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 (8/14/2020)

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 (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 (4/24/2020)

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

We’re Living a Pruned Life—Whether We Want to or Not

Lore Ferguson Wilbert writes about the limitations the coronavirus pandemic has forced upon all of us. And she wonders, helpfully, about what those limitations can teach us and how the change can ultimately be good for us.

This is what limitations do to us. They remind us of who we are at our core. They simultaneously reveal the spaces in our bodies, minds, hearts that we like to keep hidden, while at the same time revealing the spaces in our bodies, minds, and hearts that we didn’t know were hidden at all. I am revealed to be both worse than I thought and somehow better, too. I remember who I am without the trappings of fill in the blank.

Your Strength Will Fail

At Desiring God, Jon Bloom writes about afflictions and comfort—all the kinds of affliction we meet and the ways that God provides comfort.

Whatever it takes to help us experience this comfort, to help us set our real, ultimate hope on God, is worth it. It really is. I don’t say this lightly. I know some of the painful process of such transformation. I’ve received some of the unexpected answers of God to my prayers. But the comfort God brings infuses all temporal comforts with profound hope. And when all earthly comforts finally fail, it is the one comfort that will remain.

Are You Conveying the Loveliness of Christ to Your Kids?

On its blog, Crossway has published an excerpt from a new book by Dane Ortlund. I enjoyed reading about the attractiveness of Jesus’s love and how we can communicate that to the children in our lives.

With our own kids, if we are parents, what’s our job? That question could be answered with a hundred valid responses. But at the center, our job is to show our kids that even our best love is a shadow of a greater love. To put a sharper edge on it: to make the tender heart of Christ irresistible and unforgettable. Our goal is that our kids would leave the house at eighteen and be unable to live the rest of their lives believing that their sins and sufferings repel Christ.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called The Transforming Power of the Crucifixion. 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 (4/10/2020)

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

Do We Really Want to Go Back to Normal?

I love the thinking on display in Trevin Wax’s article. Why should we want to return to normal without questioning whether what was normal was actually good for us? After describing the “old normal,” Trevin asks some questions that we should all consider.

The question we should ask, then, is not when will we get back to normal but should we want to go back to normal? And the follow-up question: What should the new normal be?

What if this crisis is a divine disruption that allows us to rethink ourselves, to rethink our lives, to reconsider our habits?

What if this crisis is a divine opportunity to reflect on what matters most and to order our lives accordingly?

What if we now have the opportunity to make different decisions—to prayerfully discern how to create and cultivate a new and better normal on the other side of this crisis?

The Lord’s Prayer in a Crisis

The Lord’s Prayer is always relevant, and Jared Wilson does a masterful job explaining its relevance in times of crisis.

And yet no pre-written prayer has to be vainly repetitious if you really do mean what you’re praying, if you really are seeking to bring your desires in alignment with heaven’s. And that’s really what the Lord’s Prayer is about. Further, if you wanted to apply what the Lord’s Prayer teaches to our present moment of crisis — or any moment of crisis, for that matter — you may find it a profoundly helpful and even powerful pledge of submission to God in the midst of painful, uncertain times.

Free book: Coronavirus and Christ

Desiring God and Crossway have partnered to bring an important book to publication with astonishing speed: Coronavirus and Christ, by John Piper. You can find the book free in digital and audio formats here.

In Coronavirus and Christ, John Piper invites readers around the world to stand on the solid Rock, who is Jesus Christ, in whom our souls can be sustained by the sovereign God who ordains, governs, and reigns over all things to accomplish his wise and good purposes for those who trust in him. Piper offers six biblical answers to the question, What is God doing through the coronavirus?—reminding us that God is at work in this moment in history.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article by Sarah Wisniewski called Prayer in the Newborn Days. 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 (3/20/2020)

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

Generosity in a Time of Hoarding

When we are fearful, we tend to take steps to protect and care for ourselves and those close to us. Trevin Wax writes about what love for others—specifically love for others in the church—could look like in a time like this.

In a time of tumult and uncertainty, as the COVID-19 pandemic affects not only our physical welfare but also our economy and our social interactions, our tendency is to turn inward, to the safety and wellbeing of those closest to us. We tend to our families.

Prudence and wisdom lead us to stock up on supplies, but fear and selfishness lead us to hoard the goods our neighbor may need.

As Christians, we should be known for giving, not hoarding. How can we display the generosity of Christ during a season of uncertainty?

Podcast: The World and Everything in It

In Pastor Don’s email this past Monday, he recommended a podcast from World Magazine called The World and Everything in It. Here’s what he said about it.

It’s like NPR from a Christian perspective. It’s a Monday through Friday podcast lasting a bit over a half hour. It gives you the news and also perspectives on daily and cultural happenings. Though it’s not a PCA-sponsored organization, there are many PCA people who are part of it, and it is a work consistent with our church’s theological viewpoints.

If you’re not familiar with podcasts, there are even detailed instructions on how to proceed. (And here is a link to the specific segment Pastor Don mentioned.)

Free Stuff!

With schools and many businesses closing down and lots of people working from home or at least staying at home more often, a few Christian companies have stepped up to provide some interesting free resources.

  • Crossway is offering the book The Final Days of Jesus as a free ebook, no strings attached.
  • Christianaudio gives away a free book each month. This month the free book is Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Life Together. It’s a short book, but many people have found it a profound work on Christian community. (Bonhoeffer was a German pastor during World War II and was killed by the Nazis in his efforts to resist their regime.) You will have to create a free account in order to download this audio book.
  • Crossway has collected a bunch of other free resources and deals here. These resources include: three free ebooks, articles, podcast interviews, Bible reading plans, and devotionals.

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 (1/31/2020)

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

Lies That Keep Women from the Word

Here is a very helpful (and convicting) article at Desiring God about the reasons why we don’t read the Bible. Despite the title, there is very little in this article that is only for women.

Why, then, does the very fundamental practice of reading the word of God fall so badly by the wayside for many Christians? Because when it comes down to it, we don’t think it actually matters. If we did, this practice would not be the monumental struggle it is for so many women — women who are drinking coffee, wearing clothing, organizing offices, feeding themselves and others, coordinating all manner of activities, throwing birthday parties, and thinking ahead on Christmas. In short, women who have the time and intelligence to do the things that they prioritize and believe matter. 

Fasting Isn’t for the Spiritually Elite. It’s for the Hurting.

This article includes answers to the when, why, and what questions surrounding fasting.

So we fast because of our sin and the toll it takes on others. We fast because as long as we’re breathing, our sanctification is not yet complete. We fast because natural disasters ravage the world. We fast because people die of starvation and thirst, lacking the necessities of life. We fast when cancer tears through our bodies or those of our loved ones. We fast because the entire cosmos is groaning for redemption. We fast because Christ has not yet completed the work he began in a manger.  

Your Kids Need You to Talk to Them

Children, like every one of us, mature through conversations with the people around them. In this Crossway article, William P. Smith reminds us of the value of conversation in our lives and encourages parents to make this a priority with their children.

By God’s intent, we enter life knowing nothing, then are slowly brought to understand our world and our place within it through the very ordinary medium of people talking to us. With their help, over time, we mature into contributing, responsible members of society who in turn can support and nurture others. Oddly enough God entrusts our development to people who once were more ignorant than they are now, which in my son’s case means me for the foreseeable future.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article written by Sarah Wisniewski called Who Should Read Proverbs 31. 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 (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 (11/1/2019)

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

When Joy Feels Far Away

Over at Desiring God, Scott Hubbard uses Psalm 40 to discuss those times when darkness settles in. He gives solid, helpful encouragement from King David’s experience.

David’s confidence in the coming joy does not mean his darkness was not so deep after all; it means that joy, for those in Christ, is always deeper and surer than the darkness — everlastingly deeper, infinitely surer. You may not feel the truth of it right now. But can you, in hope against hope, imagine yourself singing again, laughing again, telling everyone who will listen, “Great is the Lord!”?

The Cross Is Our Stairway to Heaven

Jen Wilkin writes about the common evangelistic tool known as “the bridge.” She observes some small flaws in the basics of the drawing and explains why it is important that God came down (not across).

But Christ is not merely the stairway, he is also the perfect mediator, superior to angels in his descending and ascending. “To which of the angels did God ever say, ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet?’” (Heb. 1:13). In the incarnation Christ descended to Earth. The sinless Son condescended to take on human flesh. And having suffered, died, and raised from the dead, he ascended to the right hand of the Father.

Five Questions about Faith and Works

The doctrine of justification by faith is at the heart of the Reformation, and Kevin DeYoung has a good discussion about some of the important facets of the related debate. The article draws on the work of Francis Turretin for helpful answers.

In short, while our good works are often praiseworthy in Scripture—pleasing to God and truly good—they do not win for us our heavenly reward. There is a true and necessary connection between good works and final glorification, but the connection is not one of merit.

5 Myths about the Reformation

Here’s a brief discussion of five myths that persist about the Protestant Reformation.


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.