Links for the Weekend (10/9/2020)

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

Autumn and the Beauty of Death for the Christian

In this article, Tim Counts isn’t arguing that death is good or natural. There is, however, something special about death for a Christian. There is beauty in what awaits the Christian after death.

No, I am not talking about Christian death being beautiful because it is somehow less physically painful or less final on this side of eternity than non-Christian death. I am talking about Christian death being beautiful because the gospel gives us God’s perspective on even our final enemy, death.

Christian, be a Peacemaker

At a time when divisiveness is the norm in our country, this is a needed word. Blake Long writes how we can seek peace in our spheres of life.

Christian, be a peacemaker. Be the one to de-escalate when things are getting heated. Don’t stoke the fire with your sarcastic whit. Live at peace with all people and strive, by the Spirit’s power, to be like Jesus in every situation. 

Why Do I Need to Read the Bible When We Have Bible Teachers Online?

John Piper tackles this question on an episode of the Ask Pastor John podcast. He urges his questioner to read the Bible for himself, using Psalm 119 for much of his reasoning.

Perhaps at the bottom of the problem is that our friend has so completely intellectualized his faith that the only category in which he thinks, the only category that’s going to profit him, he thinks, is the category of verbal explanation. There are a lot of people who think about sermons that way. They just think, “I need to know; I need some more information, some more explanation,” rather than also the heartfelt exultation that a lover has in reading the very words of his beloved.

Justin Giboney’s Both/AND Politics

Here’s a profile of Justin Giboney, one of the cofounders of the AND Campaign. Since I’ve learned about this organization’s efforts to encourage Christians to think and act with “compassion & conviction” about politics, I’ve learned and grown a lot. This article explains the launch of the AND Campaign and Giboney’s role and aims with the organization.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called I Know God’s Will for You. 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 (10/2/2020)

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

Confessions in Practice

Michael Reeves writes about the historic confessions of the Christian faith. What are the limits of these confessions, and how can we use them?

In sum, confessions draw us, body and soul, into obedience to God’s Word. Through confessions, we challenge our bent toward rejecting divine revelation. We are taught the gospel with ever-greater clarity. We join with the gospel and there find unity with others who have done the same. We defy and deny what our confessions oppose. We mold our lives, thoughts, ministries, and teaching to the unchanging standard of God’s Word. In the end, we stand with our confessions and proclaim that God has spoken.

Becoming an Old Soul Christian

Jared Wilson writes about one of the benefits of age: getting to know the Lord better and learning to rely on him more. This isn’t limited to the aged though: he calls this being an old soul Christian.

An old soul Christian is one who repents of idolizing innovation. An old soul Christian stops looking for the “silver bullet” for discipleship, church growth, personal spirituality. An old soul Christian drinks deeply from God’s word, because while the grass is withering and the flowers are fading, God’s word never changes. An old soul Christian spends more time in prayer than opining on social media, because he has the eager ear of the One whose estimation matters most.

Why ‘The Social Dilemma’ Matters

There’s a new documentary out, called The Social Dilemma, which explores the psychology and addictive nature of social media. Trevin Wax writes about the importance of this film and what we can learn from it.

One of the best parts of The Social Dilemma was its description of how social media has changed, for better and for worse, basic human interaction. The casual glance that leads to an introductory conversation and perhaps a discussion that might lead to a romantic relationship is now replaced with a “like” or comment on Instagram, and the guy and girl across the room, though in close physical proximity, are glued instead to their devices. The Social Dilemma shows how and why our human interaction is changed by our constant connectivity.


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 (9/25/2020)

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

Be Careful What You Put Your Hope in, Including Politics

Randy Alcorn writes about hope and politics, and he shares an extended quote from Paul Tripp. Good food for thought, especially over the next six weeks.

God is the sovereign King, and He alone is the hope of this nation and every other one. Even if America crumbles (which could happen under any presidential candidate, or be delayed to sometime in the future), God is the only hope of each person and each family. He has been that all along, but perhaps this time it will be just a little more obvious.

The Siblinghood of the Saints

Being part of God’s family means not only that we can call God “Father” but also that we call each other “brother” and “sister.” Allyson Todd has some wise words about how opposite-sex relationships should look different in the church than in the world.

Surely we all must act with wisdom according to conscience in our relationships with the opposite sex. We ought to have nuance and balance. If we avoid one another, we give in to fear and distrust. If we exploit one another, we give in to selfishness and abuse. If we love one another as Jesus loved us, we demonstrate the magnificent gift of the family of God, and by this, we declare the reason for our love: it is by God alone. 

When God Says No to Your Earnest Prayers

I don’t know about you, but I need good, solid reminders about unanswered prayer on a regular basis. Here is a helpful article from Garrett Kell.

Jesus wants us to know that our heavenly Father only gives us good things (Ps. 84:11). He never gives us snakes when we ask for fish, or stones when we ask for bread. He may not give us bread or fish, but he will never withhold good from us. As John Piper once said, “[God] gives us what we ask for, or something better (not necessarily easier), if we trust him.”

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called What Do We Want for Our Friends? 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 (9/18/2020)

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

How Perfectionism Makes You a Spiritual Quitter

Ooh, this one’s good. If you’ve ever seen how perfectionism can get in the way of a healthy spiritual life, this article by Melissa Edgington is for you.

It has taken me 43 years to begin to learn that there is a happy, spiritually-nourishing medium between praying for an hour a day and not praying at all. Between reading five chapters in my Bible and not reading a single word. Spiritual disciplines don’t have to be feast or famine, and they shouldn’t be. I don’t have to perfectly execute a plan in order to be growing in Christ, learning from His word, communing with Him daily, learning more about who He is and who He wants me to be.

Recovering the Lost Art of Edification

Jared Wilson writes about the reasons so many people (including people within the church) are tearing each other down. He proposes ways that we can build each other up instead.

It’s not too late to repent. We don’t have keep following our flesh down the chaotic spiral of fear, anger, and confusion. We don’t have to keep tearing each other up. Sure, that may be good for views and clicks. And it’s easier than building up. But that’s how the world works. The spirit of the age is all about biting and devouring. But you and I are different. Aren’t we?

Where Is God When Your Dog Dies?

Anyone who has owned and loved a pet has been touched by that pet’s death. What does God think of our pets and our love for them? Robert Yarbrough helps us consider this issue by looking at the Bible.

To be sure, pets don’t matter to God as much as people do. Christ didn’t die so that four-legged creatures might repent and be saved. Humans, not animals, are the crown of God’s creation (see Ps. 8). And yet, because God created animals, he has regard for them. And because he cares for his people, what matters deeply to them matters deeply to God.


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 (8/14/2020)

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

“Your will be done”: powerful not pathetic

Praying that God’s will be done can be a meaningless habit or a way to guard against disappointment. But Stephen Liggins shows how we follow Jesus’s example (and his heart) in praying this way.

And think about all the situations we encounter where we just don’t know what to pray. Relational dynamics can get so messy that, other than praying generally that all people would be saved and treat each other in a loving manner, it is hard to know exactly what to hope for. Thankfully, we can pour our hearts out about the situations—whether they be in the home, workplace or schoolyard—pray that God’s will would be done, and then rest in the confidence that he will do what is best.

But I’ve Never Been Discipled!

Christians are called to make disciples, but many have never been part of a good mentoring relationship. Quina Aragon encourages us to press ahead anyway. She writes about what discipleship is and how we can be a part of this whole-church project.

Discipleship often means just showing up. It means praying alongside someone in a meeting. It means discussing what you learned from the sermon. It means singing loudly enough to encourage the people around you—even if your voice isn’t choir-material. It means living the Christian life in a way that models Christ and inviting others to live it alongside you.

Podcast: Hymns and the Joy of Singing (Kristyn Getty)

The Crossway podcast recently featured Kristyn Getty, a popular hymn writer and singer. From the episode’s description:

In this episode, Kristyn Getty, featured in the ESV Psalms, Read by Kristyn Getty, discusses congregational singing, the power of music for teaching doctrine, and the foundational role of Scripture for the Christian life. She reflects on her career in the Christian music industry, explains why hymns still matter and are worth learning today, and shares how her family has been seeking to use music to serve others during this season of lockdown.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called Turn to Serve and Wait: Our Christian Calling. 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. 

Links for the Weekend (8/7/2020)

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

Make Your School Decision. Then Trust God.

Glenna Marshall writes about a decision many parents are facing these days: What should we do about school for our children this fall? Some advice from a friend changed the way she was approaching the decision.

While walking through my neighborhood, I chatted on the phone with another mom who was also grappling with her decision. As I voiced my fears of getting it wrong this school year, my friend offered some sage advice. “God isn’t waiting to see if you make the wrong decision,” she told me. “He’s waiting for you to trust him with the decision you make.”

A Surprising Command for Suffering Saints

Michael Abraham reflects on James’s command to count trials as joy by directing our eyes toward Jesus.

Many of us, however, find great joy when our trials are over. James reminds us to find joy in our trials. Life is full of occasions for joy. Engagements are occasions for joy. Weddings are occasions for joy. Births are occasions for joy. You know this. But is sickness an occasion for joy? Are strained relationships occasions for joy? What about loneliness or loss? What about poverty and persecution? All trials are opportunities for joy.

Faithfulness in Forgotten Places

Scott Hubbard writes about “forgotten places”—those parts of our lives where are efforts are not noticed. He calls our attention to God’s providence and presence in the midst of these callings, as well as the reward in the future for faithfulness.

God sometimes does call us to do exceptional things for him: to adopt children, to launch ministries, to plant churches, to move overseas. But the point still holds, because none of us will do anything exceptional unless we have first learned, through ten thousand steps of faithfulness, to be exceptional in the ordinary.


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 (7/31/2020)

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

You Will Regret Giving In

We who belong to God often do not take sin seriously enough, and we therefore don’t fight against temptation with all our might. Garrett Kell provides four strategies to combat temptation.

God rarely touches our lives in such a way that we stop loving some long-ingrained sin immediately. But as we fight sin and pursue him, he changes our affections. We begin to love what he loves, and hate what he hates. Our confidence in willpower fades, and our hope focuses on Jesus, who was tempted and yet resisted in all the ways we have not (Hebrews 4:15).

The Mission Field I Never Expected

Rachel Wilson had grand visions of working for the poor or oppressed or enslaved around the world. She didn’t know God would have a far different calling in mind for her as the mother of two children with special needs.

For those of us who are mothers (and fathers), God wants us to esteem the field he’s given us. It’s not a tiring distraction from the true mission field we should be tilling; these are our people, for us to reach and for us to be trained and transformed as we do. Not only that, but in our giving, as we willingly lay down our lives, he smiles on us, because as Christ explained, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matt. 25:40, NIV). All the sacrifices, the diaper changing, the feeding, the dealing with meltdowns—they cannot be worth it if they’re just for our children. But they’re not. Ultimately, they are a perfume poured out for him.

How to More Wisely Consume News

We have more news—and more options for consuming the news—than ever before. How should we as Christians exercise discernment in this area? Bryan Weynand writes about virtues of wise media consumption and then offers some practical steps.

Still, as much as the media landscape is a minefield of misinformation, manipulative clickbait, and partisan rants, good journalism remains. Finding it requires intentionality and discipline, yet it can guard us against a frenzy that undermines our ability to trust anything. To this end, I believe it’s helpful to assess media sources through a grid of biblical virtues.

J. I. Packer: A Personal Appreciation from Ray Ortlund

Influential writer and theologian J.I. Packer died on July 17. Pastor Ray Ortlund wrote about the lasting marks of Packer’s ministry.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article written by Erica Goehring called I Have Stored Up Your Word in My Heart. 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 (7/24/2020)

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

To the Friends Who Tell Me “No”

What makes someone a good friend? This is such an important question, especially in times when we’re not gathering with friends as much as usual. I’m happy to recommend this great description of a close friend—not someone who is always affirming, but someone who is always loving. And love sometimes means saying “no.”

It is difficult to correct a friend. Although I am confident in my convictions, when it comes to those I care for deeply, I naturally desire to affirm. And yet, I know that if my friends did not have the courage to correct me, I would seriously doubt whether they actually loved me. Friends ought to want the best for each other, yet as fallen human beings we so often choose wrongly, think irrationally, and act selfishly. Without my friends, not only would I be lonely, but more than likely I would follow my sinful bent towards selfishness, arrogance, and misdirected affections. The friends who seek to save me from myself—even when I resent and resist it—are the friends I know to be true.

Millions of Kids Won’t Be at School This Fall. Christians Can Step Up to Serve.

With many children in the United States learning from home this year, and with many of the parents of those children needing to work, Heidi Carlson sees an opportunity. She suggests that by offering radical hospitality, Christians can show the sort of just-in-time love to their neighbors that can make a difference.

Those of us surrounded by supportive friends and community are able to rally, to figure out how to make it work. Creative rallying is what we do for people we know and love. But it’s not radical. This massive change in the school calendar is an opportunity for Christians to engage in a different type of radical hospitality.

When God Withholds Sleep

Stacy Reaoch writes about her longtime struggle with sleeplessness. She offers some Scripture to meditate on in the middle of the night, and she shares some of the lessons she’s learning.

In the meantime, God has a purpose in our sleeplessness. He can use our weakness to make us dependent on him, showing us his love and care with each passing minute of the day. He can use our weariness to push us to lean on him as the all-sufficient, all-wise, and all-powerful God, and to know that when we are weak with sleeplessness, then we are strong in him.

The Uighurs of China: A People in Peril

Greg Turner describes the persecution of the Uighurs by the Chinese government as “one of the worst human-rights crises in recent years.” Read this article to learn how you can pray.


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 (7/17/2020)

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

Sipping Poison Won’t Make You Wise (Take My Word for It!)

“Does experience with sin make you more wise or more foolish?” Because of the gripping power of turnaround testimonies, we might end up thinking wrongly here. Benjamin Merkle relates a story from his days in the Marine Corps to the temptations of our culture and reminds us where wisdom originates.

This type of temptation still pulls at each of us with an incredible power. We feel that tasting a forbidden thing will bring us greater wisdom and make us more impressive. In fact, think of how easily we can feel embarrassed by all the sins we haven’t committed! We can actually become ashamed of our own innocence. Who wants to be naïve and inexperienced? How many Christian kids are embarrassed by their virginity, even though they’re convinced they’re right in preserving it until marriage?

Respectable Sins of the Reformed World

Tim Challies writes about “respectable sins,” those which might be accepted by Christians even though the Bible forbids them. He writes about those sins to which we are particularly tempted online.

Impugning. To impugn is to dispute the truth, validity, or honesty of another person’s motives. And closely connected to disputing another person’s motives is suggesting that you know the truth behind them. There is so much of this in the Christian world today, and it generates so little disapproval, that it must be classified as respectable. Yet a little biblically-guided introspection should tell us that we often don’t even know our own motives, and if we do not know our own, how could we possibly know anyone else’s?

Prayer Will Win the Nations

If you’ve ever wondered how to pray for missionaries around the world, here is an article giving some concrete suggestions.

In fact, we must. Prayer isn’t just a passing gesture or a frivolous holiday present. Prayer is supplying missionaries with essentials for their survival. Prayer is partnership in their work, vital to its Spirit-filled efficacy and the rescue of sinners. At the risk of sounding clichéd, prayer is a matter of life and death. Our intercession protects them from harm (2 Corinthians 1:11) and provides for the gospel’s advance (Romans 15:30–32).

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called Learning from the Humiliation of Jesus. 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 (7/10/2020)

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.