The Lord is MY Leader


We are being led. Someone is speaking and influencing our life.  Sometimes in America we are like lemmings.  We allow the media, advertisers, and movies to shape who we are, our world view, the way we think, and yes, the way we believe.  How can the voice of Christ break through the noise and prominence of so many other “leaders” in our life.

Psalm 23 is a classic Psalm and probably one of the most known.  It is the “funeral” psalm, printed on the little funeral cards and recited at gravesites and memorials by countless clergy across the land.  But I contend that it is not a psalm for the dead but for the living. The very first line gripped my spirit this morning as David declares who is the leader of his life.

“The Lord is my Shepherd.”  Say it like this, “the Lord is MY Shepherd.”  (emphasis on “my).  He is declaring who is the leader of his life.  Let me fine tune that better.  He is the leader of our day, our hour, our moment.  The Shepherd leads, we follow.  David declares without shame and without embarrassment, “The Lord is MY Shepherd”.  He does the leading, the providing, the guiding, the loving. We do the faithful following.

If you were to declare who your leader was this hour, moment, what would be in this blank?  “The  ____________ is my shepherd (leader), for this day.”  Would you, could you be honest? We know the  correct answer is the Lord, but is that the true answer?  I must confess a lot of the time “I” am my shepherd, or “outlook” is my shepherd (LOL).

Immerse yourself in being led by the Lord.  His Word will guide, His Spirit will lead, His voice will direct us on the paths of life, for this day, this moment that we need to walk.  He will lead us in peace, even in valleys.  H restores our soul, and helps us live “right”. He takes away fear, with His presence, he leads us to a greater understanding, and friendship,  of our relationship with him, by knowing him more and trusting his leading.

Say it, and live it like David.  “The Lord is MY  shepherd.” Now, follow your leader “all the days of your life.” I will for my life, but I must start with today, right now.
The LORD is MY shepherd;
I have all that I need.
2 He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
3 He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.
4 Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,*
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
5 You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
6 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the LORD
forever.
Tyndale House Publishers. (2013). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Ps 23:1–6). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

 

Knowing God


We know much about God, but few really know God and fewer understand Him.  We know and experience a lot of the “culture” of God, or the church.  The potlucks, the music, the jargon of God’s people,, the do’s and don’ts of faith. These things are familiar to us, yet really  knowing  God escapes most.  We understand the way to God or the Father is Jesus and His work on the cross, and resurrection, but to know the Lord, and to have friendship with God is elusive to most, never thought about to some, and pursued by the minority of those who admit to being His people.

To know someone takes time.  Sadly, I must confess, we try to know God, while investing as little time as possible.  Many families worship together now, only a couple times a month, some do some Bible reading at home, and say some prayers.  I must confess to my own lethargic attention at times to my efforts to know the God of the universe. It is no wonder when hard times hit us, we wonder where God is?  When the comforts of our modern culture are interrupted we question the very existence of God and our own faith.  Making large investments into our soul, must no longer seem impossible, out of reach, or unrealistic. It is time to take time to know Him.

I have learned and I am being being reminded (as of late), that there are no short cuts to knowing God.  There are no “hacks” or apps that make it faster and easier than daily investing some time, reserving some place in our thoughts, and making choices in our day, to carve out time to get to know our closest friend.  It is all about time.  We, I, am too much in a hurry.  We have too many things to do, and we are hurried even when there is respite and time off.  We must complete the yard work quickly, get the kids to bed, eat and do chores fast, and we never pace our lives  to enjoy the life God has given us,  for He is not separated from us, therefore, He is not separated from our daily activities of our  lives, however mundane and routine they are.   We must grasp the realization that we are living with Christ, all the time. So setting aside extra time in the day to know Him, is not that out of reach.

Being taught by the living Christ, through contemplative prayer, solitude, true study of Scripture, and prayer will lead us to knowing God  on a level we never thought was possible.  We must reserve room in our mind to think of him, and to become one in thought, heart, and soul.   We must immerse ourselves in solitude and silence, with undisturbed times from the electronics, of phones, and IPads, that ding, alert us, and drag us back to the hurried world, and out of His presence. We must rush off, making money, making friends, making our mark on this earth, but without knowing  God it is all in vain, hollow, and pointless.

We must invest in our spirit, in the same way in invest in our physical bodies.  This investment has the greatest return. We will slowly, day by day, understand the Lord, feel His heart, grow in love, and many things in the world that we have been deceived as being such a high priority begin to grow, “strangely dim”.

We make time to do so many things, that I think the “I don’t have time” excuses have no more merit. The stakes are too high. Your transformation is imperative to your parenting, marriage, vocation, and enjoyment of life if we truly want  the abundant life Christ promised us (John 10.10).

May this Psalm be the cry of our heart, and the evidence of that cry
1 O God, you are my God;
I earnestly search for you.
My soul thirsts for you;
my whole body longs for you
in this parched and weary land
where there is no water.
2 I have seen you in your sanctuary
and gazed upon your power and glory.
3 Your unfailing love is better than life itself;
how I praise you!
4 I will praise you as long as I live,
lifting up my hands to you in prayer.
5 You satisfy me more than the richest feast.
I will praise you with songs of joy.

6 I lie awake thinking of you,
meditating on you through the night.
7 Because you are my helper,
I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings.
8 I cling to you;
your strong right hand holds me securely.
Tyndale House Publishers. (2013). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Ps 63:1–8). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

A Must read for pastors from my friend Chilly Chilton


chillyChilly sent this out from a writing in 2014. I reprint it here with his permission.  It deeply spoke to me and my spirit agreed.  Please read it slowly and think and reflect.  For more writings of his go to his website  Ichilly.com .  I am impacted this afternoon by this encouragement to be who God intended me to be.

Hey friend,

Today I felt led to share with you an article that I wrote for my blog in April 2014.  God brought it back to my attention early this morning with urgency and conviction. I made some minor edits and now I’m asking a few of my friends, mentors and allies to read it.  Please only read it if you have time to read it slowly and all the way to the end.  I’m not asking for a response but I certainly would welcome it. In some way, I feel as if God may be preparing me to take this message to leaders, pastors and those just beginning to sense His call.  I believe there’s an adventure being missed by MOST that God is really stirring in my heart today.  Thanks for reading this — please don’t post it (at least not yet)… I’m not sure, exactly, where to go from here.   Thanks again!

Here’s the article

When the Adventure becomes a job…

Do you remember when God called you?

  • was it after getting the results of your ACT or SAT exam?
  • did it come in a certified letter?
  • were you walking through a job fair?
  • did it come with a paycheck?

Probably not, right? It was probably more spontaneous, crazy and epic than a human designed promotion. It was supernatural, right? It made you insanely excited and totally overwhelmed all at the same time! You had the thought, ‘there’s no way I can do this’ and yet, you also KNEW, ‘ there’s no way that I CAN’T do this!’

Maybe I’m just weird, but I’m more than a little concerned about what’s happening in what we call ‘Christianity.’ Way too many pastors are burned out, depressed, suicidal, wimpy, self-loathing, excuse-making complainers. They’re lonely, hated, misunderstood, tapped-out, and overwhelmed.

Yep, I’ve been beat-up (a little bit physically, somewhat spiritually and lots emotionally). I’ve been robbed, betrayed and played. I’ve been out of money, abandoned, over-worked and super tired. SO WHAT!

It’s not like Jesus and the Bible didn’t warn us. And, it’s not like Jesus and the Bible didn’t tell us what to do when this stuff happened.

Being miserable, cynical or sarcastic IS NOT the answer!

Turning the body of Christ into God’s robot isn’t the answer, either! Our need to control is making our lives out-of-control and stressed out.

“Doing church” was never God’s plan… the church is a living organism that’s growing, changing, and functioning through with authority of God, the leading of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.

I’m really concerned about the structure, professionalism and business-like approach to ministry that has become commonplace in our churches – and, more personally, in our lives.

Yes, many are producing churches that are big, well-oiled-machines, that function with precision and reliability. We run staff gatherings and board meetings like Fortune 500 think-tanks… little risk or faith desired or required.

Checks and balances. Budgets. Protocol, precedents and procedures. We’ve got manuals and job descriptions for everything. We can’t have chaos after all.

Hmmm… have you ever been in a healthy father’s (or grandfather’s) house? Does he give job descriptions to his grand kids? Things are messy, loud, unorganized and spontaneous. Yet, laughter and love are everywhere! Now, I’m not saying that’s, exactly, what church should be like… but, I do think Jesus was saying something when He rebuked His disciples by saying, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. 17 I tell you the truth, anyone who doesn’t receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it.” Luke 18:16-17 Speaking of kid’s with callings…

I’m also concerned about how we train those called. $100,000+ for a Bible College degree is the norm. Student loans, classroom lectures, test taking and term-paper writing may not provide proper training or evaluation. Remember, some of the original disciples, church-leaders and church planters were ‘untrained’ — They had not attended the rabbinical schools of their day, yet they knew how to quote and explain scripture better than the rabbis. I’m not hating on seminary – I attended one – but, it’s not the only (or always the best) way to develop the calling on someone’s life.

Maybe we’re too serious, controlled and up-tight? Maybe we’ve lost the adventure of our calling and turned it into a job? Maybe we’re more full of ourselves than we are full of the Holy Spirit?

Here’s some things that concern me about what’s happening in our churches and/or ministries…

  • We give them instructions, but not purpose.We say ‘what’ to do without answering the ‘why’ we do it. Pray this. Read this. Attend this. Do this. Don’t do this. And, then, when you complete this; do more of this! Few people seem to be discovering who they are because we’re telling them what to ‘do.’ As a result …
  • We develop systems to evaluate the success and efficiency of everything. But, we’re making disciples not employees… we’re making missionaries not machines. As a result …
  • We create check-lists, measurements and levels to show maturity and progress. We require classes, tests, attendance and conformity before most ministry opportunites can be considered. As a result …
  • We give out titles, positions and leadership like awards or promotions. There’s an elite aura around most upper-level pastors & leaders. There are people who may achieve board or staff level because of their faithfulness to a system or generosity (of time, talent or treasure). As a result …
  • People are confused about how to love God and their neighbors without losing their minds. They can operate their ministry in the church with precision but never talk to their next-door neighbors. Their cars are used for multiple church events like a soccer-mom’s van in the summer! They’re too focused and busy to play with their kids, date their spouse, go to the park, or sleep in on Saturday morning As a result …
  • Insecurity, Stress, Fatigue are having a party just on the other side of fake smiles. Ouch. Or, maybe the manifestation is pride, control and rules. Either way, both have roots in FEAR. And, fear has NOTHING to do with the adventure of God’s calling. His perfect love drives away ALL fear (1 John 4:18).

I don’t want another job. I want an adventure!

I want to wake up each day FULL of wonder, passion, energy and joy!

I want to pray because it’s fun and because Jesus talks to me! I want to read the Bible because it’s alive and it rocks my world every single time I read it! I want to make disciples because I’m called to do it and because I’m uniquely designed to reach, love, mentor, train and help others become disciples.

I want my wife, kids and friends to LOVE living life together. I want church to be about who we are becoming not what we are doing. I want the community to change through love, miracles, kindness, compassion and friendship.

I want other young Christians to WANT God to call them into the ministry even before it happens simply because they’re around the adventure of my life!

This is NOT a depressing view or rebuke of others, church, ministry or whatever … nope! Don’t get all worked up or defensive. I wrote this in my journal — and, my journal is not the Bible! Asking questions is how we get answers.

It’s just me saying that I’m CHOOSING to keep living the adventure and inviting others to join me! It WILL be imperfect, it will include failing and it will be unpredictable. It may NOT pay much in money but it will be INSANELY rewarding and super exciting!

The ADVENTURE continues!

© 2017 Chilly Chilton Ministries

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Thanks for allowing me to be vulnerable with you. I’d welcome your thoughts & insight. Your friendship is very valuable to me — thank you for believing the best … ALWAYS!

 

Honored, Chilly

What is shaping you?


We are constantly being shaped and molded.  No one is static. We are changing, morphing into what we are becoming.  I am not the man I was in my twenties (thank you Lord!), and I am not the man now, that I will be in my 70’s. I am changing, being shaped, every so slowly, every day.

Habits and routines shape us. We wake up and immediately grab our phones, scrolling through the most recent Facebook posts, like something important would have happened to our “friends” since we last checked it at 11 pm.  Our day is shaped by the technological stream of information we cram into our minds the first 15 or 20 minutes of waking up. News, twitter, political rants, shape our mind and day and we are imprinted, not by what we have chosen to look at, but by the algorithms of twitter, Facebook, or snapshot.

I am surprised by how many people turn on the TV immediately, as if the silence of the new day cannot be tolerated.  News media, with their own bias and agenda, begin to imprint us and shape our lives. Slowly, morning after morning, one brain cell at a time, we become them, and “parrot” their news bites in our views as if we came up with it from scratch rather than admitting we are lemmings of some producer somewhere who is deciding how we should think and believe.

Our habits throughout the day shape us.  The jokes, hobbies, vices,  talk, radio, friends, and what we read, investments in our marriage, our family, our God, are slowly digested into our person, character, and personality. Our daily exposure to people, information, and relationships are changing us, for the better or the worse. We are being shaped, whether we think so or not.

So are your habits shaping you into who you want to be, or are you just letting a “routine” shape you into whatever you, by chance, you end up becoming?  Can we allow our God to shape us?  I am talking about habits outside of a church service a couple of times a month. Habits of a pursuit of a God, through Christ, that wants to shape us into the person that lives without addictions, regrets, fear, and pain of the past?  Could a new habit of silence, prayer, family time, worship, daily shape you into a person better than the current routine?  We each choose what we allow to be part of our life, our mind, and our spirit. It may be time for some honest evaluation. Time to stop being a slave to our phones and tablets?  It might be time to be shaped by living outside ourselves and for others?  To read and look at things that add value and don’t diminish us. New routines, and new habits, can bring a new you.  The Lord of our souls wills that. Choose wisely, every day we are all being shaped.

Personal Post


It has been a whirl wind of a couple weeks here. Feel like this is the first time I have been able to be alone and just reflect.  So many high’s and low’s.  Levi, my son, made it to states se) taking 4th at regionals (wrestling of course, last weekend. That was awesome to see him win, as he worked so hard, even with a knee injury he did not give up.  I am so proud of Levi on so many levels!  After that we went to Hudson, MI to see Wendy’s folks. Randy has a surgery this week.It was a great Saturday.  Our whole family was together this weekend, and then together at regionals.  it was all so special to me and warmed and swelled my heart.  We have also had a marriage banquet Wendy and I spoke at, I daily check on my dad,  and I had some presbyter meetings, and the services on the weekends.  I am thankful for my staff that keep on top of things when we are all so busy.

The sadness of Marty’s sudden passing still haunts me. I miss my friend. I miss his encouragement, chats, carving, and presence.  I know we will all go one, but, pastors don’t have too many voices in their lives like Marty’s. He was an amazing encourager.

We went to Grand Rapids,  Michigan yesterday to hear  Justin preach at a sr. chapel at Northpoint Bible College.  Man it was good. He is a brilliant young man and spoke an amazing message of humility.  It was simply solid, and profound.  I am thankful for him and his entrance into our family.  What a blessing he is and to know he is taking care of my daughter, is awesome. They are such a great couple and we are so proud of them.  God has a great plan for their lives and is going to use them for His glory.

We got back late after a nice stop to have dinner with Steve and Lillian Miller. They pastor a great church in Three Rivers and we have been friends for years.  He is a great encourager also.  Steve’s joy and laughter was a refreshing welcome to my soul.

I did manage to get out and finish a carving that has been half done on the bench for a couple of months.  It has been so busy, so carving goes first of course.  I needed to make time. I know Marty would have liked this one.  He would comment that I am getting better on the nose, and the stocking cap was cool

Today is a study day and prep day for the week so I had better continue on that.  My heart is thankful for God’s continuing strength and presence.  I am grateful for so much and the Lord’s grace.

13 Things I have learned about Multi-site Church Planting by Nate Elarton


multi-siteWe will celebrate 5 years of our Holland Location of Compelled Church on January 29th.  In the last five years I have a learned a lot and so has our team.  Here are some key things we have learned.

  1. There is not just one multi-site model-Multi-site churches do it all differently. Live, video, site pastors, pre-recorded, livestream…..on and on. The church must decide their best way, that works for them.
  2. The Site pastor is the  key-Much has been written about this. This can’t be under-stressed. The site pastor must be a top shelf spiritual leader, growing, with character and Christ-likeness to match.  He must be a loyal, gifted, extrovert with a heart for discipleship and leadership. Our’s is and we would not be celebrating 5 years without him. Thank you Tim and Amanda Rabara.
  3. Not everyone cares. I have learned that our Bedford  Campus (first church plant), is not 100% engaged in the missional outreach of a multi-site. Many are, some even have gone there to minister, but many don’t seem interested.   Good or bad, just a reality.   Communicating vision, passion, and wins, continue to help that.
  4. People come to Christ at Multi-site. Many believers are vocal that they would never attend a multi-site or watch a video message, but they are not the targets. We are attempting with all our heart to reach the lost, and that happens! People come to Jesus.
  5. Communication must increase internally and publicly. I have learned that I must communicate more. I must communicate with my pastors, site leaders, official board, both locations, etc. Without communication it all breaks down.
  6. The Goal is evangelism and ministry!  Some get confused that the goal is to have the new site be “self-supporting” or that the new site exists independently, or that it is “cut loose” at some point. None of these are our goals. Our goals is to win souls, and help people to “love God, love each other, and serve the world.”
  7. A new site impacts the staff-Everyone on staff is affected and they all must grow in thinking, sourcing, and encouraging the leaders, ministries, pastors of the site.  Everyone must be “all in”.
  8. It costs money-Investment must happen.  Ministry can be expensive.  The lost is worth it.  Marriages saved, children and youth coming to Christ, people returning to their faith…every dollar is worth it.
  9. Be committed for the long haul. This has been difficult. Our staff has paid a price. Our site pastors and family have also.  It would have been easy to quit a few times, but it is worth it. Be committed to not quitting.
  10. Long-range planning must increase by the Lead Pastor.  I have learned that I must plan way out for the life and the calendar of the church as well as for the weekends.  It is another layer, and with 3 gatherings at one campus and a 4th at the Holland location, planning is critical and cannot be avoided.
  11. You must have an associate or executive pastor that is amazing.  Our executive pastor, Rick Flood, makes sure the tech, sound, planning, ideas, and so much more is thought about and implemented. We could have never done this without him.
  12. You can’t cut corners on tech.  You need good equipment and it needs supported, updated, and protected. Your weekend depends on it.
  13. Video teaching  is not just for the young. We have reached many older adults, many even over 60 that don’t mind video teaching at all.  They are rocks at our campus. I love them so much.

Always a lot to think about to be multi-site. But seeing the lost saved makes it worth it and I believe the pleasure of God is blessing Compelled Church is so many other ways because we took a step of faith, put our money where are heart is, and truly lived “compelled by His love.”  If you have any questions, shoot me an email at  nate@compelledchurch.tv. Looking forward to more years and someday, more sites, and more lives changed for Christ.

Nate Elarton

Five Year Anniversary for Compelled Multi-site Launch


ti and nate.JPGFive years ago we set out on an endeavor to plant another location of Compelled Church. God gave us an amazing site pastor, worship leader, and key volunteers that have stuck in out, worked hard, never quit, and today we are expanding a growing church with life-changing ministries and relationships. Continue reading “Five Year Anniversary for Compelled Multi-site Launch”

Encouraging Truths to Live by


Here are the notes from the message this weekend. Encouraging truths after our week of prayer and fasting.  Blessings, Pastor Nate

“In the day when I cried out, You answered me, and made me bold with strength in my soul.” Psalm 138.3

“But the salvation of the righteous is from the LORD; He is their strength in time of trouble.” Psalm 37.39

  1. Do not fear. There is lot of fear about the future on cards. I too deal with some of that.

Keep remembering God has our future in His hands. If we walk with Him, we are going to make it with victory, faith, joy, and security.

  1. You are growing more than you think

Everyone’s default is they are not very strong spiritually, lack faith, fail God, and upset him.

Let me tell you. Every act is fruit and the Lord is glorified with fruit in our lives(John 15.8).

  1. Keep depending on the love of Jesus, to love and forgive others.

You will not always hurt.  You will be released more and more as you forgive. Live in His love and you will live in love and  forgiveness for others.

  1. Stop self-negative talk and self-condemnation

“There is now no condemnation in Christ Jesus.”  Romans 8.1

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 8.21

  1. Give your anger to the Lord. Be happy again.

Don’t allow a few little things to blow into giant things. You must believe that you are going to forsake and be delivered from rage, anger, grouchiness, and you are going to grow in self-control, as we grow in the fruit of the Spirit.

 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Galatians 5.22-24

 

  1. Be free of personal perfectionism. This results in always being down on yourself, and guilty.

And free those around you .  tolerate failure, selfishness, and less than perfect. Ease up on your family.

  1. Never give up. Don’t quit your faith, because you don’t see God doing what you believe He should. Don’t waver because of your past. Don’t listen to the liar.

“You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth because there is no truth in him Whenever he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8.44

  1. Our identity is in Christ

“For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”  Galatians 3.27-28

 

  1. Stop concluding you are a terrible parent. Move forward, keep loving, and building.

 

  1. Don’t stop praying about your marriage. Pray for your spouse, pray about your troubles, pray about your reactions, pray about your sex life, pray about your children, give your pressures to the Lord
  2. Don’t pray about your past sins and mistakes anymore. Move on.

As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103.12

  1. Stop speaking of in justices done to you in the past, let them go, move on.
  2. Take time to rest. Turn things off and go to bed. 30% of America is sleep deprived.

Part of our struggles is we are over tired, undernourished, and worn out. I am convinced rest and lack of rest affects me spiritually, my leadership, and my mood, demeanor, attitude etc. Yours too.

  1. He is not done with you, we are going to keep growing and maturing, so are those around you.

“being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1.6

  1. He loves you more than you are currently believing

We respond differently to people if we think wrongly about them.

Conclusion

 

  1. God is with you and He is for you.

 

Joshua 1.9 – “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

 

 

 

 

 

Ten Ways to Pray for a Personal Renewal


Ten Ways to  Pray for a Personal Renewal

By Nate Elarton, Compelled Church 2017

 

  1. Receive forgiveness for past-Past sins and mistakes will continue to bring self-condemnation, and paralyze you from moving forward. Receive the grace and forgiveness Jesus freely gives. Stop asking for forgiveness.

“There is, therefore, now no condemnation against those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8.1

 

  1. Forgive– Now that we have received forgiveness, we must forgive those that have hurt, betrayed, neglected, and/or attacked us. Be free from the prison of bitterness, that leads to hate. Pray that God forgives them, blesses them, and they know they are loved by Him.

 

  1. Present Sin– Is there sin in your life presently? Maybe things you don’t even recognize as sin because they are so common, been in your life for so long, or so accepted in this world. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal and sin in your life. Confess, and receive forgiveness, and cease that in your life.

But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness” 1 John 1.9

 

  1. Present Habits that Bind? Are there habits you have that are controlling your life that need to go. Their bondage needs to be broken? Addictions, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, TV, facebook, tablet games, Netflix, gambling, porn. Addictions waste blessed resources of time and money and rob us of potential serving and relational opportunities, as well as turning your heart in to self and not to God and others. Pray and ask God to give you the strength and self-control to break addictions.

 

  1. Begin to connect to the Lord through Praise and Thanksgiving. Give Him thanks for the cross, forgiveness, His abounding love, His grace, His work in your life. Praise Him for His power of sin, the past, unforgiveness. Praise Him for His goodness to you and your family.

 

  1. Ask to be filled with His Sprit. Empty your heart of self, and ask to be filled with the presence of Jesus, His Holy spirit. To walk with the Lord in victory, we need the Spirit to fill us, possess us, and overwhelm us. If you are full of yourself, there will not be much room for Him. Empty and fill (Mark 8.34-38).

 

  1. Pray that you will love the Word-Read, study, learn, and grow as you read God’s Word, and His words bring internal change that will be noticed on the external (Psalm 1; 2 Timothy 3.16; Matthew 7.24-28). Pray you receive greater faith as you read and know God more.

 

  1. Ask to be more like Jesus. We need to be more patient more loving, more caring, more giving, etc. That you would care and have compassion and burden for lost people (Romans 8.29). That you would be a servant, first to family, church, work and community (Mark 9.35).

 

  1. Be Honest about where you are now. Talk to the Lord as a friend. Are you afraid? Are you lonely? Worried? Sad? Insecure? Pour your heart and feelings out to the Lord, don’t deny them. He cares and His Spirit will begin to work in your heart and emotions. He is our Father, our daddy, our “abba”. Romans 8.15 “For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have receive a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”

 

  1. Pray that you continue to grow in knowing Christ. These patterns are not a one-time thing, but a way of life to continue growing in Christ, and in spiritual passion, commitment and strength. Pray you continue and told let old ways seep back into your life.

 

..Scriptures to pray through on back

Matthew 7.24-27

“Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. 25 Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. 26 But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. 27 When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.”

 

Ephesians 6.18-20

18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.

19 And pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan that the Good News is for Jews and Gentiles alike. 20 I am in chains now, still preaching this message as God’s ambassador. So pray that I will keep on speaking boldly for him, as I should.

 

Matthew 6.9-15

Our Father in heaven,

may your name be kept holy.

10 May your Kingdom come soon.

May your will be done on earth,

as it is in heaven.

11 Give us today the food we need,

12 and forgive us our sins,

as we have forgiven those who sin against us.

13 And don’t let us yield to temptation,

but rescue us from the evil one.

14 “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. 15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.

Ephesians 2.1-5

Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.

But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!).

 

Psalms 1.1-3

Oh, the joys of those who do not

follow the advice of the wicked,

or stand around with sinners,

or join in with mockers.

But they delight in the law of the Lord,

meditating on it day and night.

They are like trees planted along the riverbank,

bearing fruit each season.

Their leaves never wither,

and they prosper in all they do.

Fasting Tips Week of Seeking God


Seek prayer 2017.png

Encounter Christ Deeper  

A  week ofSeeking the Lord with fasting

  • For personal renewal and revival
  • For Compelled Church ministries to reap spiritual and Kingdom fruit.
  • For our communities.
  • For people to be saved
  • For your life and family.
  • For our pastors and their families.
  • For the church to grow in the grace and the knowledge of Jesus Christ.
  • Missions and our Missionaries
  • The Holland Campus
  • All the prayer cards that were filled

Commit to prayer, and seeking, and participating with your church.

Fasting is also encouraged.  Read Below for helps

 

Come early in the morning to seek God, read the Word, and soak in his presence. Come at noon to pray a psalm.  Come and pray with our church family because “Without Him we can do nothing.” John 15.

I am praying we will have more people involved than ever. I encourage you to be part.  Break out of the mold and thought that you are not a person of prayer. God is calling us all to prayer and we will reap the benefits if we take the challenge.  If you can’t make it to the church, fast, and pray at home more than ever.

Pastor Nate

 

 Physical and Spiritual  Benefits Of Fasting

The benefits of fasting are innumerable. Here is just a partial list of the many benefits of this most powerful of spiritual disciplines.

* The Word of God comes alive

* Addictions and strongholds are broken

* We become more sensitive to God’s presence

* The physical body is purged of toxins

* It becomes easier to trust and obey God

* The sanctifying process is accelerated

* Faith increases

* Doubts and fear vanish

* God reveals to us our sinful attitudes

* Decrease of self-indulgence

* Decrease of self-righteousness

* Emotional scars are healed

Practical Tips for Fasting

 

* The early church gave themselves to fasting and prayer for a time. If they needed it then, we need it now! Every time you pray and fast for a certain amount of time, you are investing in a powerful kingdom – the kingdom of God.

* Set a definite time for your fast so you know in advance how long you will be fasting. Keep in mind fasting changes your heart. A one-day or one-meal fast can be very powerful when submitted to God as a sacrifice of yourself.

* Since you are denying your flesh and seeking the Lord, you may find yourself in the midst of spiritual warfare and thus becoming irritable or unwilling to pray. Some of these feelings may be physically induced just because of a physical reaction. Plan beforehand to “pray through” the spiritual battle.

* On longer fasts (2 or more days) the body is cleansing itself from physical impurities. Possible side effects from toxins include bad breath, headache, nausea, hunger, weakness, and leg cramps. To help prevent these problems, abstain from caffeine, sugar, and junk food five days prior to your fast. Drink pure water (distilled if possible) throughout your fast, it helps with elimination of toxins. The cleaner your system, the less discomfort. The less waste that is stored in the body when you begin your fast, the fewer toxins will be released.

* Try to rest if you feel weak and get some fresh air every day.

* Spend time in prayer, worship, repentance, and read your Bible. Use the time you would normally spend eating or preparing food for “spiritual exercise”. Many people have noticed that the Bible simply comes alive while they are fasting.

* Have specific spiritual goals that you desire to obtain while praying and fasting. Without prayer and a set purpose, fasting is only a glorified diet.

* Break your fast with grape juice, fresh fruits, and steamed vegetables, adding other foods in a day or two. Avoid meat, bread, and fats for several meals or days depending on the length of the fast. Keep in mind your stomach has been inactive and it takes a while to restore essential digestive enzymes and acids. Fasting is a very healing process for your body so do not undo your efforts with unhealthy foods.

* Some medical conditions are prohibitive to fasting. Get the advice of your physician if you have a medical condition. These conditions include diabetes, hypoglycemia, and heart disease. Pregnant and nursing mothers also should not fast because toxins will be passed on to the baby. Also, some medications need to be taken with food so use discretion. In these cases where you are unable to do a complete fast (water only) consider abstaining from television and dedicating yourself to prayer during this time.

    * Other types of fasts include:

o Water, Honey and Lemon – This is considered a cleansing fast. Squeeze 1/2 lemon in a cup of hot water and add honey to taste. Drink water throughout the day. This can be used for an extended fast.

o Juice Fast – This is self-explanatory. No food, coffee, soft drinks, etc. Juice only–fresh carrot juice is excellent.

o Daniel Fast – Fruits, vegetables and water. This is a good fast for those who have physically demanding jobs.

Questions and Answers Regarding Fasting

* Is fasting for everyone?

Fasting is beneficial for anyone who desires to draw closer to Christ. Every Christian should do some sort of fast at least once a month. The Apostle Paul fasted often.

* What if I don’t feel called to fasting?

Fasting is a spiritual discipline, just like prayer and reading the Bible. It is not something we are called to do, rather we choose to obey Christ and sacrifice some of the pleasures of this life in order to please God. Fasting trains us in self-control and produces fruits of peace and righteousness.

* Why is fasting so important?

It reduces our appetite for carnal pleasures and creates a hunger for God’s treasures. We are commanded to walk in the Spirit so we won’t fulfill the desires of the flesh. Fasting helps us to resist the flesh and walk uprightly before the Lord – to live a life which is pleasing to Him.

* How do I get started?

Begin with a one meal fast and go from there. Some of the most powerful fasts can be one or two meals if you enter into it with pure motives and a desire to spend time with the Lord Jesus.

* What should I do while fasting?

Spend as much time with Jesus as possible. This is how we become more and more like Him. Read your Bible, worship with song and thanksgiving, be silent and listen. Silent reverence with repentance is powerful!

* Should I fast if I have dietary restrictions or am on medication?

You should seek the Lord and consult your physician if you have any concerns. Medical science has known for some time that our bodies purge toxins while we fast. Chapter 58 of Isaiah mentions healing as one of the many benefits of fasting. However, use discretion when doing a food fast and consider an alternate fast if you are medically restricted in any way.

* I really enjoy eating; do I have to do a food fast or are there other types of fasts?

The most beneficial fast for your body and spirit is water only. However, God will honor any type of fast if you have a sincere desire for personal revival and holiness. Here are some alternatives to a food fast.

o Daniel Fast-  fruit, vegetables and water

o Juice Fast-  fruit and vegetable juices only. If you are hypoglycemic, you might want to use a 50% water mix with the juice, especially if using bottled or canned juices. Fresh juices, however, are best. They may be purchased from a health food store or use a juicer.

o TV/Entertainment Fast/Facebook/computer games/

God will bless you mightily if you’ll shut your TV and computer off for a time to seek Him. You should also set aside newspapers, talk radio, video games and movie theaters. Instead, spend time with your family and the Lord. The purpose is to focus on God and avoid distractions.

* Why do I get headaches when I try to fast?

Your body is purging toxins which have accumulated from years of a poor diet, prescription drugs and bad habits. Headaches are one of the results of this cleansing process (usually the second day). Prepare your system prior to a fast by eating healthier. Avoid red meat, sugar, caffeine and bread. Eat lots of fruit and vegetables three or four days before going on a fast of more than one day.

* How will I benefit from fasting?

The benefits of fasting are many for those who continue faithfully in this discipline. Here are just a few (Is. 58).

o A significant increase of understanding and revelation from the Word of God

o Addictions and strongholds are broken–permanent changes take place

o Recognition of sinful attitudes or conditions of your heart that you haven’t noticed before

o Decrease of self-indulgence and self-righteousness

o An increase of faith; Fear and doubt diminish because of confidence in God rather than your flesh

o Supernatural release from bitterness and an ability to forgive others

o A much greater sensitivity to God’s presence

o The ability to hear God is greatly enhanced

o You increasingly become more like Jesus with a notable increase of love, humility and wisdom.

* Will all of my prayers be answered if I fast and pray the right way?

No, probably not. Fasting does not force God to do something He otherwise wouldn’t do. Your circumstances may actually worsen at first. If you’re fasting for God to change a particular person, it may not happen. However, there is no wasted time or energy when seeking God through fasting, prayer and worship. He will change YOU! He will soften your heart and give you a healthy perspective of your circumstances and relationships

 

 

What The Bible Says about Prayer and Fasting

Fasting Scriptures

* Moses (Exodus 34:27,28)

* Samuel (1 Samuel 8:5,6)

* Christians (Acts 13:1-3; 14:23)

* Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 20:1-3)

* John’s disciples (Mark 2:18)

* Nehemiah (Nehemiah 1:4; 9:1-3)

* Paul (2 Corinthians 11:27)

* Ninevites (Jonah 3:5-10)

* Apostles (2 Corinthians 6:4,5)

* Israelites (Judges 20:26)

* David (2 Samuel 12:16)

* Darius (Daniel 6:9,18)

* Anna (Luke 2:36, 37)

* Ezra (Ezra 8:21-23)

* Esther (Esther 4)

* Jesus (Matthew 4:1,2)

* Elijah (1 Kings 19:8)

* Daniel (Daniel 9:3)

Bible Characters Who Fasted

* Moses fasted twice for 40 days-Following his first fast, Moses received the Law. The second was to turn God’s wrath away from God’s sinful people. Deuteronomy 9:9,18,19

* Hannah, for a child. She was barren and deeply distraught. God gave her release from inner turmoil. Then He gave her a baby boy, Samuel, who grew into a mighty man of God. I Samuel 1:7,8

* Elijah fasted for 40 days while fleeing in fear from wicked Jezebel, who threatened to have him killed. God gave him comfort, boldness and instructions to go back the way he came and anoint new prophets. 1 Kings 19

* King David for seven days that God might heal his dying, infant child, conceived illegitimately with Bathsheba. The baby died, yet David experienced God’s wonderful peace through this incredible trauma. 2 Samuel 12:16-23

* Proclaimed by King Jehoshaphat – When he and his army were surrounded by enemies and destruction seemed imminent. After proclaiming the fast, they rejoiced with praises and God destroyed their enemies. 2 Chronicles 20

* Proclaimed by Ezra – Prior to a very perilous journey to Jerusalem. Ezra 8

* Nehemiah – For restoration of the city he loved (Jerusalem). Nememiah 1:4

* Proclaimed by Queen Esther – For the entire nation to fast for three days without food or water. They were on the brink of annihilation. Esther 4

* Daniel’s partial fast of 21 days – He received a vision and revelation of end times. Daniel 9

* Proclaimed by the King of Ninevah- With national repentance to avert disaster through God’s wrath. Jonah 3

* Jesus for 40 days. If God in human flesh fasted, how much more ought we? Matthew 4:2

* John the Baptist – He and his disciples fasted often, as did the Pharisees. Matthew 9:14,15

* Anna – A widow who dedicated herself to prayer and fasting and is honored in the eternal Word of God. Luke 2:37

* Paul the Apostle- He fasted for three days after meeting Jesus on the road to Damascus (while still known as Saul of Tarsus). Acts 9:9 He later wrote in 2 Corinthians 11 that he fasted often.

 

* Isaiah 58 is the fasting chapter. Read and study it to discover the many benefits of fasting when done God’s way.