Links for the Weekend (1/10/2020)

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

Why Bible Reading Can Be Such a Challenge

The Gospel Coalition is running an initiative to read through the Bible in 2020, and this article is a companion to the launch of that project. Don Carson writes about the challenges of reading Scripture and how this reading initiative can help.

The challenge has become increasingly severe in recent years, owing to several factors. All of us must confront the regular sins of laziness or lack of discipline, sins of the flesh, and of the pride of life. But there are additional pressures. The sheer pace of life affords us many excuses for sacrificing the important on the altar of the urgent. The constant sensory input from all sides is gently addictive—we become used to being entertained and diverted, and it is difficult to carve out the space and silence necessary for serious and thoughtful reading of Scripture.

A Good Funeral is a Blessing to the Soul

Often funerals are the occasion of great sadness and grief. But a good, Christ-soaked funeral can also bless and strengthen those who attend. This meditation on a funeral from Adam York is a great testimony of a great funeral.

So, then, what could possibly cause a funeral to be a blessing? Only the gospel. Death is a result of sin, yet God sent his Son to conquer death through his death, burial, and resurrection. Even as death is conquered it still happens in this mortal life until Jesus returns, yet death has been conquered to the point that God can use it to challenge us to live for and magnify his kingdom. God can use a funeral to challenge us to be more like Lula Mae as she was more like Jesus.

5 Ways to Pray for Your Pastor in 2020

Most of us probably know we should be praying for our pastors. But this article gives specific, practical ways to pray. Very helpful. (I promise that neither Pastor Don nor Pastor Phil put me up to this!)

With so much opposition and difficulty within and without, pastors constantly need the people of God to be praying for them. The shepherd needs the prayers of the sheep as much as they need his prayers. He also is one of Christ’s sheep and is susceptible to the same weaknesses.


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 (1/3/2020)

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

Seize the Morning

Many people are in a reflective and/or goal-setting mode at the beginning of the year. David Mathis helps us think about how we might make the most of our mornings. (I recognize that the morning may not be a good time for everyone, but many of these principles can apply to any time of day you’d like!)

The Bible never commands the modern “quiet time.” Nor does it specify that we must read our Bibles first thing in the morning. In fact, the concept of Christians having their own copy of the Scriptures for private reading is a fairly recent phenomenon in the history of the church. So, here at the outset of the year, we’re not talking mainly about an obligation but an opportunity.

For Christians, getting our souls within consistent earshot of God’s voice in his word is as basic as sleeping and eating and even breathing. Our fully human Savior himself said, quoting Deuteronomy 8:3, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). If Jesus needed his Father’s revealed words for daily human living, how much more his fallen brothers?

Is Your New Year’s Resolution Biblical?

I love the impulse behind this article. Just because it’s a new year and we want to turn over a new leaf doesn’t mean that’s a good leaf to turn over!

You may think your goal is to lose weight this year. But what’s the goal behind losing weight? Your motive may have to do with self-image, your health, or having the energy to go on an adventure you’ve always dreamed about.

Help! I Want to Read the Bible, but I Find It Boring

It’s hard to find a more honest title than this one! And, if we’re honest, I think many of us feel the same way. Katherine Forster has written some advice that you may find helpful. (This is written by a teenager but certainly not only for teenagers!)

If we’re honest, I think we’ve all been there. It took years before I learned to enjoy and love the word—and that was after I became a Christian. Here are a few things I learned as a young person struggling to find a love for the Scripture. Perhaps they’ll be helpful for you, too—especially if you’re also a teen!

Bible Reading Plans for 2020

I shared this link last year, but it’s worth sharing again. Ligonier Ministries has put together a great list of Bible reading plans for 2020. Check it out and see if anything resonates with you and your Bible reading goals for the 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 (11/22/2019)

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

When Your Plan for Killing Sin Isn’t Working

Have you ever been frustrated by the sin that still remains in you? The sin that you’ve battled against for years? Lara d’Entremont reminds us of the Holy Spirit’s work in our sanctification (growth as a Christian).

What makes the process of killing sin so frustrating is that we want to be finished with sin once and for all. We consider success to be when sin and temptation are no longer present. But as long as we abide on earth, we will face temptation, probably on a daily basis.

Parents, Don’t Fear the Teenage Years

When children are approaching their teenage years, parents are constantly told, “Just you wait!” There’s a certain glee mixed with mischief when most people throw this warning out to nervous parents. But Russell Moore tells parents not to be afraid.

Yes, the teenage years are a time of transition and sometimes tumult. Adolescents are seeking to figure out how to differentiate themselves from their parents in some ways, to figure out what belongs to them and what is merely part of their family inheritance. That’s normal, and it’s not a repudiation of you. Yes, awful things can happen. That’s true at any age, just in different ways.  

When You Don’t Desire God’s Word

Shar Walker has some good counsel for when the Bible “seems less like honey and more like prune juice.” She encourages us to give our time, our ear, and our heart.

There is a difference between knowledge that produces obedience, and knowledge that merely produces more knowledge. Many people know facts about God and his Word, yet fail to embody those truths. I had college professors who memorized more scriptures than I did, studied more biblical history than I did, and mastered Greek and Hebrew—yet they did not submit themselves to the words they read. True biblical knowledge works itself out in obedience.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article written by Cliff Lester called Rejoice Always. 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 (10/25/2019)

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

Christianity Is Not a Frowning Contest

Too many non-Christians view Christianity as a profoundly unhappy experience. Why would they ever want to sign up for that? Sadly, some of us who have the most joyful news tend to be dour and grumpy much of the time. Randy Alcorn writes about how happiness in Christ can be one of our greatest evangelistic tools.

Imagine if God’s people stood out in stores, workplaces, schools, and even on social media for all the right reasons. What if, while not apologizing for biblical truth, we let our “reasonableness be known to everyone” (Phil. 4:5) and, “as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved,” we clothed ourselves “with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience” (Col. 3:12)? People are attracted to Jesus when they see his attributes in others’ lives. When they observe them, they will notice and want to know the source of those qualities.

6 Ways to Help Your Kids Love Reading the Bible

There aren’t many habits we’d rather our children develop than reading the Bible regularly! Stephen Nichols gives us some ways to help children love this discipline.

Pick a book of the Bible and stay with it for a month—or even two. Read a chapter a day together one week. If it’s a small enough book, and you’re not taxing young attention spans too much, read through the whole book in a sitting. Or two. The next week, focus on some key verses. Memorize one of them. Read the book, reread the book, and read it again. Mastering biblical books one book at a time can become a lifelong delightful task.

How to Share God’s Love Through Hospitality

Here’s a short article at Core Christianity by William Boekestein offering suggestions for how to show hospitality at home and at church.

Hospitality isn’t merely a command. It is also one of the ways that God invites his children to flourish as we share his provisions in anticipation of the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19:9). “In biblical hospitality, the gospel of Christ becomes visual, concrete, and practical to the stranger”

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called How God Rebukes Us. 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 (4/19/2019)

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

You’re Dead, Start Acting Like It

Chris Thomas exhorts and encourages his readers from the book of Colossians. He tells us (as Paul does) that we’re both dead and alive. Check out the post at For The Church.

Paul’s concern, and what should be our concern as well, is that we’re not acting like dead people should — at least, we’re not acting like dead “Jesus-people” should. We’re still chasing the cheap candy that we thought would nourish our wasting flesh. We’re still enlisting in extra-curricular activities we thought would bolster our chances of winning the game. Paul says, “Quit dancing in the shadows while you disregard the substance.” Deep down we know it; this shadow-game is unfulfilling. The only way out of this shadow theatre is through death. The trouble is, though, we prize life so highly that we don’t want to embrace the grave. But that’s not the way of the gospel. There can be no victorious Sunday without the humiliation of Friday. There is no crown without the cross.

The Brave New World of Bible Reading

How are we influenced by the form our Bible reading takes? Whether we read a print Bible, use a Bible app, or listen to an audio Bible, A. Trevor Sutton argues that we need to slow down and reflect on the technology we’re using.

These affordances provide unique, practical benefits but also powerful, subtler influences. Having your Bible just one tap away from Facebook influences how you experience God’s Word; toggling between an envy-inducing newsfeed and the envy-indicting New Testament creates internal dissonance. Hyperlinking Scripture to the internet can affect your theological understandings, sending you on meandering rabbit trails that can complicate or distort a passage’s meaning. A sea of unfamiliar words on an austere page conveys a certain visual message.

Waiting Time Isn’t Wasted Time

As a people, we’re not great at waiting. But what effect does waiting have on a society? What effect might it have on the church? Ashley Hales has some helpful thoughts to share.

Impatience with waiting is nothing new. From the antsy Israelites who built a golden calf because they were tired of waiting for Moses to come down from the mountain, to the biblical cries of lament (“How long, O Lord?”) and calls for justice, to the early church’s and our own longing for the redemption of all things—we are a waiting people. Waiting ultimately reorients our stories: We are not the primary actor on a stage of our own making or choosing. Rather, God is the hero of the story. Will we be content to wait on his work? In these in-between times, what character will be formed in us as individuals and as a culture?


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 (2/15/2019)

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 (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. 

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.