Why I am glad we became Church Planters


church plantingIn 1996 we left ministry in Northville Michigan to plant a church in Bedford township or Temperance, Michigan, a bordertown adjacent north to Toledo, Ohio. NCA and  sent us out with love, prayer, and support in every way.  It has been 21 years.  I am so glad Wendy and I stepped out in faith, left the comforts of being a full-time youth pastor, and went on the journey.  Today we have 2 campuses, 4 weekend gatherings, with 50+ small groups, and an amazing staff.  We have built a few times, and have seen many, many people come to Christ, we have started another campus, and God is moving in lives and growing people’s faith.. Here is why I am so glad I did not “chicken” out from the challenges of church planting.

  • I needed to grow in faith.  I had to trust God for everything. My faith grew. I can believe God for so many things as I have seen Him so faithful. I would not have the faith I have now, if I did not plant Compelled Church.
  • I struggled being bi-vocational.  The struggle helped me. I had to be better with time, plan more efficiently, and think ahead. I had to budget money carefully.  We learned to live on less, and not lose our joy.
  • I understand the pressures and challenges of our bi-vocational pastors because  I was.  It is hard.  No one gets how hard it is.
  • My children were part of the church plant and have experienced this, and it is part of their ethos and worldview.  They know God is real. The love the church, and love ministry.
  • The stories!  People’s lives changed by Christ. I know God would have called someone else if we would have said no to the call here, but I get the privilege of being part of the spiritual journey of many. What an honor.
  • Christ is so real to me.  I will never forget that this is his church. He is the head.  He is in charge and He builds the church. I live at His service.
  • Compelled Church has been an encouragement to other pastors and leaders. They gave in those early years, they invested, they encouraged, and their fingerprints are on Compelled.  I know that encourages them to continue to help and support church planters.
  • We planted another campus in Toledo. Many have come to Christ, come back to Christ and God’s people had an opportunity to be missional and believe God for another “church”.  The campus pastor, Tim Rabara, was saved, discipled, and sent out from Compelled Church.
  • We have also supported other church plants, taken dozens of mission trips, given hundreds of thousands to missions, because of this church plant.
  • We have had the opportunity to send many into ministry and missions over the years. Dozens of young people and adults, serve in ministry in so many places. What an honor to be part of their journey.
  • We have made  priceless relationships in the community, as we lived here, imbedded our lives here, went to the public school here, participating in sports, and the community.  God has leveraged those relationships in amazing ways. I have some amazing stories.
  • I met amazing mentors that poured into my life to helped me, and speak into my life.  I will forever be indebted to Dean Grabill, my brother Steve, Todd Winkler,  Otis Buchan and NCA, Hugh Duncan (he never stopped encouraging me, contacting me, writing me, calling me), Dennis Clanton, Marty Eddinger, Jim Rentz, Tim Dilena, Steve Miller, Joel Stocker, Brad and Tom Trask, more friends and mentors than I can even list!
  • Everyday has been an adventure, in the lives, and community of faith. I would not trade it for the world. The last 21 years have been a roller coast ride of amazing, with God’s faithfulness in each season, the great ones, and the tough ones, He is faithful.

Don’t underestimate the power and leading of God.  If you want to investigate more about church planting, multi-site, shoot me a note. I would be overjoyed to invest and help in anyway I can into future planters.   nate@compelledchurch.tv

Some church-planting pics for fun.

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You Can’t Listen if you are Talking


aloneThis weekend we I will be teaching on listening prayer.  For years we have taught and heard that praying is talking to God.  But it is also listening to the Lord.  When we are commanded to seek the Lord, it is to find him and to commune with God.  Some Scriptures

  • Jeremiah 33:3 (NASB95) ‘Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.
  • 1 Chronicles 22.19a “Now set your heart and your soul to seek the Lord your God…”
  • Deuteronomy 4:29 “But from there you will seek the Lord your God, and you will find Him if you search for Him with all your heart and all your soul
  • Proverbs 8:17 (NASB95) “I love those who love me; And those who diligently seek me will find me.”

To listen to the Lord you need to be alone and  set apart time. Put away the phone and distractions and make time to listen.  There are so many distractions that rob  us of our love relationship with our Heavenly Father.

Pray and speak Scripture, worship, thank him out loud, and then just be silent. That is the key and man is that hard sometimes.

Be ready for God to speak to you.  Believe that He will. He will speak through that inner voice in our spirit-man, through impressions, emotions, or just His presence will speak so much without words.

When he speaks he reveals things about Himself to you, His purposes, and His ways. It will be deeply personal, and your prayer time will be more exciting than just “saying prayers,” and talking all the time.

What does my time of prayer look like?

My prayer life now includes Praying in the Spirit (tongues), praying Scripture, and reading Scripture out loud. I take time for intercession, as I pray for others, my family, church needs, my children . I keep a journal and jot down thought, prayers, impression and i try to sit in silence.  I also use

I believe through this journey the last several years of Spiritual Transformation, since first reading “Celebration of Discipline” and rereading it a few time, I have a closer relationship with my Father and I hear His voice so much better.

Looking forward to seeing more of us grow in Listening prayer. So remember, you can’t listen if you are talking!

Message is on sin this weekend and the remedy, John 1.29


I, by nature, am an encourager. The message this week is on sin and how Christ came to take away our sin as the “lamb of God.” (John 1.29).  As I have been seeking God and praying about the message it dawns on me through illumination and the Logos Word of God, that God is pretty serious about sin.  Sin in the believer and the believer.  For us to understand the Gospel, know about Jesus, and to continue to willfully live in sin, apart from God, is a horrible decision.  Communicating this serious Truth with grace and love will be the challenge this weekend.  Freedom is enouragement and walking in truth is also.

Our greatest life is to be forgiven and honor God with our life. To walk away from sin, sinful behavior, sin of ignoring Christ and what we know, bring amazing joy, peace and freedom, and removes the wrath of God from our lives (John 3.36). Pray for me as I teach these truths. Pray for us all, that we would be aware of sin, and believe, be forgiven, and walk in grace with thankful hearts.

Pray for those who know all of this, yet seem not to care anymore.

Pray for those who will hear the Gospel for the first time.

Pray for those filled with spiritual pride that think this message is for everyone else, not them.

Pray for this pastor.

Below are the handout notes.

P. Nate

John One|1.29

Compelled Church,

July 6, 2017

 

John 1.19-34

1.29   “ The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! “

 

Some Definitions

“Lamb of God”

The Lamb provided to Abraham Genesis 22:8 “ Abraham said, “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.” So the two of them walked on together.”

The Passover Lamb- Exodus 12. 1-13

The Lamb of Isaiah-Isiah 53.1-5

The Lamb of Revelation  (Rev. 5 1.1-10   Revelation  5:9–10 (NASB95)

9 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. 10 You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.”

Sin- Gr. “harmartia”  sin, evil actions, guilt

Two Types of Sin- 1)Omission 2) commission

Of the World-  The atonement of Christ is comprehensive-

1 John 2:1–2” My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; 2 and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.”

  1. The foolish view

I don’t care about my sin.  (God cares)

It does not bother me to sin.  (you are deceived or heart has become hard)

I don’t feel guilty when I sin.   Guilt could be covered by selfishness and rebellion

James 1:14–16But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. 15 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death. 16 Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren. “

 

  1. The significance of “sins gone”

The guilt of sin is gone Hebrews 10.22 Hebrews 10:22 (NASB95) “ let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. “

The punishment for sin is gone from us (1 John 2.1-2)

John 5:24- “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

  1. The gift of “sins gone”

John 1.12- We are adopted as the Father’s Children

  1. The response of “sins gone”

We live thankful.

We walk in God’s Grace

We stop willfully sinnin

1 John 1:9 (NASB95)

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

What about the Christian that continues in sin?

What if we do not stop, confess, and repent of sin?

 

 

The Effects of continued sin in our life.

  1. Drift happens
  2. Selfishness inflates
  3. God thoughts diminish
  4. Compassion begin to dissolve
  5. Love for God, becomes a doctrine, not an action
  6. Priorities of life become scrambled
  7. Desertion starts becoming complete.

 

We stop desiring to serve the Lord or honor him with our life.

 

Believe in Jesus as your Savior and have him forgive your sins by asking.

Acknowledge sin and ask forgiveness and be free.

 

 

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.

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.”

 

 

 

 

 

Compelled Pastors Bible Reading Plan


biblecronThe pastors at Compelled Church are going to be reading the Chronological Bible Daily this year.  We will talk about what the Lord is showing us in our Wednesday staff meetings after prayer.  I also journal, and encourage everyone to do that a few times a week. Write what you learn, what you pray, what the Lord is speaking to you.

Do you have a plan to stay in the Word of God this year?

Do you have some spiritual goals?

I have determined in my heart that 2017 is going to be one of the greatest years of growth for me.  I am going to grow in prayer, the Word, in passion, mission, learning and reading, and in boldness for the Lord.  So I can glorify Him more in my life and I can diminish.

May we all keep growing in Christ…nate

 

Why Did Jesus Come to Earth?


“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” John 17.3

I am on a journey. To know the Father. A moment of revelation was afforded me recently on why Jesus came to earth.  This revelation has reminded me of Truth and refreshed my soul.

  • He did come to destroy the works of the enemy.
  • He did come to cleanse sin, once and for all.
  • He came to “save” us as we say. (though many are unsure of what).
  • He came to give us eternal life.
  • Keep us from Satan (John 17.15).

It is true, all of these he came, but the one reason that bundles all of these together, that he came is that we would know the Father.  We can never know the Lord fully without being cleanses of sin, repenting and turning our lives around. We won’t ever know the Lord unless we live as an offering, and enact our faith, not just for the things in prayer we pray for, but to know our Father in Heaven.  Jesus wants you to know the Father.

  • Do you know about God? Or do you know God the Father?
  • Are you saved, but never pursued knowing Him more?
  • Choosing to sin in our lives, will make the waters of knowing Father murky?  Do you willingly and knowingly choose sin?  Do you grieve that you are forfeiting knowing the Father well?
  • Do you want to know the Father and be closer than ever before?

Begin to ask HIm to reveal Himself in every area of your life.  Search your heart and repent of sin, spiritual laziness, and any unforgiveness you have toward anyone.  Ask the Holy Spirit, who leads and guides us into all Truth, to lead and guide you. Read the Word with the goal to know the Father, not gain doctrinal or biblical knowledge.

Remember: “You are as close to the Father as you want to be.”

There is nothing on this earth greater than knowing the Father.

Do you agree? What steals our desire to know Father more?  Please respond below.

 

Our Compelled Community fills me with Gratefulness


I love our church. I love the heart of our people.  I love how we pursue the Lord and people.  I loved the Toledo Campus going door to door, and hosting a fall festival. I love our Children’s ministry and leaders,  and the annual chili cookout. So glad the Lord led Pastor Matt and Mandie to Compelled. I love Pastor Rick’s heart as we gathered for worship team training and he encouraged us. I love Pastor Dusty getting our students reaching out. I love filling shoeboxes for the Lord and operation Christmas Child.  I love that we are truly “Compelled by love.” I’m am grateful to be part of our Compelled Community.

At Compelled this weekend we stressed our Family Value of Relationships.  “People grow better in relationship than they do in isolation.” We had people stand and publicly  give testimony and thank those who encouraged them in the faith and brought them to Jesus.  This was moving, encouraging, and filled us with faith.  I loved it.  We heard powerful stories of people reaching out in friendship and love for Christ and lives were changed and of course eternities.

We must be those people that are the encourager now.  As we have received, now let’s give.  Make a difference in someone’s life.  Start a small group.  Call someone you have been missing. Write out a prayer for a struggling friend and mail it.  Send a text, buy a coffee, open your home and your heart and see what God will do.

Keep being missional Compelled Church!  We are making a difference.

(NOTE:  All the gatherings were awesome but the 11 am worship was amazing.  The place was packed and so many people were pursuing the heart of God.  It was so powerful.)

We grow better in community than isolation


Here are my sermon notes for our “Family Values” message on Community.

Family Values|Relationships

October 29, 30 2016

Nate Elarton, Compelled Church

We believe people grow better in community than isolation

We are created for relationship.  With God and with others.  The greatest joys in life will not come from TV, purchases, or social media, but in real relationships with others. The two greatest commandments that Jesus quoted are about relationship.

“and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’“The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”  Mark 12. 30-31

When the relationship between God and man was broken, God took the initiative to repair it.   We can only practice the Christ-like virtues in relationship. We grow in Christ much greater when we grow together with others.

Jesus was in close relationship with 12 disciples and 3 he was very close to.  They traveled, lived with each other, and shared life together for 3.5 years (Mark 3.14).

Relationship in the early church was critical to the growth of people’s faith.

Acts 2.42-47

Observations of Community

  1. They were devoted to being taught (2.42)
  2. They were devoted to each other (2.43).
  3. They were devoted to meals together (2.43; 46).
  4. They were devoted to prayer (2.43).
  5. They were in unity
  6. They were generous, and compassionate (2.45)
  7. They were thankful and grateful. v. 46
  8. They praised God

Results

The people loved them (v.47)

More people were saved (v.47).

Signs and wonders occured

Three Things I see about Community

  1. They took responbility for other’s faith not just their own.

2.They poured into each others lives in every way.

  1. They grew deeper and Christ and the church grew.

We believe people grow better in community than isolation

Who helped you grow in Christ?  Who encourage  you in the faith?  Maybe a parent?  A friend?  A small group leader?

 

 

Now you are that person?  Who are you helping grow? Get in community and grow.

The one thing this early church all had was Jesus Christ. He is the common denominator, the head of the church, and the author of all relationship. Our relationship with must be good and then with each other.

 

Colossians 2.12-15  So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.

Family Values


family-valuesWe all have values. We have personal values, marriage values, and family values.  These are the things that navigate our decisions and behaviors.  Like, I choose not to do much to my yard, because I do not value a perfect lawn. It means nothing to me, as some men spend hundreds of dollars to have a nice lawn and work on it all the time. I am not one of those guys.

What are your values?  Do you value honesty, people, family, time?  Churches have values.  The things we deems as important. The things we must emphasize as our mandate in the Bible. I am excited to speak on them the next 2 months. We will talk about the values of Compelled Church, and why we value them.

As the staff and I talked and investigated these things my heart was full.  My heart was full with thankfulness at our values.  My heart was full because I know our values are the values of the Lord.  this week we will share our greatest and foundational value. Jesus Christ! He is all.