ccm Cross 0235
Thursday September 12, 2019

First Christian Church
Grand Junction, Colorado
ccm Cross 0235

GPS/DMS 10° 18′ 3.88” N 123° 59′ 28.79” E

Additional Photos After Testimony

4940 cdd First Date
Cyber Daily Devotion
Volume 20 Number 140

Today’s Author: Pastor Bill

Scripture: Colossians 3:17
“Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” NKJV

Hello, we are Rev. Brad and Susan Barton with the First Christian Church Grand Junction, Colorado. This is our Cross Testimony of how we met, and the Lord directed our paths for His Kingdom.

I am Brad. I was born in Sturgis, Michigan, and I grew up the middle child of three in Dallas, Texas. My dad was a packaging engineer and is credited with inventing the mylar balloon. Mom was a full-time mom as well as an accomplished real estate agent. Mom grew up Jewish and became a steadfast Christian. We were a Sunday Christian crew.

When I was 8 years old I heard my name called. When I looked around no one was there. It happened many times. (Looking back, it was similar to Samuel in the Bible.) Finally I shouted, “Who is calling me?” “I heard follow me”. I didn’t understand or know what to do, so I pushed my call aside for a while.

Twenty years later I was praying, asking the Lord for ministry direction. I had graduated college and was a Marketing Director for a large corporation. I often felt that if I wasn’t there the whole company would fold. I was carrying the weight of the future of our company. It was in this environment that I reached out to God.

That night I went to sleep, and the Lord gave me three distinct dreams that I remember today as if they were last night.

Dream 1: I was riding a bicycle in Dallas, Texas from one end of the city to the other. I drove my bike into a ditch and try as I may, I could not get out. Then a large hand reached down and picked me up and put me on the road. There stood a fisherman with twelve guys behind him, all carrying baskets with fish. The fisherman spoke while looking directly at me, “come and follow me.” 

Then I stood in a void, in what seemed like a long time.

Dream 2: Way off in the distance a speck of light appeared. The spec started growing. It was rushing toward me. The light grew and rushed ever closer to me. Out of the light, I felt warmth and heard a voice saying, “You are not alone, everything is OK.”

Then I woke up inside my dream, and before me was:

Dream 3: I was coming to work on an ordinary day. It was ordinary except that it appeared to me that everyone in the company was doing my job: developing new products and setting in place plans to sell these products. It didn’t seem like the company needed me anymore. Eventually, I was greeted by the President of the company who invited me into his office. He told me the company no longer needed me because others had learned to do my job.

Shortly after these dreams, I spoke to my Pastor about what I thought these dreams meant. He agreed with me that God was calling me to leave my business career and pursue ministry, but I was still not entirely convinced.

A few months later, I attended a Walk to Emmaus event. I attended seeking answers from the Lord.

As I slept one night at the Walk, I awoke to a vision of a ring of people who looked like holograms and who were surrounding me. They were watching over me and talking.

The next morning, I shared the vision with Rob, my sponsor at the event. He was also one of the people I saw in my vision. He told me that a group of people like I saw in my vision were praying for me at the exact moment of my vision. They were in a chapel nearby.

I sensed a strong pull to resign from my job and enter seminary. This vision, following my three dreams, provided the confirmation I needed.

The next day I began making plans to resign my job and enroll in Christian Theological Seminary (CTS) in Indiana. I spent two years at CTS and graduated from seminary after two more years at Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth, Texas.

I’ve been serving the Lord ever since.

I am Susan Barton and I was born in Paris, Tennessee and grew up in Dexter, Missouri. My dad was a personnel manager who in midlife changed occupations to become a nurse. My mom became a nurse around the same time. With their working schedules we always had one of them around as we grew up. We were a devout Christian family and when the church doors were open it seemed like we were there.

I always had a close relationship to Jesus. I remember talking to him, as a child and teen, and I imagined walking along the beach with him. When I was around 12 years old I asked to be re-baptized, as I had already been baptized as an infant. My parents had me speak to the Pastor who re-assured me that I was already baptized and that I didn’t need to be baptized again. I was adamant suggesting that it was important to me to make my own decision to be baptized. The Pastor relented and I was baptized with other youth at my church, First Christian Church, Dexter, Missouri.

I developed my own way to talk with Jesus. I would fold my hands in a special way and sit on a chair and be silent. That was serving notice that I was ready to hear. Jesus didn’t let me down. We continued in our special relationship and my life and everything and everyone was dependent on Him.

When I attended a Christian Regional Youth Festival and saw a women minister for the first time, I knew then and there that I was called to ministry. I went home and told my parents who both encouraged me. As I garnered up the courage I began telling more people about my call.

I graduated high school and was fortunate to be able to attend Texas Christian University where I earned a B.A. in Religion Studies. The summer before graduating; however, I met Brad.

I was working as a Summer Intern/Youth Pastor. It was my next to last Sunday when Brad walked in and I introduced myself to him. Little did I know that he wanted to ask me out on a date, which he did the next week. Because it was my last Sunday, there was a crowd of people around me to say goodbye, so Brad simply handed me a church bulletin asking me out and he gave me his name and phone number. I quickly told him that I could not go out on that day because of previous plans. A few weeks passed and I called him around 2:00 AM and left a message on his phone. He called me back, but when he called he also had to leave a message, but the machine did not yet have my name on it as one of the occupants! He threw caution to the wind and left a message, anyway, hoping for the best. What other choice did he have? I eventually called him back and we connected. This began a telephone relationship whereby we talked for about 3 months prior to going out on our first date.

Brad had been praying for a wife. He assembled a list of qualities recommended by his brother-in-law that he desired in a wife. During our phone conversations we basically interviewed one another!

When the day of our date finally arrived, we had both agreed that we wanted to get married, but we wanted to see if we had any “spark!” After quickly determining that we did, I could not figure out why Brad was taking so long to ask me to marry him. It turns out he asked me to marry him a little over a month after our first date!

My dreams and visions often involve Saints and Angels. And when I pray for people it is in vivid colors.

We have been married for 23 years. We have 2 sons: Joshua, 17, and Cole, 21.

Today we serve in Grand Junction, Colorado. Brad as the Senior Pastor at the First Christian Church and I’m the Palliative Care Chaplin at St. Mary’s Hospital.

Our Favorite Bible verse is: Acts 2:42-47 “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved” NRSV

The Cross to us means the pinnacle of acquiescing to God’s will. The Cross is calling us to servant leadership and selflessness.

We want everyone who views our Cross, as they drive by or walk in the park, to know that this is a symbol of LOVE. The LOVE of Jesus that He would give His life for their redemption. And our LOVE which awaits those who embrace the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.

Prayer: Father thank you for how You are creatively bring husbands and wives together for Your glory. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen!

Help us plant our next Cross.

No minimum --- no maximum --- every donation will be received with great gratitude and much Thanksgiving to God.

Become A Fire*Starter Partner

Choose an amount to start and then select to give a monthly recurring donation to the Cross Fund  and become a Fire*starter Partner. No monthly pledge is too big or too small and so appreciated as we continue to plant Crosses for Jesus Christ and tell the world of the marvelous things He is doing today.