Links for the Weekend (10/23/2020)

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

Policies, Persons, and Paths to Ruin

I’m not sure whether or not you’re aware, but there’s a presidential election in a couple of weeks. (It’s got some people talking, it does.) John Piper wrote a thoughtful, forceful article about the two leading presidential candidates. Our votes are always worth thought and prayer, and this article may offer your soul food as you deliberate.

In fact, I think it is a drastic mistake to think that the deadly influences of a leader come only through his policies and not also through his person.

This is true not only because flagrant boastfulness, vulgarity, immorality, and factiousness are self-incriminating, but also because they are nation-corrupting. They move out from centers of influence to infect whole cultures. The last five years bear vivid witness to this infection at almost every level of society.

Intellectual Disabilities and The Church

Allyson Todd writes about churches and people with intellectual disabilities. She challenges us to not only make sure we welcome these brothers and sisters, but to integrate them into the life of our congregations.

Personhood is the foundation of integration. As with any minority group, social class, or gender, the imago Dei must be the starting point. There is no us vs. them in the kingdom of God. The church falls under the unifying banner of Jesus Christ. Each member bears his or her individual strengths and weaknesses, but their value is found first in the life breathed into them by God. With that as the foundation, a church body can then plan to care for people with intellectual disabilities while also asking how every member of the church can contribute. 

Men, Be the Chief Repenters in Your Homes

Here’s a good, strong word to the men out there. Dave Jenkins shares some writing of Thomas Watson on repentance and applies it to family life.

He who would lead his family must lead them in repentance. Christian men should not make excuses for their failures, but take responsibility. Remember that repentance is not a small work in the Christian life; it is the Christian life. Martin Luther said, “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, “Repent,” he willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.” John Calvin taught, “Repentance is not merely the start of the Christian life; it is the Christian life.”

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called Me-Too Disease. If you haven’t already seen it, check it out!


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

Links for the Weekend (8/21/2020)

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

Woe Is Me

Self-pity is “when we have a self-indulgent attitude toward our own hardships.” I suspect many of us are tempted to self-pity; Abigail Dodds gives us a good description of this sin, and she points us to the cure as well.

At root, the sin in self-pity is that we assess ourselves and our circumstances as though God is not our gracious Father. When we take God out of the picture, when his pity for us in the death and resurrection of his beloved Son with the continued help of his Spirit isn’t enough, we turn to ourselves for love and pity. When we believe there are gaps in God’s love — and we use our circumstances as proof — we tend to take action to fill in those gaps with self-love or self-pity.

Watch Your (Knowledge) Diet in the COVID-19 Crisis

How should Christians relate to media in a world with too much information and too little wisdom? Brett McCracken proposes a guide to help us with our media consumption—a guide he calls the Wisdom Pyramid. I found the visual representation helpful!

As our world today has made painfully clear, wisdom is not the result of simply having easier access to more information. It’s not about the amount of information we have, but its quality and reliability. Wisdom is less like a repository for knowledge than a filter for it, like a healthy kidney: retaining what is nutritious as it filters out the waste. A. W. Tozer compares wisdom to a vitamin: “It does not nourish a body in itself, but if not present, nothing will nourish the body.”

The First and Last Thing My Grandma Taught Me

Here’s a nice reflection from Amber Thiessen about what she learned from her grandmother. We could all probably learn a thing or two about how to look to grandparents and how to be grandparents from this article.

And through Grandma’s life, she adopted this practice consistently. Through my work at the hospital, I’ve been part of moments of life, and of death. There are many ways that families and patients cope with the passing of life, and Grandma’s beautiful anticipation of being with her Savior reminds me of the constant hope we have of our eternity, when we live our lives to love and follow Him.


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

Links for the Weekend (8/7/2020)

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

Make Your School Decision. Then Trust God.

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

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

A Surprising Command for Suffering Saints

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

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

Faithfulness in Forgotten Places

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

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


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

Links for the Weekend (7/31/2020)

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

You Will Regret Giving In

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

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

The Mission Field I Never Expected

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

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

How to More Wisely Consume News

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

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

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

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

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article written by Erica Goehring called I Have Stored Up Your Word in My Heart. If you haven’t already seen it, check it out!


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

Links for the Weekend (7/24/2020)

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

To the Friends Who Tell Me “No”

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

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

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

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

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

When God Withholds Sleep

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

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

The Uighurs of China: A People in Peril

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


Thanks to Maggie A for her help in rounding up links this week!

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

Links for the Weekend (7/17/2020)

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

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

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

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

Respectable Sins of the Reformed World

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

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

Prayer Will Win the Nations

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

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

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called Learning from the Humiliation of Jesus. If you haven’t already seen it, check it out!


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

Links for the Weekend (7/3/2020)

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

Christ Our Rock and Refuge

Christina Fox highlights some of the Psalms which refer to God as a rock. She writes about how helpful this image of God has been for her over the last several uneasy months.

Christ is the fulfillment of all God’s promises to be our rock and fortress. He is our true shelter and dwelling place. He is the answer to the psalmist’s cry for salvation and deliverance. He rescued us from sin and death. He united himself to us through faith in his life, death, and resurrection. He made us his own. He is our place of safety. Our refuge. Our strength. Our fortress.

Listen Quickly, Think Slowly

Craig Thompson applies the wisdom of James 1:19 to life in modern America, and he writes about some of the implications of being slow to think (not just slow to speak).

Slow thinking doesn’t fit well within the age of social media and immediate news. Slow thinking looks more like philosophy and conversation and less like soundbites and tweets. Slow thinking looks like books and newspapers, coffee shop conversations, and complicated intellectual wrestling matches. Slow thinking takes hard topics and resists the temptation to boil them down to their least common denominator and instead wrestles with the hard and complicated truths.

How Can I Be Free from Materialism?

Here’s an eight-minute episode of the Ask Pastor John podcast in which John Piper talks about materialism from Hebrews 10:34.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called The Surprising Transformation of the Disciples of Jesus. If you haven’t already seen it, check it out!


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

Links for the Weekend (6/5/2020)

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

God Never Forgets His Promises

At Ligonier’s website, Derek Thomas reflects on Joseph’s life and what it teaches us about God’s providence. Though we often want to read the events around us and make meaning for ourselves as individuals, Thomas tells us we should keep God’s promises in mind.

Providence has wider issues in mind than merely our personal comfort or gain. In answer to the oft-cited question in times of difficulty, “Why me?” the forthcoming answer is always, “Them!” He allows us to suffer so that others may be blessed. Joseph suffered in order that his undeserving brothers might receive blessing. In their case, this meant being kept alive during a time of famine and having the covenant promises of their father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, reaffirmed before their eyes.

What Makes Any Marriage Difficult

Let me say this first: this is not a great title for this article. With that out of the way, I think this could be a really helpful article for married couples! Darren Carlson provides three questions that he and his wife worked through to strengthen their marriage.

Those who know me best know some of these weaknesses; my wife knows them all. Living with someone leads to the unavoidable exposure of one’s shortcomings. Pride tells us we are good at everything, that we are not the issue, that it’s really our spouse who has all the weaknesses. Be careful: God stands against people like this (Proverbs 16:5; James 4:6). Love is not proud (1 Corinthians 13:4).

5 Contemporary Poets Christians Should Read

I would wager that most of us don’t read much poetry. But poetry can put into words some reactions, moods, and emotions that prose just cannot. English professor Mischa Willett points us toward five of his favorite contemporary Christian poets. Troubled times may issue an especially pointed cry for poetry.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article written by Sarah Wisniewski called When the House of God Doesn’t Feel Like Home. 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.