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

 

Advent, Change, and Jesus


Nothing changed human history more than the coming of Jesus.  His life, death, resurrection, teaching, and promises have impacted life on His planet.

We are all changing.  As I approach my mid-fifties I recognize change.  Age, energy level, thought, and priorities all are shifting.People clamor for change, but many find the changes they want elusive and difficult. We  mostly pursue change that centers  around our comfort, looks, age and weight prevention, relationships  and the such.

The changes we all need and should pursue are the internal changes of our thoughts, character, and inner peace and contentment.

Too many of us allow our world, our environment, and our experiences to change us into the person we don’t want to be. We received the broken and deceptive messages that we don’t measure up, that life is hard, that we don’t have enough nice stuff, love hurts so be guarded, and anyone that stands in the way of what I want is my enemy.  These message bring negative change to us.  This  change will happen through cultural osmosis  if we are not aware and proactive about the state of our heart and soul.

Jesus wants to change us every day.  We need to spend some time with Him.  Silence, humility, hunger for righteousness, a desire to know the Lord and His ways, at the same time resisted and rejecting the negative messages  of this earth.Want to be changed?  We can let our Lord change us, or we can let this world change us. It’s really up to each one of us.  We decide.

Spend some time alone. Invite the Lord to speak to you. Read a Psalm, say a prayer, surrender a grudge, confess your desire to be like Him, for that is the changes we need.  Read about Jesus and what he was like, how he loved, what he did, who he impacted, who he served. Listen to him in the stillness. Hear with your spirit not your ears.

Change is not impossible. Jesus came to change us. His advent is all about change. He wants to change us, forgive us, pour grace upon us, and show us how much he loves us.  It’s His desire, but change can’t happen if we do not share His desire.

But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18, NASB95)

 

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

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