Links for the Weekend (7/10/2020)

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

4 Ways Not to Be a Jerk Online

Unfortunately, not many people (even Christians) focus on God’s command to “honor everyone” when they interact with others online. Matt Smethurst gives us guidance for loving God and our online neighbors.

Crafted in God’s image, every person possesses infinite dignity and worth—and should be treated as such. This can be easy to forget when scrolling through a comment section or staring at a little headshot. But pixels can never shrink personhood. Our online interactions must reflect this fact.

Unity Rather Than Uniformity

Here is a good word from Christine Hoover. She writes about her reaction to a friend with whom she disagreed regarding an issue of secondary importance. Her warning about the “drive toward uniformity in secondary issues” within a church is important.

If our convictions cause grief or cause another to stumble, which can easily happen when we campaign for our secondary choices to become primary, we aren’t walking in love or grace. In other words, our freedom isn’t the highest priority in the kingdom of God. We aren’t to put our convictions above love.

A Habit You Didn’t Know You Needed

At For The Church, Katie McCoy writes about the little-known (and even less-practiced) spiritual practice of silence.

In his book, The Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster shows how practicing silence and solitude is not just for Himalayan monks. In fact, our need for quiet goes even deeper than getting away from outside noise. Pursuing God with this kind of solitary silence always involves actively listening to God. “Simply to refrain from talking, without a heart listening to God, is not silence.” It’s an attitude of the heart, a lifestyle of “de-cluttering” the day so that we can hear God more clearly.


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 (5/29/2020)

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

There is No Faith So Little That It Is Not Saving

Here’s a nice meditation on the life of John the Baptist. Jared Wilson observes the weak faith of John’s father, Zechariah, as well as some doubt from John. But faltering faith was no match for God’s grace!

Your little strength is no hindrance for God. In fact, our weakness is God’s primary means of demonstrating his power, power that will be revealed gloriously even when our strength gives out totally and we die. For when we die, we will know only his power, which in the end will raise us up.

What Is God Up To?: The Temptation to Overinterpret Suffering

Ed Welch writes about a common response to suffering—we want to know what it all means. But many times this is not our business to know.

When we feel as though we are in the dark and need more interpretive knowledge, we look to Jesus, meditate on his sacrificial love, and speak of this to others as we also learn from them. Doing this won’t answer our immediate questions about what is happening in the world, but it helps answer an even bigger question: How can I know and trust in the One who created all things and established their course?

Still Growing

Melissa Edgington writes a lovely reflection on the way God has used her marriage for her growth. She shares how she and her husband have grown for each other, toward each other, and because of each other.

Our marriage has been the single most influential factor in our growth as human beings and as Christians in the past two decades, and I think that is how God designed marriage to operate. We should be doing more than growing old together or even growing up together. We should be growing as Christ followers, and as those who understand what it means to lay down your life for someone. Ideally, our marriages should make us more like Jesus, but growth, like most things that matter, takes time. In 21 years we have changed a lot. Not all of those changes have been easy or welcomed or good. The changes that have made us more Christ-like have been the hardest of all to endure, yet those are the changes that have made us love each other more with each passing year.


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

Links for the Weekend (5/15/2020)

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

Quarantine Exposes Our Need for Grace

Joshua Zeichik relates some of the frustrations he’s encountered when working from home during the pandemic and some of the sinful ways he has responded. He turns to James 4 to show us how to take inventory of our hearts when we get angry.

The tendency in all of us, when we feel the pressure of not getting what we want, is to get frustrated with those around us. But when we see that kind of response come out of our hearts, we should realize that God is being gracious with us to reveal an area to grow in.

A Six-Part Teaching Series on Parenting

In 2011 Jen and Jeff Wilkin taught a six-part parenting class at their home church in Texas (The Village Church). The sessions are filled with humor and biblical instruction on how to be intentional with the gospel. Parents of children of all ages will find encouragement in these lessons.

Critique Gently, Encourage Fiercely

Scott Sauls writes about loneliness and how we can find family by belonging to a local church.

How do we experience loneliness-slaying love in the midst of imperfect, messy community? It has been said, “Be kind because everyone you meet is fighting a hard, hidden battle.” As we limp toward transparency and community and friendship with our own fears and insecurities, we recognize that we aren’t alone. We are all much afraid. We all feel more insecure than confident, more weak than strong, more unlovable than lovely, more irredeemable than redeemed. When we see that we are not alone, we can reach out to one another. Don’t underestimate the power of words.  While shaming words can take courage out of a soul, encouraging and affirming words can put courage back in.

Thanks to Maggie A and Phil A for their 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 (5/8/2020)

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

Come to Me All Who Have COVID Weariness, and I Will Give You Rest

Benjamin Vrbicek writes an excellent reminder for us: Jesus will give us rest. He applies this reminder for us in the time of the coronavirus.

The encompassing word all grabs my attention. Not some, not a few, not even many, but Jesus invites all who are heavy laden. All who feel hitched to a too powerful pickup, all who feel yoked to the servitude of sin, all who stagger under the weight of weariness, all who have rope burns across their necks and sun-scorched shoulders and arthritic aching knees from plowing, plowing, plowing. All may come to Jesus for rest.

Preparing Our Hearts Today for Post-Pandemic Fellowship

At the CCEF web site, Alasdair Groves encourages us to think about how our current use of technology may affect our future interactions. He reminds us both that distance is not an impossible barrier to fellowship, but also that proximity does not guarantee love.

The question to us then is simple: Will a season of enforced remote work and online fellowship lead us to become people who spiral down into disconnection and increasing self-focus or will it spur us to long to be with others in every way we can and do much more than small talk however we connect? Will we use text and video now to foster fellowship we might otherwise have ignored or been too busy to invest in? Will we, in short, follow Paul’s example of loving others in such a way that we grab any chance we have to know their hearts, encourage them in Christ, and receive their encouragement in return? If we do, our relationships now will deepen despite COVID 19, and the prospect of a post-pandemic world—which will likely rely all the more heavily on technology—will be less threatening.

What’s in Your Soul That the Gospel Needs to Run a Sword Through?

Here’s a short, refreshing meditation on expectations and fulfillment from Jared Wilson.

Christ’s work, then, frustrates the Gentiles’ search for glory apart from the God of Israel and unravels the Jews’ search for glory apart from the inclusion of the Gentiles. Christ has not come to overthrow physical kingdoms—at least, not yet—but to overthrow spiritual ones, the toughest ones to overthrow. Simeon promises “a sword through the soul” (v.35).

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called Naomi and the Names We Call Ourselves. If you haven’t already seen it, check it out!


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

Links for the Weekend (5/1/2020)

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

The Subversive Habit of Boastful Prayer

Trevin Wax has written before about subversive habits, by which he means habits which help keep the story of the Bible as the central story governing our lives. In this article he talks about the sort of prayer that boasts in the Lord and not in ourselves.

Boasting takes it up a notch, and in prayer it becomes subversive precisely because our natural inclination is to turn our praise toward ourselves, to speak highly of our treasures, our strengths, and our accomplishments. When we turn our focus away from ourselves and we look for reasons to boast in God, we push aside what is lesser and we grow in our love for the God we now adore specifically.

Zoomed Out: Freedom from Consuming All the Resources During Quarantine

R.D. McClenagan is exhausted by all of the content available for him to consume during the Coronavirus lockdown. He writes to remind us that the measure of how you’re doing as a Christian is not how much you are consuming or producing, but the quality of the life of your soul.

I want to give you the freedom to seek Christ and his kingdom first in this time—the freedom to be Mary in an online Martha world (Luke 10:38-42). There are many tasks to accomplish and there are many resources out there to accomplish them, but the most important task is to set your heart unto the Lord in this time. You don’t have to make your life group the most dynamic it has ever been, or figure out how to live generously like never before by the time stay-at-home orders are fully lifted, or feel the pressure to continue to project a greater spirituality to online masses than you actually have in your soul.

The Case for Donating Your Stimulus Check

Many people have seen or will soon see some money from the federal government make its way into their bank account. How should we use this money as faithful citizens of the kingdom of God? David Ingold suggests that for some people, a faithful response might be to give some or all of the money away. Whether or not you agree with his conclusion, the questions he asks (as well as the resources he provides) in this article are valuable.

The Kingdom of God is like the Shepherd who goes out into the wilderness to find the one lost sheep. It’s when prisoners go free, and the lame walk. It’s the age of Jesus, our crucified King who left his glory and riches behind to be born of a poor, virgin girl, a girl who sang out: “He has brought down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.” It’s the widow who gives her last dollar into the offering.

Was Moses Really the Author of the Pentateuch?

There is both internal and external evidence in the Bible for Moses writing the first five books of the Old Testament. Here is a short video (just 3.5 minutes) from William Wood of Reformed Theological Seminary laying out the arguments.


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 (4/17/2020)

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

Christ is Risen — Now What?

Jared Wilson writes movingly about the significance of Easter for the first disciples and for us. He explains how “Easter has become the ultimate game-changer for the human experience.”

We know now that whatever we face, be they personal trials or global pandemics, the good news endures and cannot be conquered. With the empty tomb in the rearview mirror, even the grave before us poses no threat. For death could not hold him, and therefore it cannot hold us. Even the taking up of our own cross has become a light burden compared to the past bondage of sin.

Fighting Loneliness in the Coronavirus Outbreak

The feeling of loneliness is a reality for many of us now in ways it was not six weeks ago. For some, that feeling has been around for years but has been amplified recently. In this episode of the Ask Pastor John podcast, John Piper addresses loneliness.

Will God answer that prayer? There are good reasons to believe that he will. First because he made provisions for it while he was still here. He said, “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you” (John 14:18). The last thing he said on earth was, “Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). In other words, he sends the Holy Spirit, which is the Spirit of Christ, and he will be with every Christian. Christian, you are not alone. I’ll say it again: Christian, you are not alone. This is absolutely wonderful. You are never alone. The most important person in the universe — mark this — is with you personally. He promised to be. He doesn’t break his word. He is.

I Didn’t Know I Loved You Like This

If you’re anything like me, this period of semi-isolation has shown you just how valuable the church body is. This is a brief love letter by Glenna Marshall to the church on that theme.

We’ve had our fair share of arguments and arms-length distancing. But better to work through our issues together than to miss one another apart. Truly, we are better together. You show it now with your calls and texts, letters and cards. In your absence, my heart grows fonder. I didn’t know just how interwoven your life was with mine. There’s a hole, an empty seat, a vacant lot, a void that’s only yours. I feel it more each day, and every day I’m surprised by the depth of it all.


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 (4/3/2020)

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

It Takes Theology to Lament

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

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

COVID-19: Living by Probabilities or Providence?

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

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

A Prayer for Working from Home

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


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

Links for the Weekend (3/6/2020)

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

Confessions of a Recovering Political Idolater

About 20 years ago, Jared Wilson realized he had an idolatry problem. The way he paid attention to politics was unhealthy, and it was not honoring to God. I commend this article to you, because Jared talks about his repentance in ways that are specific and helpful (whether your idolatry problem is with politics or with something else).

My repentance consisted of a few practical things. I swore off all cable news, realizing how much the constant bombardment of news both real and speculative was eroding my joy and buttressing my anxiety. In the twenty years since, I haven’t watched but a handful of hours, usually when at other people’s homes when it is the background noise of choice. But other habits die harder. Here are some symptoms of my ailment I need to stay in constant vigilance about. Maybe you do too.

Marriage Was Never Supposed to Fill the Empty Spaces

Sometimes God uses hard situations to teach us important lessons. Lauren Washer has found herself in just such a situation, apart from her husband while he is deployed in the military. She’s learning a lot about trusting God and the design of marriage during this hard season.

Yes, he’s helpful, trustworthy, and loves me enough to be honest, rebuke me, and walk me through my struggles.  His wisdom is invaluable and I’m a better person having been married to him for the past thirteen years.  But he’s not God.  And try as I might to make my marriage relationship fill my soul, it never will.  Neither will anything else.

No Condemnation

Kristen Wetherell writes about her sense of inadequacy, the way she wonders if she’s disappointing God. She shares two questions she asks herself in those moments. I’m guessing these will be helpful for you, too.

Rather than buckling under the dark cloud of condemnation and listening to your fears, you can speak back to them. You can confidently confess your need for a Savior––”Jesus, I need you!”––and desperately seek him for change. His grace wasn’t just for the moment you believed by faith, but is for each and every moment of faith, for your every failure and every need.


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 (2/14/2020)

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

A New Year’s Resolution: Don’t Try to Be With It

At the end of 2019, Kevin DeYoung wrote an article about the trivial nature of so much of the media we consume. Without being a scold, he urges us toward contentment in not keeping up with every last thing.

It can be scary to detach, even a little bit, from the screams of social media, Netflix, and cable news. But let’s not mistake knowledge for wisdom, or a multimedia platform for kingdom usefulness. There is no way to possibly stay with it, so why bother? Look out the window. Put down the phone. Lose touch with pop culture and reconnect with God. If you get to the end of 2020 and can’t recall any of the big style stories from CNN, don’t fret: in a few minutes no one else with either. 

The One Life Dream That Makes a Girl Blush

Here’s a wonderful article on the high calling of marriage and motherhood and how sad it is when young women feel ashamed to desire such a calling.

I wish we loved the strength it takes for a woman to become a wife and a mother. We marvel at her physical strength when she births a child. But we forget what invisible strength she shows when she lays down her life for her home every day after that.  

5 Necessities for Engaging Skeptics with the Gospel

This article is geared slightly toward preachers, but there is a lot here for the rest of us to learn as well. How can we engage skeptics with the gospel?

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called The Bible is for Everyone. 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.