Submission, the Lost Discipline


gardenAt Compelled church I have been teaching on the spiritual disciplines in our series called “Making Room”.  This weekend I will teach on the discipline of submission. As I study and read and realize this is definitely a concept we don’t like to talk about and surely struggle to live out.  But it is a discipline of the heart nonetheless.

Submission comes easy to me when I want to submit, serve, and obey.  Maybe I will be noticed for it, or I will be thought of highly for submitting or serving in some “public” way that others can see.  Submission is really deeper than that. It is of the heart.  To give up perceived or even real “rights” is hard for our flesh and not thought of as honorable in our culture.  We truly believe we have a right to do whatever we want and if anyone disagrees or questions us they become enemy #1.

Submission has been abused by religion, leaders, churches, and organizations, but that does not mean it is not a virtue still.  Jesus had to submit, “not my will but thine” (Luke 22.42). Paul’s teaching to the Philippians show the submission of Christ, “And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross! (Phil. 2.8)”.  He submitted to the plan of the Father, to us for our freedom from sin, to death which God should never experience, and He submitted to how that will happen,  on a disgusting cross.  Do we think we do not have to submit, serve, obey, and give up our rights, when our example did, and He did for us.  

Submission of the heart to the ways of God is the deepest and most secret act and posture of our heart. Our jealousy, offense, hate, bitterness, all the things we believe we have a right to have, and to feed, must be forsaken for the sake of the love of Christ and His desire for our soul to be spiritually healthy. It is also an act of love for others.

Submission of our souls, and lives to the truths of the Bible, the moral compass, God gives us, and the love he wants to shower us with.  When we do not truly give him all areas of our life, we forfeit an awareness of His love and presence.  Our relationship turns into religion and our hearts can turn to stone.

The true mark of a child is they must have their own way.  Submission is a virtue for the mature.  We love others more than ourselves.  Just like Jesus did.

Read the teachings of our Savior,

Mark 8:34-36  “And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 35 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his [b]life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?”

May the Lord helps us submit, which is the deep virtue of love, and our world needs this so desperately, as does our families, spouses, children and community.

Pastor Nate Elarton

Year of Faith, Acts Faith


What a great few days of prayer and fasting.  So encouraged by this week at Compelled.  This week I was reading and meditating on some Psalms, but also on the Book of Acts.

Acts is an amazing, historical account, written by Luke, of the early church. One cannot read it and not be amazed at the growth of the church, the boldness of the disciples, the amount of miracles, and the level of commitment believer’s had.

Many want an Acts church today and wonder why we don’t have the same results?  I have been pondering this and have come to some conclusions and then some conclusions on my conclusions.

  • I wonder if we are as committed to Christ and His work as the Acts Church?
  • I wonder if we value being full, baptized, and led by the Spirit of God like they were?
  • I wonder if we don’t want to avoid offending people, or the persecution and opinion of us that would follow, if we are bold and courageous like the Acts Church?
  • I wonder if we intentionally build our faith daily like they did. They took time to pray, listen to apostles teach, be with believer’s learn the Scriptures.  They took the time needed to have great faith?

My conclusions to my conclusions

  • We need to evaluate our true level of commitment to living for Christ, not just believing.
  • We need to be baptized and filled with the Spirit of God, thus having the boldness and power to speak for Christ.
  • We need to take time to grow our faith. We (also me)  have time for Netflix, facebook, IPad games, sucked into fake news and every dumb share on social media, etc, but most believer’s don’t invest daily time to read, grow, listen, spend time with Christ.
  • We need a hunger. A deep hunger in our spirits for more of the Lord in our lives.  It so encouraging to see people hungry for Jesus this week.
  • I believe we are supposed to be the Acts Church.  I don’t think it was the will of God that the church and believers today be so different from then.

Your thoughts?

Pastor Nate Elarton, follower of Jesus

Real Love


Real-Love

I am Looking so forward to starting this 6-week series called “Real Love”. Going to challenge us to really be “Compelled” by His love, be about His love, express His love, and also Abide in His love.  Bring your Bible, a journal, grab the notes and be ready to grow, receive, and I am praying God the Father gives us revelation on how much he loves us.  Then we will be secure, and not look for so much love and affirmation from others. We will not offend when others are not loving, and we will be generous with love because God’s love has been poured into our hearts.

We need more love in our homes.  We need more love in our marriages.  We need more love for our family. We need to learn to allow others to love us.  We need to stop hoarding Father’s love.  We need His Real Love.

We function too much in a love that is worldly, selfish, and dysfunctional.  Jesus wants us to love others the way He loves us and the key is to abiding in His love (John 15-1-10).  When we are not abiding in Christ, we get unlovely real fast.

My 5 goals for this teaching series:

  1. Love like Jesus
  2. How to “abide” in the Love of Christ.
  3. To rise to Christ’s standard of love, not our family’s or this worlds
  4. How To love well. How to be free to love.
  5. To teach from Scripture, how we can love others like Christ.

 

See you this weekend at Compelled Bedford or Holland. Click here for times

Don’t love the ways of this world


“Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.”

1 John 2:15–17 (NASB95)

It is hard not to love this world, or this life.  Things are pretty convenient for many of us. We do not lack or worry about food, we have endless games, social media, and live streaming at our fingertips, and there is no end to leisure activities in which we can engage.  However, John is not teaching about that.  He is referring to the world as the broken down state of this earth.  The world here, in context, is darkness, sin, and systems opposite of the will of God.  First John is written to the believer, so for the believer to really love this world, one must compromise their love for the Father.

The world is defined of the cravings, and nature of sinful man, the lust and desire for more of what we want that satisfies the desires of the sinful man, and the pride of our accomplishments on this earth and what we can do, declaring we don’t need God, or His ways.  This is the product of the world, the worldly, and the lost.

May we not forget the last verse above, verse 17.  The world and all its sinful ways are going to pass.  They will be lost, extinguished, forgotten. They will pass when we do, they will pass when God brings all things here to an end, they will pass in His plan.  They are not eternal, but temporal, but the damage a commitment to the ways of this world can do on a soul, is eternal.  It’s all going to burn.

Nevertheless, the person who does God’s will never pass.  They will “live forever”.  Everything about the Father is eternal and everything about this world is temporal.   Are you a person that does the will of this world or are you about doing the will of God. IF you are doing the will of the world, the teaching of Christ, and the apostles are clear. You will be lost and pass away with the sinful, lustful, prideful ways of this selfish and fallen land, with its systems.  But if you choose to live for God, choose to do His will, you will never perish, but live eternally as your life will become eternal, dedicated and set apart for the Lord. You will never regret that kind of life.

Questions to Ponder

  • Is it your heart’s desire to do God’s will above all else?
  • Do you daily engage in the temporary and eternally destructive ways of this world, lust, cravings, pride, love of self, without remorse?
  • Would people and your family describe you as Godly or worldly?
  • How can we do the will of the Lord more in our daily lives?

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

Let’s Face it, We Have Limits


I have observed so many people living their lives and  how decisions are made based on their mind, will, desires, and understandings. I wrestle with this constantly also.  Making decisions based on our own knowledge and wisdom sounds noble, but can be catastrophic. Why?  We all have boundaries on our what we understand.  We only have learned so much.  We have only experienced so much. We have limits.  Our will can also manipulate our mind into making decisions we think we are good, but our desires, deceive our mind, and the decisions are really about us, and can impact others with pain, grief, and sorrow.

When we trust the Lord’s ways, we enter in to a life of faith and dependence on the One who has no boundaries.  God knows the past, present, and the future.  The Lord also loves us and has a will for our life, if we will but trust Him daily.  He knows what our heart and character need, to shore up our integrity, goodness, and holiness.  He isn’t tricked by our fancy prayers, deals, or justifications.

This verse in Proverbs 3 says it all:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3:5,6

We are encouraged to Trust in the Lord. His ways, his word, his will.  We are cautioned  about leaning on our own understanding.  Our intellect, our will, and our experiences, can threaten God ways in our lives we sweep Him aside, and trust in our own limited self.

Life is about so many decisions. Maybe today you have some heavy ones weighing on your mind and heart.  Can I encourage you to take the wisdom of Proverbs and apply them to your situation?  I mean, who wants a crooked life, and a rough path?  Surrender your will, and desires, and trust the one who know all, and loves you completely.

I have never heard anyone confess they regret trusting God.  I have heard regrets of the opposite countless times.  Live without regrets, and trust the Lord. He will direct your paths.

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

You are gifted


Every time I read Romans chapter 12, I am encouraged by the ancient Apostle to move forward in giftings, and to allow the fruit and Spirit of Christ, manifest himself through me daily.  It can be a challenge to allow the gifts we have for God’s glory be used.  Often we want to use them on our terms and in our time.  But God gives them to us, and the power to exercise them “according to the grace given to us (12.6).”  I also see in 12.3 “as God has allotted to each a measure of grace.”

So when it comes to the Lord flowing through me I am asking for a bigger measure of grace and faith from God.  I am asking for more faith, and the gifts I sense he has graced me with to be multiplied.  I am asking that for my family, my church leaders, and for Compelled.

All the gifts differ, Paul writes , according, or in proportion to the grace (gift) we have been given.  They are….

  • Prophecy-This is more forth-telling and proclaiming truth than giving “words” or “Thus saith the Lord” things.
  • Serving-Being a servant.
  • Teaching-Helping others grasp Kingdom and Christ principles in many ways.
  • Encouraging-Lifting others up.
  • Generosity-giving finances, time, talents, stuff to those in need.
  • Leadership-leading
  • Mercy-love and kindness manifested.

Which ones do you lean to in how the Lord made and graced you?

Many times we become shy about our gifts, like it’s wrong to ask for more faith, and greater power in our gifts.  I encourage you today to get outside of your box, and pray for a greater impact for God with the gifts here in Romans 12.  Just remember the gifts are to glorify Christ, and to bring people into the Kingdom, as well as strengthening believers in the faith.  They are not about us, to attract attention to us, or to fill some broken need in our lives. So use your gifts, they were made for use, not for storage.

Why I need a night of extended worship.


Why is a night of Worship so vital for me?  Why am I excited about Dwell on Saturday?

Life is so busy, so hectic, so stressful, filled with joy, worry and disappointment. I need His presence to bring my heart peace.

I need the faith encouragement when I worship Christ.

I can hear his voice so much better.

Fear flees  from my heart when I worship.

There is spiritual power with others in His Presence.

I love hearing a corporate body singing, clapping, and joy exploding from our hearts because of Jesus Christ.

I love Jesus Christ and I want to express my heart to Him, for Him, and in Him!

—nate

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