Links for the Weekend (10/23/2020)

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

Policies, Persons, and Paths to Ruin

I’m not sure whether or not you’re aware, but there’s a presidential election in a couple of weeks. (It’s got some people talking, it does.) John Piper wrote a thoughtful, forceful article about the two leading presidential candidates. Our votes are always worth thought and prayer, and this article may offer your soul food as you deliberate.

In fact, I think it is a drastic mistake to think that the deadly influences of a leader come only through his policies and not also through his person.

This is true not only because flagrant boastfulness, vulgarity, immorality, and factiousness are self-incriminating, but also because they are nation-corrupting. They move out from centers of influence to infect whole cultures. The last five years bear vivid witness to this infection at almost every level of society.

Intellectual Disabilities and The Church

Allyson Todd writes about churches and people with intellectual disabilities. She challenges us to not only make sure we welcome these brothers and sisters, but to integrate them into the life of our congregations.

Personhood is the foundation of integration. As with any minority group, social class, or gender, the imago Dei must be the starting point. There is no us vs. them in the kingdom of God. The church falls under the unifying banner of Jesus Christ. Each member bears his or her individual strengths and weaknesses, but their value is found first in the life breathed into them by God. With that as the foundation, a church body can then plan to care for people with intellectual disabilities while also asking how every member of the church can contribute. 

Men, Be the Chief Repenters in Your Homes

Here’s a good, strong word to the men out there. Dave Jenkins shares some writing of Thomas Watson on repentance and applies it to family life.

He who would lead his family must lead them in repentance. Christian men should not make excuses for their failures, but take responsibility. Remember that repentance is not a small work in the Christian life; it is the Christian life. Martin Luther said, “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, “Repent,” he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.” John Calvin taught, “Repentance is not merely the start of the Christian life; it is the Christian life.”

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called Me-Too Disease. If you haven’t already seen it, 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 (10/16/2020)

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

For the Heart that is Overwhelmed

With all that is going on in our country, are you feeling overwhelmed? Christina Fox has a good reminder for you.

The truth is God doesn’t call us to depend upon ourselves; he calls us to trust in him to provide what we need to live for him. He gives us just what we need for each day and promises to be there on the next to provide for us again. And he is not stingy with his grace, for as John wrote “he gives us grace upon grace” (John 1:16). God doesn’t tell us what tomorrow brings; rather, he calls us to follow after him, trusting he will lead and guide us.

The Absurdity of Pride

We may acknowledge that pride is at the root of many of our sins, but have we seen how ridiculous it is? Pride goes against every part of our created design, and yet sometimes we just cannot put it away.

As followers of Jesus, we have insight into how our pride is out of place and odd. Human beings are the crown of creation but it is because God made it so. From that high place, we take our cues from our King who gave up his rights, knowing that his place with the Father was secure. So we put on humility which, in contrast to pride, turns out to be wonderfully human—quite attractive and surprisingly powerful.

Christians, Diversity is Not a Bad Word

Like many good words, “diversity” can be twisted and used in a distorted way. But, Amy Medina cautions, let’s not get rid of something beautiful because some misuse it!

The question should be Why wouldn’t you want diversity? Living in an international community has indescribably enriched my life. Hearing the stories of those from diverse backgrounds has broadened my perspective, opened my eyes to new ways of looking at the world. These friends have given me more understanding, more compassion, more wisdom. They have challenged and stretched my faith, forcing me to cut away the chaff and focus my vision on the treasure that is Christ alone.


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 (10/9/2020)

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

Autumn and the Beauty of Death for the Christian

In this article, Tim Counts isn’t arguing that death is good or natural. There is, however, something special about death for a Christian. There is beauty in what awaits the Christian after death.

No, I am not talking about Christian death being beautiful because it is somehow less physically painful or less final on this side of eternity than non-Christian death. I am talking about Christian death being beautiful because the gospel gives us God’s perspective on even our final enemy, death.

Christian, be a Peacemaker

At a time when divisiveness is the norm in our country, this is a needed word. Blake Long writes how we can seek peace in our spheres of life.

Christian, be a peacemaker. Be the one to de-escalate when things are getting heated. Don’t stoke the fire with your sarcastic whit. Live at peace with all people and strive, by the Spirit’s power, to be like Jesus in every situation. 

Why Do I Need to Read the Bible When We Have Bible Teachers Online?

John Piper tackles this question on an episode of the Ask Pastor John podcast. He urges his questioner to read the Bible for himself, using Psalm 119 for much of his reasoning.

Perhaps at the bottom of the problem is that our friend has so completely intellectualized his faith that the only category in which he thinks, the only category that’s going to profit him, he thinks, is the category of verbal explanation. There are a lot of people who think about sermons that way. They just think, “I need to know; I need some more information, some more explanation,” rather than also the heartfelt exultation that a lover has in reading the very words of his beloved.

Justin Giboney’s Both/AND Politics

Here’s a profile of Justin Giboney, one of the cofounders of the AND Campaign. Since I’ve learned about this organization’s efforts to encourage Christians to think and act with “compassion & conviction” about politics, I’ve learned and grown a lot. This article explains the launch of the AND Campaign and Giboney’s role and aims with the organization.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called I Know God’s Will for You. If you haven’t already seen it, 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 (10/2/2020)

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

Confessions in Practice

Michael Reeves writes about the historic confessions of the Christian faith. What are the limits of these confessions, and how can we use them?

In sum, confessions draw us, body and soul, into obedience to God’s Word. Through confessions, we challenge our bent toward rejecting divine revelation. We are taught the gospel with ever-greater clarity. We join with the gospel and there find unity with others who have done the same. We defy and deny what our confessions oppose. We mold our lives, thoughts, ministries, and teaching to the unchanging standard of God’s Word. In the end, we stand with our confessions and proclaim that God has spoken.

Becoming an Old Soul Christian

Jared Wilson writes about one of the benefits of age: getting to know the Lord better and learning to rely on him more. This isn’t limited to the aged though: he calls this being an old soul Christian.

An old soul Christian is one who repents of idolizing innovation. An old soul Christian stops looking for the “silver bullet” for discipleship, church growth, personal spirituality. An old soul Christian drinks deeply from God’s word, because while the grass is withering and the flowers are fading, God’s word never changes. An old soul Christian spends more time in prayer than opining on social media, because he has the eager ear of the One whose estimation matters most.

Why ‘The Social Dilemma’ Matters

There’s a new documentary out, called The Social Dilemma, which explores the psychology and addictive nature of social media. Trevin Wax writes about the importance of this film and what we can learn from it.

One of the best parts of The Social Dilemma was its description of how social media has changed, for better and for worse, basic human interaction. The casual glance that leads to an introductory conversation and perhaps a discussion that might lead to a romantic relationship is now replaced with a “like” or comment on Instagram, and the guy and girl across the room, though in close physical proximity, are glued instead to their devices. The Social Dilemma shows how and why our human interaction is changed by our constant connectivity.


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 (9/25/2020)

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

Be Careful What You Put Your Hope in, Including Politics

Randy Alcorn writes about hope and politics, and he shares an extended quote from Paul Tripp. Good food for thought, especially over the next six weeks.

God is the sovereign King, and He alone is the hope of this nation and every other one. Even if America crumbles (which could happen under any presidential candidate, or be delayed to sometime in the future), God is the only hope of each person and each family. He has been that all along, but perhaps this time it will be just a little more obvious.

The Siblinghood of the Saints

Being part of God’s family means not only that we can call God “Father” but also that we call each other “brother” and “sister.” Allyson Todd has some wise words about how opposite-sex relationships should look different in the church than in the world.

Surely we all must act with wisdom according to conscience in our relationships with the opposite sex. We ought to have nuance and balance. If we avoid one another, we give in to fear and distrust. If we exploit one another, we give in to selfishness and abuse. If we love one another as Jesus loved us, we demonstrate the magnificent gift of the family of God, and by this, we declare the reason for our love: it is by God alone. 

When God Says No to Your Earnest Prayers

I don’t know about you, but I need good, solid reminders about unanswered prayer on a regular basis. Here is a helpful article from Garrett Kell.

Jesus wants us to know that our heavenly Father only gives us good things (Ps. 84:11). He never gives us snakes when we ask for fish, or stones when we ask for bread. He may not give us bread or fish, but he will never withhold good from us. As John Piper once said, “[God] gives us what we ask for, or something better (not necessarily easier), if we trust him.”

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called What Do We Want for Our Friends? If you haven’t already seen it, 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 (9/18/2020)

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

How Perfectionism Makes You a Spiritual Quitter

Ooh, this one’s good. If you’ve ever seen how perfectionism can get in the way of a healthy spiritual life, this article by Melissa Edgington is for you.

It has taken me 43 years to begin to learn that there is a happy, spiritually-nourishing medium between praying for an hour a day and not praying at all. Between reading five chapters in my Bible and not reading a single word. Spiritual disciplines don’t have to be feast or famine, and they shouldn’t be. I don’t have to perfectly execute a plan in order to be growing in Christ, learning from His word, communing with Him daily, learning more about who He is and who He wants me to be.

Recovering the Lost Art of Edification

Jared Wilson writes about the reasons so many people (including people within the church) are tearing each other down. He proposes ways that we can build each other up instead.

It’s not too late to repent. We don’t have keep following our flesh down the chaotic spiral of fear, anger, and confusion. We don’t have to keep tearing each other up. Sure, that may be good for views and clicks. And it’s easier than building up. But that’s how the world works. The spirit of the age is all about biting and devouring. But you and I are different. Aren’t we?

Where Is God When Your Dog Dies?

Anyone who has owned and loved a pet has been touched by that pet’s death. What does God think of our pets and our love for them? Robert Yarbrough helps us consider this issue by looking at the Bible.

To be sure, pets don’t matter to God as much as people do. Christ didn’t die so that four-legged creatures might repent and be saved. Humans, not animals, are the crown of God’s creation (see Ps. 8). And yet, because God created animals, he has regard for them. And because he cares for his people, what matters deeply to them matters deeply to God.


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 (9/11/2020)

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

3 Questions about Self-Care

Spend twenty minutes online these days and you’ll probably run into someone talking about self-care. It’s natural to wonder if this is a helpful category for Christians. Jen Oshman helps us think about self-care as Christians.

The best advice or wisdom I can offer when we are exhausted, burned out, disillusioned, or stressed beyond our own ability to cope is to turn to Jesus. This is no trite sentimentality. When we turn to Jesus, we acknowledge what is true; namely, that we were created through him and for him (Col. 1:16). God is our beginning and our end—he made us for himself. We cannot run on any other fuel. The early church father Augustine of Hippo was right when he said, “Our hearts are restless, until they can find rest in you” (Confessions).

What Happens When a Christian Dies?

It’s good to read solid, biblical teaching on a subject as important as death for a Christian. This article is adapted from a sermon by Colin Smith.

The Christian is a person with two houses. The contrast between them could hardly be greater. The first house for your soul is your body, which is like a tent – a fragile structure that will be destroyed. When this house is pulled down, you will move into your other house, which is heaven – an enduring building to live in forever. Heaven is the eternal home into which your soul will enter when its present house is destroyed. In the earthly tent there is groaning, but in the “house not made with hands” what is mortal is swallowed up by life (2 Cor. 5:4)!

What the World Needs Now

Scotty Smith writes about love by way of introducing us to Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.

Though I grew up going to church, I primarily thought of God’s love as the incredible goodness he shows us when we die—taking believers immediately to heaven. That most certainly is a grand generosity. Ephesians has helped me understand, however, that God isn’t just committed to getting us into heaven after we die; but also getting the life of heaven into us while we live. Through the gospel, our Father is committed to freeing us for a life of living and loving to his glory—in our families, the church, and his world.

If Not for Ben

Andrea Sanborn writes about her son Ben, who has special needs. While the world may think Ben has only brought her added grief and stress, she describes all she would have missed without Ben.

If not for Ben, I would have missed the miracle of watching his life change the hardened and the proud. I would have missed seeing the “bad boys” lay down their armor to treat him with special tenderness. I would have missed a thousand acts of kindness from children as well as adults. I would even have missed the uncanny understanding that animals show him.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called When God Promises His Presence. If you haven’t already seen it, check it out!


Thanks to Phil A for his help in rounding up links this week!

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 (8/28/2020)

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

The Answer to Loneliness?

Across all age groups, loneliness is a growing problem. Andrew Bunt looks briefly at medical attempts to fight the feelings of loneliness and then shows how a better answer is found in the gospel.

Because this is true, we can be open with others, allowing them to know us fully because we know that we all have unlovable parts and yet, in Jesus, we are more loved than we could ever imagine. We can be open, vulnerable, and honest because we know that our identity is not rooted in a fake version of ourselves that we might try to present to others and in their opinion of us, but is rooted in what God says of us: we are his children. This allows us to have relationships where we are fully known and yet fully loved.

Five Ways God’s Anger Is Not Like Ours

I appreciate articles like this which help us distinguish the ways in which God is and is not like us. Colin Smith writes about the anger of God and how it is different than human anger.

The words ‘anger’ and ‘wrath’ make us think about our own experience of these things. You may have suffered because of someone who is habitually angry. Human anger can often be unpredictable, petty, and disproportionate. These things are not true of the anger of God. God’s wrath is the just and measured response of His holiness towards evil.

Lessons In Becoming a Better Listener

Tim Challies offers some truths about good listening from a book by David Mathis.

But if we are honest, few of us are good listeners. It’s easy enough to hear others, but very difficult to truly listen to them. That may be particularly true and particularly important in the context of the local church where we are called to love one another, to care for one another, and to bear one another’s burdens. None of this is possible without good listening.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called When Ministry is Like Parenting. If you haven’t already seen it, 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 (8/21/2020)

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

Woe Is Me

Self-pity is “when we have a self-indulgent attitude toward our own hardships.” I suspect many of us are tempted to self-pity; Abigail Dodds gives us a good description of this sin, and she points us to the cure as well.

At root, the sin in self-pity is that we assess ourselves and our circumstances as though God is not our gracious Father. When we take God out of the picture, when his pity for us in the death and resurrection of his beloved Son with the continued help of his Spirit isn’t enough, we turn to ourselves for love and pity. When we believe there are gaps in God’s love — and we use our circumstances as proof — we tend to take action to fill in those gaps with self-love or self-pity.

Watch Your (Knowledge) Diet in the COVID-19 Crisis

How should Christians relate to media in a world with too much information and too little wisdom? Brett McCracken proposes a guide to help us with our media consumption—a guide he calls the Wisdom Pyramid. I found the visual representation helpful!

As our world today has made painfully clear, wisdom is not the result of simply having easier access to more information. It’s not about the amount of information we have, but its quality and reliability. Wisdom is less like a repository for knowledge than a filter for it, like a healthy kidney: retaining what is nutritious as it filters out the waste. A. W. Tozer compares wisdom to a vitamin: “It does not nourish a body in itself, but if not present, nothing will nourish the body.”

The First and Last Thing My Grandma Taught Me

Here’s a nice reflection from Amber Thiessen about what she learned from her grandmother. We could all probably learn a thing or two about how to look to grandparents and how to be grandparents from this article.

And through Grandma’s life, she adopted this practice consistently. Through my work at the hospital, I’ve been part of moments of life, and of death. There are many ways that families and patients cope with the passing of life, and Grandma’s beautiful anticipation of being with her Savior reminds me of the constant hope we have of our eternity, when we live our lives to love and follow Him.


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 (8/14/2020)

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

“Your will be done”: powerful not pathetic

Praying that God’s will be done can be a meaningless habit or a way to guard against disappointment. But Stephen Liggins shows how we follow Jesus’s example (and his heart) in praying this way.

And think about all the situations we encounter where we just don’t know what to pray. Relational dynamics can get so messy that, other than praying generally that all people would be saved and treat each other in a loving manner, it is hard to know exactly what to hope for. Thankfully, we can pour our hearts out about the situations—whether they be in the home, workplace or schoolyard—pray that God’s will would be done, and then rest in the confidence that he will do what is best.

But I’ve Never Been Discipled!

Christians are called to make disciples, but many have never been part of a good mentoring relationship. Quina Aragon encourages us to press ahead anyway. She writes about what discipleship is and how we can be a part of this whole-church project.

Discipleship often means just showing up. It means praying alongside someone in a meeting. It means discussing what you learned from the sermon. It means singing loudly enough to encourage the people around you—even if your voice isn’t choir-material. It means living the Christian life in a way that models Christ and inviting others to live it alongside you.

Podcast: Hymns and the Joy of Singing (Kristyn Getty)

The Crossway podcast recently featured Kristyn Getty, a popular hymn writer and singer. From the episode’s description:

In this episode, Kristyn Getty, featured in the ESV Psalms, Read by Kristyn Getty, discusses congregational singing, the power of music for teaching doctrine, and the foundational role of Scripture for the Christian life. She reflects on her career in the Christian music industry, explains why hymns still matter and are worth learning today, and shares how her family has been seeking to use music to serve others during this season of lockdown.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called Turn to Serve and Wait: Our Christian Calling. If you haven’t already seen it, check it out!


Thanks to Maggie A for her help in rounding up links this week.

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