Links for the Weekend (6/5/2020)

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

God Never Forgets His Promises

At Ligonier’s website, Derek Thomas reflects on Joseph’s life and what it teaches us about God’s providence. Though we often want to read the events around us and make meaning for ourselves as individuals, Thomas tells us we should keep God’s promises in mind.

Providence has wider issues in mind than merely our personal comfort or gain. In answer to the oft-cited question in times of difficulty, “Why me?” the forthcoming answer is always, “Them!” He allows us to suffer so that others may be blessed. Joseph suffered in order that his undeserving brothers might receive blessing. In their case, this meant being kept alive during a time of famine and having the covenant promises of their father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, reaffirmed before their eyes.

What Makes Any Marriage Difficult

Let me say this first: this is not a great title for this article. With that out of the way, I think this could be a really helpful article for married couples! Darren Carlson provides three questions that he and his wife worked through to strengthen their marriage.

Those who know me best know some of these weaknesses; my wife knows them all. Living with someone leads to the unavoidable exposure of one’s shortcomings. Pride tells us we are good at everything, that we are not the issue, that it’s really our spouse who has all the weaknesses. Be careful: God stands against people like this (Proverbs 16:5; James 4:6). Love is not proud (1 Corinthians 13:4).

5 Contemporary Poets Christians Should Read

I would wager that most of us don’t read much poetry. But poetry can put into words some reactions, moods, and emotions that prose just cannot. English professor Mischa Willett points us toward five of his favorite contemporary Christian poets. Troubled times may issue an especially pointed cry for poetry.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article written by Sarah Wisniewski called When the House of God Doesn’t Feel Like Home. 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 (5/1/2020)

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

The Subversive Habit of Boastful Prayer

Trevin Wax has written before about subversive habits, by which he means habits which help keep the story of the Bible as the central story governing our lives. In this article he talks about the sort of prayer that boasts in the Lord and not in ourselves.

Boasting takes it up a notch, and in prayer it becomes subversive precisely because our natural inclination is to turn our praise toward ourselves, to speak highly of our treasures, our strengths, and our accomplishments. When we turn our focus away from ourselves and we look for reasons to boast in God, we push aside what is lesser and we grow in our love for the God we now adore specifically.

Zoomed Out: Freedom from Consuming All the Resources During Quarantine

R.D. McClenagan is exhausted by all of the content available for him to consume during the Coronavirus lockdown. He writes to remind us that the measure of how you’re doing as a Christian is not how much you are consuming or producing, but the quality of the life of your soul.

I want to give you the freedom to seek Christ and his kingdom first in this time—the freedom to be Mary in an online Martha world (Luke 10:38-42). There are many tasks to accomplish and there are many resources out there to accomplish them, but the most important task is to set your heart unto the Lord in this time. You don’t have to make your life group the most dynamic it has ever been, or figure out how to live generously like never before by the time stay-at-home orders are fully lifted, or feel the pressure to continue to project a greater spirituality to online masses than you actually have in your soul.

The Case for Donating Your Stimulus Check

Many people have seen or will soon see some money from the federal government make its way into their bank account. How should we use this money as faithful citizens of the kingdom of God? David Ingold suggests that for some people, a faithful response might be to give some or all of the money away. Whether or not you agree with his conclusion, the questions he asks (as well as the resources he provides) in this article are valuable.

The Kingdom of God is like the Shepherd who goes out into the wilderness to find the one lost sheep. It’s when prisoners go free, and the lame walk. It’s the age of Jesus, our crucified King who left his glory and riches behind to be born of a poor, virgin girl, a girl who sang out: “He has brought down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty.” It’s the widow who gives her last dollar into the offering.

Was Moses Really the Author of the Pentateuch?

There is both internal and external evidence in the Bible for Moses writing the first five books of the Old Testament. Here is a short video (just 3.5 minutes) from William Wood of Reformed Theological Seminary laying out the arguments.


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 (4/10/2020)

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

Do We Really Want to Go Back to Normal?

I love the thinking on display in Trevin Wax’s article. Why should we want to return to normal without questioning whether what was normal was actually good for us? After describing the “old normal,” Trevin asks some questions that we should all consider.

The question we should ask, then, is not when will we get back to normal but should we want to go back to normal? And the follow-up question: What should the new normal be?

What if this crisis is a divine disruption that allows us to rethink ourselves, to rethink our lives, to reconsider our habits?

What if this crisis is a divine opportunity to reflect on what matters most and to order our lives accordingly?

What if we now have the opportunity to make different decisions—to prayerfully discern how to create and cultivate a new and better normal on the other side of this crisis?

The Lord’s Prayer in a Crisis

The Lord’s Prayer is always relevant, and Jared Wilson does a masterful job explaining its relevance in times of crisis.

And yet no pre-written prayer has to be vainly repetitious if you really do mean what you’re praying, if you really are seeking to bring your desires in alignment with heaven’s. And that’s really what the Lord’s Prayer is about. Further, if you wanted to apply what the Lord’s Prayer teaches to our present moment of crisis — or any moment of crisis, for that matter — you may find it a profoundly helpful and even powerful pledge of submission to God in the midst of painful, uncertain times.

Free book: Coronavirus and Christ

Desiring God and Crossway have partnered to bring an important book to publication with astonishing speed: Coronavirus and Christ, by John Piper. You can find the book free in digital and audio formats here.

In Coronavirus and Christ, John Piper invites readers around the world to stand on the solid Rock, who is Jesus Christ, in whom our souls can be sustained by the sovereign God who ordains, governs, and reigns over all things to accomplish his wise and good purposes for those who trust in him. Piper offers six biblical answers to the question, What is God doing through the coronavirus?—reminding us that God is at work in this moment in history.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article by Sarah Wisniewski called Prayer in the Newborn Days. 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 (4/3/2020)

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

It Takes Theology to Lament

A lament is a biblical prayer that is sadly out of favor these days. But it is just the type of prayer we need when things are not right with us or in the world. Mark Vroegop writes about the theology that is needed in order to lament.

Most laments contain four elements: turn, complain, ask, and trust. Each is designed to move the weary-hearted saint toward a renewal of hope in God’s character, even when dark clouds linger. Turning to God in prayer is the first step. It refuses to allow a deadly prayerlessness to develop. Complaining lays out our hurts in blunt but humble terms. We tell God what is wrong and the depth of our struggles. Asking reclaims the promises of God’s word that seem distant, and it calls upon him to intervene. Finally, all laments end in trust. This is where biblical lament is designed to lead – a faith-filled renewal of what we know to be true.

COVID-19: Living by Probabilities or Providence?

If you’ve been paying a lot of attention to the coronavirus-related statistics in the news recently, this article might be for you. Mike Emlet encourages us to turn our gaze (and our trust) to the Lord.

Sit with these glorious realities for a minute. Read through them slowly. Let them soak into your soul. We don’t live by probabilities and chance. We live under the loving, wise, and sovereign rule of our Creator and Redeemer God. The result of that is true hope, which steers clear of both a naïve optimism or a resigned pessimism.

A Prayer for Working from Home

This is exactly what the title says. You may not think you need such a prayer, but if you’re not used to working from home, I suggest you take a look.


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 (3/27/2020)

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

Practice Hospitality. Especially During a Pandemic.

How do we keep our Christian commitment to love our neighbors in the climate of a pandemic? Rosaria Butterfield gives us four ways to practice Christian hospitality in these times.

The sixth commandment, “Thou shalt not kill,” reminds Christians of both our positive and negative duties in times of plague. Faced with COVID-19, there are things we should do, and there are things we should not do. In all things, we seek the glory of God and the good of our neighbors. 

Should Stay-at-Home Moms Take a Day Off?

The Ask Pastor John podcast features John Piper answering listener questions on theology, Christian living issues, and more. In this episode, he shares how he and his wife thought about finding “the pace to finish the race.” In other words, how do they help each other to rest, especially when young children are part of the family? (As a bonus, there’s a great segment in this episode about the long-lasting fruit of disciplining children when they’re young.)

So, the question for all of us moms, single moms, husbands, single dads is: How do you find the pace to finish the race? That’s the question. We don’t want to loiter on our heavenly journey, and we don’t want to fall exhausted halfway through. That’s not a selfish question to ask; it’s a wise one to ask: How can I find the pace to finish the race? So whether it’s a day off or some other configuration of off and on, work and rest, a sustaining rhythm, here are five observations that might prove helpful to think about.

25 Hymns to Sing in Troubled Times

In a time when we’re not gathering together as God’s people, here’s an article which collects 25 hymns to sing during times of uncertainty and fear. There’s an accompanying Spotify playlist, too.

So, through these hymns, lay your burdens at Christ’s feet. Praise the Lord of history who holds all things—disease, life, and death—in his hands. Ask for his help in a season of waiting. Lament and grieve the tragic effects of the fall. And herald the good news that through Christ’s death and resurrection, he has given us an unshakeable hope.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article by Erica Goehring called Now is the Time to Love Our Neighbors. If you haven’t already seen it, check it out!

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 (3/20/2020)

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

Generosity in a Time of Hoarding

When we are fearful, we tend to take steps to protect and care for ourselves and those close to us. Trevin Wax writes about what love for others—specifically love for others in the church—could look like in a time like this.

In a time of tumult and uncertainty, as the COVID-19 pandemic affects not only our physical welfare but also our economy and our social interactions, our tendency is to turn inward, to the safety and wellbeing of those closest to us. We tend to our families.

Prudence and wisdom lead us to stock up on supplies, but fear and selfishness lead us to hoard the goods our neighbor may need.

As Christians, we should be known for giving, not hoarding. How can we display the generosity of Christ during a season of uncertainty?

Podcast: The World and Everything in It

In Pastor Don’s email this past Monday, he recommended a podcast from World Magazine called The World and Everything in It. Here’s what he said about it.

It’s like NPR from a Christian perspective. It’s a Monday through Friday podcast lasting a bit over a half hour. It gives you the news and also perspectives on daily and cultural happenings. Though it’s not a PCA-sponsored organization, there are many PCA people who are part of it, and it is a work consistent with our church’s theological viewpoints.

If you’re not familiar with podcasts, there are even detailed instructions on how to proceed. (And here is a link to the specific segment Pastor Don mentioned.)

Free Stuff!

With schools and many businesses closing down and lots of people working from home or at least staying at home more often, a few Christian companies have stepped up to provide some interesting free resources.

  • Crossway is offering the book The Final Days of Jesus as a free ebook, no strings attached.
  • Christianaudio gives away a free book each month. This month the free book is Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Life Together. It’s a short book, but many people have found it a profound work on Christian community. (Bonhoeffer was a German pastor during World War II and was killed by the Nazis in his efforts to resist their regime.) You will have to create a free account in order to download this audio book.
  • Crossway has collected a bunch of other free resources and deals here. These resources include: three free ebooks, articles, podcast interviews, Bible reading plans, and devotionals.

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 (1/31/2020)

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

Lies That Keep Women from the Word

Here is a very helpful (and convicting) article at Desiring God about the reasons why we don’t read the Bible. Despite the title, there is very little in this article that is only for women.

Why, then, does the very fundamental practice of reading the word of God fall so badly by the wayside for many Christians? Because when it comes down to it, we don’t think it actually matters. If we did, this practice would not be the monumental struggle it is for so many women — women who are drinking coffee, wearing clothing, organizing offices, feeding themselves and others, coordinating all manner of activities, throwing birthday parties, and thinking ahead on Christmas. In short, women who have the time and intelligence to do the things that they prioritize and believe matter. 

Fasting Isn’t for the Spiritually Elite. It’s for the Hurting.

This article includes answers to the when, why, and what questions surrounding fasting.

So we fast because of our sin and the toll it takes on others. We fast because as long as we’re breathing, our sanctification is not yet complete. We fast because natural disasters ravage the world. We fast because people die of starvation and thirst, lacking the necessities of life. We fast when cancer tears through our bodies or those of our loved ones. We fast because the entire cosmos is groaning for redemption. We fast because Christ has not yet completed the work he began in a manger.  

Your Kids Need You to Talk to Them

Children, like every one of us, mature through conversations with the people around them. In this Crossway article, William P. Smith reminds us of the value of conversation in our lives and encourages parents to make this a priority with their children.

By God’s intent, we enter life knowing nothing, then are slowly brought to understand our world and our place within it through the very ordinary medium of people talking to us. With their help, over time, we mature into contributing, responsible members of society who in turn can support and nurture others. Oddly enough God entrusts our development to people who once were more ignorant than they are now, which in my son’s case means me for the foreseeable future.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article written by Sarah Wisniewski called Who Should Read Proverbs 31. 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 (1/17/2020)

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

Neither Sin nor Death nor Elections Can Hinder God’s Work in 2020

Benjamin Vrbicek considers the very end of the book of Acts and writes about the spread of the gospel. As we face both personal and national difficulties, this is a great reminder.

God’s name “will be great among the nations”—not because he removes every earthly hindrance, but because no single hindrance we experience is strong enough to impede the gospel’s spread. God wills and works for his gospel to be cherished, and even hell’s gates can’t hinder his church’s advance (Matt. 16:18). 

Should We Trade in Funerals for “Celebrations of Life”?

Rare is the person that likes to think about death. And, as a pastor, Jason Allen has seen how this aversion affects the way many people treat funerals for those they love. He cautions against discarding the opportunity of a distinctly Christian funeral for a light-hearted “celebration of life” service. (This article is written for pastors, but I think we all can benefit from it.)

After all, death is God’s enemy. Paul tells us as much in 1 Corinthians 15:26. But it’s an enemy that has already been defeated by the resurrection of Jesus. What better venue than a funeral to highlight this glorious truth? We shouldn’t aim for “upbeat and lighthearted” when the deep emotional well of Christian hope is available to us. We shouldn’t spend so much time on jokes that we give short shrift to Jesus Christ who, having defeated sin and death, has made a way for the wicked to be forgiven and made righteous.  

Four Lies My Teachers Told Me

This article is framed around lies the author heard on a secular college campus. However, I suspect it is true much more broadly. Think of these lies as those underlying beliefs that most of our unbelieving neighbors hold without questioning them. The first lie that Kaitlin Miller addresses is that “only religion requires faith.”

The question, therefore, is not whether we will have faith, but in what we will put our faith. The question is not even whether we will place our faith in evidence, but rather, on what evidence we will place our faith — empirical evidence alone, or the intersection of historical, logical, moral, and philosophical evidence on which Christianity has always been based.

On the WPCA Blog This Week

This week on the blog we published an article I wrote called 3 Essential Words to Say to Your Child. 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 (1/10/2020)

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

Why Bible Reading Can Be Such a Challenge

The Gospel Coalition is running an initiative to read through the Bible in 2020, and this article is a companion to the launch of that project. Don Carson writes about the challenges of reading Scripture and how this reading initiative can help.

The challenge has become increasingly severe in recent years, owing to several factors. All of us must confront the regular sins of laziness or lack of discipline, sins of the flesh, and of the pride of life. But there are additional pressures. The sheer pace of life affords us many excuses for sacrificing the important on the altar of the urgent. The constant sensory input from all sides is gently addictive—we become used to being entertained and diverted, and it is difficult to carve out the space and silence necessary for serious and thoughtful reading of Scripture.

A Good Funeral is a Blessing to the Soul

Often funerals are the occasion of great sadness and grief. But a good, Christ-soaked funeral can also bless and strengthen those who attend. This meditation on a funeral from Adam York is a great testimony of a great funeral.

So, then, what could possibly cause a funeral to be a blessing? Only the gospel. Death is a result of sin, yet God sent his Son to conquer death through his death, burial, and resurrection. Even as death is conquered it still happens in this mortal life until Jesus returns, yet death has been conquered to the point that God can use it to challenge us to live for and magnify his kingdom. God can use a funeral to challenge us to be more like Lula Mae as she was more like Jesus.

5 Ways to Pray for Your Pastor in 2020

Most of us probably know we should be praying for our pastors. But this article gives specific, practical ways to pray. Very helpful. (I promise that neither Pastor Don nor Pastor Phil put me up to this!)

With so much opposition and difficulty within and without, pastors constantly need the people of God to be praying for them. The shepherd needs the prayers of the sheep as much as they need his prayers. He also is one of Christ’s sheep and is susceptible to the same weaknesses.


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