One of the earliest Christian songs I learned after being saved in college included these words, “Signs of the times are everywhere…Lift up your heads, redemption draweth nigh!”. In context, Jesus is saying that when things seem to be getting worse in this world, “Look Up”, the Lord is about to return! Certainly, these are tumultuous times. Our country suffers internal conflict and there is persecution of Christians around the world. It seems like things cannot continue much longer. In fact, the Bible tells us things will get worse before they get better.
Still, God’s word is true! Jesus is still in control. Either He will show His grace in revival again or make His glorious return. Regardless, we should lift up our heads and keep fulfilling our Master’s final orders, to “Go and make disciples”! His grace is sufficient. As my old coffee drinking buddy Martin Luther said, “If I knew that tomorrow was the end of the world, I would plant an apple tree today.” This is not the time to throw up our hands in despair, but to lift up our heads in anticipation and work until He comes!
September: My plans for September included making time to accept a two-week forest-fire assignment. (I haven’t been able to go out all summer with ministry commitments.) However, September was filled with requests to minister to those nearing death as well as conduct funeral services. It is a privilege to visit, pray and sing with these folks as well as to hold their “homecoming” services. Please join us in prayerthat we are able to share the hope and promise of eternal life with those nearing the end of their earthly life. I conducted a service last week for a couple killed in a tragic automobile accident. This weekend I do one for a rancher’s wife. These are opportunities to share the good news of Jesus’ forgiveness and eternal life with those who attend. (*News flash: I’ve just been called to a forest fire near Salida CO. Please pray!)
September highlights: August ended with a wonderful time of sharing with Grace Fellowship in Lake City CO and September began with opening God’s word with the folks at Tin Cup Community Church. It was Tin Cup’s last service of the summer with 99 in attendance and 2 indicating decisions for Christ. It’s wonderful to see these small communities reaching out and making an impact for Christ! I was asked to pray over our local fire department on 9/11 and we were able to distribute fire and police testaments and devotionals.
This past weekend we shared with the leadership of an out-of-town church. The Lord spoke to each of us in amazing ways. The next day we travelled to Delta CO where we held four days of meetings. Thanks to your prayers along with those of the local saints, the Holy Spirit poured out in amazing ways. There were commitments and re-commitments to Christ, times of seeking the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, and people sharing their faith with unbelievers in the community!
Speaking of New Testaments and Devotionals: We recently heard from the publisher that we have given away over 21,000 fire and police New Testaments and 8,000 fire and police devotionals in just 4 years! A Sunday School class at Lakewood Baptist Church in Louisville, KY, reported they decided to “adopt” a local fire station and deliver New Testaments and devotionals along with cookies and prayers! The Colorado Fire Chaplains Association asked for more copies to distribute to fire chiefs, and 92 year-young Ann Babb in Dallas requested 50 more to give to firemen she meets (she carries copies in her walker)!
We’re also sending out copies of our new book, “God on the Fireline” to those requesting it and “The Freight Train Chronicles” containing brief accounts of our experiences of God’s grace through 50 years of ministry. Please let us know if you’d like any of these. In September, David C. Cook published a“Power for Living” article on our fire ministry which they distributed to churches around the country. We hope to send out copies of that next month in our newsletter. (If you receive the newsletter by email, you can google Power for Living David C Cook and find the article “On Fire for Jesus”.)
Upcoming: Melva and I have been asked to return to Central Baptist Church near Crescent OK November 3-6 and conduct evangelism training for three Methodist churches in Lucas KS November 8-10. There’s a possibility we’ll be sharing in the Dallas area Dec 1.
Family: Steve, Annie and Samuel (2) take the spotlight this month with Annie expecting a baby girl in November and Steve starting a new job as assistant to the director of an upcoming DreamWorks film. Nick, Rebekah and Kailani (7 months) are visiting Costa Rica, Tim, Sara and Elizabeth (1 year) are enjoying the last of summer in Los Angeles, and Stephen, Joy, Hannah (10) and Bethan (8) are entering fall busy with school, work and ministry in Inverness Scotland. Thank you for praying for our family!
Finances: “Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has been given in the churches of Macedonia, that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality. For I testify that according to their ability, and beyond their ability, they gave of their own accord, begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints, and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves to the Lord and to us by the will of God.” (2 Corinthians 8:1-5 emphasis mine). We have been overwhelmed by the generous support of each of you! We never ask for donations and never charge for anything we do, still the Lord continues to provide. Thank You!
Prayer Requests: Please pray for the anointing of the Holy Spirit as we share His living word! This year Melva and I both turned 70 years young (Rick-5/14 and Melva-9/19). With more opportunities to share than ever before, we sense the need for a younger man or couple who we can mentor and relinquish some responsibilities to. Please pray for the Lord’s guidance in this matter. Please continue to pray for CRU staff members Rick and Soozie Schneider as Rick fights ALS. Please pray for a safe delivery and healthy baby for Steve and Annie. Thank You!
By His Grace and to His Glory, Rick and Melva Barton
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Rick Barton Ministires
PO Box 1155
Gunnison, CO 81230