The more Truth… the more Free!


“The only way not to be overwhelmed by the continual and convincing lies of the Devil is to become an expert in Truth.” Dick Brogden

This is an amazing quote as it is true. As the world becomes more gray, and pluralism is the norm of the day, we will become increasingly challenged when we declare that the Bible is absolute Truth. So many believers become lied to, and embrace lies and deceptions because they do not know Truth. They are listening to so many voices. The voice of media, culture, pluralism, the voices of politics, agenda of other groups, in place of spending, knowing, and being transformed by the Word and words of God.

Jesus says in John, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” (John 8.32). Jesus is the Truth. Jesus is the Word (John 1). We cannot continue to neglect learning, knowing, and experiencing the Word of God, and expect our faith and commitment to absolute Truth to stay strong in a society and culture that believes all truth is subjective and they are all correct.

Remember, the more Truth you know the freer you will be. This is why we are taking intensional time and effort to get Compelled Church into the Word of God. We want followers of Christ to know how to study the Bible but also to love the Bible. Then truth will be loved, and we live what we love. And our love for Jesus Christ deepens.

Read and know the Bible and you will know the Lord, you will now Truth and your faith will grow and sustain you. You will not be deceived by the philosophies of this world/culture/media/society.

Pastor Nate Elarton

Once you are saved, live strong


“So Then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with

sunrise

thankfulness.”  Colossians 2.6,7

Jesus is not a “one-time” feel good experience and then we move on.  He wants to invade every area of our life.  He wants us to go beyond the receiving part.  As I often visit people, they can leave me standing in the door, or the entrance of their homes.  Yes they have allowed me in, but not really “in”.  Most people invite me to the living room, or the kitchen table (my favorite), as they open their home, their personal living space to their pastor.  One person told me, “strangers come to the front door, family comes to the back, you come to the back.”  I love that.

Let Jesus in deeper.  Paul writes here that we are to be “Rooted” with that commitment and then “built up” in him. This is the process.  We are built up and strengthened in Christ every time we choose to drawn to Him.  How do I do it?

  • A time of solitude, silence, and reflection to hear from God.
  • Some simple prayers as I follow “Handbook to prayer” by Kenneth Boa or “Day by day” by Peter Scazzero, or the “Celtic Daily Office”.   One of these are used to aid my heart and my mind on Christ.
  • I breath in Him and breath out me as I pray.
  • I have my journal ready to write down my thoughts, impressions, and prayers.
  • I follow a guide to reading my Bible. This year I wrote my own. I focus on a book or couple books for the month, re-reading them over and over.
  • I read another book to spur me on.
  • I listen to Scripture when often.  When I walk, carve, or drive. I use an app called “Dwell”.
  • I investigate my walk, my emotions, my intentions, and my motivations for purity of heart and the glory of Christ.

Some days I do this great! Some days I struggle through, yes, I even miss a day once in a while, but these disciplines strengthen me and transform my heart to be more like Christ. They change my appetite for things of God and not of this world.  My roots grow deeper, my heart more grateful, my flesh weaker, and faith stronger.

As you have been saved, live for Christ and don’t skip the very things that make living for Christ incredible and enjoyable.

>Nate

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.

Decline of Compassion Must be Resisted


Anyone sense that the emotion and character attribute of compassion in our country is declining?  Racism continues to hurt so many, aggressive and angry political statements, violence and anger, the plot with so much horrible violence on too many shows and movies, and the consistent personal battle we all face with selfishness and self-attention as we strive for better hair, nails, bodies, money, cars and better houses, and the inward desire to have everyone think we are awesome. Many churches have bitter infighting, families continue to implode as spouses refuse to die to self and sin, abandon their vows, and random acts of violence fill the headlines of our newsfeeds.  We must resist the darknesses attempt to eradicate compassion from our lives.

Believers, we cannot lose our compassion. It is critical to the mission of Christ that we stay connected to the heart of God, and compassion is the manifestation of His love.  Compassion is the fuel for action. Compassion keeps us thankful, keeps us caring for others, keeps us sharing faith, keeps us loving our families and spouses.  Compassion keeps the church on the tracks of mission, so we don’t end up arriving somewhere we never intended to go.

A community without compassion is more concerned about home values than the people.  A church without compassion becomes a social club of individuals agendas and power, forgetting the mandate of mission of Jesus. We become without love and without biblical direction. Judgement and critical attitudes push out compassion, and our worship disappears in multiplying areas of our lives. We lose our first love, and then the world loses, as another church becomes a religious, lifeless, closed, clique of the community void of the love or power of Christ.  If we lose compassion we will not be Compelled to do anything with eternal implications, and to manifest the love of Jesus to those who need Him.

A school without compassion becomes a place where students are required to learn for testing, not cared about, for life-long impact, teaching, and discovery.   A government without compassion becomes a burden to it’s citizens and a only financial entity, void of  care for the people. Leaders without compassion, become dictators, and power goes to their head with disastrous results.

We need more compassion as a people. I think it’s safe to say that.  I rejoice when I see people, groups, and communities pull together to show love and compassion to a family, group, or cause. We need more of those tangible expressions of love and compassion.

Compassion requires your time, maybe your money, maybe even your reputation as others will questions self-sacrifice. Compassion often requires us to get out of what we are comfortable with. Most importantly, compassion will require your heart.  We want to move with compassion because we are “compelled by His love” not our desire to earn brownie points with God, or to be seen by men.

Compassion as a people, starts with an honest look at our own compassion.  Jesus had great compassion for other’s. He gained nothing in return. His compassion moved him to heal, to feed the five thousand, and to suffer on the cross for the sin of humanity. His compassion continues to help us through our life, as we trust him through all of our challenges.  How compassionate are you? I believe true compassion comes from the heart of God.  We must look to Him, connect to Him, and ask Him to impart His great love and compassion to our hearts and lives.

I struggle with being compassionate like anyone, but the struggle diminishes, and my compassion grows,  as I connect with the Lord, and allow His love and compassion to be revealed fresh in me.  Let’s commit as a people,to be more like Christ, to be more Compassionate, to be more loving, and people will be changed forever, and we will be part of their story. Let’s search our hearts and lives with Holy Spirit help and honesty.  Rid the attitudes, things, desires, greed, self-attention, or whatever is stealing our compassion and resist the decline of the greatest motivator for the love of Jesus that we have….the compassion of Christ.

Personal Post, my life the last couple weeks.


Just a personal post.  Some have said they enjoy this, some will never read it, and has no interest. That is cool. I am good with either.

Took time this morning to thank God for his presence in my life and for my wife and family, Wendy and the kids. I have so much to be thankful to Christ for. For without him, it is all futile. He is the giver of all good gifts.  The Holy Spirit is reminding me in different ways lately to develop a deeper heart of gratitude.

Last week we moved my father from our home in Morenci to Temperance. He had been there for 49 years.  I grew up knowing no other home. It was a little nostalgic for myself and my sister as we packed him up. I know Pam will miss him, as will his grandsons, as they were close to Morenci.   I believe it was tough for him to say goodbye to the place, but he is now a mile from me and I have seen him daily.  I had lunch with him yesterday. Today we will take a ride around Toledo.  Wendy has him eating good, and he is getting settled.  One thing is for sure about life, is that it is ever-changing.

I went a couple weeks ago to my first professional woodcarving lesson. It was about 6 hours. Wendy gave it to me for my birthday.  It was amazing.  I learned under an incredible young man and wood sculpturer from Rochester Hills.  His name is Alec Lacasse. He is crazy-talented and a great teacher and brother in Christ. He is only 21 years old and is carving such stunning works. Check out his stuff if you are interested.  Click here to go to Alec’s site.

I have been trying to carve more since the lesson so I don’t forget. I love woodcarving. I really sense the Lord’s presence as I carve and an undeniable peace.  The lesson helped so much. I plan on another one in December.  There are many genres in woodcarving. I am focusing in on realistic face carving.

God put a strong word of encouragement on my heart for the weekend message. If you missed it, and you are in need of a little strength from the Lord, please take a listen and let the Holy Spirit breath faith into your spirit.  Click here

Gabe and Levi won their football game on Friday. They are both on Bedford’s Varsity team and doing great. I love going to watch them. One more week and wrestling season is upon us!  Hooray!!!

Abby and Justin are busy in Grand Rapids, working, interning, full-time students and all.  We miss them and look forward to their visits. I am proud of them.

Looking forward to the rest of this day.  Praying about November Series and trying to tune into the will of the Lord for us.  I have a million thoughts sometimes so I have to really focus.

Walk with the Lord today.  Stand strong in the face of adversity.  Don’t compromise your calling to Jesus.  I leave you with some of my favorite verses.

12:1-3   Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Heb 12:1–3). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

My world, my week, my prayer


I wanted to write a few thoughts today that are just personal and not teaching or preachy.

The week was wonderful last week. I attended a presbyter’s retreat for the Michigan District , Assemblies of God, for which I serve as an executive presbyter. We heard the dreams, goals, and vision of our new supt, Jeff Hlavin. We then had our meeting and broke ground for a new cafeteria at the campground.  It was exciting and encouraging.  I began to fill sick Wednesday and excused myself from our small group training to go home and go to bed early.  I did a lot of prep and office work on Thursday, and on Friday pastor matt and I meet. We carved wood while we talked on my patio. I loved that and love this guy who is leading our Family Ministries.

Fridays are a highlight as I get to watch my boys play varsity football for the Bedford Mules. They had a great game and beat Skyline. Gabe got the “stick of the week” award with a bone-crushing tackle. Saturday we had full day.  Covenant partner class in the morning, and then in the afternoon we got some pics of the boys and their dates for Homecoming.  Since I was not speaking at Compelled This weekend, Wendy and I had a nice meal together on the lake. It was a much overdue date.  Sunday, we had a blast being with Brad and Rhonda Trask at Brighton Assembly of God.  They have been such dear friends and gifts to our lives. I preached for their “one day to feed the world” missions day.  It was an amazing time at that great church.  We came home and had a full “pizza with the Pastors” Sunday night with about 50 of us.  Met some amazing people God has led to Compelled Church.   I took the day off yesterday. Played racquetball at 6 am then came home and Wendy and I spent the morning together at Wildwood metro park talking, walking, and then a couple miles on the bikes.  It was a good day. Got a visit from Wendy’s mom and a family friend, who ministers out west with her husband to Native Americans.  Tuesdays I spend in study and prayer until 2 pm and we have staff meeting with our pastors.

I have found myself this morning hungry for a fresh touch from God.  I desire to hear His voice as I prepare for our weekend at Compelled and Monday morning chapel at Northpoint Bible College in Grand Rapids. I want so to be God’s spokesman, anointed with the right message, at the right time, that brings right results, that God desires in those who listen.  I belive we can become too used to “not hearing” a fresh word from the Lord.  I don’t want that to be my normal. I want to be led by Christ’s Spirit, to easily hear and discern His voice, and then to obey it. I want to hear the voice of the Lord clearer and more often. I want to hear Him through the Word, through life, through events in my life, and through others, and also within my own heart and spirit.

May your week be filled and very blessed! —Nate

Don’t Freak out, The Kingdom Of Jesus is Fine


Hey everyone,

Just a friendly reminder that the Kingdom of God is doing great. Everyone seems to forget that Jesus is pretty stinking powerful. The Kingdom and the church are fine. We need to keep building them. Nothing can stop Jesus from building His church. That’s right…nothing!  Don’t allow fear and worry to overtake your heart. Don’t entertain bitterness or hate towards any group, movement, or person.  Jesus promised us in Matthew 16 that He WILL build His church. Even the the kingdom of death and darkness will not reign over the church of Jesus. Nothing can stop the work of Jesus. Nothing. No person, group, ideology, belief system, or government.  The church and Kingdom of God will not fail, falter, or be stopped from saving and redeeming mankind. People are going to continue to turn to Jesus. They will be forgiven and set free; filled with the Holy Spirit, joy, peace, healing, and courage. We are over-comers and in Christ we have the peace and courage we need to live in the world, but not of it.  We must keep living and proclaiming the love of God to the sinful and lost. To be the light of this world to the darkness. Resist the temptation of the enemy to hate; like what Pastor Dustin talked about on Sunday (Pastor Dustin’s message Link ).  Walk in love and the light of Christ. Keep doing what we are supposed to always be doing: loving God, loving people, and serving the world. Keep talking about Jesus to friends. Invite them to discover the Lord. Keep sharing your faith with joy. Know this verse: “I have said the things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have tribulation. But take heart, I have overcome the world.”  These are the words of Jesus recorded by John in John 16.33. Expect a great move of Jesus in these last days!

Pastor Nate

7 Reasons We Don’t Have Peace and What We Must Do


Why do so many of the Lord’s people live absent of contentment and peace?    Let me give you these simple seven reasons and please read the powerful Scriptures following my writing.

1. We skip our daily time with Christ- When we spend time reading the Word, thinking about the Lord and the things of God, talking to God, reading and journaling, we reap incredible peace.  Why?  Our faith increases.  We experience the closeness of Jesus and our security increases.  We know the Lord is near. We are ministered to by His Spirit. We trust, we seek, we have the confidence that life will not defeat us, as we are daily reminded, our God is in control and He never leaves us.

2. We allow sin in our life.  We will never have peace in our hearts as our peace with God is disrupted by a barrier in our heart.  Unrepented sin still steals our peace.  The Holy Spirit wants us unsettled when we are living with sin that we know it is not the will of our Father. We used to call that being “convicted” defined as “convinced” of our sin.  We repent, turn, receive forgiveness and keep growing. Have you grown “used” to a particular sin in your life?  Have you grown numb to the Lord’s voice beckoning you to desert and walk away from a behavior?

3. We have unforgiveness and bitterness in our heart toward, people, a person, the church, or the government.  Bitterness, strong feelings of hate and anger steal peace.  It does not have to be directed at one person. Guard your heart.  Allow the Lord to baptize you in love. We need more of Jesus.  Past family conflicts, X spouses, hurts in the church, or at work, let it go.

4. Watching and filling your mind with Garbage   Movies that are violent, cop TV shows where people are murdered, raped, hacked up, pornography on your computer, IPAD or phone will steal your peace. Your mind is under attack and you are what you think about and you think about what you watch.  Guard the window of your heart. Guard what goes in your eyes and ears.  Jesus saved us, and these things are not entertainment. This grieves the Lord, the fact America thinks that this is the fun thing we can do with our leisure time is a sign of how sick our society is getting.  May we as God’s holy people not participate in these deeds of darkness. Live higher, live better, walk holy.

5. Pride-We want to be in control and we are tormented with no peace if we are not.  We want to control others, and that leads to manipulation and drama…no peace.  We don’t take time with Christ daily and surrender because we have fallen for the ancient lie that we can really do a better job at our life than God can.  We lack humility and we want our way and life just isn’t like that. We don’t get our way all the time, and our peace is again shattered.  Turn from self, pride, control, and throw your life into the control of God!  You will never be sorry!  Be free of the torment and bondage of control.  As a leader, I can struggle with control, and I know that is pride. I have to repent and let God have His way not I.  The best thing to do sometimes is to just serve others.  We need to make sure we know life is not all about us, but about the glory of Christ.  Do something for others and minister Christ in this world.

6. Tough Times in life and storms.  Keep your feet on the Rock Jesus Christ during difficult times.  Surrender your desire and longing to control and acknowledge that God is in control.  Surrender the situation to the sovereignty of God.  Look to grow, learn from the dark experience.  Allow your roots of faith to be driven deep in Christ.  Don’t let the storms steal your peace!  I have to keep telling myself that Jesus is constant and consistent, my emotions and moods are not and this life sure is not!

7. Fear –Fear is a real emotion.  It steals peace, and can rule us if we are not vigilant.  We must be aware of our fears and know that 99% of everything we fear and think about, will never happen.  We must not be ruled by fear and thoughts of terrible things happening, or fear of the future, or the “what if” things we dwell upon. If I dwell on things that will not happen, I won’t only lose peace, I will lose joy, and be paralyzed with fear. That is not what the Lord wants for me or you!   Grow in faith, worship, and verbally speak the Word of God and His power over our life, our family’s lives and our future.  God has not given us a Spirit of fear.  This is not from Him.  Jesus Christ is Fearless.

Scriptures to bring the Peace of God and Freedom

Proverbs 16.7  “When a man’s ways please the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.”

Isaiah 26.2 “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”

John 16.33 “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Philippians 4.6,7  “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Psalm 46.1 “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”  

John 14.7 “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

2 Timothy 1.7  “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” 

2 Thess. 3.16 “May the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times and in every way. The Lord be with all of you.” 

Hebrews 12.1-4   “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. 2 We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. 3 Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people;* then you won’t become weary and give up.”

My brother Steve’s revealing question


My hero, Steve LeVeck

I am teaching on the Holy Spirit on Wednesdays until summer and I must mention what the Lord taught me through my brother Steve as he was suffering with cancer.  I was visiting my amazing big brother at his home, on a day when the symptoms were manifesting in his balance.  We were talking and he looked right into me and He asked me a question, Steve asked,  “Nate, it’s not how much of the Holy Spirit we have, but ask yourself, how much of us does the Holy Spirit have?” Steve was within days of being with the Lord, and his heart and mind were filled with giving more of his life to His King.  His thoughts were on making sure his life was yielded to Christ and filled with the Spirit. He was still surrendering what life he had left in him, as he was transitioning to the presence of God.  This moves me deeply.

We want to be filled with the Spirit of God, but honestly we resist yielding completely to Him.  We don’t like giving up and letting go.  We must give more of ourselves to the Spirit.  Let go our past, shame, anger, fear, resentment, unforgiveness, irritations, sin, selfish habits, and addictions.  How easy it is to be filled, when we are emptied of the things that interfere with our spirit and mind being filled and controlled by God’s Spirit.  This question will be with me until I see Jesus and Steve again.  This question changes my life. I believe this was a question from Heaven, and glimpse into the heart of God, and my brother’s.

So, How much of you does the Spirit of God have?  What say you?

Spiritual Agitation


There is a stirring in my heart.  It’s sort of a “holy” or “Spiritual” agitation for something that I can’t put my finger on.  I know God has some plans, and I feel them coming, but they are not here yet, so I am restless.  I seek the Lord.  This morning I have asked Him.  I know it is forward in some way.  There is an adventure awaiting but I wait patiently (sort of) for my Leader and King to come and lead the way.  I know it’s coming, not sure what it is. I know this feeling. I have had it before.  Good things come because of it, and uncomfortable stretching does also.

Do you get “stirred” and “restless” spiritually. 

Do you know God is directing you forward?

What does that look like to you?

 

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