When you don’t feel like putting any effort into your relationship with Christ


contemplation-1Many people are in this spot.  We know we should, but we don’t.  Does it matter?  Does it change anything?  Can I help maybe get us out of the slump of being apathetic about your life and soul?  I want to communicate these principles without more  guilt, but positive truths. Please know how much Jesus loves you. His presence is with you and in you and his life-transforming power, and special friendship is available to you, no matter what you think, what your past is, or what you are currently up to in life. He loves you. Here are some principles.

  1. Define what grows you closer to Christ.  There are many creative ways then just “read your Bible and pray.”   Investigate contemplative spirituality, journaling, solitude.  Maybe a new book to help guide you?  Can I suggest reading “Celebration of Discipline”  “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality” and reat it with the devotional book.  Maybe a fresh Bible Study guide, exciting new podcast, read a classic from an anointed author that has gone to heaven.
  2. Make your relationship real.  Don’t relegate your relationship with Christ to that few moments a week when you read and pray. He is in you. He is everywhere.  Even during the mundane things of life, have an awareness that Jesus is with you.  Talk to Him, Listen with a cup of coffee.  Take a walk and talk to the Lord. Engage Him as you enjoy a hobby or work.
  3. Be honest about distractions.  Do you get up and grab your phone, or device and immediately start scrolling through posts?  Do you always have to have a TV on?  Does your news blare all the time?  Our senses become consumed and distracted away from Christ too much. Maybe we just have too many social media accounts?  Maybe we need to repent that we will put hours into social media and not much time into seeking the Lord.  We are too distracted. Apple set out to do this to a culture, and it has been done.  We can’t put our devices down. We are an addicted and enslaved society and our hearts, souls, and families are beginning to show the suffering this is bringing.
  4. Get some encouragement to grow.  You might not have it at home, from your parents or your spouse, but relationships are the way to do it.  Get in a small group, join a class, follow a spiritual leader’s blog.  I love silence, but also love worship music. I love to preach, but also need the encouragement from other preachers.  Get some encouragement to grow.  You may have relationships that do the opposite of encouraging to be close to Christ.  Have the courage to be honest about those.
  5. Ask Jesus for a hunger for Him.  Begin to read the Psalms, and the Gospels.  Confess you are not putting much effort and ask the Lord to assist you. He will.
  6. It’s hard to pursue the Lord, if you know you are violating the Lord’s ways.  You might need to get rid of a sin you have allowed, and be honest with repentance, confession, and receive the freedom of forgiveness. Sin is so deceiving.
  7. Realize growing in Christ is enjoyable, fun, secure, moving, touching, energizing, filling, and purposeful.  It is not a chore.  Listening, talking, and pursing Christ is not a root canal.  It is a vacation. It is a way of life. It bring purpose, clarity, aligns our heart, and sets our priorities for a Christ-honoring life.
  8. This life of loving Christ and seeking Him will bring wonderful changes on the inside.  Want to stop getting angry?  Don’t focus on your behavior, allow Christ to take it out of you. Need to forgive someone?  Don’t fake it, allow the love of Christ to truly change your heart.  Are you discontent and ungrateful?  Grow in your thankfulness.  You see, Jesus changes our hearts and souls, which change behavior. We try to change behavior without letting Jesus, and being honest, about the brokenness in our hearts that contribute to our behavior.
  9. As you begin to ignite your relationship, begin to grow, your desires will change.  This will change your life.  We begin to pull away from the things of this world, and only Jesus matters. He is enough. The revelation and authentic belief will transform you as a person, parent, spouse, and  child of God.
  10. Just do it.  Start today.  Don’t let dishes, devices, laundry, sleep, netflix, or people stop you from your destiny, to know and love the Lord, to allow him to be your Abba, closest friend, and only hope for contentment and inner peace.

Knowing Christ, glorifying and enjoying Him, is our primary purpose.

— Pastor Nate Elarton

Encouraging Scriptures about our Relationship with Christ

“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all — how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” Romans 8:31-32

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

“But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.” Psalm 86:15

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

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He is My Confidence


When you struggle with fear, situations, and the feelings of insignificance, Jesus is our confidence.  We can rest in Him.  Trust in His Word, and the presence of His Spirit to guide us through every situation.

Love this song my Iron Bell Music  “My Confidence”. Enjoy and listen to the words closely.

Is it a holy night?


We have been singing and listening to this Christmas song “O Holy Night” for 159 years since it was written in 1847 by Placide Cappeau.

I love the words, “Long lay the world in sin and error pining.”  Meaning we were getting worse and worse and our error was continuing to degenerating us until.  Until Christ arrived to save us, “Til He appeared and the soul felt it’s worth.”  The gift of salvation has amazing and priceless value. Jesus, and know Him personally, is so  worthy.

We have designated worth to so many things in our culture that are not really all that worthy.  And trash compared to knowing God.  Our newest phones, our vehicles, our social media fake personality, ourselves, and our happiness.  We have given worth, and they have consumed our lives. Is this stuff really that worthy? Do they deepen our character? Make us more like Christ?  Do they help us be emotionally healthy so we have meaningful relationships?  The answer is no of course.

Does your soul know the worth of Christ?  Do you treasure Him and His ways beyond anything else?  Sin and error will “pine” in our lives without Christ.  It will just get worse.  Only Christ should get our lives. Only he is worthy.

I pray that we know and reflect the worth of Christ this Christmas and every day.  That we would treasure him far above anything else in this life we have the blessing of enjoying.  May your soul know His worth, this Christmas Eve.  If you do, it is a Holy, sacred, and special night.

Merry Christmas

Nate

Learn from Failure


The lie of human history is that one failure eliminates you from the love of God, from ever experiencing any kind of success and, destines one to more failures.  As humans, even people in love with Christ and His Word. We fail.  We fail those around us, allowing selfishness to stress our closest relationships.  We sin against God. Knowingly and willingly we choose wrong before right, and reap the regret of this.  No one is exempt from failure.

Peter, a great apostle, and leader of the early church, had some fails under his belt. He gets corrected when he tries to stop children from  coming to Jesus (Mark 10.17). As Jesus was explaining the Father’s plan for his suffering and Crucifixion Peter attacked him, scolding Jesus for talking like this  in  which Jesus responded “get behind me Satan.”  Ouch (Matthew 1.22)!   Can’t imagine how much that hurt. He also denied Christ three times, (Matthew 26.72-74) and went off cursing and crying, his failure ever before him. He lived in such disappointment in life and himself he just said “I’m going fishing.” He resigns from “being an apostle” and returns to what he knew before Christ (John 21.3). But Jesus pursues him.

We see a picture of the loving Christ who does not hold our failures against us. Our God who loves, lives, and gives grace . He is the Lord of second chances and I love that about God. I love teaching and preaching God’s immeasurable grace.  He cooks breakfast and Peter jumps out of the boat, swims to Jesus on the shore, and Jesus lovingly, restores him, and mandates Him to be the spiritual leader we know today (John 21.12-18).

Because we will all fail our God, our families, and friends, to some degree we must understand we can learn from our failures. We can learn about ourselves, our God, and the depth of His unconditional love toward us.  Our failures can make you a better person or a bitter person.  You can “man up”, and be honest, or make it worse and blame your failures on those around you. I have found that God’s presence and power are always attracted to humility.

Remember, no failure, knocks you out and ruins it all. Don’t forget, God forgives, restores, and refreshes us as we come to Him in humility.  Learn from failures and don’t allow them to defeat you, but may they be the stepping stones, to the love of God, and His will for your life.

Quotes from Week One of the Six-Week Series Titled “Purpose”


As we start a six-week teaching on purpose, I am gripped with passion, conviction, and compassion.  I believe the purpose of our life is to glorify the Lord in all we do and how we do things.  I believe we are called the glorify the Lord in who we are.  Here are some quotes from week one of the series.

  • “We have to stay grounded on Scripture, dedicated to God’s ways. The world will not function in God’s ways. This world is determined not to glorify God, but to glorify man, embracing all sin, rejecting any moral voice, and pushing the philosophy of pluralism and secular humanism forward, at the expense of all reason and purity.”
  • “Since time began the deception from the enemy has been to NOT glorify God, but glorify yourself, you become the god.”
  • “You can be a saved person, and not a very spiritual person. We are good at siloing our lives, and separating our faith from daily living.
  • “Whenever man wants glory and honor, ahead of the Lord, or in place of the Lord, destruction in some form, awaits.”
  • “Too many of us live with ‘flimsy faith’. Faith that is so shallow, so much about us. Flimsy faith says my faith  is exercised so God can do what I want, not I live the life He wants. My will is more important than His.”

“Whether then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. “

1 Cor. 10.31

Treasure


“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.  “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal;  for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  Words of Jesus

As I read this I ask myself what a treasure in Heaven is?  May I offer my definition?  A Treasure in Heaven that we are to be storing up is “anything you do for Christ, because of Christ, and in Christ.”  We have decided and the church has taught that we must be reading, praying, in church, or winning the lost, and those would be considered “treasures in Heaven.”  Based on my definition “anything we do for Christ, because of Christ, and in Christ.” let me offer other suggestions.

  • Reading to your children, making them laugh, telling them you love them.
  • Honoring your marriage vows by loving your wife, and respecting your husband in every way.  Growing closer together and serving them as Christ has served us.
  • Going to work, knowing that Christ has provided.
  • Making your needs and wants last, and other’s first.
  • Spending time listening to the stories of a sr. adult.
  • Eating a meal and breaking bread with others, knowing Christ has provided.
  • Worshipping with a heart of thankfulness and gratitude.
  • Enjoying time off, leisure, without guilt, taking a “sabbath” and being in Christ.
  • Serving anywhere, anyone, because Christ is our servant.
  • Giving of time, your money, and your gifts, as you serve honor Christ.
  • Yes, reading the Word of God, and letting the “words” of God penetrate our cerebral and rest to live in our hearts.
  • Good friendships.
  • Letting go of the pain and hurt of the past and releasing others in forgiveness.
  • Sharing your faith, your journey with others, to enlighten them and draw them to the light of Chris.
  • Being creative, using your hobby, art, interests that allow us to  experience the Spirit of God, and to glorify him.
  • How we talk and communicate with others.
  • How we extend grace, as we received it….freely.

So the world says “Hoard stuff, hoard money, make yourself first!” That would be “treasures on earth.” So treasure the “Jesus” things, participate in them, live in Him, and you will store up the treasures in heaven because Jesus is where your heart is!  Keep serving Him with love and thanksgiving, joy and peace.     Nate
New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (Mt 6:19–21). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

Growvember- Men of God Take the Challenge!


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Growvember with me

Ok men, I received this idea from my hero Chilly Chillton, as Real Church is doing his too. 

Men of Compelled Church and others,  Who will Join me today to start Growvember. GRow your beard. You have to grow your facial hair and also your spirit in Christ. So to participate you have to.. 1) Pray and read the Bible every day in November, and journal thoughts and prayers 3) Avoid secular music 4)Give something up (like the Lent thing). 5) Ask God to stretch you to serve and share Christ with others. Who will join me? Pick out a style, shave clean today and start growing. Who is in for the Growvember Challenge

I’m giving up sugar and sweets another month, as I have been in October.

Here are some hairy styles.

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Who is in?