Links for the Weekend (7/3/2020)

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

Christ Our Rock and Refuge

Christina Fox highlights some of the Psalms which refer to God as a rock. She writes about how helpful this image of God has been for her over the last several uneasy months.

Christ is the fulfillment of all God’s promises to be our rock and fortress. He is our true shelter and dwelling place. He is the answer to the psalmist’s cry for salvation and deliverance. He rescued us from sin and death. He united himself to us through faith in his life, death, and resurrection. He made us his own. He is our place of safety. Our refuge. Our strength. Our fortress.

Listen Quickly, Think Slowly

Craig Thompson applies the wisdom of James 1:19 to life in modern America, and he writes about some of the implications of being slow to think (not just slow to speak).

Slow thinking doesn’t fit well within the age of social media and immediate news. Slow thinking looks more like philosophy and conversation and less like soundbites and tweets. Slow thinking looks like books and newspapers, coffee shop conversations, and complicated intellectual wrestling matches. Slow thinking takes hard topics and resists the temptation to boil them down to their least common denominator and instead wrestles with the hard and complicated truths.

How Can I Be Free from Materialism?

Here’s an eight-minute episode of the Ask Pastor John podcast in which John Piper talks about materialism from Hebrews 10:34.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called The Surprising Transformation of the Disciples of Jesus. 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 (6/26/2020)

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

It’s the End of the World as We Know It

Keith Mathison reflects on what the behavior of Christians during crises communicates to the unbelieving world. Will we wring our hands in panic, or will we trust the Lord, who controls all things?

Christians need to be encouraged by what God has revealed to us in Scripture, and that is the fact that the enemy simply cannot win and will not win – even if he kills us. Re-read Revelation 20–22 if necessary. The enemy is already on death row. His judgment is sure. Whatever happens here and now, however difficult it may be to experience, is part of God’s sovereign plan that ultimately ends with the final judgment of the enemy and our inheritance of a new heavens and new earth where we will be face to face with the Lord Jesus Christ forever.

Let’s Talk: Battling Discontentment

The Gospel Coalition has launched a limited-run podcast for women featuring discussions between Jasmine Holmes, Melissa Kruger, and Jackie Hill Perry. Check out this episode on contentment.

Be an Intentional Encourager

This is a helpful meditation on Hebrews 10:24 by Cindy Matson. She views the verse in the context of the book, and gives attention to each of the author’s commands. I commend this teaching on encouragement.

However, in another sense, I am responsible, particularly for the brothers and sisters in my local church. I am accountable to them. I am obligated to intentionally find ways to give them reasons to love God, their neighbor, and their enemy; and to do good deeds. The writer of Hebrews tells us that this doesn’t happen by accident. If I don’t carefully consider how I’m going to do it (and of course then do it), I’ll never get around to it. Rarely, do we accidentally stumble into godliness.


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. 

Links for the Weekend (6/19/2020)

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

Of Oceans, Thimbles, and Talking to Your Kids about Death

When death is in the news—at it is during the time of a global pandemic—it may be a good opportunity to talk to our children and grandchildren about death. This takes care, of course, but Alasdair Groves shares a truth he learned from his mother that will help. He also passes along very practical advice about talking to children about death.

So especially if you’ve never talked about death with your kids before, I’d encourage you to find a time soon to ask them what they are thinking about the coronavirus, death, and what scares them about it. Few things are more comforting to a child than knowing that it’s ok to talk about their fears. (It’s ok to share your own fears, too.) Even if you’ve talked to them about death before, it’s still a great time to look for, or even create, chances to have open conversations about the biggest problem any of us will ever face and the Good and Gentle Shepherd who laid down his life to rescue his sheep.

White Flags in Peru: How the Church Is Caring for Coronavirus Victims

I hope you’ll be as encouraged as I was reading this article. I love to hear about God’s miraculous provision and his church’s loving care of people in need. This article describes how a church in northern Peru is helping its community handle both food and medical emergencies related to the coronavirus.

The operating conviction for ongoing action in our homes and community is not only that God is a good and faithful Father who provides, but also that prayer is the power that moves his heart and hand. In our home we began daily prayer meetings to seek God’s favor and provision for our family, church, and community. It was not long before generous donations began coming from unexpected people and places. In a time when we should have been struggling and paralyzed, we moved forward in boldness with the ability to provide for and encourage more than 400 families with over 600 bags of food.

The power of reading…slowly

Tony Payne shares how the shutdown of COVID-19 has forced him to slow down in some important ways. In particular, he writes about how using a different (and older) translation of the Bible has helped him to notice details that escaped him in the past.

There is no question that the NIV is easier to read, just as white rice is quicker and easier to cook and goes down more smoothly than brown. And just as there is a time for white rice, so there is a time for simpler modern translations (such as reading aloud in church). But chewing over the RV has enabled me to metabolize the riches of God’s word more slowly and appreciatively.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called The Right-Now Blessings of the Kingdom of God. 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 (6/12/2020)

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

George Floyd and Me

Hip-hop artist and author Shai Linne has written a moving reflection on the death of George Floyd. This horrific incident, and the subsequent and ongoing protests demanding equal treatment and justice for Black Americans, have caused many Christians to think about racism in this country. Learning from and listening to an article like this is a great place to start.

But one of the painful things I’ve discovered over the last eight years or so since Trayvon Martin’s killing is that it’s possible to agree on those things and yet be in a completely different place when it comes to the issue of racial injustice. Just because I’ve made an intentional decision to focus on that which is “of first importance” (1 Cor. 15:3) doesn’t mean there aren’t other important things that need to be addressed in the church. It also doesn’t mean that being a Christian has exempted me from the reality of being a black man in America and all the stigma that comes with it.

Say Something

After listening to the concerns and experiences of our Black neighbors, what should we do next? We feel an urgency to act, but how? Ed Welch offers four brief places to begin.

We are left with a question: What can we do? Indeed, we are called to “maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed” (Ps 82:3). But what does that mean for those of us who rarely see such oppression with our own eyes, and live at a distance from it?

On the News

Because of all that is going on in the country, many of us are consuming more news and information than ever. Is this wise? Andy Crouch explains why, in times of crisis, we need less news, not more.

I am not saying that it is wrong to be informed about what is happening in the world beyond our immediate view, which is what the news can provide. I am saying that we can be informed, in all the ways we need to be, in much less time and with much less damage to our souls than happens when we spend hours a day during a crisis compulsively reloading web pages in search of more “news.”

Understanding & Lamenting Racial Injustice: CAPC Staff Recommendations

It’s not hard to find reading recommendations on the internet. (You’re reading one right now!) But if you are feeling the grief of injustice deep in your soul and you’d like to see/hear/read more about it, here is a list compiled by the staff of Christ and Pop Culture. You’ll find books, videos, songs, and movies recommended there to help you “listen, lament, and contribute to a new story.”


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 (6/5/2020)

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

God Never Forgets His Promises

At Ligonier’s website, Derek Thomas reflects on Joseph’s life and what it teaches us about God’s providence. Though we often want to read the events around us and make meaning for ourselves as individuals, Thomas tells us we should keep God’s promises in mind.

Providence has wider issues in mind than merely our personal comfort or gain. In answer to the oft-cited question in times of difficulty, “Why me?” the forthcoming answer is always, “Them!” He allows us to suffer so that others may be blessed. Joseph suffered in order that his undeserving brothers might receive blessing. In their case, this meant being kept alive during a time of famine and having the covenant promises of their father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, reaffirmed before their eyes.

What Makes Any Marriage Difficult

Let me say this first: this is not a great title for this article. With that out of the way, I think this could be a really helpful article for married couples! Darren Carlson provides three questions that he and his wife worked through to strengthen their marriage.

Those who know me best know some of these weaknesses; my wife knows them all. Living with someone leads to the unavoidable exposure of one’s shortcomings. Pride tells us we are good at everything, that we are not the issue, that it’s really our spouse who has all the weaknesses. Be careful: God stands against people like this (Proverbs 16:5; James 4:6). Love is not proud (1 Corinthians 13:4).

5 Contemporary Poets Christians Should Read

I would wager that most of us don’t read much poetry. But poetry can put into words some reactions, moods, and emotions that prose just cannot. English professor Mischa Willett points us toward five of his favorite contemporary Christian poets. Troubled times may issue an especially pointed cry for poetry.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article written by Sarah Wisniewski called When the House of God Doesn’t Feel Like Home. 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 (5/29/2020)

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

There is No Faith So Little That It Is Not Saving

Here’s a nice meditation on the life of John the Baptist. Jared Wilson observes the weak faith of John’s father, Zechariah, as well as some doubt from John. But faltering faith was no match for God’s grace!

Your little strength is no hindrance for God. In fact, our weakness is God’s primary means of demonstrating his power, power that will be revealed gloriously even when our strength gives out totally and we die. For when we die, we will know only his power, which in the end will raise us up.

What Is God Up To?: The Temptation to Overinterpret Suffering

Ed Welch writes about a common response to suffering—we want to know what it all means. But many times this is not our business to know.

When we feel as though we are in the dark and need more interpretive knowledge, we look to Jesus, meditate on his sacrificial love, and speak of this to others as we also learn from them. Doing this won’t answer our immediate questions about what is happening in the world, but it helps answer an even bigger question: How can I know and trust in the One who created all things and established their course?

Still Growing

Melissa Edgington writes a lovely reflection on the way God has used her marriage for her growth. She shares how she and her husband have grown for each other, toward each other, and because of each other.

Our marriage has been the single most influential factor in our growth as human beings and as Christians in the past two decades, and I think that is how God designed marriage to operate. We should be doing more than growing old together or even growing up together. We should be growing as Christ followers, and as those who understand what it means to lay down your life for someone. Ideally, our marriages should make us more like Jesus, but growth, like most things that matter, takes time. In 21 years we have changed a lot. Not all of those changes have been easy or welcomed or good. The changes that have made us more Christ-like have been the hardest of all to endure, yet those are the changes that have made us love each other more with each passing year.


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 (5/22/2020)

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

When My Idol in Motherhood Is Me

I’m guessing that every parent has had to grapple with anger at their children. Aurlyn Wygle took the time to think about the cause of her anger, and she came to a startling fact: her biggest problem as a mother was not the sin in her sons, it was the sin in her.

The more that I lay this idol at the feet of Jesus, the more He gives me eyes to see my sons the same way He sees me—with compassion, and like sheep without a shepherd. I certainly still have frequent moments of anger. But now I know that the anger is pointing to a deep-rooted sin inside of me, not them. The Lord is working to expose this in order that I might lovingly and graciously engage my children, raise them in righteousness and enjoy them.

Life on Life Discipleship

Podcast host Karen Hodge and guest Cheryl Mullis talk about life-on-life discipleship within the church. What sort of transformation could a culture like this create? This podcast is a resource produced by the PCA’s Committee on Discipleship Ministries (CDM).

Flattery is not Encouragement

We are commanded to encourage each other but forbidden from flattery. The problem is, they can sound very similar! How can we tell the difference, both in ourselves and in others?

It’s difficult to distinguish between the two because it’s often a matter of motive. Flattery is defined in Webster’s dictionary as “praise excessively especially from motives of self-interest.” Sometimes flattery is detectable because it is “excessive,” but other times it’s simply the motive of the speaker that differentiates it from encouragement.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called Learning to Lament. 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. 

Links for the Weekend (5/15/2020)

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

Quarantine Exposes Our Need for Grace

Joshua Zeichik relates some of the frustrations he’s encountered when working from home during the pandemic and some of the sinful ways he has responded. He turns to James 4 to show us how to take inventory of our hearts when we get angry.

The tendency in all of us, when we feel the pressure of not getting what we want, is to get frustrated with those around us. But when we see that kind of response come out of our hearts, we should realize that God is being gracious with us to reveal an area to grow in.

A Six-Part Teaching Series on Parenting

In 2011 Jen and Jeff Wilkin taught a six-part parenting class at their home church in Texas (The Village Church). The sessions are filled with humor and biblical instruction on how to be intentional with the gospel. Parents of children of all ages will find encouragement in these lessons.

Critique Gently, Encourage Fiercely

Scott Sauls writes about loneliness and how we can find family by belonging to a local church.

How do we experience loneliness-slaying love in the midst of imperfect, messy community? It has been said, “Be kind because everyone you meet is fighting a hard, hidden battle.” As we limp toward transparency and community and friendship with our own fears and insecurities, we recognize that we aren’t alone. We are all much afraid. We all feel more insecure than confident, more weak than strong, more unlovable than lovely, more irredeemable than redeemed. When we see that we are not alone, we can reach out to one another. Don’t underestimate the power of words.  While shaming words can take courage out of a soul, encouraging and affirming words can put courage back in.

Thanks to Maggie A and Phil A for their 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 (5/8/2020)

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

Come to Me All Who Have COVID Weariness, and I Will Give You Rest

Benjamin Vrbicek writes an excellent reminder for us: Jesus will give us rest. He applies this reminder for us in the time of the coronavirus.

The encompassing word all grabs my attention. Not some, not a few, not even many, but Jesus invites all who are heavy laden. All who feel hitched to a too powerful pickup, all who feel yoked to the servitude of sin, all who stagger under the weight of weariness, all who have rope burns across their necks and sun-scorched shoulders and arthritic aching knees from plowing, plowing, plowing. All may come to Jesus for rest.

Preparing Our Hearts Today for Post-Pandemic Fellowship

At the CCEF web site, Alasdair Groves encourages us to think about how our current use of technology may affect our future interactions. He reminds us both that distance is not an impossible barrier to fellowship, but also that proximity does not guarantee love.

The question to us then is simple: Will a season of enforced remote work and online fellowship lead us to become people who spiral down into disconnection and increasing self-focus or will it spur us to long to be with others in every way we can and do much more than small talk however we connect? Will we use text and video now to foster fellowship we might otherwise have ignored or been too busy to invest in? Will we, in short, follow Paul’s example of loving others in such a way that we grab any chance we have to know their hearts, encourage them in Christ, and receive their encouragement in return? If we do, our relationships now will deepen despite COVID 19, and the prospect of a post-pandemic world—which will likely rely all the more heavily on technology—will be less threatening.

What’s in Your Soul That the Gospel Needs to Run a Sword Through?

Here’s a short, refreshing meditation on expectations and fulfillment from Jared Wilson.

Christ’s work, then, frustrates the Gentiles’ search for glory apart from the God of Israel and unravels the Jews’ search for glory apart from the inclusion of the Gentiles. Christ has not come to overthrow physical kingdoms—at least, not yet—but to overthrow spiritual ones, the toughest ones to overthrow. Simeon promises “a sword through the soul” (v.35).

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called Naomi and the Names We Call Ourselves. 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 (5/1/2020)

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

The Subversive Habit of Boastful Prayer

Trevin Wax has written before about subversive habits, by which he means habits which help keep the story of the Bible as the central story governing our lives. In this article he talks about the sort of prayer that boasts in the Lord and not in ourselves.

Boasting takes it up a notch, and in prayer it becomes subversive precisely because our natural inclination is to turn our praise toward ourselves, to speak highly of our treasures, our strengths, and our accomplishments. When we turn our focus away from ourselves and we look for reasons to boast in God, we push aside what is lesser and we grow in our love for the God we now adore specifically.

Zoomed Out: Freedom from Consuming All the Resources During Quarantine

R.D. McClenagan is exhausted by all of the content available for him to consume during the Coronavirus lockdown. He writes to remind us that the measure of how you’re doing as a Christian is not how much you are consuming or producing, but the quality of the life of your soul.

I want to give you the freedom to seek Christ and his kingdom first in this time—the freedom to be Mary in an online Martha world (Luke 10:38-42). There are many tasks to accomplish and there are many resources out there to accomplish them, but the most important task is to set your heart unto the Lord in this time. You don’t have to make your life group the most dynamic it has ever been, or figure out how to live generously like never before by the time stay-at-home orders are fully lifted, or feel the pressure to continue to project a greater spirituality to online masses than you actually have in your soul.

The Case for Donating Your Stimulus Check

Many people have seen or will soon see some money from the federal government make its way into their bank account. How should we use this money as faithful citizens of the kingdom of God? David Ingold suggests that for some people, a faithful response might be to give some or all of the money away. Whether or not you agree with his conclusion, the questions he asks (as well as the resources he provides) in this article are valuable.

The Kingdom of God is like the Shepherd who goes out into the wilderness to find the one lost sheep. It’s when prisoners go free, and the lame walk. It’s the age of Jesus, our crucified King who left his glory and riches behind to be born of a poor, virgin girl, a girl who sang out: “He has brought down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.” It’s the widow who gives her last dollar into the offering.

Was Moses Really the Author of the Pentateuch?

There is both internal and external evidence in the Bible for Moses writing the first five books of the Old Testament. Here is a short video (just 3.5 minutes) from William Wood of Reformed Theological Seminary laying out the arguments.


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