Grace and Peace


As I began reading Ephesians again today these two words stand out.  It was a common greeting and the Apostle Paul says it to the church in Ephesus in the first part of his letter to them(we call Ephesians in the Bible).

We all love grace.  Grace is the gift from others.  A gift to forgive. A gift to overlook an offense, the gift to be tolerant of a short-coming. Without grace relationships are doomed.  Without grace to each other, we have the potential to become cynical, spiteful, aggressively-opinionated, and even hateful.

The idea of peace, is what is experienced as we become givers or recipients of grace.  Have you ever been forgiven?  Have you ever let go of anger toward someone?  I bet you experienced some peace.  The population is seeking grace and peace. When grace is not lived, received, or experienced we have a propensity to seek peace in behaviors that can hurt and destroy us, and heap the opposite of peace, on those closest to us.  Counselors call this “self-medicating.”  This brings short bits of shallow peace that is really an illusion.  We need real peace, and it only comes through real grace.

The grace of God, our Father is this:  He sent Jesus to pay for our offenses, only because of His great love for us.  Grace spiritually is like all grace.  It is a gift.  God’s love is a gift, as well as God’s life, his free salvation, and His presence.  To have this gift you just receive by faith, saying yes to Jesus and the love of the Father, and no to everything in this world that leads us from that.

When we experience Grace from Heaven, we can then experience peace with God.  It is then part of us to grant much grace to others, thus perpetuating peace on earth, and good will to men.  Only in Christ, is true grace and peace able to be experienced and attained.

Grace and Peace to you and to others this day.

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Divergent Living is Missional Living


The Definition for Divergent.  Divergent means  “tending to be different or develop in different directions.”  I believe God’s people, the followers of Jesus are called to be divergent with this world’s culture in many ways.  I don’t mean just dress, hair style, jeans, or cars we drive. I don’t believe we are called to all look and dress the same or appear to be some sort of cult-like thing.  I am referring to being different in our lives and hearts.

2 Corinthians 6:17–18 (NASB95)  “Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,” says the Lord. “And do not touch what is unclean; And I will welcome you.   “And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” Says the Lord Almighty.

Again, this does not mean the church becomes a commune, or we all move to a camp or compound to avoid being in this world. But we are taught here by the Apostle Paul to be seperate.  This means that we do not participate in evil or in things that are not pleasing to the Lord.  Obviously, as Jesus followers we do not want to participate in sin. There are many things in our culture that are perfectly acceptable and legal,  to this world, but it is not good for us, and does not reflect that we are followers of Christ.  He has called us and wants us to be different.  In what ways do we clash with this culture that we need to “separate ourselves?”. Let me give you some examples.

  • Greed and materialism -vs- giving, selflessness, and treasures in Heaven.
  • Selfishness and pursuit of pleasure  -vs- putting God and others first.
  • Sexual freedom and immoral sexual attitudes -vs- sexual purity, and a biblical understanding of marriage and sexuality.
  • Bitterness and unforgiveness  -vs- Loving, forgiveness, and grace.
  • Eternity mocked  -vs- Eternal world view

I think you understand what I am saying. As followers of Jesus, we must be different. Our lives, our world views, our values, our habits, our money, our relationships, and our destination.

Questions to ponder

  • are  you participating in compromising and siful things that culture has accepted?
  • Are you being everything Christ has called you to, forsaking the pleasures and pursuits of this world and “storing up for yourselves treasures in heaven (Matt. 6.20)?
  • Is your life a testimony of Jesus or is your life not distinguished from anyone else who has no knowledge of Christ?

Be Divergent. Go to the next level in living. Pure living has amazing benefits, and we do not reap the pain of sin, selfishness, and compromise.  Our kids will benefit from our commitment to Christ. Our marriage will be blessed, and we will reflect to all that we know God.

Divergent Living is Missional Living

Let’s Face it, We Have Limits


I have observed so many people living their lives and  how decisions are made based on their mind, will, desires, and understandings. I wrestle with this constantly also.  Making decisions based on our own knowledge and wisdom sounds noble, but can be catastrophic. Why?  We all have boundaries on our what we understand.  We only have learned so much.  We have only experienced so much. We have limits.  Our will can also manipulate our mind into making decisions we think we are good, but our desires, deceive our mind, and the decisions are really about us, and can impact others with pain, grief, and sorrow.

When we trust the Lord’s ways, we enter in to a life of faith and dependence on the One who has no boundaries.  God knows the past, present, and the future.  The Lord also loves us and has a will for our life, if we will but trust Him daily.  He knows what our heart and character need, to shore up our integrity, goodness, and holiness.  He isn’t tricked by our fancy prayers, deals, or justifications.

This verse in Proverbs 3 says it all:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3:5,6

We are encouraged to Trust in the Lord. His ways, his word, his will.  We are cautioned  about leaning on our own understanding.  Our intellect, our will, and our experiences, can threaten God ways in our lives we sweep Him aside, and trust in our own limited self.

Life is about so many decisions. Maybe today you have some heavy ones weighing on your mind and heart.  Can I encourage you to take the wisdom of Proverbs and apply them to your situation?  I mean, who wants a crooked life, and a rough path?  Surrender your will, and desires, and trust the one who know all, and loves you completely.

I have never heard anyone confess they regret trusting God.  I have heard regrets of the opposite countless times.  Live without regrets, and trust the Lord. He will direct your paths.

Five Judgments (Notes From Weekend at Compelled)


Below are the notes from this weekend at Compelled Church.

Message Available on our app and website  compelled.church

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NOTES:    This I Believe|Judgments

May 5,6 2018

Nate Elarton, Compelled Church

Judgement #1   Jesus was judged for the sin of the world

1 Peter 2:21–25 (NASB95)  ON Screen

Galatians 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”—

 

Romans 8:1–2 (NASB95)

1Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.   For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

 

Judgment #2   Judgment in the Great Tribulation   

The purpose is to see the Jewish People Come to faith in Jesus Christ as the Messiah

Jeremiah 30.4-7; Daniel 12.1; Matthew 24.21-23

 

Judgement #3 Judgment of the Gentile Nations  ??on screen)

Matthew 25.1-13 Parable of the Ten Virgins

Joel 3:1–2 (NASB95)

 

Judgement #4 The Great White Throne Judgment

The judgment of the wicked, those that have rejected the salvation of God, the testimony of Christ, and God himself.

Acts 17:30–31

Rev. 20.11-15

 

 Four things impacts of this final Judgment?

  1. The final judgment should help us forgive others freely -God’s justice should prevent us from seeking revenge.

 

  1. The final judgment satisfies our sense for justice in this world.

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  1. The final judgment should motivate us to live righteous.

 

  1. The final judgment should motivate the missional ChurchJude 20–23

 

Judgment #5 The Judgement Seat of Christ (bema Seat)

2 Corinthians 5:6–10 (NASB95) “Bad”- Greek word is “Phalos”  or worthless. This is not sin, but good works not for Christ.

 

Four  Considerations for the Judgement Seat of Christ.

  1. We will not be condemned for sin.

 

  1. Some of our good deeds were not really for Christ

 

“He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”John 3:18

 

  1. There will be degrees of reward for believers.

 

  1. Don’t have regrets at the Judgement Seat of Christ

 

What is God saying to me?

Mic drop statement 1800 years ago by Tertullian still applies


tertullianTertullian of Carthage was born around A.D. 155. He had a fine education. His parents were pagan but he converted toward the end of the 2nd century to the Christian faith.  He indicated that he was impressed by he attitudes and beliefs of Christianity. The courage and the determination of martyrs, their morality, and uncompromising belief in one God.  He  died an old man around A.D. 220.

Here we have one of his very profound sayings.  This grabbed my spirit when I saw it.  I am involved in a lot of funerals, death, hospice, etc. as a pastor.  I see the struggles of family when a loved one they adore and love passes. I also see the struggle when a loved one who has led a pretty selfish life passes. They want to grief, and feel bad they don’t.

This begs some questions for us  to contemplate.

  • As you think of your decisions, your life, your habits, are they self-centered?
  • How much do you sacrifice for family, your spouse, your kids?
  • Do you spend your time wisely?
  • Do you add value to others lives by encouraging?
  • How do you speak to your family?  Love, encouragement, fun, or are you letting anger, criticism, snottiness, be your normal communication?
  • Are you doing anything missional for Jesus?
  • Do you “die to self” and put others and the Lord first? Or is that uncommon?

God has so much for us, if we put Him first. Love others more.  Be selfish less.

Mark 8:34-38 34Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. 35For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? 37Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 38If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

 

 

Happy Birthday Compelled Church! We are 22 years old. I Love Church Planting.


Twenty-two years ago April 8, 1996 Compelled Church was started.  It was Bedford Christian Community, then. We changed when we went multi-site.   We left as youth pastors at Northville Christian Assembly, and with hugs, tears, and holy excitement, we moved to Temperance. That church supported us, and and sent us off well under the leadership of Pastor “O” Buchan and that loving staff.  Hugh Duncan, was the greatest encourager ever!  Thank you Hugh for pouring into Wendy and I, encouraging us, and giving faithfully in so many ways.

What started as a God-given dream in our living room in Livonia with Mike and Pam Hardy, has become an amazing journey of fun and faith! Rick and Beth joined us a year later. What at team, and priceless friends!

A lot has happened in that 22 years.  Many people have came to the Lord, leaders raised up, people discipled, children and youth ministered to.  Wendy and I are humbled and blessed at what God has done, and the amazing people he sent to help throughout the years.  What a joy to be imbedded in this community, to raise our kids year, and to live in the same house since the day we arrived.

My wife Wendy has been right there. Ministering, raising our kids, giving, serving. She encouraged me when I was bi-vocational, when I struggled through a Master’s Degree and at every stage of church-planting challenge.  My children love the church, and God’s people because this church has been so amazing.  Thank you Wendy for your support, patient love, and pouring into this life’s work as much as I. Thank you Abby, Gabe, and Levi for bring us honor, and sharing your parents with so many people.

We have raised leaders, pastors, help start other churches, and have another Compelled Church Campus in Holland, Oh.  We have send over a million to missions, had 3 building programs, and have seen God lead, provide, protect, and guide us faithfully for 22 years.

The LOrd  was there through every challenge, disappointment, and victory.

Thank you to everyone who has encouraged, gave, sacrificed, and supported the work of the Lord here in Temperance and Toledo. You are heroes.

Happy Birthday Compelled Church!  It has been an amazing 22 years.  It has been a joy to lead Pastor this great Church. Whatever God has for the next 22 years for our lives, and the church, we will be faithful, we will be obedient, we will have tenacity!

Love you All

Pastor Nate and Wendy

Good Friday is Good


GoodFRidayAs I ponder this morning the deep goodness of God, I am reflecting on the love of God and I am moved.  It is Good Friday. We call it good. For us it shows the love that Father has for us. That Christ would die in our place. Take the judgement for our sin.  In no other way could the depth of God’s love be shown, then by the giving of Life.  In a world that is hostile, angry, confused, God’s love shines to humanity. In the death of Christ the human spirit, is moved by magnitude of love shown as Jesus lays down his life for us.  Please take a moment to reflect, meditate, pray through with thanksgiving these verses as I have done.  The truth will lead you to the goodness of God on this Good Friday

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3.16

“It is rare indeed for anyone to die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God proves His love forus in this: While we were still sinners, Christ diedfor us.  Therefore, since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from wrath through Him.” Romans 5.7-9

“But the LORD was pleased
To crush Him, putting Him to grief;
If He would render Himself as a guilt offering,
He will see His offspring,
He will prolong His days,
And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.” Isaiah 53.10

He has purchased by his love and blood our salvation.

Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Today is a day to be thankful, humbled, broken, and meek.