Holy and Great Friday


Today, take time to remember the price that was paid for our salvation. This price was freely given by Jesus who gave up his life for us.  The Gospel of Matthew….

And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. And behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth shook and the rocks were split. The tombs were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; and coming out of the tombs after His resurrection they entered the holy city and appeared to many. Now the centurion, and those who were with him keeping guard over Jesus, when they saw the earthquake and the things that were happening, became very frightened and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!” Many women were there looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee while ministering to Him. Among them was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.” (Matthew 27:50–56, NASB95)

I am reminded of Ephesians. Because of the “Holy and Great Friday” as the Greek Orthodox call it, we walk now in Christ

And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,” (Ephesians 2:1–6, NASB95)

Take moment today, get alone, and with a grateful heart thank the Lord Jesus for surrendering his life, yielding his spirit and purchasing our salvation and standing with God. I am so grateful for Christ’s gift of salvation.  That he poured His mercy on me, because of his love, and that my salvation was given and I did not have to earn it.

He brought me from spiritual death to life, and together we have been raised up, and now enjoy our place in this Kingdom of God.  It is all because of Jesus love, and that love was demonstrated.

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.” (Romans 5:8–9, NASB95)

So Grateful

Pastor Nate Elarton

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.

What is shaping you?


We are constantly being shaped and molded.  No one is static. We are changing, morphing into what we are becoming.  I am not the man I was in my twenties (thank you Lord!), and I am not the man now, that I will be in my 70’s. I am changing, being shaped, every so slowly, every day.

Habits and routines shape us. We wake up and immediately grab our phones, scrolling through the most recent Facebook posts, like something important would have happened to our “friends” since we last checked it at 11 pm.  Our day is shaped by the technological stream of information we cram into our minds the first 15 or 20 minutes of waking up. News, twitter, political rants, shape our mind and day and we are imprinted, not by what we have chosen to look at, but by the algorithms of twitter, Facebook, or snapshot.

I am surprised by how many people turn on the TV immediately, as if the silence of the new day cannot be tolerated.  News media, with their own bias and agenda, begin to imprint us and shape our lives. Slowly, morning after morning, one brain cell at a time, we become them, and “parrot” their news bites in our views as if we came up with it from scratch rather than admitting we are lemmings of some producer somewhere who is deciding how we should think and believe.

Our habits throughout the day shape us.  The jokes, hobbies, vices,  talk, radio, friends, and what we read, investments in our marriage, our family, our God, are slowly digested into our person, character, and personality. Our daily exposure to people, information, and relationships are changing us, for the better or the worse. We are being shaped, whether we think so or not.

So are your habits shaping you into who you want to be, or are you just letting a “routine” shape you into whatever you, by chance, you end up becoming?  Can we allow our God to shape us?  I am talking about habits outside of a church service a couple of times a month. Habits of a pursuit of a God, through Christ, that wants to shape us into the person that lives without addictions, regrets, fear, and pain of the past?  Could a new habit of silence, prayer, family time, worship, daily shape you into a person better than the current routine?  We each choose what we allow to be part of our life, our mind, and our spirit. It may be time for some honest evaluation. Time to stop being a slave to our phones and tablets?  It might be time to be shaped by living outside ourselves and for others?  To read and look at things that add value and don’t diminish us. New routines, and new habits, can bring a new you.  The Lord of our souls wills that. Choose wisely, every day we are all being shaped.

Precious Faith


What is the most precious thing you possess?  I have a lot of things that I confess I love.  I am attached to stuff, but it is not precious to me. It may be of value to me, but not necessarily precious. For example my woodcarving stuff is valuable to me and of course I love my Bonneville and that it runs well enough to get me where I need to go, but the most precious part of my life is my faith in Christ. It is something that is mine and cannot be taken by anyone or anything. Because of my faith in Jesus it overflows and puts things in my life into the right perspective. It makes my family precious, my friends, my Wendy, my Kids, my church.  Read this from 1 Peter 1:6:

6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials,

7 so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

8 and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,

9 obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.  (NASB)

Why is our faith in Christ precious?

  •  It gives us the heart to rejoice during tough times and trials. This is the proof of our faith.
  • Our precious faith is more valuable than the most expensive gold.
  • Our faith is eternal and has way more value than the things of this world, like money.
  • Our faith helps result in praise and the glory of Jesus Christ.
  • Our faith in Christ brings us joy.
  • Our faith in Christ will result in our eternal salvation.
  • Our faith cannot be taken from us and is fully ours.
  • Our faith can be shared so others can experience how precious it is.

So let’s keep our faith growing and moving forward.  Let’s keep protecting our faith from being diluted by the things of earth.  Let’s keep rejoicing in our faith knowing it will bring us great eternal reward, salvation!

New American Standard Bible: 1995 update. (1995). (1 Pe 1:6–9). LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

A Church is Only as Strong as the Men. We are Experiencing a Revival of Men!


Men seeking God in response to the teaching.
Men seeking God in response to the teaching.
Last night I was blessed and blown away. We have been planning and praying for our men’s ministry we have named “Second Sunday”. Last night Bryan (Our men’s ministry leader) and I took a chance and set up 17 tables. We met with, trained 20 table leaders, ordered the pizzas, made the coffee, prayed, invited, and 108 men poured in the doors. After a great teaching by Jim Byers on the love of God, and receiving it as the foundation for all spiritual growth, a song, the tables began to buzz with discussion. for an hour the men talked about Jim’s teaching and their own spiritual lives. They shared, they made new friends, they connected to the Father and His love. Heads bowed, they prayed for each other and families, the 36 pizzas came, and in 20 minutes they were gone and the football game went up, the Euchre cards came out, the basketball and ping pong started and the new friendships and encouragement continued till 9:30. I could not even sleep when I got home I was so happy and thankful.

I have always taught and modeled as best I could that a church will only be as strong as their men. Compelled Church is a man’s church, and our men our seeking God and reaching other men. I am blessed to be part of this holy move of our loving Father. Looking forward to the next Second Sunday, the men’s breakfasts (yes pastor they still work), and all our men’s huddles that meet through out the week and month.

Do Some Gaining!


8  Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.
9      The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.   (PHil 4.8,9   NLT)

Whatever we think about is what we have learned and embraced or received into our eye, ears, spirit. Then we practice those things.  So I am not a legalist, but we need to be aware of what is going into our mind, heart, and spirit.  There is a lot in our culture that has no benefit to God’s people, in fact it will damage us for it is not true, honorable, right, pure excellent or lovely.  Some things that are in the media or on the internet should be shunned and avoided. Some music is just no praise worthy and the lyrics, you do not want to dwell on.

So let’s learn God’s Word, and receive it into our hearts and lives.  Let’s take time to renew our mind (Romans 12.1,2) and give our mind a lot to think upon that is honorable and pleasing to God.  There has to come a point in our lives where we have to put the Lord before the things of this earth, and the desires that are worldly, not of God, not from the spirit.  We need to keep dying daily to the devil, this world, and our flesh (Gal. 2.20).  God will give us the desire and the power to do what pleases him (Phil. 1.6).   This world must grow dimmer, less important, less significant. The hunger for fame, material things, and interests far from God’s care must diminish and mean nothing.  I love Philippians 3.7,8. I close with that. Make it your prayer and desires that anything we can attain, that is not of Jesus, is worthless.  Gain Christ is better than anything!

7  But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.
8      More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ?

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