Links for the Weekend (1/17/2020)

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

Neither Sin nor Death nor Elections Can Hinder God’s Work in 2020

Benjamin Vrbicek considers the very end of the book of Acts and writes about the spread of the gospel. As we face both personal and national difficulties, this is a great reminder.

God’s name “will be great among the nations”—not because he removes every earthly hindrance, but because no single hindrance we experience is strong enough to impede the gospel’s spread. God wills and works for his gospel to be cherished, and even hell’s gates can’t hinder his church’s advance (Matt. 16:18). 

Should We Trade in Funerals for “Celebrations of Life”?

Rare is the person that likes to think about death. And, as a pastor, Jason Allen has seen how this aversion affects the way many people treat funerals for those they love. He cautions against discarding the opportunity of a distinctly Christian funeral for a light-hearted “celebration of life” service. (This article is written for pastors, but I think we all can benefit from it.)

After all, death is God’s enemy. Paul tells us as much in 1 Corinthians 15:26. But it’s an enemy that has already been defeated by the resurrection of Jesus. What better venue than a funeral to highlight this glorious truth? We shouldn’t aim for “upbeat and lighthearted” when the deep emotional well of Christian hope is available to us. We shouldn’t spend so much time on jokes that we give short shrift to Jesus Christ who, having defeated sin and death, has made a way for the wicked to be forgiven and made righteous.  

Four Lies My Teachers Told Me

This article is framed around lies the author heard on a secular college campus. However, I suspect it is true much more broadly. Think of these lies as those underlying beliefs that most of our unbelieving neighbors hold without questioning them. The first lie that Kaitlin Miller addresses is that “only religion requires faith.”

The question, therefore, is not whether we will have faith, but in what we will put our faith. The question is not even whether we will place our faith in evidence, but rather, on what evidence we will place our faith — empirical evidence alone, or the intersection of historical, logical, moral, and philosophical evidence on which Christianity has always been based.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called 3 Essential Words to Say to Your Child. 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 (12/27/2019)

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

5 Potential (Year-Long) Effects of the Christmas Season

Jason Seville suggests that there are rhythms of the Christmas season that we would be wise to stretch out over the whole calendar year. One of the areas he writes about is hospitality.

At Christmas we buy gifts, bake cookies, send cards, extend meal invites, and throw parties. We get to know fellow church members better, and we welcome strangers. We have people over with the clear intention and purposes of extending Christ’s love.

But hospitality ought to be the Christian’s perennial disposition. We ought to, as Paul wrote, “welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God” (Rom. 15:7). Let’s circle dates in those first 11 months as well. When will we plan a dinner party for a group of coworkers? When will we invite that new couple from church for dinner? When will we randomly bless the widow down the street with a plate of cookies?

God with us

This article in Fathom Magazine is a short, lovely meditation on the life of Jesus.

He enters into our hearts, flames flickering above our heads as he tears down the old, rotting walls of our souls, the structurally unsound, cracked, termite-ridden foundation. He takes his carpenter’s hands and he rebuilds.

Ten Questions for a New Year

The beginning of the year is a great time to prayerfully consider our ways. Is there anything you should add to your life this year? What should be changed or removed from your life? Don Whitney provides some good questions for us to ponder.

The value of many of these questions is not in their profundity, but in the simple fact that they bring an issue or commitment into focus. For example, just by making a goal to encourage one person in particular this year is more likely to help you remember to encourage that person than if you hadn’t set that goal.


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. 

Links for the Weekend (12/6/2019)

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

10 Best Advent Albums of the 2010s

I suspect I’m not alone in having a strong association of Advent and Christmas with music. Just in time for the season, Brett McCracken shares his favorite Advent albums of the last decade. There are links to stream the albums; you might just find yourself a nice soundtrack for the next three weeks.

I’ve been encouraged, for example, that in the last few decades there has been a renaissance of Advent–focused Christmas music: music that is theologically rich and, while still joyful, somewhat more somber and serious than pop Christmas radio. This music helps listeners enter into the Advent story in a way that focuses on spiritual contemplation more than tinsel-drenched merriment.

You Can Be Anxious About Nothing

The command from Paul in Philippians to be “anxious about nothing”—well, it can’t really mean nothing, can it? It sometimes feels like stress and anxiety are simply a part of the human experience. Kim Cash Tate wrestles with this command in an article over at Desiring God.

Alternatively, we tell ourselves that “do not be anxious about anything” is for the spiritually mature saint, a verse to aspire to. And since we’re not there yet, we can dismiss this direct command for a while. Moreover, we’re careful not to burden others with it. If a fellow believer is battling anxious thoughts, we think it insensitive to bring this verse to bear on the situation. Better to show sympathy than to risk sounding trite.  

How Can Jesus Be Our Everlasting Father?

Another article here that is Advent-adjacent. David Sunday helps us think about the title “Everlasting Father” for the Messiah in Isaiah 9.

Of all the names attributed to Jesus in Isaiah 9:6, Everlasting Father intrigues me the most because it’s the one I understand the least. How can Jesus the Messiah, the second person of the Godhead, be called Everlasting Father?

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called Jesus Did Not Come to Bring Peace on Earth. 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 (11/29/2019)

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

The Beauty and Burden of Nostalgia

If you’re only going to read one of these articles, make it this one; it’s really good. Jared Wilson writes about the nostalgia that surrounds holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Unlike other pieces I’ve read, Wilson doesn’t look down on nostalgia. He writes that it’s a nice place to visit but a bad place to live. He beautifully connects our longings with the future heaven promises. Read it!

It’s okay to long for the Garden. But we cannot go back. We must go forward. And we must see that our longing for the Garden is really a longing for the Garden to come. We can see our Savior in his Gospels teaching and doing great things. But we miss the point of it all if we don’t see that what he inaugurated is yet to be consummated. And indeed, he is coming, and coming quickly.

3 Ways to Teach Scripture to Children

Peter Leithart reflects on many years as a father—and now some years as a grandfather—teaching the Bible to children. His three modes of teaching are time-tested and accompanied by specific examples.

It’s not an accident that the biblical history of maturation starts with a long book of stories. It’s where we begin. Before we learn to talk or walk or do abstract reasoning, we learned stories. Yahweh is the best parent. Before Israel received Torah, the tabernacle, the complexities of the sacrificial system, a land or a monarchy, they got stories, dramatic family stories.

Not Just Me and My Bible

One of the pillars of the Reformation was Sola Scriptura. What’s the difference between this and Solo Scriptura? This article does a good job explaining how we can avoid two opposite errors when reading and interpreting the Bible. (And the article begins with a gripping story of unwashed vegetables!)

Perhaps most significantly, “solo Scriptura” misses out on the inestimable riches God has graciously provided in the body of Christ, his church. It is tempting for Christians to see themselves only as individual members of the church and so to focus exclusively on personal spiritual practices like biblical meditation, prayer, fasting, and the like. While personal spirituality is very much at the heart of the Christian life, it is incomplete if it fails to grasp what membership in his body entails.


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 (10/4/2019)

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

Your Church Needs You to Sing

At Desiring God, Nick Aufenkamp writes about singing in church. I especially appreciated his teaching on how our singing testifies to God’s faithfulness and exhorts our fellow believers. Yet another way we need each other!

Singing is vital to the edification of the church. And it’s not enough that just a few people sing — Paul is telling you to sing for the benefit of your brothers and sisters. But how does your voice benefit your church — especially if your singing voice sounds like a dog’s howl?

The discipline of listening

When our friends are suffering, they often need our presence much more than a sermon. Sophia Lee has a great piece in World Magazine about the importance of sitting with our friends and listening to them.

I try to practice the grace, humility, and lovingkindness my friend demonstrated that day. It’s not easy, because I have to fight my natural inclinations toward impatience and selfishness and pride. But it’s also easy, because the burden isn’t on me to fix things—often impossible for anyone other than God—but to simply listen.

Finding Joy on the Other Side of Guilt

Here’s a story about the death of a pet ladybug and a lesson about the fallout from sin and the change the gospel brings.

Every day, I encounter opportunities to get it wrong and hurt people through my choices (because sin always hurts both myself and others). And sometimes I can stand there like my daughter, wracked with guilt over what I’ve done, not sure how to make things right. In that moment, Paul’s next words are like a cup of cold water for my soul: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-2).

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 (9/13/2019)

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

A Letter to a Reader about the Battle against Sin

I would guess most Christians have wrestled with this question as they walk with the Lord. And Barry York provides an excellent, short answer. Here’s the key question.

How can someone know if they are a legitimate Christian struggling with sin versus an unbeliever in sin? And what should a Christian struggling with sin do when he feels defeated?

How to Kill Your Anger so You Can Represent Christ to the World

How do you respond to anger from others directed at you? How do you respond to your own anger? Amy K. Hall helps us with sound advice from the Bible. We are not to fight anger with more anger.

Lest anyone think all anger must be expressed in order for one to be “healthy,” it’s important to note that ignoring your anger is not the same thing as fighting and killing it, though both are attempts to avoid expressing that anger against others. The first will only cause the anger to build up until you can’t ignore it anymore. The second dispenses with it in a way that glorifies God and respects the people around you.

God’s Sovereign Plans Behind Your Most Unproductive Days

In this episode of the Ask Pastor John podcast, John Piper answers a question from a listener who struggles with efficiency in her life. Piper works through an imaginary scenario—and then two passages from the Bible—to show us how God’s purposes may frustrate our desire for efficiency. Have a listen or read the transcript here.

Then walk in the peace and freedom that, when it shatters on the rocks of reality (which it will most days), you’re not being measured by God by how much you get done. You’re being measured by whether you trust the goodness and the wisdom and the sovereignty of God to work this new mess of inefficiency for his glory and the good of everyone involved, even when you can’t see how.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called God May Postpone Your Relief for His Glory. 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 (9/6/2019)

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

Nothing on Your Phone (Including TGC) Can Replace the Local Church

Brett McCracken has a great piece about the importance of the local church. The best books, articles, and sermon podcasts are no substitute for a local church family!

Just as material affluence can keep us from church on Sunday because we have the means for all manner of distraction (globetrotting vacations, weekends at the lake, NFL games on our 90-inch flatscreen), theological affluence can keep us from church because we have umpteen resources to fill our theological “tank” during the week. Why would we be desperate to attend church regularly, listening to our so-so pastor’s Sunday message, when we can listen to John Stott and John Piper sermons on our commute, five days a week? Doesn’t that check the box?

Humility Is Not Hating Yourself

To be humble isn’t to hide your talents or to hate yourself. Instead, following Tim Keller, Gavin Ortlund writes of humilty as self-forgetfulness.

So perhaps we get it backwards: we think humility is an impossible burden, but in reality it is as light as a feather. It is pride that makes life gray and drab; humility brings out the color. Why do we get this wrong? I don’t know, but part of the answer might be we simply misunderstand what humility is.

3 Ways to Kill Gossip

Gossip is easy to tolerate, and Costi Hinn shows us the danger of such tolerance. He also offers three tactics to fight gossip.

And so, like a lamb being led to the slaughter, the gossiper falls under the alluring power of Lucifer’s minions and begins to cannibalize the flock. All the while, dehumanizing the target of conversation and adding horrific caricatures along the way. Whether through the seed of bitterness, emotional venting, or purposeful slander, gossip works tirelessly to sink its teeth into open hearts.


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