Links for the Weekend (10/18/2019)

Each Friday, I’ll post links to 3–5 resources from around the web you may want to check out. (Just two links for you this week!)

8 Sins You Commit Whenever You Look at Porn

Pornography is a big problem—both in the world at large and in the church. Perhaps it’s obvious that we commit the sin of lust when we view porn, but Tim Challies suggests there are eight other sins we commit as well.

You commit the sin of sloth. We are called in all of life to “redeem the time,” to understand that we live short little lives and are responsible before God to make the most of every moment (Ephesians 5:16). Sloth is laziness, an unwillingness to use time well, and reflects a willingness to use time for destructive instead of constructive purposes. In that way pornography is slothful, a misuse of time. It is using precious moments, hours, and days to harm others instead of help them, to foster sin instead of kill sin, to backslide instead of grow, to pursue an idol instead of the living God.

J. I. Packer, 89, On Losing Sight But Seeing Christ

Here is an interview with J. I. Packer from back in 2016, shortly after he lost his ability to read. Packer is a faithful, long-term writer and speaker who has influenced many, and it is both sobering and encouraging to hear him talk about his condition and his hope.

Overall, would you say you’re encouraged?
Yes, I don’t see how any Christian under any circumstances can’t be encouraged who focuses on God. I don’t see how any Christian can be discouraged, because God is in charge—God knows what he’s doing, all things work together for good for those are called according to his purpose (Rom. 8:28), and our hope is in Christ. Those things don’t change, and those are the things to focus on.

Thanks to Phil A for his 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 (9/20/2019)

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

How Christians Can Prepare for the 2020 Election

Daniel Bennett writes about the tension and conflict that will likely surround the 2020 Presidential election. He offers three ways that Christians can prepare themselves to be salt and light.

Christians should take political engagement seriously for the sake of the kingdom, to seek justice, to defend the defenseless, and to love our neighbors. But whereas much political engagement today stems from fear, anger, and even despair, ours should stem from our identity in Christ. It should reflect our confidence that whatever happens in the state of earthly affairs, and regardless of temporal wins and losses, the King of glory remains on his throne.

The Church is a Means of Grace

This is a great reflection from a pastor on his children making a profession of faith and how influential the people at his church have been on those children.

You don’t just need good preaching and communion. You need the gospel community good preaching creates. You need a church family to whom you are joined in communion. You need them to uphold your weak faith, to walk with you during hard times. You need the church’s help, their friendship, prayers, meals, examples, and teamwork.

How Do I Know That God Is for Me?

A beautiful, simple reminder at the Ligonier blog from Sinclair Ferguson.

This is the whole point of Paul’s question in verse 32. We can be sure that God is for us because this God, the God of the Bible, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up to the cross for us 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 (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. 

Links for the Weekend (8/2/2019)

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

Christianity’s Best-Kept Secret

How’s that for a title? Tim Savage contends that while Christians think a lot about Christ in the past (forgiven sins) and the future (the coming of heaven), we don’t think enough about Christ in the present. This article helps to explain the wonderful phrase “Christ in you.”

As Christians, we’re organically linked to Christ at the deepest level. The apostle Paul makes the point repeatedly in a simple but easily overlooked prepositional phrase. No less than 164 times, Paul refers to Christians as people “in Christ” or “in him” or “in God” or “in the Lord.” It’s a tantalizing phrase, with thrilling implications for the lives of Christians.

4 Promises to Christians about the Resurrected Body

What does the Bible say about our future resurrected bodies? Colin Smith takes us on a tour of important Scriptural truths.

The new earth will be better than the earth we have now. The resurrection body will be better than the body you have now. And you will have forever to savor the pleasures that God has in store for you.

The Gospel in Psalms

Jesus told us in Luke 24 that all Scripture pointed to him. This is easier to see in some parts of the Bible than others. In this post, Bruce Ware and George Robertson show us how to read Psalms with Jesus always in mind.

Reading the Psalms mindful of Jesus is not a clever way to read this book of the Bible, nor is it one way to do so among others. It is the way. A gospel-lens to reading the Psalms is how Jesus himself teaches us to read them. As you read this portion of God’s Word, make these prayers to God your own, and consider the ways these Psalms are good news to us—expressing the full range of our emotions, and ultimately bringing our minds to rest on the finished work of Christ on behalf of sinners.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called How to Resist Sins of Conformity. 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 (6/28/2019)

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

Is God Angry at Me When I Sin?

In this episode of the Ask Pastor John podcast, John Piper answers a question that gets right at the center of Christian experience. God loves his children, but he hates sin. So how does he feel about his children when they sin? At this link you can listen to the answer (or read the transcript).

He never looks upon us with contempt because he’s always for us, never against us. He will always restore us and bring us unfailingly to an eternity when there will be no grieving him, no quenching him, no displeasing him anymore.

The Most Epic Bible Study of All Time

Do you remember the conversation Jesus had with disciples on the road to Emmaus, where he showed them how Moses and the Prophets pointed to him? Garrett Kell imagines this exchange, and he goes through each book of the Old Testament to give an example of what Jesus might have said. It’s a great illustration of how to see Jesus in the Old Testament.

Reading the Old Testament to find Jesus isn’t meant to be like playing “Where’s Waldo?”—looking behind every tree for a cross or every chair for a throne. We do, however, find both explicit teachings and also implicit themes that push us to know that something, or someone, greater must come to fulfill them. Jesus proved this true that day following his resurrection.

Sleep Well for God is Awake

With all that is going on in the world—not to mention all that happens in your life—how are we supposed to sleep? Darin Smith gives seven (brief!) reasons why Christians can sleep well.

You are as secure as Christ is (Eph. 1:13-14).  No one loves you like Jesus, so unplug your life-giving cord from people, and live, love, and serve to God’s glory today (1 Cor. 10:31). Rest!


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 (6/21/2019)

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

Stop Praying “Be With” Prayers

Gulp. I apologize in advance for the conviction you’ll feel when you read this article by Alistair Begg. This is an excerpt from his new book on prayer, and he urges us to pray more like our biblical ancestors.

The time-bound and fallen creature that I naturally am, I often forget the spiritual and eternal element of reality. That’s why the things that fill my prayers are so regularly absent from Paul’s—and why the things that fill his prayers are so regularly absent from mine. He has his eyes fixed on eternity. His prayers are spiritual. We need to make ours so, too.

Stop Loving Your Spouse Too Much

Ray Ortlund writes at Desiring God about two insights that can help shape and direct our marriages. First, “your marriage is your little remnant of the garden of Eden.” And, second: “Life is not in you. Life is not in your spouse. The life we all long for is in Christ alone.”

A marriage is not Christian because two Christians get married. A marriage becomes truly Christian as two Christians keep looking to Christ for the wherewithal each needs moment by moment. It isn’t a matter of practical tips, though I suppose there is a place for that — like training wheels on a child’s bike. But far more, it’s a matter of seeing him, with the eyes of faith, real-time as a husband and wife walk together through each day. It’s a matter of rejoicing that he is present with you, he is sharing his life with you, his light is banishing the darkness from the sacred circle he has given the two of you.

4 Things Teens Need from Your Church

Just because our church is not bursting with teenagers doesn’t mean we can ignore this important age group. Check out Sara Barratt’s article at The Gospel Coalition; she’s a teenager writing with solid advice for the church.

Instead of undiluted biblical truths and concrete theology, many are fed a watered-down message. They’re entertained at youth group and isolated from older, wiser Christ-followers. They’re drawn in with pizza parties, games, and programs, but leave with the burning issues of their hearts still unanswered. The games and good times were never what kept me in church or helped me as I battled the tumultuous struggles of my teenage years. Instead, it was the gospel-drenched truth that kept me coming back.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published Faith that Lives, Works that Justify, by Sarah Wisniewski. 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 (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 (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 (5/31/2019)

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

Don’t Just ‘Share’ the Gospel

The language we most often use regarding evangelism is “sharing the gospel.” Elliot Clark looks at the New Testament to see if that matches the way those authors wrote about evangelism. (Spoiler: it doesn’t.)

Our English word for evangelism derives from the Greek word euangelizo. It means, most basically, to announce good news. As Don Carson has helpfully demonstrated elsewhere, euangelizo involves heraldic proclamation. It assumes the authoritative declaration of the gospel. In other words, evangelism is an act whereby one cuts straight. You can’t hem and haw and do evangelism. After inviting a friend to church, you don’t get to check the box for doing evangelism. Being faithfully present in your neighborhood doesn’t equal biblical evangelism. Polite spiritual conversations at work or around the dinner table also don’t mean you’ve evangelized anyone. You must announce good news.

What I Pack In My Spiritual First Aid Kit

Much like a first aid kit for medical emergencies, Tim Challies suggests that we have supplies in mind when spiritual emergencies arise. What should we do when we find it impossible to open the Bible or to incline our hearts in prayer? Challies’s suggestions won’t be a good fit for everyone, but I suspect everyone will find something helpful here.

Then, of course, there is the inestimable value of a godly spouse and good friend to whom I can appeal in difficult times with a simple, “Please tell me something that’s true” or “Please pray for me.” In difficult times, I sometimes have to rely on the faith of others, to siphon from them confidence, joy, or hope.

Heresy Often Begins with Boredom

Sometimes heresy begins when people try to resolve a tension the Bible maintains. Other times, writes Brett McCracken, heresy begins because Christians are bored with the Bible, the church, Christians, obedience, or tradition. I appreciate that McCracken ends this article with a suggestion to fight this sort of boredom with wonder.

Ultimately when we become bored with things that should actually inspire in us awe and gratitude, the problem is pride. We think our spiritual path is ours to chart. We think when it comes to knowing God and living rightly, “I got this.” But just as pride came before the fall in Eden, so too does this sort of spiritual pride precede our veering away from orthodoxy.


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