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 (2/28/2020)

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

Christians Grieve the Death of Believing Loved Ones, But We Don’t Grieve Without Hope

Given the multiple deaths in and surrounding our church family recently, I thought this was a good article from Randy Alcorn to share. He meditates on what it means to grieve with hope.

Therefore, though we have genuine sorrow when Christian friends and relatives die, we also can say with Scripture, “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? . . . Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:55-57). Though we mourn, our mourning should be mixed with worship of God and thanksgiving for the life of the loved one who has died. 

The First Empty Nest

Stacy Reaoch has reached the stage of parenthood when all of her children are in school. This means her house is quiet in the middle of the day, and it has made her reflect on freedom, control, and God’s faithfulness.

The closing of a chapter is bittersweet. In some ways, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. seems like the first empty nest. It’s a transition from having little ones always by my side, to them being out of reach. It’s a time when I need to trust that God is able to meet their needs even when I’m not present. Parenting is a series of letting go, a series of trusting God with the children he has given us. Will I trust him to keep them safe while they’re at school? Will I trust him to provide a friend at the lunch table?  

What is Reformed Theology?

We accurately refer to our church as a “reformed” church, but that term may not be familiar to everyone. Being “reformed” refers to a theological position, but that doesn’t have to be academic or stuffy. In this short video (under 2.5 minutes), Kevin DeYoung gives a quick description of this important label.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article by Sarah Wisniewski called Learning, Teaching, Writing, and Women. 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 (1/10/2020)

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 (12/13/2019)

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

Jesus’s Birth through Four Biblical, Literary Forms

Davis Wetherell points to four different types of writing in Scripture and shows how they can all be used to point to Jesus.

We’ll look at prophecy, theology, song of praise, and narrative. By looking at these four literary forms, it is my hope that we will see Jesus as the fulfillment of prophecy, the inexhaustible object of study, the reason for worship, and the resolution of all conflict.

There Will Most Assuredly Come A Morning

Here’s an article about the death of a young child and the hope that his parents have found in Christ. Our world is full of sadness, but the Resurrection will come.

On a day like today, as I remember the pain of last year, and as Finn’s parents weep and remember, there is a God above who is faithful, who is bringing a morning so bright that all this pain will certainly be in comparison light and momentary. And all those little things we miss today he will restore. In our mourning, in Christ, we can know that there will most assuredly come a morning. The years that the locusts have taken will be ours again, and no one will snatch them from our resurrected hands.

The Voice That Made the World

What does it mean that Jesus is our prophet? This is an important question, but especially so during Advent, when we understand Jesus’s birth as the fulfillment of so much prophecy. Here’s a great explanation.

The voice of the Old Testament prophets was often disregarded and mocked, even by God’s own people. Today, all God’s people hear Jesus’s voice, even as his words are disregarded and mocked in the world. But we can have confidence that all people will ultimately hear the name and voice of Jesus and bow the knee to him (Philippians 2:9–11). Even today, we can hear and submit to the voice of God in the words of Jesus.


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

Grandparents, We Need You!

As I was leaving a restaurant recently, I walked past a booth where an older man was sitting with a young girl. (I assume this was his preteen granddaughter.) The girl put on headphones and played with her phone while the man sipped his coffee and looked off sadly in the distance.

This stuck with me all day. I couldn’t imagine a breakfast without conversation, especially with my grandfather! What a tragedy.

Abundant Opportunity

Though this was a sad scene, I was not entirely discouraged. I mourned for this man, but then I turned the scene around in my head. What is the best outcome of such a meal?

Grandparents carry tremendous influence with their grandchildren. Here are three ways I’m praying my kids learn from their grandparents.

1. Learn Through Conversation

Many children are eager to talk about themselves but unable to focus on others. Outside of immediate family and school friends, they aren’t great at communication.

Meanwhile, grandparents love spending time with their grandchildren, and they’re delighted to play games, go to the park, or chat over cookies. Your kids can learn valuable lessons during these visits.

Train your children to interact with older adults. Teach them how to ask questions (and follow-up questions), how to listen, and how to take interest in others.

In addition to growing in conversational and social skills, children will learn more about their family. They can hear about their grandparents’ jobs, families, and adventures, and they might even see their parents in a new light.

In grandparents, children have an eager, loving, attentive audience. We can bless both our children and our parents by encouraging these visits.

2. Learn Through Experience

Godly grandparents have a precious heritage to pass along. A lifetime of walking with God, learning from him, and seeing his work—these are all gifts for younger generations.

Older Christians often have moving stories of God’s redemption and provision. They have seen his love displayed in ways that come only with decades of faithfulness. These stories display in vibrant color some of God’s attributes that might only exist in black and white for children.

As children hear testimonies of God’s goodness, they grow in their faith. When we learn how God has worked and provided in the past, we gain confidence that God will work and provide in the future.

3. Learn Through Example

While children are at the beginning of life, grandparents are closer to the end. One of the best gifts grandparents can give is to show how to age, weaken, and die with a joyful hope in Jesus.

That took a dark turn, didn’t it? Stay with me.

Most children are insulated from the hard realities of the Fall. We prepare them for school and jobs, for a spouse and a church, but we don’t talk much about sickness, weakness, and frailty. However, death is more sure than a spouse is. Our children need to know how to die.

Children shouldn’t develop a fascination with the grave, but thinking about death brings our faith into sharp focus. We see what really matters.

As grandparents age, they can show their grandchildren the greatness of God and the liberating salvation Jesus has won. As their bodies ache, as moving and breathing become more difficult, they can guide children to the true source of hope.

It’s easy for children to focus on the latest toy, the approval of friends, or the perfect science project. In the end, these are all meaningless. With a steady gaze at the glory of God, grandparents can display the power and grace of God to save and love sinners. Toward the end of life, grandparents can point to God in ways that peers, teachers, and even parents cannot.

Look Ahead

Parents, if your parents (or parents-in-law) are no longer around, don’t despair. Most churches are full of godly men and women who love children. They would jump at the chance to visit with your family once a month.

Finally, by God’s grace, let’s be the older Christians we seek for our kids. Let’s pursue God with all that we have so he can use us to influence generations to come.

Post credit | Picture credit

Links for the Weekend (5/10/2019)

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

4 Creative Ways to be Generous

Generosity is not just about money. In this article, Kristen Wetherell writes about other important, realistic ways we can be generous.

God’s infinite grace fuels generosity, which fuels the glorification of God and his gospel. So generous giving, of any type in any context, isn’t ultimately about us or the needs we’re meeting (how freeing!), but about God’s honor and the proclamation of his good news.

Why Do Dying Men Call for “Mama?”

Russell Moore connects a line from an article in The Atlantic to the presence of Jesus’s mother Mary at his crucifixion. It’s a powerful article.

In our culture, Mother’s Day is a time in which each of us thinks about the woman who gave us life. As we honor her, perhaps we can remember that we will one day, should the Lord not return before, lay dying. We will carry our cross right to the valley of the shadow of death. And we just might end this earthly life crying out for “Mama.” Like Jesus, that just might be God’s gracious way of reminding us we are not alone, that we are loved and known, even when we cannot help ourselves at all.

How to Practice Biblical Hospitality

In this article, Pat Ennis walks us through a biblical notion of being hospitable. She then gives some helpful, practical advice.

Whether enjoying personal devotions, a Bible study, or a worship service, what mental images emerge when you’re presented with passages that encourage hospitality?

For many, the images mirror glossy magazine photos—an immaculate home, a gourmet menu, an exquisite table setting. And while some of these images could be applied to biblical hospitality in certain situations, what they actually portray is entertaining.

When hospitality is described in the Scriptures, there are zero instructions regarding home décor, menu, or table setting.

5 Ways to Pray for Missionaries

We all know we should pray for our missionaries. But what exactly should we pray? Here is a helpful list of five items I commend to you.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published a post from Patty Waltermyer: Overcoming Yourself: Why You Should Step out of Your Comfort Zone. Check it out!

Thanks to Erica G for helping me round up articles 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 (3/15/2019)

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

What’s the Purpose (and the Benefit) of Family Devotions?

Tim Challies writes about family devotions with twenty years of perspective. He describes his family’s practice and then reflects on what the benefits have been.

There have been many times over the years when I’ve felt like our habit of family devotions has been trite or simplistic. Though I’ve never been tempted to give up, I’ve often been tempted to add complexity, to measure success by how much knowledge our children have gained by it. But looking back on nearly twenty years of doing this together, I see there are many wonderful benefits to be had through faithful simplicity.

Good Enough in a Never Enough World

I’m surprised that it took me this long to link to Lore Ferguson Wilbert. She’s an insightful and skilled writer, a deep-thinking Christian who helps me think along with her. She mostly writes for women, but I hope her writing gets read by men as well. In this post, Lore writes about how it feels not to be a “pretty girl” and what this means about how God might use her. She also teases a project (a podcast, perhaps?) that is coming in May.

This isn’t to shame women naturally given to beauty, or those with the means to make themselves more so, but is it any wonder women are drawn to quick, easy tropes for what ails them? Is it any wonder we’re still taking the fruit that promises us godlikeness? Biting off bits of it in the form of Instagram images, Pinterest perfect homes, four steps to finding a good husband or having a good marriage, or swallowing the many iterations of diet culture in the form of food restriction? Is it any wonder we’re googling how to make our pores look smaller and have drawers of unused anti-wrinkling creams because each one promises to do it better? I have a smattering of persistent gray hairs on my part that no amount of color covers for long and still I try.

5 Rules to Help You Fail Less Often with Social Media

Justin Taylor calls our attention to the new book The Common Rule (ed. note: I have not read this book) by highlighting five things the author (Justin Whitmel Earley) “has started doing to retain some sanity when it comes to social media.”

How to Be More Public with Your Faith

In this article at The Gospel Coalition, Tim Keller writes about why Christians aren’t as public with their faith now as they were in years past.

Why? There are many factors. First, talking about Christian faith is more complicated. A generation ago you could assume that the vast majority of people believed in a personal God, an afterlife, moral absolutes, the reality of their sin, and had a basic respect for the Bible. Christians routinely assumed the existence of these concepts (or “dots”), and evangelism was mainly connecting the dots to show them their personal need for Jesus. No longer can we assume, however, that any of these basic ideas are common knowledge or, if they are, even acceptable. To talk about faith now entails working to establish basic concepts before Jesus’s gift of salvation can have any meaning.

The Spiritual Discipline of Hanging Out in Cemeteries

Here’s a great article with an excellent title. During Lent there’s one practice that forces Cortland Gatliff (the author) “to remember that my death is nigh, but resurrection is coming.” Read the rest over at Christ and Pop Culture.

Nevertheless, the grim fact remains: We will die, are dying. No amount of vitamin supplements or exercise will change that. What, then, do we actually gain by trying to push death out of our minds? Or perhaps a more important question: what do we lose?

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog I wrote You Are Not a Number. Check it out!

Thanks to Phil A for helping me round up articles 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 (2/1/2019)

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

3 Methods to Keep You Praying

Trevin Wax has struggled to pray regularly, and he shares a few practices that have helped him grow in this discipline.

At the beginning of every year, we peruse the various plans for reading the Bible, but rarely do we find plans about developing the discipline of daily prayer. It’s not that we mean to avoid it. We know we need to pray. We know we’re called to it. We know that our lack of prayerfulness is a sign that we are unconscious of just how dependent we are upon God and that we are comfortable operating in our own strength. But still, how do we make it a regular practice?

Don’t Just Meet Someone’s Needs

Michael Kelley writes about the way Jesus healed the leper in Luke 5 and helps us think about loving our neighbors. He challenges us to give of ourselves as we help others.

This is the lesson for us who want to do good, but don’t want to get our hands dirty. For those of us who want to see people helped, but don’t want to emotionally invest in the people being helped. For those of us who enjoy programs we can serve in, but avoid organic ministry that costs us time and energy. It’s a lesson for people like me and maybe people like you, too.

The Art of Dying

Perhaps it’s because we think so much of heaven, but Christians spend a decent amount of time talking about death. Dan Doriani writes about the death of his friend Gerry and draws out two principles for dying well.

Gerry was always an encourager; now he needed encouragement and he readily asked for it. I saw him hours after he got his diagnosis – kidney cancer, stage four. Very few survived it and six months was a typical time frame. After thirty minutes, he asked, “Will you visit me every week?” It was a big request and he knew it. I paused momentarily as I considered my demanding schedule. But I knew the answer, “Yes, every week, as long as I am in town.” And so it was.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

I wrote for the blog this week about how singing is an act of faith. 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.