That was my Last Weekend on the Bench


I remember going out for basketball in the 6th grade.  I sat on the bench until the last 2 minutes.  I hated sitting on the bench watching the taller dudes have all the fun. ( Fun fact:  I fouled out once in that 2 minutes.)  My coach told me I would never play much basketball and wrestling was probably my sport and he accepted me quitting the team. I hadn’t said anything about quitting so  I got the point.  He was right.

The last 14 weekends haven’t been awesome.  I feel like I have been “benched”. I never thought it would last this long, but anyhow, this last weekend was it.  I really never want to hear “unprecedented”  “the new normal” “we are in this together”   etc. LOL.  I praise God it’s over. I am a preacher and I want to preach and teach God’s Word to faces and families!

I sure got tired of the introverts saying “I really enjoyed this Covid stay-at-home.”  When I read those posts on Facebook from other pastors I just rolled my eyes.  I am just not like that. I am not an introvert.  It was unenjoyable to not be around my Compelled Family and people.  Recording on Friday and preaching to an empty room was OK, but I did not feel like a pastor regardless how many people watched online.  I am thankful we could do it and that everyone helped get it done, but it’s no permanent replacement.  I miss the corporate worship, prayer, smiles, children, families, friends, community and the faith when we all gather together.  I love Compelled. I am thankful for that and we will continue to have our service online, on facebook and on Youtube for those of you not ready to return or that are high-risk.

I am very very very glad this is over.

This next weekend,  We will be back together 3 services a weekend at Bedford and also  the 11 am Sunday at Holland.

Here is a link to our guidelines. Father’s Day Re-Opening at Compelled.  

If you are ready to come back, we are ready for you. If you are not quite ready, no problem.  If you want to wear a mask, please do. If you don’t want to wear a mask then don’t.  We have approached our opening with wisdom and not recklessness of course, but we also want adults to be able to make their own decisions and I know we are all going to be courteous and thoughtful to the comfort level of others.

This happy pastor will be at Compelled this weekend.

Pastor Nate Elarton

God is a Missionary-Missio Dei


The day I became a Christian my life radically changed forever.   The mission of God, became real and personal.  I began to realize that His mission was to save me, redeem me, to forgive me, and give me purpose.  I had the gnawing in my heart and soul to help others realize what Jesus can do for them.  That they would also know Christ.  I became a Christian, but I also became a man with a mission. It wasn’t my mission it was His.   The same mission that burned in me in High School, burns in my now. To help people find Christ.

The mission of our missionary God was to redeem the world from sin, and as God sent Jesus, and the Spirit, he sends His church, his people.

As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.” (John 17:18, NIV84)

To miss this part of our faith is to really miss it.  Christianity is not just a doctrine, it is a movement.  We are being sent by God, our missionary God, to help the world see the mission of Jesus, to redeem them. If y,ou are serving God for the next cool sermon or worship experience only, I challenge you to have the courage to investigate your responsibility to others beyond yourself.

When we buy into this idea that we are to be happy, and that is our mission in life, we actually lose happiness and joy.  Joy comes through mission.   When we elevate ourselves to make ourselves significant, we actually become insignificant, self-absorbed, and lose joy, because we have no purpose, no mission. us’ mission filled him with joy.  Fulfilling mission is fulfilling joy.

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2, NIV84)

Lack of Joy is lack of mission. There is a connection and bond between purpose/mission and joy.   When we live out our future in terms of mission we live with joy.  No matter what we do for money, we are people that need to live on mission.

If we believe there is no higher cause than our own happiness, and our fulfillment personally is the most important goal in life, we will lose joy and live in quite a lot of disappointment.  We will begin to believe God and others also exist for our happiness, and when that is not accomplished we question God, friends, families, and marrriages.

When you quit loving Jesus and lose your mission you will lose joy. Joy and mission are connected.  Living the mission and purposes of Christ is the greatest joy.

When we say “my needs first” then we may perceive that we  gain freedom.  We really  lose true joy. Then one has nothing to live for or die for except themselves, and they’ll do it alone.

Jesus is sending his church. His people are a people with a mission, a purpose, and it’s not our own happiness.  To show the world Jesus, His love, His mercy, and goodness is our mission.  To testify of His reality and Truthfulness so others will also be redeemed and put their faith in Him, through Christ is the mission.

Everything the church deos, plans, funds, must have this as the litmus test of our time, energy, talents, and finances.  No matter what you do for money, your job is a mission for you are a missionary serving a sending God. He has sent you into that classroom, that factory, that cubicle.  He is working with you behind that counter and/or the steering wheel of your car.

Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” John 20.21

My greatly missed brother Steve used to say “Be about the Father’s business.”  He was reminding me to live on mission, to serve my missionary God.  I  intend fully to live my life like this.  I pray I never stop.  May we all live on mission.

 

Pastor Nate Elarton

 

Why Did Jesus Come to Earth?


“Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” John 17.3

I am on a journey. To know the Father. A moment of revelation was afforded me recently on why Jesus came to earth.  This revelation has reminded me of Truth and refreshed my soul.

  • He did come to destroy the works of the enemy.
  • He did come to cleanse sin, once and for all.
  • He came to “save” us as we say. (though many are unsure of what).
  • He came to give us eternal life.
  • Keep us from Satan (John 17.15).

It is true, all of these he came, but the one reason that bundles all of these together, that he came is that we would know the Father.  We can never know the Lord fully without being cleanses of sin, repenting and turning our lives around. We won’t ever know the Lord unless we live as an offering, and enact our faith, not just for the things in prayer we pray for, but to know our Father in Heaven.  Jesus wants you to know the Father.

  • Do you know about God? Or do you know God the Father?
  • Are you saved, but never pursued knowing Him more?
  • Choosing to sin in our lives, will make the waters of knowing Father murky?  Do you willingly and knowingly choose sin?  Do you grieve that you are forfeiting knowing the Father well?
  • Do you want to know the Father and be closer than ever before?

Begin to ask HIm to reveal Himself in every area of your life.  Search your heart and repent of sin, spiritual laziness, and any unforgiveness you have toward anyone.  Ask the Holy Spirit, who leads and guides us into all Truth, to lead and guide you. Read the Word with the goal to know the Father, not gain doctrinal or biblical knowledge.

Remember: “You are as close to the Father as you want to be.”

There is nothing on this earth greater than knowing the Father.

Do you agree? What steals our desire to know Father more?  Please respond below.

 

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.)

An Open Thank You Letter to Pastor Tom and Jen Broyles


broylesIt’s hard to believe that this Sunday we will be saying goodbye as your Student Ministries pastors and sending you off to be lead pastors at Wooster, Ohio.  These 8 years have flown by. While here at Compelled Church you have had amazing ministry.  You have been the youth pastor to all 3 of my children. You have had small groups in your home weekly for years.  You have served Compelled faithfully beyond youth as you also lead, young adults, building maintenance, Master’s Commission and hospitality ministries for a time.

You have grown the young adult ministry and the student ministry at Everfree to well over 100 students and over 20 leaders.  It is an exciting night of ministry, fun, seeking God, worship, and connection.  You have lead so well. You have pulled together the youth leaders of our area for “unite” and hundreds have come and so many have found Christ at that yearly evening at Bedford High School.

Tom, you have lead with impeccable character and integrity. Thank you!  You have been an example of a believer, a strong Christian father, and husband.  You have taught our students how to serve with your “without walls” ministry. You have taught them to evangelize their friends, strangers, here and all over the world.  You have taught them to worship, and to express their love for Christ.  You have taught them to Love God deeper. You have taught them the Word of God. You have taught them to follow Christ! What more can a church ask for?  Thank you!

Thank you Jen, for taking time for students, as a busy mom, raising your family, and helping with daycare for others, you still field the calls, meet with the girls of Everfree, while supporting Tom, and being by his side. Thank you Jen. What an amazing example you also are! Thank you so much.

Wendy and I are deeply indebted to you and Jen. Compelled Church cannot express the thanks adequately that we feel in our hearts for giving 8 years of faithful ministry to this community.   We love you and your family so much and we will miss you here.  Wooster will be so blessed to have you both and I know you are going to be an amazing lead pastor.

(Sunday the 20th we will be honoring them and after the 11 am there will be a reception for them.  Please write them a card and give a gift if you are able).

The Sickness of Self


We live in a world where self is god, and our feelings are first.  At times, it seems everyone is consumed with self. Their health, appearance, clothes, hair, and so on.  People mostly resist correction, spiritual direction, and no one likes it when it is pointed out that they are wrong.  Crossing someone’s will can bring deep conflict.  We are honestly a people that appears to be consumed with self. It is accepted and it is normal.

Lately it seems the Lord is reminding me of a verse I learned in College at North Central.   “I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me, and the life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and raised himself for me.”  Galatians 2.20

Here is the problem and sickness I deal with. It is the sickness of self.  It is the opposite of dying for Christ and letting your flesh stay in the grave, and being risen in newness of Jesus.  Denying self is not necessary in our society because everyone seems to be so narcissistic, being intoxicated with self is the norm. But it is very, very necessary to truly know God, and to have Christ seen through you. The Lord is showing me deeply, and painfully, this basic truth and the reality of the power there is in denying self, along with the joy that this alligns me with my creator, which brings me close to the Lord.

How do you know if you have this sickness? I offer these pointed symptoms.

  1. You are currently breathing.
  2. You talk about how you feel a lot like Aches, pains, tiredness, hunger, etc.
  3. Comfort is king and we find ourselves thinking of ways and purchases that make us more comfortable.
  4. You are distracted by your appearance.
  5. You insist on your way.
  6. You must always be correct.
  7. Your opinion must be known to all.
  8. You avoid the uncomfortable things in being a follower of Christ. Things that push against self.
  9. You must control your kids, your marriage, your finances, and anything else you actually believe you are in control of.
  10. Worry about what people think of you. This consumes a lot of your thoughts.
  11. You put yourself ahead of your family, and your time is yours and you deserve _____________.
  12. You struggle with giving things away and giving money to the Lord and to missionaries.
  13. You covet your stuff, and you want more, updated, and bigger.

I think  you get the idea. When these kinds of thoughts and behaviors rule us there are effects in the Kingdom of God, and to our character, attitude, personality, and of course relationships.

  1. We can’t submit to the Word of God (self is first).
  2. We are unable to see other needs, as our needs are at the front of the line.
  3. No one dare disagree with us, our opinion and will must be first.
  4. The voice of God, becomes distant…then gone, we hear our voice in our head, putting us first.
  5. We actually cannot truly see Christ unless we die to self.
  6. We have a lot of conflict with spouse, friends, and family.  We get offended and hurt a lot it seems.
  7. We become shackled with self, and miss the freedom of only glorifying Christ, not us.
  8. The “Lord” is always moving us to different churches, or we just don’t even go anymore.
  9. Many don’t become saved and born again, they can’t break away from the god of self, and let Jesus be Lord.

How do I know these things? I am like everyone else. I wrestle and struggle with self.  I find myself, needing to be heard, needing to be right, needing to be selfish, BUT I really need to “die” to self, and let the life of Christ shine through me, and so do you.  This morning I again knelt before the Lord and crucified my flesh and repented of my selfishness and thoughts of me, and not of Him.  I love the freedom that living for Christ and dying to self brings to my heart and spirit.  Take some time with Jesus and ask him if you have this sickness, and let him heal you.

Luke 9.23  And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

Six Signs Your Heart is Drifting From Jesus


This weekend I am going to be talking about the heart of a disciple.  The heart is our center.  So naturally, when the heart becomes deceived by incorrect thoughts, wrong priorities or spiritual neglect we then begin to drift from the Lord. When we drift from the Lord we drift from His ways. When we drift from His ways we drift toward our ways. Our way is selfish, self-centered, and not Christ-centered.  In my experience and knowledge of the Word I offer these five signs that manifest when a believer’s heart begins to move away and drift.

  1. Behavior and Beliefs no longer match up. What you know is right and true begins leaving your life.  What you lived with passion and grace was once fed by your convictions and commitments. Now things are changing. Your behavior is being compromised and sadly most people will align their beliefs to their behavior sooner or later, and simply stop believing.
  2. Time alone with Jesus rarely happens anymore. There is time for TV, IPAD, phone, friends, Facebook  and constant looking at social media, but your private time to be in the presence of Jesus in prayer and the Word has, or is, disappearing from your daily routine. Your desire for that connection with Christ is being lost in the desire for other things of this world. The world’s ways is gripping stronger on your heart.
  3. Being part of the faith community (church) is stopping. There is always a reason why skipping church, not being in a community small group, or serving is now more normal. Always a reason to appease a conscience, but in your heart you know you are jeopardizing a lot. Your kids are learning the habits of their parents. The body of Christ misses out on what you have to offer and the opportunity for worship, encouragement and the voice of the Lord in your life is lost.
  4. Desire to see other’s saved has vanished. There is no thought of the commission to make disciples. Talking about your faith with unbelievers or inviting them to church is the farthest thing from your priority list.  Gone is giving to missions, volunteering for missional events, and crying in God’s presence as you pray for unsaved family and friends. The heart has been deceived that their salvation is not a priority. Your own life and thoughts of you, your needs, wants, hurts, desires,  has gobbled up your heart.  You are into “you”, and others and their eternity has become or is becoming irrelevant.
  5. More connected with your time, money, and interests to the things of this world, than the things of the Kingdom of Christ. My brother Steve once told me; “let me look at your checkbook and your calendar. I will tell you what you really believe.” I have never forgotten that. It’s true.  Talk is cheap, and actions and priorities are manifested.
  6. Your kid’s sports, and schedules, are more important than their faith. The five things above, affect your children’s faith. Parents, not to be fears-ish but we are accountable to the Lord for how we raise our children. I know when they are adults they make up their own minds, and choose their ways, but until then, it’s our ways that affect them.  More is caught than taught. We must lead by example and by heart.  They will follow us, but we must lead them and be a godly example with Jesus and His word a priority of our life.  Disciple your children. Don’t let the world do it.

What to do if you know this message applies to you?

Repent, which means to change direction.  Adjust and calibrate your life to Jesus.  Pray and ask the Lord for forgiveness and recommit your ways to Him.  Open the Bible and read once again.  Raise your hands to heaven and thank Jesus for His grace and patience.  Bask in His love for you and the knowledge that He wants the best for your life, your marriage, and your children. Pray for your family, pray for those that are not saved yet.  Get back to your church and don’t let the enemy give you anymore weak excuses.  Manage your life daily and don’t let the things of this world dilute your fresh commitment to Jesus.  Then, never look back.  Serve Jesus with all your heart.  With prayer and the heart of God.

– Nate

My opening remarks from the message this weekend on Philippians 3.1-11


Christ Is2Several have asked for the remarks I made as to what I felt the Lord said to me for the series this month.  Here they are.  Blessings Nate

Why take a month or more on one chapter of the Bible?  On Philippians 

  1. The same energy Christ gave on the cross to redeem us is the same effort the enemy is doing is best effort to destroy us.
  2. Kingdom Impact will be multiplied when we are radical for Christ.
  3. God has a plan for Compelled Church and for your life and a prerequisite for the plan is that we/you will be so committed to Christ that you/we will obey Him, as He is our everything!
  4. We must have an encounter with Christ. We have to deal with our dark side and flush it out by the power of the Spirit and by the Word.
  5. The people of God need spiritual courage. This only comes from a real, true, relationship with Jesus. Believer are walking in too much fear. God has not given us a spirit of fear.
  6. Our vision hinges on the reality that we know Christ, not know about Christ.
  7. The storms of life, the rough spots in our faith are only endured and become platforms to grow, as we grow in Knowing Christ.

My Birthday Wish Today


“For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love”   

Ephesians 3.14-18a

As I awake this morning to Happy Birthdays from Wendy and the boys and sit and read Ephesians this is my wish for my birthday. It is more than a traditional  birthday with, but a prayer of agreement with the Apostle Paul.  As I read his prayer and desire for the Ephesians I pray it for myself, my wife, and my kids.  I pray it for Compelled Church and the Body of Christ.

I pray we would tap into the underestimated power of Christ who  dwells (lives) in us.  I pray today we would be strengthened in our inner man, by the power of His Spirit. (Ephesians 3.16). This is so important for the life and victory of the follower of Christ.

The inner man (our spirit)

  • Needs redeemed, saved, and cleanse from sin to Christ.
  • Needs cleared daily and filled with Christ’s Spirit.
  • Our inner man is where our thoughts, motives, and attitudes come from.
  • Is the center of our will.
  • If our inner man is not obedient to the way of Christ, we will make terrible choices.
  • When we are filled with Christ our inner man, is not selfish, and we are giving love, because the reality of being established in love is sensed and lived out.

How strong in Christ is your inner man?  My Birthday prayer is that today it will be stronger, and so will mine.

Nate

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