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.

 

Our Compelled Community fills me with Gratefulness


I love our church. I love the heart of our people.  I love how we pursue the Lord and people.  I loved the Toledo Campus going door to door, and hosting a fall festival. I love our Children’s ministry and leaders,  and the annual chili cookout. So glad the Lord led Pastor Matt and Mandie to Compelled. I love Pastor Rick’s heart as we gathered for worship team training and he encouraged us. I love Pastor Dusty getting our students reaching out. I love filling shoeboxes for the Lord and operation Christmas Child.  I love that we are truly “Compelled by love.” I’m am grateful to be part of our Compelled Community.

At Compelled this weekend we stressed our Family Value of Relationships.  “People grow better in relationship than they do in isolation.” We had people stand and publicly  give testimony and thank those who encouraged them in the faith and brought them to Jesus.  This was moving, encouraging, and filled us with faith.  I loved it.  We heard powerful stories of people reaching out in friendship and love for Christ and lives were changed and of course eternities.

We must be those people that are the encourager now.  As we have received, now let’s give.  Make a difference in someone’s life.  Start a small group.  Call someone you have been missing. Write out a prayer for a struggling friend and mail it.  Send a text, buy a coffee, open your home and your heart and see what God will do.

Keep being missional Compelled Church!  We are making a difference.

(NOTE:  All the gatherings were awesome but the 11 am worship was amazing.  The place was packed and so many people were pursuing the heart of God.  It was so powerful.)

Family Values


family-valuesWe all have values. We have personal values, marriage values, and family values.  These are the things that navigate our decisions and behaviors.  Like, I choose not to do much to my yard, because I do not value a perfect lawn. It means nothing to me, as some men spend hundreds of dollars to have a nice lawn and work on it all the time. I am not one of those guys.

What are your values?  Do you value honesty, people, family, time?  Churches have values.  The things we deems as important. The things we must emphasize as our mandate in the Bible. I am excited to speak on them the next 2 months. We will talk about the values of Compelled Church, and why we value them.

As the staff and I talked and investigated these things my heart was full.  My heart was full with thankfulness at our values.  My heart was full because I know our values are the values of the Lord.  this week we will share our greatest and foundational value. Jesus Christ! He is all.

The Baby Birds are Gone, God is Not


I was at the church this morning, doing some things and getting ready for the weekend gatherings. I noticed the little birds that were up underneath the car port  were now gone.  They got strong enough to fly away.  I then thought of Rick’s message on gratefulness.  I thought of how many people over the last 20 years have been nurtured, made strong, and have “flown away”.  Some of our young people have entered into full time ministry , and mission fields. I thought of many of them, and I was thankful.  I saw some other things on my walk.

  • I saw the empty quiet building which a few days ago was full of children every morning learning the Word of God, and trust in Jesus.  I walked to the front and remember dozens asking Jesus into their heart on Thursday.  My heart is so thankful for all the volunteers, leaders, and Pastor Matt and Mandie Reinhart. I pray these children will follow the Lord, and their parents will help and lead the way.
  • I walked on our new floors and remembered how many hands made it possible, so thankful for servant hearts.
  • I watered our beautiful flowers, thankful for Deb and Harry Welch, planting and caring for them. I prayed for her healing as I know she has been sick, and am thankful for their life, that God brought them to Compelled.
  • I put up the building plans for the Toledo Campus build out on the wall. So thankful for a church that is missional, and for what the Lord is going to do as we will have 3000 more sq. ft. for children’s ministry, and for Jennifer Perkins who has agreed to be the Children’s Ministry Director there! Praise God. Thankful for Pastor Tim and Amanda’s leadership, and for the faithfulness of Curtis and Iris Klotz and so many others! God is moving in so many lives there.
  • I put up a certificate on our Global Outreach Missions board that we were 371st in the nation for Assembly of God churches in missions giving. That is out of 12,000 churches!  Wow!
  • I looked out the window at the playground God provided. I believed for years for one for the children and young families, he gave it to us. He took care of us…..again.
  • I stepped into my office and looked at the pics of my family that line my walls. I am so proud of my children and thankful to God for who they are, and who they are becoming. Grateful for Justin, that God put in our lives. Said a simple pray for continued guidance, and protection from the enemy on their lives. another prayer of gratitude flowed without words from my heart.
  • I watched Jeremy Whitmill, fixing the drain and door on his Saturday morning off, he made time for the Lord’s work to help his church. I am grateful that we really love, love, and serve.So many  like him, make ministry here fun, enjoyable, and a blessing. We truly value serving.  Our Father sees it all.
  • I got something off my wife’s desk. I thought of our 29 years of marriage and ministry. I thought of all she does for Compelled, quietly, behind the scenes, unnoticed by most everyone, except the one who has His eye on the sparrow. What he sees in secret will one day be rewarded.   I thought back on the sacrifices she made so we could plant Compelled, and the church could be strengthened. I thought of her ministry to our children, who are now young adults that love the Lord. I am thankful for her beauty,  love, patience, and joy in which she lives out every day. I am grateful to have her by my side in life, as best friends, parents, and ministry partners.
  • I went out and washed off my brother Steve’s memorial stone. I stood choked up as I thanked God for His life and his persistence in helping my life, and showing me Jesus. I am honored and humbled to have his fingerprints on my life and ministry.  I pledged to “be about the Father’s business” on this earth, as he would encourage me.  I relish the day we can eat some blueberry pancakes, have a rasberry mocha together, catch upon the years we missed with Pat, and live in eternity with Christ.
  • I thought of God’s goodness to me, of his great mercy on my life. I am so undeserving to spiritually lead, be adopted into His family, and to have Him live in my life.  I bowed my head in humility and thankfulness for Jesus, whose death and resurrection brought me forgiveness of my sins, the guilt of my sin, the punishment, consequences, and the deliverance from the ways of this world and self-destruction without Him.  What a wonderful Savior I know.

Yes, I had quite a morning of revelation, and my heart is full of God’s Spirit. Yes, the birds are gone, but the ministry here is not, and neither is the power and presence of the Lord.     I heed the word of Samuel the prophet to Israel in 1 Chronicles 12.24

“Only fear the LORD and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.”

Selah……………………….Pastor Nate

 

 

Just a personal post


Bicep Tear—Just a personal update.  Since Christmas and the ripping of my bicep in a racquetball accident. I really don’t feel like I have been myself completely.  I had a surgery to reattach it, but it was cut short because of my blood pressure and heart rate dropping for a few minutes. After a trip to Toledo Hospital in an ambulance, and 2 days of tests, it was determined my heart is in great shape and they have no clue why this happened. On January 18th, the surgery was successful and my bicep was reattached. I have been recovering since then and today I am free from the immablizing brace I was wearing. I feel like that ordeal is finally over. I am so thankful for all my wife’s help. Wendy has been an angel and servant to me. She is such a blessing. I can now get back to exercising, woodcarving, and leading spiritually, which is my mantle.

Wrestling– We have been busy supporting our boys and being part of the wrestling family of Bedford High SChool. What a joy. Levi won the League JV championship and is backing up some varsity guys. Gabe has had an amazing 3 weeks. He won the League Championship, the District Championship, and last weekend won the regional Championship at 189.  He will wrestle at States at the Palace Marcy 4-6.  Gabe and Levi do more than wrestle. They are leaders in the youth group, are preparing for Fine Arts, Gabe leads worship and the band for our youth ministry, and they are active in the things of God. I am so proud of them.

I am missing Abby and Justin, as she is finishing her sr. year. They attend Northpoint Bible College in Grand Rapids.  We miss them and look forward to seeing them soon. They have some tough classes this semester. They work hard and I am so proud of them both. On top of school, they shoot and video weddings, work at the college and are involved in ministry.

Daily, I have my scehdule with Compelled Church, check in on my father, whom I moved over here from Morenci in October. He is adjusting but misses his home of 50 years, as I can imagine. I know he misses the house and Morenci.

Wendy and I are coming off a nasty virus or something that hit hard. I am so glad to feel normal again. Man that, took the wind out of my sails for sure.

The next couple months will prove busy. We have our Compelled Business meeting Sunday at 5 pm. We are building out with 3000 more square feet at the Toledo Campus, redoing our lobbies at the Bedford Campus, Easter is coming, and our Missions month.  I am also leading a team to Mexico to build 2 churches.  We will return to help with our Vacation Bible SChool here at Compelled. Around 400 children attend that.  I am looking forward to connecting with my family at Spring Break.

Through all of this, I sense the presence of the Lord. He is everywhere, reminding me of everything I read this morning in Psalms 111. I am grateful to serve Him and desire to remain faithful to my God in everything I say and do.

How to Help Guests Feel Welcome at Compelled Church . Ten things we all must do.


I heard a stat that 40% of every church turns over every 5 years.  The church in America is in plateau and decline.  Only 10% of churches in the country reported growth next year.  People need Jesus. They need a faith community of believer’s. As they are searching for God, they visit churches, and also those that love the Lord but are in transition, or haven’t gone to church in years, visit churches.  How can we, who are part of a church, receive guests in Christ’s name so they will continue their spiritual journey?  Here are some practical ways:

  1. Don’t go to a service only thinking about you.  Church is also a place for ministry from you. Remember, people are there that are guests for the first time. Your kindness and conversation, might be the one thing they remember and keeps them coming back.  It’s more than just about you.
  2. Sit in the front–park in the back. Make room for guests.  First timers will always sit in the back. leave the chairs for them, leave the best parking spots for them. We could all use a little more exercise anyhow.
  3. Don’t ask the pastor questions you can ask them on the phone or email before the service times.  Save their time to connect with guests.  Communicate business some other time.
  4. During the greeting, greet those no one is talking to. Don’t just run to your closest friends, make relationships with those who don’t know yet.
  5. Brag about your church with guests. Invite them to the “Next Step” class on Wednesdays and the next ” Pizza with the pastors”.
  6. Remember their names!  Write it down. Don’t be lazy and say “I’m no good with names so I won’t remember you.” Worst thing you can say to a guest EVER! Please  introduce them to others you know and also the pastors, use their names.
  7. Ask them questions about their family. If you don’t know if they are new ask,”How long have you been coming to Compelled?”
  8. Invite them to lunch. 
  9. Ask them if they have any questions and if they need a Bible or guest packet. Get them a mug. Tell them they can bring the coffee into the worship center. If you don’t know the answer to their questions go to the Welcome center, find their answer, and get back to them. Get them a guest packet from Nate, Tim, or the Welcome Center.
  10. If they have children, help them, and walk them back to the check in stations in our Children’s Ministry. 

Every person that attends a church, should consider themselves apart of the hospitality team. Please oh please, appoint yourself so, and let the love of Christ flow from your heart.  It will make a world of a difference in a person or a whole family’s life!  Make new friends for Christ’s sake. When a guest comes to Compelled, there is a reason. God is doing something in their lives. They have a need. They are searching. Be apart of that process!!!!  Thank you! “Compelled by Christ’s Love.”

Do you have more ways? Please add them here by replying.

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