Dog Poo and Prayer

So I love my kids so much. This week they are ministering at camp this week so we are watching their dog. All my kids have super sweet dogs, this is Abby and Justin’s dog. We love their dog. Her name is Ethel. Anyhow, Sunday morning, I run out to the woodcarving studio, to get my journal, as I pray and spend time with Jesus there. I grab it and head to Compelled for prayer before the services. We don’t have a dog so I gave no attention to the grass where I was walking.

We had a great 9 am service with prophetic word that was a catalyst to a powerful prayer time. I knelt at the altar and really had a close prayer time with the Lord and many of the Compelled Family that came forward to prayer. I stand up and back up to the front row with my wife Wendy and she giggles in my ear that my boot on the bottom is packed with dog poo. Sure enough, I look and it’s packed thick in the tread. So as I talked with Jesus on my knees everyone could see the bottom of my boots, and the dog poo. I felt stupid a bit then I too laughed.

So I stood there through the last song and realized, that no matter what’s on us, no matter how revolting, we can come to God and talk with Him. He welcomes all to come. No matter what shape we are in, what we have done, or what is smeared into our boot treads, or the boot treads of life, God never rejects anyone seeking Him.

I’ll be more careful in the yard on Sunday mornings. I am thankful for a little truth and theology, in an embarrassing moment.

Pastor Nate

Back from Sabbatical

Wendy and I are back from a 2 month Sabbatical. A Sabbatical is an extended Sabbath. After 36 years in FT ministry and 26 years here at Compelled Church, it was time to rest from the responsibilities of leadership and decision making. It was an incredible time of resting, refreshing, refocusing, and refilling in Christ. We traveled, worshipped with our kids, spent extended times daily with Jesus and with each other. We went to our cohort, which was a marriage intensive with Pete and Geri Scazzero and 7 other couples. It was fantastic. We had a blast.

On the weekend at Compelled, Bedford Campus we will share some of the insights and reflections we received from the grace of God. Click here to listen to them

We also really used an app that blessed us. It is called “Lectio 365”. It is an audible prayer app, to listen and prayer Scripture (Lectio Divina). click here for a link to the website or download it from an app store.

To Listen to our reflections click here. This weekend I will talk about being a “functional Atheist.” from Psalm 53. A word the Lord gave me while I was up north.

Amazing Prayer App

Our Sabbatical Document

Sabbatical for the Elarton’s 2022

Why Now?

We have been here 26 years. This is our life’s work. We have given our life here. We have been in ministry 36 years, serving also as youth pastors in Linton, IN and Northville, MI before planting the church here.

During our 26 years we have grown from 5-to over 1000 + people, planted another campus, trained, hired, managed, and released many pastors and new staff. We have had 5 significant building programs, raised over 1  million for missions, raised 3 kids, completed a Master’s Degree, and served in many different District roles, local boards, and leadership opportunities.  For the last 12 years we have had 3 services a weekend, as well as small group leadership, Next step classes, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Ministry.  We have given our lives. We have been all in. We have been available to staff, leaders, and our people all the time for 26 years here, and totally 36 years in ministry.   We lead multiple staff,  classes,  and services, continuously for many years, as well as pastoral care for our families,  funerals, weddings, counseling, tragedies, and discipleship meetings.

Purpose for a Sabbatical

Rest from Responsibilities of Compelled Church Lead Leadership. For myself and Wendy who walks and shares  this life and calling with me. We are in this together and have always have been. She also needs a rest.

Refresh our souls in the Lord without responsibilities, or having to lead anything.

To Rediscover that we are not defined by what we do but who we are in Christ.

To experience what it feels like to not be responsible for the Organization, staff, facilities, people, budgets, giving,  and needs  of Compelled Church, both campuses.

Unplug from the matrix of ministry.

For Wendy and I to have some intentional space, to think, dream, and enjoy Christ.

To set up our souls and spirits to finish so well, as we return to the last season of lead pastoring ministry.

To set a culture of rest, sabbatical, and care for the present and future pastors of Compelled Church.

To be an example to my other Colleagues in ministry.

Dates 2022

April 19-2022   2-Week on-ramp |   May and June  2022 Full Sabbatical  |  July1-14   Return  off-Ramp 

My Scriptures  Theme

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13, NASB95)

So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12–13, NASB95)

What will we do?

We will get away to some Pastor Retreat locations.

We will have a few weeks of total  R and R and vacation.

We will also  be in town and not be in our role as Lead Pastor.

We will spend a week with Scazzero’s at a marriage emphasis with our EHD Cohort

We will read, walk, contemplate, date,  rest, pray, and extend our Sabbath.

I will not set goals or writing, prepping, or planning. To only do what brings  us  life and depth in our walk with Christ and our marriage.   The goal of spiritual refreshing in Christ  and a break from responsibilities of leading will be the target.

We love Compelled Church with all our heart. I am convinced Wendy and I will return refreshed, and ready for what the Lord has for our churches. Thank you for all your love and affirmations. Thank you to our incredible board that is encouraging and supporting this with great love and energy.

We love you all so much! Pastors Nate and Wendy Elarton

Satisfy us with Your Love

I found this song while posting a woodcarving reel on Instagram. As I spend a little time in my evening office and evening compline, I am reminded of this song. I played it and entered into a thin place. I desire so much and yet total satisfaction is found in the love of God. I need nothing else. Prayerfully listen to this song with your heart, not your head, and enjoy your own “thin place.” P. Nate

Man Cannot Live by Bread Alone

This weekend we will continue our Lord’s Prayer Series taking the line “Give us this day our daily bread”. Here is the encouragement I wrote for our weekly church Encouragement email.

Hi Compelled Church,

Our “month of Prayer”has been engaging and I pray you have started, continued, and will continue the healthy habits of slowing down to be with Jesus a couple times a day, alone, and with family.

Please come to Thursday Prayer Lectio Divina, live at Bedford or on Zoom . Here is the zoom link for Thursday at noon.

I am reflecting as this month I have been intentionally with Jesus more, of His great love.  Not just that I know it, but that I sense Him and feel His love for me.  There not much greater that that.

You see the Lord is our provider. “Give us this day our daily bread.” Is what we pray in the Lord’s prayer.  That is about more than just bread.  Jesus himself said in Matthew 4.4 that “man can’t live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”  We need more from the Lord than just food.  We are broken, wounded growing up, needy. Some of us have been through great trauma and now we struggle. We struggle with significance, anxiety, insecurity, depression, self-worth, and feeling loved.  Because we struggle, we are not able to receive these  things sometimes or to give them.  so our struggle is handed down to the next generation, or our spouse, neighbors, family, and even our church family.  Our wounds manifest sooner or later in many forms.  Anger, unforgiveness, physical ailments, rage, abuse, withdraw, addictions, control, perfectionism, narcissism, lonliness, depression, lack of self worth, religious.  We hurt those we love, we neglect ourselves, we can’t communicate what we truly feel for others, we suffer in silence, we hijack healthy relationship, we blame others and play the victim over and over.    Jesus doesn’t want us to live there.  He has more for his children. His healing is for you.

God is the great Provider. He gives us what we need.  In him, as we allow the “inner work” of the Spirit to drill down, he heals these wounds as he is a “wounded healer”. We don’t have to repeat and live in the pain of our past and the limps inflicted on us in childhood.

Jesus heals us.  We all want to pray for everyone’s physical healing, but we need healed from so much more than physical infirmities.  We need healed from the brokenness and pain we have encountered in the sometimes cruel world, at the hands of others.  When we begin to let the great healer into the broken rooms of our heart, his Love, and all that communicates to us, begins a deep work of wholeness.

This weekend  is going to be very heart-felt, honest, and powerful.   Pastor Matt and I will not be holding back. We are both like everyone, wounded healer too.

“Give us for today, all we need”  I need today to  be seen, to be safe, to be soothed, and to be secure, and so does everyone I live with, meet, and know.  Jesus meets them all.

We will be honest and we will have communion together, for in the brokenness of Chrrist we are made “whole”.

See you this weekend, bring your real heart. Take off the masks, let’s be real. Jesus loves you and is pursuing the real you.  His journey to wholeness starts with acknowledging we need that.


Pastor Nate and Pastor Wendy Elarton

Courage: Don’t be Ashamed of being His

As we continue our study on the Lord’s prayer, we come to the words “hallowed by Thy Name.” These are found in Matthew 6 and Luke 11.

When I was born from Pat and Lynn, I took their name, “Elarton”. It has been passed down from generations. When I become a Christian, I was “adopted” into the family of God, and I take the Lord’s name as my own. This is deeper than being called a “Christian”. It means total identification with Jesus, the Lord, the ways of God, everything it means to be a devoted follower of Jesus. I was saved by calling on His name, baptized in His name, and when I pray I use his name and identification. I am His.

One big reason that the church struggles with being Jesus to the world that doesn’t know Him yet, is because the world may not know whose we are. We are stealthy that we are born again and belong to Jesus Christ. We are not “all in” with being courageous and bold about be associated and identified with Jesus Christ. His name is holy, we are holy in Jesus, but there’s nothing holy about being ashamed of our family name.

There are two reasons believers don’t want others to know we are His. 1) You are ashamed of Jesus and worried what others will think about you or 2) You are not living what you say you believe.

I am urging us who call ourselves God’s and who call God “Father” to boldly with courage let it be known to all whose we are and why. Without shame, without hesitation, give our lives to him, the same way we gave him our sin, and we do that publicly, every chance we get. Don’t hide your love for your Savior. Have courage. People need to know that we live for the Lord and our faith may just well encourage their faith also. Be loving, be committed, be bold, and be courageous to let other know, you belong to Jesus. He is your Father, and you identify with everyone Jesus values and lived for.

“Our Father”

I know this is a little dated, but I do love the truths in it. I post this with the thoughts that you really need to hear this right now. I love those first 2 words of the Lord’s prayer. “Our Father”. He is our loving father, regardless of your father wounds, disappointments, or experiences. He is a perfect loving Father, loving us without condition, for no reasons we could give Him, and no life we could live. He just loves us. BEcause of that we are significant, valuable, treasured, and valid. May you know that today.

February, Month of Growing In Prayer

There is no higher or greater state than to be communion with our Father. We don’t realize it buy all our identity and true self is wrapped up in knowing God, and only God can teach us to know him. We often pray to get results, to get our way, to see something happen, but this month we want to pray to be with God, not direct him. IN being with God we truly know our being. In talking with God, we find peace in who we are and who we truly are is only discovered in God’s great mercy and love.

So this month, slow down and be with Jesus. Be intentional about the heart behind our days and the focus, as well as praying the “complines” in the evening, alone, or with your family.

I invite you to fast with me on Wednesdays, to enjoy your Sabbath, to break bread with joy with your family and friends. Let’s put away the devises that rob us of our families but too many times not being present. Let’s get out the board games, invite people into our lives, and discover our true self in Christ.

Let’s grow in our being with the Lord. Let’s grow in our joy in this. Let’s grow in discovering once again His incredible love for us. Let’s grow alone, in community, with family, and if your married with your spouse. Let’s enjoy being with the Lord who really does enjoy us. Pastor Nate and Wendy

Here are the links for the days. There are booklets available and everything is available online.

Christmas Lectio Divina Psalm 131

Lectio Divina is “sacred reading”. Ask the Lord to speak to your heart through the Scripture. Read the Scripture over slowly thinking of the words, and intentions of the Spirit of God. Read over several times, and then pray about the thoughts and themes that come to your heart.

Psalm 131 is powerful to me this morning. Christmas is very busy. Worries, can give way to inward grouchiness and judgment. We can miss a special moment so easily! We have friends that are in difficult places in their journey. Some grieving, in hospice, in suffering. These verses “calmed” me this morning as the Lord spoke through them to my soul.

My heart is not proud, Lord, my eyes are not haughty;

I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me.

But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content. Israel, put your hope in the Lord both now and forevermore.” (Psalm 131, NIV)

Pastor Nate

A Prayer that can make you more like Jesus: The Prayer of Examen

Six hundred years ago Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, penned an outline of prayer that I have found to be very helpful to keeping me focused on being like Christ. I know us Pentecostals don’t often venture into contemplative practices or reflective Christianity but I am, do, and will continue to add any way to be in the presence of Christ and to be changed.

For years I struggled with prayer because I just approached God, told him what I wanted, and what he should do for me or those I love and that was that. Pretty boring, not very life-givng, and super self-centered. No wonder most Christians struggle with prayer. We are doing it incompletely. Prayer is silence, listening, sensing, reflecting, and enjoying being with our Father.

This prayer the “Prayer of Examen” is a powerful way to really connect and hear from the Lord. To praise, thanks, repent, realize, reflect, and respond to what God reveals in our life for the previous day. It take a few minutes, but the connection with the Lord and the change it can bring to your interior soul, and inner man is great. doing this daily or at least a few times a week has the potential to change who you are, give you victory over sin, make you more sensitive to sin, and fine tune your spiritual hearing to hear the voice of God.

Here is the prayer outline. There are several variations to the prayer, but these five points are the focus for your time with God

The Prayer of Examen

(Ignatius of Loyola)

Find a quiet place alone and invite the presence of Christ.  Spend a few minutes of silence with Christ.

1. “The first point is to give thanks to God our Lord for the gifts received.”

Ignatius once said that the most abominable sin he could imagine was the sin of ingratitude. He knew that an awareness of God’s goodness and generosity is the foundation of our relationship with God. Once we recognize God’s goodness, we spontaneously feel gratitude and Christ’s love.

In this first point, we express gratitude for the experiences and encounters during the day that have been good or pleasant or meaningful, whether they seem trivial or important. We also express gratitude for the larger gifts we have received: our faith and our salvation, our life, our talents and abilities, significant relationships, whatever comes to mind.

As our spiritual life deepens, we become more and more aware that all we have is gift, given to us far beyond anything we might expect or deserve.

2. “The second point is to ask for the grace to know my sins and to root them out.”

Review the day. When did you step away from Christ’s love and principles?  Was there a time your love for others ceased?  Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal sins of commission and sins of omission.The possibilities for self-deception are endless. To truly know ourselves is not something that we are able to do alone. We need to ask the Holy Spirit for the light that can reveal us to ourselves.

3. “The third point is to demand an account of my soul from the moment of rising to that of the present examination, hour by hour or period by period. The thoughts should be examined first, then the words, and finally the actions.”

The third point is the heart of the Examen. Our actions, words, thoughts, feelings can come from an internal source of freedom and openness to other people and God. Or they can come from what St. Paul calls the “flesh” or the “law of sin”; that is to say from the self-centredness that inhabits all of us. We examine the events of our day methodically in order to uncover the source and the direction of our life that day. Move backward from actions, to words, to thoughts. What were the intentions, feelings, and motivations?  What the deep motives of the heart for all actions of the day good and bad?  Be attentive to the inner feelings and desire which is where we experience God’s love and  presence. This is not just introspection, but prayer.  Talk to your Father here.

4. “The fourth point is to ask for forgiveness and pardon from our Father through Christ

Once we have reviewed our day, we may have come to a sense of the dynamic of sin and grace that has been operating in our life that day. The fourth point is our response to that awareness.

5. “The fifth point is to look to the next day with hope, grace, and faith to move forward in the love of Christ, and the desire to continue with changes He as revealed.”

Close with Praise, The Lord’s Prayer, more silence, and/or a time of worship.

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