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

Don’t Be Judgy


There are many people today who are not part of the local church because they have been hurt by the believer’s there.  One way we really hurt people is by judging them.  It seems Christians, unfortunately, find it easy to do this. I know I have been guilty of this.  I recently talked to a young lady who was “shunned” from her last church for her divorce.  Everyone just rushed to judgement that she was breaking the Bible, not knowing anything about what sad things were going on behind closed doors at home.  She was ignored, a single mom, and no one cared, they only gossiped, judged, and avoided her.  As we talked the deep pain that people she loved and served left her side, and climbed up on a throne to look down on her, her life, and her decisions.  She made it clear to me she had no time for church, God or God’s people.  Being judged stole her young faith.

I know we Christians are not perfect, but I also know from being in spiritual leadership for over 30 years, that we all underestimate the effects of judgement, slander, and gossip.  It deeply wounds people, it does not add value to their lives.  It is discouraging and it is hurting us.  It’s highly unloving, and we are asked by our Lord Jesus not to do it.

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:1–5, NIV)

Jesus commands us not to judge others.

I know the pain of being lied about (a form of judging called slander), having people judge your motives, being spoken poorly of behind my back, and having people treat me weird, later knowing they believe something about me that wasn’t true, nor did I know they judged me and my friendship differently.   We all know what this is like.  We have to forgive and move forward keep our eyes on Christ.

Consider the follow thoughts….

  • No one truly knows the motives of others.
  • We all walk a different road.  Our journey’s are different. Our upbringing, our childhood, our life are not the same.
  • Most things are not our business.
  • Judging is about looking down on someone to boost us up. It pride.
  • The humble rarely judge.
  • We always have limited and often incorrect information.
  • Judging divides, and that is the devil. He loves to dived families, churches, Christians, and people.
  • Judging someone else’s spiritual journey is one of the most immature things a believers can do.
  • Judging dehumanizes others, and is a twin to hate.

Christ gave us a new command and that is to love each other.   To be patient, to encourage, to speak blessing and not curses.  The Bible teaches us to not be prideful, to bear the failures of the weak and to lift each other up, not tear each other down.

Judging, gossiping, complaining, and being rude to people to their face or behind their back, is a visible sign, that our hearts are wrong.  May God help us shun this as followers of Jesus and to love others.  May we care more about people than their mistakes, pasts, or shortcomings.

Some other Scriptures to help us all:

Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?” (James 4:11–12, NIV)

Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters.” (Romans 14:1, NIV)

We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.” (Romans 15:1–2, NIV)

 

 

 

 

The Greatest Leader


We are all leaders. We all lead people. We cannot deny our influence upon people. Our choices, talk, attitude, priorities, social media, all communicate and affect others.

“We cannot – not communicate.”

Who are the people that you love to be with and admire?  I imagine these people are loving, positive, encouraging, happy, and they have inward character and virtues that are pure and Christ-like.

I was pondering the account when Moses asked God to reveal to him, His glory.  God passed by Moses and he had to shield his face from the glory and then God revealed his glory by communicating it.

“Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in loving kindness and truth;who keeps loving-kindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.” Exodus 34.6-7  (NASB The Lockman Foundation 1995 update)

God reveals Himself as compassionate, lots of love, slow to angry. He forgives. He is truth. He will not overlook guiltiness.  We will not escape if we are guilty.  Wow, thankful for Jesus who removes our sin and guilt!

These qualities are the qualities of a leader, a believer, a follower of God.  These are the virtues of a person who confesses being one of God’s people.

Questions to Ponder

  • How compassionate are you?  Do you care and think, and act on behalf of others?
  • Are you grateful, and gracious in life, with others?
  • Do you value truth avoiding deceit, lies, gossip, spreading negative feelings about others?  Do you value the truth of God’s Word and live within His Words?
  • Are you forgiving?  Holding Grudges?  Do you have trouble giving grace?  Jesus can help us.
  • Do you have a kind attitude?
  • Living a life of being loving and kind must be personified in how we speak to and about others.  How we choose and prioritize ourselves.

The greatest leader of all is the Lord.  He is our standard for character, and without character we lead people….poorly. With the character of God, we lead people, and influence them to Him, bringing Him glory.

My thoughts this morning.  True and convicting. Life-giving and helpful I pray.
Pastor Nate Elarton

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).

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. 

L

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.

Up ↑