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

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Let’s Face it, We Have Limits


I have observed so many people living their lives and  how decisions are made based on their mind, will, desires, and understandings. I wrestle with this constantly also.  Making decisions based on our own knowledge and wisdom sounds noble, but can be catastrophic. Why?  We all have boundaries on our what we understand.  We only have learned so much.  We have only experienced so much. We have limits.  Our will can also manipulate our mind into making decisions we think we are good, but our desires, deceive our mind, and the decisions are really about us, and can impact others with pain, grief, and sorrow.

When we trust the Lord’s ways, we enter in to a life of faith and dependence on the One who has no boundaries.  God knows the past, present, and the future.  The Lord also loves us and has a will for our life, if we will but trust Him daily.  He knows what our heart and character need, to shore up our integrity, goodness, and holiness.  He isn’t tricked by our fancy prayers, deals, or justifications.

This verse in Proverbs 3 says it all:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3:5,6

We are encouraged to Trust in the Lord. His ways, his word, his will.  We are cautioned  about leaning on our own understanding.  Our intellect, our will, and our experiences, can threaten God ways in our lives we sweep Him aside, and trust in our own limited self.

Life is about so many decisions. Maybe today you have some heavy ones weighing on your mind and heart.  Can I encourage you to take the wisdom of Proverbs and apply them to your situation?  I mean, who wants a crooked life, and a rough path?  Surrender your will, and desires, and trust the one who know all, and loves you completely.

I have never heard anyone confess they regret trusting God.  I have heard regrets of the opposite countless times.  Live without regrets, and trust the Lord. He will direct your paths.

Five Judgments (Notes From Weekend at Compelled)


Below are the notes from this weekend at Compelled Church.

Message Available on our app and website  compelled.church

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NOTES:    This I Believe|Judgments

May 5,6 2018

Nate Elarton, Compelled Church

Judgement #1   Jesus was judged for the sin of the world

1 Peter 2:21–25 (NASB95)  ON Screen

Galatians 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”—

 

Romans 8:1–2 (NASB95)

1Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.   For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

 

Judgment #2   Judgment in the Great Tribulation   

The purpose is to see the Jewish People Come to faith in Jesus Christ as the Messiah

Jeremiah 30.4-7; Daniel 12.1; Matthew 24.21-23

 

Judgement #3 Judgment of the Gentile Nations  ??on screen)

Matthew 25.1-13 Parable of the Ten Virgins

Joel 3:1–2 (NASB95)

 

Judgement #4 The Great White Throne Judgment

The judgment of the wicked, those that have rejected the salvation of God, the testimony of Christ, and God himself.

Acts 17:30–31

Rev. 20.11-15

 

 Four things impacts of this final Judgment?

  1. The final judgment should help us forgive others freely -God’s justice should prevent us from seeking revenge.

 

  1. The final judgment satisfies our sense for justice in this world.

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  1. The final judgment should motivate us to live righteous.

 

  1. The final judgment should motivate the missional ChurchJude 20–23

 

Judgment #5 The Judgement Seat of Christ (bema Seat)

2 Corinthians 5:6–10 (NASB95) “Bad”- Greek word is “Phalos”  or worthless. This is not sin, but good works not for Christ.

 

Four  Considerations for the Judgement Seat of Christ.

  1. We will not be condemned for sin.

 

  1. Some of our good deeds were not really for Christ

 

“He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”John 3:18

 

  1. There will be degrees of reward for believers.

 

  1. Don’t have regrets at the Judgement Seat of Christ

 

What is God saying to me?

Why I am glad we became Church Planters


church plantingIn 1996 we left ministry in Northville Michigan to plant a church in Bedford township or Temperance, Michigan, a bordertown adjacent north to Toledo, Ohio. NCA and  sent us out with love, prayer, and support in every way.  It has been 21 years.  I am so glad Wendy and I stepped out in faith, left the comforts of being a full-time youth pastor, and went on the journey.  Today we have 2 campuses, 4 weekend gatherings, with 50+ small groups, and an amazing staff.  We have built a few times, and have seen many, many people come to Christ, we have started another campus, and God is moving in lives and growing people’s faith.. Here is why I am so glad I did not “chicken” out from the challenges of church planting.

  • I needed to grow in faith.  I had to trust God for everything. My faith grew. I can believe God for so many things as I have seen Him so faithful. I would not have the faith I have now, if I did not plant Compelled Church.
  • I struggled being bi-vocational.  The struggle helped me. I had to be better with time, plan more efficiently, and think ahead. I had to budget money carefully.  We learned to live on less, and not lose our joy.
  • I understand the pressures and challenges of our bi-vocational pastors because  I was.  It is hard.  No one gets how hard it is.
  • My children were part of the church plant and have experienced this, and it is part of their ethos and worldview.  They know God is real. The love the church, and love ministry.
  • The stories!  People’s lives changed by Christ. I know God would have called someone else if we would have said no to the call here, but I get the privilege of being part of the spiritual journey of many. What an honor.
  • Christ is so real to me.  I will never forget that this is his church. He is the head.  He is in charge and He builds the church. I live at His service.
  • Compelled Church has been an encouragement to other pastors and leaders. They gave in those early years, they invested, they encouraged, and their fingerprints are on Compelled.  I know that encourages them to continue to help and support church planters.
  • We planted another campus in Toledo. Many have come to Christ, come back to Christ and God’s people had an opportunity to be missional and believe God for another “church”.  The campus pastor, Tim Rabara, was saved, discipled, and sent out from Compelled Church.
  • We have also supported other church plants, taken dozens of mission trips, given hundreds of thousands to missions, because of this church plant.
  • We have had the opportunity to send many into ministry and missions over the years. Dozens of young people and adults, serve in ministry in so many places. What an honor to be part of their journey.
  • We have made  priceless relationships in the community, as we lived here, imbedded our lives here, went to the public school here, participating in sports, and the community.  God has leveraged those relationships in amazing ways. I have some amazing stories.
  • I met amazing mentors that poured into my life to helped me, and speak into my life.  I will forever be indebted to Dean Grabill, my brother Steve, Todd Winkler,  Otis Buchan and NCA, Hugh Duncan (he never stopped encouraging me, contacting me, writing me, calling me), Dennis Clanton, Marty Eddinger, Jim Rentz, Tim Dilena, Steve Miller, Joel Stocker, Brad and Tom Trask, more friends and mentors than I can even list!
  • Everyday has been an adventure, in the lives, and community of faith. I would not trade it for the world. The last 21 years have been a roller coast ride of amazing, with God’s faithfulness in each season, the great ones, and the tough ones, He is faithful.

Don’t underestimate the power and leading of God.  If you want to investigate more about church planting, multi-site, shoot me a note. I would be overjoyed to invest and help in anyway I can into future planters.   nate@compelledchurch.tv

Some church-planting pics for fun.

Self-Control will bless your life


resolute.jpg“ A person without self-control is as defenseless as a city with broken-down walls”  Proverbs 25.28 NLT

 We live in a time where denying yourself anything one desires is not even a thought.  Hence, our life can suffer without the virtue of  self-control.  We must control ourselves, our desires, our wants, or we will be as vulnerable as a city with no defenses. The enemy will attack, plunder us and our families, and lead us as prisoners.  There is a reason “self-control” is a fruit of the Spirit of God (Galatians 5.22-23). Without self-control we will make decisions, that ultimately will have a high cost.

How would you rate yourself when it comes to self-control?  Take some time and really ponder, meditate, and honestly reflect on these questions.

  1. Do you control yourself when it comes to your focused time of listening and learning from God? Do you make sure you are reading, learning, reflecting? Is this easy to skip? Can you go days without being alone with Jesus?
  2. Are you a slave to your phone and devices with no self-control? The desire and OCD to constantly invest your time and life to social media to keep looking at what other’s are posting in their lives, is a time-eater. How much per day get this part of you? What could you do to redeem this time?
  3. Can you say no to temptation? Without self-control we can fall into sin. The enemy tempts all. No one is exempt from temptation.  Our heart can deceive us. Our flesh can attempt to lead us down roads we never want to go. Without self-control we can fall victim and make decisions that can ruin our lives and the lives of our family. We can choose sin over the Lord, and violation of God’s ways over our love for Jesus.  We must grow our faith and walk, as that will build self-control, and our city walls will defend us from our enemy.
  4. How do you entertain yourself? Literally we have 24 hours of non-stop entertainment to numb us and gobble up our lives (time), and even infect our spirit.  You can stream any movie, Youtube never shuts off, social media it always with us. We have any game available.   We are connected and can watch whatever we want, almost wherever we want.  Violence, pornography, lewdness, filthy communication, are available to all.  Without self-control, one can participate in these things and literally forfeit your soul, and steal your passion and desire for the Lord and purity.  We have to be honest, Christian or not, we are losing this front where self-control is desperately needed. The stats on those hooked on pornography is staggering. With its easy availability on every social media platform and our phones, the enemy has found a way to kill a person from the inside out and wreck the love of marriages and view of each other.
  5. How about your family? Do we serve them? Our flesh may never feel like serving, but a person that has control over themselves will serve, and when Jesus has control of you, they will love being with their family, investing in their marriage, spending time with their children.  Hobbies and desires for leisure activities apart from family will take a back seat to a person with self-control. There will be time for them, but not at the expense of your marriage and family.
  6. How is your diet? Our society is sick because we have no self-control with what we eat or exercise. Capitalism has made food big business. So unhealthy food tastes the best, and sells the most, so it is available, in large quantities, everywhere.  Many  cannot go a day without soda, frappe, and drinks with hundreds of calories from sugar. Without self-control, our health will suffer, we will have no energy, or desire to be active, and we spiral downward physically, hoping a pill or a health gimmick will save us, but only self-control will.  This battle is real and I am in it. I am determined to never give up on my diet and health. I want to have energy and healthy to be active with my grandchildren and children.

 

So, with self-control in a life, there is big benefits and blessings. Let me write down some observations I have seen with people you have the self-control of God in their lives.

  1. They grow in Christ and invest in their soul. They read, reflect,and have lives of prayer, thus building their “wall” and protecting their “city” lives (Proverbs 25.28). They enjoy making time daily to commune with the Lord, His Word, and the things that grow them and protect them from evil.
  2. They are not self-consumed, as self-control has sculpted them into being like Christ, being a servant. A person with self-control lives outside of themselves and goes out of their way for others, to glorify Christ.
  3. They accomplish things in life that bring purpose and glorify the Lord. With self-control one can get a degree, learn an instrument, hone a skill, enjoy a craft, start a non-profit ministry etc. They are people who are not afraid of trying new things and working hard to see things accomplished. They avoid wasting large bites of time.
  4. People with self-control are not followers. They don’t allow someone else to lead them into destruction, bad habits, sinful activities. They lead themselves, they are in control of their lives. They want to honor God with their choices. They don’t need to make someone else happy or have their approval.
  5. People with self-control do hard things that make a difference. They don’t take the easy road. They are up for a challenge. They enjoy the fruit of their goals, even if it takes years.
  6. People with self-control can love unconditionally, forgive, and live with healthy relationships, as they know Christ, and Christ forgives and the flesh that wants to be bitter, wants to hate people, wants revenge, is put to death, by the person that is in control of their emotions, as they choose to follow Christ.
  7. They don’t have to apologize much. They don’t lose their cool, say things they shouldn’t and treat people awful. They are in control of themselves, their actions, and what they say. This happens because they are first in control of what they think.
  8. They make wise financial choices. They can say no and control themselves to wait for the things they need or want. They don’t drive their families in debt and live in poverty because they can’t say no and deny themselves. They save, they wait, they are wise. They also have self-control to give generously to the work of the Lord on this earth.
  9. People with self-control have convictions about life. They go to work. They go to church. They serve. They give. They think about others.  They grow. They are not given to addictions, bad habits, vices, and/or laziness with work or spiritually.
  10. They say “no” to their flesh. So they  are protected from starting an addiction, an affair, a bad habit, or a pattern in life that will ruin them. They watch their health, try to eat healthy. They say no to the temptation of the devil. They say no when others try and get them to sin. They can say no to themselves.   They are resolute in their convictions and desire to be faithful to the Lord.

 

Self-control is a critical attribute and no one is exempt.  We need more of it in the day we live.  Without self-control, one is going to have a very difficult life, and so will their family. With self-control, one will enjoy side-stepping and avoiding all sorts of problems in life, and will honor the Lord with who they are  and who they are becoming with every great, godly, self-controlled choice. They will live a blessed life.

Scriptures to ponder

Galatians 5:22–23 (NASB1995)

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

Proverbs 15:33 (NASB95)

33 The fear of the Lord is the instruction for wisdom,And before honor comes humility.

Proverbs 11:10 (NRSV)

10   When it goes well with the righteous, the city rejoices;and when the wicked perish, there is jubilation.

Proverbs 12:11 (NRSV)

11   Those who till their land will have plenty of food,

but those who follow worthless pursuits have no sense.

Proverbs 12:24 (NRSV)

24   The hand of the diligent will rule, while the lazy will be put to forced labor.

Proverbs 13:3–4 (NRSV)

3     Those who guard their mouths preserve their lives; those who open wide their lips come to ruin.

4     The appetite of the lazy craves, and gets nothing, while the appetite of the diligent is richly supplied.

Proverbs 26:13–16 (NLT)

13 The lazy person claims, “There’s a lion on the road! Yes, I’m sure there’s a lion out there!”

14 As a door swings back and forth on its hinges, so the lazy person turns over in bed.

15 Lazy people take food in their hand but don’t even lift it to their mouth.

16 Lazy people consider themselves smarter than seven wise counselors.

2 Peter 1:5–6 (NLT)

In view of all this, make every effort to respond to God’s promises. Supplement your faith with a generous provision of moral excellence, and moral excellence with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with patient endurance, and patient endurance with godliness,