Silence


I’m learning to be silent.  To stop talking, stop planning, stop scrolling, stop moving, and be silent and still as a spiritual discipline to hear the Lord. Several years ago after reading “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality” by Peter Scazzero I began to practice this as spiritual formation.  To stop, listen to the Lord, and be more contemplative.

I have always known this was the key to being close to Jesus.  He is Spirit, so our spirit man seeks union with Him.  But we have too many things that rob the silence.  We have evolved into a people that feels worthless, unless we are doing something and accomplishing something.  Peter Scazzero says “We were not created to be human-doings, but human beings.”  He is stressing that we do not slow down to be with God. I lived in this deception until I could no longer, thinking my value was based on what I did for the Lord.   I worked my tail off to planting Compelled Church and often neglected my “being” and put all energy into my “doing”. The successes did not go unnoticed.

This got attention, awards,  accolades, plaques, and speaking engagements.  I was elected to positions I did not deserve, nor was I qualified.   The Christian Tribe affirms this imbalance, and more pastors fall prey until they wear out, burn out, or get out.  I was saved from this and now enjoy my life, marriage, friendships, time with Christ and pastoring more than I ever thought was possible. But pastors are not the only ones who struggle with just being with Jesus, for the purpose of relationship.  Every believer does. I know this. I have been a pastor for over 30 years.

Jesus did spent time alone.   “Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray.” Mark 1.35

“We enter into solitude first of all to meet our Lord and to be with him and him alone.” Henri Nouwen wrote this.  We are not meeting with him to get-get-get–ask-ask-ask- beg-beg-beg. But we make time to be with God.

To be silent to listen to God, we need to be alone, without sound, music, news, phones, screens.  Then we began to be real with God. It’s just us.  No friends, no topics, no weather to discuss. It’s just our true self with a living God.  Then we listen, with our hearts and spiritual ears, and transformation begins.  Our thoughts merge with His thoughts, our hearts unite, and the open heart surgery of the Spirit of God picks up where it left off.  We become more like Christ. We forsake the world. We desire what He desires.   We grow, we contemplate, we are filled with contentment and joy as the Spirit of God speaks, without words, because the silence and solitude allows.

We can then read the Word of God for transformation not information. We can pray the Scriptures and they jump into us with life and spiritual energy. We can be convicted of sin, and convinced by  our Father to forsake this world.  Silence.

This kind of prayer is the prayer Jesus intended.  This is the kind of prayer that makes us like him.  Then when we talk, after we listen, we talk very differently, as we know how to talk to Him better.  We don’t read off a to-do list to God of what we command Him to do (how foolish we are!). We don’t tell him what we have planned and command Him to bless it (ditto!). We pray and talk to our friend about true state, our heart, our pain, our fears, our need, and we are moved from “glory to glory” (2 Corinthians 3.18).

Try it.  Just try a spend a few minutes a day in utter silence and solitude and enjoy union with Christ.  Enjoy being with Him.  Delight in your being his son and daughter, no doing.

“Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.”   Psalm 46.10

Pastor Nate Elarton

Grace and Peace


As I began reading Ephesians again today these two words stand out.  It was a common greeting and the Apostle Paul says it to the church in Ephesus in the first part of his letter to them(we call Ephesians in the Bible).

We all love grace.  Grace is the gift from others.  A gift to forgive. A gift to overlook an offense, the gift to be tolerant of a short-coming. Without grace relationships are doomed.  Without grace to each other, we have the potential to become cynical, spiteful, aggressively-opinionated, and even hateful.

The idea of peace, is what is experienced as we become givers or recipients of grace.  Have you ever been forgiven?  Have you ever let go of anger toward someone?  I bet you experienced some peace.  The population is seeking grace and peace. When grace is not lived, received, or experienced we have a propensity to seek peace in behaviors that can hurt and destroy us, and heap the opposite of peace, on those closest to us.  Counselors call this “self-medicating.”  This brings short bits of shallow peace that is really an illusion.  We need real peace, and it only comes through real grace.

The grace of God, our Father is this:  He sent Jesus to pay for our offenses, only because of His great love for us.  Grace spiritually is like all grace.  It is a gift.  God’s love is a gift, as well as God’s life, his free salvation, and His presence.  To have this gift you just receive by faith, saying yes to Jesus and the love of the Father, and no to everything in this world that leads us from that.

When we experience Grace from Heaven, we can then experience peace with God.  It is then part of us to grant much grace to others, thus perpetuating peace on earth, and good will to men.  Only in Christ, is true grace and peace able to be experienced and attained.

Grace and Peace to you and to others this day.

13 Things I have learned about Multi-site Church Planting by Nate Elarton


multi-siteWe will celebrate 5 years of our Holland Location of Compelled Church on January 29th.  In the last five years I have a learned a lot and so has our team.  Here are some key things we have learned.

  1. There is not just one multi-site model-Multi-site churches do it all differently. Live, video, site pastors, pre-recorded, livestream…..on and on. The church must decide their best way, that works for them.
  2. The Site pastor is the  key-Much has been written about this. This can’t be under-stressed. The site pastor must be a top shelf spiritual leader, growing, with character and Christ-likeness to match.  He must be a loyal, gifted, extrovert with a heart for discipleship and leadership. Our’s is and we would not be celebrating 5 years without him. Thank you Tim and Amanda Rabara.
  3. Not everyone cares. I have learned that our Bedford  Campus (first church plant), is not 100% engaged in the missional outreach of a multi-site. Many are, some even have gone there to minister, but many don’t seem interested.   Good or bad, just a reality.   Communicating vision, passion, and wins, continue to help that.
  4. People come to Christ at Multi-site. Many believers are vocal that they would never attend a multi-site or watch a video message, but they are not the targets. We are attempting with all our heart to reach the lost, and that happens! People come to Jesus.
  5. Communication must increase internally and publicly. I have learned that I must communicate more. I must communicate with my pastors, site leaders, official board, both locations, etc. Without communication it all breaks down.
  6. The Goal is evangelism and ministry!  Some get confused that the goal is to have the new site be “self-supporting” or that the new site exists independently, or that it is “cut loose” at some point. None of these are our goals. Our goals is to win souls, and help people to “love God, love each other, and serve the world.”
  7. A new site impacts the staff-Everyone on staff is affected and they all must grow in thinking, sourcing, and encouraging the leaders, ministries, pastors of the site.  Everyone must be “all in”.
  8. It costs money-Investment must happen.  Ministry can be expensive.  The lost is worth it.  Marriages saved, children and youth coming to Christ, people returning to their faith…every dollar is worth it.
  9. Be committed for the long haul. This has been difficult. Our staff has paid a price. Our site pastors and family have also.  It would have been easy to quit a few times, but it is worth it. Be committed to not quitting.
  10. Long-range planning must increase by the Lead Pastor.  I have learned that I must plan way out for the life and the calendar of the church as well as for the weekends.  It is another layer, and with 3 gatherings at one campus and a 4th at the Holland location, planning is critical and cannot be avoided.
  11. You must have an associate or executive pastor that is amazing.  Our executive pastor, Rick Flood, makes sure the tech, sound, planning, ideas, and so much more is thought about and implemented. We could have never done this without him.
  12. You can’t cut corners on tech.  You need good equipment and it needs supported, updated, and protected. Your weekend depends on it.
  13. Video teaching  is not just for the young. We have reached many older adults, many even over 60 that don’t mind video teaching at all.  They are rocks at our campus. I love them so much.

Always a lot to think about to be multi-site. But seeing the lost saved makes it worth it and I believe the pleasure of God is blessing Compelled Church is so many other ways because we took a step of faith, put our money where are heart is, and truly lived “compelled by His love.”  If you have any questions, shoot me an email at  nate@compelledchurch.tv. Looking forward to more years and someday, more sites, and more lives changed for Christ.

Nate Elarton

Quotes from Week One of the Six-Week Series Titled “Purpose”


As we start a six-week teaching on purpose, I am gripped with passion, conviction, and compassion.  I believe the purpose of our life is to glorify the Lord in all we do and how we do things.  I believe we are called the glorify the Lord in who we are.  Here are some quotes from week one of the series.

  • “We have to stay grounded on Scripture, dedicated to God’s ways. The world will not function in God’s ways. This world is determined not to glorify God, but to glorify man, embracing all sin, rejecting any moral voice, and pushing the philosophy of pluralism and secular humanism forward, at the expense of all reason and purity.”
  • “Since time began the deception from the enemy has been to NOT glorify God, but glorify yourself, you become the god.”
  • “You can be a saved person, and not a very spiritual person. We are good at siloing our lives, and separating our faith from daily living.
  • “Whenever man wants glory and honor, ahead of the Lord, or in place of the Lord, destruction in some form, awaits.”
  • “Too many of us live with ‘flimsy faith’. Faith that is so shallow, so much about us. Flimsy faith says my faith  is exercised so God can do what I want, not I live the life He wants. My will is more important than His.”

“Whether then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. “

1 Cor. 10.31

Seeking God, Matthew 6.33


“But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” Matthew 6.33 NASB

I read this verse as our closing blessing at Compelled Church yesterday, and I taught on it in our Sermon on the Mount Series on Wednesday. The word of Christ have been encircling my heart since. I am meditating on this. Here are my thoughts and observations, for today. Let’s look at the first word “seek”. The Greek word for seek is “to try and obtain or to get.” The verb denotes continually. So we are to be seekers the Kingdom of God, and the righteousness of Christ.
This means effort on our part. This is something we do. I believe it matters if we do or don’t do it. It matters how much we seek, how intently we seek. How long we seek. How consistent we seek.
What is your level of seeking Christ? Do you daily go after the Kingdom? Do you look at the Word? Is the seeking of God culminating to transformation of your life? Let’s step up our intensity of being seekers of God.

Psalm 9.10 “And those who know Your name will put their trust in You, For You, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You.”

New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Ps 9:10). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

Growvember- Men of God Take the Challenge!


Image
Growvember with me

Ok men, I received this idea from my hero Chilly Chillton, as Real Church is doing his too. 

Men of Compelled Church and others,  Who will Join me today to start Growvember. GRow your beard. You have to grow your facial hair and also your spirit in Christ. So to participate you have to.. 1) Pray and read the Bible every day in November, and journal thoughts and prayers 3) Avoid secular music 4)Give something up (like the Lent thing). 5) Ask God to stretch you to serve and share Christ with others. Who will join me? Pick out a style, shave clean today and start growing. Who is in for the Growvember Challenge

I’m giving up sugar and sweets another month, as I have been in October.

Here are some hairy styles.

Image

Who is in? 

Missional Living, Outreach to Toledo, Monroe, Temperance, West Virginia, and Family!


ImageThe Christian life is a life of self-denial, sacrifice, and the ability and action of seeing others as more important than yourself.  This is pretty tough for most people, including believers in Christ.  It is clear Christ has called us to 100% devotion to Him, his transformation power in our life, and His mission, which the every believer is called to and must not neglect.

Thursday we will converge on 3 communities Monroe, Toledo, Temperance with our Light the Night Outreach.  It’s really a giant party for Jesus and we invite the public, in fact we go to them.  We will reach out to around 3-4000 people for Christ, giving out hundreds of pounds of candy, hot dogs, drinks.  Let me know if you want to help and need more information.

November 8-10th McDowell County, Welch W. VA, missions trip.  This is one of the poorest counties in the United States.  We will travel with 2 semi-trucks full of food and give-aways. We have rented the armory and we will give it all out with a service ministering to over 1000 people for Christ.  Right now over 50 people are coming but drive down and help. Let me know if you need more information. 

Then we have the Holidays, Thanksgiving and Christmas, a time for the love of Christ to flow from  your homes, mouth, and life to your family and friends.  Your own personal mission “trip.”  Pray, forgive, and love your family, extended family, and God will give you favor and ideas to shine like Jesus!

We are “Compelled” By Christ’s love!  We must not be lazy with our Savior’s love.  We are the redeemed to help others be redeemed.  Thank you Compelled Church for embracing the missional calling of Jesus Christ.

He is all you have, and he is enough today


Whom have I in heaven but You?
And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.
26  My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
27  For, behold, those who are far from You will perish;
You have destroyed all those who care unfaithful to You.
28  But as for me, the nearness of God is my good;
I have made the Lord GOD my refuge,
That I may tell of all Your works.

As the Psalmist whines for a whole chapter of the wicked being blessed, prosperous, arrogant, and fat, he comes to his senses.  He realizes the treasure in know God!  He realizes the strength and goodness of the Lord and his faithfulness.  This chapter ministers to me this morning.  I love verse 26, “God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”  We need nothing else.  He satisfies if you let Him.  Take your eyes of all the things and distractions this world deems valuable and simply just love Jesus!  He is our portion.  The world may get the material possession, but our spiritual prosperity in Christ is satisfying. We are blessed to have that portion.   Press on.

New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Ps 73:25–28). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

Up ↑