Eight Encouragements if Your Love for Jesus is Fading

Jesus warned the Ephesian Church in Revelation not to lose their first love, the love of course being Jesus Himself.

Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.” (Revelation 2:4–5, NIV84)

So what do you do when your love for Jesus is fading? Your hunger for God is leaving and your interest in the things of God is absent? This is serious. The greatest gift we have is Jesus and our salvation. When our zeal for God, our love for Jesus wains, we need to act quickly. This usually starts with missing church more and more, as you isolate yourself away from God’s people. The Bible is neglected, prayer lessons, small group is gone. When we start losing our first love, we become critical and judgmental toward spiritual leadership, and other Christians. We begin to really judge other’s spiritual lives, and most have taken an offense in some way or another. Worldly habits, and activities begin to increase in our lives, generosity diminishes, and self is exalted as Jesus is slowly and sadly removed from the throne of our life.

So when this is happening you must act fast. In fact, I am inspired to write this because I know every believer will come to this place at one time or another. Receive this as a reminder and/or warning to not lose your love for Jesus. He is too awesome. He loves you too much. If this distance was triggered by a disappointment, a tragedy, a trial, lean into the goodness of God. Here are some very practical encouragements for you.

  1. Jesus says to “repent.” That means to have a change of mind and heart. To return to the things you did when you first were saved. That is enjoy Jesus, living in forgiveness, being hungry for the Word of God, and loving God’s people.
  2. Let go of offense. If someone hurt you, offended you, upset you, neglected you, overlooked you, or was outright mean to you you have to forgive and let it go. That is the essence of the Gospel. With God’s help you can do it. When people hurt mean I am reminded that I also have hurt people, and I need God’s forgiveness. I remember my sin was paid for on Calvary and so was the person who hurt me. I have had to go to people and talk it out. I have had to go to Jesus and let it out. You can also. Pray the Lord’s prayer slowly and meaningfully. You can forgive. He will help you.
  3. Ask for help. We all need spiritual guidance. Many people grow distant because of discouragement. Discouragement in life is real. It comes from disappointment. Maybe in life, or in a person, or even in your pastor. Disappointment is an experience no one will escape from . Jesus is with us in our disppointments.
  4. Read and receive. Do what you don’t feel like, reading and receiving the Bible. Read Psalm 34, 116, 118, 27, 24. Read the Sermon on the Mount. Read the Life of Christ, or an Epistle, Ask God to speak to you and encourage you.
  5. Get with God’s People. The Lord speaks corporately to us. Maybe just sitting in the back and enjoying the presence of the Holy Spirit together with others. Head back to your small group. Call a mature Christian friend who’s presence bring you strength and peace. You have to reach out. We need each other. Read Ecclesiastes 4.9-12. You need a spiritual, Jesus loving, non-critical friend.
  6. Identify any worldy ways and habits that have crept back into your life. Reject them, get forgiveness and remember they will not satisfy. They will distract you and lie to you. This things can bring great spiritual and moral damage. Remember our lives speak our values. Our values are what we present to our children, grandchildren, and the world.
  7. Walk and talk. Go to a park, nature, or a lake and take a walk and talk to Jesus. Tell Him out loud what you are going through, and ask him to help you get through this.
  8. Rest in the love of Jesus. Trust in his love. Know that He is your Lord, and loves you more than anyone on this earth. Remind yourself the truth of Christ. Humble your heart, and immerse yourself in His love, and friendship.

I love you all…. Pastor Nate

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. I speak the truth in Christ— Romans 8

What Contemplation is, and what it is not

Episode three of the “Live Compelled” Podcast with Wendy and I has been published. We talk about, and teach on contemplative times with Jesus. There is so much to be gained by slowing down our life and spending time with Christ, being, listening, and enjoying the presence of the Trinity.

Here is a link to the podcast.

Here is also a link to the Lectio 365 App to be used for prayer.

Please take time to subscribe and share with someone or on your social media. Many Blessings.

Nate and Wendy Elarton

“Live Compelled” Podcast Trailer is up

We have started our podcast “Live Compelled” this week. Here is the link to the first trailer. This is going to be a podcast with an emphasis on helping us all live a “God-focused” life. I will have Wendy often, as well as other guests. I am going to share some of my own journey into Christian maturity and the deeper walk with Christ I have enjoyed the last decade. Please subscribe and share. it is also available on ITunes and Podbean, as well as Spotify. Enjoy, Pastor Nate Elarton

My 13 hopes for God’s People in 2023

I have hopes and dreams for Compelled Church, but also for God’s people, “The Church” today. I know we are made up of a whole lot of broken people recovering from a plethora of backgrounds, trauma, sin, family of origin issues, and the pressures of this world and current culture. God wants to continue to heal us and make us whole. As I read John 17, I see the heart of God and Christ for His church. May we be less divided and more in unity with each other as Christians and churches than ever before. May this be a year of great fruit for Jesus. Here are some of my hopes, prayers, and dreams.

  1. I pray God’s people would make it a priority to spend time with Jesus to know him, and be like Him. (When I say this, I mean communion, prayer, silence to listen to the Holy Spirit, reading and studying God’s Word, practicing the spiritual disciplines to be transformed to be more like Jesus).
  2. I pray we know we are part of a Kingdom and Jesus is the King. We are not of this world and it’s godless systems, just part of it for a season.
  3. I pray and hope we would stop attacking and condemning each other over petty beliefs and pet doctrines. That spiritual arrogance and judgmental legalism would cease and we would work together for the Gospel and stop being distracted and angry gossiping, slandering and hurting each other.
  4. I hope and pray we would be a people of of greater Compassion.
  5. I hope and pray we would be a people filled with the Holy Spirit and have the loving courage to live our faith publicly.
  6. I hope and pray we would encourage the next generation to give their lives to missions, pastoring, church planting, and full-time ministry as spiritual leaders. I don’t believe God is calling less young people to his full time service than in years past.
  7. I hope we stop judging other peoples walk with Jesus and their spirituality.
  8. I hope and pray we would have joy in Jesus. That our joy would not be dependent on circumstances and things.
  9. I hope and pray we continue to be generous sending missionaries, funding church plants, helping other ministers and our local church will continue with greater urgency.
  10. I hope and pray and we are known for our love for Jesus and everyone else. I don’t mean in just word, but also action and treatment.
  11. I pray and hope The Shepherds and pastors would be encouraged and not quit when attacked, stay close to Jesus during struggles, stay the course when judged and not backdown when in despair. May God help us to lead in faith. I pray when we are so busy, that we will still take our time with Jesus and grow in our interior life. That we will take our Sabbath, to help us stay the course and finish well.
  12. I pray God’s people would have a burden for those lost, and have compassion on those that are perishing.
  13. I pray we would live in our true identity in Christ and who Christ is in us, not being known for what group or ideology we are part of that is of this world.

Let me close with the words of Jesus in John 17 are powerful.

“They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.“Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.“As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.“For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.“I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word;that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.” (John 17:16–21, NASB95)

From My Shepherd’s Heart

From my Shepherd’s Heart,

We had a pandemic.  It was awful. People were afraid, people suffered and sadly  people died. Businesses closed, travel stopped, people stayed home, and yes churches closed.  Churches are no longer closed.

We tend to be creatures of habit, and also creatures of ease.  Because of our nature these two things they can affect our decisions and priorities and can take us out  of some very beneficial and necessary parts of life.  This shift happened to many Christians who were active in their faith and in their church community.  Most returned to doing and being part of the things in their lives before Covid in 2020.  Many have not.  They have disconnected from their local church, the activities and events that helped grow and spur on their faith.  Time has been  eaten up by other activities, habits, and the new weekend without worship with their church.

Can I lovingly encourage you to jump back into the things that bring true life and faith in Jesus. It’s time.  Can I tell you that if you pull your children and youth  out of church, children’s and youth ministries, for all the other things, or just staying home all the time they will suffer with a faith that becomes more distant, and unimportant every day. Our decisions send messages to our children.  Can I caution you to remember that decisions made today, affect tomorrow, even though we talk ourselves into believing that might not be true for us.  Our decisions affect a lot of people.

Jesus love you.  God has a will for us and our families.  I don’t want people, parents, children or youth to be lost to a life where He is not present, valued, or acknowledge. The stakes are too high. The world without Jesus, is just too mean, too awful, and too  hopeless.  It’s time.

So, your church misses you, whether Compelled or another.  It’s not as strong if you and your family are there. You can’t give and receive if you are not around, and not a part. You can’t serve, love, receive, encourage someone or help. At the end of the day, nothing is as important as Jesus. Our faith is the bedrock of who we are, and the catalyst for healthy families and friendships.  Don’t lose your first love (Revelation 2). It’s time to ask yourself if that is happening. I know you don’t have to be part of a church to be a Christian, but I also know you do need to be part to be an active, growing, grateful follower of Christ.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for pondering what I am trying to say.  I am reminded in Ephesians 2, which I will speak on this weekend that God changed us by his grace, kindness mercy and love.   I want us all to live lives, and lead our families and ourselves where these gifts are appreciated, and my life reflects that by my love, decisions, and sacrifices.  Our active salvation is so important.  In our dark world, it is so critical that we receive, reflect and live that love and light of Jesus daily. It’s time to turn the page on 2020, and enjoy Jesus and His great love and activity in our lives, families, and church.  

With much Love, Your Shepherd

Pastor Nate

Christ Brings Freedom, Let’s Live in it

I have been thinking and thanking Jesus a lot lately for freedom. Christ made it clear that he meant to bring freedom to us and to liberate us from the sin, and the results of sin, in this fallen world and in fallen people, that can bind us, hold us back, and lie to us. If we do not intentionally understand and live in this, we can be saved and love the Lord, yet continue to live daily without the freedom we have available through Christ. The will of God is for each of us to live in freedom.

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”” (John 8:31–32, NASB95)

“So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36, NASB95)

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovery of sight to the blind, To set free those who are oppressed,” (Luke 4:18, NASB95)

Jesus brought us forgiveness of sin and eternal life. His death, burial, and resurrection also bought us our freedom. Freedom I have experienced, and still look to the Lord to walk in.

Freedom from sin, and the guilt of sin.

Freedom from the past.

Freedom from being bound what others think of me, or sadness and worry about what they say about me.

Freedom from lies, scripts, and narratives that messages taught me growing up that are not the Truth.

Freedom from wanting and feeling I must please everyone.

Freedom to be who God created me to be, and not what others want me to be.

Freedom from the grips this world has on saved and unsaved alike. The grip of money, stuff, social media, leisure, quitting, giving up, and hating those that are not like me or don’t believe like me. We have the freedom and desire to love.

Freedom from hating anyone and freedom to forgive others and myself.

Freedom from being a slave to the current news cycle and having to have and promote my opinion and stance. Freedom to not have a “position.”

Freedom from generational sin, lies, ideologies, and damaging habits. Freedom from the lying messages and unwritten rules that are not the truth.

Live free people of God. Jesus purchased our freedom. Don’t live in the past. Don’t live for others. Walk in the life and light of our Savior and the freedom truths of the Word of God and the Good news of the Gospel.

For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” (Galatians 5:13, NASB95)

Pastor Nate Elarton

“Cultivate Faithfulness”

This weekend we will share our last Sabbatical Reflection at Bedford .  Pastor Matt will also be preaching a special word God has laid on His heart.   I feel led by the Lord to a morning I had in Psalm 37.  This Psalm really spoke to my heart and God’s Spirit always speak through the Word of God if we will take our time and listen.  I loved our Board Meeting on Tuesday Night as we also took time to study and talk about this Psalm.  I will share their incredible insights this weekend.  I focused on this verse:

Psalm 37:3 (NASB95)

“Trust in the Lord and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. “

Cultivating is working the ground so the plants can grow and bear fruit. Cultivating is taking out the weeds.  I used to get a few bucks from my Grandpa Elarton to walk the rows of beans and cut out the jimson weeds. They would grow like a little tree, towering above the soy beans stealing the moisture and nutrients, blocking the sun. I would walk the rows with a how and hack them down and pull them up roots and all, as granpa said their roots to the most damage to the roots of the beans.

God has called us to be faithful like He has been to us.  We are to “cultivate faithfulness”. Like farmers cultivate the crops.  Removing what doesn’t belong so our faith, desires, and decisions remain faithful to God.

This looks different for each one of us, but yet the same.  We must remove sin from our lives with the help and power of the Spirit.  We need to remove hate, unforgiveness, gossip, slander, maybe a habit that is not bringing value to our lives.   I know I have had to remove all of this including selfishness, and I have to keep removing them all, sometimes daily, as they want to come back.  Cultivating is an everyday task for every believer.

We want to be faithful. We want to be Christ-like. We want the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. We want to represent the love of Jesus on this earth well.  Remember the promises of God’s Word in Christ:

1 John 1:9 (NASB95)

9If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 Corinthians 10:13 (NASB95)

13No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.

Hebrews 10:23 (NASB95)

23Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;

I have also been studying and reading the Book of Ephesians as we will be starting a study in Ephesians at both campuses in September that will take us to December.  Start reading and studying this incredible book. I am so excited.  It will be some teaching and of course I am a preacher and will preach and teach through this incredible book.

Remember to slow down and be with Jesus. Take time daily to become transformed by Jesus through His Word, Prayer, Worship, Sabbath, Fasting, Hospitality, Celebration, Family, Serving, Giving, and joyfully living for Jesus. He loves us so much!

-Pastor Nate Elarton

The Interests of God

Mark 8.33-38

But turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”” (Mark 8:33, NASB95)

And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? “For what will a man give in exchange for his soul? “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”” (Mark 8:33–38, NASB9)

     God has interests. God has plans.  God has purposes.  A challenging thing for us is to line up our  hearts and lives to God plans, and purposes.  IN Mark 8 we have the account of Peter rebuking Jesus. That Pete, man, sometimes he is just impulsive.  The Father just has shone Peter that Jesus is the Christ, the Savior of the world. Jesus then told them that he would have to die, be rejected, be killed and then he would rise again. This is the plan of God.  Pete pulls him aside and rebukes.  Peter scolds God.  He tells Jesus to stop, be quiet, and  tries to correct him because Peter doesn’t like the plan of Jesus, doesn’t want to believe it , or is in denial because of the personal pain it would cause him.  Jesus then makes some powerful statements. He says,

But turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”” (Mark 8:33, NASB95)

Peter had his interests on himself, his own agenda, how he would like things to go.  Jesus tell him that he is not thinking about God’s interests but His own.

  • Peter did not want to be in pain of missing Jesus.
  • Peter did not want Jesus to die, if they kill Jesus would they kill him too?
  • Peter thought his ways were better than God ways.
  • The interests, purposes and plan of God is so much better than our own.
  • I am glad Peter did not get his way, that Jesus went to the cross and rose.  Now we can be saved  and know Christ.
  • Peter was not rejected for leadership, but corrected.  People hate correction.  They usually leave the church, not Peter, he learned, stayed with Jesus and grew. He wanted God’s interests more.
  • It must have been a very sobering moment of humility to Peter, but his being used by Satan was called out, and Peter never was used by Satan again.
  • Peter became a bold, apostle, with Kingdom authority.  Acts is full of the many ways Jesus used Peter by the Holy Spirit for Kingdom of God advancement.

What a wonderful lesson, Pete once again , teaches us about ourselves.

How are you like Peter in this instance. Be honest before the Lord?   

What are God’s purposes and plans in your life?  Do you want those more?  Will you take correction?  Are you teachable?

The Key is Galatians 2.20.  Memorize this powerful truth of God’s Word.

 ““I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20, NASB95)

Press On, Pastor Nate Elarton

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