Watch the video to help you understand and implement the CTR for a stronger marriage. May this help you and your spouse communicate better and more often for greater closeness.
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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.
- I hope and pray we would be a people of of greater Compassion.
- I hope and pray we would be a people filled with the Holy Spirit and have the loving courage to live our faith publicly.
- 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.
- I hope we stop judging other peoples walk with Jesus and their spirituality.
- I hope and pray we would have joy in Jesus. That our joy would not be dependent on circumstances and things.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- I pray God’s people would have a burden for those lost, and have compassion on those that are perishing.
- 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,
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
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
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
“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
So I love my kids so much. This week they are ministering at camp this week so we are watching their dog. All my kids have super sweet dogs, this is Abby and Justin’s dog. We love their dog. Her name is Ethel. Anyhow, Sunday morning, I run out to the woodcarving studio, to get my journal, as I pray and spend time with Jesus there. I grab it and head to Compelled for prayer before the services. We don’t have a dog so I gave no attention to the grass where I was walking.
We had a great 9 am service with prophetic word that was a catalyst to a powerful prayer time. I knelt at the altar and really had a close prayer time with the Lord and many of the Compelled Family that came forward to prayer. I stand up and back up to the front row with my wife Wendy and she giggles in my ear that my boot on the bottom is packed with dog poo. Sure enough, I look and it’s packed thick in the tread. So as I talked with Jesus on my knees everyone could see the bottom of my boots, and the dog poo. I felt stupid a bit then I too laughed.
So I stood there through the last song and realized, that no matter what’s on us, no matter how revolting, we can come to God and talk with Him. He welcomes all to come. No matter what shape we are in, what we have done, or what is smeared into our boot treads, or the boot treads of life, God never rejects anyone seeking Him.
I’ll be more careful in the yard on Sunday mornings. I am thankful for a little truth and theology, in an embarrassing moment.
Wendy and I are back from a 2 month Sabbatical. A Sabbatical is an extended Sabbath. After 36 years in FT ministry and 26 years here at Compelled Church, it was time to rest from the responsibilities of leadership and decision making. It was an incredible time of resting, refreshing, refocusing, and refilling in Christ. We traveled, worshipped with our kids, spent extended times daily with Jesus and with each other. We went to our cohort, which was a marriage intensive with Pete and Geri Scazzero and 7 other couples. It was fantastic. We had a blast.
We also really used an app that blessed us. It is called “Lectio 365”. It is an audible prayer app, to listen and prayer Scripture (Lectio Divina). click here for a link to the website or download it from an app store.
Sabbatical for the Elarton’s 2022
We have been here 26 years. This is our life’s work. We have given our life here. We have been in ministry 36 years, serving also as youth pastors in Linton, IN and Northville, MI before planting the church here.
During our 26 years we have grown from 5-to over 1000 + people, planted another campus, trained, hired, managed, and released many pastors and new staff. We have had 5 significant building programs, raised over 1 million for missions, raised 3 kids, completed a Master’s Degree, and served in many different District roles, local boards, and leadership opportunities. For the last 12 years we have had 3 services a weekend, as well as small group leadership, Next step classes, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Ministry. We have given our lives. We have been all in. We have been available to staff, leaders, and our people all the time for 26 years here, and totally 36 years in ministry. We lead multiple staff, classes, and services, continuously for many years, as well as pastoral care for our families, funerals, weddings, counseling, tragedies, and discipleship meetings.
Purpose for a Sabbatical
Rest from Responsibilities of Compelled Church Lead Leadership. For myself and Wendy who walks and shares this life and calling with me. We are in this together and have always have been. She also needs a rest.
Refresh our souls in the Lord without responsibilities, or having to lead anything.
To Rediscover that we are not defined by what we do but who we are in Christ.
To experience what it feels like to not be responsible for the Organization, staff, facilities, people, budgets, giving, and needs of Compelled Church, both campuses.
Unplug from the matrix of ministry.
For Wendy and I to have some intentional space, to think, dream, and enjoy Christ.
To set up our souls and spirits to finish so well, as we return to the last season of lead pastoring ministry.
To set a culture of rest, sabbatical, and care for the present and future pastors of Compelled Church.
To be an example to my other Colleagues in ministry.
April 19-2022 2-Week on-ramp | May and June 2022 Full Sabbatical | July1-14 Return off-Ramp
My Scriptures Theme
“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13, NASB95)
“So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12–13, NASB95)
What will we do?
We will get away to some Pastor Retreat locations.
We will have a few weeks of total R and R and vacation.
We will also be in town and not be in our role as Lead Pastor.
We will spend a week with Scazzero’s at a marriage emphasis with our EHD Cohort
We will read, walk, contemplate, date, rest, pray, and extend our Sabbath.
I will not set goals or writing, prepping, or planning. To only do what brings us life and depth in our walk with Christ and our marriage. The goal of spiritual refreshing in Christ and a break from responsibilities of leading will be the target.
We love Compelled Church with all our heart. I am convinced Wendy and I will return refreshed, and ready for what the Lord has for our churches. Thank you for all your love and affirmations. Thank you to our incredible board that is encouraging and supporting this with great love and energy.
We love you all so much! Pastors Nate and Wendy Elarton
I found this song while posting a woodcarving reel on Instagram. As I spend a little time in my evening office and evening compline, I am reminded of this song. I played it and entered into a thin place. I desire so much and yet total satisfaction is found in the love of God. I need nothing else. Prayerfully listen to this song with your heart, not your head, and enjoy your own “thin place.” P. Nate