That was my Last Weekend on the Bench


I remember going out for basketball in the 6th grade.  I sat on the bench until the last 2 minutes.  I hated sitting on the bench watching the taller dudes have all the fun. ( Fun fact:  I fouled out once in that 2 minutes.)  My coach told me I would never play much basketball and wrestling was probably my sport and he accepted me quitting the team. I hadn’t said anything about quitting so  I got the point.  He was right.

The last 14 weekends haven’t been awesome.  I feel like I have been “benched”. I never thought it would last this long, but anyhow, this last weekend was it.  I really never want to hear “unprecedented”  “the new normal” “we are in this together”   etc. LOL.  I praise God it’s over. I am a preacher and I want to preach and teach God’s Word to faces and families!

I sure got tired of the introverts saying “I really enjoyed this Covid stay-at-home.”  When I read those posts on Facebook from other pastors I just rolled my eyes.  I am just not like that. I am not an introvert.  It was unenjoyable to not be around my Compelled Family and people.  Recording on Friday and preaching to an empty room was OK, but I did not feel like a pastor regardless how many people watched online.  I am thankful we could do it and that everyone helped get it done, but it’s no permanent replacement.  I miss the corporate worship, prayer, smiles, children, families, friends, community and the faith when we all gather together.  I love Compelled. I am thankful for that and we will continue to have our service online, on facebook and on Youtube for those of you not ready to return or that are high-risk.

I am very very very glad this is over.

This next weekend,  We will be back together 3 services a weekend at Bedford and also  the 11 am Sunday at Holland.

Here is a link to our guidelines. Father’s Day Re-Opening at Compelled.  

If you are ready to come back, we are ready for you. If you are not quite ready, no problem.  If you want to wear a mask, please do. If you don’t want to wear a mask then don’t.  We have approached our opening with wisdom and not recklessness of course, but we also want adults to be able to make their own decisions and I know we are all going to be courteous and thoughtful to the comfort level of others.

This happy pastor will be at Compelled this weekend.

Pastor Nate Elarton

The Fall, has our society Falling. My personal thoughts and prayer on this National Day of Prayer


What are we falling from?  Freedom and relationships, common sense and hope?  The fall (Genesis 3), that allowed sin and death, disease and sickness, into the human race, has us all living differently and I am feeling those effects,  as are all of you.

I am convinced that we were not meant to have online relationships and friendships through screens.  I know that children were not designed to be taught by screens. People were not meant to work from home all the time.  We were not created to be void of people, beyond our family.  We were never made to only experience God in isolation and not have community.

My heart drops when I hear of  talk already of schools and sports being canceled for next year. No football, no concerts, no art fairs, no festivals, no conferences, no camping, no crowds and it goes on and on.   It seems premature to cancel so much.  These  things are more about relationships than events. They are more about friendships, than pastimes.  Some say the church will never meet again.  That our society will embrace a new normal of no crowds, for any reason, at all.   This is from one virus, and there are billions in our environment.  I am saddened and speechless, sometimes worried and depressed.

The financial impact we have yet to totally feel.  As states lose billions a day, this will trickle down to cuts in our schools, to services that are needed, to everything.  Businesses are so suffering, thus families are also.  Our financial system is more volatile than we every thought.  We are falling into fear. Fear of out neighbor, fear of each other, fear of getting sick, and fear of our future.

Our Society is beginning to fall. Fall from contentment as isolation is not satisfying relationally.  Oh sure, my life and hope is in Christ, but I need people!  I need to experience Christ in others, not just myself.  We are falling from the truth that we need each other. We need to see each other, and not through a computer screen, and a electronic microphone.  We need to break bread together, laugh together, travel together, and look at each other, and to feel our spirits, not just see each other 2D on a screen. It’s not enough for how we were created by God.

I don’t want  to — never have a meal with friends again, to never shake hands again, to never eat out again, to never go to a wrestling match again, to never hold  a baby again, to never have a packed service again.   I can’t stand the idea that these things are history. I am not going to believe this. I can’t right now.

Self-proclaimed church gurus falsey predict that church buildings are not necessary anymore and maybe not even the church community.  They say that you can worship Jesus in your homes only  and that culture will move on from the local church. I strongly disagree and fear some would fall for this.  We need each other and to grow you do need more than your family at some point.  What about those whose family do not know the Lord? Those children and youth would suffer greatly.  If that were true, I would not be here today.  We need the local church period.  We need the wisdom of church pastors, elders, godly leaders, and gathering together.  That is clear throughout Scripture in both the Old and New Testaments. Gathering together was normal, often, and beneficial

My prayer today is for a cure, and for an end to all of this negative and “rush to judgment” speculation.  My prayer is that we can persevere and find new ways to connect. My prayer is for some strength to continue to believe that we are not falling from some of the most basic relational and community needs that are being overlooked.

“Help us Merciful Father. We call to you in humility and faith. On behalf of your people, would you heal our land?  Grant us faith and strength during this trial. Give us wisdom and common sense.  Bring an end to this free fall of life as we know it.  Turn our hearts toward you until deliverance comes I pray.  Move this mountain in Jesus’ name.”

Pastor Nate Elarton

Ten Tips During This Crisis


Ten Tips to Make it Through This Crisis

We are all getting weary as the crisis and adrenalin that comes with a crisis, wears off and we find ourselves in a “new normal”. We are all experiencing the mess our world is in, and it’s not going to be over for a while. We are not in a sprint, but a marathon.

We are in lock-down and we are experiencing fear, anxiety, and stress in a way we have never experienced it before. We are in a hostile environment, as politics is getting nastier (like it could get worse than it was), homes are stressed, children are struggling with out to process their emotions, and people have lost their jobs and security.

We are all grieving. Grief is the emotion of deep sorrow because of loss.  We are all experiencing loss.  We have lost a lot. We have lost some of our freedoms, our schedules, our security. Our world is grieving the loss of lives, jobs, and peace.

The Lord wants us to move through this. I tend to be very practical.  Let me give you some ways to survive during this time.

Ten Strategies to get through this time.

  1. Limit news and screen time: So much information can overwhelm us with hopelessness and fear.  Too much time on your phone and social media, just cause you to think other’s thoughts and take on their fear and offenses.  Be free of screens to have your own thoughts.
  2. Do what the specialists are telling us to do. Wash your hands, social distance, and save lives, stay in.
  3. Lean into each other. Help each other out when one is down, fill in and show great love, grace, and empathy.
  4. Sleep well and eat well. Eight hours of sleep  is necissary. Lack of sleep is linked to  many  health issues and will cause emotional, spiritual, and physical troubles. If we eat the diet of Elf, we will be in trouble as carbs are linked to depression and lack of energy, emotional, spiritual, and physical.  Eat your Broccoli!
  5. Exercise. Get moving and you will get a new view and attitude.  You will feel better.
  6. Watch your speech. Being around family all the time, can make us  relax on how we communicate. Don’t lash out at people and say things you will regret.
  7. Apologize quickly and accept apologies quickly, then move on.
  8. Play worship music in your home. It will change the atmosphere of your home, and bring strength to your heart.
  9. Lean into Jesus. Read his word, pray and talk to him throughout your day.
  10. Don’t ration love. This isn’t a good time to withhold love. Let the love flow.

Some Verse to Strengthen you

Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8, NLT)

These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death. So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.” (James 1:15–17, NLT)

Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.” (Colossians 4:6, NLT)

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.” (Galatians 5:22–25, NLT)

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:9–15, NLT)

 

 

God is a Missionary-Missio Dei


The day I became a Christian my life radically changed forever.   The mission of God, became real and personal.  I began to realize that His mission was to save me, redeem me, to forgive me, and give me purpose.  I had the gnawing in my heart and soul to help others realize what Jesus can do for them.  That they would also know Christ.  I became a Christian, but I also became a man with a mission. It wasn’t my mission it was His.   The same mission that burned in me in High School, burns in my now. To help people find Christ.

The mission of our missionary God was to redeem the world from sin, and as God sent Jesus, and the Spirit, he sends His church, his people.

As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.” (John 17:18, NIV84)

To miss this part of our faith is to really miss it.  Christianity is not just a doctrine, it is a movement.  We are being sent by God, our missionary God, to help the world see the mission of Jesus, to redeem them. If y,ou are serving God for the next cool sermon or worship experience only, I challenge you to have the courage to investigate your responsibility to others beyond yourself.

When we buy into this idea that we are to be happy, and that is our mission in life, we actually lose happiness and joy.  Joy comes through mission.   When we elevate ourselves to make ourselves significant, we actually become insignificant, self-absorbed, and lose joy, because we have no purpose, no mission. us’ mission filled him with joy.  Fulfilling mission is fulfilling joy.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2, NIV84)

Lack of Joy is lack of mission. There is a connection and bond between purpose/mission and joy.   When we live out our future in terms of mission we live with joy.  No matter what we do for money, we are people that need to live on mission.

If we believe there is no higher cause than our own happiness, and our fulfillment personally is the most important goal in life, we will lose joy and live in quite a lot of disappointment.  We will begin to believe God and others also exist for our happiness, and when that is not accomplished we question God, friends, families, and marrriages.

When you quit loving Jesus and lose your mission you will lose joy. Joy and mission are connected.  Living the mission and purposes of Christ is the greatest joy.

When we say “my needs first” then we may perceive that we  gain freedom.  We really  lose true joy. Then one has nothing to live for or die for except themselves, and they’ll do it alone.

Jesus is sending his church. His people are a people with a mission, a purpose, and it’s not our own happiness.  To show the world Jesus, His love, His mercy, and goodness is our mission.  To testify of His reality and Truthfulness so others will also be redeemed and put their faith in Him, through Christ is the mission.

Everything the church deos, plans, funds, must have this as the litmus test of our time, energy, talents, and finances.  No matter what you do for money, your job is a mission for you are a missionary serving a sending God. He has sent you into that classroom, that factory, that cubicle.  He is working with you behind that counter and/or the steering wheel of your car.

Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” John 20.21

My greatly missed brother Steve used to say “Be about the Father’s business.”  He was reminding me to live on mission, to serve my missionary God.  I  intend fully to live my life like this.  I pray I never stop.  May we all live on mission.

 

Pastor Nate Elarton

 

Fasting Tips and Teaching for “Heart for Jesus” Week of Fastings and Prayer January 6-10


“A Heart for Jesus”Our Prayer and Fastings theme for 2020

January 6-10

Fasting Food and Social Media

 Fasting Media

We are no longer addicted to food and sweets but media and social media.  So fasting this is important for the week. TV, news,  Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Youtube, ticktock, all make us OCD.  Delete these from you phone, and just resist and break the urge to have to look at your phone all the time.

Read, Connect, do a hobby, talk to your family.  Take time to think.

I believe this is going to blow us away by how much more time we will all have.

 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.  Us the devotional Pastor Nate and Wendy wrote.

* 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.

 

Fasting Media

We are no longer addicted to food and sweets but media and social media.  So fasting this is important for the week.

TV, news,  Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Youtube, ticktock, all make us OCD.  Delete these from you phone, and just resist and break the urge to have to look at your phone all the time.

Read, Connect, do a hobby, talk to your family.  Take time to think.

I believe this is going to blow us away by how much more time we will all have.

 

Lectio Divina with our Compelled Staff


Lectio Divina (Divine Reading) is an ancient practice of biblical prayer and meditation. It is a contemplative discipline to help us be led by the Holy Spirit in prayer and hear the ways and will of God through Scripture.  Our staff did this as a group this morning.  Man, the Lord had them prayer some powerful prayers from Psalm 131.

Here’s how we did it

  1. Each of us  read the verses out loud.
  2. Think deeply of the words and the intention of God, in these Scriptures
  3. Dwell upon the truths.
  4. Pray out the themes in the verses.
  5. Pray out as you are led by the Holy Spirit

 

Psalm 131 (NASB95

A Song of Ascents, of David.)

1O Lord, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty; Nor do I involve myself in great matters, Or in things too difficult for me.

2Surely I have composed and quieted my soul; Like a weaned child rests against his mother, My soul is like a weaned child within me.

3O Israel, hope in the Lord From this time forth and forever.

 

Try it personally, with family, or Church staff using different portions of Scripture. This is a great way to spend a devotional time, “daily office”, and to connect with the heart and Spirit of Christ.

Let the Spirit pray through you.  Let him teach you. Let Jesus be your mentor.

P. Nate

lectio

 

 

Nine Ways to get your zeal for Jesus back


Many are struggling with the level of passion for Christ.  Some have drifted back into old patterns and old ways.  The zeal and fire for Jesus can easily grow dim.  Is that happening to you?  Do you know your love and passion for Christ and His purposes is diminishing in  your life, thoughts, and heart?  What can you do? Can you receive back a white hot focus on the Lord?  Yes.  Here are some of my practical suggestions.

  • Identify and admit you are in need of being close to Christ. Once you know it, the victory is almost there. Most deny their true state.
  • Spend some time alone.  Solitude is a good thing. No TV, no Phone, no Screens, just you and the Lord.  Take a walk and invite the Holy Spirit to just speak to you.
  • Respond to the Lord.  Make a commitment to respond.  Respond in prayer, to his voice, to messages, to altar calls, to being obedient. Just move in response. Don’t allow your heart to get cold or hard. Respond.
  • Ask for help.  The Bible says “We have not because we ask not.”  This morning I prayed that God would set me on fire for Him, more than ever before.  I feel that. The Lord immediately began to flood my heart and mind with thoughts, messages, vision, people.  Ask for Help.
  • Stop  Procrastinating.  Get that Bible back out and that journal and read, and receive.  No excuses, no whining, no wimpering. It is what you need. He is who you need.
  • Put the phone down. Yep, put it down. Kill the OCD that thinks we need to have the phone near us, constantly looking, scrolling, pinging, alerting.  Gosh, what an interruption. I have turned off all alerts, notifications, deleted facebook, and I am making an effort to not be addicted to my phone. It is wasting my time.  It is interrupting my efforts for the Lord.  Just put it down.
  • Watch what you watch.  Our addiction for new things, new movies, new posts, new pics, can get us watching things that will steal our zeal for God.  Watching swearing, violence, sex, dirt, and vileness on TV/Sling/Netflix/prime/cable/youtube will steal your desire for Jesus away.
  • Just receive His love. He loves us and wants to be close to his children. He wants to encourage us, strengthen us, love through us, and reveal more of Himself to us.
  • Enjoy Jesus.  He is contentment. He is our all in all.

Verse page

” data-hasqtip=”1″ aria-describedby=”qtip-1″>1 Corinthians 15:58

“Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.”

Real Love


Real-Love

I am Looking so forward to starting this 6-week series called “Real Love”. Going to challenge us to really be “Compelled” by His love, be about His love, express His love, and also Abide in His love.  Bring your Bible, a journal, grab the notes and be ready to grow, receive, and I am praying God the Father gives us revelation on how much he loves us.  Then we will be secure, and not look for so much love and affirmation from others. We will not offend when others are not loving, and we will be generous with love because God’s love has been poured into our hearts.

We need more love in our homes.  We need more love in our marriages.  We need more love for our family. We need to learn to allow others to love us.  We need to stop hoarding Father’s love.  We need His Real Love.

We function too much in a love that is worldly, selfish, and dysfunctional.  Jesus wants us to love others the way He loves us and the key is to abiding in His love (John 15-1-10).  When we are not abiding in Christ, we get unlovely real fast.

My 5 goals for this teaching series:

  1. Love like Jesus
  2. How to “abide” in the Love of Christ.
  3. To rise to Christ’s standard of love, not our family’s or this worlds
  4. How To love well. How to be free to love.
  5. To teach from Scripture, how we can love others like Christ.

 

See you this weekend at Compelled Bedford or Holland. Click here for times

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.

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

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