The Fall, has our society Falling. My personal thoughts and prayer on this National Day of Prayer


What are we falling from?  Freedom and relationships, common sense and hope?  The fall (Genesis 3), that allowed sin and death, disease and sickness, into the human race, has us all living differently and I am feeling those effects,  as are all of you.

I am convinced that we were not meant to have online relationships and friendships through screens.  I know that children were not designed to be taught by screens. People were not meant to work from home all the time.  We were not created to be void of people, beyond our family.  We were never made to only experience God in isolation and not have community.

My heart drops when I hear of  talk already of schools and sports being canceled for next year. No football, no concerts, no art fairs, no festivals, no conferences, no camping, no crowds and it goes on and on.   It seems premature to cancel so much.  These  things are more about relationships than events. They are more about friendships, than pastimes.  Some say the church will never meet again.  That our society will embrace a new normal of no crowds, for any reason, at all.   This is from one virus, and there are billions in our environment.  I am saddened and speechless, sometimes worried and depressed.

The financial impact we have yet to totally feel.  As states lose billions a day, this will trickle down to cuts in our schools, to services that are needed, to everything.  Businesses are so suffering, thus families are also.  Our financial system is more volatile than we every thought.  We are falling into fear. Fear of out neighbor, fear of each other, fear of getting sick, and fear of our future.

Our Society is beginning to fall. Fall from contentment as isolation is not satisfying relationally.  Oh sure, my life and hope is in Christ, but I need people!  I need to experience Christ in others, not just myself.  We are falling from the truth that we need each other. We need to see each other, and not through a computer screen, and a electronic microphone.  We need to break bread together, laugh together, travel together, and look at each other, and to feel our spirits, not just see each other 2D on a screen. It’s not enough for how we were created by God.

I don’t want  to — never have a meal with friends again, to never shake hands again, to never eat out again, to never go to a wrestling match again, to never hold  a baby again, to never have a packed service again.   I can’t stand the idea that these things are history. I am not going to believe this. I can’t right now.

Self-proclaimed church gurus falsey predict that church buildings are not necessary anymore and maybe not even the church community.  They say that you can worship Jesus in your homes only  and that culture will move on from the local church. I strongly disagree and fear some would fall for this.  We need each other and to grow you do need more than your family at some point.  What about those whose family do not know the Lord? Those children and youth would suffer greatly.  If that were true, I would not be here today.  We need the local church period.  We need the wisdom of church pastors, elders, godly leaders, and gathering together.  That is clear throughout Scripture in both the Old and New Testaments. Gathering together was normal, often, and beneficial

My prayer today is for a cure, and for an end to all of this negative and “rush to judgment” speculation.  My prayer is that we can persevere and find new ways to connect. My prayer is for some strength to continue to believe that we are not falling from some of the most basic relational and community needs that are being overlooked.

“Help us Merciful Father. We call to you in humility and faith. On behalf of your people, would you heal our land?  Grant us faith and strength during this trial. Give us wisdom and common sense.  Bring an end to this free fall of life as we know it.  Turn our hearts toward you until deliverance comes I pray.  Move this mountain in Jesus’ name.”

Pastor Nate Elarton

Another Abnormal Weekend


We enter another weekend that is so abnormal for me.  We have had 3 services at Compelled for over a decade.  Saturday and Sunday don’t seem the same.  Routine, schedules, rhythms are all off.  As our country and the world pivots out of control as it seems, we sure are beginning to  identify with thisas it’s affecting all of our worlds.

It’s no longer something in another country, or that people we don’t know are dealing with. It’s all pretty real now.  We all know someone with Corona. We all know someone out of a job. We all know someone in quarentine. We all know someone who is going to work daily to help the rest of mankind survive. It’s all pretty real now.  The jokes of a few weeks ago have stopped, the whining about being in lock-down have ceased and we are left without many answers of when our lives will be “normal” again.  It some ways they won’t be.

There are heart-stopping reports of other consequences happening connected to the stay at home orders.  Of course the Liquor stores are open, and so famlies are at risk, and domestic violence stories are sadly emerging.  Lonliness, and depression are the silent foes, and if alcohol is involved that won’t make that easier.  People are struggling. Those who live alone, are not enjoying this “stay at home”.

What can we do?  Not much really?  How can we help?  Follow the directives of our health-care professionals so we don’t spread anything we don’t know we have.  We are powerless to make this go away right now.  There is not much really we can do, so…..

We look to the Lord for calm in this chaos, peace in the fear, security in the turmoil, and faith in place of doubt.

My verse for this week continues to be in Psalm 46. I have been thinking, studying, praying and preaching on  this one.  Here is the pinnacle  of the Psalm.

Psalm 46.10

“Be still and know that I am God, I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

“Be still” means to stop striving, and to surrender and “know”, He is God.  The whole Psalm is food for the soul.

Have you done this?  Take some time, get alone, open your heart to God, and just stop. Invite Him to show you He is God, and allow his supernatural presence to bring peace, and then you will “know”. Not just in your head, but in your soul.

Yes, it’s another abnormal weekend and God is among us this weekend, like He was last and will be next.  The Lord is going to get us through this.   Keep being Psalm 46.10 people.

Pastor Nate Elarton

God is a Missionary-Missio Dei


The day I became a Christian my life radically changed forever.   The mission of God, became real and personal.  I began to realize that His mission was to save me, redeem me, to forgive me, and give me purpose.  I had the gnawing in my heart and soul to help others realize what Jesus can do for them.  That they would also know Christ.  I became a Christian, but I also became a man with a mission. It wasn’t my mission it was His.   The same mission that burned in me in High School, burns in my now. To help people find Christ.

The mission of our missionary God was to redeem the world from sin, and as God sent Jesus, and the Spirit, he sends His church, his people.

As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.” (John 17:18, NIV84)

To miss this part of our faith is to really miss it.  Christianity is not just a doctrine, it is a movement.  We are being sent by God, our missionary God, to help the world see the mission of Jesus, to redeem them. If y,ou are serving God for the next cool sermon or worship experience only, I challenge you to have the courage to investigate your responsibility to others beyond yourself.

When we buy into this idea that we are to be happy, and that is our mission in life, we actually lose happiness and joy.  Joy comes through mission.   When we elevate ourselves to make ourselves significant, we actually become insignificant, self-absorbed, and lose joy, because we have no purpose, no mission. us’ mission filled him with joy.  Fulfilling mission is fulfilling joy.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2, NIV84)

Lack of Joy is lack of mission. There is a connection and bond between purpose/mission and joy.   When we live out our future in terms of mission we live with joy.  No matter what we do for money, we are people that need to live on mission.

If we believe there is no higher cause than our own happiness, and our fulfillment personally is the most important goal in life, we will lose joy and live in quite a lot of disappointment.  We will begin to believe God and others also exist for our happiness, and when that is not accomplished we question God, friends, families, and marrriages.

When you quit loving Jesus and lose your mission you will lose joy. Joy and mission are connected.  Living the mission and purposes of Christ is the greatest joy.

When we say “my needs first” then we may perceive that we  gain freedom.  We really  lose true joy. Then one has nothing to live for or die for except themselves, and they’ll do it alone.

Jesus is sending his church. His people are a people with a mission, a purpose, and it’s not our own happiness.  To show the world Jesus, His love, His mercy, and goodness is our mission.  To testify of His reality and Truthfulness so others will also be redeemed and put their faith in Him, through Christ is the mission.

Everything the church deos, plans, funds, must have this as the litmus test of our time, energy, talents, and finances.  No matter what you do for money, your job is a mission for you are a missionary serving a sending God. He has sent you into that classroom, that factory, that cubicle.  He is working with you behind that counter and/or the steering wheel of your car.

Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” John 20.21

My greatly missed brother Steve used to say “Be about the Father’s business.”  He was reminding me to live on mission, to serve my missionary God.  I  intend fully to live my life like this.  I pray I never stop.  May we all live on mission.

 

Pastor Nate Elarton

 

God has a secret


Psalm 25.14  “The secret of the Lord is for those who fear HIm, And He will make them know His covenant.”

This verse jumped out at me this morning.  As I read this idea of a secret that God reveals, I studied further.  The Hebrew word for secret is “Sod”.  It means “a confidential discussion” and even implies this would be in a limited circle.  I believe many people have the idea, that no matter how they live, what they do, or what they believe, God dispenses everything of blessing to everybody evenly. That all of His mysteries are given fairly to everyone This isn’t true.  He does love us all, but saves special revelation to those that love Him back.

It is obvious here that the secret or mysteries  are revealed only to those who “fear” the Lord.  That means, serve, respect, and revere.  This is more than cheap lip-service. This is a way of life.  When we honor God he honors us by revealing is covenant.  The Covenant refers to His Ways, and Promises.  This would include revealing Himself, His love, and His will for our lives.

There is a lot of spiritual knowledge, truths, and even experiences God wants us all to be part of. His love for each one of us draws us to Him.  We have to go beyond, just believing and really serving the Lord in our lives every day.

Are you living with a respect, reverance, and love for the Lord that is seen in our habits, priorities, time, and talents?  If you are then spiritual mysteries, that only the spiritually-minded receive, and now are being revealed to you.

Consider this teaching by the Apostle Paul ..

The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit. The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Corinthians 2:14–16, NIV)

Read these verses two or three times to get them.

So knowing God brings spiritual understanding. We know God through the bridge of faith. Faith in Christ, forgiveness in Christ, and freedom in Christ.  Then the Spirit of God dwells in us and the Holy Spirit is our teacher and leads us and guides us into all truth. The Lord loves you and has given his Son so we can know Him.  Great truths await the person that loves Him back.

Pastor Nate Elarton

 

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

Back from German-speaking Europe


It was an amazing experience being in Europe with Paul and Mechthild Clark. We were in the German-speaking part. I taught at two, one-day  forums Paul hosts, to encourage and teach pastors. One was in Grandstadt,  Germany and one in  Schaffhausen, Switzerland. I also spoke at a pastors meeting in Innsbruck,  Austria on the following day with Paul and Mike. We had great fellowship on the 4 hour round trip drive. What an It was busy traveling, and speaking the first week that is for sure, but we loved it!

Wendy was able to share in Innsbruck, the foster-care ministry as they have similar challenges with foster-care in Europe also.  My translator was moved has he and his wife are foster-parents. His name was Marcel. He is a great guy and we became instant friends. I will miss him.

On Saturday the new Church Plant the Clark’s are pastoring in Bregenz, Austria hosted a ladies breakfast.  Mechthild worked hard and Wendy spoke. Saturday night was fun as we traveled to Salem, Germany for a community Outreach. I played bass and Mike Clark, played keys, and Paul led worship from the guitar. We talked about getting more gigs and hitting the road.  The community center was full, and the host Pastor, a Romanian, man David and his wife were so kind!

Wendy’s cousin, Pauline and Manfred, came to Grandstadt, on our first day of ministry. They took Wendy to lunch and then we were able to visit after the forum They were so kind to take us to the train station in Mannheim.  We rode a few hours then to Switzerland.

Sunday I taught on Philippians 1.6 at the Bregenz church and helped with worship. Paul was my translator.   We visited and enjoyed a great new body of Christ that the Lord is building there.  This is Paul’s 8th church plant.  He planted a church in Michigan before going to Germany and planting 7 more. Absolutely incredible.  He has always been one of my encouragers andd he calls often to see how I am doing. Before we came here, we took a team of students to Germany, and he encouraged me to church plant. I am thankful for priceless friends.

Wendy and I stayed a couple more days.  We were guests at Mike and Laura Clark’s for dinner. What an amazing family they are. We have known them for years and love what God has, and is, doing through their lives.  of course did some shopping, drank some great coffee and also saw a couple of castles. Our time together was well spent and needed after such a busy schedule of ministry.

On the way to the airport in Zurich, Switzerland, we stopped in the historic and beautiful St. Gallen.  We had lunch with Paul’s daughter and son-in-law, Stephenie, and Peter. We had not seen Stephanie in 20 years.  What a great couple. We were able to see the St. Abbey Cathedral and Library. I must be honest and say I will miss the coffee/expresso there. While I write this I am  drinking coffee from my drip-coffee maker, is a disappointed experience after the delicious coffee I have had the last few days. An epresso machine is in my future.

So What are our “take-aways” or  things I know the Lord show us from this trip?

  • We are called to reach the world, to help people find, know, and trust God with their lives.  Church cannot be just a bunch activity without purpose.
  • The people of God are wonderful, wherever you meet them. There is the bond of Christ and I sensed that, even when I could not speak the language.
  • The power of relationships can never be underextimated.
  • Compelled must continue to be missional, sending, praying, and going, at home, across the street and around the world.
  • Christian faith and growth are intentional.  One does not grow in Christ

    accidentally or just because you believe.  You must be intentional in your faith.

  • Some ancient traditions of faith, may not be pointless and dead, if they lead you to the life of Jesus and the fullness of God’s Spirit.
  • German-speaking Europe is not a 3rd world country. We did not pass out food, or do a medical clinic, that is greatly needed and a way to share Christ in other contexts.  We just poured into leaders.  We loved them, encouraged them, as the mission there is greatly needed and for many reasons, the work is harder than many places.
  • We must not forget Europe. Europe needs more churches, church planters, and people reaching out.
  • I was humbled to get to participate in the Ministry of the Clark’s. They are heroes to me.  Paul,  Mechthild, and Mike and Laura, continue to chip away at the darkness one life, and one family at a time.
  • Prayer must overcome the hardness of people’s hearts.  Whether in German-speaking Europe, Bedford, Toledo, or Holland, Ohio, people are softened through prayer and calling on God, the Holy Spirit to draw them to truth.

Compassion, We All Need More


compassion-lgWe need more compassion.  We are followers of Jesus Christ, who had a lot of compassion.  He loved sinners, tax collectors, the poor, suffering, the outcasts, the rejected, and so must we.

So why is it a lot of followers of  Christ lose their compassion?  We see, hear, and read, judgement, opinions, and not as much of the love and kindness of  Jesus.  We struggle inwardly with true and authentic care and love for people.  Why do we not move in greater compassion?  Why does a small segment of the Church, have the most compassion and others seem hard, or apathetic to the needs of those around us in our lives and ocmmunity?

  1. We tend to drift away from the heart of Jesus.  We must seek him and allow the Spirit of God to keep our hearts soft.
  2. We must refrain from judging and becoming legalistic.  Judgment makes one hard.
  3. The world can be an uncaring place, and we live in it, so it rubs off on us. The way we think and act.
  4. Let’s be honest, we all become about us and we all fight that battle.  It can be a challenge in these times to look beyond us, and to the needs of  others.
  5. We need more compassion.  There are people that are the victims of the sin of this world, that are suffering in many ways, that are lonely, hurting, tires, and feeling very alone.  True compassion acts.
  6. Public leaders, without compassion, lash out at each other in social media, on the news, and many feel permission to join in.  We are called higher.

Questions:

  • Who in your life, path, work, needs someone to care?  You are that someone?
  • When is the last time you served someone from love and compassion?
  • Do you need to ask the Lord to forgive you for lacking care and compassion for others?
  • How can you be more compassionate?  Do you need to ask the Lord to impart some compassion?

Seeing the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd.  Then He *said to His disciples, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.  “Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out workers into His harvest.”  Matthew 9:36–38 (NASB95)

 

 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you. Beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity.  Colossians 3:12–14 (NASB95)

 You, O Lord, will not withhold Your compassion from me; Your lovingkindness and Your truth will continually preserve me. Ps. 40.11

   Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, Philippians 2:1 (NASB95)

Why Did Jesus Come to Earth?


“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” John 17.3

I am on a journey. To know the Father. A moment of revelation was afforded me recently on why Jesus came to earth.  This revelation has reminded me of Truth and refreshed my soul.

  • He did come to destroy the works of the enemy.
  • He did come to cleanse sin, once and for all.
  • He came to “save” us as we say. (though many are unsure of what).
  • He came to give us eternal life.
  • Keep us from Satan (John 17.15).

It is true, all of these he came, but the one reason that bundles all of these together, that he came is that we would know the Father.  We can never know the Lord fully without being cleanses of sin, repenting and turning our lives around. We won’t ever know the Lord unless we live as an offering, and enact our faith, not just for the things in prayer we pray for, but to know our Father in Heaven.  Jesus wants you to know the Father.

  • Do you know about God? Or do you know God the Father?
  • Are you saved, but never pursued knowing Him more?
  • Choosing to sin in our lives, will make the waters of knowing Father murky?  Do you willingly and knowingly choose sin?  Do you grieve that you are forfeiting knowing the Father well?
  • Do you want to know the Father and be closer than ever before?

Begin to ask HIm to reveal Himself in every area of your life.  Search your heart and repent of sin, spiritual laziness, and any unforgiveness you have toward anyone.  Ask the Holy Spirit, who leads and guides us into all Truth, to lead and guide you. Read the Word with the goal to know the Father, not gain doctrinal or biblical knowledge.

Remember: “You are as close to the Father as you want to be.”

There is nothing on this earth greater than knowing the Father.

Do you agree? What steals our desire to know Father more?  Please respond below.

 

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