There is more than one way to be Lost


We are a culture that is becoming lost in many ways. It is so easy to forget the things that truly bring joy and happiness in life and we elevate so many things that do not and can actually take value from us. As I speak this weekend on the parable of the Lost Sheep (Luke 15), I had a thought that many are lost spiritually, but even believers can be lost if we are not careful. We can miss the best God has for us, and the experiences and people in our lives, that may bring great value can be overlooked or dismissed.

What are people lost in?

  • The priority of money
  • The pursuit of stuff, and purchasing.
  • Selfish pleasure
  • Phones and tablets
  • Streaming binges
  • Gaming
  • Sin
  • The past
  • Fantasy
  • Pity
  • A failure
  • Living fake to please others
  • Entitlement
  • Politics
  • Apathy

The list could go on and on. I am thankful that no matter what degree we are lost, or how we are lost Jesus said in Luke 19:10 that he came “to seek and to save that which was lost.”I recently got lost on the side of a mountain in North Carolina. I was enjoying the walk down to a beautiful pond and on the walk up I was lost. I didn’t know it. It all looked the same. I was walking up, there were trees and leaves and rocks and it all looked ok to me. It was only after a while that I felt I should have been back at the cabin I realized I might be lost. I pulled out my GPS, had service, and realized I somehow went slanted up the mountain and was going up the opposite side. My point is, I did not know I was lost.

Many don’t realize they are lost. Life is happening, eating, sleeping, going to work, interacting, but there is so much that could be going so much better in our hearts and souls, but we don’t even realize it.

When one is lost, it usually involves and crazy amount of time and energy being invested. Our day, evening, thoughts, energy and our conversations surround much of what we are lost in. Our choices are influenced, and the direction of our heart and even our life can be altered into a direction that is not from the Lord and not His plan for your life and time.

Some questions to help determine if you are lost. Use these like I used my GPS

  • What do you do mostly when you are not working?
  • What dreams have you shelved and what replaced them.
  • What do you treasure? What do you pursue?
  • Is your direction in life leading you closer to Jesus or farther away?
  • At your funeral, what would the top 5 closest people say about you and what you liked in life?
  • Would the way you live now, cause you regret in 10 years?
  • Are you missing out on the things in life that really really matter? Faith, Family, Friendships.

for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21, NASB95)

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13, NASB95)

Boasting in the Cross, not in Religion


Man has always tried to add to the Gospel and love of Christ. traditions of men, required memberships, religious rules, humanistic ideologies and of course things added to the message that Jesus taught about salvation.

Christianity is about humility, and total allegiance to Jesus Christ. His Spirit lives in the believer. The Father speaks to us, and knowing Christ and being forgiven may be the most undervalued gift, given to mankind.

This world and all its allures still cry out to everyone, including the Jesus follower, for our allegiance, attentions, involvement, and participation.

Paul’s teaching here is something to read. Read it over a couple times, it is powerful. My comments of course will not improve on it.

May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation. Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule—to the Israel of God. From now on, let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers and sisters. Amen.” (Galatians 6:14–18, NIV)

Some key questions

-Is this world and all it’s stuff, got a hold of us more than loving and serving Christ? Is it dead to our hearts?

-Are we dead to thinking the things of this world will complete us, satisfy us, bring us inner joy, help us enjoy life more than a relationship with God?

-As Paul had the marks of Christ on his body (Greek is Stigmata) or stigma. Do we, without shame, identify with Jesus Christ, no matter what “stigma” it carries to others?

Religion, and man’s attempt to “make Jesus” better, harder, stronger, or whatever is no necessary. The work of Christ and Calvary, Jesus life and teachings stand on their own. Before we add to Christ, we need to subtract. Subtract the things of this temporary world from our lives, and then the need to “add” to Jesus will not seem germane or even necessary.

I close with the words again of the Apostle Paul in his letter to the church in Corinth.

For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.For it is written,“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And the cleverness of the clever I will set aside.”

(1 Corinthians 1:18–19, NASB95

A Pastor’s Prayer


This is a prayer I have been writing for some time, and praying. A lot of my friends are pastors and spiritual leaders. We need prayer for different things, at different times. If you are a pastor, print and pray. If you are not, you will gain insight on how to pray for your pastor.

A Pastor’s Prayer

Lord help me today I set out to do your will. To represent you as the spiritual leader of your church and this community.

May I always know a live that my first ministry is to my family. May I never neglect them to build a church a to earn someone’s approval. Help me be the spiritual, loving leader at home, before the church or community.

Give me the grace to make hard decisions, love hard people, and prevent my heart from becoming hard.

Fill me with your love for everyone.  The lost, the faithful, the hurting, the struggling, the stubborn, the combative, and the unseen.

Please give me the gifts I need when I need then to be effective for your Kingdom, and then may I rest in humility, and crucify my ego.

May I realize and act on the interior, secret place of my life.  The place where you dwell, and I truly exist.  May I not allow room for sin, greed, bitterness, apathy, or spite, but only the sweet presence of Christ, changing me from the inside out. Deliver me from the enemy who would love me to make evil choices, that would have devastating outcomes.

May I take your Word and eat that book for myself.  May I gain insights to share, passion to preach, but also food for my soul, so I may be the person of holiness that will serve my family, spouse, colleagues, and community, and bring glory to Your Name.

Fill me with your Holy Spirit’s power, so I may live Holy, be filled with the Love of my Father, and the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ.

Forgive me for comparisons.  May I rest in who you made me to be and not who I am not.  May I have faith that you are growing me in who you desire me to be.

Free me from feeling guilty for not being able to do what I do not have time to do, but want to.

Give me the wisdom for discernment of my time, discernment for those I allow in my circle of influence, and discernment to hear the cries of the silent who need you.

Help me forsake distractions for sustained times. May my phone, social media, email, and texts be a disciplined blessing and not a nuisance to my soul.

Give me the discipline to seek solitude, for there is where the fertile soil is, to hear your voice.

Help me rest and Sabbath well and be filled with health, spiritually, emotionally, and physically.

Give me a revelation of your love for me regardless of my preaching, counseling, leading, following, writing, or ideas. May I know that if I stopped doing all of these things, your love for me would not change and is constant because You have created me.

Never let me get far from the cross. Don’t let me drift away from gratefulness and thanksgiving for your sacrifice for my salvation.  May that gratitude be manifest in my joy, my worship, my leadership, and my contentment.

I give you my life this day. I am yours. I thank you for the privilege of my calling. Keep me a humble and strong leader filled with your presence in all I say, do, write, post, and speak.

By Pastor Nate Elarton

Lead Pastor Of Compelled Church, Temperance, MI and Toledo, OH

Week of Prayer, January 8, 2021 Let’s have some Courage Christians


We have a lot of Christians that have courage to talk and post about politics, covid, masks, but do you we have the courage to talk about Jesus Christ, the Gospel, the Bible, our Lord? Let’s pray for courage and to be encouragers. Our courage can helps someone else rise up in courage for the sake of Christ (Philippians 1.14). Christ did not die on the cross for His people to be wimps. God is calling us to be courageous for the Kingdom’s sake, His Kingdom, to shed the light of Jesus and the Good News of Salvation!

Prayer by St. Anselm of Canterbury


Teach me to seek you,

and reveal yourself to me as I see;

for unless you instruct me I cannot see you,

I cannot find you.

Let me see you in desiring you;

let me desire you in seeking You;

Let me find you i loving you;

let me love you in finding you.

St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Less is More


We are always in a hurry and sometimes for no reason. We commit to too much, overplan, set goals that are not reality, and stress ourselves into a state where peace is elusive. We are in a state of perpetual hurry.  Cultivating a relationship with our Father can not be hurried.  That is one of the things God has shown me the last several years.

We need to learn that “less is more” in life.  To not be so busy, so weighted down by commitments, so burdened by trying to be the world’s best mom or dad.  “Less is more” when we come to Scripture.  Sometimes instead of reading a few chapters of the Bible read, and reread a few verses and let our loving Father reveal to you His messages and His truths to your life.  Today I read, reread, prayed and thanked God for Isaiah 43.1-7.  Take a moment

But now, this is what the Lord says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; I give Egypt for your ransom, Cush and Seba in your stead. Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’ Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth— everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”” (Isaiah 43:1–7, NIV)

  • Read this a couple times
  • Pray over them and ask Father to speak to your heart about them.
  • Ask  Who is God for me?  How does He see me?
  • What promise does God have for you right now in your life? What are forever?
  • Respond in grateful appropriateness.

Keep in the process of spiritual formation, receiving and responding to God’s love.

Pastor Nate Elarton

That was my Last Weekend on the Bench


I remember going out for basketball in the 6th grade.  I sat on the bench until the last 2 minutes.  I hated sitting on the bench watching the taller dudes have all the fun. ( Fun fact:  I fouled out once in that 2 minutes.)  My coach told me I would never play much basketball and wrestling was probably my sport and he accepted me quitting the team. I hadn’t said anything about quitting so  I got the point.  He was right.

The last 14 weekends haven’t been awesome.  I feel like I have been “benched”. I never thought it would last this long, but anyhow, this last weekend was it.  I really never want to hear “unprecedented”  “the new normal” “we are in this together”   etc. LOL.  I praise God it’s over. I am a preacher and I want to preach and teach God’s Word to faces and families!

I sure got tired of the introverts saying “I really enjoyed this Covid stay-at-home.”  When I read those posts on Facebook from other pastors I just rolled my eyes.  I am just not like that. I am not an introvert.  It was unenjoyable to not be around my Compelled Family and people.  Recording on Friday and preaching to an empty room was OK, but I did not feel like a pastor regardless how many people watched online.  I am thankful we could do it and that everyone helped get it done, but it’s no permanent replacement.  I miss the corporate worship, prayer, smiles, children, families, friends, community and the faith when we all gather together.  I love Compelled. I am thankful for that and we will continue to have our service online, on facebook and on Youtube for those of you not ready to return or that are high-risk.

I am very very very glad this is over.

This next weekend,  We will be back together 3 services a weekend at Bedford and also  the 11 am Sunday at Holland.

Here is a link to our guidelines. Father’s Day Re-Opening at Compelled.  

If you are ready to come back, we are ready for you. If you are not quite ready, no problem.  If you want to wear a mask, please do. If you don’t want to wear a mask then don’t.  We have approached our opening with wisdom and not recklessness of course, but we also want adults to be able to make their own decisions and I know we are all going to be courteous and thoughtful to the comfort level of others.

This happy pastor will be at Compelled this weekend.

Pastor Nate Elarton

Ten Tips During This Crisis


Ten Tips to Make it Through This Crisis

We are all getting weary as the crisis and adrenalin that comes with a crisis, wears off and we find ourselves in a “new normal”. We are all experiencing the mess our world is in, and it’s not going to be over for a while. We are not in a sprint, but a marathon.

We are in lock-down and we are experiencing fear, anxiety, and stress in a way we have never experienced it before. We are in a hostile environment, as politics is getting nastier (like it could get worse than it was), homes are stressed, children are struggling with out to process their emotions, and people have lost their jobs and security.

We are all grieving. Grief is the emotion of deep sorrow because of loss.  We are all experiencing loss.  We have lost a lot. We have lost some of our freedoms, our schedules, our security. Our world is grieving the loss of lives, jobs, and peace.

The Lord wants us to move through this. I tend to be very practical.  Let me give you some ways to survive during this time.

Ten Strategies to get through this time.

  1. Limit news and screen time: So much information can overwhelm us with hopelessness and fear.  Too much time on your phone and social media, just cause you to think other’s thoughts and take on their fear and offenses.  Be free of screens to have your own thoughts.
  2. Do what the specialists are telling us to do. Wash your hands, social distance, and save lives, stay in.
  3. Lean into each other. Help each other out when one is down, fill in and show great love, grace, and empathy.
  4. Sleep well and eat well. Eight hours of sleep  is necissary. Lack of sleep is linked to  many  health issues and will cause emotional, spiritual, and physical troubles. If we eat the diet of Elf, we will be in trouble as carbs are linked to depression and lack of energy, emotional, spiritual, and physical.  Eat your Broccoli!
  5. Exercise. Get moving and you will get a new view and attitude.  You will feel better.
  6. Watch your speech. Being around family all the time, can make us  relax on how we communicate. Don’t lash out at people and say things you will regret.
  7. Apologize quickly and accept apologies quickly, then move on.
  8. Play worship music in your home. It will change the atmosphere of your home, and bring strength to your heart.
  9. Lean into Jesus. Read his word, pray and talk to him throughout your day.
  10. Don’t ration love. This isn’t a good time to withhold love. Let the love flow.

Some Verse to Strengthen you

Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8, NLT)

These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death. So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.” (James 1:15–17, NLT)

Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.” (Colossians 4:6, NLT)

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things! Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.” (Galatians 5:22–25, NLT)

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:9–15, NLT)

 

 

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