A Church is Only as Strong as the Men. We are Experiencing a Revival of Men!


Men seeking God in response to the teaching.
Men seeking God in response to the teaching.
Last night I was blessed and blown away. We have been planning and praying for our men’s ministry we have named “Second Sunday”. Last night Bryan (Our men’s ministry leader) and I took a chance and set up 17 tables. We met with, trained 20 table leaders, ordered the pizzas, made the coffee, prayed, invited, and 108 men poured in the doors. After a great teaching by Jim Byers on the love of God, and receiving it as the foundation for all spiritual growth, a song, the tables began to buzz with discussion. for an hour the men talked about Jim’s teaching and their own spiritual lives. They shared, they made new friends, they connected to the Father and His love. Heads bowed, they prayed for each other and families, the 36 pizzas came, and in 20 minutes they were gone and the football game went up, the Euchre cards came out, the basketball and ping pong started and the new friendships and encouragement continued till 9:30. I could not even sleep when I got home I was so happy and thankful.

I have always taught and modeled as best I could that a church will only be as strong as their men. Compelled Church is a man’s church, and our men our seeking God and reaching other men. I am blessed to be part of this holy move of our loving Father. Looking forward to the next Second Sunday, the men’s breakfasts (yes pastor they still work), and all our men’s huddles that meet through out the week and month.

Five things you must have to serve Jesus


1. Tenacity and perseverance. It takes a lot of “not giving up” stuff to serve the Lord. Life can be discouraging, the world presses in, the enemy can attack, but we can’t turn our backs from serving him. He calls us to stay faithful as he is. ” For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart” (Heb. 12.3).
2. Love. Truly understanding and receiving the Father’s unconditional love will make you a loving person. But love is a choice at times, and should be givein out in generous portions. Loving Christians best reflect Jesus. Mean Christians, diminish the true reflection of the Father’s Heart. Love those that don’t love you. Love the stranger. Love your pastor. Love your family. Love the Word. Love worship. Love those who have hurt you. Love.
3. SelflessnessGod calls us to lay down our lives. He calls us to surrender and live for him. He calls us to serve others and to forsake our own wants and desires (Gal. 2.20).
4. Availability. Be available for God to use you. Let him speak through you. If you see a need meet that need. point people to Jesus. Be available to pray and stand in the gap for others. Be available to encourage those that need it so badly. Don’t be afraid.
5. More faith in the Holy Spirit. It’s not all up to us. We are not God. The Holy Spirit is God and he gives us power to do the above four. We must depend on the Spirit of God. We must want to be filled and baptized by the Spirit. We must want to Hear the Spirit’s voice. We need the Spirit’s touch. WE need to know He is working and has gone before us and He is enough for our situations. Remember John 26, 27, ” “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you. Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.

I know there are a lot more things we need, byt I pray these five will encourage you today.

Some things Father spoke this week


Here are some things Father has been speaking to me during this week of prayer and fasting.

I am pretty excited over the participation this week of prayer and fasting.  Dozens of people participated every day in our 3 prayer times, each day.  I know more people have fasted then ever before and many people for the very first time.  I am amazed at how many fasted for the five days.  I go Sunday to Sunday, and am looking forward to eating tomorrow after church but I am also enjoying the benefits of Fasting and prayer.  I wake up every morning at 5:30 totally naturally and have spent some serious time with Father this week.  He has done a lot, some can be put into words, and some things cannot.  I want to share a few things, but many things I cannot.  Here are a few for me.

  • He reminded me of us overwhelming love and grace on my life (sounds basic, but is critical).
  • A thankfulness for my salvation, my life, my church, my family, my journey.
  • Father said he was going to impart to me more of his compassion this year.
  • In our 17th year of ministry since planting the church, He said this was going to be a year of depth and harvest.
  • I must give greater time preparing for my speaking ministry in the Word, in prayer, in study, and in solitude.
  • I need to be more of a “Mary” and not a “Martha” so I can give attention to my speaking ministry.
  • I am to finish my discipleship book.
  • We are to press forward in faith for the Toledo Campus. He will grow it and provide the finances needed.
  • Raise up and bless more leaders.
  • Pour into my family and not put in so many hours in the church (there is more, but no to share). Lots of things.
  • Speak my convictions clearer with authority.  You’ll be hearing details on this.
  • Keep a prayer element on Wednesdays, gatherings.  The more the body prayers for each other, the more they will care for each other.
  • Keep woodcarving and don’t feel guilty about enjoying this, as the Lord gave me this for “wholeness”.
  • I am to Believe God for greater things, and not “shelf” my dreams when I wrestle with fear or doubt.
  • Many things about my leadership, Compelled, certain ministries,  and even people I am to target to raise into leaders.
  • Be more thankful and keep my eyes on what Father is doing. There is more He is doing, and I am missing it, as I am thinking down the road often, and don’t see the joy of the present.
  • Trusting Him “Issues”.

What has God been sharing with you during the week of fasting and prayer?  Please comment. It feeds my soul!!!

Five Ways to Prevent your Heart from Getting Spiritually Dull


Jesus says this in Matthew 13 after he tells the Parable of the Sower
“ You will indeed hear but never understand,
and you will indeed see but never perceive.”
15  For this people’s heart has grown dull,
and with their ears they can barely hear,
and their eyes they have closed,
lest they should see with their eyes
and hear with their ears
and understand with their heart
and turn, and I would heal them.’”

He is quoting from Isaiah 6.9, 10 thus showing that the heart of those that receive the world can grow dull, or calloused.  The ears that once heard the voice of the Spirit grow deaf, and the spiritual eyes close.  Here are five ways to prevent this from happening to you.

1. Don’t give your heart to the world.  This world’s system is not the Lord’s Kingdom.  The greed, materialism, lust, drugs, alcohol, pride, and selfish living, will diminish your heart’s allegiance to Christ.  Keep your heart soft and owned by Christ.  Give it to nothing else.

2. Be committed to daily seeking Christ.  Too many “Christians” are not “disciples.” They simply go to church a couple times a month and think all is well. That is deception. God has more than that for every life!  Be a follower, learner, and true disciple of Jesus every day, seeking His will, and ways, through His Word, by His Spirit.

3. Serve others. We live in a world where being served is more valued than serving, but the Kingdom of Christ, values servanthood as the greatest. Look beyond your own life and let Jesus use you. Be generous with your finances, possessions, and time and your heart will stay soft, your eyes will see needs, and your ears will hear the direction of the Spirit.

4. Don’t tolerate “little sins”.  Sin and compromise always seem to grow as the enemy of your soul wants you to be deceived that little sins, matter little.  That is a lie. They matter a lot, for every fungus and mold grows.  It will grow over your heart that loves Jesus, it will spread to your face, over your eyes, packing your ears, and you will simply walk away from a life that once walked with God, and a heart that was soft and connected to Heaven. I have seen it.  I watch it happen to many.  Flee sin please. Satan is tricky, and loves moving slowly. He can be patient.  he would rather get us over time and win then try a frontal assault and lose.  Sin is his domain, don’t think for a minute it is not.

5. Make “Jesus” choices Daily – Too many people receive Jesus with joy, but cannot hold up to the opposition and the push-back of the world. Following Jesus has a cost, and some are not willing to give it.  You have to choose God daily.   Choose to grow deep roots!  Choose to worship. Choose to go to church and be involved. Choose to pray. Choose to fast. Choose to give. Choose to love. Choose to kneel. Choose to raise your hands. Choose to forgive. Choose to surrender. Choose to serve. Choose to read and study God’s Word. Choose Jesus. Choose righteousness. Choose to keep your heart soft, your eyes sharp, and your ear tuned to His voice. Choose Jesus and His ways in all things.

One of the saddest things I encounter as a spiritual leader is watching people slowly drift away from their love for Jesus and soon they are compromising, absent from the body of Christ, but present with self and worldly pursuits and desires.  It bothers me, so prevent your heart from growing dull. Walk with Jesus and keep loving and growing in your love!

Blessings my dear friends, Pastor Nate Elarton

I’m “Provoked” from my trip to Mexico!


Acts 17.16  Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was being provoked within him as he was observing the city full of idols.”
Paul’s spirit was provoked because of the idols. He saw the deception and the lostness of the people of Athens.  he observed they were worshipping idols of no life, no power and no hope. He was “provoked” which means his spirit was stirred up or stimulated with this stie.  When is the last time righteousness and unrighteousness collided in your heart and our got a little or a lot provoked?  I am provoked   from this trip to Mexico where they are begging for a $1500 cement mixer to help build churches.  It costs us more to out new bulbs in our overhead projector than that!  I am provoked right now, bu my own selfish heart that is blessed a million times over compared to my brothers and colleagues in he Oaxaca, mountains that are trying to preach and pastor in areas steeped in a form of Catholicism and idol worship as well as the worship of ancestors . They walk hours to preach and visit people to witness for Christ.
I was provoked stepping into a church and seeing the idol worship, just like Paul in Athens.  I wanted to scream, “There is a living Jesus who cares about you more than these idols in glass boxes!!  The church there have little buildings most have none at all.  I am provoked that we continue to beat in the hearts of people who have had the Gospel beat on them their whole life and they just keep rejecting Gods plans and His ways.  These pastors are trying to reach 38 indigenous people groups with over 30 dialects of language spoken. Most of the mountains has not had an adequate witness of the Gospel of Christ.  They are an unreached people group .
The Pastors are heroes!!  They make almost no money, they receive no attention , accolades, or honor.  Yet they continue, day after day, fulfilling the call of God to reach their people for Jesus.  My spirit is very provoked, stirred, and broken.  I think of Haiti, Mexico, India, Nepal, Inner Mongolia, the  Arabian Peninsula, the muslims of Indonesia, the Horn of Africa and right now  and thank God for those God has called there.  We must support them in every way.  We must be provoked by the lostness of our world and be moved, provoked, and compelled to do something about it.  Whining about it won’t change anything.  Do you feel provoked in your spirit about anything?  Is it time to get provoked and compelled to holy action?  Let me answer that…YES it is time. Let’s get provoked about lost people worshipping everything and anything but Jesus.  “Provoke us Holy Spirit, provoke your church to action in this world.”  When We are provoked the worst thing in the world we can do is nothing, and I am not into doing nothing. Who’s going to Mexico with me next year????Pastor and Heroes of the Oaxaca Mountains
Oaxaca Mountains
Provoked by Idols

Three Inward Witnesses of the Kingdom of God


Romans 14:16-19 Therefore do not let what is for you a good thing be spoken of as evil; 17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. 18 For he who in this way serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. 19 So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.

AFter teaching that nothing is unclean, unless you feel it is, we get a couple verses on true freedom and the Kingdom of God.  Jesus said the Kingdom of God is not about outward, but it is truly inward (Luke 17.21).  It is is righteousness, being right with God, peace resulting from being saved and delivered by God which is reconciliation, and joy that is in our hearts as we are set free from sin, and the guilt and shame associated with unforgiven sin. These are the inward manifestations of the Kingdom of God.

I have been thinking of these all week since this weekend.

 

What about your “testimony”, remember that?


Do you remember hearing that phrase about your “testimony”?  this means your Christ-likeness as you represent him.  When I was saved in 1981 I was taught quickly that now I represent Christ.  My life is proof of his existence, his life-changing power, His holiness, His love, His Holy Spirit, and that from my life and words other would see Christ as I was a “witness”, or proof of the reality that Jesus is alive, real, and is the Savior of the World.  This is needed today.  We get it all screwed up.  The Holy Spirit was sent to live in believers so we would receive power to have a good testimony, not just speak in tongues!!  Acts 1.8″ But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”  The word witness is the Greek word “martoos” or “martyr”  It means a witness, or an example.  The HOly  Spirit is to help us live as Jesus to show Jesus.  So how is your “Martoos”?  How is your testimony?  Do you represent Jesus by your words, fruit, your marriage, your finances?  Does your life prove that Jesus is real?  Do you need to repent for making Jesus look bad?  Do you need strength?  He provided us the power….the Holy Spirit!  Get full of Him, get rid of the flesh, worldy influences, and let’s represent Jesus by everything we are and everything we do.

Ten Signs That You May Be a Christian Consumer


Since Christian consumerism (an oxymoron really) is a deception, and deceptions are deceitful, how do you know if you are being deceived?  If you are deceived you don’t know that, because we don’t know what we don’t know.  What we consider normal Christianity in America, has a lot of selfish consumerism in it. It is not normal according to the Bible at all.  How do you know if you have become just another Christian Consumer?  Ask yourself these Ten challenges questions, better yet, ask on your knees and ask God to give his perspective.

1. Maybe you question the existence of God, or his love for you, every time life gets challenging. The truth is life can be tough, but he never leaves us and never forsakes us. He has promised that trouble will come in life and storms will happen, but if we are truly on the Rock, then no storm will crush our faith, only make it grow stronger, deeper, more mature!

2. You make plans for your life, and then communicate to the Lord, and demand he bless them.  The truth is, the Lord has a plan for you. That is the best plan. Learn His plans, and then walk in His ways.

3.  You have thrown in the towel on faith, because you can’t understand why something happened in life happened to you.  Don’t forget, something pretty awful also happened to Jesus.  One incident cannot define our lives nor should our faith hinge on it.

4. Sometimes we can be more interested in God blessing us, than we blessing God.  The truth is, he owes us nothing. Jesus must be enough! Salvation is a greater blessing and gift than most Christian realized. If we did fully understand, I believe we would live and worship with a greater level of thankfulness and gratitude.

5. Your personal wealth and receiving of money from God, is part of your theology and understanding of God’s responsibilities to you.  You believe the Christian TV lie that God owes richness, wealth, and prosperity to you. The false theology is really based on greed.  This is the saddest thing in Christianity to me. Reduces the precious cross to money. God help us and may his mercy forgive us.

6. You leave your church family when something does not go the way you want, or a change is made, that you don’t like, or you were told no. You tell everyone “God released you” or “You didn’t feel the anointing anymore” or something “really spiritual like that.  The truth is we may have trouble with submission, change, or we are really a consumer? So we pull our family youth and kids out and go somewhere else that we like better, fits our needs (no one usually leaves without poisoning a few on the way out unfortunately).   God may want you at a church you don’t like, to be a servant and to be a blessing!  People in a church you may not like, may be praying for people like you to stay, and help it be all God wants it to be.  Your absence also brings an absence of the blessing of your presence and your family.

7. How much is sacrifice a part of your faith? Sacrificial serving? Sacrificial giving?  Giving God time for prayer?  Sacrificing food for fasting?  Making sure your family is in worship, no matter what. There will always be things that conflict with corporate worship times.  Every time church comes 2nd you make a statement to your family that worship is really not that important, kind of optional.  I am not being realistic, but in 25 years of ministry, families with this pattern raise up families and adults that have no interest in church and make no time in their lives to be involved in their local church.  This is a result of being a consumer of God, and not a sacrificial servant.

8. Do you see the good in the church and the Kingdom?  Do you only see what is wrong? What can be improved?  Do you help broken things get fixed?

9. Most consumers never encourage or compliment when things go well…I mean, things are expected to always go smooth? Right?  So do we compliment and encourage those that serve and minister to us?  Do we let them know they have made a difference, or when things go good we are silent? Have you ever written a note or bought a gift for your kids leaders?  Youth group volunteers that commit and give weekly to play a part in our kids faith?  Have you ever thanked an usher?  Expressed gratitude to a sound man?  Do you thank the person serving the coffee?  Servants love serving and bless servers. Consumers just keep taking in.

10. Is Jesus the center of your faith or are you the center of your faith?  Is every worship service centered on your feelings, your needs, your desires, or do you glorify and lift up the Lord?  Sometimes consumers serve God for the benefits, and avoid the sacrifices, commitment, denial of self and desires.

The Ancient Scriptures Teach…

16 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. 17 Their teaching will spread like gangrene. 2 Timothy 2.16, 17 NIV

James 1.22 22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.

Matthew 16:24 …’Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.’

Matthew 6:21,24 …’For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and material posessions.’

Matthew 7:21 …’Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.’

Matthew 10:22 …’And your will be hated of all men for My name’s sake, but he that perseveres to the end will be saved.’

 

So Done with the Deception of “Christian Consumerism”


I don’t often just write about too many things that seem negative,  but the last few weeks it is becoming sadly apparent to me that there is an attitude in America toward God that is based on flat out capitalistic consumerism. So this is not a rant, but a warning for those of you that read. I hope it “spurs  you on toward love and good works” (Hebrews 10.24).   Many of God’s people, or the church are approaching and seeing their faith and relationship by what is in it for them, not for the Father, the Kingdom, or the church.   Many believers seem to be serving God with the unspoken but realistic idea that God is really serving them.  The needs and wants of the individual are put ahead of the mandates and Lordship of Christ, his church, or his fellow man.  It seems if God does not answer the prayer in the way we want our whole faith is thrown into crisis and people just walk away because our Father did not do what they demanded of him. God help us if we view God that he is bound to do our bidding!!!!!  If we walk away from our God, or our church because we did not get our way, our maturity in Christ does not exist. We are selfish, and don’t really comprehend who God is, what the Christian faith is, or what serving as a disciple of Jesus, a slave of the Lord.

Let us remember that we are part of a movement!  We are not part of a club, a tribe of those like minded in doctrine, or a member of the local church in which we bless God by our attendance if we happen to not be tired, sore, at Cedar Point, or too lazy to get there so we just watch on the Internet.  We are part of a movement.  The church is the Body of Christ and Jesus is alive!  He is not stagnate, dead, or neutral.  He has a mission for us and wants us to carry his message and promote His Kingdom. We have joined a movement when we got saved.  Do you view the body of Christ as a movement?  Do it, it will change how you approach your faith, church, mission, and life.

Let’s stop approaching God with our needs only! Our need to see miracles, our need to feel good, our need to be coddled, our need to have life our way, and let’s approach God with availability to His needs.  He does not exist for us to “consume” for nothing.  But be filled with Him so we can go to “them”.   Don’t just serve God for what he can do for you.  Why? He will not do your will, and when he doesn’t,  that will shatter your shallow faith, as God does not serve any man.  Serve God for what we can do for Him.  Serve God to glorify Christ and lift up his death and resurrection, and message of salvation and redemption.   Worship to glorify the Lord, not so you can just be touched. Give to further the movement, not to be blessed.  Serve because you know you are a little part of something very big! Serve no matter if you enjoy it or not. Do something because Jesus enjoys it. Serve him with unbridled passion in response to being adopted, redeemed, saved, forgive, through Christ’s grace and his substitutionary miracle of the cross.  Serve him because you  just love Him with all your heart.  Tough Post, but many  need a wake up call. Am I wrong?  Do you see this?  Please comment and dialogue about this.

“If anyone serves Me, he must follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also; if anyone serves Me, the Father will honor him.” John 12.26 NASB

Why? For the love of Christ COMPELLS us!


The food to give out at the Toledo Outreach.

Tomorrow we are giving out 20 to 25 tons of food to our city.  Over one hundred volunteers will give their Saturday to serve.  We will spend the money that our men raised 2 years ago at a Wild game dinner.  We will spend money granted through our gift cards or scrip.   Jesus said if we serve the hurting, we are serving Him.  In November 25 of us will travel to Welch, W. VA to give out Christmas gifts and food. We have had multiple team go and work at Mission of HOpe in Haiti and another is preparing for a Nov. trip.  Our youth are going to work with children in FL this summer.  Last year our church help support 40 missionaries and ministries. People give sacrificial and voluntarily every week and month for this to happen.   This weekend over 100 volunteers will serve at 4 different gatherings in two locations. Some will make coffee, some will smile in Christ and welcome people, some will teach the Word of God to our children, some will play, sing, run media, a camera, clean, take out trash, or just be ready. Our Toledo team will be waiting at 8 am for the doors of our rented facility to open to pour in and set up for the Sunday morning service and ministries.  They are volunteers, serving joyfully for no other reason than to help people love God more, love each other more and serve.  They are compelled.  Why do we do these things?  Why are people eager to be part of something bigger than themselves?  Our name is  our purpose. “For the Love of Christ compels us.(2 Cor. 5.14).  Are you Compelled by Christ love to do Christs’ work in His time, His way, and with His love, power and authority.  Be compelled and let his love “control” you.

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