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 (5/8/2020)

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 (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 (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 (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 (4/12/2019)

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

You Believe the Prosperity Gospel

How’s that for a title?! Jared Wilson is a great writer and this is a great article. I’ve listed it first because if you only have time to read one of these articles, you need to make it this one.

The problem with this, biblically speaking, is that we have numerous examples both in our own lives and in the pages of Scripture of dear saints who were afflicted despite and in their faith. We see in fact that faith is made precisely for the experience of living in a fallen world, where if everything went smoothly and we never hurt, we wouldn’t need reliance on Jesus as much, would we? So when we tell others to trust God in the midst of their suffering, we do well. He is sovereign and he can be trusted to work all things together for our good. But when we tell others to trust God to avoid their struggles, we promise something God himself does not promise.

The Big and Small World of Bible Geography

David Barrett has a guest post at Justin Taylor’s blog about the size of the territory discussed in the Bible. Barrett mentions a paradox he discovered while working on various cartography projects regarding the lands of the Bible: “The world of the Bible was at the same time very small and very large.”

The more I come to understand the world of the Bible, the more I become convinced it was actually not that much different from our own world in some respects. Certainly the world has undergone great changes in technology, communication, and transportation since Bible times, yet at the same time we’re still typically enveloped by a fairly small day-to-day existence.

9 Things You Should Know About Christian Hymns

Joe Carter writes an occasional blog series for The Gospel Coalition all of which begin “9 Things You Should Know About…” In this post, Carter writes about Christian hymns, and he provides some important and fascinating details. He writes about early references to hymns, the relationship between hymns and Psalm singing, and some of the most prolific hymn writers, among other things. It’s good for us to know some of the history of the music we sing every week!

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an essay I wrote, titled How Fast Does a Christian Grow? Check it out!

Thanks to Cliff L and 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.