One day, when I had been blindsided by a critical comment, I sat discouraged, reading my Bible. I opened “randomly” to Romans 15:13. “Now, may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (NASB)
As I read those words, I began to sense His presence. I began to realize that He truly is the God of hope. That I can trust that He has everything under control, that He is causing all things to work together for my good, that I can live in His joy and peace. Sure enough, within 24 hours the criticism was turned into affirmation. Even though that moment was over 40 years ago, the verse is still one of my “life verses”.
This newsletter is late because Melva and I just finished a 3000-mile, 3-week, ministry road trip. The Lord provided us opportunities to reconnect with friends and supporters as well as share God’s great salvation!
Here’s a brief summary:
Colorado Springs: We had a wonderful time of fellowship with friends and prayer supporters, some of whom we have known for over 40 years. Edmond OK: We had a Board meeting using a conference call followed by a luncheon with faithful friends and co-laborers. Guthrie, OK: We have been blessed for over 30 years to hold week-long services at Abell Community Church. This year seemed to be a special one, spending time with new friends and old, and seeing God’s hand at work in that small but wonderful gathering. A special blessing each year is sharing music and God’s word in local nursing homes. We attended a National Day of Prayer gathering where the county sheriff, two state legislators and the superintendent of schools shared testimony and prayer! I presented the sheriff with copies of our police New Testament and devotionals. He has since responded that he would like to have a Bible study for interested officers using them!
Leaving Oklahoma, we drove to Dallas where we had a dinner with long-time friends. We were surprised by a visit by Joanne Knowles and her family. Joanne and husband Charles had been instrumental in helping start our Lake City, CO Bible study which became Grace Fellowship Church. Two days later we had the pleasure of meeting with our friend Dr. Adam Greenway. Dr. Greenway was my advisor for theDoctor of Ministry program at Southern Seminary. A few months ago, he was asked to become president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth. Adam is a great man of God and we know he’ll do a wonderful job. We also know he would ask for your prayers as he undertakes this new role!
Texas A&M. A late addition to our schedule was an invitation to share with a group at Texas A&M University in College Station. We arrived after several hours of driving through torrential rain and tornado warnings (thank you for praying for us)! Dr. Marlan Scully had graciously arranged for us to sing and share at a luncheon attended by graduate students from A&M and Baylor University, along with several professors. I felt I was over my head speaking to such a gathering, but found peace in knowing that many of you pray for us daily. We sensed the Lord’s presence and believe He used it to His glory. Afterwards, we were able to pray with several including a fireman/chaplain from the College Station Fire Department who requested fire New Testaments and 1st Responder devotionals to distribute.
Family: We continue to rejoice as we watch our grandchildren grow in godly homes! Joy, Stephen, Hannah and Bethan are doing well in Scotland with the girls continuing to mature and excel in school and church. Rebekah and Nick are learning the joys of parenthood and Kailani is growing cuter each day (as are all our grandchildren!). Steve, Annie and Samuel are enjoying life as a family and Tim and Sara are loving little Elizabeth. I had a birthday May 14th but still feel that I’m in my thirties. Thank you for your prayers for our family!
Finances: “The generous man will be prosperous, and he who waters will himself be watered.” (Proverbs 11:25). We continue to see God’s gracious hand of provision. No matter how many New Testaments and devotionals we give away (this month over 500, several thousand this year), every bill continues to be paid. Every gift you send, large or small makes a difference. Thank you for being the Lord’s instruments!
Upcoming: This weekend (5/18) we have an “unexpected” concert featuring Gordon Mote. Gordon served as pianist and soloist with the Bill Gaither Homecoming Tours for over 6 years and has workedwith different Nashville artists on several Grammy and Dove awarded albums. Born totally blind, Gordon uses his God-given talents to bless people around the world. I said “unexpected” because I received a message that Gordon had a cancellation and would be willing to stop in Gunnison. Please join us in prayer that the concert will be well attended despite the short notice and that the Holy Spirit will touch lives.
May 26th and June 9th we share at Pitkin Community Church and June 2nd we share at Tin Cup Community Church. June 14th we have a “Thank You Dinner” for friends in the Ft. Collins, CO area and June 16th we share in Esterbrook WY. On June 20th we have an evening of praise in Gunnison to celebrate 50 years of God’s Faithfulness to Rick Barton Ministries! We hope you can join us at one of these events! If you’re coming to Gunnison, we have a limited number of motel rooms blocked off but we need to know ASAP if you need one. If you can’t come, would you please send a note or email sharing how God has shown His faithfulness through RBM? We’d love to read them as testimony to the Lord.
Prayer requests: For the anointing of the Holy Spirit to be upon us as we share! For healing of our granddaughter Hannah’s leg and for granddaughter Elizabeth to reach the proper weight. For wisdom for Melva and I on which ministry activities to focus on, and for the Lord to continue to raise up helpers.
Thank you for being those who hold up our arms with your prayers and support! May the Lord richly bless you.
Rick and Melva Barton
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Rick Barton Ministires