Links for the Weekend (2/15/2019)

Each Friday, I’ll post links to 3–5 resources from around the web you may want to check out.

Encouragement for Regular Bible Reading

Over at For The Church, Trevin Wax addresses this important question: “What keeps so many Christians from regularly studying the Bible?” His video answer is filled with wisdom and encouragement to think about the long term benefit of our Bible reading and Bible study disciplines.

7 Tips for Keeping Your Cool When Your Kids Misbehave

I wish I didn’t need this advice, but I do. At the Crossway blog, Sam Crabtree offers some advice for avoiding an explosion of anger when children misbehave.

So, you’ve blown your stack. You admit it. You confess your wrongness to all involved parties. You apologize, asking forgiveness. And you resolve to not be that way again, to not do it again. But there’s the problem. The resolve of our own nature will fail. We need supernatural enablement for change. Overcoming anger requires something humanly impossible, something supernatural. The good news is that Jesus came to make it possible for all kinds of people—including angry parents—to be changed into people who yield their expectations to God in service to others, specifically their children.

Sharing Your Faith at Work

Here’s a short article brimming with wisdom. Greg Forster first counsels us to “earn the right to be heard.” He then shares three practical tips. Here’s the second one.

Be patient. Earning the right to be heard takes time. You should not expect evangelistic opportunities quickly. Trust that as you labor faithfully, God will use your track record of excellent performance and humane treatment of people to awaken the hearts of those around you. I have a relative who came to Christ after her retirement; she became convinced Christ was alive after reflecting on decades of seeing Christians do their daily work so differently.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published Pastor Don Waltermyer’s article about killing sin. Check it out!


Note: Washington Presbyterian Church and the editors of this blog do not necessarily endorse all content produced by the individuals or groups referenced here. 

Links for the Weekend (2/8/2019)

Each Friday, I’ll post links to 3–5 resources from around the web you may want to check out.

How Evangelism Is Kind of Like Fishing

Tim Challies draws out the comparisons between fishing and evangelism. This is a surprisingly powerful article.

Just think about this: Jesus gets on a fishing boat with a fisher man to do a fish miracle all leading toward a fishing metaphor. He clearly wanted Simon to think about this word picture, and to live it out. He wants us to think about it. So let’s draw a few comparisons that, I trust, are legitimate without being trite. In what ways is evangelism kind of like fishing?

Moms, It Is Our Privilege

Not just for mothers, but for fathers, grandparents, or any caregiver of any type. Kristen Wetherell writes about some sweet lessons she’s learned about Jesus’s love as she cares for her child.

Yes, motherhood is a form of suffering. But in the middle of its trials, when we’re exhausted and weary, we can quickly forget what a privilege it is––often at the same time as when it’s hardest.

5 Myths About Abortion

Published at the Crossway blog, Scott Klusendorf writes helpfully about the abortion conversation. These are not actually myths about abortion itself, but about the dialog surrounding abortion. It’s slightly more academic than the other articles here, but it will give you confidence about the church’s place (as well as individual Christians’ places) to advocate for the unborn. From the discussion of the first myth (“Christian pro-lifers impose religious arguments on a pluralistic society and thus violate the separation of church and state”):

Indeed, it is no more religious to claim a human embryo has value than to claim it doesn’t. Both claims answer the same exact question: What makes humans valuable in the first place? That is an inherently religious question with no neutral ground. Either you believe that each and every human being has an equal right to life or you don’t.


Note: Washington Presbyterian Church and the editors of this blog do not necessarily endorse all content produced by the individuals or groups referenced here. 

Links for the Weekend (2/1/2019)

Each Friday, I’ll post links to 3–5 resources from around the web you may want to check out.

3 Methods to Keep You Praying

Trevin Wax has struggled to pray regularly, and he shares a few practices that have helped him grow in this discipline.

At the beginning of every year, we peruse the various plans for reading the Bible, but rarely do we find plans about developing the discipline of daily prayer. It’s not that we mean to avoid it. We know we need to pray. We know we’re called to it. We know that our lack of prayerfulness is a sign that we are unconscious of just how dependent we are upon God and that we are comfortable operating in our own strength. But still, how do we make it a regular practice?

Don’t Just Meet Someone’s Needs

Michael Kelley writes about the way Jesus healed the leper in Luke 5 and helps us think about loving our neighbors. He challenges us to give of ourselves as we help others.

This is the lesson for us who want to do good, but don’t want to get our hands dirty. For those of us who want to see people helped, but don’t want to emotionally invest in the people being helped. For those of us who enjoy programs we can serve in, but avoid organic ministry that costs us time and energy. It’s a lesson for people like me and maybe people like you, too.

The Art of Dying

Perhaps it’s because we think so much of heaven, but Christians spend a decent amount of time talking about death. Dan Doriani writes about the death of his friend Gerry and draws out two principles for dying well.

Gerry was always an encourager; now he needed encouragement and he readily asked for it. I saw him hours after he got his diagnosis – kidney cancer, stage four. Very few survived it and six months was a typical time frame. After thirty minutes, he asked, “Will you visit me every week?” It was a big request and he knew it. I paused momentarily as I considered my demanding schedule. But I knew the answer, “Yes, every week, as long as I am in town.” And so it was.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

I wrote for the blog this week about how singing is an act of faith. Check it out!


Note: Washington Presbyterian Church and the editors of this blog do not necessarily endorse all content produced by the individuals or groups referenced here. 

Singing Is An Act of Faith

Singing is a big part of the Christian life. We sing several times each Sunday, and we read of singing throughout the Bible. Christians are musical people.

When viewed from outside the church, however, all this singing is weird. There’s no other part of life—except, perhaps, birthday parties—that involves as much singing as Christianity.

I notice this whenever we have an official ceremony at Washington & Jefferson College, where I teach. Most of these ceremonies end with the alma mater, a song written to express one’s undying loyalty to and affection for the school. (Most colleges have such a song.) The music begins and everyone stares at the program. If not for the student singers up front, there wouldn’t be much to hear. For those who don’t sing outside the shower, it is a strange moment. I’m supposed to sing these words? To a tune? With my mouth? It’s no wonder most students (and faculty) end up mouthing the words or standing in disinterested silence.

Why We Don’t Sing

For Christians, singing is simply part of the deal.

Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth! Serve the LORD with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! (Psalm 100:1–2)

Paul commands the church to sing as well—see Colossians 3:16 and Ephesians 5:18–20. He connects this command to thankfulness, being filled with the Spirit, and “making melody to the Lord with your heart.” Singing is part of the way we glorify God as his body.

But, let’s face it. Not many of us are born singers. We are grateful for the word “noise” in the phrase “joyful noise.” We naturally make comparisons, and we feel awkward singing when our skills fall so far short of the worship leaders or soloists in church.

And beyond the lack of talent, singing exposes us. We put ourselves at risk when we sing; there’s nowhere to hide. Those near us hear our wrong notes, missed beats, and bad pronunciation. To avoid embarrassment, we sometimes decide to make a joyful noise internally.

Why We Sing

However, our obedience to God’s command to sing doesn’t depend on our ability. God doesn’t only want singing from the choir.

Think of an analogy. We wouldn’t leave giving, praying, Bible reading, caring for orphans and widows, or loving neighbors only to those who were naturally gifted. If a friend confronted us with the Biblical command not to gossip, we wouldn’t respond, “Oh, it’s okay—I’m just not very good at not gossiping!”

We’re not called to sing because we’re great singers. We sing because God is great and greatly to be praised! And, by God’s design, one of the chief ways we praise him is through song. He is worthy of our song, so we sing!

And as we sing, especially for those not naturally gifted, we exercise faith.

As we open our mouths to sing, we must believe the truth that God is pleased with us. We trust that because of Jesus’s work for us, our Father loves us and wants to hear our voices. Because he is good and tender and faithful, he won’t turn away if we can’t carry a tune.

In a world where we rely on our senses and instincts, this will take some adjustment. We must believe the Bible over our impulse to hide. We need to trust God that our relationship with him does not depend on our performance.

Jesus, the Perfect Singer

If we’re commanded to sing, and if Jesus has perfectly obeyed every command for us, then Jesus is a singer. In fact, he’s the best singer ever.

Think of your favorite hymn or praise song. Or think of the Psalms, most of which were written to be sung in worship by the people of Israel. Jesus has sung and continues to sing these songs of praise to God! His praise to God is perfect, and that obedient praise is credited to us. This is the good news of the gospel!

So when you stand to sing at church this week, don’t hesitate. Don’t worry about your skill. Open your mouth and make your melody, trusting that God loves and accepts you on the basis of his perfect son.

Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! (Psalm 95:1–2)

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Links for the Weekend (1/25/2019)

Each Friday, I’ll post links to 3–5 resources from around the web you may want to check out.

I Lost My Mom, but I’ll Never Lose the Church

At The Gospel Coalition, Ronnie Kurtz writes about the way the church was there for him when his mother died. It’s a great reminder of the importance of a local church family.

It’s not hard to find articles pointing out the church’s shortcomings. Our reading streams are inundated with digital fingers pointing out her stains and failures. And yes, the church is frail and frequently falls short of her calling. Yet in all her missteps and imperfections, she met me in my sorrow, and she was exactly what I needed.

Teach Your Teen How to Read Their Bible

We often think that teenagers need age-specific material in order to engage with the Bible. Jen Wilkin argues that what teenagers really need is “basic tools to help them read and learn the Bible on their own.” Check out this excellent advice over at the website for The Village Church.

By guiding them in some basic study methods, you can position them to use devotional and topical material with far better discernment and far greater benefit, as those types of resources assume a first-hand knowledge of the Bible that many teens have not yet developed.

How a Church Can Care for Former Prisoners

As a former prisoner, Mark Casson writes with first-hand experience about how churches can welcome and care for those who have been incarcerated. Ex-prisoners can feel fearful about joining a local church. And the church can have a powerful impact in extending love to these brothers and sisters. Check out the article at Table Talk Magazine.

Finally, in loving the returning citizen, I would encourage you to treat him differently than the world treats them. The world says: “You can’t live here. You can’t work here. You are not welcome here. You cannot vote here.” If we are honest, discrimination against felons is acceptable in the world. Brothers and sisters, it cannot be acceptable in the church. If we believe that the blood of Christ cleanses us from all unrighteousness, then this includes felonious unrighteousness.


Note: Washington Presbyterian Church and the editors of this blog do not necessarily endorse all content produced by the individuals or groups referenced here. 

Links for the Weekend (1/18/2019)

Each Friday, I’ll post links to 3–5 resources from around the web you may want to check out.

Accepting “No” as God’s Will

This article is an excerpt from a book by the late R.C. Sproul. He looks at Jesus’s prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane and helps us think about the way God answers our prayers.

The prayer of faith is not a demand that we place on God. It is not a presumption of a granted request. The authentic prayer of faith is one that models Jesus’ prayer. It is always uttered in a spirit of subordination. In all our prayers, we must let God be God.

A Bible Reading Plan for Children

How do we help our children develop a pattern of regular Bible reading? Joe Carter describes one simple way over at The Gospel Coalition. I like that this plan is realistic and emphasizes grace (even while we want to urge children strongly to read the Bible!).

The key to success is flexibility. If the child misses a day, just have them move on to the next section. If it takes longer than a year, don’t sweat it—there’s no rush. Be persistent but easy-going, encouraging rather than demanding. The goal is develop in your child the habit of wanting to read the Bible. Even if the child isn’t able to complete the entire reading program in a year (or two), if they follow the plan regularly they’ll have read large sections of Scripture and laid a solid foundation for future engagement with God’s Word.

52 Ideas for Inviting Someone to Church

When we try to point our friends and neighbors toward Jesus, sometimes we feel inadequate. But we don’t need to have all the answers. Sometimes the best thing we could do is invite someone to church. Here’s a great list of 52 ideas for inviting someone to church. Not all of them will apply to everyone, but I’m sure there’s something here that could be helpful.

As God puts people in your life, will you intentionally invite them? Jesus commands His followers to bring lost people to know Him. You have a unique circle of influence, and your personal invitation can influence them toward Jesus. Invite!

On the WPCA Blog This Week

Debbie Burtoft wrote for the blog this week: Rejoice at How God Builds His Church. If you haven’t read it already, check it out!


Note: Washington Presbyterian Church and the editors of this blog do not necessarily endorse all content produced by the individuals or groups referenced here. 

Links for the Weekend (1/11/2019)

Each Friday, I’ll post links to 3–5 resources from around the web you may want to check out.

Three Tips for Better Bible Reading

In a post at Desiring God from 2014, Andy Naselli gives three ways to read more of the Bible: audio Bibles, reading complete books of the Bible in one sitting, and reading without chapter or verse numbers.

Jesus as Our Offering

How does the sacrificial system of the Old Testament connect to the coming of Jesus in the New Testament? How does Jesus satisfy the requirement of an offering for sin? At the Core Christianity website, Adriel Sanchez writes about how Jesus is the perfect burnt, sin, and guilt offering.

Dear friends, we don’t come to God with any sacrificial offering for sin today, because Jesus has fulfilled the Old Covenant system of worship through his once-for-all sacrifice. His sacrifice cleanses you, satisfies the debt you owe, and gives you peace with God, allowing you to enter into the presence of the Holy One.

Caring for a Friend with a Troubled Past

Brad Hambrick tackles a difficult but important question at his blog: What does the process of redemption and restoration look like for a person scarred by a past that includes multiple sex partners and abortions? He carefully walks his readers through steps of listening, empathy, honoring the friend’s pace of growth, showing interest in the whole person, and showing compassion. If we want to invite people from outside the church to follow Jesus, these are crucial conversations and relationships to consider!

No one chapter of any person’s life defines his or her whole life. Shame often tempts us to define our entire lives by our most painful moments. One of the unique opportunities of friendship and pastoral ministry – that is different from formal counseling – is that the relationship does not have to be problem-focused. We help lift shame when we take interest in all of our friend’s life by celebrating the good, supporting the hard, and being interested in the mundane.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

I wrote a short how-to article for the website this week: The Best Ways to Follow this Blog.


Thanks to Phil A for his suggestion for this batch of links!


Note: Washington Presbyterian Church and the editors of this blog do not necessarily endorse all content produced by the individuals or groups referenced here. 

The Best Ways to Follow this Blog

If you’d like to keep up with this blog, there are a few ways to go about it.

You could check the website regularly. We publish a new article (roughly) every other Wednesday and a links post every Friday. If you can remember to check the website, this might be a good option for you. Most people (including me) don’t have a memory quite this good.

You could also check the private Facebook group for our church. Patty Waltermyer has generously agreed to post links to new blog posts in this group, so if you are on Facebook and part of this group, you can get the content that way. However, as people are growing more anxious about the role of Facebook in our individual lives (and our national affairs), you may not want to rely on Facebook for blog updates.

This leaves two dependable ways to keep up with this blog. (Incidentally, these methods are generally available for any blog you’d like to follow!)

Sign up for email updates. If you look at the bottom of this post or the bottom of the Blog page on our website, you’ll find a simple way to subscribe to this blog. Sign up, and when a new article publishes on the blog, you’ll get an email. Easy.

Subscribe to the RSS feed. This method is slightly more technical, but if you’d like to avoid one more thing in your email inbox, an RSS reader (Feedly is the one I use) is a good way to keep up with multiple blogs/websites at once. If you sign up for a free account, you can enter the RSS feed of this site (or any other blog) and then the reader will show you new articles when they are published. (The RSS feed for this site is http://washingtonpres.org/feed/, but if you ask Feedly to search for the feed using our church’s home page address (washingtonpres.org), it will find it.)

However you do it, thanks for following along!

Links for the Weekend (1/4/2019)

Each Friday, I’ll post links to 3–5 resources from around the web you may want to check out.

Make Habits, Not Resolutions

Since it’s prime New Year’s Resolutions season, I thought I’d share this helpful article at The Gospel Coalition. Justin Whitmel Earley writes about the difference between resolutions and habits and explains why habits are so powerful.

Unlike resolutions, we actually become our habits. There are no changed lives outside of changed habits. And if we want to actually change, we need to take a sober look at where our habits are leading us.

Longing to See God’s Face

Over at Desiring God, Jon Bloom writes about the song “When We See Your Face” by Bob and Jordan Kauflin. He breaks down the words to the song and how they point him to the great fulfillment of longing in heaven. You can listen to the song at the top of the article.

For my soul very much needs this song’s reminder, especially as another year passes and I am another year older, still fighting against the relentless darkness, still waiting, still desiring something that has never actually appeared in my experience. Not yet. It remains a desire for a promised appearing — an appearing I’m growing to increasingly love (2 Timothy 4:8).

What if Some Christians Are Hypocrites?

Randy Alcorn tackles a tough question: How should we respond to those who reject Jesus because some Christians are hypocrites? After acknowledging that some Christians are hypocrites, Alcorn suggests that we explain why this isn’t a good reason to reject Jesus.

However, note what Paul and Silas did not say to the jailer:  “Believe in us—since we’re so great—and you will be saved.” No, they said, “Believe in Jesus and you’ll be saved.” The Good News is not about how great you and I are (thank God for that). It’s about how great Jesus is and the wonderful things He’s done for us.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog Sarah Wisniewski wrote about Branding and the Reputation of Jesus Christ. Check it out!


Note: Washington Presbyterian Church and the editors of this blog do not necessarily endorse all content produced by the groups referenced here. 

Links for the Weekend (12/28/2018)

Each Friday, I’ll post links to 3–5 resources from around the web you may want to check out.

Family Devotions

Tim Challies has a great post containing ten ideas and then ten tips on family devotions. I thought everything was valuable, but here are the first two tips to give you an idea.

1. More important than how you do family devotions is that you do family devotions.
2. Keep family devotions simple, especially when starting out. Five engaging minutes are far better than 20 rambling ones.

Encouragement for the Weary

At the end of the calendar year, it’s easy to feel more worn out and tired than excited and energetic. Here’s a post by Colin Smith at Unlocking the Bible addressed to those who feel weary.

Here’s what you know about yourself: You are not God. You’re a created being with limits to your own strength and endurance. You will become weary. You will know what it is to feel spent and exhausted. Feeling worn out should not take you by surprise. Lean into the truth that you know. But that’s only half the answer. 

Bible Reading Plans

The beginning of the calendar year is a great time to reassess your Bible reading practices. There’s a great post at Ligonier which collects links to many helpful Bible reading plans. Maybe you’ll find something here that will be a good fit for you in 2019!


Note: Washington Presbyterian Church and the editors of this blog do not necessarily endorse all content produced by the groups referenced here.