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 (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 (5/8/2020)

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 (4/3/2020)

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

It Takes Theology to Lament

A lament is a biblical prayer that is sadly out of favor these days. But it is just the type of prayer we need when things are not right with us or in the world. Mark Vroegop writes about the theology that is needed in order to lament.

Most laments contain four elements: turn, complain, ask, and trust. Each is designed to move the weary-hearted saint toward a renewal of hope in God’s character, even when dark clouds linger. Turning to God in prayer is the first step. It refuses to allow a deadly prayerlessness to develop. Complaining lays out our hurts in blunt but humble terms. We tell God what is wrong and the depth of our struggles. Asking reclaims the promises of God’s word that seem distant, and it calls upon him to intervene. Finally, all laments end in trust. This is where biblical lament is designed to lead – a faith-filled renewal of what we know to be true.

COVID-19: Living by Probabilities or Providence?

If you’ve been paying a lot of attention to the coronavirus-related statistics in the news recently, this article might be for you. Mike Emlet encourages us to turn our gaze (and our trust) to the Lord.

Sit with these glorious realities for a minute. Read through them slowly. Let them soak into your soul. We don’t live by probabilities and chance. We live under the loving, wise, and sovereign rule of our Creator and Redeemer God. The result of that is true hope, which steers clear of both a naïve optimism or a resigned pessimism.

A Prayer for Working from Home

This is exactly what the title says. You may not think you need such a prayer, but if you’re not used to working from home, I suggest you take a look.


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 (3/13/2020)

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

Anxiety, Waiting and the Coronavirus

It’s hard to have any conversation these days without talking about the Coronavirus (COVID-19). As with everything in our lives, trusting God should make a visible difference in the way we approach this. This pandemic can stir up a lot of anxiety, so I thought it would be helpful to link to this article from Christian counselor Alasdair Groves.

It’s an easy parallel for us to make today, isn’t it? A virus is seeping across the world and has reached our shores, and we don’t know how treacherous it’s going to be. God is calling us to continue forward in love of neighbor and service to his kingdom, but all we can see are public surfaces potentially covered in germs and neighbors who may be walking vectors of disease. 

Where’s Your Treasure? Three Questions to Ask Yourself

If you’ve been around the Christian church much, you may be familiar with the language of idolatry. This doesn’t just refer to worshiping little figurines of wood or stone, but rather when we put anything other than God in the place of God. These are often good things! But discovering our idols can be difficult. Cindy Matson offers three short, helpful questions to ask yourself to uncover some of your idols.

The truth is we’re all completely obsessed with treasure. We’re actually wired that way. God designed us to be active worshipers, and treasure is simply shorthand for the object of our worship. Since our hearts are always actively worshiping something, they’re not neutral; nor do they accidentally stumble into worship. They choose it. And, as Captain Jack points out, treasure is far more than just material wealth. For this reason, the Sage of Proverbs warns, “Guard your heart with all diligence, for from it springs the issues of life” (Prov. 4:23) Likewise, Jesus warns that “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:21). The question I want you to think about today is, Where is your treasure? To answer, carefully ponder three questions and invite the Holy Spirit to examine your heart.  

Practicing What We Teach

Here’s an article which helps us think about loving our neighbors in practical ways. This article focuses on material poverty, but its principles are broader. There’s a great success story at the end; make sure you read the whole thing!

As we “put off” sin and “put on” righteousness, the church should be the place where this transformation is encouraged and supported by a community of God’s people. If you’re struggling with slander or lust, you don’t just need to be told not to do those things. You need to be surrounded by a community that helps you reimagine what life will look like if you no longer practice those things.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article by Sarah Wisniewski called Book Review: Labor with Hope: Gospel Meditations on Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood. 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.