Reversing Entropy

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Don’t you wish that you could clean things up and they would stay clean? After you get everything set the way you like it, why can’t it just stay that way? Quite simply, things can’t stay clean and pristine because of the Law of Entropy. Entropy is the measure of disorder in a system, and the Law of Entropy says that unless sufficient energy is applied, an ordered system will always move toward disorder. This is as true spiritually as it is in physics. 

God created a perfectly ordered system both physically and spiritually, but man’s sin brought in disorder, disease, and decay. It gets so bad that just three chapters after man’s first sin we read, “The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time” (Genesis 6:5).  

Throughout history, there have been revivals, reformations, and awakenings where people see the disorder and decay that sin has brought to their lives and they want to return to God. The pain of entropy causes people to repent, and the Spirit of God moves in with sufficient energy to restore. Sadly, unless the Holy Spirit’s energy is continually applied, entropy will again begin to run its downward course. 

Jesus not only came to reverse the entropy of sin (see Isaiah 9:2, 49:9; John 1:5, 8:12), but He sent us out into a sinful world to do the same thing. Jesus told us that we are salt that reverses entropy’s decay and we are light that reverses entropy’s darkness (Matthew 5:13-14). Jesus also told us that there’s no way we can maintain this entropy-reversing energy on our own—we need the Holy Spirit’s empowerment (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8). [Check out all of these verses by clicking here.] 

Paul talked about this same idea in 2 Corinthians 3. He contrasts the ministry of the Old Testament with its fading glory, and the ministry of the New Testament with terms like more glorious, surpassing glory, and ever-increasing glory. 

Do you realize that Spirit-filled Christians never have to long for “the good ol’ days”? Being baptized in the Holy Spirit means, as Paul reminds us, that we are perpetually being transformed into the image of Jesus and we are therefore reflecting more and more of His glory. Every day can be more glorious than the day before. We don’t have to experience any entropy in our spiritual walk. 

This isn’t because of our actions. Paul says, “not that we are competent in ourselves…but our competence comes from God. … [We] are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 

Spirit-filled Christians are the agents of change in the world IF we are being transformed by the Holy Spirit. In other words, we will tend toward entropy (and uselessness) unless we have the Spirit’s energy continually applied to our lives. 

Being transformed is an ongoing, continual process. We have to have the energy of the Holy Spirit continually at work on us personally to keep us from entropy. And then we’ll be able to reflect that entropy-defeating light to a dark world. 

I’ve said this before, but I’m going to keep on saying it: Don’t stop at salvation—be baptized in the Holy Spirit. Don’t let entropy decay your salt or dim your light. Let the Holy Spirit help you reflect the light Jesus so that you can reverse the entropy of a dark, sinful world. 

If you’ve missed any of the other posts in our series called We Are: Pentecostal, you can access the full list by clicking here.

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Thursdays With Oswald—No Undercover Christians

Oswald ChambersThis is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

No Undercover Christians

     The illustrations our Lord uses are all conspicuous—salt, light, and a city set on the hill. There is no possibility of mistaking them. …  

     “You are the salt of the earth.” Some modern teachers seem to think our Lord said, “You are the sugar of the earth,” meaning that gentleness and winsomeness without curativeness is the ideal of the Christian. Our Lord’s illustration of a Christian is salt, and salt is the most concentrated thing known. Salt preserves wholesomeness and prevents decay. It is a disadvantage to be salt. Think of the action of salt on a wounded, and you will realize this. If you get salt into a wound, it hurts, and when God’s children are amongst those who are “raw” their presence hurts. The man who is wrong with God is like an open wound, and when “salt” gets in it causes annoyance and distress and he is spiteful and bitter. … How are we to maintain the healthy, salty tang of saintliness? By remaining rightly related to God through Jesus Christ. …  

     “You are the light of the world.” Light cannot be soiled; you may try to grasp a beam of light with the sootiest hand, but you leave no mark on the light. A sunbeam may shine into the filthiest hovel in the slums of the city, but it cannot be soiled. … Thank God for the men and women who are spending their lives in the slums of the earth, not as social reformers to lift their brother men to cleaner sties, but as the light of God, revealing a way back to God. 

From Studies In The Sermon On The Mount

God wants you to be His salt and light in the world. Are you willing to do that? 

Salt preserves, but it also stings as it does so. Some people will lash out at you for being salt in their presence, but keep on loving them with the love of Jesus. 

Light guides, but it also reveals unpleasant things. Some people will lash out at you for revealing sinful things, but keep on loving them with the love of Jesus. 

Don’t let the hostile reaction of people send you “underground.” Keep being conspicuously, unmistakably God’s salt and light in a world that is in desperate need of cleansing and illumination! 

Links & Quotes

link quote

10 facts on the great commissionJeffrey Kranz from The Overview Bible Project has a nice post called 10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About The Great Commission.

“The purpose of the salt in the steak is to do its work so quietly that it changes the nature of what it invades without calling attention to itself. … Salt must get into something in order to have effect, where it indelibly stamps its own character upon what it invades.” —George O. Wood

Good counsel for my fellow pastors: “One great and general rule is, ask advice of Heaven by prayer about every part of your preparatory studies; seek the direction and assistance of the Spirit of God, for inclining your thoughts to proper subjects, for guiding you to proper Scriptures, and framing your whole sermon both as to the matter and manner, that it may attain the divine and sacred ends proposed.” —Isaac Watts

Culture’s Big Lie About Marriage addresses head-on the way culture wants to bend and redefine marriage.

February 27 is the day to shine a light on slavery and sex trafficking around the world. Check out the END IT movement and mark your red “X.”

“I hope the doctrine that Christians ought to be gloomy will soon be driven out of the universe. There are no people in the world who have such a right to be happy, nor have such cause to be joyful as the saints of the living God.” —Charles Spurgeon

Earth Day And The Christian

Earth Day 2013Some Christians I know shy away from being involved with anything that’s even remotely related to Earth Day. They tell me that Earth Day seems too “earthy” or even “worldly” for them. I disagree. For the Christian, I believe there are a couple of principles that converge and therefore compel us to be involved.

The first principle is mankind’s original mandate. When God created Adam and Eve and placed them in His garden, He gave them the responsibility and privilege of caring for His creation. They were to care for both the plants and animals, making sure a healthy environment was maintained for them to be fruitful (see Genesis 1:26-28 and 2:15).

The second principle is Christ’s directive. Jesus told Christians to shine like lights and season like salt, “that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14-16). Even Jesus Himself “went around doing good” (Acts 10:38).

So when there’s an opportunity to care for our environment by doing “good deeds,” I’m going to take advantage of that every single time!

Saturday, April 26, beginning at 10am, is the annual Earth Day and Cedar Creek cleanup in Cedar Springs. I will be there along with a number of other folks from Calvary Assembly of God. I encourage others in Cedar Springs to join us. If you live in a different community, find an activity in which you can get involved and let your light shine brightly and lovingly in your city.

Thursdays With Oswald—Consecration Isn’t Just For Ministers

This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

Oswald Chambers

Consecration Isn’t Just For Pastors 

     Consecration is not the giving over of the calling in life to God, but the separation from all other callings and the giving over of ourselves to God, letting His providence place us where He will—in business, or law, or science; in workshop, in politics…. We are to be there working according to the laws and principles of the Kingdom of God…. 

     “Business is business” is not true for the Christian. Business is a sphere of labor in the world where a man exhibits the laws and principles of the Kingdom, otherwise he is a coward, a deserter, and a traitor to that Kingdom. 

From Christian Disciplines 

Jesus calls all Christians to be salt and light; to season and shine wherever God has placed us. We are consecrated for service to God is we are working by biblical principles, no matter what job we happen to be doing.

Light The Night

There are so many encouragements that Scripture gives us to make a difference in our world:

  • Jesus tells us to be salt that seasons and light that brightens (Matthew 5:13-14).
  • Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven (Matthew 5:16).
  • Shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life (Philippians 2:15-16).
  • So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).

We should look for opportunities to do shine every day. But sometimes there are even more appropriate times to do so. One such time is Halloween … Hallow’s Eve … Reformation Day. October 31 used to be a day that glorified God. Now, sadly, it has become a day to glorify anything but God.

So Calvary Assembly of God will be lighting the night again this Halloween. We will put on the best, brightest, friendliest carnival of the evening right on Main Street in Cedar Springs! We have a prayer team going out 24-hours before this event to pray for protection and favor, and to pray for open doors through which the light of Jesus will shine on October 31.

Here’s how you can help:

  • Pray. Start now and pray through October 31.
  • Bring some candy to the church through October 28.
  • Come pray with us at 5pm on October 30.
  • Signup as a volunteer to shine with us from 4-8pm on October 31.

We’re believing the light of Jesus will be seen as we Light The Night!

Thursdays With Oswald—A Friend Of God And Enemy Of The World

This is a weekly series with things I’m reading and pondering from Oswald Chambers. You can read the original seed thought here, or type “Thursdays With Oswald” in the search box to read more entries.

A Friend Of God & Enemy Of The World 

     The Bible says that “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son…,” and yet it says that if we are friends of the world we are enemies of God. “Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God?” (James 4:4). The difference is that God loves the world so much that He goes to all lengths to remove the wrong from it, and we must have the same kind of love. Any other kind of love for the world simply means we take it as it is and are perfectly delighted with it. …It is that sentiment which is the enemy of God. Do we love the world in this sense sufficiently to spend and be spent so that God can manifest His grace through us until the wrong and the evil are removed? 

From Biblical Psychology

  • Do I love the world the way God so loves the world?
  • Am I willing to let Him use me to change the world?
  • Am I willing to spend and be spent for God’s glory?

Jesus said, “You are salt and light.” But my salt does the world no good at all unless I allow the Holy Spirit to shake it out of me. And the light doesn’t benefit anyone if my apathy is not allowing the love of God to shine brightly through my life.

I must be a friend of God and an enemy of the evil in the world which keeps anyone from coming into a relationship with Him.

Do You Know Your Community?

Working hard to know my town better

Jesus called His followers to be salt and light. It’s pretty easy to figure out that the salt cannot season the food if it stays in the saltshaker, and the light cannot illuminate the darkness if it stays covered up. In order to season and shine in your community, you have to know your community.And, pastor, that starts with you.

What you do is a much more effective sermon that what you say. Pastor, you need to know your community, so that you can be involved in your community, so that you and your church can season and shine in your community together.

So let me ask a couple of questions:

  • Do you know your Mayor / City Manager / Township Supervisor? If you don’t know them, how can you affirm their leadership (Romans 13:1-7)?
  • Do you attend City / Township Council meetings? If you don’t, how will you know what issues they’re wrestling with? If you don’t know those issues, how can you pray effectively for them (1 Timothy 2:1,2)?
  • Are you involved in your community? Don’t just assume people in your community will come to your church to hear a stranger speak; instead, be so involved in your community that they will come to church to hear a friend speak (John 2:1,2).

I opened with the question, “Do you know your community?” But maybe a better way to ask this is, “Does your community know you?” Does the community come to you to ask for help? This may be the best barometer of your involvement in your community: when they seek your help or assistance in addressing issues within your community.

If you’re not as involved as you should be, the good news is that it’s never too late to start! Go get involved … go season and shine!

Light The Night

Today is Halloween, and Calvary Assembly of God is going to be fully engaged with our city.

In Cedar Springs, the downtown businesses encourage families to come walk up and down Main Street, collect candy, and have fun. I know there are some who think Christians should have nothing to do with Halloween, or they come up with alternative activities for that evening.

I want us to be salt and light in our community. And we cannot do that from a distance.

So we’ll be right in the middle of it lighting the night with the love of Jesus for our neighbors. For the second year, we will have a huge inflatable slide, some carnival games, and lots and lots of candy. We want Cedar Springs to know that we love them.

I read an interesting article “What Christians Should Know About Halloween” (you can read the article by clicking here). I love the closing paragraph –

For those who are still bothered by Halloween’s historical association with evil spirits, Martin Luther has some advice on how to respond to the devil: “The best way to drive out the devil, if he will not yield to texts of Scripture, is to jeer and flout him for he cannot bear scorn.” Perhaps instead of fleeing the darkness in fear, we should view Halloween as an opportunity to mock the enemy whose power over us has been broken.

The light of Jesus within us is so much greater than the darkness the devil may try to produce around us. Please pray for us as we let that light shine tonight.

We ♥ Cedar Springs

Winning 2011 Earth Day Artwork, Hunter George, 8th Grade, CTA

I believe that our church should be a pacesetting organization for our community. When we are actively involved in our community, it gives us more opportunities to season and illuminate Cedar Springs (hey, we’re talking about this on Sunday too!).

So we are planning to have a whole lot of our folks out to help with some spring cleaning for Earth Day 2011.

When we show how much We Cedar Springs, more people will get to experience firsthand what others already know about Calvary Assembly of God: We Our Church!

If you are close by, please consider joining us.

If you live in another community, what are you doing to season and illuminate your city?

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