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!

Christmas and the Cross


To the follower of Jesus Christmas is very important. The prophecies of old become fulfilled with the coming of the Savior of the World. The manger would lead jesus to the cross, the tomb, and to the right hand of the Father. The life of Jesus changed history, the world, but most importantly individual lives. We celebrate His coming, but we know it’s all for us. His birth, His life, His Death, His resurrection, and ascension. It’s was all for us. If you don’t know that, I pray you do. Jesus came for us. Read this from Matthew quoting Isaiah 9.6-7.

She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).” (Matthew 1:21–23, NIV)

Christmas is about new life, forgiveness, redemption, and being redeemed. Christmas is about being rescued from our sins, having Christ in our lives now, being part of His Kingdom of the earth. Not only that, we spend eternity alive. We never die.

And we did nothing for this. Not a thing. Actually the only thing you need to do to understand the complete Christmas Story is believe that Jesus did this for you and receive his forgiveness. Just pray or talk to Him. He is with you. I love these verses:

If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.(Romans 10:9–10, NIV)

If you haven’t done this, do it and become a follower of Christ. If you have done this and your life is not what you know pleases God, then jump into your faith with zeal and commitment. Jesus came for us all, but he also came for you. He knows you.

Christ came to us and he knew his life would lead Him to the Cross. His love for us lead HIm there, and His love for us continues to lead us to Him.

Merry Christmas!

Nate

Do Not Return to Darkness


In my reading this morning I have started the book of Colossians.  I have been pondering and meditating on 1.19. I have been quietly thinking and praying for many, as faces and families through the years flash through my mind.

For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,” (Colossians 1:13, NIV)

Many have experienced this “rescue” from God.  What does God rescue us from?  I would say the Bible is clear, our sins, and the damage we do to ourselves when we run our own lives without Christ.  Sin and being separated  from God is also defined as “darkness” denoting more of losing your way than just evil, but it does apply to both.

When we come to Jesus, get saved, decide to walk with God and great rescue and deliverance takes place.  We are “transferred” from this life of “darkness” waywardness, being lost, to a life of living in the love of God which is the Kingdom of God. I have watched thousands of people fully embrace and run with their  new faith in Jesus. They have embraced a new life, they say no to sin, they love Jesus more than their own lives, and the lust, selfishness, and greed of this world is rejected.  They live with integrity, grow in the way of Christ, and keep moving forward in their faith, even if they falter.  They experience, joy and peace, only found in a life committed to God.  I have seen marriages healed, addictions beaten, selfishness deserted, and love for others multiplied when a life of darkness is left.

Sadly, I have seen people return to the darkness.  Back to a life of spiritual deadness.  After being on the path and journey with God, many choose to venture off and lose their way, returning to a life without God.  Most would admit they still believe in Him, but live with no proof that is really true.

Can I encourage you not to return back to the darkness?  There is no true life there.  A life with Jesus on this earth and in eternity is priceless.  If you may not think so right now, pray God your loving Father would show you that so you would realize what you may be leaving.  The Darkness is a life without spiritual life, enlightenment, or Godly encouragement.  It is a lonely life, constantly on the hunt for some sort of experience that would bring some peace or pleasure, but after a while of forgetting about the darkness it will envelope you again.

If you are reading this and you have foot back in your “old life” or a life without Jesus, let me encourage you to seriously consider the wonderful life with Jesus you will be leaving.  Don’t let anything cause you to forfeit  your soul, your blessings, or the future of your family, for what appears to be an easy life without God, but sin does have a day of reckoning. Don’t let darkness flood your soul again.

Read the Story of the Prodigal Son and notice the love this dad has for his son. That is the love God has for you. This is found in Luke chapter 15. Click here to read this 

If you have tasted of the Kingdom of God, then you know what needs to be done and the decisions and choices you need to make.  If you have questions or want to ask me anything, please email me  nateelarton@gmail.com.

Pastor Nate

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)

 

 

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 Don’t Have to Wait for Heaven to Be With God


Many of us (preachers) declare that we need Jesus to go to Heaven. There is something that I want to stress that God has been reminding me. God intends to be with us now. We don’t have to wait until Heaven.

Jesus proclaimed that the Kingdom of God is now. That His presence and coming to earth, was Heaven and Earth coming together. Too many of us think God is in Heaven, and someday If we are good and love Jesus, we get to go there to be with God. That is incorrect. God is with us now. He has come to be with in this life. Our eternal life started the moment we put our faith in HIm. He is here! He is with us and His presence, the Holy Spirit, lives within the believer.

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14, NASB95)

He came and “tabernacled” with us. He set up his tent here on earth. The whole Bible narrative is about God coming to be with us. How can God live and be with us, as selfish and ungodly mankind can be? The truth of forgiveness and reconciliation with God through the blood of Jesus that He shed on the cross is more than just getting us ready for Heaven, this is so the God of Heaven can live and dwell in our midst now.

Paul, the apostle says it like this, “But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.” (Ephesians 2:13, NASB95) As many traditions celebrate Lent, the 40 days before Easter, to reflect on the death, sufferings, and path of Christ to the Cross and of course the resurrection, we must not forget why.

Jesus came to cleanse us from sin, so God can live in us. We become His “tabernacle” or “tent”. We are made so clean by his forgiveness and cleansing, that He lives in us. God is with us now. He is here. We don’t have to wait until Heaven.

May we all live with this revelation. Enjoy the presence of God now. He ways are with us. He lives within all those who love, believe, and serve him. We don’t have to wait to be with God. God in His love, as came to us. Pastor Nate

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