Links for the Weekend (5/10/2019)

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

4 Creative Ways to be Generous

Generosity is not just about money. In this article, Kristen Wetherell writes about other important, realistic ways we can be generous.

God’s infinite grace fuels generosity, which fuels the glorification of God and his gospel. So generous giving, of any type in any context, isn’t ultimately about us or the needs we’re meeting (how freeing!), but about God’s honor and the proclamation of his good news.

Why Do Dying Men Call for “Mama?”

Russell Moore connects a line from an article in The Atlantic to the presence of Jesus’s mother Mary at his crucifixion. It’s a powerful article.

In our culture, Mother’s Day is a time in which each of us thinks about the woman who gave us life. As we honor her, perhaps we can remember that we will one day, should the Lord not return before, lay dying. We will carry our cross right to the valley of the shadow of death. And we just might end this earthly life crying out for “Mama.” Like Jesus, that just might be God’s gracious way of reminding us we are not alone, that we are loved and known, even when we cannot help ourselves at all.

How to Practice Biblical Hospitality

In this article, Pat Ennis walks us through a biblical notion of being hospitable. She then gives some helpful, practical advice.

Whether enjoying personal devotions, a Bible study, or a worship service, what mental images emerge when you’re presented with passages that encourage hospitality?

For many, the images mirror glossy magazine photos—an immaculate home, a gourmet menu, an exquisite table setting. And while some of these images could be applied to biblical hospitality in certain situations, what they actually portray is entertaining.

When hospitality is described in the Scriptures, there are zero instructions regarding home décor, menu, or table setting.

5 Ways to Pray for Missionaries

We all know we should pray for our missionaries. But what exactly should we pray? Here is a helpful list of five items I commend to you.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published a post from Patty Waltermyer: Overcoming Yourself: Why You Should Step out of Your Comfort Zone. Check it out!

Thanks to Erica G 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 (5/3/2019)

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

Can Hymns Be Saved from Extinction?

Leland Ryken argues that one way to save hymns from extinction is to read them as devotional poems.

My own venture of approaching my favorite hymns as devotional poems has been an unfolding journey of discoveries. It has been like unlocking a treasury of literary and devotional triumphs. I’ve repeatedly felt that I’ve been introduced to the hymns that no one knows.

3 Principles for Evangelism I’m Trying to Embrace

Much writing about evangelism focuses on methods and tactics. In this article Michael Kelley writes about the sort of people we should be as we aim to share the gospel.

We should be people who share the gospel, for the gospel is a message meant to be shared. As we share, though, let’s remember the people we are sharing with are not just “targets” or “hot prospects.” These are human beings, made in God’s image, who have not formed their beliefs in a vacuum. The more we can do to understand the people in our lives the more we will have the chance to share with them about this gospel that has changed us.

Small Seal, Big Deal

John Stonestreet writes about a recent archaeological find and how it helps to confirm the Bible’s trustworthiness and accuracy.

These were seals, you see—the kind once pressed into wax or dipped into ink to sign letters. According to Yiftah Shalev of the Israel Antiquities Authority, where these seals were found sets the 2,600-year-old signets apart for archaeologists. They were discovered in the remains of what was likely an administrative building dating to the 8th century B.C.

Thanks to Phil A and Cliff L for help in rounding up links this week. If anyone else has suggestions for the future, please send them my way.


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 (4/19/2019)

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

You’re Dead, Start Acting Like It

Chris Thomas exhorts and encourages his readers from the book of Colossians. He tells us (as Paul does) that we’re both dead and alive. Check out the post at For The Church.

Paul’s concern, and what should be our concern as well, is that we’re not acting like dead people should — at least, we’re not acting like dead “Jesus-people” should. We’re still chasing the cheap candy that we thought would nourish our wasting flesh. We’re still enlisting in extra-curricular activities we thought would bolster our chances of winning the game. Paul says, “Quit dancing in the shadows while you disregard the substance.” Deep down we know it; this shadow-game is unfulfilling. The only way out of this shadow theatre is through death. The trouble is, though, we prize life so highly that we don’t want to embrace the grave. But that’s not the way of the gospel. There can be no victorious Sunday without the humiliation of Friday. There is no crown without the cross.

The Brave New World of Bible Reading

How are we influenced by the form our Bible reading takes? Whether we read a print Bible, use a Bible app, or listen to an audio Bible, A. Trevor Sutton argues that we need to slow down and reflect on the technology we’re using.

These affordances provide unique, practical benefits but also powerful, subtler influences. Having your Bible just one tap away from Facebook influences how you experience God’s Word; toggling between an envy-inducing newsfeed and the envy-indicting New Testament creates internal dissonance. Hyperlinking Scripture to the internet can affect your theological understandings, sending you on meandering rabbit trails that can complicate or distort a passage’s meaning. A sea of unfamiliar words on an austere page conveys a certain visual message.

Waiting Time Isn’t Wasted Time

As a people, we’re not great at waiting. But what effect does waiting have on a society? What effect might it have on the church? Ashley Hales has some helpful thoughts to share.

Impatience with waiting is nothing new. From the antsy Israelites who built a golden calf because they were tired of waiting for Moses to come down from the mountain, to the biblical cries of lament (“How long, O Lord?”) and calls for justice, to the early church’s and our own longing for the redemption of all things—we are a waiting people. Waiting ultimately reorients our stories: We are not the primary actor on a stage of our own making or choosing. Rather, God is the hero of the story. Will we be content to wait on his work? In these in-between times, what character will be formed in us as individuals and as a 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 (4/12/2019)

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. 

Links for the Weekend (4/5/2019)

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

The Secret to Strong Friendships

Personalities, shared interest, even geography—these may help friendships begin, but Kristen Wetherell argues that prayer is what sustains them over time.

But we mustn’t forget that prayer is a powerful act of love and service in itself. In seasons when we feel stretched thin, we may not be able to serve our friends in the ways we’d like—but we can always pray for them. Prayer is one gift we can consistently give.

How to Embrace Your Emotions without Being Ruled by Them

At the Crossway blog, Winston T. Smith helps us understand why God gave us emotions and how we can engage with them.

In a sense, then, the more our hearts and values are aligned with God’s, the more we will experience emotions that reflect God’s perspective on what’s happening in and around us. The more we mature into the image of Christ, the more our encounters with the truly good will engender positive emotions. Likewise, our encounters with the truly bad will engender even more negative emotions.

J. I. Packer on the 6 Things You Should Tell Yourself Every DayT

In an extended recommendation for the classic book Knowing God, Justin Taylor highlights some of J. I. Packer’s writing on spiritual adoption. This article is short and ends with that practical, six-item list promised in the title.

Calling this “the Christian’s secret of a Christian life and of a God-honoring life,” he says that we should take the following truths and “Say it over and over to yourself first thing in the morning, last thing at night, as your wait for the bus, any time your mind is free, and ask that you may be enabled to live as one who knows it is all utterly and completely true.”

Hospitality as the Body of Christ

Joel Hart draws on a nice metaphor in this article about hospitality. He contrasts a side-by-side, “treadmill” approach to the Christian life to a way of living life together. He proposes that hospitality can help.

But what if the calling of hospitality – or any other calling of Christian experience – isn’t meant to function like a series of side-by-side treadmills? What if hospitality is a calling that comes to the church as a body that is organically connected and constantly works together?

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 (3/22/2019)

Each Friday, I’ll post links to 3–5 resources from around the web you may want to check out. (I’m much shorter on time this week, so please bear with the more abbreviated introductions to the links. Thanks!)

A Meditation on Strength and Weakness

Does God prefer weakness or strength? What does the Bible say? Kevin DeYoung points us in some helpful directions.

As Christians we know that weakness is good. But then, the Bible isn’t always down on strength either. So which is it? Should we try to grow, to mature, and to fan into flame the gifts we’ve been given? Or should we boast in all our limitations and failures?

A Playlist of Songs for Lent

At The Rabbit Room, Drew Miller and other writers offer songs for listening during Lent. At this link, you can find a brief thought on each song as well as a link to the playlist on Spotify.

Help! I’m Not Ready to Share My Faith

This episode of The Gospel Coalition’s podcast is a conversation between Don Carson, Matt Smethurst, and Rebecca McLaughlin. They discuss the difference between being ready to evangelize and feeling ready. (It’s only about 16 minutes long.)


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. 

Links for the Weekend (3/8/2019)

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

Praying Past Our Preferred Outcomes

Over at The Gospel Coalition, Nancy Guthrie wrote about prayer requests, suffering, and submitting to God. When we are experiencing pain and sadness, what should our prayers sound like?

What would happen if we allowed Scripture to provide the outcomes we prayed toward? What if we expanded our prayers from praying solely for healing and deliverance and success to praying that God would use the suffering and disappointment and dead ends in our lives to accomplish the purposes he has set forth in Scripture?

5 Pieces of Advice for Discussing Gender Roles with Other Christians

While this article at the Crossway blog is about discussing gender roles, we can apply it much more widely. Abigail Dodds helps us think about discussing sensitive issues with people we care about when there is a possibility of disagreement.

It’s easy to pontificate in an article or to spout off in a blog post or twitter thread or facebook rant, but the most fruitful place to talk about gender roles is in our local churches with the actual brothers and sisters we’re laboring alongside. We should care the most about having meaningful conversations with those closest to us.

Seven Tips on How to Study the Bible with Neighbors

Sometimes we speak of our “neighbors” in a generic way, referring to the people that we encounter or think about each day. Beth Wetherell wants to help us love our actual neighbors, the people that live near us. How can we love our neighbors enough to look at the Scriptures together with them?

But then God drew near and renewed a right spirit within me. He reminded me that I was doing this for him! It was an act of obedience. I was doing this because I had the best news in the world to share. I was doing this because I really liked my neighbors and cared about their eternal state. God had prepared me and equipped me – in his power and strength, I pressed on to the next house until all the invites were delivered.

Thanks to Maggie A and Phil A for their help in tracking down 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 (3/1/2019)

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

When God Says ‘No’

Melissa Kruger helps us think about why God seems not to hear us, or why he seems not to care, when he doesn’t answer our prayers the way we want.

I’ve seen the Lord teach me these very lessons by withholding the things I wanted so much. And, yet, when a new “no” is given, I stumble around in the darkness of my understanding, wondering again what the Lord is doing and why he withholds the yes I believe I so desperately need. It’s tempting to believe the lie that a yes from God confirms his blessing, while a no is a form of punishment or heavenly disapproval. Or perhaps, we wonder, does God even hear our desperate cries?

Is Your Smartphone Making You Unhappy?

At The Good Book Company’s blog, Emily Robertson writes about contentment and the comparisons we tend to make when using (and over-using) our phones. An article like this could read like a ten-minute scold, but Robertson points us to Christ and leaves us with hope instead. I appreciate that!

Comparison is not a modern phenomenon. (The phrase, “all comparisons are odious” was recorded as early as the 15th century. And you don’t have to read very far into the Bible to see the destructive outworkings of envy.) But, arguably, this age-old struggle has been intensified in the 21st century by the rise of personal technology and social media.

Your Fight Against Sin Is Normal

Brian Hedges offers hope for saints who are weary in their fight against sin: the conflict is normal, the battle is winnable, and the war is coming to an end.

Athletes speak of hitting the wall when they experience extreme exhaustion due to depleted reserves of glycogen in the liver and muscles. Many believers feel similar spiritually. If you find yourself in an ongoing cycle of three steps forward, two steps back; if your prayers, resolutions, and frustrated attempts at mortification still leave you struggling with the same old sins; if you are weary in the race set before you and feel ready to quit, you’ve hit the wall.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published Sarah Wisniewski’s article, God Is in the Fish. Check it out!

Thanks to Maggie 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.