Links for the Weekend (5/22/2020)

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

When My Idol in Motherhood Is Me

I’m guessing that every parent has had to grapple with anger at their children. Aurlyn Wygle took the time to think about the cause of her anger, and she came to a startling fact: her biggest problem as a mother was not the sin in her sons, it was the sin in her.

The more that I lay this idol at the feet of Jesus, the more He gives me eyes to see my sons the same way He sees me—with compassion, and like sheep without a shepherd. I certainly still have frequent moments of anger. But now I know that the anger is pointing to a deep-rooted sin inside of me, not them. The Lord is working to expose this in order that I might lovingly and graciously engage my children, raise them in righteousness and enjoy them.

Life on Life Discipleship

Podcast host Karen Hodge and guest Cheryl Mullis talk about life-on-life discipleship within the church. What sort of transformation could a culture like this create? This podcast is a resource produced by the PCA’s Committee on Discipleship Ministries (CDM).

Flattery is not Encouragement

We are commanded to encourage each other but forbidden from flattery. The problem is, they can sound very similar! How can we tell the difference, both in ourselves and in others?

It’s difficult to distinguish between the two because it’s often a matter of motive. Flattery is defined in Webster’s dictionary as “praise excessively especially from motives of self-interest.” Sometimes flattery is detectable because it is “excessive,” but other times it’s simply the motive of the speaker that differentiates it from encouragement.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

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

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. 

Book Review: Labor with Hope: Gospel Meditations on Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood

My mom volunteers at her home church to coordinate their rather robust library. She snapped a picture of a new book she was preparing for circulation and texted it to me, asking if I wanted to read it before she put it on the shelf. Being about four weeks from my due date at the time, it seemed like the right read at the right time, so I said yes. 

The book was Labor with Hope: Gospel Meditations on Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Motherhood by Gloria Furman (with Jesse Scheumann), and I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who relates to any version of childbearing or child rearing. 

First, the chapters are short. At an average of 3–5 pages per chapter (and only 151 in the book), Furman gets not only that less is sometimes more, but also that five minutes of attention may be the most a person, especially her primary audience of moms, has to devote to reading. (They’re also a good length for reading in the waiting room of an OBGYN.)

Second, Furman takes an inclusive view of motherhood. She recognizes the labor of the months of gestation and the months (or years) of the adoption process, conception by traditional means and with medical intervention, raising children from infancy and entering their lives later. She not only leaves room for the “non-traditional” mother but seats her at the head of the table. 

Third, this book delivers on its promise of gospel hope. If you want pages of witty, relatable mommy moments sprinkled with Bible verses, this is not for you. Instead, this book offers unshakeable hope rooted in the whole of Scripture. 

Furman’s premise is that God is not like us, but rather we are like God. Our human experience of birth and mothering reflects aspects of God, rather than God simply using a familiar experience to explain himself. A core example from the book is that women suffer to bring forth children because Jesus suffered on the cross to bring forth his own people.

Scripture uses the image of childbearing frequently and in a variety of contexts. It’s used to describe God’s judgment, his relationship with Israel, and Paul’s labor among the churches, among a long list of others. Furman makes a thorough, though not comprehensive, study of each of them. The book is a rich dive into what Scripture says about childbirth and rearing and how that should affect our view of the vocation of mothers. 

Furman talks about Jesus All. The. Time. She talks about Jesus way more than she talks about the tasks of mothering, like changing diapers and preparing snacks. This is not a particularly practical book, in that she doesn’t offer tips on discipline, meal times, or family devotions. But it achieves its goal as a series of meditations on both hope for moms and the hope motherhood points to. 

I appreciated that Furman assumes that the women reading her book can grasp the deep and rich gospel teaching she presents. Her writing is both approachable and beautiful but in no way simplified for “mommy brains.” She sets out to offer real hope for the physically, emotionally, and spiritually painful work of mothering, and she knows that it only comes through a more than surface-level understanding of the gospel. 

My daughter’s middle name is Hope, and there’s a plaque on her wall that reads, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure” (Hebrews 6:19). Labor with Hope anchors its hope—for parents and their children—in the only safe harbor, the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. 

Photo courtesy Sarah Wisniewski

Links for the Weekend (2/28/2020)

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

Christians Grieve the Death of Believing Loved Ones, But We Don’t Grieve Without Hope

Given the multiple deaths in and surrounding our church family recently, I thought this was a good article from Randy Alcorn to share. He meditates on what it means to grieve with hope.

Therefore, though we have genuine sorrow when Christian friends and relatives die, we also can say with Scripture, “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting? . . . Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 15:55-57). Though we mourn, our mourning should be mixed with worship of God and thanksgiving for the life of the loved one who has died. 

The First Empty Nest

Stacy Reaoch has reached the stage of parenthood when all of her children are in school. This means her house is quiet in the middle of the day, and it has made her reflect on freedom, control, and God’s faithfulness.

The closing of a chapter is bittersweet. In some ways, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. seems like the first empty nest. It’s a transition from having little ones always by my side, to them being out of reach. It’s a time when I need to trust that God is able to meet their needs even when I’m not present. Parenting is a series of letting go, a series of trusting God with the children he has given us. Will I trust him to keep them safe while they’re at school? Will I trust him to provide a friend at the lunch table?  

What is Reformed Theology?

We accurately refer to our church as a “reformed” church, but that term may not be familiar to everyone. Being “reformed” refers to a theological position, but that doesn’t have to be academic or stuffy. In this short video (under 2.5 minutes), Kevin DeYoung gives a quick description of this important label.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article by Sarah Wisniewski called Learning, Teaching, Writing, and Women. 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 (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. 

Links for the Weekend (7/26/2019)

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

Mothers in the Church

Jen Wilkin has written an outstanding piece on spiritual motherhood. It’s worth a read by everyone, not just by women. Spiritual infants need spiritual mothers, and all women can leave a legacy of spiritual descendants.

But a motherless church is as tragic as a motherless home. Guiding the spiritually young to maturity is not solely the job of the vocational pastor, the elder, or the Sunday school teacher. The church needs mothers to care for the family of God. We must rise to our responsibility, eagerly searching for whom the Lord would have us nurture. There is no barrenness among believing women. Through the gospel, all become mothers in their maturity. And unlike biological motherhood, spiritual motherhood holds the potential for hundreds, even thousands of descendants.

The Most Radical Mission for Christians May Be the Most Mundane

For many Christians, the thought of foreign missions is much more compelling and attractive than loving our neighbors down the street. Brett McCracken writes about the beauty of committing to and serving in a local church, even if there are fewer exotic stories that result.

Why is it easier for us to go to the other side of the world than it is to go across the street to talk to our neighbors about Jesus? It’s uncomfortable to share our faith with people in our immediate context because, well, we have to continue to do life with them and it may get awkward if we bring up Jesus. Plus it is sometimes easier to care for the soul of the foreigner who we don’t know than the proven heathen that we do.

Study the Bible for the Sake of Others

Evangelism is rarely about a one-time, thirty-minute conversation. Using the story of Philip in Acts 8, Kelly Minter writes about how our personal study and learning from the Scriptures prepares us to share the gospel with others.

So here are the two challenges this passage confronts us with: First, we must be willing to step into some chariots and sit alongside people who can’t make sense of life, much less the Bible (assuming we’ve been invited in). Second, we must be studying God’s Word diligently, learning from good teachers about His whole counsel, so that when we do have opportunities with those seeking to understand, we can engage them with the whole story instead of leaving them with a presentation.

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 (6/7/2019)

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

Sabbath Rest Is for Busy Moms, Too

Do you ever feel that you don’t have time for a weekly sabbath? That’s how Laura Wifler felt, and until she was challenged by her sister-in-law, she didn’t know what to do about it. This article explains how she realized her faulty reasoning, and how busy mothers can (and need to) find sabbath rest.

That’s because our weekly rest isn’t about tightly kept boundaries, it’s about delighting and finding our joy in the Lord. As we spend our Sundays going to church with our fellow saints, taking time for personal Bible reading and study, or heading outdoors for a prayer walk, we deepen our dependence on Christ. As mothers, we can bring our children alongside us—telling them Bible stories, practicing Scripture memory, or bringing them with us as we visit the sick and needy—to teach them the regular rhythms of a believer and reveal a mother wholly reliant on God, not her own efforts.

The Unknown Stories Behind Three Well-loved Hymns

Sometimes the soil of tragedy produces the most beautiful flowers. This article by Mike Harland highlights three hymns that were written after great personal loss. While the third story here is familiar, I had not heard of the first two.

In all three of these stories, a circumstance of life confronts the child of God. And, in all three, God’s grace enables his child to trust the heart of the Father.

Life will confront us too. The songs we sing in the darkest of midnight will be the very songs that show the world the unwavering faithfulness of our Father who loves us so much.

The darker it gets, the more we should sing.

Summer Reading: A Grade-by-Grade Recommended Reading List for Kids

Justin Taylor has posted a nice list of books from Calvary Classical School. This may help parents and grandparents as they point their children toward the library or bookstore this summer!

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published a post I wrote: Obeying God’s Commands as the Body of Christ. Check it out!

Thanks to Maggie A and Phil A for helping me round 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 (2/8/2019)

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

How Evangelism Is Kind of Like Fishing

Tim Challies draws out the comparisons between fishing and evangelism. This is a surprisingly powerful article.

Just think about this: Jesus gets on a fishing boat with a fisher man to do a fish miracle all leading toward a fishing metaphor. He clearly wanted Simon to think about this word picture, and to live it out. He wants us to think about it. So let’s draw a few comparisons that, I trust, are legitimate without being trite. In what ways is evangelism kind of like fishing?

Moms, It Is Our Privilege

Not just for mothers, but for fathers, grandparents, or any caregiver of any type. Kristen Wetherell writes about some sweet lessons she’s learned about Jesus’s love as she cares for her child.

Yes, motherhood is a form of suffering. But in the middle of its trials, when we’re exhausted and weary, we can quickly forget what a privilege it is––often at the same time as when it’s hardest.

5 Myths About Abortion

Published at the Crossway blog, Scott Klusendorf writes helpfully about the abortion conversation. These are not actually myths about abortion itself, but about the dialog surrounding abortion. It’s slightly more academic than the other articles here, but it will give you confidence about the church’s place (as well as individual Christians’ places) to advocate for the unborn. From the discussion of the first myth (“Christian pro-lifers impose religious arguments on a pluralistic society and thus violate the separation of church and state”):

Indeed, it is no more religious to claim a human embryo has value than to claim it doesn’t. Both claims answer the same exact question: What makes humans valuable in the first place? That is an inherently religious question with no neutral ground. Either you believe that each and every human being has an equal right to life or you don’t.


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