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

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)

 

 

The Wonderful Consequence of Quarantine: The Transferring of Spiritual Leadership


As we are all in lock-down and not in social setting for worship, I sense a wonderful thing happening. I am not implying it did not exist before,  but it seems now it is existing, growing, and I am praying it becomes the new normal.

This would be the transfer of the spiritual leadership from pastors or clergy to the head of homes.  This is an incredible and fantastic consequence of not being able to worship together in a building.  With little to no access to the ministries and programs of the local church, the Christian homes are taking the helm of leading the family in their worship, discipleship, and spiritual growth.  This is incredibly biblical and an incredible need in our society.  It must continue.

We have become a very entitled people.  Our thinking and the culture has led us to believe that it is the responsibility of others to take care of us.  The government, the schools, the churches, the leaders, the pastors, the entities of community, are not really going to provide for us in every way.  Parents are stepping up.

Sure, we have some online encouragement, preaching, church services and teaching, but I realize most click on for a bit and click off, as our newly programmed time span is limited and we impulsively must click from thing to thing.  The spiritual leaders and pastors are doing our best to stay connected, to shepherd our people, to reach out and that won’t stop, but it is not enough, it has never been enough to truly ground our children into the ways and heart of Christ.

I rejoice for I see family leaders taking charge of the spiritual state of their homes. Not just homes with children, but couples without children, and us empty-nesters are increasing our worship, prayer, Scripture reading in the home.   Families are seeing the spiritual need at home and they are filling it.  They are taking responsibility to make sure their families do not just eat, and bath, but also worship and pray.  Singing together as a family is not awkward anymore.  Parents praying with children is the new normal.  Reading the Bible out loud, talking about life, and connecting in heart and soul is happening and well overdue for most homes of the American Christian Family.

Yes, the transfer of leadership from the pastor to the head of the home is a welcomed consequence of the Corona quarantine.  I pray it continues. I pray we will not return to expecting our leaders and pastors to spoon feed us the truths of Jesus, but our homes will be filled with His presence as moms and dads, set the stage, lead those times, and see their children experience God the best way possible, as a family.

There are no perfect parents, so don’t wait to be perfect to be the spiritual voice for your kids.  Precious parents, keep playing and singing together.  Tuck those kids in and pray. Turn on the worship music, dance and sing, hug and love your kids. study the Bible Quiz questions, The love of the Father is always transferred through the love of the parent (that is the blessing).  Let the joy of the Lord, run through your homes, through games, crafts, art, make-believe, laughter and giggles.

If you are a single-parent and no support of a spouse, please be reminded your Father is also present and will empower you.  You can do it.  Where we are in need He will give us strength. Parents, do you best, and take the spiritual leadership for your family.  Be the catalyst for a heart that wants to seek God and have his presence in your home and on the minds of your children.

What about us pastors?  Oh, we will keep doing our spiritual callings,  not in place of yours, but beside you. We will be here to teach you, resource you, encourage you, strengthen you, but you mom or dad, will be the spiritual leader of your home.  I see it happening and It fills me with joy. I love it!

What is happening is what the Lord commanded in Deuteronomy:

What about us past ““So commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these words of mine. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Teach them to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, so that as long as the sky remains above the earth, you and your children may flourish in the land the Lord swore to give your ancestors.” (Deuteronomy 11:18–21, NLT)

We love you and are so proud of what our young families are doing for Christ.  Don’t stop doing these things, even when your local church begins having services and ministries again. Always take the spiritual responsiblity for your family. You will never, never regret the energy and time you invest into the souls of your children.  It’s more important than any sport, hobby, travel team, or activity your kids can join.

We love you all so much and we are proud of you parents!

Pastor Nate and Wendy 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

 

You Are Not Helpless


May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,” (2 Peter 1:2–3, ESV)

As I prepare and study 2 Peter, the first chapter, for the next 8 weeks of teaching  at Compelled Church,  it has dawned on me that we are not helpless as followers of Christ.  After pastoring for 30 years, I have encountered many people that have this mentality when we experience the hard times and challenges of life.  When difficulties come we  are not without divine help to make it through.  We cannot melt-down, act like victims, throw in the towel,  reject our faith  or become co-dependent on others when hard times come.  This is not God’s way for his people. He has provided power for us.

How?  Read the verses at the top.  God has granted us his divine power for all that we need in this life.  When Jesus left he sent His presence, the Holy Spirit, to live in our souls.  The Holy Spirit is the presence of Jesus. He is our  divine power. He is with us.  We need to understand this, tap into  our faith by growing in the knowledge of Jesus.

We grow in faith by growing inn knowledge and we grow in knowledge by taking in the truths of God, through teaching, reading, listening, and discussing the Bible.  We also grow in knowledge or knowing Jesus, by experience Him.  We do that through life, through worship, in relationship, while we serve, and as we pray.  If you are not experiencing Jesus in a real way, you are missing how knowing the Lord really happens.

So when hard times come in this life, and they will, do not have crisis.  Do not act helpless. Do not question God’s goodness. Jjust grow. Lean into your faith. Lean into surrender, and the power of the Holy Spirit, and you will make it through trials and become better through them, not bitter.

Pastor Nate Elarton

Making Room for Christ to Form our Hearts


Making-Room.pngI have watched the TV show “Hoarders”. The show centers around a person whose house is jammed and crammed with stuff.  There is no room for anything, no room to move, and no room if they needed help. It’s often unsafe, unsanitary, and unlivable, yet the show is about someone who lives there for years.

Our time and lives are often like this.  Our growth and spiritual formation is neglected as there is no room in our schedule, no time in our lives, no margin to grow in God.  I am convinced that without time every day to focus on Christ, to listens, learn, read, worship, pray, and fellowship, we will never become who our Father has destined us to be.  We will trade in having our heart shaped by God, for a shallow faith, with little to know change in our lives for years.  An analogy to Hoarders, if our life is too cluttered, we are in spiritual danger, and the enemy can infiltrate our lives with things that are not “clean” or good for us at all.  We can’t move around and our joy and peace are stolen from us.

How are we cluttered?  I know my phone clutters my life.  Emails and work often squeeze my time.  There are too many things to watch, too many posts, too many shares, too many options for “other” things to do. I usually over commit my time to others or event to myself, thinking I MUST get so much accomplished in one day. I guess we do this to prove our worth.

We need to “make room”.  To sit, listen read, journal, pray, sing, worship.  Here are some practical suggestions to get us started.

  • Turn off your phone, TV, and music and sit 2 minutes in silence to listen for the Lord’s “impressions”.
  • Set a time of the day you can do this.  Start with 15 minutes or more.
  • Read a few verses of a Psalm and pray those verses. This is the ancient practice called “Lectio Divina”.  Here is an easy guide to get you started..Click here
  • Say the Lord’s Prayer.  Here it is if you don’t know it. click here.  Go back through and pray about the teaching of Christ in the Lord’s prayer.
  • Reacquaint yourself with the teachings of Christ and read the book of John

Let’s make some time in our busy lives to be with Jesus. Let’s allow is Spirit to shape our hearts, speak to our lives, and change us from the inside out.
Continue reading “Making Room for Christ to Form our Hearts”

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

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