The Wonderful Consequence of Quarantine: The Transferring of Spiritual Leadership


As we are all in lock-down and not in social setting for worship, I sense a wonderful thing happening. I am not implying it did not exist before,  but it seems now it is existing, growing, and I am praying it becomes the new normal.

This would be the transfer of the spiritual leadership from pastors or clergy to the head of homes.  This is an incredible and fantastic consequence of not being able to worship together in a building.  With little to no access to the ministries and programs of the local church, the Christian homes are taking the helm of leading the family in their worship, discipleship, and spiritual growth.  This is incredibly biblical and an incredible need in our society.  It must continue.

We have become a very entitled people.  Our thinking and the culture has led us to believe that it is the responsibility of others to take care of us.  The government, the schools, the churches, the leaders, the pastors, the entities of community, are not really going to provide for us in every way.  Parents are stepping up.

Sure, we have some online encouragement, preaching, church services and teaching, but I realize most click on for a bit and click off, as our newly programmed time span is limited and we impulsively must click from thing to thing.  The spiritual leaders and pastors are doing our best to stay connected, to shepherd our people, to reach out and that won’t stop, but it is not enough, it has never been enough to truly ground our children into the ways and heart of Christ.

I rejoice for I see family leaders taking charge of the spiritual state of their homes. Not just homes with children, but couples without children, and us empty-nesters are increasing our worship, prayer, Scripture reading in the home.   Families are seeing the spiritual need at home and they are filling it.  They are taking responsibility to make sure their families do not just eat, and bath, but also worship and pray.  Singing together as a family is not awkward anymore.  Parents praying with children is the new normal.  Reading the Bible out loud, talking about life, and connecting in heart and soul is happening and well overdue for most homes of the American Christian Family.

Yes, the transfer of leadership from the pastor to the head of the home is a welcomed consequence of the Corona quarantine.  I pray it continues. I pray we will not return to expecting our leaders and pastors to spoon feed us the truths of Jesus, but our homes will be filled with His presence as moms and dads, set the stage, lead those times, and see their children experience God the best way possible, as a family.

There are no perfect parents, so don’t wait to be perfect to be the spiritual voice for your kids.  Precious parents, keep playing and singing together.  Tuck those kids in and pray. Turn on the worship music, dance and sing, hug and love your kids. study the Bible Quiz question, The love of the Father is always transferred through the love of the parent (that is the blessing).  Let the joy of the Lord, run through your homes, through games, crafts, art, make-believe, laughter and giggles.

If you are a single-parent and no support of a spouse, please be reminded your Father is also present and will empower you.  You can do it.  Where we are in need He will give us strength. Parents, do you best, and take the spiritual leadership for your family.  Be the catalyst for a heart that wants to seek God and have his presence in your home and on the minds of your children.

What about us pastors?  Oh, we will keep doing our spiritual callings,  not in place of yours, but beside you. We will be here to teach you, resource you, encourage you, strengthen you, but you mom or dad, will be the spiritual leader of your home.  I see it happening and It filles me with joy. I love it!

What is happening is what the Lord commanded in Deuteronomy:

What about us past ““So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, so that as long as the sky remains above the earth, you and your children may flourish in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors.” (Deuteronomy 11:18–21, NLT)

We love you and are so proud of what our young families are doing for Christ.  Don’t stop doing these things, even when your local church begins having services and ministries again. Always take the spiritual responsiblity for your family. You will never, never regret the energy and time you invest into the souls of your children.  It’s more important than any sport, hobby, travel team, or activity your kids can join.

We love you all so much and we are proud of you parents!

Pastor Nate and Wendy Elarton

 

 

 

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

 

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

Six Things Compelled Church, That We Can Never Forget


(Cliff notes from the weekend message. The last week of our missions month.)

2 Corinthians 5.11-21 (NASB)

  1. We are Compelled (2 Corinthians 5.14)

God has called us to go beyond just having services, but to connected to Christ in all we do. God has called us to be Jesus to this earth, this township this city, this county.

  1. God Blesses the Church that Blesses the World.

-Our church health, growth, and community is blessed directly because we are a blessing to the world, and giving to missions and being a missional Church. We must live out John 3.16. If we quit blessing the world we will lose the blessing of God and his hand will be lifted from our local body.

  1. We are all Missionaries.

We are “ministers of reconciliation” (5.18).

The “Misseo Dei”  The mission of God is people!       I did go on a missions trip, but God reminded me that my life is a missions trip. This is my mission field.

You need to go, but don’t forget our life is a mission trip. To love God, love others, and serve the world in the context where he has put you.

  1. God is calling us to sacrifice.

We must know that short-term sacrifice bring long-term gain. The time to live without sacrifice is over.

-We must go, send and give.

-God does not overlook sacrifice. He will bless your life. He will bless your family.Sacrifice your comfort zone and invite, ask. Maybe your reputation? Maybe your fear!

  1. Time is running out

-We are in a “State of Emergency” on this earth. Things are bad. Jesus is coming back, and every day we get closer to our last day on this earth. Time is running out.

-Luke 19.10 Jesus came to seek and to save those who are lost.

  1. We are part of Something Bigger than ourselves.

It’s the Kingdom of God.  Our King is Jesus. He is the true reality.

Romans 1.16

We cannot forget these six things. Jesus is with us. We must keep being “Compelled by His love” and be missionaries and ministers in the places we work, where we shop, where we go to school, and to the families God put us in.

Back from German-speaking Europe


It was an amazing experience being in Europe with Paul and Mechthild Clark. We were in the German-speaking part. I taught at two, one-day  forums Paul hosts, to encourage and teach pastors. One was in Grandstadt,  Germany and one in  Schaffhausen, Switzerland. I also spoke at a pastors meeting in Innsbruck,  Austria on the following day with Paul and Mike. We had great fellowship on the 4 hour round trip drive. What an It was busy traveling, and speaking the first week that is for sure, but we loved it!

Wendy was able to share in Innsbruck, the foster-care ministry as they have similar challenges with foster-care in Europe also.  My translator was moved has he and his wife are foster-parents. His name was Marcel. He is a great guy and we became instant friends. I will miss him.

On Saturday the new Church Plant the Clark’s are pastoring in Bregenz, Austria hosted a ladies breakfast.  Mechthild worked hard and Wendy spoke. Saturday night was fun as we traveled to Salem, Germany for a community Outreach. I played bass and Mike Clark, played keys, and Paul led worship from the guitar. We talked about getting more gigs and hitting the road.  The community center was full, and the host Pastor, a Romanian, man David and his wife were so kind!

Wendy’s cousin, Pauline and Manfred, came to Grandstadt, on our first day of ministry. They took Wendy to lunch and then we were able to visit after the forum They were so kind to take us to the train station in Mannheim.  We rode a few hours then to Switzerland.

Sunday I taught on Philippians 1.6 at the Bregenz church and helped with worship. Paul was my translator.   We visited and enjoyed a great new body of Christ that the Lord is building there.  This is Paul’s 8th church plant.  He planted a church in Michigan before going to Germany and planting 7 more. Absolutely incredible.  He has always been one of my encouragers andd he calls often to see how I am doing. Before we came here, we took a team of students to Germany, and he encouraged me to church plant. I am thankful for priceless friends.

Wendy and I stayed a couple more days.  We were guests at Mike and Laura Clark’s for dinner. What an amazing family they are. We have known them for years and love what God has, and is, doing through their lives.  of course did some shopping, drank some great coffee and also saw a couple of castles. Our time together was well spent and needed after such a busy schedule of ministry.

On the way to the airport in Zurich, Switzerland, we stopped in the historic and beautiful St. Gallen.  We had lunch with Paul’s daughter and son-in-law, Stephenie, and Peter. We had not seen Stephanie in 20 years.  What a great couple. We were able to see the St. Abbey Cathedral and Library. I must be honest and say I will miss the coffee/expresso there. While I write this I am  drinking coffee from my drip-coffee maker, is a disappointed experience after the delicious coffee I have had the last few days. An epresso machine is in my future.

So What are our “take-aways” or  things I know the Lord show us from this trip?

  • We are called to reach the world, to help people find, know, and trust God with their lives.  Church cannot be just a bunch activity without purpose.
  • The people of God are wonderful, wherever you meet them. There is the bond of Christ and I sensed that, even when I could not speak the language.
  • The power of relationships can never be underextimated.
  • Compelled must continue to be missional, sending, praying, and going, at home, across the street and around the world.
  • Christian faith and growth are intentional.  One does not grow in Christ

    accidentally or just because you believe.  You must be intentional in your faith.

  • Some ancient traditions of faith, may not be pointless and dead, if they lead you to the life of Jesus and the fullness of God’s Spirit.
  • German-speaking Europe is not a 3rd world country. We did not pass out food, or do a medical clinic, that is greatly needed and a way to share Christ in other contexts.  We just poured into leaders.  We loved them, encouraged them, as the mission there is greatly needed and for many reasons, the work is harder than many places.
  • We must not forget Europe. Europe needs more churches, church planters, and people reaching out.
  • I was humbled to get to participate in the Ministry of the Clark’s. They are heroes to me.  Paul,  Mechthild, and Mike and Laura, continue to chip away at the darkness one life, and one family at a time.
  • Prayer must overcome the hardness of people’s hearts.  Whether in German-speaking Europe, Bedford, Toledo, or Holland, Ohio, people are softened through prayer and calling on God, the Holy Spirit to draw them to truth.

My Reflections about our Outreach in Welch, West Virginia


We had such a powerful time in Welch W. VA serving the wonderful people there.   I am humbled by all the love I see there, which is the Spirit of the Risen Christ.  Everyone moves with such compassion. I am so blessed by everyone that went.  The churches that partnered, Sister Cora, and our Students that work so hard and never complain, never quit, never tire. Thank you all.

As we opened the doors on that cold Saturday morning, two little boys came in with their parents.  They had no coats. They had on their dad’s flannel shirts which hung down to the ground, covering their legs and unfitting shoes.  They were so excited to get some candy, face painted, animal balloons.  Little Jon Jon, asked his mom if he could have chili and said “ma ma is it free?”  I retreated to the bathroom stall to compose myself as I was so deeply moved I could not control my emotions.  I thanked God we were here, and knew every dollar, every mile, every sacrifice was worth it.  Jon Jon and his brother would be special today, get food, toys, coats, and most importantly see Christ.

A lady was holding this baby, Marcus. It was her sister’s son. She had 3 kids and was trying to carry boxes for her family and the baby because her mom, jumped in and started helping us. I held little Marcus for her, as she took care of her family, while her mom worked and helped her friends. I prayed over his life. I asked God to protect him from the enemy and to provide for him. I held him, like the Lord wants to hold us all, and His people in McDowell County.

Yes, we need to go to the Appalachian Mountains, to Welch.  We need to serve. We need to love. We need to see the world, and the poorest county in America. We need to have the Lord move us to gratitude, generosity, and a level of love, we may have never experienced before.

Thank you all that made this happen. Many gave, many sent, many worked, many went, and many know that in their struggle, a God has not forgotten them, and loves their little Jon Jon, who now has a coat, a meal, and some toys to open at Christmas.

Quotes from Week One of the Six-Week Series Titled “Purpose”


As we start a six-week teaching on purpose, I am gripped with passion, conviction, and compassion.  I believe the purpose of our life is to glorify the Lord in all we do and how we do things.  I believe we are called the glorify the Lord in who we are.  Here are some quotes from week one of the series.

  • “We have to stay grounded on Scripture, dedicated to God’s ways. The world will not function in God’s ways. This world is determined not to glorify God, but to glorify man, embracing all sin, rejecting any moral voice, and pushing the philosophy of pluralism and secular humanism forward, at the expense of all reason and purity.”
  • “Since time began the deception from the enemy has been to NOT glorify God, but glorify yourself, you become the god.”
  • “You can be a saved person, and not a very spiritual person. We are good at siloing our lives, and separating our faith from daily living.
  • “Whenever man wants glory and honor, ahead of the Lord, or in place of the Lord, destruction in some form, awaits.”
  • “Too many of us live with ‘flimsy faith’. Faith that is so shallow, so much about us. Flimsy faith says my faith  is exercised so God can do what I want, not I live the life He wants. My will is more important than His.”

“Whether then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. “

1 Cor. 10.31

8 ways to stay interested in God in 2016


Staying interested and engaged in the things of God takes discipline and tenacity. It is God’s will for us.  It is His desire we grow in our relationship with him.   It is easy to get out of the habits and disciplines that cause our spiritual interest and hunger to stay on Christ.  It is too easy to drift and to move back to the things of this world that have nothing to offer us spiritually and add nothing positive to our life.  Our old ways can creep back.  Here are some practical ways to keep engaged in the Lord.

  1. Have a Bible reading and Bible study plan. If not, you will most likely just skip around and neglect the Word of God altogether.  Reading the Word is communing with the Spirit of God.
  2. Serve in the Kingdom.  Do something for others and for the Lord.  Get out of just thinking of your life, your schedule, your finances, your health and do something for God and serve others.
  3. Talk to the Lord more.  Pray daily. Make it a habit this year to pray before meals, at bed, in the morn, while you drive, just talk to the Lord more.
  4. Become a worshiper.  Learn to go deeper in expressing your love to the Lord.  Decide you are not going to care what anyone thinks, and worship.
  5. Access your life and habits.  Is there anything quenching your desire for Christ?  Any sin you are not being honest about?  Shows and website you should not be viewing?  Missing going to church a lot and you no longer think anything of it?  Temper, swearing, anger, too common and needs to go?
  6. Do generous things.  The Holy Spirit moves in us when we are generous for the Lord is so generous to us in so many ways.
  7. Make it a goal to grow in Christ with others.  Get in a small group, host one, or lead one. Growing in life and community with others is God’s way. We were created for relationship.
  8. Enjoy Jesus– He is awesome.  Fellowship with His Spirit is amazing. His love is great and His friendship priceless. If you are not enjoying a relationship with the living God, you may not know Him that well. Start to enjoy the Lord and His presence in your life.

Anything else you would add?

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