“Live Compelled” Podcast Trailer is up

We have started our podcast “Live Compelled” this week. Here is the link to the first trailer. This is going to be a podcast with an emphasis on helping us all live a “God-focused” life. I will have Wendy often, as well as other guests. I am going to share some of my own journey into Christian maturity and the deeper walk with Christ I have enjoyed the last decade. Please subscribe and share. it is also available on ITunes and Podbean, as well as Spotify. Enjoy, Pastor Nate Elarton

From My Shepherd’s Heart

From my Shepherd’s Heart,

We had a pandemic.  It was awful. People were afraid, people suffered and sadly  people died. Businesses closed, travel stopped, people stayed home, and yes churches closed.  Churches are no longer closed.

We tend to be creatures of habit, and also creatures of ease.  Because of our nature these two things they can affect our decisions and priorities and can take us out  of some very beneficial and necessary parts of life.  This shift happened to many Christians who were active in their faith and in their church community.  Most returned to doing and being part of the things in their lives before Covid in 2020.  Many have not.  They have disconnected from their local church, the activities and events that helped grow and spur on their faith.  Time has been  eaten up by other activities, habits, and the new weekend without worship with their church.

Can I lovingly encourage you to jump back into the things that bring true life and faith in Jesus. It’s time.  Can I tell you that if you pull your children and youth  out of church, children’s and youth ministries, for all the other things, or just staying home all the time they will suffer with a faith that becomes more distant, and unimportant every day. Our decisions send messages to our children.  Can I caution you to remember that decisions made today, affect tomorrow, even though we talk ourselves into believing that might not be true for us.  Our decisions affect a lot of people.

Jesus love you.  God has a will for us and our families.  I don’t want people, parents, children or youth to be lost to a life where He is not present, valued, or acknowledge. The stakes are too high. The world without Jesus, is just too mean, too awful, and too  hopeless.  It’s time.

So, your church misses you, whether Compelled or another.  It’s not as strong if you and your family are there. You can’t give and receive if you are not around, and not a part. You can’t serve, love, receive, encourage someone or help. At the end of the day, nothing is as important as Jesus. Our faith is the bedrock of who we are, and the catalyst for healthy families and friendships.  Don’t lose your first love (Revelation 2). It’s time to ask yourself if that is happening. I know you don’t have to be part of a church to be a Christian, but I also know you do need to be part to be an active, growing, grateful follower of Christ.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for pondering what I am trying to say.  I am reminded in Ephesians 2, which I will speak on this weekend that God changed us by his grace, kindness mercy and love.   I want us all to live lives, and lead our families and ourselves where these gifts are appreciated, and my life reflects that by my love, decisions, and sacrifices.  Our active salvation is so important.  In our dark world, it is so critical that we receive, reflect and live that love and light of Jesus daily. It’s time to turn the page on 2020, and enjoy Jesus and His great love and activity in our lives, families, and church.  

With much Love, Your Shepherd

Pastor Nate

Christ Brings Freedom, Let’s Live in it

I have been thinking and thanking Jesus a lot lately for freedom. Christ made it clear that he meant to bring freedom to us and to liberate us from the sin, and the results of sin, in this fallen world and in fallen people, that can bind us, hold us back, and lie to us. If we do not intentionally understand and live in this, we can be saved and love the Lord, yet continue to live daily without the freedom we have available through Christ. The will of God is for each of us to live in freedom.

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”” (John 8:31–32, NASB95)

“So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36, NASB95)

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovery of sight to the blind, To set free those who are oppressed,” (Luke 4:18, NASB95)

Jesus brought us forgiveness of sin and eternal life. His death, burial, and resurrection also bought us our freedom. Freedom I have experienced, and still look to the Lord to walk in.

Freedom from sin, and the guilt of sin.

Freedom from the past.

Freedom from being bound what others think of me, or sadness and worry about what they say about me.

Freedom from lies, scripts, and narratives that messages taught me growing up that are not the Truth.

Freedom from wanting and feeling I must please everyone.

Freedom to be who God created me to be, and not what others want me to be.

Freedom from the grips this world has on saved and unsaved alike. The grip of money, stuff, social media, leisure, quitting, giving up, and hating those that are not like me or don’t believe like me. We have the freedom and desire to love.

Freedom from hating anyone and freedom to forgive others and myself.

Freedom from being a slave to the current news cycle and having to have and promote my opinion and stance. Freedom to not have a “position.”

Freedom from generational sin, lies, ideologies, and damaging habits. Freedom from the lying messages and unwritten rules that are not the truth.

Live free people of God. Jesus purchased our freedom. Don’t live in the past. Don’t live for others. Walk in the life and light of our Savior and the freedom truths of the Word of God and the Good news of the Gospel.

For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” (Galatians 5:13, NASB95)

Pastor Nate Elarton

The Interests of God

Mark 8.33-38

But turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”” (Mark 8:33, NASB95)

And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? “For what will a man give in exchange for his soul? “For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”” (Mark 8:33–38, NASB9)

     God has interests. God has plans.  God has purposes.  A challenging thing for us is to line up our  hearts and lives to God plans, and purposes.  IN Mark 8 we have the account of Peter rebuking Jesus. That Pete, man, sometimes he is just impulsive.  The Father just has shone Peter that Jesus is the Christ, the Savior of the world. Jesus then told them that he would have to die, be rejected, be killed and then he would rise again. This is the plan of God.  Pete pulls him aside and rebukes.  Peter scolds God.  He tells Jesus to stop, be quiet, and  tries to correct him because Peter doesn’t like the plan of Jesus, doesn’t want to believe it , or is in denial because of the personal pain it would cause him.  Jesus then makes some powerful statements. He says,

But turning around and seeing His disciples, He rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind Me, Satan; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s.”” (Mark 8:33, NASB95)

Peter had his interests on himself, his own agenda, how he would like things to go.  Jesus tell him that he is not thinking about God’s interests but His own.

  • Peter did not want to be in pain of missing Jesus.
  • Peter did not want Jesus to die, if they kill Jesus would they kill him too?
  • Peter thought his ways were better than God ways.
  • The interests, purposes and plan of God is so much better than our own.
  • I am glad Peter did not get his way, that Jesus went to the cross and rose.  Now we can be saved  and know Christ.
  • Peter was not rejected for leadership, but corrected.  People hate correction.  They usually leave the church, not Peter, he learned, stayed with Jesus and grew. He wanted God’s interests more.
  • It must have been a very sobering moment of humility to Peter, but his being used by Satan was called out, and Peter never was used by Satan again.
  • Peter became a bold, apostle, with Kingdom authority.  Acts is full of the many ways Jesus used Peter by the Holy Spirit for Kingdom of God advancement.

What a wonderful lesson, Pete once again , teaches us about ourselves.

How are you like Peter in this instance. Be honest before the Lord?   

What are God’s purposes and plans in your life?  Do you want those more?  Will you take correction?  Are you teachable?

The Key is Galatians 2.20.  Memorize this powerful truth of God’s Word.

 ““I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20, NASB95)

Press On, Pastor Nate Elarton

Our Sabbatical Document

Sabbatical for the Elarton’s 2022

Why Now?

We have been here 26 years. This is our life’s work. We have given our life here. We have been in ministry 36 years, serving also as youth pastors in Linton, IN and Northville, MI before planting the church here.

During our 26 years we have grown from 5-to over 1000 + people, planted another campus, trained, hired, managed, and released many pastors and new staff. We have had 5 significant building programs, raised over 1  million for missions, raised 3 kids, completed a Master’s Degree, and served in many different District roles, local boards, and leadership opportunities.  For the last 12 years we have had 3 services a weekend, as well as small group leadership, Next step classes, Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Ministry.  We have given our lives. We have been all in. We have been available to staff, leaders, and our people all the time for 26 years here, and totally 36 years in ministry.   We lead multiple staff,  classes,  and services, continuously for many years, as well as pastoral care for our families,  funerals, weddings, counseling, tragedies, and discipleship meetings.

Purpose for a Sabbatical

Rest from Responsibilities of Compelled Church Lead Leadership. For myself and Wendy who walks and shares  this life and calling with me. We are in this together and have always have been. She also needs a rest.

Refresh our souls in the Lord without responsibilities, or having to lead anything.

To Rediscover that we are not defined by what we do but who we are in Christ.

To experience what it feels like to not be responsible for the Organization, staff, facilities, people, budgets, giving,  and needs  of Compelled Church, both campuses.

Unplug from the matrix of ministry.

For Wendy and I to have some intentional space, to think, dream, and enjoy Christ.

To set up our souls and spirits to finish so well, as we return to the last season of lead pastoring ministry.

To set a culture of rest, sabbatical, and care for the present and future pastors of Compelled Church.

To be an example to my other Colleagues in ministry.

Dates 2022

April 19-2022   2-Week on-ramp |   May and June  2022 Full Sabbatical  |  July1-14   Return  off-Ramp 

My Scriptures  Theme

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)

So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12–13, NASB95)

What will we do?

We will get away to some Pastor Retreat locations.

We will have a few weeks of total  R and R and vacation.

We will also  be in town and not be in our role as Lead Pastor.

We will spend a week with Scazzero’s at a marriage emphasis with our EHD Cohort

We will read, walk, contemplate, date,  rest, pray, and extend our Sabbath.

I will not set goals or writing, prepping, or planning. To only do what brings  us  life and depth in our walk with Christ and our marriage.   The goal of spiritual refreshing in Christ  and a break from responsibilities of leading will be the target.

We love Compelled Church with all our heart. I am convinced Wendy and I will return refreshed, and ready for what the Lord has for our churches. Thank you for all your love and affirmations. Thank you to our incredible board that is encouraging and supporting this with great love and energy.

We love you all so much! Pastors Nate and Wendy Elarton

Satisfy us with Your Love

I found this song while posting a woodcarving reel on Instagram. As I spend a little time in my evening office and evening compline, I am reminded of this song. I played it and entered into a thin place. I desire so much and yet total satisfaction is found in the love of God. I need nothing else. Prayerfully listen to this song with your heart, not your head, and enjoy your own “thin place.” P. Nate

A Prayer that can make you more like Jesus: The Prayer of Examen

Six hundred years ago Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, penned an outline of prayer that I have found to be very helpful to keeping me focused on being like Christ. I know us Pentecostals don’t often venture into contemplative practices or reflective Christianity but I am, do, and will continue to add any way to be in the presence of Christ and to be changed.

For years I struggled with prayer because I just approached God, told him what I wanted, and what he should do for me or those I love and that was that. Pretty boring, not very life-givng, and super self-centered. No wonder most Christians struggle with prayer. We are doing it incompletely. Prayer is silence, listening, sensing, reflecting, and enjoying being with our Father.

This prayer the “Prayer of Examen” is a powerful way to really connect and hear from the Lord. To praise, thanks, repent, realize, reflect, and respond to what God reveals in our life for the previous day. It take a few minutes, but the connection with the Lord and the change it can bring to your interior soul, and inner man is great. doing this daily or at least a few times a week has the potential to change who you are, give you victory over sin, make you more sensitive to sin, and fine tune your spiritual hearing to hear the voice of God.

Here is the prayer outline. There are several variations to the prayer, but these five points are the focus for your time with God

The Prayer of Examen

(Ignatius of Loyola)

Find a quiet place alone and invite the presence of Christ.  Spend a few minutes of silence with Christ.

1. “The first point is to give thanks to God our Lord for the gifts received.”

Ignatius once said that the most abominable sin he could imagine was the sin of ingratitude. He knew that an awareness of God’s goodness and generosity is the foundation of our relationship with God. Once we recognize God’s goodness, we spontaneously feel gratitude and Christ’s love.

In this first point, we express gratitude for the experiences and encounters during the day that have been good or pleasant or meaningful, whether they seem trivial or important. We also express gratitude for the larger gifts we have received: our faith and our salvation, our life, our talents and abilities, significant relationships, whatever comes to mind.

As our spiritual life deepens, we become more and more aware that all we have is gift, given to us far beyond anything we might expect or deserve.

2. “The second point is to ask for the grace to know my sins and to root them out.”

Review the day. When did you step away from Christ’s love and principles?  Was there a time your love for others ceased?  Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal sins of commission and sins of omission.The possibilities for self-deception are endless. To truly know ourselves is not something that we are able to do alone. We need to ask the Holy Spirit for the light that can reveal us to ourselves.

3. “The third point is to demand an account of my soul from the moment of rising to that of the present examination, hour by hour or period by period. The thoughts should be examined first, then the words, and finally the actions.”

The third point is the heart of the Examen. Our actions, words, thoughts, feelings can come from an internal source of freedom and openness to other people and God. Or they can come from what St. Paul calls the “flesh” or the “law of sin”; that is to say from the self-centredness that inhabits all of us. We examine the events of our day methodically in order to uncover the source and the direction of our life that day. Move backward from actions, to words, to thoughts. What were the intentions, feelings, and motivations?  What the deep motives of the heart for all actions of the day good and bad?  Be attentive to the inner feelings and desire which is where we experience God’s love and  presence. This is not just introspection, but prayer.  Talk to your Father here.

4. “The fourth point is to ask for forgiveness and pardon from our Father through Christ

Once we have reviewed our day, we may have come to a sense of the dynamic of sin and grace that has been operating in our life that day. The fourth point is our response to that awareness.

5. “The fifth point is to look to the next day with hope, grace, and faith to move forward in the love of Christ, and the desire to continue with changes He as revealed.”

Close with Praise, The Lord’s Prayer, more silence, and/or a time of worship.

Where are the Voices for Jesus?

As our world becomes incredibly more media driven, and with the influence that social media us by providing us all a platform, I am seeing a negative trend. I am not going to address the negatives trends upon our society in general but the negative trends emerging from God’s people.

I am afraid that the people of Jesus are taking all of our talking points and narratives and we are communicating reactively to current politics and the media cycle, not the things of God. Many believe this is a spiritual duty, but I see that we are being sucked into debates we will never win, and the communication of the church is being dictating but the powerful voices and influences of culture and not the mission of the church and our Lord, and some of our communication is not in the spirit of Christ and the Law of love.

I know this is a big statement, but since Covid I have been observing and watching the strongest believers fall prey to subtle drawings away from the purposes of Jesus. Jesus did not save us, redeem us and forgive us, so we can be a primary mouthpiece to secular movements, and ideologies that do not further the Gospel. I believe in these last days, followers of Jesus need to get more active in promoting Jesus Christ, salvation by grace, and the Gospel more than anything else in the news cycle and the current controversial debate, conspiracy, or headline that is used to divide, incite anger, and push people away from each otherWhat would all Social Media look like if we posted/tweeted/IG more about godly things, eternal truths, encouragement, and the love of Christ than anything else? We could really influence the whole culture of all platforms of Social Media?

The church, the Christians, the follower of Jesus, need to promote Jesus. It’s our mission and mandate. I don’t see it as an optional position for the people of Jesus. I see it as a natural fruit of a fully devoted life in Christ. this goes beyond and deeper than social media to our jobs, families, extended families and communities?

Some things to think about.

  • What is your voice known for?
  • Do you speak for Christ with all love and honor for others?
  • Have you been slowly drifting into pointless distractions from the believer’s primary purpose?
  • Are you obsessed about making your point that has no salvation or eternal value?
  • Do you internally get upset when reading or listening to views that are not yours and you must respond, speak out or act, and the topics are not of any significance to our Great Commission and Great Commandment
  • Are you a parrot for positions, politics, groups, and not a spokesperson and ambassador for Jesus.
  • Is Jesus speaking to you now about being more salt and light in a dark world?

Paul encourages the young Timothy in a similar way?

Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people.” (2 Timothy 2:23–24, NLT)

May we be the voice of Jesus and his message everywhere and be free from thinking we have to have a response and position to every headline the news cycle portrays as the most important thing. The salvation of our souls and our friends is the most important thing. Let’s be the voice of Christ.

With conviction,

Pastor Nate Elarton

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)

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