s healing to take place! As Gabriel told Mary, “nothing is impossible with God”! Please pray for the Holy Spirit’s anointing as we share the Good News of Jesus this Christmas and throughout the upcoming months. Please pray that the Lord will open up the right facility for us to hold our Bible Institute as well as a place for college students to come study and fellowship. Thank You!
In Memorial: God’s word tells us that “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His godly ones” (Psalm 116:15). In the past month, two godly mentors and friends passed into the loving hands of our King, Pastor Gene Daniels and Dr. Wendell Ross. Both of these men and their families were encouragers to Melva and I and so many more. We thank God for them. Please pray for their families.
Family: We had a wonderful time with Bek and Nick, Steve and Annie and Samuel, as well as Tim and Sara, sharing Thanksgiving in Edwards, CO. Lord willing, Stephen, Joy, Hannah and Bethan will come this summer from Scotland. All of us are thankful for our God, our Family and each of you.
Finances: Jesus taught us “give and it shall 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). We are living examples of that truth. As we have tried to be obedient in the use of God’s money which you have entrusted to us, He replenishes it wonderfully. Thanks to all of you who are helping us serve the Master and His children! We pray and trust that you will be richly blessed.
May each of you have a Merry Christ-filled Christmas! Joy to the World, the Lord has come!
Rick and Melva Barton
**Daniel and Krista Pennington had a healthy baby boy last week! Praise the Lord! Krista has been helping mail out receipts and with Melva out of town there may be a delay, sorry!
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Rick Barton Ministires