Links for the Weekend (9/27/2019)

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

Discipling Our Children Starts With a Question, Then an Answer

Autumn Kern writes at For The Church about using catechisms with her young daughter. This mode of education in the faith is centuries old and takes advantage of the way most children excel in memorization. I love the way this article connects these memorized questions and answers with a hope that God will bring about genuine regeneration and faith.

Think of catechism knowledge as biblical kindling for the heart. Use kindling to build a foundation for a good fire and, with eager anticipation, pray for the spark of the Holy Spirit to bring forth light.

Behold, the Fitness of a Box Cake

This is quite an honest, powerful post from Lore Ferguson Wilbert on her struggles with living in the body God has given her. Though she developed some unhealthy thinking about her body in the past, this year she is getting to know her body as a friend. You’ll have to read the whole thing, lest I make it sound trivial and/or New Age-y. It’s really good. (And I suspect that it will especially resonate with women.)

I have loathed the body I’ve been given by God and done my best to shape it into the body I want primarily by controlling my menu. Counting calories was my religion, weighing in was my proof (of my goodness or badness), food was my morality. If it was seasonal, whole, or from a local farmer: good. If it came from a box, was quick to make, or contained additives of any kind: bad. And I judged myself on these ethics.

6 Things You Should Know About Faith and Mental Illness

We don’t talk much about mental illness in the church. Some of this reluctance may come because we don’t yet know how to think about mental illness biblically. Michael Horton gives us a good starting place.

We would all like to reach a safe haven, a plateau of health, where we no longer struggle with sin or the physical and emotional pains of daily dying. But we don’t find this safe landing place in our experience either physically or spiritually. The only safe haven is Christ himself, who has objectively conquered sin and death, and who intercedes for us at the Father’s right hand until he raises us bodily for the everlasting Sabbath.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called Heaven is a Person. 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 (7/19/2019)

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

Embracing the Good in ‘Goodbye’

On this side of heaven, saying “goodbye” is a sad inevitability. It happens whenever God calls his people to a different earthly location. But when people we love move away, or when we are the ones moving, there is often profound grief knocking at our doors. Heidi Carlson helps us handle goodbyes as Christians.

Whatever the circumstances of the parting, grief is a close companion of goodbye. God created us for community, and when physical separation breaks our community, we grieve. We long for togetherness. As I tell my children and remind myself, it’s okay to cry at goodbyes. As believers, we stand in a long line of the faithful who have grieved at a departure. However, we grieve with the hope and knowledge that eternal togetherness is certain.

Living in the Bodies We Have and not the Ones We Don’t

Lore Ferguson Wilbert wrote a beautiful reflection on living in a body that is both wonderfully made by God and yet profoundly affected by brokenness. She has spent the last year writing a book on the topic, and this is a meditation on submitting to the bodies we have, not the bodies we want.

I have spent nearly 40 years trying to be the body I am not. I remember with startling clarity the moments I began to look for another body: the words a friend’s mother said about my pubescent body, the comment from the preteen girl with the perfect nose and teeth, the jovial jokes my family made about our genetic disposition (male and female) for sturdy thighs—these all took my eyes away from the fearfully and wonderfully made creation of the body God gave me and put my eyes on the impossible pursuit of the bodies God gave others. I worshipped the form I couldn’t have. I became a slave to the body I wanted, counting calories, straightening my hair, trying every new diet with a hashtag and eliminating every food group one at a time.

10 Things You Should Know about Reformed Theology

The phrase “Reformed theology” broadly describes the theological framework to which our church subscribes. What does that mean? If you’re new to Reformed theology, or if you’d just like an overview, check out this post at the Crossway blog from Paul Smalley and Joel Beeke.

God-centered teaching calls us to God-centered living. The Word aims to inculcate the wisdom of God’s Word through faith in Christ (2 Tim. 3:15), and the beginning of wisdom is the fear of the Lord (Prov. 9:10). Though it is possible to do theology in a spiritually arid, merely intellectual manner, Reformed theology has historically aimed at the same Paul had in his teaching: “love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith” (1 Tim. 1:5).

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published The Sad Song of Samson, by Zachary Wisniewski. Check it out!

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 (6/14/2019)

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

My Quiet Times Are Anything but Quiet

Perhaps we don’t read and pray as much as we’d like because we’re waiting for a perfect time that never arrives. Rachel Jankovic thinks this is the case, and writes about seeking the Lord in the midst of a noisy life.

When we imagine Bible reading, what we are seeing is something like the life of a scholar. We see uninterrupted focus and commentaries. We see a pastor in his study, where the word is his life’s work. We see someone living at a lake house — no intrusions, complete serenity, perfect coffee. Maybe we see the life of a superwoman, who rises well before dawn because she cares so much more than we ever will be able to. We see calm. We imagine focus. We see heroic diligence.

Simply put, we see the Christian practice of reading the Bible as dependent on a really specialized kind of moment — a moment that seldom (to never) graces our own life.

When Your Friend Is Suffering and Sinking

Sarah Taylor writes a helpful article at The Gospel Coalition about her experience of the pain and suffering caused by cluster headaches. She details the lies she is tempted to believe in the darkest moments, and she relates how her friends have helped her.

Lies especially thrive in the darkness. When I wake up at 2 a.m. with searing pain yet again, the pull to believe lies is strong. It’s hard to believe God is really for me. It’s hard to believe he loves me.

I hear things like: If God really loved you, he’d heal you. Your life was supposed to be better than this. Your children deserve a better mom. Your husband deserves a better wife. You deserve to be normal. No one cares about your pain. This is pointless pain. It would all be over if you’d just drive your car into an oncoming semi. Those are just some of the lies I’m tempted to believe in the dark.

The Good Enough Podcast

Lore Ferguson Wilbert and Andrea Burke host the Good Enough podcast, which I gladly recommend to you. I’ve read and benefited from Lore Ferguson Wilbert’s writing for years now, but the podcast is a new venture for her. It’s aimed at women, but I think everyone will benefit from listening. Here’s the podcast description.

Influencers aplenty, memes a dime a dozen, self-help books lining the shelves of bookstores, and YouTube tutorials for every tip under the sun and it’s still never enough. Why do the messages like “You’re the hero of your story” and “Trust yourself” still lead to anxiety, fear, uncertainty, and despair for most women? Andrea Burke and Lore Ferguson Wilbert are tackling fourteen of the counterfeit gospels American women believe today. We invite a guest each week to talk about beauty trends, diet culture, social media, “clean” living fads, singleness, dating, friendship with guys, and more. We know in Christ we truly are good enough for this never enough world.

I’m guessing that the whole podcast series (which is ongoing) is excellent. I’ve listened to and enjoyed this episode on diet culture.


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 (4/26/2019)

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

What Should I Think About During the Lord’s Supper?

Have you ever wondered what should occupy your mind while you take communion? Erik Raymond gives us “five looks” to consider.

In the Lord’s Supper, we are pledging our ongoing faithfulness to Christ and his people. We are saying that we are still needy of God’s grace in Christ; we are committed to loving Christ and his people; we are saying we are still with Jesus and one another. Baptism then is the front door along with church membership, and the Lord’s Supper is the dining room table where we renew our vows of faithfulness to Christ’s Word. Naturally, then, the Lord’s Supper is for those who profess faith in Christ. The Supper is a sign of fellowship with Christ and his people.

On Graying Toward Glory

Lore Ferguson Wilbert writes about her graying hair and how we view aging as Christians. While our culture views aging only as negative, I like the way Lore writes that she feels more herself as she ages, and this points to the work of God.

We know we are cracking, the veins are working their way down to our very foundation or up to our outer beings, but inwardly we are being renewed day by day. This is what the Bible says. What seems to all the world as cracking, crumbling, graying, and wasting is this very moment being renewed. Headed, as they say, toward glory.

Say No to the Gospel of Self-Forgiveness

In this article, John Beeson interacts with the popular notion that we must forgive ourselves to make true progress in the Christian life. He describes the two kinds of forgiveness found in the Bible, and he notes that self-forgiveness is not among them.

But you know what David never walks through? The process of self-forgiveness. He doesn’t entertain for a second that he must forgive himself or that, once he’s sought forgiveness from God, he must self-flagellate to fully release himself from his sin. In fact, David would probably shock modern therapeutic sensibilities with how quickly he feels release. He admits that, once forgiven, he will have the audacity to sing: “Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness” (Ps. 51:14).

It’s Time To Break Free From the Algorithm-Driven Life

Tim Challies writes about how the content we encounter online is served to us through algorithms. This has both benefits and drawbacks, and we should be aware of both. He suggests that we make an attempt to become our own curators of content and not rely on the algorithms of Facebook, Apple, Google, Twitter, etc.

It is true of all technologies that they invariably come with both benefits and drawbacks. Algorithms are no exception, and present us with both strengths and weaknesses. The strengths are obvious. For example, they can sort through the vast amounts of content to cut it down to something manageable, they can distinguish between what’s interesting to you and what’s interesting to me, they can detect nudity and block it from those who don’t wish to see it. The weaknesses, though, can be a little harder to detect.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an essay I wrote, titled King David on the Resurrection. 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 (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.