Jesus told a story of 2 sons. The younger one decided he was tired of waiting for his father to die and demanded his share of the inheritance. The father gave it to him. The son promptly left town and wasted it on parties and prostitutes. When his money was gone so were his “party friends”. The son ends up feeding pigs (even more humbling because pigs were “unclean” to the Jews). And, not only feeding the pigs, but he also got so hungry he wanted to eat their slop.
Then comes one of my favorite verses in the Bible, “But when he came to his senses...” (v.17). The son realizes that he has sinned against God and his family, he repents and returns to his father, he humbles himself, and asks to be a servant since he doesn’t deserve sonship.
The father is watching and praying for him to return. He runs to meet him. He receives the son, restores the son, and rejoices that his son who was spiritually dead has begun to live!
I wish that was the end of the story, but it’s not. Jesus goes on to tell us that there was another prodigal son, the elder one. This son had “followed all the rules”, he scorned his younger brother and had no room in his heart for him, repentance or not. He resented the fact that his dad showed grace to him. The father goes to him as well and appeals to him to learn what grace and forgiveness really is. That good actions without a good heart lead only to legalistic self-righteousness. (Luke 15:11-32)
I’m sure most of you reading this know that Jesus told this story to show God-the-Father’s love and acceptance of wayward, but repentant sinners like us. But do we also remember that we are to have that same attitude toward others who come home to the Father?
I shared the above message at this year’s Cattlemen’s Days Church Service. What most people didn’t know is that the Father is a rancher (He owns the “cattle on a thousand hills”) and the 2 prodigals are cowboys! If you type in this link on your computer, you can see the whole service https://vimeo.com/732772648.
July Activities: What a wonderful month with many blessings! Along with our Saturday Night Worship services we had a great service in Sargents CO, served as chaplain for our professional rodeo (the opening prayer I gave each night was carried on the Cowboy Channel), held a Cowboy Church service, helped a couple renew their wedding vows, passed on a vehicle to returning missionaries, helped 2 families in need and hosted 3 of our children and 5 grandchildren! Your prayers and support allow all this!
New Testaments and Devotionals: This month you helped us send several hundred New Testaments and devotionals to Fire and Police chaplains in IL, FL, and NC. We also gave away 0ver 50 cowboy New Testaments. Thank you!
Family: Lord willing, everyone will gather from CA, CO, and London England for the 1st time in several years. We will be at a wonderful Christian Center-Glen Eyrie-in Colo Springs. Stephen and Joy (Hannah/Bethan) are settling into London where Stephen is a new pastor. Tim and Sara (Elizabeth/Sydney) are packing to move into their new home in CA.
Finances: “There is one who scatters, and yet increases all the more, and there is one who withholds what is justly due, and yet it results only in want. The generous man will be prosperous, and he who waters will himself be watered.” (Proverbs 11:24-25) We continue to see God’s blessing of provision in every area of our ministry; Bibles, benevolence, outreach, and missionary support. Please pray that we will be good stewards of His time, talents, and finances!
Prayer Requests: For the anointing of the Holy Spirit to be upon Melva and I as we share the gospel. For our family reunion, that each of us will be drawn closer to Jesus and each other. For local Christian workers, Daniel and Krista Pennington (Gabriella and Owen), who in the midst of trying to finish remodeling their Christian Coffee House, had to replace a rusted out, underground, water leak and developed Covid while trying to get water to their home. For Art G who is finishing up cancer treatments and may face surgery. For the Lord to thrust out laborers into His harvest, here and all throughout His church. Please pray for Rich and Shelba Townsend, (our former associates and current RBM Board Chairman), Shelba is recovering from a broken hip.
Thank You! “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13 NASB)
By His grace and to His glory, Rick and Melva
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Rick Barton Ministires