Archives For Jordan Standridge

book-giftOver the past year, our bookstore — with suggestions by our pastors at Immanuel Bible Church — has featured a book of the month. The books have come from all different categories and with Christmas about a week away I thought you might find a list like this helpful. I’ve also included in this list books I have read over the past year, and books I have given away this year for ministry.

Productivity

Do more better by Tim Challies – This was my favorite book to read and to give away for 2016. Most people I know want to improve in their organization and discipline, and I think this book does a great job shepherding a heart as to why we ought to be more disciplined but also gives very helpful tips as to how to actually accomplish that.

For married or engaged Couples

What did you expect?: Redeeming the Realities of Marriage By Paul Tripp

John Piper says about this book, ““Noel and I listened to most of this book driving in the car! Wise words. Authentic experience. Provocative application. Turned a long trip into a fruitful two-person marriage seminar.”

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It was Christmastime at London’s Garrick Club, and British writer and producer Frederick Lonsdale was asked by actor Seymour Hicks to reconcile with a fellow member. The two had fought in the past and never restored their friendship. “You must,” Hicks said to Lonsdale. “It is very unkind to be unfriendly at such a time. Go over now and wish him a Merry Christmas.”  So, Lonsdale crossed the room and spoke to his enemy. “I wish you a Merry Christmas,” he said, “but only one.”

That is not reconciliation.

All of us can relate to the sentiment Seymour Hicks was trying to convey. Everyone feels the pressure of being a little bit more charitable at Christmas. Perhaps it is the festive occasion or the fact that everyone is looking forward to eating well and opening gifts, but we all feel a need to be more joyful.

For Christians, though, it isn’t enough to be more peaceful out of obligation, or because of the fact that it is just what you do at Christmas. We are called to be at peace all of the time with all men because of the very fact that we have experience peace with God.

If you’re a Christian you know what it means to be unreconciled.

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bibleI have never been persecuted. Not really. Sure I’ve been called names, but my bank account and my health have not been affected in any way for being a Christian.

I recently did an informal (and most definitely unscientific) survey, asking people who they thought was the most mature Christian. Although I got many different answers, there was a trend. Most people pointed to someone who had suffered severe trials or even died for their faith.

It does seem that those who have been persecuted are more mature. They seem to evangelize more, to say no to sin more often and to be an encouragement to those around them.

Perhaps persecution is coming for all of us, but as of right now we just don’t know too many Christians who are facing persecution. We hear of the bakers, florists and millionaires on TV losing businesses and TV shows, but we have a long way to go to experience what the “others” in Hebrews 11:36-38 who were even sawn in two for their faith and whom the world was not worthy of.

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Not too long ago I talked about the verses in Scripture that God used to get me to start sharing the Gospel. I was reading through the entire Bible at a Bible school in central Italy and I ran across a passage that changed my life. Ezekiel 3:17-21 proved to be some of the toughest and most convicting verses in all of Scripture for me. As I read those verses over and over again I thought of the people over the years who I had had the opportunity but failed to share the Gospel with.

I couldn’t sleep that night. I wept as I thought about how unfaithful I had been for so many years and for some reason my mind kept going to my junior high friends in Italy. I had been unfaithful to share the Gospel in general and yet it was those friends that kept coming to mind the most.

Junior high in Italy works a little differently than America. For three years from 6th-8th grade you stay in the same classroom, and it is the teachers who move from room to room. So for three years, each day you spend time with the same 20-25 students. Over our three years we became like a family. And I could only think of two people in the entire class that I had shared the Gospel with.

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For years, Brian Williams had told a story of incredible survival, but each time he told it grew in mythical status.

The first time he told the story it was probably the truth.

Thanksgiving DinnerHe went to Iraq to cover the war as a reporter for MSNBC and took a helicopter ride.  When he landed, he found out that a helicopter an hour ahead of his was shot at from the ground.

Over the next few years as he retold the story, the helicopters distance grew closer, until finally it was his helicopter that was the one that was shot at. At one point he even described seeing the shooter on the ground and described his emotional state as he saw his life flash before his eyes.

Eventually, some of the guys who had been there during the time couldn’t handle hearing him be introduced as a guy who was shot at in Iraq, and they told the truth about the story. Soon after that, Brian Williams lost his job and became the butt of every joke dealing with exaggerating stories.

As I have thought about Brian Williams, I’ve thought about the temptation in every heart to live incredible experiences. We all want to be able to tell stories of survival that would make us look good in the eyes of others around us. We’re all tempted to exaggerate stories and to make ourselves look better that we actually do.

And yet, as believers, we have a story that we can tell as often as we want that cannot be exaggerated. We have experienced something far greater, more unbelievable, and more supernatural than anything anyone can experience on earth. We have been given a new heart.

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notmypresidentWe were warned. I feel like it was over and over again. Pastor after pastor told us that if politics becomes an idol in our heart that those who don’t agree with us will slowly become the enemy. We were told that when we put our hopes and trust in the one who sits in the Oval Office and into avoiding persecution and holding on to religious freedom then when people speak out with opposing views from us we will despise them and treat them like an enemy.

And yet despite the warning, many of us in the church have raised the idol. Many in the church have worshipped at the feet of this idol and are simply overjoyed that this idol seems to have produced results. And the mocking has begun. My Facebook is filled with comments about snowflakes, hypocrites and lefties who supposedly are so evil and so despicable that they need to be ridiculed for their tears. The problem is that these snowflakes we’re mocking are my mission field. I talk to so many of them on a weekly basis. Despite Scripture’s warnings about letting no unwholesome words out of our mouths, and only using words that are able to build others up (Eph. 4:29), we think that because some wanted to push abortion and gay marriage that we’re allowed to speak of them any way we choose.

Far too many people have lost their eternal perspective. Although being thankful for religious freedom and lower taxes is not wrong, when we mock those in opposition we show that we have exchanged treasure in heaven for some chump change on earth. (Matt. 6:19)

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Over the years I have noticed a trend that when a pastor says the words, “if you don’t know Christ and you are here this morning…” most of the congregation present starts closing their Bibles, may even talk to one another and perhaps even get up and start walking out. I’ve even noticed sometimes when the preacher puts the Gospel in the middle of the sermon that some people, used to shutting off when they hear those magic words, started shutting their Bibles thinking the sermon was over despite the fact that the preacher was only halfway done.

bored-in-churchNow I completely understand the sentiment. Usually, when the pastor shares the Gospel it is at the end of the sermon and people are just getting their things together in order to be able to leave quickly after the service. Also, many mothers are simply being kind and want to be able to relieve the nursery workers from their children. Perhaps many people are absolutely secure in their salvation and simply shut off whenever they hear something that doesn’t apply to them.

I would like to encourage you to rethink this attitude.

Over the past few years, I’ve thought a lot about evangelism, how to teach it and how to motivate people to do it. I’ve written quite a bit on it on this blog and sadly the evangelism posts are the ones that seem to get the least attention. Many people say it is because it is a topic that convicts people a lot and that they would rather not feel condemned over it. Others may not share a post because they don’t want to seem like a hypocrite.

I’ve had many people ask me to help them in their evangelism, but perhaps I have neglected one of the most important places where people can learn to do so: the part of the sermon where the Pastor addresses the unbeliever.

There are three reasons that come to mind as to why we must fight the temptation and focus on the preacher as he shares the gospel with us.

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As I saw her sitting there on her wheelchair sobbing…both our hearts were breaking.

people-holy-stepsHers because she was unable to walk up the Holy Steps to have her sins forgiven. She so desperately wanted to be able to spend less time in purgatory and she couldn’t bear the thought of being so close to the steps where Jesus had walked and unable to go up them like everybody else.

Mine because she had been duped into believing that this ritual of walking up the steps, and saying a few hundred hail Mary’s, would save her from her sin. Her tears were yet another example of the evil that is the Roman Catholic Church.

Of course, a sign not too far from her stated that those who could not crawl up the steps could stay right where they were and still receive pardon for their sin, but she wasn’t buying it.  She knew that she was missing out on something, and it was all because of her inability to perform works.

As I gazed around the room, I was overwhelmed by the dozens of people who were partaking in this practice of walking up these “holy steps”. According to Roman Catholic tradition, these were the steps that Jesus walked on in order to go up to Pilate. They even have spots on them which they claim is where Jesus’ blood dropped. Supposedly, Helena the mother of Constantine had them brought from Jerusalem to Rome in the fourth century.

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the-atheist-delusion-dvd_3d-1Ray Comfort recently released a new movie, “The Atheist Delusion” which is free on YouTube. The movie is an hour long and is a response to Richard Dawkins’ famous book The God Delusion.”

The movie’s description states:

Having to prove the existence of God to an atheist is like having to prove the existence of the sun, at noon on a clear day. Yet millions are embracing the foolishness of atheism. “The Atheist Delusion” pulls back the curtain and reveals what is going on in the mind of those who deny the obvious. It introduces you to a number of atheists who you will follow as they go where the evidence leads, find a roadblock, and enter into a place of honesty that is rarely seen on film.

The Atheist Delusion is a mix of interviews on college campuses, television clips, beautiful sceneries and more.  There is a great structure to the movie and it progresses nicely to a final goal. It is tremendously interesting and it really does a good job of keeping interest throughout. It would be a fantastic movie to watch with the family, the youth group, Bible study or even the entire church. There are several reasons why watching movies like these are great for believers, here are some that come to mind.

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trumphillaryThis election season has been one of the most excruciating experiences for Evangelicals. So many Christians are exasperated by all the different things to think about before they walk into the voting booth. Smarter men than me have attempted to convince you to vote for, not vote for and to keep your opinions to yourself about which candidate to support this election cycle. Christians who hate abortion and want to see it end in their lifetime are rightfully distraught over the direction the supreme court seems to be going and we all see our religious freedoms departing as well.

My mind and heart are exhausted but there is enough in Scripture for our souls to be refreshed and reinvigorated.

Any time this world disappoints us our eyes should turn away from our situation and be fixed on the Lord. But more specifically, when our kingdom seems to be in shambles we must fix our eyes on a coming kingdom that is unsusceptible to human evil and error.

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