Good Friday is Good


GoodFRidayAs I ponder this morning the deep goodness of God, I am reflecting on the love of God and I am moved.  It is Good Friday. We call it good. For us it shows the love that Father has for us. That Christ would die in our place. Take the judgement for our sin.  In no other way could the depth of God’s love be shown, then by the giving of Life.  In a world that is hostile, angry, confused, God’s love shines to humanity. In the death of Christ the human spirit, is moved by magnitude of love shown as Jesus lays down his life for us.  Please take a moment to reflect, meditate, pray through with thanksgiving these verses as I have done.  The truth will lead you to the goodness of God on this Good Friday

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3.16

“It is rare indeed for anyone to die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God proves His love forus in this: While we were still sinners, Christ diedfor us.  Therefore, since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from wrath through Him.” Romans 5.7-9

“But the LORD was pleased
To crush Him, putting Him to grief;
If He would render Himself as a guilt offering,
He will see His offspring,
He will prolong His days,
And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.” Isaiah 53.10

He has purchased by his love and blood our salvation.

Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Today is a day to be thankful, humbled, broken, and meek.

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.)

Stop being so unhappy and discontented


Why are so many people not content?  Unhappiness, anger, depression, and hopelessness seems to be much more prevalent than contentment.  Contentment is a state of peaceful happiness.  Few have it.  There are so many things that take peace and happiness away from us.  Most of these things are external or circumstantial, but some are rooted in attitude and world view.

  • Materialism steals contentment.
  • Sin Steals contentment.
  • Conflict resulting in bitterness and unforgiveness steals contentment
  • Neglected our spirit, and inner health steals contentment
  • bad eating habits, sleep habits, steals contentment.
  • Negative, complaining, and overall views of pessimism will steal peace for sure.
  • too much netflix and TV can steal contentment.

We get unhappy at our circumstances. Maybe life has not turned out the way you had thought, or someone is making rotten decisions in their life that is affecting yours?  Contentment can be evasive in a world of conflict, a life of hectiness, and a heart divided.

Many are discontent as the media continues to bombard us with ads telling us and reminding us we do not have the coolest and newest things, and we fall prey to feeling that we are not significant because we don’t own the new whatever and discontentment grips our heart.

True contentment, inner peace and happiness, comes when we our faith and hope is not in the external things, and circumstances we cannot control, but in an all-loving and unchanging God. He purchased a chance for us to experience His life and peace, through the life, death, and resurrection of His son Jesus Christ.  A life with Christ, is a life of contentment.

In a life full of people and circumstances we cannot control, we need contentment. In a life of stress, busyness, raising kids, paying bills, driving here and there, we need contentment. With hearts that  have been wounded, pasts that haunt us, consequences from past mistakes, remind us, we do need inner peace, happiness, and a sense that there is more to life than all of this.  We need contentment. We need faith to know, that no matter what, we are part of the plan God has for our lives. We need the peace and contentment from resting the hands and love of our Father in Heaven. Choose Christ’s presence, power, and peace in your life, and stop allow unhappiness to rule your heart and mind. With God’s help that is truly possible.

May I leave you with some ancient words from the 1 century found in the Scriptures.

“But godliness actually is a means of great gain when accompanied by contentment.” (1 Timothy 6.6)

New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (1 Ti 6:6). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

A Very Dark Saturday


As we understand from the Scriptures, the week of the Passion of Christ, Jesus died on the cross for us on Friday, that we now traditionally call Good Friday. We also know that on the third day he rose from the dead. Resurrection Sunday or Easter Sunday, now traditionally called.  But what about that in-between day?  Saturday. What a dark day that must have been.

The disciples had scattered, denied, wept, and may have lost hope.  over three years that had been with Jesus.  He was not just the promised Messiah to them, he was their friend, their close friend and now he was gone.  In Matthew we see on Saturday that Pilate sent guard to secure the tomb as they recall that Jesus said “After three days I will rise.” I smile a little that even they believed this was a possibility.  But on Saturday, the second day, he was not there.   Psalms 16, tells us that on Saturday Christ went to the place of the dead. I believe Christ was busy on that dark day. descending to the place of death to free and liberate, and smash the gates of hell, the gates of death. the tombs of hopelessness (See 1 Peter 3.18-20, Psalm 16.10; Acts 2.31; 1 Peter 4.5).

What a dark day for the followers and believers of Christ.  They must have felt so hopeless, confused, abandoned.  But even though they could not see or know what Jesus was up to, he was working on their behalf. In their darkness they may have had trouble remembering the truths that Jesus taught. That he would rise, that this was the plan of the Father, that he must die, and he would sit in glory. The darkness of their present state, diluted all they knew to be true.  The present “facts” of the moment, upstaged the “faith” of what was really going on.

Life can seem very dark at times and Jesus can seem far away.  We can wonder why things are not going very well. We don’t see the Lord working. Your present situations envelope you in a reality of hopelessness that is not real.  You encounter shattered dream, broken relationships, disappointments, difficult times and this dark present chases away the truths we know to be true.

That Saturday the disciples did not know what Christ was doing but He was working on their behalf. They could not see with their eyes, but He was going to keep His promises.  On that quiet and painful Sabbath, Jesus was preparing to shock and shake all of humanity, all of history, and change all of eternity.  They just had to get through that dark Saturday.

May I encourage you. Should you be living through a “dark Saturday.”  Remember, Christ is working on your behalf even though you do not see Him doing what you thought He should be.  His presence escapes you as you become enveloped in what seems to be suffocating sadness, and overwhelming loneliness, or unending hopelessness, but He is working, and even though you don’t know the future or His plans, you can know they are going to be best as your life is in His hands.

On the dark Saturday, don’t decide much, just wait, as His work in your life is going to spring forth,and remember,  waiting is part following, and trust is part of believing.  The dark Saturday will past and the Sunday will come.  Just do not give up because you can’t see what he is  up to.  Trust what he has said.  Trust in His Words, trust in His sovereignty, and trust your life with Him. The dark Saturday will not last forever, it’s fleeing even now as you read. Faith, trust, hope, and belief in a Father who has the best for you, and is working, even though you feel like He is not because you can’t see him.  -Peace, Pastor Nate

God’s Words for Faith and Hope

Psalms 34.17, 18  The LORD hears his people when they call to him for help.
He rescues them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.

Psalm 42.5  Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again— my Savior and 6 my God!

Psalm 66.17-20  For I cried out to him for help, praising him as I spoke.  If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. But God did listen!
He paid attention to my prayer. Praise God, who did not ignore my prayer or withdraw his unfailing love from me.

Psalm 146.5 But joyful are those who have the God of Israel* as their helper,
whose hope is in the LORD their God.

 

20 Reasons Wendy and I Enjoy a Great Marraige, Happy Valentine’s Day


Many may wonder or ask why Wendy and I have a great marriage. We do, not a perfect one, as no one is perfect, but a great one.   I am a blessed man to be married to Wendy. I have known Wendy for 30 years and married for 26. We met in  a Christian Bookstore and the Lord orchestrated it all, so our relationship would glorify him and bless us.  Here are some quick reasons why our marriage is great, vibrant, growing, and full of love.

  1. We don’t just love each other!  We like each other.
  2. We have learned to live for the other, not for ourselves.  It is hard sometimes, but we strive for unselfishness.  We serve each other.
  3. We know that “love covers a multitude of sins”, and we don’t freak out at each other for every little thing.
  4. We don’t control each other.  So common and so unhealthy.
  5. We live out to each other “Do unto others as you would have other do unto you.”
  6. We protect our marriage from outside things that would want to tear our marriage apart. We practice relational, emotional, and sexual integrity and purity. We do not flirt or overly communicate with others of the opposite sex.
  7. We don’t share our marriage with others, or talk to others about things only Wendy and I should discuss.
  8. We are honest.
  9. I lead my family spiritually and don’t push it off on Wendy.  Guys, this is the key.
  10. I father my children and support her.
  11. We get away, and communicate.  Not as much as we would like but more often than most couples.  Make time for each other.
  12. We take on issues and circumstances as a united front and don’t attack each other.
  13. We laugh together and joke with each other.
  14. We don’t live separate lives with separate friends, and separate interests, with separate checkbooks, separate churches, or separate values.
  15. We pray for each other, encourage each other, and grow in love on purpose.
  16. We do not say the “D” word, ever (divorce).
  17. We value each other and respect each other, so we do not communicate with anger, name calling, disrespect, personal attacks or hate.
  18. We do not go to clubs or bars, we do not drink, or take part in the sensuality of society. WE do not flirt with the world’s idea of fun and leisure.
  19. We love Jesus with all of our heart, and our children.
  20. We never gave up, learned these skills, and moved forward with hope and faith.

I hope that encourages you. I pray your marriage will grow through all the seasons of life.

NOTE:  If you are a pastor or ministry leader reading this, we have done marriage seminars and would be glad to talk to you about scheduling one. Contact Wendy @ welarton@compelledchurch.tv

When Mother’s Day is Hard


Mother’s Day is here tomorrow. It is a wonderful holiday and many will get together with their moms, exchange gifts, have dinner or lunch together, enjoy a long chat on the phone or some Facetime or Skype with their mothers.  I know that there is a secret, and quiet group of people that do not look forward to this holiday, and actually dread it.  Wendy and I acknowledge that, and realize that.  I remember the Mother’s Day services Wendy would skip the couple years after the Dr. told us we would not have children.  She just could not go.  I remember a couple years back the first Mother’s Day after mom went to be with the Lord.  We had just had her Memorial Service then Mother’s Day.  It was a tough day.  Many in our body, have lost moms the last few years, and even if it has not been in the last few years, it still can be tough.  I know one lady said she did not like Mother’s Day because she could never find a card. They all described perfect, wonderful, loving, and nurturing moms, which her mom was not. She dreaded the day, the cards, the expectations, and church.  Now, I don’t think we should abolish the Holiday, but we also need to be loving to those who will “limp” through this day with some tough and deep feelings.  Here are some practical helps I hope.

  • Just because Hallmark has declared it a holiday, if it brings you grief, feel free to ignore it.  Jesus is the same on MOther’s Day.
  • If you are grieving the loss of your mom, then grieve.   Spend some time alone. Write a note to your mom and put it away.  Take a walk.
  • Remember the great blessing your mom was while here on this earth.  Forget the bad memories, don’t let them grow, focus on the good memories. Be thankful for everyone, the time, and the blessings.
  • Our church will not be glorifying motherhood, as Wendy has a message for all of us, but we won’t completely ignore it either.
  • Pray for other moms that you know have a full plate.  Pray and intercede for them.
  • Study some great moms in the Bible, If you need to get your mind of things.
  • If you can’t take it and just don’t feel like seeing people or coming to church…..then don’t.  Stay home and spend time with the Lord.
  • Know that I have made a list of those of us that have lost moms in the last few years and your pastor has prayed for you. Wendy and I  love you all and hurt for and with you.
  • Also know, on Mother’s day that you are a blessed woman, even if you are hurting, God is with you. He never leaves us or forsakes us.

I know this post falls very inadequate to address such a fragile topic. May God just touch you this weekend at your point of need, whatever that it.  May you be blessed, feel his presence and know your significance in Christ regardless of the past or the present.                               Pastor Nate

”  Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us eternal comfort and good hope by grace,  comfort and strengthen your hearts in every good work and word. ”

1 Thess. 2.16,17

New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995 (2 Th 2:16–17). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

Struggles with Insecurity


I was thinking yesterday about the insecurity of our world compared to 20 years ago.  It seems like everything is so volatile and fragile.  This causes stress, uneasiness, and worry in our society.  We are worried and stressed out about the insecurity in the economy, gas prices, government, Iran, trade with China, presidential elections,  local issues, personal finances, safety, health, and on and on.  In   our every increasing insecure world, the security of Christ is truly not optional.  It is necessary for inner well-being, wholeness,  and even sanity. If we put our trust in things that are not absolute and stable, we will be insecure and our lives will reflect the instability of what we have trusted in.  Where is our greatest trust?  Where is your security based?  If is not Jesus than I am sure you have been powerfully disappointed.   To truly be secure and confident in the future, we have to put our life in the hands of the Lord who is the one who hold the future.  We have to have hope for this life and for eternity.  We must fully trust in God, to truly be secure and to walk in the faith-filled life God intends for us.  Here is a verse that comes to mind.  I love this verse from Psalms, so read this over a couple of times, and evaluate in your own life about where your trust is, and where your security lies.  It only take a minute in prayer, exercising faith, to alter the security of our soul.

“Some trust in chariots and some in horses,  but we trust in the name of the LORD our God. ” Psalm 20:7

The New International Version. 2011 (Ps 20:7). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

The Dark Places


Our church has been in prayer and fasting this first full week of 2012.  I always get greater revelation and insight into God’s Word when I fast.  All the more reasons I should do it more.  Here is my thoughts this morning on this verse I read and prayed through in my “Handbook to Prayer” by Kenneth Boa.

19      So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.
         20      But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation,
         21      for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God. (NASB)

This world can be a dark, dark, place.  Sin darkens and clouds our culture, media, and lives.  Even if we serve the Lord, times can get dark.  We encounter storms in life.  We have conflict with people we love.  People we look to disappoint us.  We have to deal with health issues as we age, and we bury those we love.  Life can be dark.  But God has given us light.  It is found in the revelation (revealing and unveiling) of God’s Word.  I find it can be pretty easy to neglect that.  We have so many other things screaming for our attention, from our phones, to email, to FB and twitter, jobs, kids, TV, and sometimes sheer exhaustion.  We must not neglect the revelation of God to man.   The Bible is a lamp shining and making manifest the truths of God!  It shines on the darkness and the darkness must flee.   When darkness envelops us, instead of trying to fix ourselves with more food, more TV, more sleep, or calling more people, let’s call on the Lord through His Word. Jesus is the Word, don’t forget that.  Living, alive, revealing, convicting, and encouraging.

Let God’s Word bring light to your heart.  Read it. Study it. Pray it. Speak it out loud as you read.  Fill your life and your home with the light and revelation of God, and the dark places will be extinguished by the Light of God’s Word.  I am determined to not allow the dark places to have any place at all in my life.  The Word is the Key, as Peter has written prophetically here.

Any thoughts when it comes to the Word. Can you add to continue to encourage our readers?

thanks, Nate

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