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. 

Links for the Weekend (8/7/2020)

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

Make Your School Decision. Then Trust God.

Glenna Marshall writes about a decision many parents are facing these days: What should we do about school for our children this fall? Some advice from a friend changed the way she was approaching the decision.

While walking through my neighborhood, I chatted on the phone with another mom who was also grappling with her decision. As I voiced my fears of getting it wrong this school year, my friend offered some sage advice. “God isn’t waiting to see if you make the wrong decision,” she told me. “He’s waiting for you to trust him with the decision you make.”

A Surprising Command for Suffering Saints

Michael Abraham reflects on James’s command to count trials as joy by directing our eyes toward Jesus.

Many of us, however, find great joy when our trials are over. James reminds us to find joy in our trials. Life is full of occasions for joy. Engagements are occasions for joy. Weddings are occasions for joy. Births are occasions for joy. You know this. But is sickness an occasion for joy? Are strained relationships occasions for joy? What about loneliness or loss? What about poverty and persecution? All trials are opportunities for joy.

Faithfulness in Forgotten Places

Scott Hubbard writes about “forgotten places”—those parts of our lives where are efforts are not noticed. He calls our attention to God’s providence and presence in the midst of these callings, as well as the reward in the future for faithfulness.

God sometimes does call us to do exceptional things for him: to adopt children, to launch ministries, to plant churches, to move overseas. But the point still holds, because none of us will do anything exceptional unless we have first learned, through ten thousand steps of faithfulness, to be exceptional in the ordinary.


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 (7/31/2020)

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

You Will Regret Giving In

We who belong to God often do not take sin seriously enough, and we therefore don’t fight against temptation with all our might. Garrett Kell provides four strategies to combat temptation.

God rarely touches our lives in such a way that we stop loving some long-ingrained sin immediately. But as we fight sin and pursue him, he changes our affections. We begin to love what he loves, and hate what he hates. Our confidence in willpower fades, and our hope focuses on Jesus, who was tempted and yet resisted in all the ways we have not (Hebrews 4:15).

The Mission Field I Never Expected

Rachel Wilson had grand visions of working for the poor or oppressed or enslaved around the world. She didn’t know God would have a far different calling in mind for her as the mother of two children with special needs.

For those of us who are mothers (and fathers), God wants us to esteem the field he’s given us. It’s not a tiring distraction from the true mission field we should be tilling; these are our people, for us to reach and for us to be trained and transformed as we do. Not only that, but in our giving, as we willingly lay down our lives, he smiles on us, because as Christ explained, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matt. 25:40, NIV). All the sacrifices, the diaper changing, the feeding, the dealing with meltdowns—they cannot be worth it if they’re just for our children. But they’re not. Ultimately, they are a perfume poured out for him.

How to More Wisely Consume News

We have more news—and more options for consuming the news—than ever before. How should we as Christians exercise discernment in this area? Bryan Weynand writes about virtues of wise media consumption and then offers some practical steps.

Still, as much as the media landscape is a minefield of misinformation, manipulative clickbait, and partisan rants, good journalism remains. Finding it requires intentionality and discipline, yet it can guard us against a frenzy that undermines our ability to trust anything. To this end, I believe it’s helpful to assess media sources through a grid of biblical virtues.

J. I. Packer: A Personal Appreciation from Ray Ortlund

Influential writer and theologian J.I. Packer died on July 17. Pastor Ray Ortlund wrote about the lasting marks of Packer’s ministry.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article written by Erica Goehring called I Have Stored Up Your Word in My Heart. 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 (7/24/2020)

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

To the Friends Who Tell Me “No”

What makes someone a good friend? This is such an important question, especially in times when we’re not gathering with friends as much as usual. I’m happy to recommend this great description of a close friend—not someone who is always affirming, but someone who is always loving. And love sometimes means saying “no.”

It is difficult to correct a friend. Although I am confident in my convictions, when it comes to those I care for deeply, I naturally desire to affirm. And yet, I know that if my friends did not have the courage to correct me, I would seriously doubt whether they actually loved me. Friends ought to want the best for each other, yet as fallen human beings we so often choose wrongly, think irrationally, and act selfishly. Without my friends, not only would I be lonely, but more than likely I would follow my sinful bent towards selfishness, arrogance, and misdirected affections. The friends who seek to save me from myself—even when I resent and resist it—are the friends I know to be true.

Millions of Kids Won’t Be at School This Fall. Christians Can Step Up to Serve.

With many children in the United States learning from home this year, and with many of the parents of those children needing to work, Heidi Carlson sees an opportunity. She suggests that by offering radical hospitality, Christians can show the sort of just-in-time love to their neighbors that can make a difference.

Those of us surrounded by supportive friends and community are able to rally, to figure out how to make it work. Creative rallying is what we do for people we know and love. But it’s not radical. This massive change in the school calendar is an opportunity for Christians to engage in a different type of radical hospitality.

When God Withholds Sleep

Stacy Reaoch writes about her longtime struggle with sleeplessness. She offers some Scripture to meditate on in the middle of the night, and she shares some of the lessons she’s learning.

In the meantime, God has a purpose in our sleeplessness. He can use our weakness to make us dependent on him, showing us his love and care with each passing minute of the day. He can use our weariness to push us to lean on him as the all-sufficient, all-wise, and all-powerful God, and to know that when we are weak with sleeplessness, then we are strong in him.

The Uighurs of China: A People in Peril

Greg Turner describes the persecution of the Uighurs by the Chinese government as “one of the worst human-rights crises in recent years.” Read this article to learn how you can pray.


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 (7/17/2020)

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

Sipping Poison Won’t Make You Wise (Take My Word for It!)

“Does experience with sin make you more wise or more foolish?” Because of the gripping power of turnaround testimonies, we might end up thinking wrongly here. Benjamin Merkle relates a story from his days in the Marine Corps to the temptations of our culture and reminds us where wisdom originates.

This type of temptation still pulls at each of us with an incredible power. We feel that tasting a forbidden thing will bring us greater wisdom and make us more impressive. In fact, think of how easily we can feel embarrassed by all the sins we haven’t committed! We can actually become ashamed of our own innocence. Who wants to be naïve and inexperienced? How many Christian kids are embarrassed by their virginity, even though they’re convinced they’re right in preserving it until marriage?

Respectable Sins of the Reformed World

Tim Challies writes about “respectable sins,” those which might be accepted by Christians even though the Bible forbids them. He writes about those sins to which we are particularly tempted online.

Impugning. To impugn is to dispute the truth, validity, or honesty of another person’s motives. And closely connected to disputing another person’s motives is suggesting that you know the truth behind them. There is so much of this in the Christian world today, and it generates so little disapproval, that it must be classified as respectable. Yet a little biblically-guided introspection should tell us that we often don’t even know our own motives, and if we do not know our own, how could we possibly know anyone else’s?

Prayer Will Win the Nations

If you’ve ever wondered how to pray for missionaries around the world, here is an article giving some concrete suggestions.

In fact, we must. Prayer isn’t just a passing gesture or a frivolous holiday present. Prayer is supplying missionaries with essentials for their survival. Prayer is partnership in their work, vital to its Spirit-filled efficacy and the rescue of sinners. At the risk of sounding clichéd, prayer is a matter of life and death. Our intercession protects them from harm (2 Corinthians 1:11) and provides for the gospel’s advance (Romans 15:30–32).

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called Learning from the Humiliation 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 (7/10/2020)

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

4 Ways Not to Be a Jerk Online

Unfortunately, not many people (even Christians) focus on God’s command to “honor everyone” when they interact with others online. Matt Smethurst gives us guidance for loving God and our online neighbors.

Crafted in God’s image, every person possesses infinite dignity and worth—and should be treated as such. This can be easy to forget when scrolling through a comment section or staring at a little headshot. But pixels can never shrink personhood. Our online interactions must reflect this fact.

Unity Rather Than Uniformity

Here is a good word from Christine Hoover. She writes about her reaction to a friend with whom she disagreed regarding an issue of secondary importance. Her warning about the “drive toward uniformity in secondary issues” within a church is important.

If our convictions cause grief or cause another to stumble, which can easily happen when we campaign for our secondary choices to become primary, we aren’t walking in love or grace. In other words, our freedom isn’t the highest priority in the kingdom of God. We aren’t to put our convictions above love.

A Habit You Didn’t Know You Needed

At For The Church, Katie McCoy writes about the little-known (and even less-practiced) spiritual practice of silence.

In his book, The Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster shows how practicing silence and solitude is not just for Himalayan monks. In fact, our need for quiet goes even deeper than getting away from outside noise. Pursuing God with this kind of solitary silence always involves actively listening to God. “Simply to refrain from talking, without a heart listening to God, is not silence.” It’s an attitude of the heart, a lifestyle of “de-cluttering” the day so that we can hear God more clearly.


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 (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.