Boasting in the Cross, not in Religion


Man has always tried to add to the Gospel and love of Christ. traditions of men, required memberships, religious rules, humanistic ideologies and of course things added to the message that Jesus taught about salvation.

Christianity is about humility, and total allegiance to Jesus Christ. His Spirit lives in the believer. The Father speaks to us, and knowing Christ and being forgiven may be the most undervalued gift, given to mankind.

This world and all its allures still cry out to everyone, including the Jesus follower, for our allegiance, attentions, involvement, and participation.

Paul’s teaching here is something to read. Read it over a couple times, it is powerful. My comments of course will not improve on it.

May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation. Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule—to the Israel of God. From now on, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen.” (Galatians 6:14–18, NIV)

Some key questions

-Is this world and all it’s stuff, got a hold of us more than loving and serving Christ? Is it dead to our hearts?

-Are we dead to thinking the things of this world will complete us, satisfy us, bring us inner joy, help us enjoy life more than a relationship with God?

-As Paul had the marks of Christ on his body (Greek is Stigmata) or stigma. Do we, without shame, identify with Jesus Christ, no matter what “stigma” it carries to others?

Religion, and man’s attempt to “make Jesus” better, harder, stronger, or whatever is no necessary. The work of Christ and Calvary, Jesus life and teachings stand on their own. Before we add to Christ, we need to subtract. Subtract the things of this temporary world from our lives, and then the need to “add” to Jesus will not seem germane or even necessary.

I close with the words again of the Apostle Paul in his letter to the church in Corinth.

For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.For it is written,“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And the cleverness of the clever I will set aside.”

(1 Corinthians 1:18–19, NASB95

Week of Prayer, January 8, 2021 Let’s have some Courage Christians


We have a lot of Christians that have courage to talk and post about politics, covid, masks, but do you we have the courage to talk about Jesus Christ, the Gospel, the Bible, our Lord? Let’s pray for courage and to be encouragers. Our courage can helps someone else rise up in courage for the sake of Christ (Philippians 1.14). Christ did not die on the cross for His people to be wimps. God is calling us to be courageous for the Kingdom’s sake, His Kingdom, to shed the light of Jesus and the Good News of Salvation!

Christmas and the Cross


To the follower of Jesus Christmas is very important. The prophecies of old become fulfilled with the coming of the Savior of the World. The manger would lead jesus to the cross, the tomb, and to the right hand of the Father. The life of Jesus changed history, the world, but most importantly individual lives. We celebrate His coming, but we know it’s all for us. His birth, His life, His Death, His resurrection, and ascension. It’s was all for us. If you don’t know that, I pray you do. Jesus came for us. Read this from Matthew quoting Isaiah 9.6-7.

She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).” (Matthew 1:21–23, NIV)

Christmas is about new life, forgiveness, redemption, and being redeemed. Christmas is about being rescued from our sins, having Christ in our lives now, being part of His Kingdom of the earth. Not only that, we spend eternity alive. We never die.

And we did nothing for this. Not a thing. Actually the only thing you need to do to understand the complete Christmas Story is believe that Jesus did this for you and receive his forgiveness. Just pray or talk to Him. He is with you. I love these verses:

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.(Romans 10:9–10, NIV)

If you haven’t done this, do it and become a follower of Christ. If you have done this and your life is not what you know pleases God, then jump into your faith with zeal and commitment. Jesus came for us all, but he also came for you. He knows you.

Christ came to us and he knew his life would lead Him to the Cross. His love for us lead HIm there, and His love for us continues to lead us to Him.

Merry Christmas!

Nate

Noon Prayer, Lectio Divina Matthew 5:14-16


Lectio Divina is an ancient way of praying the Scriptures and listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit. Lectio Divina is Latin for “Divine Reading”.

I think of Luke 24.45 how the Lord opens our minds to understand the Scriptures: “Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures.”

Steps to praying Lectio Divina

Choose a text and place yourself in a quiet environment. Calm your anxieties and thoughts for a couple minutes of silence. Pray that you would here the Holy Spirit as He speaks to your through the Word and ask Him to enlighten your heart, mind, and thoughts in Christ.

  1. Lectio: Read the text of the Bible slowly and prayerfully constantly listening for what the Word of God says to you. Maybe read it 4 or 5 times.
  2. Meditate: Meditate upon the Word. Maybe a word or phrase will strike you. repeat it and listen with your heart to God. Allow it to speak to you in a persona way by pondering it in your heart.
  3. Response: Respond to God in prayer and dialogue as you are directed by your heart. Enter into a loving conversation with your Father.
  4. Contemplate: Rest in the presence of God and receive deeply what you have been shown, what you have prayed, and enjoy the presence of the Lord. Be content and at peace with a wordless, quiet rest in the Father’s presence. This is not your action or doing, rather, silence and contemplations is allow God to act within you.

Close with thanks, maybe journaling what the Father has shown, what you sensed, or felt.

For Wednesday, September 24 noon prayer we will be praying Matthew 5:14-16

“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:14–16, ESV)

This is a great way to know the Word, know God, and connect with the Father in prayer. Add this to your prayer life. P. Nate

Prayer by St. Anselm of Canterbury


Teach me to seek you,

and reveal yourself to me as I see;

for unless you instruct me I cannot see you,

I cannot find you.

Let me see you in desiring you;

let me desire you in seeking You;

Let me find you i loving you;

let me love you in finding you.

St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Less is More


We are always in a hurry and sometimes for no reason. We commit to too much, overplan, set goals that are not reality, and stress ourselves into a state where peace is elusive. We are in a state of perpetual hurry.  Cultivating a relationship with our Father can not be hurried.  That is one of the things God has shown me the last several years.

We need to learn that “less is more” in life.  To not be so busy, so weighted down by commitments, so burdened by trying to be the world’s best mom or dad.  “Less is more” when we come to Scripture.  Sometimes instead of reading a few chapters of the Bible read, and reread a few verses and let our loving Father reveal to you His messages and His truths to your life.  Today I read, reread, prayed and thanked God for Isaiah 43.1-7.  Take a moment

But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead. Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’ Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth— everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”” (Isaiah 43:1–7, NIV)

  • Read this a couple times
  • Pray over them and ask Father to speak to your heart about them.
  • Ask  Who is God for me?  How does He see me?
  • What promise does God have for you right now in your life? What are forever?
  • Respond in grateful appropriateness.

Keep in the process of spiritual formation, receiving and responding to God’s love.

Pastor Nate Elarton

Do Not Return to Darkness


In my reading this morning I have started the book of Colossians.  I have been pondering and meditating on 1.19. I have been quietly thinking and praying for many, as faces and families through the years flash through my mind.

For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,” (Colossians 1:13, NIV)

Many have experienced this “rescue” from God.  What does God rescue us from?  I would say the Bible is clear, our sins, and the damage we do to ourselves when we run our own lives without Christ.  Sin and being separated  from God is also defined as “darkness” denoting more of losing your way than just evil, but it does apply to both.

When we come to Jesus, get saved, decide to walk with God and great rescue and deliverance takes place.  We are “transferred” from this life of “darkness” waywardness, being lost, to a life of living in the love of God which is the Kingdom of God. I have watched thousands of people fully embrace and run with their  new faith in Jesus. They have embraced a new life, they say no to sin, they love Jesus more than their own lives, and the lust, selfishness, and greed of this world is rejected.  They live with integrity, grow in the way of Christ, and keep moving forward in their faith, even if they falter.  They experience, joy and peace, only found in a life committed to God.  I have seen marriages healed, addictions beaten, selfishness deserted, and love for others multiplied when a life of darkness is left.

Sadly, I have seen people return to the darkness.  Back to a life of spiritual deadness.  After being on the path and journey with God, many choose to venture off and lose their way, returning to a life without God.  Most would admit they still believe in Him, but live with no proof that is really true.

Can I encourage you not to return back to the darkness?  There is no true life there.  A life with Jesus on this earth and in eternity is priceless.  If you may not think so right now, pray God your loving Father would show you that so you would realize what you may be leaving.  The Darkness is a life without spiritual life, enlightenment, or Godly encouragement.  It is a lonely life, constantly on the hunt for some sort of experience that would bring some peace or pleasure, but after a while of forgetting about the darkness it will envelope you again.

If you are reading this and you have foot back in your “old life” or a life without Jesus, let me encourage you to seriously consider the wonderful life with Jesus you will be leaving.  Don’t let anything cause you to forfeit  your soul, your blessings, or the future of your family, for what appears to be an easy life without God, but sin does have a day of reckoning. Don’t let darkness flood your soul again.

Read the Story of the Prodigal Son and notice the love this dad has for his son. That is the love God has for you. This is found in Luke chapter 15. Click here to read this 

If you have tasted of the Kingdom of God, then you know what needs to be done and the decisions and choices you need to make.  If you have questions or want to ask me anything, please email me  nateelarton@gmail.com.

Pastor Nate

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

 

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