The words, “I Love You”, can be the most wonderful words in the world, especially when the person saying them truly means it. Sadly, they can also be shallow, even manipulative, when it comes from someone who uses them lightly, flippantly or worse. Love isn’t “true love” until it is proven in unselfish caring of another, putting their needs and well-being over our own. A few years ago, I happened across a short music video called, “Hidden Heroes” by a Christian singing group called the Talleys, I encourage you to google it and watch it. It really made me search my heart.
I see true love exhibited when I watch a husband or wife helping their spouse into a restaurant or church service, faithfully tending to them through months or even years, or the mother with the special needs child lovingly ministering to their needs. I pray each time I see them that I will love that truly.
In John 3:16, Jesus tells us that God’s love for us, and all mankind, is so great that He sent His only Son, Jesus, to be our sin-bearer. To die on the cross in our place so that we might, by believing and trusting in Him, be reconciled to God. To enter a new life that can begin now and lasts forever in heaven! In Romans 5:8, the apostle Paul emphasizes that, “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Proven love, true love! After we grasp how much He loves us, how can we not respond by loving and serving Him with all our heart?
January Happenings: On New Years Eve I had the privilege of praying with over 80 ski instructors before we skied down in a “Torchlight Parade”. For over 40 winters I have had this opportunity to bring Jesus’ name into the lives of many who seldom think of Him. Our chapel service on the top of the Painter Boy Chairlift is averaging 15 with several non-believers “checking out God” in attendance. Our ski area Bible study is small in number, but I believe a great encouragement to employees and guests alike. We helped with a memorial service for a long-time friend and supporter, Larry Ballard, taught a weekly basic theology class, had some wonderful Saturday Night Worship services, and shared with many ski students.
February Happenings: One of the reasons this mailing is a bit late is the result of a busy start to February. In addition to our normal ministries mentioned above, we hosted 20 Evangelical Pastors and their Wives for our 11thannual Prayer and Fellowship dinner. These faithful servants gather from Gunnison, Lake City, and Crested Butte for an hour of prayer followed by a catered dinner and time of fellowship.
Our former co-workers Rich and Shelba Townsend graciously do all the groundwork from St. Louis before joining us. (This time has become so popular that we are prayerfully going to host a gathering in April to include parachurch ministries along with the pastors to facilitate more mutual prayer and support!).
Melva and I travel this weekend to celebrate the life of our long-time friend and RBM board member Gay Reynolds. Gay and Sue were formerly the President and Missionaries of the Fellowship of Christian Firefighters. They had a wonderful ministry including the development of a Firefighter New Testament (Answering the Call) and daily devotional (Stories of Faith and Courage from Firefighters and First Responders) which have been used around the world.
Speaking of New Testaments and Devotionals for 1st Responders: Today we received a request for several hundred more copies to be sent to IL, FL, and NC. Praise the Lord!
Family: Joy and Stephen (Hannah and Bethan) are settling into their new home and ministry in London. Stephen is serving in his first pastorate, Joy is working as a teacher’s aide, and the girls are enrolled in a new school. It is a big transition and I know they would appreciate your prayers! Rebekah and Nick (Kailani) are busy with their restaurant in Edwards CO, Kai (4) is learning to ski. Steve and Annie (Samuel, Abigail) are working in LA. Steve has been asked to join in leading worship in their church and is seeking God’s direction for the job the Lord has prepared for him. Tim and Sara (Elizabeth and Sydney) are getting used to their new home in Menifee CA and enjoying it immensely! Melva has been taking medication for the blood clots which appeared in her lungs this winter and seems to be getting stronger. She is doing exercise for the arthritis in her thumbs as well. I’ve had several shots in both knees, and they seem to be helping. Thank you for your prayers!
Prayer Requests: For the anointing of the Holy Spirit as we share! For continued healing. For the families of those whose loved ones have passed into glory. Thank You!
Finances: 2022 finished strong, and because of your faithful prayers and support we can send out even more support to help 20 of our “alumni” missionaries, pastors, and widows with their retirement and emergency savings. They all say, “Thank you!”
By His Grace and to His Glory, Rick and Melva
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Rick Barton Ministires