An Open Letter to young dads on Father’s Day


Source: An Open Letter to young dads on Father’s Day

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He is My Confidence


When you struggle with fear, situations, and the feelings of insignificance, Jesus is our confidence.  We can rest in Him.  Trust in His Word, and the presence of His Spirit to guide us through every situation.

Love this song my Iron Bell Music  “My Confidence”. Enjoy and listen to the words closely.

Knock it off


Romans 13:12 (NASB95)

The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.”

I am speaking this weekend at Compelled Church about the darkness not being able to overpower the Light from John 1.4,5. I decided this verse did not fit into the message, but the message of this verse is amazing.

Paul is encouraging the believers (us) and the Romans to “lay aside” acts of darkness.  The word in the orignal Greek means exactly that, but I define it as “knock it off” or “stop it”.  If God’s people are mingling light and right things in our life with darkness or deeds that are not of God, we need to knock it off.  Deeds of action, thoughts, or speech do not reflect the Jesus in us, so He is our Armour of Light.

Think of this

  • Are you involved in something of darkness?
  • Are you ok with watching “dark” things?
  • Is your talking light and life, or darkness?

This is good

Ephesians 5:7–17 (NASB95)

7 Therefore do not be partakers with them; 8 for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light 9 (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), 10 trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. 11 Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; 12 for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. 14 For this reason it says,

“Awake, sleeper,

And arise from the dead,

And Christ will shine on you.”

15 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, 16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil. 17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

 

My Children’s Mom is Spectacular


I am so thankful for my kid’s mom. I must honor her on Mother’s Day.  She so deserves it. Her love for her family is fierce and deep.  He loyalty to her offspring, unprecedented. She has been an amazing mom, and continues to be.  Caring for the kids physical lives. Feeding them, rocking them, loving them, seeing them through teething, ear infections, dr’s appointments, vomiting all over,  and all of that.  I won’t even mention the broken teeth, bones, nose, and other ER visits, she had to endure.   She cared for them physically.

As a mom, she has not neglected their spiritual lives. Which reflects in their personalities and character.  One of my greatest memories is Wendy reading to the kids.  On the sofa they would clutter together like a pack of puppies for the precious time of mom reading to them. Books, the Bible, the Chronicles of Narnia,  etc.  I recall her kneeling beside their beds as they sleep, calling their names out Heaven, before any of us were up.  They would then talk about what they read. She lovingly and patiently with great wisdom and understanding of God and the Bible, answered the showers of questions. Their mom chose not to disconnect from their lives, but stayed involved, informed, and immersed in what they were doing and what they were involved in.

Her voice of encouragement and her faith was/is the foundation of their confidence and identity, setting it strong, so they can build upon it with their own faith.   She made sure our schedules were clear for every event, every school award, every concert, every graduation.  We never missed.  She loves sports (when her children are part). Thousands of hours at football, Lacrosse, Wrestling, Soccer, community ed baseball, basketball, and more.  She put them before herself in every way, sacrificing in ways that moms do, with excitement and zeal.

I love their mom, prays for them, worries about them, never falls fully asleep until they are all safe, and relishes, with great depth, every time we are all together.

My three amazing kids are a product of their amazing mom.  She continues to amaze me with her love and care for all of them.  She has made me look good as a dad. Wendy has helped me be a better father, and our children be amazing young adults.

To think years ago, leaving a Dr’s office, we grappled with the words spoken to us that it is highly unlikely we would ever have children.  For the sake of my best friend, I stormed Heaven with prayers I did not know I was capable of praying.  We praise Him for the blessing of our children and I praise Him, and honor Wendy for the blessing of being married to my children’s mom for the last 30 years. She continues to warm my heart with her amazing dedication and love for her family. Happy Mother’s Day Wendy. I am so glad I am married, and am  best friends, with my children’s mom. She is so awesome.

Eleven Reasons Why It’s Easier Being a Pastor Today


Pastodawsonring has it’s challenges. Without a doubt, it can be overwhelming at times, but also filled with joy and fulfillment, most times. While I agree with Thom S. Rainer’s recent post, “Ten Reasons It is more Difficult to be a Pastor Today”  (Click here to read it), I offer another perspective. Although these ten reasons are true and many a reality, some, not so much in healthy situations. Leaving it on that note (a little negative and discouraging), does not do the wonderful work of pastoring justice.  I have given my own thoughts on why it rocks to be a pastor today.

Eleven Reasons Why it’s Easier Being a Pastor Today

  1. The Advent of Social media. It has become an arm of communication never matched by the old church’s monthly newsletter. Used with wisdom, we can encourage and influence more people toward Christ. Harness and use it and train your people to use it as an arsenal of communication and Christ-like encouragement.
  2. The Culture. While there are more “nones,” or people with no affiliation to any religion, this creates an amazing opportunity for evangelism.
  3. Podcast Pastors. I used to relish the thought of going to conferences and hearing my favorite authors. Now I can listen to podcasts.  I can learn at a breath-taking pace from some of the best teachers and leaders in the world.
  4. We have more business savvy.  Being forced to have an understanding of business, budgets, and banks is a good thing to a point, but this helps us surround ourselves with people and leaders that we can delegate these things to.
  5. Print is amazing. No longer do we have to depend on the local printer for marketing or any graphics. Most churches and pastors with a laptop can produce professional looking graphics to enhance ministry.
  6. Generational Blending.  Any leader knows that generational blending in the church is so healthy and positive. If leaders see the generational diversity as a gift and as the Bible teaches, then conflict among generations will be non-existent or minimal.
  7. More paid pastors. There are more pastors being paid now, even part-time, than ever before in the American context. That is a plus and does makes things easier. I recognize the tension of bi-vocational ministry. When planting here in Temperance, MI, I was bi-vocational for 3 years, I then became full-time. Although not really full-time salary, I knew that for the Kingdom, sacrifice would be made, and if the church grew, my leaders would increase my salary.
  8. Pastors are staying longer.  Because communities and churches are diverse, when a pastor has a good “match,” they stay longer.  I never remember pastors being places 20-25 years. Now that is still not the norm, but more common than it used to be.
  9. Churches are more pastor-driven.  The old model of churches being board-driven is becoming more rare. If you are at a pastor-driven church with a board’s trust and respect, there is great liberty for so many things God can do. A board is a gift and will love and support their pastor, and govern with effectiveness. We can really do things that God has called us to, set our schedule, be flexible, and run with the calling the Lord has given us.
  10. Support.  We have more support.  There is no long-distance calls anymore. We all have unlimited talking and text and can connect with our colleagues for encouragement and resourcing like never before.  No pastor should live in loneliness. We have the tools, and we can sculpt our schedules to reach out to others for prayer, meeting, encouragement and resource sharing.
  11. We don’t have to wear suits!

What are your thoughts?

Nate Elarton

Leaving yesterday for Life Today: a journal excerpt 


Encouragement in Life's Journey

a final journal excerpt, reflections of Mexico – 4/28/16 Thursday (Malachi 1:1-10)

How quickly we can become in snared by yesterday’s, therefore allowing ourselves to be impaired for life today. As I look back on what was an incredible nine days in Mexico my mind rolls further to where and who I was before I left. It’s been four days back in the “real world” of everyday choices, relationships, decisions, responsibilities and a menacing cloak has begun creeping in. The quietness of my sprit has started to feel the noise of a transcending yolk of yesterday’s. As if it were reaching out to squelch every moment that God intended to be life altering and turn them into a static of mundane memories.

Such is the way we hear life, through the headphones of our past not receiving the clarity of a God who’s voice is outside our everyday frequency.

I…

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Foundation


A great read from my friend and family life pastor here at Compelled.

Mreinhart

What are you standing on?

The Bible says is Psalm 75, “When the Earth quakes and its people live in turmoil, I  (God) am the one who keeps its foundations firm.”

It is interesting to me to read that something can “quake” and yet be held “firm” simultaneously. How can this be? How can something be shaken and yet stand still?

As I think on this verse I am challenged….

I know for my life, I have been in situations where it felt as though the ground beneath me had been swept away, like the floor dropped out on me as though I had stepped into one of those crazy, spinning carnival rides. In those moments it is easy to forget where I stand. It is easy to forget what I am standing on.

I am challenged to let my roots grow deeper into Christ as if I wanted them to…

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The Lord is MY Leader


We are being led. Someone is speaking and influencing our life.  Sometimes in America we are like lemmings.  We allow the media, advertisers, and movies to shape who we are, our world view, the way we think, and yes, the way we believe.  How can the voice of Christ break through the noise and prominence of so many other “leaders” in our life.

Psalm 23 is a classic Psalm and probably one of the most known.  It is the “funeral” psalm, printed on the little funeral cards and recited at gravesites and memorials by countless clergy across the land.  But I contend that it is not a psalm for the dead but for the living. The very first line gripped my spirit this morning as David declares who is the leader of his life.

“The Lord is my Shepherd.”  Say it like this, “the Lord is MY Shepherd.”  (emphasis on “my).  He is declaring who is the leader of his life.  Let me fine tune that better.  He is the leader of our day, our hour, our moment.  The Shepherd leads, we follow.  David declares without shame and without embarrassment, “The Lord is MY Shepherd”.  He does the leading, the providing, the guiding, the loving. We do the faithful following.

If you were to declare who your leader was this hour, moment, what would be in this blank?  “The  ____________ is my shepherd (leader), for this day.”  Would you, could you be honest? We know the  correct answer is the Lord, but is that the true answer?  I must confess a lot of the time “I” am my shepherd, or “outlook” is my shepherd (LOL).

Immerse yourself in being led by the Lord.  His Word will guide, His Spirit will lead, His voice will direct us on the paths of life, for this day, this moment that we need to walk.  He will lead us in peace, even in valleys.  H restores our soul, and helps us live “right”. He takes away fear, with His presence, he leads us to a greater understanding, and friendship,  of our relationship with him, by knowing him more and trusting his leading.

Say it, and live it like David.  “The Lord is MY  shepherd.” Now, follow your leader “all the days of your life.” I will for my life, but I must start with today, right now.
The LORD is MY shepherd;
I have all that I need.
2 He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
3 He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.
4 Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,*
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
5 You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
6 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the LORD
forever.
Tyndale House Publishers. (2013). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Ps 23:1–6). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.

 

Knowing God


We know much about God, but few really know God and fewer understand Him.  We know and experience a lot of the “culture” of God, or the church.  The potlucks, the music, the jargon of God’s people,, the do’s and don’ts of faith. These things are familiar to us, yet really  knowing  God escapes most.  We understand the way to God or the Father is Jesus and His work on the cross, and resurrection, but to know the Lord, and to have friendship with God is elusive to most, never thought about to some, and pursued by the minority of those who admit to being His people.

To know someone takes time.  Sadly, I must confess, we try to know God, while investing as little time as possible.  Many families worship together now, only a couple times a month, some do some Bible reading at home, and say some prayers.  I must confess to my own lethargic attention at times to my efforts to know the God of the universe. It is no wonder when hard times hit us, we wonder where God is?  When the comforts of our modern culture are interrupted we question the very existence of God and our own faith.  Making large investments into our soul, must no longer seem impossible, out of reach, or unrealistic. It is time to take time to know Him.

I have learned and I am being being reminded (as of late), that there are no short cuts to knowing God.  There are no “hacks” or apps that make it faster and easier than daily investing some time, reserving some place in our thoughts, and making choices in our day, to carve out time to get to know our closest friend.  It is all about time.  We, I, am too much in a hurry.  We have too many things to do, and we are hurried even when there is respite and time off.  We must complete the yard work quickly, get the kids to bed, eat and do chores fast, and we never pace our lives  to enjoy the life God has given us,  for He is not separated from us, therefore, He is not separated from our daily activities of our  lives, however mundane and routine they are.   We must grasp the realization that we are living with Christ, all the time. So setting aside extra time in the day to know Him, is not that out of reach.

Being taught by the living Christ, through contemplative prayer, solitude, true study of Scripture, and prayer will lead us to knowing God  on a level we never thought was possible.  We must reserve room in our mind to think of him, and to become one in thought, heart, and soul.   We must immerse ourselves in solitude and silence, with undisturbed times from the electronics, of phones, and IPads, that ding, alert us, and drag us back to the hurried world, and out of His presence. We must rush off, making money, making friends, making our mark on this earth, but without knowing  God it is all in vain, hollow, and pointless.

We must invest in our spirit, in the same way in invest in our physical bodies.  This investment has the greatest return. We will slowly, day by day, understand the Lord, feel His heart, grow in love, and many things in the world that we have been deceived as being such a high priority begin to grow, “strangely dim”.

We make time to do so many things, that I think the “I don’t have time” excuses have no more merit. The stakes are too high. Your transformation is imperative to your parenting, marriage, vocation, and enjoyment of life if we truly want  the abundant life Christ promised us (John 10.10).

May this Psalm be the cry of our heart, and the evidence of that cry
1 O God, you are my God;
I earnestly search for you.
My soul thirsts for you;
my whole body longs for you
in this parched and weary land
where there is no water.
2 I have seen you in your sanctuary
and gazed upon your power and glory.
3 Your unfailing love is better than life itself;
how I praise you!
4 I will praise you as long as I live,
lifting up my hands to you in prayer.
5 You satisfy me more than the richest feast.
I will praise you with songs of joy.

6 I lie awake thinking of you,
meditating on you through the night.
7 Because you are my helper,
I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings.
8 I cling to you;
your strong right hand holds me securely.
Tyndale House Publishers. (2013). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Ps 63:1–8). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.