Less is More


We are always in a hurry and sometimes for no reason. We commit to too much, overplan, set goals that are not reality, and stress ourselves into a state where peace is elusive. We are in a state of perpetual hurry.  Cultivating a relationship with our Father can not be hurried.  That is one of the things God has shown me the last several years.

We need to learn that “less is more” in life.  To not be so busy, so weighted down by commitments, so burdened by trying to be the world’s best mom or dad.  “Less is more” when we come to Scripture.  Sometimes instead of reading a few chapters of the Bible read, and reread a few verses and let our loving Father reveal to you His messages and His truths to your life.  Today I read, reread, prayed and thanked God for Isaiah 43.1-7.  Take a moment

But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead. Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’ Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth— everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”” (Isaiah 43:1–7, NIV)

  • Read this a couple times
  • Pray over them and ask Father to speak to your heart about them.
  • Ask  Who is God for me?  How does He see me?
  • What promise does God have for you right now in your life? What are forever?
  • Respond in grateful appropriateness.

Keep in the process of spiritual formation, receiving and responding to God’s love.

Pastor Nate Elarton

Do Not Return to Darkness


In my reading this morning I have started the book of Colossians.  I have been pondering and meditating on 1.19. I have been quietly thinking and praying for many, as faces and families through the years flash through my mind.

For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,” (Colossians 1:13, NIV)

Many have experienced this “rescue” from God.  What does God rescue us from?  I would say the Bible is clear, our sins, and the damage we do to ourselves when we run our own lives without Christ.  Sin and being separated  from God is also defined as “darkness” denoting more of losing your way than just evil, but it does apply to both.

When we come to Jesus, get saved, decide to walk with God and great rescue and deliverance takes place.  We are “transferred” from this life of “darkness” waywardness, being lost, to a life of living in the love of God which is the Kingdom of God. I have watched thousands of people fully embrace and run with their  new faith in Jesus. They have embraced a new life, they say no to sin, they love Jesus more than their own lives, and the lust, selfishness, and greed of this world is rejected.  They live with integrity, grow in the way of Christ, and keep moving forward in their faith, even if they falter.  They experience, joy and peace, only found in a life committed to God.  I have seen marriages healed, addictions beaten, selfishness deserted, and love for others multiplied when a life of darkness is left.

Sadly, I have seen people return to the darkness.  Back to a life of spiritual deadness.  After being on the path and journey with God, many choose to venture off and lose their way, returning to a life without God.  Most would admit they still believe in Him, but live with no proof that is really true.

Can I encourage you not to return back to the darkness?  There is no true life there.  A life with Jesus on this earth and in eternity is priceless.  If you may not think so right now, pray God your loving Father would show you that so you would realize what you may be leaving.  The Darkness is a life without spiritual life, enlightenment, or Godly encouragement.  It is a lonely life, constantly on the hunt for some sort of experience that would bring some peace or pleasure, but after a while of forgetting about the darkness it will envelope you again.

If you are reading this and you have foot back in your “old life” or a life without Jesus, let me encourage you to seriously consider the wonderful life with Jesus you will be leaving.  Don’t let anything cause you to forfeit  your soul, your blessings, or the future of your family, for what appears to be an easy life without God, but sin does have a day of reckoning. Don’t let darkness flood your soul again.

Read the Story of the Prodigal Son and notice the love this dad has for his son. That is the love God has for you. This is found in Luke chapter 15. Click here to read this 

If you have tasted of the Kingdom of God, then you know what needs to be done and the decisions and choices you need to make.  If you have questions or want to ask me anything, please email me  nateelarton@gmail.com.

Pastor Nate

That was my Last Weekend on the Bench


I remember going out for basketball in the 6th grade.  I sat on the bench until the last 2 minutes.  I hated sitting on the bench watching the taller dudes have all the fun. ( Fun fact:  I fouled out once in that 2 minutes.)  My coach told me I would never play much basketball and wrestling was probably my sport and he accepted me quitting the team. I hadn’t said anything about quitting so  I got the point.  He was right.

The last 14 weekends haven’t been awesome.  I feel like I have been “benched”. I never thought it would last this long, but anyhow, this last weekend was it.  I really never want to hear “unprecedented”  “the new normal” “we are in this together”   etc. LOL.  I praise God it’s over. I am a preacher and I want to preach and teach God’s Word to faces and families!

I sure got tired of the introverts saying “I really enjoyed this Covid stay-at-home.”  When I read those posts on Facebook from other pastors I just rolled my eyes.  I am just not like that. I am not an introvert.  It was unenjoyable to not be around my Compelled Family and people.  Recording on Friday and preaching to an empty room was OK, but I did not feel like a pastor regardless how many people watched online.  I am thankful we could do it and that everyone helped get it done, but it’s no permanent replacement.  I miss the corporate worship, prayer, smiles, children, families, friends, community and the faith when we all gather together.  I love Compelled. I am thankful for that and we will continue to have our service online, on facebook and on Youtube for those of you not ready to return or that are high-risk.

I am very very very glad this is over.

This next weekend,  We will be back together 3 services a weekend at Bedford and also  the 11 am Sunday at Holland.

Here is a link to our guidelines. Father’s Day Re-Opening at Compelled.  

If you are ready to come back, we are ready for you. If you are not quite ready, no problem.  If you want to wear a mask, please do. If you don’t want to wear a mask then don’t.  We have approached our opening with wisdom and not recklessness of course, but we also want adults to be able to make their own decisions and I know we are all going to be courteous and thoughtful to the comfort level of others.

This happy pastor will be at Compelled this weekend.

Pastor Nate Elarton

The Fall, has our society Falling. My personal thoughts and prayer on this National Day of Prayer


What are we falling from?  Freedom and relationships, common sense and hope?  The fall (Genesis 3), that allowed sin and death, disease and sickness, into the human race, has us all living differently and I am feeling those effects,  as are all of you.

I am convinced that we were not meant to have online relationships and friendships through screens.  I know that children were not designed to be taught by screens. People were not meant to work from home all the time.  We were not created to be void of people, beyond our family.  We were never made to only experience God in isolation and not have community.

My heart drops when I hear of  talk already of schools and sports being canceled for next year. No football, no concerts, no art fairs, no festivals, no conferences, no camping, no crowds and it goes on and on.   It seems premature to cancel so much.  These  things are more about relationships than events. They are more about friendships, than pastimes.  Some say the church will never meet again.  That our society will embrace a new normal of no crowds, for any reason, at all.   This is from one virus, and there are billions in our environment.  I am saddened and speechless, sometimes worried and depressed.

The financial impact we have yet to totally feel.  As states lose billions a day, this will trickle down to cuts in our schools, to services that are needed, to everything.  Businesses are so suffering, thus families are also.  Our financial system is more volatile than we every thought.  We are falling into fear. Fear of out neighbor, fear of each other, fear of getting sick, and fear of our future.

Our Society is beginning to fall. Fall from contentment as isolation is not satisfying relationally.  Oh sure, my life and hope is in Christ, but I need people!  I need to experience Christ in others, not just myself.  We are falling from the truth that we need each other. We need to see each other, and not through a computer screen, and a electronic microphone.  We need to break bread together, laugh together, travel together, and look at each other, and to feel our spirits, not just see each other 2D on a screen. It’s not enough for how we were created by God.

I don’t want  to — never have a meal with friends again, to never shake hands again, to never eat out again, to never go to a wrestling match again, to never hold  a baby again, to never have a packed service again.   I can’t stand the idea that these things are history. I am not going to believe this. I can’t right now.

Self-proclaimed church gurus falsey predict that church buildings are not necessary anymore and maybe not even the church community.  They say that you can worship Jesus in your homes only  and that culture will move on from the local church. I strongly disagree and fear some would fall for this.  We need each other and to grow you do need more than your family at some point.  What about those whose family do not know the Lord? Those children and youth would suffer greatly.  If that were true, I would not be here today.  We need the local church period.  We need the wisdom of church pastors, elders, godly leaders, and gathering together.  That is clear throughout Scripture in both the Old and New Testaments. Gathering together was normal, often, and beneficial

My prayer today is for a cure, and for an end to all of this negative and “rush to judgment” speculation.  My prayer is that we can persevere and find new ways to connect. My prayer is for some strength to continue to believe that we are not falling from some of the most basic relational and community needs that are being overlooked.

“Help us Merciful Father. We call to you in humility and faith. On behalf of your people, would you heal our land?  Grant us faith and strength during this trial. Give us wisdom and common sense.  Bring an end to this free fall of life as we know it.  Turn our hearts toward you until deliverance comes I pray.  Move this mountain in Jesus’ name.”

Pastor Nate Elarton

Prayer Guide, Day of Pray and Fasting April 28, 2020


Prayer Verses, April 28, Day of Prayer and Fasting

Psalm 63:1-8   and   Psalm 145:1-16

‘Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. ‘You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:12–13, NASB95)

“Thus says the Lord who made the earth, the Lord who formed it to establish it, the Lord is His name, ‘Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’” (Jeremiah 33:2–3, NASB95)

and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. “Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayer offered in this place.” (2 Chronicles 7:14–15, NASB95)

And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.” (Hebrews 11:6, NASB95)

For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand outside. I would rather stand at the threshold of the house of my God Than dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the Lord God is a sun and shield; The Lord gives grace and glory; No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. O Lord of hosts, How blessed is the man who trusts in You!” (Psalm 84:10–12, NASB95)

Prayer Themes

  • Quicken the dead spiritually
  • Fill the empty
  • Wake the spiritually sleeping
  • Bring home the Prodigals
  • Strengthen the Tired
  • Refresh the Weary
  • Protect the Vulnerable
  • Encourage the Hopeless
  • Expand you Kingdom
  • Bring Revival

-Strengthen and encourage those in public health services and in the medical profession: care-givers, nurses, attendants, doctors, all who commit themselves to caring for the sick and their families.

-Inspire, give insight and hope to all researchers focused on developing a vaccine.

-Sustain all workers and business owners who suffer loss of livelihood due to shut-downs, quarantines, closed borders, and other restrictions… protect and guard all those who must travel.

-Heal those that are sick, and protect those who care for them. Be with those that have lost family and friends during this time.

-Deliver us from any form of hate toward those that have differing opinions.

-Continue to move on the hearts of the world as the church takes center stage on Social media. We pray people will make decisions for you that last.

-Pray for our National, State, and Local leaders.

-Pray for Pastors and church leadership. That You would sustain them, encourage them, and give them wisdom.

 

Holy and Great Friday


Today, take time to remember the price that was paid for our salvation. This price was freely given by Jesus who gave up his life for us.  The Gospel of Matthew….

And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many. Now the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, became very frightened and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!” Many women were there looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee while ministering to Him. Among them was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.” (Matthew 27:50–56, NASB95)

I am reminded of Ephesians. Because of the “Holy and Great Friday” as the Greek Orthodox call it, we walk now in Christ

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,” (Ephesians 2:1–6, NASB95)

Take moment today, get alone, and with a grateful heart thank the Lord Jesus for surrendering his life, yielding his spirit and purchasing our salvation and standing with God. I am so grateful for Christ’s gift of salvation.  That he poured His mercy on me, because of his love, and that my salvation was given and I did not have to earn it.

He brought me from spiritual death to life, and together we have been raised up, and now enjoy our place in this Kingdom of God.  It is all because of Jesus love, and that love was demonstrated.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.” (Romans 5:8–9, NASB95)

So Grateful

Pastor Nate Elarton

Another Abnormal Weekend


We enter another weekend that is so abnormal for me.  We have had 3 services at Compelled for over a decade.  Saturday and Sunday don’t seem the same.  Routine, schedules, rhythms are all off.  As our country and the world pivots out of control as it seems, we sure are beginning to  identify with thisas it’s affecting all of our worlds.

It’s no longer something in another country, or that people we don’t know are dealing with. It’s all pretty real now.  We all know someone with Corona. We all know someone out of a job. We all know someone in quarentine. We all know someone who is going to work daily to help the rest of mankind survive. It’s all pretty real now.  The jokes of a few weeks ago have stopped, the whining about being in lock-down have ceased and we are left without many answers of when our lives will be “normal” again.  It some ways they won’t be.

There are heart-stopping reports of other consequences happening connected to the stay at home orders.  Of course the Liquor stores are open, and so famlies are at risk, and domestic violence stories are sadly emerging.  Lonliness, and depression are the silent foes, and if alcohol is involved that won’t make that easier.  People are struggling. Those who live alone, are not enjoying this “stay at home”.

What can we do?  Not much really?  How can we help?  Follow the directives of our health-care professionals so we don’t spread anything we don’t know we have.  We are powerless to make this go away right now.  There is not much really we can do, so…..

We look to the Lord for calm in this chaos, peace in the fear, security in the turmoil, and faith in place of doubt.

My verse for this week continues to be in Psalm 46. I have been thinking, studying, praying and preaching on  this one.  Here is the pinnacle  of the Psalm.

Psalm 46.10

“Be still and know that I am God, I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

“Be still” means to stop striving, and to surrender and “know”, He is God.  The whole Psalm is food for the soul.

Have you done this?  Take some time, get alone, open your heart to God, and just stop. Invite Him to show you He is God, and allow his supernatural presence to bring peace, and then you will “know”. Not just in your head, but in your soul.

Yes, it’s another abnormal weekend and God is among us this weekend, like He was last and will be next.  The Lord is going to get us through this.   Keep being Psalm 46.10 people.

Pastor Nate Elarton

Ten Tips During This Crisis


Ten Tips to Make it Through This Crisis

We are all getting weary as the crisis and adrenalin that comes with a crisis, wears off and we find ourselves in a “new normal”. We are all experiencing the mess our world is in, and it’s not going to be over for a while. We are not in a sprint, but a marathon.

We are in lock-down and we are experiencing fear, anxiety, and stress in a way we have never experienced it before. We are in a hostile environment, as politics is getting nastier (like it could get worse than it was), homes are stressed, children are struggling with out to process their emotions, and people have lost their jobs and security.

We are all grieving. Grief is the emotion of deep sorrow because of loss.  We are all experiencing loss.  We have lost a lot. We have lost some of our freedoms, our schedules, our security. Our world is grieving the loss of lives, jobs, and peace.

The Lord wants us to move through this. I tend to be very practical.  Let me give you some ways to survive during this time.

Ten Strategies to get through this time.

  1. Limit news and screen time: So much information can overwhelm us with hopelessness and fear.  Too much time on your phone and social media, just cause you to think other’s thoughts and take on their fear and offenses.  Be free of screens to have your own thoughts.
  2. Do what the specialists are telling us to do. Wash your hands, social distance, and save lives, stay in.
  3. Lean into each other. Help each other out when one is down, fill in and show great love, grace, and empathy.
  4. Sleep well and eat well. Eight hours of sleep  is necissary. Lack of sleep is linked to  many  health issues and will cause emotional, spiritual, and physical troubles. If we eat the diet of Elf, we will be in trouble as carbs are linked to depression and lack of energy, emotional, spiritual, and physical.  Eat your Broccoli!
  5. Exercise. Get moving and you will get a new view and attitude.  You will feel better.
  6. Watch your speech. Being around family all the time, can make us  relax on how we communicate. Don’t lash out at people and say things you will regret.
  7. Apologize quickly and accept apologies quickly, then move on.
  8. Play worship music in your home. It will change the atmosphere of your home, and bring strength to your heart.
  9. Lean into Jesus. Read his word, pray and talk to him throughout your day.
  10. Don’t ration love. This isn’t a good time to withhold love. Let the love flow.

Some Verse to Strengthen you

Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8, NLT)

These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death. So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.” (James 1:15–17, NLT)

Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.” (Colossians 4:6, NLT)

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.” (Galatians 5:22–25, NLT)

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:9–15, NLT)

 

 

The Wonderful Consequence of Quarantine: The Transferring of Spiritual Leadership


As we are all in lock-down and not in social setting for worship, I sense a wonderful thing happening. I am not implying it did not exist before,  but it seems now it is existing, growing, and I am praying it becomes the new normal.

This would be the transfer of the spiritual leadership from pastors or clergy to the head of homes.  This is an incredible and fantastic consequence of not being able to worship together in a building.  With little to no access to the ministries and programs of the local church, the Christian homes are taking the helm of leading the family in their worship, discipleship, and spiritual growth.  This is incredibly biblical and an incredible need in our society.  It must continue.

We have become a very entitled people.  Our thinking and the culture has led us to believe that it is the responsibility of others to take care of us.  The government, the schools, the churches, the leaders, the pastors, the entities of community, are not really going to provide for us in every way.  Parents are stepping up.

Sure, we have some online encouragement, preaching, church services and teaching, but I realize most click on for a bit and click off, as our newly programmed time span is limited and we impulsively must click from thing to thing.  The spiritual leaders and pastors are doing our best to stay connected, to shepherd our people, to reach out and that won’t stop, but it is not enough, it has never been enough to truly ground our children into the ways and heart of Christ.

I rejoice for I see family leaders taking charge of the spiritual state of their homes. Not just homes with children, but couples without children, and us empty-nesters are increasing our worship, prayer, Scripture reading in the home.   Families are seeing the spiritual need at home and they are filling it.  They are taking responsibility to make sure their families do not just eat, and bath, but also worship and pray.  Singing together as a family is not awkward anymore.  Parents praying with children is the new normal.  Reading the Bible out loud, talking about life, and connecting in heart and soul is happening and well overdue for most homes of the American Christian Family.

Yes, the transfer of leadership from the pastor to the head of the home is a welcomed consequence of the Corona quarantine.  I pray it continues. I pray we will not return to expecting our leaders and pastors to spoon feed us the truths of Jesus, but our homes will be filled with His presence as moms and dads, set the stage, lead those times, and see their children experience God the best way possible, as a family.

There are no perfect parents, so don’t wait to be perfect to be the spiritual voice for your kids.  Precious parents, keep playing and singing together.  Tuck those kids in and pray. Turn on the worship music, dance and sing, hug and love your kids. study the Bible Quiz questions, The love of the Father is always transferred through the love of the parent (that is the blessing).  Let the joy of the Lord, run through your homes, through games, crafts, art, make-believe, laughter and giggles.

If you are a single-parent and no support of a spouse, please be reminded your Father is also present and will empower you.  You can do it.  Where we are in need He will give us strength. Parents, do you best, and take the spiritual leadership for your family.  Be the catalyst for a heart that wants to seek God and have his presence in your home and on the minds of your children.

What about us pastors?  Oh, we will keep doing our spiritual callings,  not in place of yours, but beside you. We will be here to teach you, resource you, encourage you, strengthen you, but you mom or dad, will be the spiritual leader of your home.  I see it happening and It fills me with joy. I love it!

What is happening is what the Lord commanded in Deuteronomy:

What about us past ““So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, so that as long as the sky remains above the earth, you and your children may flourish in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors.” (Deuteronomy 11:18–21, NLT)

We love you and are so proud of what our young families are doing for Christ.  Don’t stop doing these things, even when your local church begins having services and ministries again. Always take the spiritual responsiblity for your family. You will never, never regret the energy and time you invest into the souls of your children.  It’s more important than any sport, hobby, travel team, or activity your kids can join.

We love you all so much and we are proud of you parents!

Pastor Nate and Wendy Elarton

 

 

 

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