You Are Not Helpless


May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,” (2 Peter 1:2–3, ESV)

As I prepare and study 2 Peter, the first chapter, for the next 8 weeks of teaching  at Compelled Church,  it has dawned on me that we are not helpless as followers of Christ.  After pastoring for 30 years, I have encountered many people that have this mentality when we experience the hard times and challenges of life.  When difficulties come we  are not without divine help to make it through.  We cannot melt-down, act like victims, throw in the towel,  reject our faith  or become co-dependent on others when hard times come.  This is not God’s way for his people. He has provided power for us.

How?  Read the verses at the top.  God has granted us his divine power for all that we need in this life.  When Jesus left he sent His presence, the Holy Spirit, to live in our souls.  The Holy Spirit is the presence of Jesus. He is our  divine power. He is with us.  We need to understand this, tap into  our faith by growing in the knowledge of Jesus.

We grow in faith by growing inn knowledge and we grow in knowledge by taking in the truths of God, through teaching, reading, listening, and discussing the Bible.  We also grow in knowledge or knowing Jesus, by experience Him.  We do that through life, through worship, in relationship, while we serve, and as we pray.  If you are not experiencing Jesus in a real way, you are missing how knowing the Lord really happens.

So when hard times come in this life, and they will, do not have crisis.  Do not act helpless. Do not question God’s goodness. Jjust grow. Lean into your faith. Lean into surrender, and the power of the Holy Spirit, and you will make it through trials and become better through them, not bitter.

Pastor Nate Elarton

“Get Moving”


hikThe Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving!” (Exodus 14:14–15, NLT)

We see more and more terrible effects of sitting too much. We Americans need to get moving.  Our jobs, and leisure, just include excessive sitting.  It has been discovered that a sedentary life leads to all sorts of health issues.  The Mayo Clinic says that the health risks of sitting include obesity, increased blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels. Prolonged periods of sitting increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Moving is life.  In the Scripture above the Jewish nation are leaving Egypt. They had been slaves for 430 years and after a series of plagues sent by God the Pharaoh allows them to leave, but then changes his mind and the armies of Egypt pursues them.  The Lord parts the Red Sea and tells Moses to tell the people to “get moving.” Get moving to freedom, to safety, to a new life.

We are people that move physically but also spiritually slowly at times.  We do not like change, effort, or leaving what is comfortable and familiar.  God is calling us all to “get moving”.  To move out to new territory we have to leave the old. Is there something old, and maybe normal in your life that you need to leave?  Habits, anger, grouchiness, and of course. sin.  These things not only hurt us but those around us.  It is time to leave sinful things in our lives that are quite honestly, ruining, or at the least, not adding value to your life.

Time to “get moving”. To move on to what is better, what is God’s will, and what will add more value to your life.  Maybe it is time to leave the way you normally treat your spouse.  It might be the day to leave the pain of your past that keeps you paralyzed with fear to pursue your passions.  Maybe get moving from the hate in your heart you feel toward people who are not like you.   Time to move on from bitterness, unforgiveness, and being spiteful. To leave this to the love of God. To allow His love to be part of your life, and you pass that love on to others.

Time to move on?  With God’s help, and our decision, let us “get moving.”

P. Nate

Submission, the Lost Discipline


gardenAt Compelled church I have been teaching on the spiritual disciplines in our series called “Making Room”.  This weekend I will teach on the discipline of submission. As I study and read and realize this is definitely a concept we don’t like to talk about and surely struggle to live out.  But it is a discipline of the heart nonetheless.

Submission comes easy to me when I want to submit, serve, and obey.  Maybe I will be noticed for it, or I will be thought of highly for submitting or serving in some “public” way that others can see.  Submission is really deeper than that. It is of the heart.  To give up perceived or even real “rights” is hard for our flesh and not thought of as honorable in our culture.  We truly believe we have a right to do whatever we want and if anyone disagrees or questions us they become enemy #1.

Submission has been abused by religion, leaders, churches, and organizations, but that does not mean it is not a virtue still.  Jesus had to submit, “not my will but thine” (Luke 22.42). Paul’s teaching to the Philippians show the submission of Christ, “And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! (Phil. 2.8)”.  He submitted to the plan of the Father, to us for our freedom from sin, to death which God should never experience, and He submitted to how that will happen,  on a disgusting cross.  Do we think we do not have to submit, serve, obey, and give up our rights, when our example did, and He did for us.  

Submission of the heart to the ways of God is the deepest and most secret act and posture of our heart. Our jealousy, offense, hate, bitterness, all the things we believe we have a right to have, and to feed, must be forsaken for the sake of the love of Christ and His desire for our soul to be spiritually healthy. It is also an act of love for others.

Submission of our souls, and lives to the truths of the Bible, the moral compass, God gives us, and the love he wants to shower us with.  When we do not truly give him all areas of our life, we forfeit an awareness of His love and presence.  Our relationship turns into religion and our hearts can turn to stone.

The true mark of a child is they must have their own way.  Submission is a virtue for the mature.  We love others more than ourselves.  Just like Jesus did.

Read the teachings of our Savior,

Mark 8:34-36  “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. 35 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his [b]life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?”

May the Lord helps us submit, which is the deep virtue of love, and our world needs this so desperately, as does our families, spouses, children and community.

Pastor Nate Elarton

The Discipline of Confession


It’s hard to be honest.  To speak of our own weaknesses  is against human nature.  We always want to protect ourselves and control what others think of us.

Honesty is another one of those character traits that just can’t become rare

Confession is being honest with God and others about our failures, fear, inadequacies, and even sin.

Our culture does not want to appear vulnerable or weak.  We care way too much what people think of us, and we even try and control their thought about us.  We want to impress others, to be loved, and in doing the things that require this to happen to we are not true to ourselves or to them.

We live in a world where secrets and shadows are the norm.  to be totally and honest with someone is a very special relationship.  Priceless I would say.

We have learned to be dishonest, because we are all judgmental, and we expose others weaknesses for our gain.  We are a dark bunch in that way.

Admitting fault is ever so difficult but a strong character link,  — It is tough to say “I did it”  “I was wrong”  “I can’t do that”  “I struggle with….”  This all admits weakness?  Maybe not, maybe this is admitting honesty which is humility, which is a godly attribute, the fruit of the Spirit, and an attribute of Christ.

When we practice confession as a discipline it shapes our heart, molds our spirit, and attracts Jesus.  Confession is coming clean with the truth with God and others.

There is some wisdom here from Solomon

He who conceals his transgressions will not prosper, But he who confesses and forsakes them will find compassion.”  Proverbs 28.13

Confession is humility. and humility always attracts the Holy Spirit.

Unconfessed sin will harden our heart to sin, invite more and we may be in danger of straying away from the Lord.  Sin separates, plain and simple.  We have a promise and a wonderful invitation, to total forgiveness,

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.” (1 John 1:9–10, NASB95)

Go be free, confess, and enjoy the mercy and love of Jesus!

Being OK with Doubts


Matthew 28:17 “When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.”

Jesus in his resurrected body, was worshiped but some doubted he was truly alive.  Even some of the worshipers might have doubted.  This brings up a good topic. Can we really love God and wrestle with doubts?  Yes,   Of course. We are all on a journey of faith. Our faith grows through our life.  We are learning, we are worshiping, and sometimes, even doubting.

We must be like Thomas who said, “Lord I believe, help my unbelief (Mark 9.24).”  We do walk in what we are not sure of for a lot of our faith; that is why it is faith.  As I grow older in age and in Christ, my doubts are disappearing and there are less of them, but I have also found contentment in the mysteries of the Kingdom.

I am good with the Lord’s mysteries.  I am OK if I can’t “know” and fully “understand” everything in my spiritual life with Christ.  I mean it is heavenly and I am earthly.  I won’t get it all and understand it all.  I don’t mind that anymore.  “I don’t know,” is  a statement I was ashamed to say, but now embrace it.  I don’t know a lot, but I do know the Lord and he is good.

If you have some doubts about the things of God, that’s OK.  We work through the things we don’t  understand, and at times must settle on being good with not knowing. If we can’t comprehend all mysteries of the Lord, His Scriptures, and spiritual concepts, as long as we know Christ, trust our lives with him.  Through the mysteries I can still grow in my love, my faith, and my devotion to the Lord.  These do not prevent faith, but actually spur us ahead.

I think of that older hymn “Many things about tomorrow, I don’t seem to understand, but I know Who holds tomorrow, and I know Who holds my hand.”  That is so very true. Have a great tomorrow.

Pastor Nate

I Know who Holds my Hand by Allison Krauss

I made some space and listened.


This morning as I set on the patio, with my Bible, journal, prayer book. I did the few moments of silence, centering my groggy mind on the Lord, sipping some strong black coffee, and immediately sensed His special presence.  I encountered a “thin place”. A place where it seems my connection with the Lord became closer.  I enjoyed this time.  I sat a few minutes, sipping, thinking, and soaking in God’s love for me.  I did not hear this, but know in my spirit-nate that this is what the Holy Spirit was saying to me.  It was refreshing, and there was fullness of joy.

I read a few chapters in Romans, my psalms, prayed. People were on my mind and heart.  I read the Scriptures from my Prayer/devotional book. And these words jumped up from my heart.

“The LORD is my portion.”  Psalms 119.57

I thought and meditated on this.  I realized He is all I need.  I don’t need to get a million things done today. I don’t need to worry who will be affected if I don’t. I don’t need to purchase this or that.  The Lord is my portion. I am fulfilled and content.  I keep saying this in my mind. I said it out loud to myself and the Lord.  As I said it, the truth of it, ignited faith in my spirit.  Say it a few times out loud.

“The LORD is my portion.”  Psalms 119.57

“The LORD is my portion.”  Psalms 119.57

“The LORD is my portion.”  Psalms 119.57

Jesus is enough.

I’m so glad I made some room to listen this morning. portion

P. Nate Elarton

 

Making Room is Making Sacred Time


Making-RoomAs we started the series “Making Space” this weekend, we have begun a journey of the spiritual disciplines.  I shared on the spiritual disciplines, and the need for us to take focused time each day for prayer, worship, solitude, meditation, study, and wonderful fellowship with the Father.

“Giving God time is creating sacred space in our lives in which God can act.”

Some have asked me what I do.  I will give you today’s sacred time for me.

Monday is our Sabbath. After a full weekend with 3 services, preaching, talking, laughing, and serving, on Mondays I can be worn out spiritually. The Sabbath is not just a rest from work, but a rest from work in the Lord.  I need refilled and refreshed more than ever.  After the focused time with Father, I’ll take a walk with Wendy, maybe carve today, be with my dad, get some errands done, and I always try to have the mowing done so I don’t have to do that on Monday.

I awoke this morning, and am just finishing up some of my time. I came down the stairs, and as every morning Wendy was already in deep fellowship with the Lord.  I got my coffee (yes I have to have that) and went outside to our patio.   I will also take some sacred time and “make room” before the end of the day.  This morning I started with silence, coffee, and solitude.  I did some thinking. I heard the birds, the traffic, the silence, and then the Lord. I prayed the Lord’s Prayer, read and Prayed, though and about my “Daily Office”. I sat in silence, sipping my coffee, allowing my thoughts to be on God. I thanked him for the weekend, the provision of a new Family Life Pastor.  I said my confession of faith. I journaled a few simple thoughts and read Romans 1-5. I  I often paused my reading to reflect, to think, and to listen to the voice of my Father. I  journaled some prayers, prayed blessing upon my family, my kids, my week, our church.  I asked God to help me be a blessing. I prayed in my prayer language for a few minutes (tongues).

During my morning I always read more than the Bible.  I always have 4 or 5 books going at once, like my carving projects.  I am reading “Celebration of Discipline” again by Richard Foster. Finished the chapter on meditation.

It’s not complicated. It’s simple.  It’s the time priority that trips us up.  It’s not doing, it’s being with the Lord.  If we really take time, God will act deeply on our behalf, changing us, molding us, and spiritual shaping us.

The important point is taking time and making time.  We can always sleep a little longer, stay on our phones in the morning, turn the TV on right away to get our news “fix” or rush right on to all our tasks.  I am guilty of all of these things and have learned years ago that these will not add the value to myself, like time with the Living God.  During that time with Him, I find encouragement. I hear His voice about decisions. I ask Him about appointments during the day and often receive supernatural insight.  I reset in His fellowship and receive refreshing by His Spirit.  This time will help me keep my mind and thoughts on Christ during the day.  And if I do another short “Daily Office” during the day that will help even more.

My prayer and desire from Jesus and that we will make time to let Jesus by the power of His Spirit do His will in our lives, hearts, and souls.  From that will come change, from the inside out.                                         Praying for us all, Pastor Nate Elarton

Take some time to comment some of your thoughts about this.  thanks

Some Scripture that encourage

“My soul waits in silence for God only; From Him is my salvation (Psalm 62.1).

“Deep calls to deep (Psalm 42.7).

“In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there (Mark 1.35).

“Be still and know that I am God (Psalms 42.10).”

Making Room for Christ to Form our Hearts


Making-Room.pngI have watched the TV show “Hoarders”. The show centers around a person whose house is jammed and crammed with stuff.  There is no room for anything, no room to move, and no room if they needed help. It’s often unsafe, unsanitary, and unlivable, yet the show is about someone who lives there for years.

Our time and lives are often like this.  Our growth and spiritual formation is neglected as there is no room in our schedule, no time in our lives, no margin to grow in God.  I am convinced that without time every day to focus on Christ, to listens, learn, read, worship, pray, and fellowship, we will never become who our Father has destined us to be.  We will trade in having our heart shaped by God, for a shallow faith, with little to know change in our lives for years.  An analogy to Hoarders, if our life is too cluttered, we are in spiritual danger, and the enemy can infiltrate our lives with things that are not “clean” or good for us at all.  We can’t move around and our joy and peace are stolen from us.

How are we cluttered?  I know my phone clutters my life.  Emails and work often squeeze my time.  There are too many things to watch, too many posts, too many shares, too many options for “other” things to do. I usually over commit my time to others or event to myself, thinking I MUST get so much accomplished in one day. I guess we do this to prove our worth.

We need to “make room”.  To sit, listen read, journal, pray, sing, worship.  Here are some practical suggestions to get us started.

  • Turn off your phone, TV, and music and sit 2 minutes in silence to listen for the Lord’s “impressions”.
  • Set a time of the day you can do this.  Start with 15 minutes or more.
  • Read a few verses of a Psalm and pray those verses. This is the ancient practice called “Lectio Divina”.  Here is an easy guide to get you started..Click here
  • Say the Lord’s Prayer.  Here it is if you don’t know it. click here.  Go back through and pray about the teaching of Christ in the Lord’s prayer.
  • Reacquaint yourself with the teachings of Christ and read the book of John

Let’s make some time in our busy lives to be with Jesus. Let’s allow is Spirit to shape our hearts, speak to our lives, and change us from the inside out.
Continue reading “Making Room for Christ to Form our Hearts”

A Steadfast Heart- Psalm 108:1


I really took time to think upon this verse this morning.”My heart is steadfast, O God;I will sing, I will sing praises, even with my soul (Psalm 108.1).”

The word “steadfast” caught my attention.  It is a Hebrew word, “nakon”. This word means “established, fixed, stable, and secure.”  That is a heart in the Lord.  Our hearts can get flaky, uncommitted, weird, and insecure.  The Lord wants to establish our heart.  Fix our hearts solidly upon Him.

With a steadfast heart we can withstand the storms (read Ps. 107.23-32). We can get through times of change  and the seasons of life. With a steadfast heart on God we won’t turn back to the world for attention, and we won’t embrace the carnal values of a system without God.  With a steadfast heart we will survive through tragedy, heartache, and sadness.

With a steadfast heart we can sing with not only our voice, but our soul.  Our life and our soul will sing of God’s goodness to us.  We won’t go through life waffling with our faith, sinking into serving the Lord and then out again, over and over (I see this so much.).

Ask the Lord to establish your heart so our hearts will always be “nakon”. May nothing shake our heart.

P. Nate Elarton
New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Ps 108:1). La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

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