An Open Thank You Letter to Pastor Tom and Jen Broyles


broylesIt’s hard to believe that this Sunday we will be saying goodbye as your Student Ministries pastors and sending you off to be lead pastors at Wooster, Ohio.  These 8 years have flown by. While here at Compelled Church you have had amazing ministry.  You have been the youth pastor to all 3 of my children. You have had small groups in your home weekly for years.  You have served Compelled faithfully beyond youth as you also lead, young adults, building maintenance, Master’s Commission and hospitality ministries for a time.

You have grown the young adult ministry and the student ministry at Everfree to well over 100 students and over 20 leaders.  It is an exciting night of ministry, fun, seeking God, worship, and connection.  You have lead so well. You have pulled together the youth leaders of our area for “unite” and hundreds have come and so many have found Christ at that yearly evening at Bedford High School.

Tom, you have lead with impeccable character and integrity. Thank you!  You have been an example of a believer, a strong Christian father, and husband.  You have taught our students how to serve with your “without walls” ministry. You have taught them to evangelize their friends, strangers, here and all over the world.  You have taught them to worship, and to express their love for Christ.  You have taught them to Love God deeper. You have taught them the Word of God. You have taught them to follow Christ! What more can a church ask for?  Thank you!

Thank you Jen, for taking time for students, as a busy mom, raising your family, and helping with daycare for others, you still field the calls, meet with the girls of Everfree, while supporting Tom, and being by his side. Thank you Jen. What an amazing example you also are! Thank you so much.

Wendy and I are deeply indebted to you and Jen. Compelled Church cannot express the thanks adequately that we feel in our hearts for giving 8 years of faithful ministry to this community.   We love you and your family so much and we will miss you here.  Wooster will be so blessed to have you both and I know you are going to be an amazing lead pastor.

(Sunday the 20th we will be honoring them and after the 11 am there will be a reception for them.  Please write them a card and give a gift if you are able).

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Why I need a night of extended worship.


Why is a night of Worship so vital for me?  Why am I excited about Dwell on Saturday?

Life is so busy, so hectic, so stressful, filled with joy, worry and disappointment. I need His presence to bring my heart peace.

I need the faith encouragement when I worship Christ.

I can hear his voice so much better.

Fear flees  from my heart when I worship.

There is spiritual power with others in His Presence.

I love hearing a corporate body singing, clapping, and joy exploding from our hearts because of Jesus Christ.

I love Jesus Christ and I want to express my heart to Him, for Him, and in Him!

—nate

Treasure


“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;  for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  Words of Jesus

As I read this I ask myself what a treasure in Heaven is?  May I offer my definition?  A Treasure in Heaven that we are to be storing up is “anything you do for Christ, because of Christ, and in Christ.”  We have decided and the church has taught that we must be reading, praying, in church, or winning the lost, and those would be considered “treasures in Heaven.”  Based on my definition “anything we do for Christ, because of Christ, and in Christ.” let me offer other suggestions.

  • Reading to your children, making them laugh, telling them you love them.
  • Honoring your marriage vows by loving your wife, and respecting your husband in every way.  Growing closer together and serving them as Christ has served us.
  • Going to work, knowing that Christ has provided.
  • Making your needs and wants last, and other’s first.
  • Spending time listening to the stories of a sr. adult.
  • Eating a meal and breaking bread with others, knowing Christ has provided.
  • Worshipping with a heart of thankfulness and gratitude.
  • Enjoying time off, leisure, without guilt, taking a “sabbath” and being in Christ.
  • Serving anywhere, anyone, because Christ is our servant.
  • Giving of time, your money, and your gifts, as you serve honor Christ.
  • Yes, reading the Word of God, and letting the “words” of God penetrate our cerebral and rest to live in our hearts.
  • Good friendships.
  • Letting go of the pain and hurt of the past and releasing others in forgiveness.
  • Sharing your faith, your journey with others, to enlighten them and draw them to the light of Chris.
  • Being creative, using your hobby, art, interests that allow us to  experience the Spirit of God, and to glorify him.
  • How we talk and communicate with others.
  • How we extend grace, as we received it….freely.

So the world says “Hoard stuff, hoard money, make yourself first!” That would be “treasures on earth.” So treasure the “Jesus” things, participate in them, live in Him, and you will store up the treasures in heaven because Jesus is where your heart is!  Keep serving Him with love and thanksgiving, joy and peace.     Nate
New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Mt 6:19–21). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

FIVE Reasons why we still need a lifestyle that includes repentance.


Many times the word “repentance” brings up a negative connotation or an intense revival-type situation.  But may I encourage you to have a daily lifestyle of repentance?  I believe it is healthy, and will cause you to grow in Christ deeper, and quicker.

Repentance means to have a response of sorrow that lead to a changed mind, life, and direction.

So when the Lord, by His Spirit reveals to us that we are  “off course” in honoring God, or that we are in need of change, in attitude, heart, or behavior, we need to engage in this spiritual discipline called “repentance”

This would include a chat with Jesus that would include 3 components.

  1. An acknowledgement of sin (confession) with asking forgiveness.
  2. Praise and thanksgiving for God’s mercy, grace, and total forgiveness.
  3. Asking the Lord for the power and strength to overcome and not repeat the sin, but to continue to be like Christ.

A growing Christian is sensitive to the voice of God that lets us know when we need some “repentance”

Let me give you FIVE reasons we need repentance as part of our lifestyle.

  1. We become more sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s voice and direction
  2. We become more sensitive to since, thus we get more victory.
  3. We grow closer to Jesus and the relationship become more intimate.
  4. You become more like Christ as unChrist-like behavior, speech, and attitudes are weeded out of your life.
  5. You experience a few things, joy, peace, contentment, and the mercy and love of Christ.

Would you consider, if you are not, making “repentance” part of your lifestyle? You will never be the same,  you will never stop growing, and you will never regret what Christ can do for a heart that always wants to be totally right with him, and sin free.

Compassion is so Critical


I have never spoke on Compassion before as a topic.  This is the first in our new series on “Building and Battling:  Kingdom lessons from Nehemiah”  This first message on Nehemiah’s compassion is really moving me.  The Lord seems to be downloading a lot of thoughts about Compassion, and the need for it. It is so critical in the life of the believer and the church.  here are some thoughts.

  • The world hardens us and hard hearts become uncaring and selfish people.
  • Without compassion, we cannot fully connect with the Father, hear His voice, sense His Spirit or respond to His presence.
  • Compassion leads us to action.
  • An Husband without compassion with hurt and wound his wife.
  • Anything for Jesus starts with a touch from heaven, that ping of compassion.
  • Compassionate people care a lot about a lot.
  • People with compassion tell others about Jesus.
  • Compassion is the spark to love which is the action of Christ.
  • Missional churches are compassionate churches.
  • Compassion from Jesus will drain us from self.

This message will be taught on Feb. 21,22, 2015. If you are reading this after that, you can listen to the message at Our Compelled Church Website, click here. 

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10 Lessons I have learned about choices and decisions.


I have made some great choices in my life.  I have also made some horrible choices that have caused many pain, and regret in my own soul.  Everyday they say (I don’t know who “they” are!  LOL) we make 30,000 decisions.  Wow!  A lot of opportunities to make some awful mistakes, but also, some opportunities to make some great ones.  So here are some things I have and am learning about decisions and choices.

  1. When I am not closest to the Lord, my choices have the potential to be the worst and the most selfish.
  2. I need to make decisions slowly with patience.
  3. I must pray about decisions and choicest that have the potential to affect others. I must pray about them more.
  4. I must never make impulsive decisions.
  5. The enemy will try to influence my decisions, and he would like to choose sin.
  6. I must have the wisdom of God, and the mind of Christ.
  7. Some decisions need counsel, and to glean the wisdom of others.
  8. I need to look into the future, of the potential effects of my decisions, not just the immediate.
  9. I cannot allow others to try to put me in the position to make their decisions for them.
  10. I am vulnerable to make bad decisions should I not pay attention to these.

James 1.5-8 “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. 6 But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. 7 Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.”

Tyndale House Publishers. (2007). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (3rd ed., Jas 1:5–8). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

A big lesson from Welch. Are we blessed because we have more? I say “no”.


As we have participated in another outreach in Welch, W. VA. I have learned a few things.  I walked around yesterday as about 1000 people packed the Welch Armory. People in great need in many ways. In McDowell County, W. VA  the unemployment and poverty is very high.  The suicide rate is higher, and like with any place, drugs are prevalent.

So some of you might hate this post. But please read it closely.

When we see poverty and need, we always say something similar. I have said it and hear others say it.  We say “we are so blessed.”  This is referencing that we are not as poor as those we are seeing. We are doing better. We have money and stuff. We are blessed.  God loves us more? God is really caring for us?  I don’t think so.  A year ago this saying was starting to grate in my spirit.  Are you we really blessed because we have stuff?  So when we say that we are implying, those that don’t have what we have are not blessed?  Maybe they are cursed? Is God’s blessing only manifested in financial and material gain? Maybe the blessing of God has nothing to do with money and stuff. Maybe our definition of blessed is very wrong.

Maybe we are not blessed because of our stuff.  Maybe we are blessed (which means happy) because we know Jesus.  We are forgiven, saved, and delivered.  Are we not all blessed because we are never going to die in Christ. We live eternal?  Regardless of our bank account, if you know Jesus, no matter if you live in Haiti, Temperance, Welch, War, or Toledo, you are blessed.

Jesus cautions us about what we call a blessing. He says you can’t serve God and money (Matthew 6.24).  Paul tells  us that the Love of money is the root of all evil (1 Tim. 6.10).  He also says in the last days when people start forsaking God, they will become lovers of money (2 Timothy 3.2). Our Lord says it is  easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God (Matthew 19.3,4).  So it seems, God is saying opposite of what we may believe and what the deceived prosperity gospel proclaims.  True blessing from God is God himself. We are happy because we know Him.  So think about and think about this…

“Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”

Tyndale House Publishers. (2007). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (3rd ed., Mt 6:19–21). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

An Open Letter to those that have walked away from church


I have been thinking about those that no longer go to church anymore. Some leaders call this growing group of people the “dechurched”. Some say there are 12 million and I have heard up to 30 million followers of Jesus in the United States, people who love God, and they no longer are part of a faith community. I know there are many reasons for this, but I want to express my encouragement to those that have walked away.
Why do people leave their church or faith community
1. They don’t believe it is relevent anymore.
2. Their favorite pastor moved on and the new pastor is not the same.
3. The busyness of life. Church just fell of the map.
4. The high expectations put on them, and the only way to avoid that is to leave.
5. People put high expectations on the church, and when the church/pastor/ministries can’t meet them they walk.
6. Some people offend easily and have left for very petty things.
7. Some people have been deeply hurt by the church and leadership mistakes and their pain is real.
8. Many are barely connected, don’t get involved much, and no relationships keep them there.
10. People are sometimes just lazy, and look at the church and involvement as a burden. They would rather do other things.
11. Culture has immersed people, through media TV, and more things in life gain importance than being involved in a Faith Community.
12. A good church will confront people with the real realities of life, sin, family, healing and wholeness, and some do not want to be confronted with their mistakes or their pain caused by others.
13. Tragedy. Some have walked because they have encountered deep tragedy and loss in life and believe God should not have allowed it, is responsible, and the pain of that seems like it can’t be overcome.

So here is my open letter for those that have left the Body of Christ and still love Him.

Dear friend,
I know you have walked away from the church, but not your faith. You still believe and love God. You have called upon Christ to save you and you have been forgiven, yet you find yourself in life, not part of your church. You have walked away. I know some have many reasons, and many confess to me they need to get their faith more active and return to their place of worship. Let me appeal to you to return.
I believe the church is imperfect. It is filled with people, and we are all imperfect, striving to do our best, but falling short at times. Please consider the humanity of the attenders and leaders. You may have walked away because of being hurt, offended, overlooked, or passed over. People, all people usually disappoint at one time or another. Internal pain is real. I can only encourage you to do the right thing for you. That is to forgive, don’t hold grudges and bitterness. You are suffering more than who or what upset you into walking away.Let it go, and return.
You may be out of the a local fellowship because life just got so busy, and slowly the involvement just lost priority. You are losing out on a lot.

Before you stay out of a faith community forever let me encourage you to return for the following possible reasons.
1. We need to worship our God through Christ. God is seeking worshippers. We do need to gather together as the Body of Christ and lift Him up. It is encouraging and we connect with our Lord.
2. You don’t have to go to a faith community to be a Christian, but to be a growing one, I believe you do.
3. Your family is being greatly impacted. Most families that walk away, talk openly with kids present, why, and the bitterness can be passed down to children/students/young adults who take on your offense, thus they live a life void of church and probably void of God too.
4. One can’t be moved, touched, encouraged, taught by the Spirit if you are not present.
5. Your absence is a loss for the Body of Christ. Everyone is a minister. Everyone has gifts. With you not being part the ministry of your church is hampered. You can’t teach anyone, encourage anyone, pray for anyone. You lose touch with the heart of God and the heart for people.
6. The enemy loves believers that are disconnected with the strength of the Body of Christ. You can fall prey to sin, return to your life before salvation, allow old habits that are hurtful to resurface. Active faith combats that. Unbelief incubates better and grow faster when there is not much exposure to the light or the sun (Son).
7. All churches and all pastors/leaders are not like the one(s) that hurt you, so don’t paint Christianity with too wide of a brush. Maybe you need to forgive and pray about a new local church to be part of.
8. He loves you and his people do. Sorry if they were mean to you. Christians say and do stupid, imperfect, and insensitive things too. Many have hurt me also. I have to keep my eyes on Jesus. I have to have the love of God in my heart for all people. Most don’t mean to hurt anyone, they talk before they think, not weighing the impact of words, being void of wisdom. It might happen again if you return to be honest. We both have also been guilty of this too, so lets receive grace and most importantly, let’s give it.

I know these can all be rebutted, especially by a hurt person. But I just want to encourage you to do what you once loved to do. I know it might be very hard, take courage, and more love and forgiveness than you think you have. But you still love the Lord and He will help you. He needs you active, present, and there. You have more to offer, more to give, more to learn, and more to influence for Jesus.

Thanks for reading. Don’t give up on the local church yet. Give it another go. We need you.
My Pastor’s Heart,
Nate

Live with the tension, it’s not going away!


John 12.42,43 “Nevertheless many even of the rulers believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they were not confessing Him, for fear that they would be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the approval of men rather than the approval of God.”

There is a tension when we believe in Christ. The tension comes from the conflict we will have living in a non-believing world. We live in a world where many do not appreciate the Christ-centered life, the teachings of Jesus, or for morality. We have to come to grips that this tension is not going away. We need to honor and serve God, and follow Him and the Bible says he will honor us (John 12.26).

When we choose the approval of men, to not upset our friends and family with our faith and convictions, we also forfeit the approval of God. He must be first. People will be attracted to the approval of God on our lives also. Some call this the anointing. Jesus is the anointed one, so to serve Him is to be anointed. The anointed one lives in us. People will see your faith and courage to not please men and God will attract them.

So do not desire the approval of men, nor avoid their disapproval. If it means keeping your mouth shut about your faith in Christ and the values and morals that come with that. We want His approval more than anything! The tension of our faith is the way it will be as long as we are here and serving the Lord. So serve Him, embrace the tension, and fruit will come of that. The approval and honor of God will come with standing strong in the tension.

Continue reading “Live with the tension, it’s not going away!”

I Don’t Want to Grieve Jesus


hard heartIn my reading this morning a verse jumped into my heart from Mark 3.5. “After looking around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart...” Jesus then healed the man with the crippled man. He was angry as the religious were waiting to see if he would heal the man on the Sabbath. They wanted to accuse him if he healed. They cared not about the man who needed the healing. They cared more about the law than people.
This verse shows me that Jesus grieves (greek word “syllypeomai”, to be sad and deeply distressed from BDAG). Jesus was deeply hurt and upset that his creation, the religious had hard hearts. This distressed Jesus. This bothered Him. So, does the state of my heart grieve Jesus? I would say, yes it does at times. At times it can be hard, apathetic, un-engaging, distant, and selfish. We must “guard our hearts: (Proverbs 4.23). Read through these revealing questions about the heart, and take some time to pray and ask Christ to keep our hearts, soft, filled with the heart of Jesus, and not hard and distant.

1. Does the things of God move you inside? Bring you to tears from time to time? Motivate you for the Kingdom.
2. Have you argued over doctrine with more allegiance to that, than to your brother or sister who holds a different view?
3. Have you wept for the lost lately, and really cried their names out to God with compassion and conviction for their salvation?
4. Are you irritated when you are asked to sacrifice for the Gospel so lost people will be saved? When you are asked for money? For your time?
5. Does the moving of the Spirit move you?
6. How’s your kindness meter? Speech at home? Are words of comfort, humor, affirmation, and love part of your daily speech?
7. Does the poverty, lack of medical care, food, water, and education of most of the world move you?
8. Do you hurt for/with hurting people, regardless of the color of their skin, what country they are from, what part of the city they live in, what they look like, or what you perceive they are hurting from?

When I am consumed with myself, my schedule, my plans, my wants, my hurt feelings, my bad attitude, my aches and pains, my agenda, then I am pretty much the most uncompassionate and hard-hearted person on the planet. When I focus on Christ, His work, His life, His desire to live in me and through me, His mission, His calling, His love for all, His brokeness over the lost, over suffering and war, over the poverty of the world, then my heart is “strangly warmed” (John Wesley). I must stay connected to the vine, to the Savior, to the life of Christ or my heart will not be soft, and my Lord may be grieved with me. How soft is your heart today?